Last summer I decided to add a little fun to my bedroom fireplace mantle and I decorated with mermaids and treasure from the sea. I have always enjoyed the beach and imagine myself living there one day but for now, I am landlocked. Unfortunately word soon got out that I had booty on my mantle and you know what happens when people know you have treasure…
…you are correct. Pirates.
And in my case, I not only had pirates, I had attack turkeys, too, bringing a Mason jar snowglobe from Christmases past. The mermaids were getting a little edgy as you might expect and swam to warmer waters. Which is Julie-speak for it’s time to clean up the clutter and redecorate my mantle. By the way, this is not a staged photo. The first photo was the original look but then extras crept in and I seriously did have a coconut head on the mantle. I found it in my closet from a past vacation and the fierce fella never made it out to the garage to my seashell shelf, although I must admit I found him to be a jolly addition to my room. I did enjoy the mermaids for the summer, but it was getting cluttered with added trinkets obviously long past time for a change.
I gathered up some paintings and travel souvenirs from around the house and went for a whole new look. This is a deep mantle so you can really have fun deciding what to choose for the groupings. The Money Plant (Lunaria Biennis) on the left is from my grandmother’s bush from at least 30 years ago. She helped me to pick them and rubbed off the outer pods to reveal the inner shiny leaves. I wish we hadn’t been so thorough rubbing off the outer pods. It would be really special to be able to grow a plant from her original bush.
Now you see him…
….now you don’t.
Chupa likes to “help” when making the bed and by help I mean he lies in the middle of the sheets shedding hair and rolling around to further claim his territory.
Lunch today was a brunch while I cleaned and sorted in my room. I made a Cherry Coconut Granola Bar to eat with my smoothie bowls and some Cheddar Bacon Biscuits which were WONDERFUL.
Cherry Coconut Granola Bars
3 cups oats
1 6-ounce package frozen coconut, thawed
1 cup nuts (any kind – almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (or up to 1/2 cup additional brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter granola)***
1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn’t add today)
1 5-ounce package dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the oats, coconut, and nuts and place on a cookie sheet. Toast in oven for about 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly browned. In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs , add the brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Add the toasted oats mixture. Mix the flour and cinnamon together and combine flour mixture with the oats mixture. Stir in the dried cherries. Pat into a 10X15 jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. (Cook 25 minutes for a softer bar and 35 minutes for a crisper bar.) Cut in to bars immediately upon removal from oven. Allow to cool in pan. (***Note: I made mine with the 1/2 cup brown sugar and they are not noticeably sweet but that’s how I like granola. I usually eat granola with yogurt and I don’t like the granola to be super sweet, but if you are eating these as stand-alone granola bars you may want to add the additional sugar or substitute the extra 1/2 cup brown sugar for honey. As always, adjust to make this recipe your own.)
Lots of yellow today… yellow corn grits, yellow eggs, and yellow cheddar biscuits. To break up the yellow party we had strawberry-blueberry smoothies with the granola bars on top.
Cheddar Bacon biscuits
6 slices bacon, cooked and finely diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 stick cold butter,plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup whole milk
Preheat an oven to 425°F. In an 11-inch fry pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of the fat in the pan. Using a pastry brush, spread the fat evenly over the pan bottom. Finely chop the bacon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and pepper. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the cold butter until pea-size crumbs form. Stir in the milk until the dough just comes together and fold in the cheddar cheese and the bacon.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll out into a 9 1/2-by-11-inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, rotate 90 degrees and roll out into the same-size rectangle. Fold into thirds again, rotate 90 degrees and roll out into a 7-by-9 1/2-inch rectangle about 1⁄2 inch thick. Using a floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place in the fry pan. Gather up the scraps, reroll the dough and cut out more biscuits. You should have 12 biscuits – 9 biscuits around the circumference of the pan and 3 in the center. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter. Put some additional shredded cheese on top, if desired. Bake the biscuits until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 biscuits.
This is what the dough looks like before rolling. It is very loosely holding together.
Roll and fold the dough into thirds.
Cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter and place in the greased skillet. This is one of my favorite iron skillets. It is very smooth and old. It’s a Wagner #6 for all of you iron skillet aficionados out there.
I was a little heavy-handed with the cheese on top but a few sprinkles will do nicely. Very tasty. Freeze leftovers for a quick snack later!
Lunch is over and now it’s back to cleaning my closet. I hope to find more treasures although I’m not sure I can top the coconut pirate. Unfortunately, that’s about all the treasure I own. Lots of memories and not much real booty. But that’s okay. Life’s good!