Chocolate Cherry Granola Balls

by kristen massad on August 5, 2014

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I might be mildly obsessed with these little bitty bite size treats.  I actually cannot stop eating them and I made them as a snack for my girls…well maybe a little for me (I do LOVE peanut butter)!  I have been focusing on healthy snacks in our house, to close out the summer and start the new school year fresh and these are on the top of my list.  

Summer is kind of a party for our family, no schedule, no routine and a lot of special treats (it helps us get through the day).  With only a  few more weeks left before school goes back, I want to prepare myself with the perfect afternoon snacks that are healthy, easy to make and the whole family loves. These peanut butter granola balls are the perfect refuel treat after a long day at work or school.  The hardest time of day, 4pm-5pm, when the whole family is hungry and I can’t make dinner fast enough, this is when we need these healthy snacks ready to go.  

I created thes bite size granola balls because I wanted something quick and easy that I can whip up any time with no oven needed.  I actually think these healthy treats taste more like dessert to me…and I am ok with that!   Enjoy these for breakfast, snack or as an after dinner treat and you won’t feel guilty about it!  

Feel free to change out some of the ingredients for your favorites!

Other Options:
Almond Butter —>Peanut Butter (makes them have a drier texture, but still good)
Raisins or Dried Cranberries—>Dried Cherries
Sliced Almonds—>Shredded Coconut

Chocolate Cherry Granola Balls
Yields 20
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Ingredients
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
Mix until totally combined
scoop a heaping 1 Tbsp of the oatmeal mixture and roll into balls
Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to eat!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Grilled Peach Shortcakes

by kristen massad on July 30, 2014

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Although everyone loves good old-fashioned strawberry shortcake this time of year, the idea of grilling dessert screams summer in my mind. Stone fruits — those with large, hard seeds at the center such as peaches, plums and nectarines — are perfect for grilling because they are firm enough to maintain their structure while being extra sweet and juicy. Take full advantage of the season. Grill up these peaches and layer them in flaky shortcake paired with a brown sugar whipped cream to finish out this summer!

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 Recipe featured in Advocate Magazine-August Issue

Grilled Peach Shortcake with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Serves 8
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Ingredients
Shortcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar, granulated
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup + 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 egg
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl
3. With paddle attachment, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes a course crumb
4. Add 1 cup of cream and mix until dough starts to come together
5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to approx. 1 inch thick
6. Cut dough into 8-2 ½ inch rounds and place evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet
7. Whisk together the egg and the 1 Tbsp of heavy cream and brush over the tops of each dough round
8. Sprinkle each round with cinnamon sugar
9. Bake until golden brown, approx. 25 minutes
10. Cool completely before cutting each shortcake in half and layer each one with brown sugar whipped cream and grilled peach (see grilled peach and whipped cream recipes below)
11. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Grilled Peaches
Serves 8
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Ingredients
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
½ cup butter, unsalted (1 stick)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp granulated sugar
Instructions
1. Heat grill to high (or for indoor grilling, grill pan works great!)
2. Melt butter and mix in cinnamon and sugar
3. Brush peaches with butter mixture and place face side down on the grill and grill until cooked through
4. Once peaches are removed from the grill brush one more coat of butter mixture while hot
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Serves 8
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Ingredients
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
1. In a medium bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks form
2. Add brown sugar and vanilla extract
3. Continue beating until stiff peaks form
4. Serve with grilled peaches and shortcakes
5. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
 

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Fruit Leather

by kristen massad on July 22, 2014

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This is the perfect snack with the perfect ingredients and my girls loved it! They always seem be eating some type of fruit snack (which sounds really great and healthy) but when you actually look into the store bought fruit leather or fruit by the yard, there is so much added sugar and other unknown ingredients that totally takes away from the FRUIT in fruit snack. In this homemade, all fresh ingredient fruit leather, there is no added sugar and can be made with a large variety of fruits, fresh or frozen.  I have made two flavors that our family has enjoyed; Peach+ Mango is one of my favorites with flavors that make you feel like you are eating a pie and Strawberries+Mint will provide a refreshing taste for both kids and adults.  I love adding herbs and spices into snacks, allowing our girls to be familiar with other flavor profiles.  I hope you enjoy these easy clean sweets as much as we have!   

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Peach Mango Fruit Leather
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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, sliced (skin removed)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen mango, cubed
1 Tbsp honey
Instructions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and prepare sheet pan with silpat
In a blender combine the peaches, mangos, and honey
Blend until perfectly smooth
Pour pureed fruit onto the sheet pan
Bake at 200 degrees F for 5-6 hours
Allow the fruit leather to cool completely
Cut into 1 1/2" strips and roll with wax paper
Store in air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

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SONY DSCStrawberries + Honey + Mint are the flavors that I chose for this recipe, but it can be made  with a variety of different fruits.  Peach, Mango, and  Mixed Berry are the next flavors on my list to make.  Hope you enjoy these easy clean sweets as much as we have! 

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Strawberry Mint Fruit Leather
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Ingredients
3 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed
1 Tbsp honey
4 mint leaves
Instructions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and prepare sheet pan with silpat
In a blender combine the strawberries, honey and mint leaves
Blend until perfectly smooth
Pour pureed fruit onto the sheet pan
Bake at 200 degrees F for 5-6 hours
Allow the fruit leather to cool completely
Cut into 1 1/2" strips and roll with wax paper
Store in air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

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Blueberry Orange Crumb Muffins

by kristen massad on July 15, 2014

SONY DSCBreakfast is a big deal in our family.  We love to eat it, but during the week, have a hard time getting it ready before we are headed out the door.  On the weekends we take our time and usually make a feast for 20, but only feeding 4!  So my goal has been to get some staple recipes down that can be made ahead and the whole family will enjoy.  SONY DSCThese blueberry orange muffins have been a favorite of mine and so quick and easy to make, no mixer required.  I love the moist crumb of this specific muffin with the blueberries in every bite, a touch of orange flavor and the crunchiest brown sugar streusel.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Blueberry Orange Crumb Muffins
Yields 10
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Ingredients
1 large orange (1/3 cup juice)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk, whole
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup frozen blueberries
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Zest orange and set aside; then juice the orange to measure 1/3 cup
Whisk together oil, milk, orange juice, zest and eggs in a medium bowl
Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt together in another bowl
Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until combined; do not over mix
Fold in the frozen blueberries (keep them frozen)
Using an ice cream scoop (2 1/2"), scoop the batter into muffin pan lined with muffin cups
Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a generous portion of crumb topping (see recipe below)
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes
Cool in pan before serving
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Crumb Topping
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Ingredients
6 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and vanilla extract with your fingers in a small bowl until combined and crumbly
Sprinkle on muffins once they are scooped into the pans
Bake according to muffin recipe
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
 

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Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookies

by kristen massad on July 3, 2014

SONY DSCThese are my all time favorite, go to, chocolatiest cookies!!!  I have been making and tasting chocolate chip cookies for a very long time and there is something very special about a perfect cookie.  It has too be the right thickness, not to thin and not to thick, it must be chewy in the middle with a little crunchy edge and it has to have an obscene amount of chocolate in every bite!  This is the cookie I have been looking for.  I have to give credit to my husband for my current obsession with making the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  He is married to a pastry chef and does not love sweets….What?  How does this happen you ask, I am still wondering the same thing, but on the side very thankful because he keeps me in line and away from eating a dessert EVERY night:)  Having said that, he LOVES a good chocolate chip cookie . So here is my perfect version made for my perfect man! Made with all brown sugar (to keep it extra chewy), with chocolate chunks (instead of chocolate chips) and sprinkled with a touch of sea salt (to keep you coming back for more).  Enjoy!SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Yields 40
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Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups semi sweet chocolate chunks
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until creamy
Add eggs one a time
Gradually add flour, baking soda, and salt mixture and mix until fully combined
Remove bowl from mixture and stir in the chocolate chunks
Scoop into 2" rounds
Sprinkle each round with sea salt
Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through
(they keep baking once they are out of the oven so don't over bake them!)
Allow cookies to cool before removing them from the pan
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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