the easiest homemade pizza sauce

Ok, so I am a total sucker for cuteness.  Cute babies, cute little tiny anythings, and cute hearts.  Especially when those hearts are in unexpected places.

Like pizza!

The Cutest Pepperoni Pizza & The Easiest Homemade Pizza Sauce!

So yeah, the heart pepperonis were totally not my idea.  I’m sure I saw them on Instagram or Pinterest.  But man were they just too cute to resist.

They did take a few minutes to make, but it was easy and fun and totally worth it!  (Kind of like cutting paper snowflakes, except they’re just hearts, and you’re cutting pepperoni instead of paper!)

Heart Pepperoni Pizza

Of course that’s not all I’ve got for you today.  If you’ve been hanging out with me for long, you are very familiar with my Homemade Pizza obsession.

What you may not know, is that I have never made homemade pizza sauce before!  I don’t even know why, except that I seemed to keep picking up jars of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce and thinking that had to be easier than making some myself.

Well, you know what?  It’s not any easier!  Seriously.  Ok, maybe 2 minutes of work is too much, but you guys, this sauce is so good and so worth it.  Give it a try next time you run out of pizza sauce!

The Cutest Pepperoni Pizza & The Easiest Homemade Pizza Sauce

the easiest homemade pizza sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don't like a little spice!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir in the garlic to sauté for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil quickly over high heat and then immediately reduce to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better, the flavor only intensifies as it simmers!).

When you are about ready to start assembling your pizzas, turn off the heat so the sauce can cool back down a bit.

This should be enough for 2-3 pizzas (or one batch of my favorite homemade pizza dough). If you have leftovers, cool completely and store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 weeks!

http://sweetannas.com/2015/02/the-easiest-homemade-pizza-sauce.html

 Now go make some pizza!  (And Happy Everything-Hearts Week!) 

spiced honey nut granola

I’m standing in my kitchen surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of baking granola.  The sweet, spicy smells and the anticipation of the perfect crunchy satisfaction are almost driving my bonkers, and my stomach is growling insistently.

There is almost nothing better than baking a batch of fresh, homemade granola.  It is so incredibly simple to throw together, and the scent of granola in the oven is just plain heaven.  The sweet, nutty, cozy aroma just screams fall!

honey nut granola | Sweet Anna's

Have you ever made homemade granola?  If you haven’t, now’s the time!  Making granola is about the easiest thing you can do in your kitchen.  (And it’s an easy hands-on project for the kids too, if that’s your sort of thing!)

With less than 5 minutes of prep, and into the oven, sometimes I think I could make granola every day.  We snack on it by the handful and enjoy it on our morning bowls of yogurt.

honey nut granola | Sweet Anna's

Of course, I rarely seem to be able to make the same recipe twice (there are just too many fun variations of granola to enjoy!) but this spiced, nutty version is definitely one of my favorites.

And really, what’s better than a quick bowl of homemade granola and yogurt on a busy fall morning?!

spiced honey nut granola

Yield: makes about 8 cups of granola

Ingredients

  • 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cups sliced almonds, or other chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, spices and salt.

(I like my granola pretty mild since we usually eat it with yogurt and jam. If you want a sweeter granola, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup!)

In a small bowl, melt together the coconut oil and the honey in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted (you can also do this in a small pan on the stove).

Stir the honey mixture into the oat mixture until well coated. Spread evenly onto a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir in the nuts, and then bake another 15-20 minutes, until the granola is golden.

Remove from the oven and cool completely, stirring occasionally as it cools to prevent big clumps (unless you like big clumps, then by all means, leave it be!)

http://sweetannas.com/2014/10/spiced-honey-nut-granola.html

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What’s your favorite way to eat granola?  On yogurt?  With milk?  Just plain??

Perfectly Fudgy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Brownies

You guys.  You guys!  I am so so so excited about these brownies.

I’m not even exaggerating saying I was tearing up when I tasted the first one out of the pan.  The first bite crackled as it hit my tongue and then dissolved into a dense, chewy, moist, fudgy bite of perfect brownie.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Perfectly Fudgy Brownies | Sweet Anna's

But why all the dramatic tearing up, you ask?

Here it is: I struggle with restrictive-diet foods.  I hate making something that is only “ok”, or even “good, for being gluten free”.  I currently don’t have anyone in my immediate family on restrictive diets, but I have so many friends and loved ones who are.  And it breaks my heart to only have half-way things to offer them.

Food matters to me.

Beyond nutrition and basic needs, food is important.  Food cements our memories and our experiences, infusing them with an unforgettable taste and aroma that have the power to bring up the face of our beloved grandma with just a bite of her famous cookie recipe.  Or a memory of the day we gave birth to our firstborn, because we ate spicy thai food that morning.

However your experience looks…  food matters.

And even when I can’t serve the people I care about my favorite treats,  I want to serve you something great.  Something memory making.  Something that makes you forget that there is any other option of that type of treat.  A just-as-good treat, if not better that the memory you have, instead of a good-enough treat that just barely reaches the edge of a craving.

So, I’ll stop talking and give you what you want now.  If you can’t eat gluten or dairy, I hope you enjoy these.  And if you can, I hope you can enjoy the feeling of having a great recipe to bless your gluten-free or dairy-free friends with.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Perfectly Fudgy Brownies | Sweet Anna's

I love you, friends!  Enjoy!

Perfectly Fudgy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix*
  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13" glass baking dish with coconut oil, lay a piece of parchment paper down and then grease that.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and baking soda. Whisk in half of the melted coconut oil until smooth, then whisk in the hot water until smooth and thick.

Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, salt & eggs until smooth, then the remaining coconut oil.

*When you measure the flour mix, please stir it up well before scooping, or use a spoon to spoon it into your measuring cups so it's not overpacked. I use Namaste Perfect All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend because I love it and it's readily available at Costco and Amazon.

Sprinkle the flour over the top of the batter in the bowl and then 1 cup of the chocolate chips on top of that. Use a fork or spatula to gently mix in the flour, just until the flour is mixed in.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and bake for 30-40 minutes.

(Start checking them at 30 minutes, and then every few minutes until they are just set and the brownies start to pull away from the edges of the pan. Don't overbake these. They will finish off baking in the pan as they cool on the counter!)

Let cool completely before cutting for prettiest results (if you can wait that long!).

http://sweetannas.com/2014/10/perfectly-fudgy-gluten-free-dairy-free-brownies.html

Oh, and Costco chocolate chips (Kirkland Signature Brand) are naturally Dairy-Free!  YAY!