I might be the worst food blogger ever.
OK, that’s dramatic. It has been three months since my last post though, which might be a new personal record of negligence (*sobs quietly into pillow*), but I’M BACK! It feels so good to be posting a recipe again after taking some time off to get settled into my new program. This first semester at Juilliard Historical Performance, aside from being completely surreal , has FLOWN by. Between performances, lessons, gigs, being a hashtagpracticehermit, academic courses, and life in general, I’ve been a busy bee. In the last few weeks alone, my HP friends and I have performed on the radio, played for a live-streamed master class, finished a series of concerts in Boston and NYC, and are now gearing up for our tour to Holland (!) in a few weeks. I can’t believe that, at least for now, this is the new normal.
I loooove risotto.
I love making risotto, I love eating risotto, and I love talking about how much I love making and eating risotto. I love everything. About. Risotto.
One of risotto’s many virtues is how easy it is to make, yet how fancy it pretends to be. The hardest thing about it is not getting bored while you sit there stirring it constantly. It’s perfect for the holidays just for that reason, because you can make it for a bunch of guests and pretend you’re a super fancy chef. For best results, serve your risotto to your guests with a slightly affected tone: “Our next cooourse is going to be a rather SCRUMPTIOUS rrrrrisOo0o0oHto with a touch of young spinach and pah-meZZAHN. I would NEVER have time to make this nooooormally, you see, I simply spent HOURS over the stove and NEARLY broke into a sweat, but FOR YOU my dahlings, I WILL stand and LITCH-RALLY watch liquid evaporate! Hah hah, we are having SUCH FUN, aren’t we?!”
Okay, so maybe don’t really do that if you’d like your friends to stay long enough to eat your risotto. And definitely don’t reveal to your guests that you basically just made them high-maintenance rice. But DO consider making this recipe for your next party, especially if you have guests who are trying to be more carb-conscious.
For someone who HATES germs and carries two hand sanitizers around at all times, my home cleaning habits are not quite as predictable.
I don’t make my bed every day. In fact, I make it almost never. I clean my room whenever it suddenly hurts my soul to walk inside of it, which could be at any moment, and at any degree of messiness. Last week, I managed to wait a few days until about 33% of my floor was visible to cave. But today, I walked in at 9:30 PM super exhausted and almost lost it, even though my room wasn’t really that bad… There was a tiny stack of clean laundry that needed to be put away, a few shirts lying around that were rejects from this morning, an opened package from Amazon on my bed, and an empty coffee cup/bag of trail mix next to my stand from when I tried to stay awake while practicing at 4 PM. I would call this a pretty standard Sarah mess. But it all just REALLY NEEDED to go, and it needed to go RIGHT AWAY.
I’m back! It feels so nice to return to posting after several weeks of “hiatus” and a few days of remodeling the site. Although I’ve stayed up-to-date on social media, I know I’ve been completely neglecting my blog, and that makes me sad. Especially since I keep excitedly hashtagging “#ontheblog soon” on Instagram, and then not actually following through. Isn’t that abysmal? Maybe you’ll forgive me, since preparing for graduate auditions, practicing for my senior recital, and attempting to play violin in general have taken up all of my time over the past few months. Which is weird, since I still can’t play violin. I’ll keep trying though, and maybe one day I’ll understand how this thing I’ve been doing for 17 years actually works. Maybe. I did start a practice journal, which for the past…. three days (haha) has proven itself to be pretty efficient so far. Planning out my weekly/daily practice goals and logging my progress has already helped me to approach my music from a fresh angle. Yesterday didn’t go as well, but I kind of sealed my fate when I attempted to practice solo rep after playing orchestra music for five hours. (Stupid…)
In other news, I just applied to graduate, which is strange, since I SWEAR I just got to college. Before I know it, I’ll have to be making mundane adult decisions, like whether “eggshell” or “tropical sand” is a better paint color for the
cardboard box I’m living in master bedroom. I’m not quite there yet, so over winter break when I wasn’t obsessing over the future, practicing, or resisting the allure of Netflix, I was developing recipes like crazy. Some of the recipes were amazing, and some were… not. I made this granola for family and friends as a holiday gift, so I had several rounds of baking to perfect it. It didn’t really take many tries, since the first round was pretty great, but needless to say, this recipe has joined the ranks as “amazing,” and I will definitely be making my own granola from now on! I always like to make my own foods whenever possible and avoid store bought products, since it’s healthier (and often times, cheaper) to be in control of what goes into your food.
This recipe contains all “real” ingredients, and can be modified to fit your dietary needs/wishes. You can customize granola easily, and I admittedly had a little help from Buzzfeed when I made the first batch. Their article really helped give me a good idea about proportions, but I was able to tweak a couple things here and there until the final product was perfectly crisp, crunchy, nutty, sweet, and crackly. I hope you enjoy this granola as I much as I do (I literally had some in a cup of Chobani while typing this… I can’t stay away)!
- 3 cups rolled (NOT quick-cooking) oats
- 1-1½ cups pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cardamon
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Unsweetened dried cranberries (optional after baking)
- Preheat oven to 300˚F.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, chopped pecans, unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, vanilla, and egg whites, and then stir into the oat mixture.
- Melt your coconut oil, and then add it to the oat mixture after maple/vanilla/egg (this helps to avoid the coconut oil solidifying in the cold egg/the egg cooking in the hot coconut oil).
- Once all of your ingredients are together, pour them into a tray that's lined with parchment paper. Using clean hands or a spatula, spread and flatten the mixture.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the mixture becomes golden brown at the edges and you start salivating from granola fumes. At that point, I like to break my granola up into little chunks with a spatula, mix, and return it to the oven to continue toasting for a bit, maybe 5-10 minutes, until all of the little bits are golden brown.
- Remove from oven, and mix in dried cranberries if desired.
Since I am now without a kitchen for two months and am behind on posting my recipes, I figured I would use the one or two totally free days I have left in Aspen to catch up! I just finished up with both auditions I needed to play, and am planning to go walk around the grounds and do some exploring later. Things are going to start up early next week and I’ll be a busy busy girl between rehearsals/practicing/lessons/etc., but for now, I can finally share the recipe I’ve been dying to post! I’ve been tweaking this recipe, and it’s finally almost perfect. I say almost, because nothing to me is ever really perfect, so if I make any changes I will eventually post them here. But that won’t be for a while, so I’d love for you to leave me your feedback either in the comments or on Instagram if you end up making them. Any feedback is good feedback (unless you’re obnoxious… So don’t be)!
These Raspberry Orange Rose Scones are made without butter or sugar, can be easily made gluten free or vegan, and contain a special ingredient that makes them smell (and taste) incredible – rose extract. I bought mine at Sur La Table, but you could probably find it at a similar specialty kitchenware store. The recipe could also be made with any other extract you like that you think would go nicely (almond, vanilla, etc) but I think the rose really makes the recipe!
Raspberry Orange Rose Scones (Serves: 16)
•2 cups oat flour (Blend 2 cups regular or gluten free oats in food processor until flour consistency)
•2 tsp. baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/4 tsp. kosher salt
•1/3 cup Cup-For-Cup Stevia in the Raw
PLUS •8 tbs. coconut oil
•2 eggs (VEGAN: Use chia seed or flaxseed eggs. 1 tbs ground chia or flax + 3 tablespoons water per egg. Let sit for a few minutes to become gelatinous)
•1/4 cup 0% Plain Chobani greek yogurt (VEGAN: Use soy or almond milk yogurt)
•Zest of one large orange
•Juice of 1/4 large orange
•1 tsp. rose extract
•1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
•1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries
•1 tbs. each egg white, fresh squeezed orange juice, and honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl (except coconut oil) and combine. Slowly add the coconut oil, mixing by hand until the dry mixture becomes crumbly. Then, whisk the wet ingredients (except raspberries) in another bowl. Add raspberries, stirring gently as not to burst too many of the berries. This will ensure that there are still some chunks of fruit in the final product. Then, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by hand until completely combined.
Split dough into two equal parts. On a floured surface, make a log out of each portion (about 10” x 4” x 1.5”). Cut both logs into quarters width-wise, then cut those quarters in half on the diagonal.
Assemble scones onto baking sheets that have been greased (I used coconut oil spray). If using the glaze, brush each individual scone with the mixture before putting into the oven. If you have enough raspberries left over, halve them and put on top of each scone as a garnish before baking. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.