Granola Bars for New Parents

by Laura

We have a lot of friends right now who are new parents or expecting and I always struggle to think of a thoughtful gift to take when the new baby arrives. I think you can't go wrong with food dropped on the doorstep. Katherine tipped me off to these granola bars from Smitten Kitchen a while back, and it has been my go-to for new parents ever since. They are delicious and can be a great snack or breakfast, they are relatively healthy and there are infinite variations depending on personal taste and what you have on hand.


1 2/3 cups oats

1/3 cup oats ground in food processor (can also use oat flour)

2/3 granulated sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

dash of cinnamon

2 cups mixed nuts (I like pecans best, but have used combinations of walnuts, pecans and cashews and all are delicious)

1/2 cup dried fruit (I have used raisins, craisins and a combination of the two. Want to try dried mango next!)

1/4 cup coconut

1/4 cup flax meal 

1/3 cup peanut butter (softened in microwave for 30-45 seconds)

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare an 8" x 8" glass pan with parchment paper so it hangs off the sides (makes it easy to pop out after cooking!). Spray pan with non-stick spray. 

Mix together both oats, sugar, salt, nuts, fruit, coconut and flax meal in a large bowl. Note that you can use varying proportions of the fruit/nut/coconut concoction depending on your taste (e.g. leave out all the fruit, add chocolate chips, etc.). In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and then combine with the dry ingredients. Spread the mixture into prepared pan (it comes up almost all the way to the top of the pan - don't worry!). Cook for 30 minutes or until they are golden on top and around the edges. Let cool and then cut into squares.

Taste one just to make sure they are good before delivering to friends -- it is the right thing to do!



Cilantro Lime Gluten Free Chicken Marinade

by Laura

If you know me well - or if you have ever shared a meal with me - you probably know that I am a big fan of gluten (or rather all the delicious things that happen to contain it). A number of friends have recently either been diagnosed with Celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity or are trying to be skinnier and blame gluten.


I tend to have anxiety when I am in charge of cooking and there is a gluten free person in the mix, which is never really necessary since there are plenty of delicious meals that don't have it. I found this recipe by Googling "gluten free chicken marinade"  when a big group of college friends rented a house in Calistoga, one of whom has been recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. (For the record, this friend has a legitimate Gluten allergy as evidenced by her giving up beer - no one used to love Coors Light like J. Gal!)

This recipe is so simple and really delicious--I have already made it again for a non-gluten free people (but with a side of toast this time, obviously). It is great as tacos, over a salad or just on its own.

Adapted from Gluten Free Anna


1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders

1/3 cup olive oil

Juice of 4 limes

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 red onion sliced in wedges (that are big enough to not fall through the grill grates if you're grilling)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Salt and Pepper

Place all ingredients into a large ziplock bag and kind of massage the marinade into the chicken breasts and let sit for 30 minutes to several hours. Preheat grill over medium-high heat and grill until cooked through (about 6 minutes per side depending on how thick your chicken breasts are).