Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

I’ve been obsessed with granola lately. No really, I have. I’ve been taking it to work with fruit, chia, flax and honey. I’ve been adding it to yogurt. I’ve even added it to my favorite raisin bran cereal, and aside from that, I’ve been eating it in handfuls — straight from the bag. If you saw my mini fruit and granola bowl tutorial on Instagram last week, then you know I was already running low on granola. I’ve managed to finish off the entire bag, and in my typical procrastinating way, haven’t gotten out to the store to get any more. So what’s a granola-obsessed girl to do?! Make my own, duh!

Making granola at home is super easy.

I actually found this great infographic by BodyMindSou that breaks down all the different ways you can make your own granola. It’s amenable to all the dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and good-for-you additions you love. This batch of granola was completely dictated by the contents of my pantry… pecans, coconut, cranberries, and the inclination not to add 3 kinds of chocolate chips to the mix. We’re being healthy, am I right? Right.

Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

 

Speaking of healthy, please tell me I’m not the only person who doesn’t think about the amount of sugar in pre-packaged foods (yes, even granola), only to be completely shocked when I make it homemade and it’s half as sweet because I haven’t added 10 lbs of sugar. As a matter of fact, the same could be said for salt.

Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

I’m not the only one in my family completely obsessed with granola. Both my parents are too. So much so, that I had to hide the granola in an undisclosed location until I got a chance to take photos. I will say, though, that they’re usually really good about knowing that food must be photographed before it can be consumed in our household. Thanks for your support mom and dad!

Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

 

Pecan Coconut Cranberry Granola

Yield: 2 cups Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal, or instant oatmeal
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • ½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the honey and coconut oil 15 seconds at a time until melted. Stir to combine
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oatmeal, pecans, cranberries, coconut, salt and cinnamon
  4. Pour in the honey and coconut oil.
  5. Using a large wooden spoon or spatula, stir all the ingredients until combined and coated
  6. Pour the granola onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread evenly
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven, stir
  9. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the granola to cool before storing.
  11. Note: the granola will still be soft coming out of the oven. Once it cools, it will harden.
  12. Store in an airtight container
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This Week on Instagram

 

It Snowed! And despite being wrapped up in training for my real job this week, I still found time to (key word) TRY to get organized, share my favorite breakfast recipe and recipe test (and fail) before week’s end.

 

The best snow, in my personal opinion, is the snow that looks magical on trees, open spaces, and sidewalks, but doesn’t stick to the pavement. I love snow. I love the way it looks, I love the way it makes the world seem quiet and pristine. However, I don’t enjoy driving in it. It was a perfect Monday morning, when I was treated to the most beautiful drive to work, and by the time I left for the day, all the snow had melted away.

 

I’m on a constant quest to get organized. Unfortunately, it feels like I’m always one step behind. I admit, I have my little piles of clutter … but it drives me nuts! Yes, I’m one of those people that actually makes my bed before getting into it – I can’t help it. It has to feel welcoming before I get in. I found this lipstick and brush organizer on Amazon. It holds 120 lipsticks! It spins too. When I started getting all my lipsticks in there, I realized I have at least 7 of the same color.

 

Is it Valentine’s Day yet? Don’t get me wrong. I love everything pink and heart-shaped, but it’s just so much pressure. Usually when faced with Valentine’s Day overkill, I end up buying myself a heart-shaped chocolate.

 

Adams Morgan  is home of the Jumbo Slice. What’s jumbo slice?! It’s exactly that– a slice of pizza that could feed a small village. Okay fine, 2-3 people. One person if they’re really hungry. No judgment, right?

 

I shared my favorite take-to-work breakfast on instagram this week, complete with video. It’s actually really simple. First, I sprinkle granola in the bottom of the bowl, then layer with my favorite fruits (strawberries and blueberries). Next, I add maple-flavored ground chia and flax mix, sprinkle some more granola on top and drizzle honey to top it all off.

 

I almost had a new blog post. Except for the part where my twice-baked potato dip hardened and became loaded mashed potatoes. I took my little experiment to a Super Bowl party and made everyone eat it anyway. Obviously, this one’s not making it to the blog just yet.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

Garlic Herb Lamb Skewers with Mint Yogurt Sauce

I love lamb. I’ve seldom met an Arab who doesn’t like lamb. [I said seldom, so if you’re one of the few that are Arab and don’t like lamb, you may want to skip to another one of my lamb-less recipes]. Have you ever seen that scene in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when Ian, the fiancé, tells Aunt Voula he’s vegetarian. To which Aunt Voula thinks for a minute and exclaims “that’s okay, I make a Lamb!” Yea, that basically sums up the Arab-Lamb relationship. You eat it and you enjoy it, or you eat it and you don’t enjoy it. The common denominator here is that you eat the lamb no matter what.  

 I’ll spare you the story about the first time I met a whole raw lamb on our kitchen table … but you’re more than welcome to read about it. It was an experience I won’t forget.

Garlic Herb Lamb Skewers

 

I’ve done a decent amount of cooking lamb from including my Lamb Kabob Patties, Yogurt Marinated Leg of Lamb, and Garlic Rosemary Lamb Chops, but I wanted to try something a little different. I’m still working on recipe testing for my upcoming dinner. My family is reaping the benefits, and mom is so happy I’m taking over the kitchen every so often. The thing about the skewers is that you can throw them on an outdoor grill if the weather permits, or you can use a grill pan (or panini grill flipped to the grill side) indoors. I love versatile.

Garlic Herb Lamb Skewers

 

Garlic Herb Lamb Skewers with Mint Yogurt Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lamb loin, cubed
  • 2 Saffron Strings
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 cup Parsley
  • Lemon juice from one Lemon
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • Mint Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 bunch Mint Leaves
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, red onion, allspice, cumin, salt, and saffron
  2. Pour into a food processor and pulse until chopped finely
  3. Add lemon juice and Vegetable Oil
  4. Puree until smooth, set aside the marinade
  5. Place the lamb cubes in a ziplock bag and add the marinade. Toss until combined
  6. Refrigerate overnight
  7. Preheat a grill pan (or light a grill). Drain the lamb, making sure to remove any access marinade.
  8. Place the lamb chunks on a skewer by puncturing the middle of the cube and sliding the meat down, leaving a little room between cubes
  9. Brush with vegetable oil and grill over high, turning every 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with mint yogurt sauce.
  11. For the Mint Yogurt Sauce
  12. In a food processor, pulse the mint until finely chopped
  13. Transfer to a small bowl, and stir in the yogurt and lemon juice, add salt to taste
  14. Serve in a small dipping bowl
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http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2017/02/01/garlic-herb-lamb-skewers-with-mint-yogurt-sauce/

This Week on Instagram

This week I did no recipe testing. I did think about making a couple things, but I was just so lazy — and in my defense not feeling very well for most of the week. I did get out and eat (obviously) and did a bunch of shopping.

 

Hot Chocolate Bar

There’s this really adorable–we’ll call it–town hidden in Northern Virginia down really long hilly two-way roads with a train track and quaint little restaurants. Monday seemed as good a day as any to venture out there to a charming café. I was so excited when they offered up a hot chocolate bar, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

 

I came down with some form of aggressive flu this week and it totally sucked. Despite feeling pretty gross, my mom convinced me to help her shop for a housewarming gift at Crate and Barrel (swoon) and have dinner together at Café Deluxe. I will say, I picked out the prettiest eyelet, glass dome cake stand. I might have to go back and get one for myself.

 

You know when you want to go out, but you’re feeling antisocial because you feel under the weather, but you definitely want some sort of food you didn’t have to prepare yourself? That was me, Friday night. I had been fighting this cold/flu/aggressive sickness/whatever you want to call it. And all I wanted was some pizza. Your eyes aren’t fooling you, that’s pepperoni you see on my large takeout pizza. For those more familiar with me on a personal level, you’re likely aware that I don’t consume pork (pepperoni and bacon included). Lucky for me, I live in Northern Virginia, where that doesn’t pose a serious problem. There’s a chain of pizza places called Stone Hot Pizza  that legit make the best pizzas and it’s all Halal (not that I’m a super Halal eater or anything) But know this .. where there is Halal, there is Beef Pepperoni!

 

One of my favorite things is hosting. So when a friend called desperately asking for help shopping for a dinner party, I did not disappoint. She’ll argue that I’m a little judegy when it comes to what basic things you do or don’t own for dinner party hosting. But I just can’t help it! So Saturday afternoon we hopped around from TJMaxx to Home Goods to World Market to Khan El Kahlili. As the name suggests, it’s not a far cry from the real Khan El Kahlili in Egypt. It’s overwhelming, and bright, and may contain some gaudy household items. But we found what we were so desperately searching for — glass teacups.

 

I mentioned we went to World Market, right? Well, their food section is a place where dreams come true. All your favorite international snacks are just hanging out on shelves, organized by item type. It puts the International aisle at Wegmans to shame. Our snack of choice? Beignet mix. Boxed. And they were delicious.

 

Sundays for me are either really lazy or really productive. This week, Sunday erred on the lazy side. My one outing of the day was to see my Tayta and spend the afternoon sipping Turkish Coffee and nibbling on sweets.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

Lemon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

I love planning things. I almost think that in another life, I should have become an event planner. The only downside is that I don’t like to deal with rude people, and you never know what kind of clients you’ll get. I’m obsessed with planning anything and everything from my outfits, to dinner parties, to weekend trips, to big vacations and beyond. I’m a little biased, but I think I have some pretty good ideas.

 So here I am, planning a girls dinner for February. Date is still TBD. I’m not too worried about locking down a date as much as I am worried about planning my menu! Anyone who’s hosted a dinner party knows you have to ask your guests ahead of time (especially if it’s a small group) for any dietary restrictions. You have got to take into account people’s allergies, and other things such as … vegetarians. Admittedly one of my guests is a vegetarian and also allergic to sesame, so that makes menu planning a little bit difficult. So, I’ve come up with a preliminary menu. After some recipe testing, I’ll have a better handle on the full menu and I’ll be able to share it with links to my recipes, and other recipes I may try out. I decided to go with a Mediterranean theme. It’s healthy, full of fish, meats and veggies and it’s just so colorful.  

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

 Time to recipe test one of the sides I’m thinking of including. I love potatoes in all forms, but I especially love fried and roasted potatoes. Here I opted for roasted, it’s a lot healthier than the fried alternative. The key here is to roast the whole potatoes until they’re crispy on the outside. The marinade can also be heated separately in a saucepan and poured over the potatoes once they’re done roasting.

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1lb Small Round Potatoes
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Juice from 2 Lemons
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp rosemary

Instructions

  1. Mince the parsley, rosemary and garlic in the food processor.
  2. Add parmesan cheese, paprika, and salt
  3. Add lemon juice and vegetable broth
  4. Place potatoes in a gallon-sized ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and toss until fully coated
  5. Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge
  6. Preheat oven to 400F
  7. Take the potatoes out of the marinade and set the marinade aside
  8. Place the potatoes in a single layer on an aluminum lined rimmed baking sheet
  9. Roast for 1 hour until golden and slightly browned
  10. Meanwhile, pour the marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
  11. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes
  12. Pour the heated sauce over the potatoes once you've taken them out of the oven
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http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2017/01/25/lemon-and-herb-roasted-potatoes/

This Week on Instagram

Guys!!! Before we begin, I have an announcement to make …

Measuring Cups Optional, more specifically, my Labaneh Rounds, were featured on a National Cheese Day Roundup by The Kitchen Addiction and featured on Buzzfeed last week! Tell me that’s not exciting. There are so many other great recipes in the roundup, so don’t forget to scroll through the whole post. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled weekly feature.

 

Cinnamon Tea

I was visiting Tayta early last week when she offered me cinnamon tea. It was delicious by the way! I debated long and hard about whether or not to post a recipe for cinnamon tea. I thought maybe I’d make a it a post about unusual or out of the ordinary, easy to make teas. Have you heard of White Coffee? It’s not what you think. Unlike regular tea, in which tea leaves are steeped or boiled in water, Cinnamon Tea is just that — Cinnamon. If I do post a cinnamon tea recipe. You’ll be the first to read about it.

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I tested out some cookies with natural sweeteners. Don’t forget to check out the full recipe for my No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

 

Lamb Kabob Marinade

I somehow on Wednesday, I was able to squeeze in a Wegman’s run and prepping marinade for lamb skewers between the end of the workday and getting ready for girls night. Stay tuned for Lamb Skewers coming to the blog within the next couple weeks …

 

Greenhouse Bistro

This week we had girls night at Greenhouse Bistro. I heard good things about this place. My brother even suggested I check it out because it’s “so cute.” Yes, the atmosphere is super chic, and they even grow their own herbs on the back wall of the restaurant. I was surprised, though, that it was fairly empty at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night. I’ve been told they have a DJ and shisha on the weekends. I’ll have to go back to see what that’s all about.

 

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I’m working on some recipes for an upcoming dinner party. I have an entire menu planned, but I’ve got to try everything before the actual dinner. Last week, I tested lemon roasted potatoes.

 

Cake Frosting

Apparently I’ve become the family cake icer. How, you ask, did I come to gain this title? Well, because over the last couple years, I’ve baked cakes for everyone’s birthday. My skills started out really weak. I made several rookie mistakes, like, oh I don’t know … trying to frost a cake before it cooled, only to have it start falling apart completely. NBD. Then I started watching cake icing tutorials. Pro Tip: start with icing in the middle of the top of the cake and spread outwards and around the sides. Then, once you’ve added all the layers, even out the outside.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

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