Blackberry Chia Seed Jam & Health Warrior Chia Seeds & Chia Bars Giveaway

As you already know, we are leading a balanced diet, eating in moderation, and if I can help it, infusing our breakfast and baked goods with healthy elements. If you are a frequent visitor here, you know of my love of anything oats. Chia seeds, I am mostly unfamiliar with, though a few months back, I baked chia seed muffins which I liked, but never ended up posting. So when Health Warrior approached me about this collaboration, I was curious to explore this relatively new to me ingredient's traits in baking and cooking and its health benefits.

Portland, Maine - Part I: Booze, But No Moose To Go With It

We were still all groggy when we woke up in the morning, after a long drive and a late arrival from the DC area the night before, in Portland. Our spirits were not lifted as our outdated navigation system was leading us astray in pursuit of coffee and bagels at Scratch Baking Co., in South Portland.

As we finally descend on our destination, we spy a whimsical storybook store front in the middle of a modest residential neighborhood. There is a calm rhythm to it, as opposed to a touristy rush, as local patrons walk or bike to it and order their usual. Truly a gem.

Portland, Maine, Part II: The Holy Mother Of Donuts & Chasing Lighthouses

I quickly abandoned the 7am rise and shine, hitting the hiking trails, with this being Jonathan's only kick back, relaxing time in a while.  Add to the mix traveling with a twenty year old young adult, and our 13 year old beagle, Wizard. As temperaments, interests and physical thresholds (Wizard's, not mine:), vary, flexibility and spontaneity play a key role in making a family vacation successful for all. 

Maine with so many land locked waters is known for its lake side vacations. An entire week lounging, inviting some friends, swimming, boating and playing volleyball sounds beguiling, if only this wasn't our first 'expedition' of sorts into this land of pines. 

Strawberry Basil Sorbet

Just quickly, I would like to share with you this refreshing sorbet I churned a couple of weeks ago. The basil adds such a POW of freshness to the strawberries. Imagine an intermezzo, a brief interlude, in between courses to cleanse your palette with aromatic cooling freshness. It's also, or more accurately, primarily, a great delicious summer frozen treat. This particular sorbet didn't come out icy, though I had to stick the scooped cone in the freezer, so it wouldn't melt quickly as I photograph it. The consistency was a smooth, idyllic, epitome of a sorbet.
I will be somewhat absent in the next couple of weeks but follow me here. I will be Instagram-ing. Wishing you all a great summer and to those of you who are experiencing winter, take solace that you are not enduring the humidity here.
Strawberry Basil Sorbet

1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar (adjust according to sweetness of strawberries*)
1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned (adjust according to taste)
1-2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

In a bowl with a lid, add the sugar and the basil to the strawberries, mix, cover with a lid and let macerate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Best to macerate overnight. Stir once or twice while macerating. Add to a food processor and whizz to a smooth consistency. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions, scoop to a container with a lid and freeze for at least a few hours. Let thaw a tad before serving.

*I wouldn't recommend using less than 1/2  a cup of sugar as it contributes to the smooth consistency of the sorbet.

More frozen treats:
Cardamon Cherry Ice Cream
Strawberry Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream
Dairy-Free Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream
Capitolina's Indian Kulfi Ice Cream
Frozen Strawberry Yogurt
Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Persimmon, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass and Purple Basil Sorbet
Madagascar Vanilla Bean Banana Ice Cream
Coffee Ice Cream
Lemondrop Melon Limonana Sorbet
Fig Gelato - Two Ways
Mango Sorbet
Pineapple Sorbet

Granola Crunch Coffeecake

I love everything breakfast and brunch, and this coffeecake is a great addition to the repertoire. In fact we had it yesterday afternoon with tea. I haven't made granola in a while so it was a great excuse to make a double batch, this time with dried blueberries. A wonderful recipe brought to you by the great folks at Red Star Yeast as you are heading into the 4th of July weekend. I hope you enjoyed your time yesterday BBQ-ing and watching the fireworks with family and friends.
This post is a part of my professional collaboration with Red Star Yeast. See the entire series in the links at the bottom.

Granola Crunch Coffeecake
adapted from Red Star Yeast recipe

3 cups flour* (I needed 3 3/4 cups flour)
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granola (store bought or granola recipe here. I made it with dried blueberries this time)
1/3 cup Sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used only 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 butter, melted

In a large mixer bowl with a dough hook attachment, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and granola, mix well. Heat up milk, water and butter in a small saucepan to 120-130F. Butter does not have to completely melt. Add to the flour mixture and beat on low for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue beating for 3 minutes longer. Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl with a rubber spatula throughout the process. Gradually add the remaining flour and beat for a few minutes on low speed until nicely incorporated and dough is smooth, moist and supple. Transfer to a heat resistant large glass or ceramic bowl, cover with saran wrap and let rise for approximately 45 minutes in a warm place. Mix all the topping ingredients. In a 13x9 pan spread the dough evenly with your fingers. Spread the topping on the dough evenly. With a back of a teaspoon press randomly into the dough to make some indentations. Cover with saran wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so watch your coffeecake. It took me only 30 minutes.

Red Star Yeast series:
Cinnamon Buns
Yeast Pancakes
Multigrain Oatmeal Bread
Marbled Rye Bread
Dark Pumpernickel Rye Bread
JalapeƱo Cheddar Bread
Date and Orange Tea Ring
Finnish Pulla
Banana Bread