trail mix cookies

spring. Spring. SPRING!  I think it is really here.  The sun is pouring through the windows.  The trees are starting to bud.  It’s amazing!

Over the weekend, I made trail mix cookies.  This is the third or fourth time I’ve made these and they never last long.  I thought I’d share the recipe with you all because they’re pretty tasty, vegan and the trail mix ingredients pack a lot of energy. There’s not a ton of sugar either so they’re not overly sweet.  The cookies have a crunchy exterior and are soft inside almost like a granola bar.  Yum!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

I’ve dubbed them Trail Mix Cookies because there is 3/4 cup of trail mix ingredients that you can choose – seeds, nuts, dried fruit.  I haven’t made these the same way twice.  Stay tuned and I’ll explain…

Trail Mix Cookies – makes about 2 dozen

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 apple sauced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup seeds (1/8 c sunflower kernel + 1/8 c flaxseed)

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - 1 cup of granola

Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees and grease 2 cookie sheets.

I like to sauce a fresh apple.  Core and peel an apple.  While measuring the other ingredients, allow the apple to boil.  Using an immersion blender, blend the apple into sauce.  (A work around for this step is to just add 1/2 cup of jarred apple sauce.)

Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, apple and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.  This will make a nice adhesive for your trail mix.

Combine flours and baking soda and add to your mix.

Now for the fun part…and in the “trail mix” of your choice – 1 cup of granola + 1/2 cup of dried fruit (like cranberries, peaches or raisins) + 1/4 cup total of seeds and/or nuts.  I usually use 1/8 cup of sunflower kernels and 1/8 cup of flaxseed.  I have also used cashews.  The possibilities are endless.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

Spoon cookies about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe (5 of 10)

Enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

For the brown sugar, we have been using Turbinado sugar which is essentially raw “brown sugar”.  We have been avoiding processed white sugar where we can.  Most brown sugars are just processed white sugar with the addition of molasses.  Turbinado is raw sugar with molasses.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - Turbindao sugar

There are other modifications you can make to this recipe for it to work for your pantry choices.  For example, you can substitute the coconut oil for canola oil.

And while we’re in the kitchen, I don’t believe I shared you with you my two cents about oiling cast iron.  I posted last week over on Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint blog about the wonders of hemp oil and cast iron.  Check it out here.

Hemp Oil + Cast Iron

In fact, I’ve been all over the web lately.  I’m excited to share that our bathroom renovation was featured on Apartment Therapy and Hometalk over the weekend.  So if you’re new here, welcome!  Please enjoy our Trail Mix Cookies!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

 

About these ads

the valencia cocktail

Get excited because I have a fantastic cocktail recipe to share with you today.  Fortunately, I was able to book America’s next top model and canine for this very profesh photo shoot…

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

We have been juicing frequently here.  And when the mood strikes us we make cocktails using the fresh juice as a mixer.  The Drunken Botanist has had quite the influence on me.  I am in love with this book and all of the garden-to-cocktail concoctions it describes.  I have been considering which edible plants I want to grow this year based on the recipes and knowledge in this book.

Our new favorite cocktail is refreshing and fruity and sparkly.  Yum!  Plus it warms you up during these remaining winter days.  It’s called The Valencia.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

Have you ever heard of it?  It’s an old time-y cocktail that has been around for ages.  Apparently there are different versions out there.  We use Apricot brandy and bitters combined with freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

1 1/2 ounces apricot liqueur

3/4 ounce orange juice

4 dashes Citrus Medica bitters

 Shake all of the ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Top with champagne and garnish.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

We now carry an assortment of bitters at The West End Garage including Citrus Medica.  For those of you who are not familiar with bitters, they are essentially herbs with a bitter flavor processed into a liquid.  Bitters are traditionally used in both cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks like tea.  Less traditionally, bitters can be used to add flavor to salad dressings, soups and more.  They have therapeutic qualities and can help with digestion.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe and NJ state cutting board

The New Jersey cutting board pictured was a wedding shower gift that we just love.  When we’re not using it, we display it on the wall. You may have caught that in an earlier kitchen post.

Flea Market Style Eat-In Kitchen - Vintage Serve letters, Blueprint Wallpaper, Galvanized Pendant Light

It inspired us to stock the Made in the USA bamboo New Jersey cutting boards at West End Garage too.  On each one, Cape May is highlighted with a heart, star or home.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm around our shop news at The West End Garage!  Now, who is shaking up The Valencia tonight?

Or today?  No judgement here!

a dose of spring

This little lady has brought a breath of fresh air on an otherwise gloomy day.  Most of our friends to the north and even the south are buried in a foot of snow or more so I just had to share this unlikely February sight.

blooming geranium in February

I think unanimously everyone is looking forward to spring.  Actually, I am sure of that.  In the meantime, I’ll bring spring to your computer.

blooming geranium in February

Did you know that you can successfully overwinter geraniums?  And if conditions are optimum, your geranium might just put out a rare winter bloom.

Here’s how…

  • Before the first frost (usually in October ’round these parts), bring potted geraniums indoors.  You can transplant geraniums from your garden beds into pots if you’re up for it.
  • Dead head any spent blooms and wilting leaves.
  • Keep geraniums in a cool (50-60 degrees), sunny area over the winter.  This potted geranium lives in my office which is typically about 60 degrees believe it or not.  Optimum geranium-overwintering conditions!
  • Don’t over water it!  That is the most common mistake made with all potted plants really.  Generally speaking, water when the soil is dry to the touch.

over wintering a geranium

And of course my favorite vintage McCoy planter is home to this geranium.  A cute planter is a must.  I have a collection of yellow McCoy planters.

blooming geranium in February

Ahh,  we’re in the home stretch now friends.   Soon we’ll all be looking at gardens lined with hot pink geraniums.  Soon.

blooming geranium in February

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you in October how you were feeling on this particularly stormy winter day so you remember to dig up your geraniums and nurse them  through the cold months so they’ll bloom indoors for you next winter.  Or you can just pin this as a reminder…

overwintering geraniums

the quesadilla i can’t quit

Winter.  Blah.  Let’s not even talk about it.

Let’s talk about beautiful, tropical colors instead.  How about some superfoods?

mangos

Yes, I went there.  Superfoods.  Such a trendy term applied to foods that have health benefits and in some cases may even help medical conditions as well.  Avocado, mango, beans to name a few of my current faves.

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe - avocado mango black beans

They’re so tasty when pressed together between a tortilla with shredded cheese, a dash of onion and spinach.  I simply can’t quit this tropical combination.

To make a quick quesadilla for one, I fold a round tortilla in half on a Foreman grill, line it with ingredients, pull the other half of the tortilla over and close the lid.  I don’t like greasy, soggy quesadillas.  The Foreman method has worked for me for ages vs. pressing it in a pan.

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe

Don’t forget a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Possibly my favorite part…  Trick yourself into thinking you’re eating sour cream.  Go ahead.  Try it!

Superfood Quesadilla Recipe - avocado mango black beans

What are you snacking on this winter?

frigid weather soup

On a frigid cold day, like today ’round here, there’s nothing like hot spicy soup.

Tortilla soup, that is!

Spicy Tortilla Soup

I adapted part of this recipe from Happy Herbivore (which I am a big fan of) but gave it my own spin.

It all started with a jar of salsa and a 15 oz can of pinto beans.  Not the most glamorous ingredients in the world of eating fresh plant-based foods but the pantry choices were slim and we were in the midst of a snowstorm.  So my friends, the two main ingredients came from a can and a jar.  And I think it’s quite genius in a pinch.

Puree 1 cup of salsa, 1 cup of the beans with 1 cup of broth.  Fortunately I made my favorite French Onion Soup the night before so I simply drained a cup of the flavorful broth from there.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Once blended into a creamy broth (you know how I love creamy soups, right?) I transferred into a stock pot.  Adding a fresh diced mango, another half cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin.

mangoes

I let the soup simmer on low while juicing mangoes.

sliced mangoes

The perfect drink companion to spicy tortilla soup.

freshly squeezed mango juice

The soup was served with feta cheese and Late July brand tortilla chips, which I also love.  Yep, I go heavy on the feta.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

There you have it, spicy tortilla soup in a bind.  Super tasty and ready in under 30 minutes!

Let me add that in the future I am going to make this as a follow-up to Taco Tuesday.  Usually there are diced tomatoes, peppers and more left over that I am going to try as a fresh substitute for the jarred salsa.

Spicy Tortilla Soup

trimming the tree with citrus

The phrase “trimming the tree” took on a whole new meaning for us this year.

Citrus Garland on the Christmas Tree

We picked out a live Fraser fir tree a few days after Thanksgiving.  Shortly after getting it in the house and decorated, we realized that the tree wasn’t taking up water.  Panic set in as I recalled what is now referred to as The Tree Fiasco of 2007 when my tree was dead as a doornail 2 weeks before Christmas.  I am talking flammable.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

I couldn’t live through replacing a dried out, dead tree again so we had to act fast.  At this point, there were just a few dry needles on the decorated tree.   I knew it could be revived.  This is the point where we actually trimmed the tree.  I held it up out of the stand while Ryan gave the trunk a fresh-cut.

Dried Hydrangea on the Christmas Tree

Crisis averted.  All is calm, all is bright.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Would you believe that not a single ornament moved during this swift surgery?  A Christmas miracle.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

I committed to a natural, slightly crafty and  definitely busy look this season in our living room.  I haven’t bought any new Christmas decorations and have yet to regret it.  We had burlap, peacock feathers and moss-covered seed pods leftover from our wedding.  Up on the tree they went.

Dried Seed Pod on the Christmas Tree

We live on a wooded lot now so I was able to collect fresh holly and cedar for the mantel right in our backyard.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

Plus twigs and dried hydrangeas for the tree.

Citrus Garland on the Christmas Tree

Following suit with the natural decor, I checked my fruit bowl.  I bought 2 large bags of grapefruit a few weeks ago.  After we packed in as much vitamin C as possible, we were left with six grapefruit staring back at us.

Grapefruit to Garland

A wonderful opportunity to try my hand at a citrus garland with the leftovers.  I am so glad I did because they quickly became a staple of our holiday decor this year!

Citrus Garland on the Christmas Tree

First prepare the grapefruit…

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • Slice up the grapefruits or oranges. Each one will yield 5-6  1/4 inch slices
  • Pat them dry with a paper towel and place on a non-stick cookie sheet
  • Lightly bake for 3-4 hours, flipping the slices halfway

Grapefruit to Garland

Next, make your garland…

  • Choose 1/2 inch-1 inch wide ribbon, twine or fabric as the base of the garland.  I chose to cut up an old flannel shirt, of course (keeping with our Lumberjack holiday theme)
  • Cut into approximately 12 inch long strips.  You will need one strip per piece of citrus
  • Tie each strip of fabric through the citrus.  Most slices will naturally have a whole in the middle
  • Then tie each piece of fabric together creating a little bow at the connection

DIY Dried Citrus Garland

The citrus garland adds a festive illumination to the lit tree.

DIY dried citrus garland

Garland your tree, mantel, foyer, whatever!  Just don’t worry about spending an exorbitant amount of money.  Re-work what you already have in your house…even if it’s edible.

Eclectic Christmas Beach House

What are you making this holiday season?