I went a little granola crazy this weekend. The hubs and I decided to do snacks and foodie items for Christmas this year, so I made two batches of granola. It went fast.
The first was adapted from this recipe by Joy the Baker. I also got the mason jar idea from her. Genius.
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure about the goji berries, but they were awesome!
The second was something I sort of made up on the fly because I was running out of oats. And it was absolutely amazing. It was also super festive because I used red quinoa, cherries and pistachios. Did I mention that it was delicious?
This is a super savory granola, but if you want to sweeten it up, feel free to add more agave nectar. I don’t think it needs it…
The quinoa and cocoa nibs give this an awesome crunch and the coconut oil gives a super savory, rich flavor. I think this is my new favorite granola!
Look at this recipe as more of a guideline than something set in stone.
Crunchy Quinoa Granola
4 cups rolled oats.
2 cups red quinoa, uncooked–be sure to rinse and drain it!
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup cocoa nibs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut-I like the flakes because it adds some awesome texture
1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped (I chopped mine a little too much, you’ll want big chunks for that beautiful green color!)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 pinch smoked salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 cups dried cherries
What to do:
Preheat oven to 325.
Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients except the cherries in a large bowl, give it a good toss to make sure it’s well mixed.
Heat coconut oil and agave nectar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until combined.
Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
Add to dry ingredients and mix well, ensuring the mixture is well coated.
Pour granola onto baking sheets, making sure to spread evenly.
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown, pulling out twice to toss mixture (so it doesn’t burn).
Let cool completely and add dried cherries. Granola will last several weeks in an airtight container. Serve over milk, yogurt or by the handful.
Something amazing happened on Monday.
Ben and I harvested lettuce from our garden. It was the first time this season and I couldn’t have been more excited. We had red oak and pirate’s butter lettuce-both were delicious (especially when mixed with spinach and sunflower seeds, topped with maple mustard, tarragon vinegar and olive oil).
It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to use fresh ingredients, especially when grown by your own hand. I admit that in this case, it’s mostly Ben… but I get such pride when I see baby basil plants poking through the dirt or beans popping up and knowing that I helped the growing process and I love learning more each and every day.
The greens were a perfect addition to my favorite kind of lunch. It consisted of salad, salmon, dilly scrambled eggs, grilled scallions(also from the garden) and green olives. Ben and I picked off of one plate. and just enjoyed the different flavor combinations and the first tastes of the season… all these things that don’t necessarily go together, but combined..they just work.
This was perfect. I’m so looking forward to more salads and more fresh ingredients that we grow in our garden. I can’t think of a better way to nourish both body and soul.
Good morning, good morning!
Okay…I know it’s actually the afternoon, but it’s fine. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling pretty fly today. Also, why does no one say “fly” anymore?. Speaking of flying, where has the last week gone? And why am I so crazy busy?!
Anyway, the reasons I am feeling great? I dragged my butt outta bed at 5:30 am and went for a quick run with a friend-Shout-out to Tara!!!
Did I mention that it was 12 degrees out? Yeah, it felt good. But, a nice hot shower felt even better.
And better still, thanks to my amazing hubs, I headed to work with iced coffee in hand (there is currently a half gallon of it in my fridge. Life is good). I also scarfed down some homemade granola and NY yogurt for breakfast. Yummo! I even managed to pack a delicious lunch. And got to work on time..on a Monday.
Top o’ the world, kiddos!
Anyway, this granola is super easy to make. And it is full of stuff you can buy in bulk. The other good thing? There is no set way to make it, merely guidelines-so mix it up. Also, don’t judge on the surprise ingredient. Just go with it. What can I say? I’m a woman obsessed.
Side Note: This would make an awesome gift for your friends, put it in a cute little bag, with some nice coffee or tea? Perfect. It would also be a perfect brunch item. Paired with a Mimosa…or a spicy Bloody Mary if you’re like me.
Adapted from several recipes
*Makes about 12 generous 3/4 cup servings-582 calories- full of good fats, fiber, potassium, protein, vitamins A, C and iron!) Translation: This stuff will put some pep in your step and keep you fuller loooonger! *
What I used:
5 cups oats (I used steel cut but rolled will also do)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
4 tbsp. sesame seeds-I used white and black
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flax seed meal
A pinch of sea salt
1 to 2 tsp. Smokey Paprika (Just trust me on this.)
1/2 cup olive oil (you could use a different oil, this is just what I had on hand)
1-4 to 1/2 cup agave nectar (or Honey)
1/3 cup dried apple rings, chopped
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
What to do:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine your dry ingredients (except the fruit!) into a large bowl and mix until combined.
Heat oil and agave nectar in a saucepan over low heat-you don’t have to heat it up, but I found it made the nectar a lot easier to work with and thins the mixture out. Pour over the dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.
Spread granola evenly into two rimmed (and lightly greased) baking sheets.
Bake for about 30 minutes until oats are golden brown, pulling both pans out and stirring mixture up occasionally to avoid burning.
Let cool and mix in your dried fruit. Store in a tightly sealed container. Serve by itself, or with yogurt or milk.
Note: I am not a huge fan of super fruity/sweet granola, so I started with 1/4 cup agave nectar and gradually added more. I ended up adding 2 tbsp. of honey after taking it out of the oven, mostly for the hubs. I also didn’t add a ton of dried fruit. This made the granola more savory, so adjust this measurement according to your taste. Next time I’ll probably add some pumpkin/sunflower seeds. Again, this is just a guideline, use your imagination with your ingredients. And trust me on the smokey paprika-AMAZING!
Stay tuned for… another post coming soon!!!
Okay, so I was going to write a post about Restaurant Etiquette… and don’t worry, I will… after this. I just need to share a few fun tidbits from my weekend/day.
1. I am super happy to report that ice skating, Take 2, was a success. We went to the rink on the other end of town and were pleased with the results; not only did they have the right size skates, but the ice was mostly smooth, the blades were sharp and people were paying attention. It was also a whole heck of a lot less crowded-perfect learning environment-I was even able to work on some spins without fear of taking out a five year old. We were both able to get in a pretty good workout.
2. We made gluten-free pizza yesterday. Usually we make our own crust, but after work on Saturday night, Ben decided to sleep instead of starting the dough-not leaving enough time for it to rise. We decided to chance it and went to our co-op in search of frozen dough. They had a limited selection and only gluten-free. Not ready to give up, we went to a nearby grocery store to continue the search. No luck. Maybe a mix?
After perusing the labels from Pillsbury, Jiffy and Betty Crocker, we were starting to feel defeated (let’s just say…EW!). But then I remembered that this store had a gluten-free/organic section. I picked up a box of Hodgson Mill and the search was over. The mix was still gluten-free but it had real ingredients and all things we could pronounce! I use some HM flours/pastas so I was glad to try another product.
I have to say, I was a bit skeptical because, well, it was a mix. I was pleasantly surprised. The only complaint I had was that the dough was a bit sticky when spreading into the pan-this was remedied by flouring (or, for those who are actually GF, Corn Starching) our hands/utensils.
The mix was easy to make and turned out nice and light with just the right combination of chewy/crunchy. We kept our pizza simple; topped with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil and rosemary, fresh mozz and tomatoes. We even snuck in some kippers.
Anyway, in short, this was a lifesaver. Like I said before, normally we make our own dough, but if ever in a pinch, I can definitely recommend this mix, especially if you are gluten-free.
Also, sorry for the lack of photos.
3. I don’t really watch football, but man… that 49ers’ game was intense! The other games? Eh, not so much. I don’t know what’s come over me… but I can’t wait to see the 49ers-Giants match-up next week!
4. On this day, two years ago, I went on a date with some guy I knew… Now he’s my husband. I guess the first date went a little better than I thought. Anyway, shout-out to my amazing hubs; I love you, Benjamin! And sorry for stealing the blankets last night-I didn’t mean it!
5. I find this photo hilarious, partly because how ridiculous we both look and partly because it was taken in 2008…when we were just friends. Thank you to Tina for taking this… and letting me steal it. Sorry Ben!
6. I am making Ricotta Cheese tonight-I’ll let you know how it comes out. I’ll also be posting a super easy and delish pasta recipe.
7. It was 9 below this morning. My car, Zeke, was not happy. I didn’t mind so much-for some reason the sky seems to be crystal clear on cold winter mornings and I secretly love it.
8. I have been obsessing over Chocolate Soy Milk. I finally bought some. I am also going to make a TON of iced coffee sometime this week. Hello extra 12 minutes of sleep!
More to come-stay tuned!
Can I just say that the last place I wanted to be today was at work? Is that wrong? Probably. I much rather be driving around blasting country music and singing along at the top of my lungs… Or at home with Benjamin, baking up something fabulous, maybe enjoying a PBR… Or out running and getting lost in the thick fog that seems to have taken over the North Country.
I don’t know if it’s this time of year or if it’s just been a crazy week, but I am mentally checking out. The to-do stack on my desk is getting pretty big, and seems to double whenever I move something to the “Completed” stack. And there is no sign of it slowing down.
This morning was a bit rough and the day seems to be dragging on…but that is probably because I have some pretty awesome plans for later…no big deal. The hubs and I had our usual Wednesday lunch date and now I am anxiously watching the clock to make sure everything goes off without a hitch… it’s torture.
Besides the evening plans, there are a few other things on my mind.
- Lentils. I absolutely love lentils. Especially when topped with a fried egg, Parmesan cheese and a few slices of avocado. They rock my world. Dinner tomorrow. It’s happening.
- This macaroni and cheese. I am making this for some friends of mine. So easy to make and absolute heaven. I used Cabot/McAdam Jack & Cheddar. Only the best.
- Sweet Potato Fudge. I usually am NOT a fan of white chocolate, but the sweet potato aspect is really grabbing my attention, I may need to substitute some dark chocolate…
- Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Buttercream . This looks awesome. I am a huge fan of beer flavored chocolate cakes. I definitely need to make these sometime. It looks like they can also be made gluten-free! I may have to make it this way and then try it with regular butter and milk, just for fun, either way, these are going to happen in my kitchen.
- Quinoa Patties. These are so easy to make and so good. Please try them.
- My husband’s birthday. Ben is turning 29 this weekend. I know he’s working all day, but I am so excited to celebrate as a married couple. So corny, I know. I am currently try to come up with something good. He snooped through the box that contained his present… accidentally-the stinker! Now I am scheming for some sort of surprise. More on that later.
- Christmas. I never used to like Christmas but the last few years have really opened me up to it. I’ve been very blessed and I love to share that with the people I love. The major lack of snow is a bit weird for this time of year, but I am soaking up all the merriment, regardless (If you still have shopping to do, check out my previous post for an awesome gift idea!).
- Measuring Spoons. Okay, maybe it’s only hilarious to me, but Ben and I always put the measuring spoons back in different drawers. It drives me absolutely batty.
- The stack on my desk that’s not disappearing….
… Time to go! Until next time!