Crunchy Quinoa Granola

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.

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Wholesome Crunchy Gift Giving

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?

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Totally festive, crunchy, protein packed granola. No big deal.

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

Ingredients

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.

Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!


It’s Just Not That Serious

Sometimes, you can’t take life too seriously. Things happen.

You’ll drop a plate.  Your hair will decide to stick straight up in the air instead of carelessly across your forehead in that just-so manner and you’ll sweat profusely instead of glisten. You’ll get in fights with the people you love over something silly, whether it be taking something out of context or using the last of the milk in your coffee. You’ll smash your shin on the corner of your car door (Please don’t do this, it hurts) and then you’ll fall up the stairs. Or break some piece of equipment at work.

No big deal.

Days like these, there’s really only one thing to do. And that is lunch. 

I’m not talking anything fancy. I’m talking simple and delicious.  Seriously. Things like (local, free-range) chicken salad, tortilla chips, homemade pickles, greens from the garden, a chilled quinoa salad and pickled peppers (Courtesy of Farmer Ben)….Mint iced tea from a mason jar is optional-but highly encouraged.

Something that looks like this:

A Seriously Good Lunch.

This is another “random assortment of food” lunch that just works. Use your imagination, dine family style with your favorite lunch partner-utensils are totally not necessary. Remember, this isn’t serious.

I bet after this meal, you’ll feel ready to take on the world, crazy hair, scraped shin and all.


Mini Mental Break…

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!