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!


Delicious and Dirty (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies)

This week I felt the ill effects of over-indulgence.

Last week, Ben and I pigged out. I’m talking cheeseburgers, french fries, beer, potatoes, kielbasa,  barbecue, cheese and wine-lots of it.

Monday morning I woke up feeling a hangover of sorts from all of the ridiculous things I had consumed in the days before. I exhibited all of the following symptoms: bloating, pimples, big hair, dry mouth, big sunglasses and headaches. I felt like I was 15 again. Not pretty.

There was one thing I was craving: salad. Lots of glorious greens. I didn’t need it fancy, I just wanted vinegar and lettuce. Something to get my digestive system back on track.

It’s now Friday and I’ve eaten salad every day this week. It feels good. Wednesday was my favorite:  it was a salad of beet greens, red leaf and butter lettuce, scallions, parsley, beets and local goat cheese, topped with a mustard vinaigrette. My hubs is totally boss.

But after all that green stuff,  I needed something naughty. And I had an excuse; it was my turn to bring snack for my small group.

So I made cookies. Delicious dirty cookies.  I found some all natural dark chocolate peanut butter the other night and was dying to try it out. I’m so glad I did.

These cookies are just right. They are chewy, light and full of air-They are gluten-free. They are full of big flavors without imposing on your belly in giant cookie form. Do it to it. You’ll be the biggest hit of the party.

You’re jaw is going to hit the floor when you see the list of ingredients. Easy peasy.

I’ll have to make these again to update with photos-I was in a hurry and didn’t think about snapping a quick picture… my apologies!

(Chocolate) Peanut Butter Cookies

barely adapted from Joy the Baker

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4  cup Peanut Butter  (I used 1/2 cup creamy all- natural, 3/4 cup Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter)-if you are using regular peanut butter-use 1 cup, add some cocoa powder or some semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted with a splash of vanilla.
  • 1 not-quite-cup brown sugar-the darker the better!
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 scant teaspoon smoked salt (you can find this at any specialty food store or co-op-Amazing find.) OR, use some regular sea salt.
  • Bittersweet chocolate chips-a few handfuls

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine peanut butter and sugar (if you’re using the cocoa/baking chocolate, add this in now as well). You can use your KitchenAid or mixer, but  I just used a pastry blender.

Add baking soda and egg. Mix until well blended.

If you’re using chocolate chips and smoked salt, throw those in the bowl and mix until incorporated into the dough.

Roll into walnut sized balls (they don’t have to be perfect, perfect is boring!)  and transfer to baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and cookies feel firm.  Makes about 30 cookies.

Enjoy!


Roasted Chickpeas

My friends, we are onto another food obsession. Chickpeas. Garbanzos. Whatever you like to call them, they are delicious.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these tasty little beans have always held a special place in my heart. Hummus? I love you. Salads? Not the same without this little extra. Smashed up with fresh herbs and some spices? Instant sandwich. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I will just eat them plain, too.

But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try something that has been on my cooking to-do list for a while. And I am so glad I did.

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos…because I was so gosh-darn hungry that I forgot…and because, well, I think everyone knows what a chickpea looks like.

I also may have forgotten to change the temperature on my oven and inadvertantly set off my smoke alarm… the world will never know.

Anyway, this is a super simple and quick recipe that can be adjusted according to your tastes. Per usual, experiment with your flavors! If you don’t like spicy, rosemary and garlic would be great, or how about curry?! Also, these aren’t exact measurements, so adjust accordingly. This is a super easy and delicious snack, especially if you’re having unexpected company or need another finger food!

Roasted Chickpeas:  adapted from various recipes

2  (15 oz) Cans Chickpeas

About 2 tbsp. olive oil-I used a chipotle infused oil for a little extra flavor

A few good cranks of black pepper

A good sprinkling of sea salt (we have an awesome hickory smoked black salt that is to die for!)

2 or 3 tsp smoked paprika, obviously.

2 tsp. garlic powder

a good sprinkling of crushed red pepper

a good sprinkling of parsley

And if you’re feeling adventurous, a pinch or two of chili powder

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse, drain and pat dry chickpeas.

Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss in chickpeas until evenly coated. 

Transfer to baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, tossing two or three times while baking.

When finished, chickpeas will be a golden brown and have a crispy outside-the inside will still be a bit soft.

Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Note: If your oven tends to run hot, as mine does, set at 350 and adjust cook time accordingly.