How is everyone doing?
Yesterday I woke up feeling kind of down about life (I feel like I alternate between having good days and bad days which I feel like is kind of how everyone is feeling right now..) but we had an exciting day yesterday which helped lift my spirits.
My Mom belongs to a Church and had an idea to make home cooked meals for some of the church members and their families. We started planning out menus last week, and spent the majority of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday cooking away!
That’s a lotta cheese! Maju was in charge of the mac and cheese, pulled pork, and garlic bread.
Vegetarians look away! We packaged every meal in more individual sized containers to deliver to about 23 different families.
My mom did all the grocery shopping (about 15 trips to the store..not an exaggeration..its a little hard to shop in bulk these days as we’re all aware..) and she made a chicken pie with biscuits and salad.
And I was in charge of the meatballs, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and granola.
I think we ended up rolling about 150 meatballs..it was a team effort! Pro tip that we learned from Maju who has made no less than 50000 meatballs in his chef career, rub your hands in olive oil before rolling the meatballs so the meat doesn’t stick to your hands.
The meatball recipe is a secret family recipe from my best friend’s grandma, but the premise of it is equal parts beef and pork, pecorino cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.
I had to sample a meatball..they are so good. We gave boxes of spaghetti and garlic bread to go with the meatballs.
I call these cookies “recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag” cookies. They are my go to simple chocolate chip cookie recipe. I use slightly more brown sugar than granulated sugar but that is really the only adjustment I make.
If you don’t know, at Eleven Madison Park they give everyone a bag of granola as a parting gift for all the diners. I may or may not of stolen a bag (or 5) over my 2 and a half years of working there..don’t tell anyone..I don’t think I’ll get fired at this point 😉
The changes I’ve made to the recipe are to add a little less brown sugar, add in a bit of coconut oil, and add in some ground cinnamon. And instead of just doing dried cherries it’s fun to do whatever dried fruits you have on hand. I obviously more than doubled the regular batch for this purpose, but the normal batch makes about 6 cups.
My Favorite Granola with Pistachios and Dried Fruit
Makes 6 cups
- 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots, anything you want)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a sauce pan, add honey, brown sugar, olive oil, coconut oil, and cinnamon. Heat just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add in oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and salt. Pour over honey/oil mixture and toss to even coat.
- pour on a baking sheet in an even layer.
- bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly golden brown, stirring the granola half way through the baking process.
- allow to cool and mix with dried fruit. This will keep in an air tight container for 2-3 weeks.
Granola for all! I love to top my smoothies with this granola, or just eat it with some fresh fruit and milk. It’s so delicious.
The assembly line! We mis-counted on a couple items, but overall it was a success! I wish I got a picture of all the bags lined up but I failed to do so. We had a few people help us with the deliveries. Maju and I went to 4 different families.
Cooking for others is a great activity that you can do on a much smaller scale than we did and still have a big impact. In days like we’re living in now, giving back almost seems imperative if you have the means to do so. I feel very fortunate that we were able to do this for all the families. They were all so grateful.
So maybe when you’re making my granola recipe you can make a double batch and drop some off to your neighbors. Small gestures go a long way, just something to think about 🙂
I hope everyone is hanging in there, sending love your way!