Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch

The smell of cookies baking in the oven instantly warms up the house. Don’t rely on boxed mixes to make those cookies. Chocolate cookies made from scratch don’t take a lot of time, and they’re sure to please the whole family.

Ingredients:

2-1/4 c. flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 c. softened margarine (or butter)
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3.5 oz) package of Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 eggs
2 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine softened margarine (or butter), sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and pudding mix in a larger bowl. Once completely mixed, beat in the eggs.

4. Stir in your flour mixture gradually. Once combined, mix in your choice of chocolate chips.

5. Place the cookie dough in balls at least an inch and a half apart from each other. Bake for about 10 minutes or until browned. Let them cool before serving and enjoy.

Homemade Popcorn

Before microwaves and hot-air poppers, popcorn was made over the stove top in a large pan or pot. While the process involves hot oil, making homemade popcorn is still easy to do and far cheaper than throwing a processed bag into the microwave. Best of all, making your own popcorn allows you to control how much butter, salt or other toppings you put on top, allowing you to make the perfect bowl of popcorn for your family movie night.

Ingredients:

3 quart pan or pot with fitted lid
Large popcorn bowl
4 tablespoons of cooking oil (vegetable oil works great)
1/2 c. popcorn kernels
1/4 c. real butter (optional)
Salt, to taste

Instructions:

Pour the oil into the pan, making sure the entire bottom is evenly coated. Add another tablespoon of oil, if necessary.

Heat the pan over medium heat. Drop in two or three kernels of corn to test the temperature. When the kernels pop, the oil is not enough.

Slide the pan over the heat back and forth to keep the popcorn kernels from burning. Do not remove the lid of the pan while the popcorn is popping. Continue to slide the pan during cooking.

Listen to the amount of popping. When the popping slow to about two seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat.

Pour the popped corn immediately into the large popcorn bowl. Season with real melted butter and salt to taste, or any other toppings. The popcorn can also be used for making popcorn balls. Makes 16 cups of popped corn.

Tips & Warnings:

* The butter melts best at 50% power if warmed in the microwave

* Do not remove the lid while popping your popcorn

* Do not look directly into the pan; splattering oil and steam may burn you

Haystack Cookies

Ingredients:

3 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. milk
5 teaspoons cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 c. natural peanut butter

Directions:

1. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper.
2. In a sauce pan, stir together ingredients except for the peanut butter and the oatmeal.
3. heat until these ingredients are combined then add peanut butter, stirring constantly until boiling gently.
4. Boil for one minute, stirring intermittently.
5. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl containing the oatmeal.
6. Stir to combine, working quickly before the mixture can solidify.
7. Make the cookies by placing large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the paper-lined baking sheet. Press them down gently with the back of the spoon.
8. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator overnight, uncovered, to allow cookies to become solid.
9. Store in an airtight container in cool conditions – keep them in the fridge if the weather is warm. Reuse the waxed paper by placing it in between the layers of cookies.

Pumpkin Granola with Walnuts and Raisins

Dry Ingredients:

3 c. rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin purée
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. oil (I used coconut oil, melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Set Aside:

1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. raisins (I used dried cranberries)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined.

In another bowl, mix wet ingredients until smooth. Pour wet into dry ingredients. Stir until all the oats are coated.

Spread in a thin layer over the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Pull pan out of oven and stir oats. Smooth back out into a thin layer and sprinkle on walnuts. Spray whole pan with a light coating of non-stick spray. Return to oven for 15 more minutes.

Remove pan from oven and stir granola again and sprinkle on raisins. Set on a cooling rack. Once cool, store in a an airtight container or bag.

Ginger Cashew Granola

A fantastic Ginger Cashew Granola made with quinoa, coconut oil and maple syrup.

Ingredients:

2 c. Old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c. raw quinoa, rinsed and drained
3/4 c. cashews, roughly chopped
3/4 c. shredded coconut
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 c. crystallized ginger, diced

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray. ( I use canola spray)

In a bowl, stir together the oats, drained quinoa, cashews, coconut, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.

In another smaller bowl, combine the melted coconut oil,maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and toss to coat well.

spread the mixture onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring the granola every 10 minutes, until golden brown, fragrant, and beginning to crisp (the granola crisps up further as it cools). Remove from oven and sprinkle the crystallized ginger over top. Cool completely and store the granola in airtight containers.

Notes:

If you don’t have coconut oil, another mild oil can be substituted, like canola oil.

If you don’t have quinoa, this can be omitted.