Saturday, October 31, 2015

Guest Post with Giveaway!


There is much to share, and some fun news coming this week, but in the meantime, my friend and fabulous fellow foodie fiction girl Dana Bate wanted to share some thoughts with you, and I thought you would really enjoy that while you are waiting!  Her new book, Too Many Cooks is just a delight, she was kind enough to share an advanced copy with me and I absolutely devoured it!  I know you are going to love it too.  Dana is giving away one signed copy to a lucky reader, so be sure to comment as per her instructions in the section below to be entered by 11:59 CST Tuesday Nov. 3 to win!  I'll have the winner randomly chosen and announced on Nov. 4!

Yours in Good Taste, 
The Polymath

Take it away, Dana....

Thank you, Stacey, for letting me hijack your blog for the day! *virtual hug*

So, if it’s okay with you and your lovely readers, I’d like to talk about breakfast. Why? Because it’s my favorite meal of the day. And most nights as I fall asleep, I get excited about what I might eat the next morning when I wake up.

Basically, sleep is a time machine that transports me to pancakes.

Granted, pancakes are a special treat. On your average Tuesday, I’m more likely to be eating a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of toast. But even those seemingly mundane options fire me up because I know they don’t have to be boring.

Want to make killer oatmeal? Try swirling it with pumpkin puree and maple syrup and topping it with toasted pecans and a hefty splash of milk. And toast? How about slathering it with fresh ricotta and drizzling it with honey? These are the kinds of things I think about as I drift off to the land of nod. (Which probably makes me sound like a huge weirdo…but, well, if it walks like a duck…)

As much as I love breakfast, some mornings I don’t have the time or the energy to get fancy. And that’s why I love making a big batch of something delicious on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so that I can enjoy it all week without having to put in much effort in the AM.

Case in point: this granola recipe, which has become my favorite. I can whip up a batch, store it in a canister, and then sprinkle it over yogurt and berries without having to turn on my brain (because if you’re anything like me, there is a distinct and somewhat lengthy period of time between “opening eyes” and actually “waking up”).

But I’m always on the lookout for new weekday breakfast ideas, so tell me: what is YOUR favorite weekday breakfast? I’d love to know! Share your thoughts in the comments, and you could also win a *signed copy* of my latest novel, TOO MANY COOKS! I think it’s my favorite book so far – Food! London! Hollywood! Romance! -- and I’d love to share it with you.

Dana Bate's Favorite Granola
Makes ~10 cups

3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped prunes

(Note: You can use any combination of dried fruit that you want. Just use 1.5 cups total.)

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients (oats through nutmeg). In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Pour the oil mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until everything is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the baked granola onto a long sheet of wax paper and let it cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the dried fruit on top and toss to combine. Let the granola cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.