Guava Almond Oat Bars

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Guava almond oat bars are crunchy, nutty, gooey, and perfectly sweetened with tart guava. Guava is a tropical fruit featured in Cuban cuisine from batidos (shakes), pastelitos, or served simply sliced on Cuban crackers slathered with thick cream cheese. I love eating guava marmalade drizzled over cottage cheese or swirled into plain oatmeal. My abuelos always had Cuban crackers, a bar of guava paste, and Philadelphia cream cheese in the kitchen ready for a sweetly sinful Sunday snack.

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I seem to always have an abundance of Quaker Oats in my apartment. I had been religiously eating them for breakfast daily, but I’m over oatmeal for the time being, so I have to find other uses for these wholesome grains. I recently tried a local brand, Mama’s Guava Bars, whose rich, soft guava bars are made with shortbread crusts. These guava bars are seriously delicious, but I wanted something with a crunchier, nuttier, and thicker crust.

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Guava almond oat bars are warmly scented with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg complimented by a tart gooey guava center. These guava almond oat bars are the perfect treat for an afternoon snack paired with a steaming cup of café con leche and a good read.

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Guava Almond Oat Bars:

Old-Fashioned Oat Crust:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped almonds (4 ounces)
1 ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg; beaten at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Guava Filling:
1 jar Conchita Brand Guava Marmelade
2 shells or 1/3 cup diced guava shells

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish and line with parchment paper. Mix around 11 ounces of the guava marmalade with the diced guava shells and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to coarsely chop unless you bought pre-chopped almonds from the grocery store.

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Stir in the old-fashioned oats and chopped almonds. Stir in the melted butter and add the beaten room temperature egg. Lastly, add in the vanilla and your crust is complete!

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Press a little more than half of the crust into the bottom of the parchment lined baking dish. Now top the bottom layer with the guava marmalade mixture. Sprinkle the remaining crust as evenly as possible on top of the guava almond oat bars and press to form a rough top crust. Bake the guava almond oat bars for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

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Allow the guava almond oat bars to cool for at least 1 hour- 2 or more hours is ideal so they set well. You can chill the guava almond oat bars in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

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Roasted Potato and Egg Skillet

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Roasted heirloom potato and egg skillet with chopped bacon, onions, and fresh herbs makes an easy oven-roasted breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, followed by dessert in close second. I’m always looking for ways to avoid doing lots of dishes, so I have found different inspirations to bake my breakfast all in one skillet. Doing the dishes is overrated, and I still am not lucky enough to have a dishwasher in my 1926 apartment, whose kitchen is sadly not updated. Alas, I have found ways around this troubling situation, and my roasted potato and egg skillet is a delicious creation borne out of necessity (and a hatred of sudsy dishes).

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Heirloom and fingerling potatoes have beautiful color and are more tender than their larger varieties. They impress on the plate and make an ordinary breakfast of eggs and potatoes look extraordinary. Once the colorful bouquet of potatoes was fork tender and the bacon crisp, I added a fresh sprinkling of rosemary before cracking 3 large eggs into the cast-iron skillet.

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After baking for a little while longer the whites were cooked medium and the golden yolks kept a soft wobbly center- perfect for dipping the crunchy heirloom potatoes. If I had cooked all the parts on the stove-top I would’ve had to use a pan for the bacon, another for the potatoes, and yet another for the eggs. This roasted heirloom potato and egg skillet is easy, delicious, and a one-skillet wonder.

      i-love-breakfast Roasted Heirloom Potato and Egg Skillet 6-8 small heirloom potatoes, scrubbed and diced 2-3 strips bacon chopped ½ onion diced One sprig rosemary diced 3 eggs Parsley and chives for garnish Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Dice the potatoes, bacon, and onions. Place in a cast-iron skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. I chose not to add olive oil or butter because the fat from the bacon would give the potatoes and onions grease for roasting. You can choose to add some oil or butter if you like, but I don’t think it is necessary. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Take out of the oven to likely mix the ingredients and coat everything in the bacon fat. Continue to roast in the oven for 10-15 more minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

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While the potatoes, bacon, and onions are roasting finely chop the rosemary. When they are cooked through sprinkle the rosemary in the skillet and stir. Create 3 little pockets for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the pockets and put back in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

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Leave the eggs in the oven a little longer if you prefer a firmer yolk. Remove the potato and egg skillet and sprinkle with chopped parsley and chives. Breakfast is served!

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Baked Eggs and Kale

For breakfast today I made baked kale with sausage and eggs. After gorging in Tampa this weekend on steak and cake, it’s time I got some nice greens in my life. I felt inspired to cook something delicious, and since I hate doing the dishes I decided to bake for breakfast again.

              Sausage and Red Onions     Cheese and Egg

     Tossing Salad

I used maybe 2 ounces of crumbled fresh sausage in a slightly oiled Cast Iron Skilletdone with a small amount of olive oil on a paper towel. I chopped just 2 tablespoons of red onion and added it to the cast iron skillet. I baked the sausage and onions for maybe 8 minutes or so at 350F.  The grease from the sausage was enough to lightly coat the fresh torn kale without making it too fattening with sauces or oils. The first time I made this I added salt and pepper but found it made the overall dish too salty. Usually when I bake kale I find it to be salty, maybe it’s just the veggie itself or the cheese? This time I didn’t add any and it was perfect. I created little nests in the kale in which to crack the 3 eggs. To top it off I freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the kale and eggs- maybe ¼ cup total. I baked it in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes and served with whole wheat toast. The breakfast was amazing, healthy, and filling!

        Baked Kale and Eggs

The kale got crisped up in the oven, and although it did shrink in size, it’s nothing like spinach that gets teeny tiny and flimsy. The kale holds its shape and is hearty with tons of nutritious goodness. You could use all egg whites, crumbled bacon instead of sausage, and probably add an abundance of other yummy veggies. I was in a hurry and was getting slowly hangry. The massive bag of kale I bought from Publix is 2 pounds! I can’t wait to experiment more with this savory green.

Kale in the morning!

Baked Eggs and Kale for two

1 teaspoon olive oil

2-3 ounces crumbled sausage or bacon

2 tablespoons chopped red onions

2-3 cups torn kale

3-5 eggs

Salt and pepper (optional)

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat the cast iron skillet with the olive oil. Bake the crumbled sausage and onions for 7-8 minutes. Toss the kale in the pan. Create little nests for the eggs in the kale, this will look prettier than just cracking eggs over the kale. Shave parmesan cheese on top (cheddar or little globs of goat cheese would work well too!). Bake for 10-12 minutes (longer if you like your eggs well cooked). Eat baked eggs and kale with some whole wheat toast or side of fruit for a healthy breakfast that will start your day off right!

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