Between household projects and getting ready for the baby to arrive, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I must say some days are really productive and fun and others are pretty boring. I’m still getting … Continue reading
I kept promising to fill you in on all of the exciting changes Michael and I have been making over the past few months and there are a LOT! First I’ll start by saying we like to do major life … Continue reading
I love granola. I love all types of granola, even boring granola – yes there are a lot of boring granolas out there and they usually cost an arm and a leg. Granola can elevate almost any breakfast item (oatmeal topping, muffin crust, as cereal) but my favorite is a yogurt parfait. If you’re a new reader, welcome to my granola obsession! I ran across a recipe in Bon Appetit that used an egg white in the mix, and no flour. This means to all of you gluten-ites, you’re free to eat this (as long as you get oats processed in a facility containing no gluten) and it contains a few less calories. It also has a lot more crunch than the recipes with flour. My mother in law’s recipe is still one of my favorites for a chewy granola. It really depends on my mood when I’m making granola if it will be chewy or crunchy. Lately, I’ve been on a crunchy kick.
This crunchy granola had cranberries, pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), flaked unsweetened coconut, walnuts, and pecans. It’s my favorite combination and I always have these ingredients on hand. Michael would be just as happy without the cranberries, bit I like the texture they add. Experiment until you find your favorite combination. You might be amazed at how satisfied you feel after breakfast.
(altered slightly from Bon Appetit February 2013)
1 egg white
3 C old fashioned oats
1 C nuts
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 C honey (or agave)
1/4 C olive oil (or coconut oil)
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C dried cranberries (add later)
Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except cranberries until evenly coated. Spread onto the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes to cook evenly. It will be done when the oats are golden brown. Let it cool on the baking sheet and store in an airtight container.
You know how much I like granola right? I like chewy granola and crunchy granola, and I like trying new recipes. I recently adapted a recipe from Whole Foods and though I may have cooked it two minutes longer than I should (I blame allergies for lack of smell) I’ve enjoyed it. It’s versatile because it is sweet and crunchy and no flavor is too overpowering.
If you are like me and feel ravenous before dinner, you can eat it by the handfull while rummaging through your kitchen for something to cook. You could also sprinkle it on muffins before baking, make a delicious yogurt parfait with seasonal fruits and agave nectar (or honey), use it as a topping for ice cream, make trail mix, or scoop it from a bowl filled to the brim with milk.
I like to eat yogurt wearing a toga, but you can wear whatever you like. Any way you eat it, I’m sure you will like it. Feel free to make it something you really love.
Almond Spiced Granola
adapted from Whole Foods
3 C old fashioned oats
3 T whole wheat flour
1 C slivered almonds
1 C pecan pieces
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or equal amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
1 tsp almond extract (or substitute vanilla)
1/2 C honey
1/3 C canola oil
Preheat the oven to 275˚F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silpat. Mix the dry ingredients and nuts in a large bowl. In a measuring cup add oil, honey and vanilla and stir. Add the honey mix into the oats and stir to coat evenly.
Bake for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally to break up the larger pieces. Remove from oven when it’s light brown and fragrant. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 hour or until completely cool (it will crisp up if it seems too wet after baking). Store in an airtight container.
When I was little, the only beets I knew were in a jar the fridge submerged in dark purpleish-red juice and they were gross. I don’t like pickled beets (Michael does). I don’t like many things pickled but beets are at the top of my list. It wasn’t until I moved to SF that I experienced beets in a positive way. A lot of restaurants jumped on the “beet and goat cheese” bandwagon, and I finally realized I loved roasted beets. Naturally sweet and earthy, how can you resist?
It’s hard to cook beets any other way, or make them different because beets always taste the same. I don’t eat beets with goat cheese much anymore. The best beet salad I had recently was literally a pile of thinly sliced red and gold beets with a handful of greens, bleu cheese and candied walnuts from Chez Spencer. Yum. I often get tired of roasted beets. When this happens, I go in search of a new recipe. I’ve heard of beet cake, and beetloaf, but the most appealing were beet chips!
We had a little package of beet chips from Whole Foods in my office recently. One of my bosses set them out. My office likes to munch. If they had been normal potato chips, they may have made it past lunch, but the beet chips last a few days. They were thick cut and fried. Shame on you Whole Foods! You don’t have to fry all things to make them taste good. Instead, I sliced up a few beets with the mandoline, sprinkled them lightly with kosher salt and baked them until they were light and crispy. They are delicious and pretty. They also don’t taste as vegetal as the WF fried version. They are a great snack, and most likely an easy way to get kids to eat something different. Who would not try a purple chip?
The only unfortunate thing about beet chips is they shrink so much when you bake them. Almost by half. So, in order to feed a lot of people for an interesting party snack, you would have to peel and slice a lot of beets. Not bad if you have a little time and like pink hands.
10 medium size beets peeled and sliced thin on a mandoline (or as thin as your knife can slice them)
2 T olive oil (optional)
Slice the beets and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat. Place the beets in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. (also you can toss the chips in olive oil before placing on the sheet) Bake at 350˚ for 15-20 minutes. Most of the moisture should be gone. Let air dry until completely crisp. Enjoy!
Low-Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake
from Whole Foods Recipes
2 C fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries divided
1 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C plain non-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C sliced almonds
for the topping:
2 T whole wheat flour
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl with your fingers until it you have pea sized clumps.
Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Combine yogurt, eggs, and vanilla in another small bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add half the blueberries and smooth into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter and add the remaining blueberries. Top with the almonds. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove the sides of the pan. Let cool another 20 minutes before serving. Store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can also use a standard 12 tin muffin cup with liners instead of the springform pan. Reduce the baking time to 22-25 minutes.
I recently found myself in the realm of unsatisfactory breakfasts. This usually means coffee and a mediocre scone or muffin. These pastries all too often are overly sugary or bland. I am a tough critic since making breakfast pastries is a favorite of mine, so I decided to stop being critical and make some breakfasts to take to work. Making muffins eases my objection to buying pastries you can make for two percent of the cost at a coffee shop.
I like to control the amount of sugar mostly – and the fat… well lets say I really miss it when I make a “healthy muffin.” I didn’t miss it so much this time which is the main reason I’m sharing these. You could also easily add some whole wheat flour for your daily manganese, fiber, tryptophan, and magnesium. Apparently, women who eat more whole grains also weigh less than women who eat refined grains (like a majority of breakfast pastries – or any pastries for that matter). I like the idea of weighing less and still eating these delicious muffins. I’m going to experiment more with the substitution of whole wheat in baked goods, and try making a lunch bread that includes wheat germ and whole wheat.
I like these muffins because they are a little less spice-cakey than most zucchini muffins. I posted about zucchini once before when I started a baking club. They weren’t the best recipe, but I like the idea. Just like carrot muffins, when you add a veggie to your muffin, you increase vitamin intake while decreasing the fat. Since these vegetables have such a high water content, you use less fat and don’t end up chewing forever on a dry muffin. I’m guessing you will be confused when you read the recipe below and see that I used melted butter instead of gobs of oil (and it’s much less butter than this chocolate chip recipe I know) but it makes for a nice crispy crust and the batter yields more than your standard 12 muffins. Sometimes I get annoyed by this, but I got to use my mini loaf pans for the extra… they are just so cute I couldn’t get mad at the excessive amount of batter. I also like that you fill up the cups entirely and the muffins bake up beautifully without spilling over the sides. pretty pretty.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.
For the month of June, my other blog, the Easy Bake cOven was supposed to make some crepe creations. I had a base recipe from Alton Brown that allowed for great experimentation. I have eaten quite a few crepes in my day, but never made one. I know someone with a special pan, but you can make them in a non-stick and burn your fingers too. At the exact moment a little pad of butter was singeing off my fingerprints, I was wishing for a giant crepe maker like you see at fancy crepe restaurants. Oh, you haven’t seen a crepe cooker before? (and I assure you this is the technical term “crepe cooker”) I’ll show you.
I woke up Saturday morning itching to make something with the pumpkin puree defrosting in the fridge. My first thought was to make pumpkin bread, or muffins with a tried and true recipe, but it just didn’t sound as exciting. I thought about making pancakes, but M and I would probably rather have waffles when given the chance… so waffles it was. Pumpkin waffles.
I remembered a recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen a while back and decided to give it a try. The result was pretty fantastic. They are not too sweet, and the taste and texture is much better than mix from a box. I was kind of amazed at the amount of waffles the batter made. I expected to get a few since there are two cups of buttermilk and flour, but I felt like I was cooking waffles for 30 minutes! Maybe my waffle iron is slow. I wouldn’t doubt it. I did turn on the oven to keep them warm while they were cooking. A great trick if you are serving them for your family and you want to eat at the same time. But it was useless because M and I each ate only one belgian style waffle.
The only change to the recipe was using pumpkin I roasted and pureed in the food processor instead of canned. I have nothing against canned pumpkin though, it is one of the best canned vegetables you can by since it has the least added to it. I also toasted a handful of walnuts to add to the top. I think the walnuts are a necessity. A delightful crunch to an already tasty bite. Since the batter made so many, I froze the rest and am hoping they will make a good quick breakfast when the need arises.
Smitten Kitchen recipe
1/3 C light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
6 T unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray