Crunchy Olive Oil and Maple Granola

I have quite a few granola recipes on this site. This makes sense when I think about the fact that of everything I bake and cook I make granola the most frequently of all. I have been making some kind of granola every 2-3 weeks for probably at least 4-5 years now. I ALWYAS have granola in the pantry. To be honest, I can barely eat a meal without finished it with a bite (or two...or three...) of granola. It's my little sweet treat. Needless to say, I love granola!

I usually go in spurts; I'll find a good recipe and make it for months and months without trying something new. I get on a roll where I love what I'm eating and have no desire to stray from it. Well, this granola is my current favorite. Earlier this year, I can' even remember when, I was looking for a change. I found a recipe on Food52 for olive oil and maple granola. I took this recipe for inspiration and then completely changed it to suit me! It was a good base recipe to build off of to create my very own recipe, a recipe I've been absolutely loving! The finished product is super crunchy and deliciously sweet, but not so sweet as to make you feel like your eating dessert. It's just the right balance of sweet and savory, and an absolute joy to eat. Every. Single. Day. 

I cut back quite a bit on both the sugar and the fat from the original recipe because I like to keep things just a bit lighter. Not that the original recipe was super sugar-y or oily, but I just wanted to a bit less. I also cut back on the nuts (first, because they're expensive, second because they are super high in calories) and replaced them with more oats. I then added in some wheat bran (or you could use oat bran) for more nutrition, and coconut flakes instead of chips. The final product is my very own favorite, personalized granola. I highly recommend checking it out. And make some of your own adjustments. To fit your very own wants and and needs.

I recently took this recipe and made a few different variations of this recipe. One was mocha (with cocoa and espresso powder) and another was pumpkin spice (add in a bit of pumpkin and some of your favorite fall spices like nutmeg, ginger and allspice). I also sometimes switch things up and add a bit of melted butter or coconut oil in place of some of the olive oil. All of these spin-offs have turned out great as well. Granola is so forgiving that it's a blast to experiment with!


Crunchy Olive Oil and Maple Granola
Inspired by Food 52

  • 4 cups (320 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (30grams) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (15 grams) wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup (75 grams) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

In a large bowl place the oats, coconut, salt, almonds, walnuts, bran and brown sugar. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and olive oil. Pour over the oat mixture, stirring well, until everything is evenly coated and no dry pockets remain. 

Pour the granola onto the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake the granola for 45-55 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and toasty. Towards the end of baking time check the granola more frequently to ensure that it is not over-browning. 

Remove from oven and let cool on the pan. When completely cool, transfer granola to an airtight container for storage. 


Warm Brown Rice, Sweet Potato and Roasted Cabbage Salad with Tahini Yogurt Dressing

This is one of those meals that I wasn't really planning on being anything extra special or turning out as well as it did. That is one of the things I love so much about cooking, coming up with new combinations that surprise me with how good they are. Taking a couple of ingredients that I have never really put together and creating a whole new dish out of them that just works, at least for me anyways!

The other night I just happened to have a few leftovers and random ingredients hanging out in my fridge and thought I better use them up or freeze them before they went bad. I had a general idea about what I was going to do with them, but it sort of evolved as I went along and turned into this wonderfully warm and filling salad, perfect on a rainy and chilly spring night. Sweet and creamy baked sweet potato combined with chewy brown rice, and roasted cabbage, topped with pecans for nuttiness and some dried cranberries for sweetness. A quick dressing of tahini and yogurt finishes the whole thing off and brings it all together. 

I decided to use zaatar for flavoring this salad. I've really been liking zaatar recently. If you don't know what zaatar is, it is a really nice mixture of dried herbs (dried thyme mostly I think), sesame seeds and sumac that is used in the Middle East. If you haven't tried it before I highly recommend it. But this is not a recipe that is set in stone so if you don't have any zaatar go ahead and use something else, you're favorite herbs or spices, whatever you have on hand. I also thought this would be good with a Mexican twist, using chili powder and cumin and throwing in some fresh cilantro, yum! Switching out different dried fruits and different nuts would also be be fun to play with. Cooking is just a great way to let your imagination go wild, so go ahead and have some fun!

Warm Brown Rice, Sweet Potato and Roasted Cabbage Salad with Tahini Yogurt Dressing


  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/4 head cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (or 1-1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice)
  • 2 tablespoons Zaatar spice mix
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Plain yogurt
  • Tahini


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place sweet potato on a baking sheet and baked until tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potato. Set aside until cool enough to handle. 

Thinly slice the cabbage. toss with a little olive oil and some salt. Place on a baking sheet and broil until starting to wilt and char, stirring occasionally to evenly cook. This can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on how charred you like your cabbage, and how hot your oven gets. 

While cooking the potato and cabbage, sauté sliced onions in a pan over medium to low heat until very soft and tender. When onions are caramelized to your liking, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. 

Cook the brown rice according to package instructions. Or even better, if you have some leftover rice use that in instead. Add the cabbage and brown rice to the onions and garlic mixture. 

Cut the cooled sweet potato into bite sized chunks. Add to the sauté pan along with the zaatar and cayenne. Give the whole thing a nice stir, adding some water to the pan if needed. Drizzle tahini over the whole mixture to taste and add a couple spoonfuls of yogurt. Stir again to combine well. Taste and season with salt if needed. 

Spoon salad into bowls and top with pecans and dried cranberries. 

Blueberry Cobbler Bars

October is here, fall has officially begun, the weather is getting colder by the day, the trees are finally changing color, and I even pulled out my winter jacket to go to the farmers market yesterday morning! Fall recipes are everywhere, and pumpkin is the main topic on seemingly every food blog. Before I jump on the band wagon with some more fall-ish recipes, I have one more more summery bar that I just had to share. I saw these blueberry cobbler bars a few months ago, and knew I had to get them made while blueberries were still around. A sweet, buttery crust covered in a sour cream custard and tons of fresh blueberries, finished off with more buttery crumbles. It's a quick and easy recipe, full of freshness and reminiscent of summer. If you have any summer blueberries floating around your freezer that just want to be used, this is the perfect opportunity. 

With the butter crust and topping, and sour cream in the custard filling, these bars are quite rich so you don't need to cut them very big at all. But cut into cute little bite size squares these bars are a fun and delicious snack to bring you back to those mid July days full of fresh berries and fresh flavors. 

Blueberry Cobbler Bars


Tidy Mom


Crust & Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, chilled


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-oz fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained


For crust/topping:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 or 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment & give a light spritz with cooking spray. Set aside. 

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to the flour mixture. Using a fork for pastry cutter, cut the butter in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture to use as the topping & set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of prepared pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes.

For filling:

Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl. Add the granulated and brown sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, and vanilla extracts. Whisk well. Gently fold in the berries and pour the mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture evenly over the filling. Bake 45-55 minutes. Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting & serving

Blueberry Mango Parfait

Blueberry season is officially in full swing here in Michigan, and I'm loving it! They are so good, and so good for you, a great combo. I also like that they aren't too expensive, and they last for a while in the fridge. I love raspberries and blackberries but it seems like you have to eat them in a day or they start going bad. I bought some blueberries at the farmer's market on Saturday and they made it until Thursday, and still looked really good. I only had to pick out a few bad ones here and there over the week, but the majority lasted just fine, they probably would have made it a whole week if I hadn't eaten them before that. 

One of my favorite ways to have fresh fruit for breakfast is in a parfait. All it takes is a couple of different types of fruit, yogurt and granola. It is super easy and absolutely delicious. I almost feel like I'm eating dessert for breakfast, just how I like it! This week I picked up a couple of mangos at the grocery store and made a couple of blueberry mango parfaits. Let me tell you, it's a winning combination. The tartness of the blueberries mixed with the sweetness of the mango is a wonderful mix, and the colors are so beautiful too! I think everyone should try it out before blueberry season has ended, trust me, you won't regret it. 

I'm partial to my plain, homemade yogurt, but you can use whatever kind you like. Whatever brand you get, I strongly suggest trying out plain yogurt instead of the flavored. There is so much sugar in the flavored yogurts it's kind of ridiculous. It takes a little getting used to the plain yogurt, but if you mix it up with some fruit and granola you won't even miss the added sugar. And as a bonus, plain yogurt is good for so many different things, from salad dressings and sauces, to baked goods, it's a great thing to always have on hand. If you need a little sweetness, add your own sugar, it will still be way less than what is added to the kind from the store. 

I'm also partial to homemade granola. It is so easy and cheap to make, and it tastes so much better than store bought. There are so many recipes out there, you are sure to find one that you like. I'll be sharing my current favorite recipe soon, so stay tuned! 

Blueberry Mango Parfait


A handful of blueberries

1/2 a mango, cut into bite-sized chunks

1/3-1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

A handful of granola


Grab a tall glass and starting with a little yogurt start layering; yogurt, granola, fruit. Repeat until you've used it all up. Top with an extra sprinkle of granola. Grab a long spoon and dig in!

Bakery Style Muffins

When it comes to muffins, there are just muffins, and then there are real muffins. I'm sure you know what I mean, some muffins are short, flat and to be honest, rather ugly, not that this means they don't taste good, but let's be honest, it's more fun to eat something beautiful. Then there are the real deal; tall and handsome muffins with those perfectly domed tops, slightly crispy edges and a dense yet tender crumb that will never be confused with a cupcake. This is the kind of muffin I pine after. It's surprising how difficult it can be to find a recipe for this type of muffin, however, I think I've finally done it. These muffins were gorgeous and delicious, true muffins with the perfectly rounded top, exactly what I've been looking for.

What's interesting about this batter is that it doesn't use any milk or other liquid. The dairy is all yogurt, and a lot of it. This makes the batter super thick, almost like pancake batter, and helps create that beautiful mushroom top that doesn't overflow the muffin tins or flatten out too much. For this go around I made half of the mushrooms just plain, so I could really taste the muffin as is. For the other half, I tried swirling in some homemade strawberry rhubarb jam for a little added sweetness. I topped both with some coarse sugar for a little extra crunch.

The results were simply marvelous. The plain muffins were very nice, simple, slightly sweet and perfect as a basic muffin. The jam swirled version was also quite wonderful, a little extra sweet and sticky, the jam brought the muffin up just a notch. I would definitely do it again. Since the batter was so thick and my jam was really thick, it was difficult to actually swirl in the jam,  it mostly just stayed as a blob, but that was okay, it turned out really well in the end. This recipe comes with several delicious looking variations that I hope to share with you all soon.

Bakery Style Muffins
From, originally from America's Test Kitchen

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 F (or 450 F for mini muffins). Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternating 1/3 at a time, beat in the dry ingredients and yogurt until a smooth, thick batter just forms.

Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Scoop batter evenly into cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes for the large muffins (and 10-12 minutes for the mini muffins). Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

French Style Lemon Yogurt Cake

A few weeks ago I read the book A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. It was one of those books that, though I enjoyed it while reading it, it wasn't until I had finished the book and was thinking back to it that I realized how well I actually liked it. Each of the short chapters in this book shares a small moment in Molly's life that in some way relates back to the recipe that is printed at the end of every chapter. Of all of the recipes in this book the one that stood out the most to me was her French style lemon yogurt cake. I am a sucker for any type of cake, and this simple recipe looked easy and wonderful, it was at the top of my list.

I was right about this one. Sometimes a recipe comes along that you know you will make again and again. This is one of those recipes. In the past week I've already made it twice, and am excited to whip it together again soon!

As I said, this is a very simple recipe. No need for any fancy equipment or special ingredients. I did use a blender to make some coarse almond flour, but the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of flour instead of the 1 cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of ground almonds. So if you don't feel like grinding up any almonds, don't! But since I had some almonds in the pantry, and Molly suggested trying this substitution, I decided to give it a try.

The first time I made this cake I turned it into an almond cake. I didn't have any lemons, and I don't love lemon flavoring in my baked goods, so I decided to substitute with 1/2 a teaspoon of almond extract. It was absolutely delicious! With some raspberries on top and a little whipped cream you have the most delicious, light and summery dessert.

For the second go at the cake I decided to make it as written and add in the lemon flavor. This cake also turned out delicious; sweet and tart and very lemony. The lemon syrup and glaze added moisture and sweetness, a lovely way to top it all off. I paired this variation with some vanilla bean ice cream and it was absolutely wonderful. I probably still prefer the almond version to the lemon one, but both were yummy and worth making again.

Both cakes had a slight problem with falling during the end of baking. It didn't affect the taste at all, but meant the loss of the beautiful domed top I was going for. I hope to be able to make this cake again without it falling. But either way, I know it will be delicious. I have lots of ideas of different versions of this cake I want to try, so it may make another appearance on this blog sometime soon.

 A quick buzz in the blender turns

blanched almonds into almond flour

 Mix the almond flour into the regular flour, 

powder, and salt

 In another bowl combine the eggs, yogurt, 

and sugar

 Mix together well 

 Add the dry ingredients

 Finally, add the oil

 Pour into prepared 9-inch pan, and bake

 Once baked, cover the cake with 

lemon syrup

 Finish off with a drizzle of lemon icing

 Cake with the book

 Cut a nice big slice

Dig in

French Style Lemon Yogurt Cake
From: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
For the Cake

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not low-fat or non-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola

For the Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and then grease the pan and the parchment with butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Add the lemon zest and mix thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and eggs, and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir until just combined. Add the oil and stir well until it comes together into a smooth yellow batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake the cake for 25 to 35 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then invert the cake unto a large plate, remove the parchment paper and invert the cake back onto the wire rack so it sits upright.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the syrup. Place the cake on the wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet or over the sink and slowly spoon the syrup atop the warm cake. Some of the syrup will run down the sides of the cake. Then cool the cake completely.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the icing. Whisk well to completely dissolve the sugar. Spoon or drizzle the icing over the cooled cake.