My Cookbook

Since one of my favorite foods I make is granola, that's gonna be the first recipe I place here. This thing is so flexible, and can be made personalized to the flavors you like. I make 2 batches of this every month - 1 for me, and 1 for my husband.

makes nearly 1 gallon

8 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup small seed (flax, sunflower, sesame)
1/2 cup clumping helper
- flour, flax powder, or wheat germ (optional, but I really love it)
1 Tbs. cinnamon (or something else you like, allspice maybe?)

1 cup syrup of your choice (molasses/white sugar, brown sugar/water, maple)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs (optional, to help with clumping)

1 1/3 cup dried fruit - more or less
1 cup large nut (walnuts, pecans, almond slices, pumpkin seeds)

  • - Mix together oats, small seed, flour (or other clumping agent), and cinnamon - set aside.
  • - Mix together syrup, oil, vanilla, and eggs.
  • - Pour wet mix over dry mix. Stir thoroughly to coat all of the oats.
  • - Measure out the dried fruit and large nut, but set aside for now.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place mix in 2 baking pans (9x13), and cook for 25 minutes.
Take out, turn and flip, mix in the fruit and large nuts, and return to oven for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool fully before taking out of baking pans and placing in storage containers.

You can also turn this granola into "chewy granola bars", which turns it into a not healthy for you at ALL treat, but they taste so incredible! Warning: I'm pretty darn sure each bar will be packed with calories. Do not eat the whole pan in one night..... please. lol

1/2 stick of butter (4 tbs)
1 bag of marshmallows (10.5 ounces)
1/2-1/3 cup peanut butter
8 cups of your granola

Melt the butter in a pan on low to medium heat. Add in the marshmallows, and stir until they're melted. Watch the heat so you don't burn them, or take the pan off the heat from time to time to keep it all from scorching. When all the marshmallows are melted, take it off the heat and add in your peanut butter. Pour this mix over the 8 cups of granola in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon till everything seems well coated. If you really wanted to go over board on calories... add in some chocolate chips after it seems the marshmallow/peanut butter has cooled a bit (so you don't end up melting the chocolate on everything). Or as an option, you can put your chips in the buttered pan before smashing in the granola mix.

Smash this mix into a lightly buttered 9"x13" pan. It helps to place a piece of wax paper, or saran wrap on top of this to use your hands and smash it down smooth. Once it's all smooshed in, take off the wax paper or saran wrap if you'd used it, then just let it cool (counter or fridge, your pick).

They turn out a little sticky, pretty much like a rice crispy treat, but hold together very well. When I've made them, I just cut them all into bars once the pan is cool, then individually wrap them. But if I was making for a party I'd just cut them in squares and stack just like you would if it was brownies or a rice crispy square.

Jaw dropping yummy!!! Just writing this out made me want to go make some right now. lol

Another item I have started cooking often is bread - real, old fashioned, hand kneaded bread. I have a bread machine, but I've never liked the texture of bread it gives. Now sure, bread machines are easy, and let a person have home made bread in a busy life-style. But let's face it... it's just not as yummy as "real" homemade bread. I'll still use my bread machine to make pizza dough, or maybe make a loaf if I'm just in a rush, but since finding this recipe I'm going to write out, I've decided I just like the real deal so much better.

Basic White Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

2 cups milk
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
2 tbsp sugar
6-7 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

  • - Heat the milk, salt, and butter in a saucepan until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from the heat and let cool to about 110 degrees F.
  • - Put the 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Make sure the water is not more than 115 degrees: higher temperatures will kill the yeast.
  • - Add the sugar to the water and yeast, stir well, and set aside for 5-10 minutes to "proof" the yeast; that is, to test it to see if it is alive. If it is, small bubbles will appear on the surface.
  • - Once the yeast is proofed, stir in the mixture of milk, salt, and butter.
  • - Add 3 cups of flour. Stir the mix, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth - about 2 minutes. Gradually add more flour, mixing it in with a wooden spoon or your hands until the dough tends to leave the sides of the bowl. The secret of making bread is to use as little flour as possible and still be able to handle the dough; any flour beyond this amount will tend to make the bread heavy and tough.

  • - Once the dough can be worked with your hands without being too sticky, place it on a floured surface and begin to knead the dough. (This is the part I like. I find it relaxing.) Knead the dough for roughly 10 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic.
  • - Grease a large mixing bowl with about 1 tbsp of softened butter. Place the ball of dough into the bowl and roll the dough around to cover it with butter. This will keep the surface from drying out while the dough rises. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (80-85 degrees) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it doubles in bulk.

  • - Punch the dough down with your fist to deflate it. Turn it out on a lightly floured surface, and knead again for about 2 minutes.
  • - Divide the dough in half, shape into two smooth balls, and let rest for 5 minutes. You can grease you pans at this time while you wait.
  • - Shape the dough by using a rolling pin to spread each ball of dough into a roughly 9x12 rectangle. Roll the dough up tightly starting from the shorter end, fold under the ends and place in your greased pans.
  • -  Brush the top of each loaf with melted butter. Cover pans with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rise for a second time for 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours.

  • - Preheated your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • - Place the loaves in the oven where the top of the loaf is as close to the center of the oven you can manage.
  • - Bake for 40-50 minutes. To test the bread, tap on the top, it should sound hollow. To test further, take out the the pan and tap the bottom. It will also have a hollow sound.
  • - Once finished, take the loaves out of he pan and let cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours.

Who doesn't love banana bread? I know everyone here LOVES it. Everyone has a recipe they like for one reason or another. This is a recipe I tweeked a bit to my own tastes.

Banana Bread
(makes 1 loaf)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup butter flavored crisco
2 large eggs 
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer until well blended. 
  • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. 
  • Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. 
  • Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch greased loaf pan. 
  • Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  • Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.


  1. I can't wait to try your granola recipe. I bet it's great!

  2. I'm sure you'll love it! Let me know how you end up making it - such as what nuts and fruit you do. Enjoy! I had forgotten to add that you can turn this granola into chewy granola bars (probably packed with an insane amount of calories each) lol. But I'm going to add that to the post also.

  3. I started simple, sunflower seeds/sliced almonds/raisins with maple syrup. It was delicious! I did get clumping, I used 1/2 c of wheat bran as a clumping helper (as that was all I had in the house but in retrospect I'm not sure if it was a good idea). Next batch I'd like a little more clumping. Truthfully I might just be unreasonably clumping obsessed. I read a recipe that claimed for the maximum clumping you should grind up some of the oatmeal. Have you ever tried that? I will try using 1/2 - 3/4 c ground oatmeal as the clumping helper and see if I notice a difference. My next granola adventure is going to involve cashews and cherries. Even my son, who is not a huge granola fan, really enjoyed the batch I made. I had no idea how easy it is to make, and will never go back to buying store granola :-)

  4. Sounds good - and the cashews/cherries sounds wonderful too. lol I don't think I've tried ground oatmeal. Mostly I use wheat germ or flax powder, but I have tried white flour and soy flour. I'll try out the ground oatmeal too (I am a clump addict). I found so far my best clumping & crunchy granola has come when I use molasses/white sugar. But I won't get clumping without a "flour" and eggs. My guess is it's the combination of them all - to produce some sort of hard candied coating on the granola. Letting it all cool before taking out of the pan is important too. ~ I made a new granola convert! Yah! ~ =)

  5. This is a great recipe. Beth, I am wondering if you put seeds in the food processor until they turned to nut butter, maybe you could have a healthy granola bar without adding junk to the mix? just wondering? I threw in hemp seeds, nut that I am. Ha!

    1. Making nut butter sounds like a great option - but you still won't get around the calories of those marshmallows. lol Ok, I have to ask... what do hemp seeds taste like?