Making every bite count

22 December 2009

My Best Granola

If there is a better combination than yogurt, fruit and granola, I haven't found it. In my breakfast fantasies come true, thick, creamy, tangy Greek yogurt provides a base for tart and sweet fresh berries, while crunchy, sweet and salty granola offers a delightful contrast in flavor and texture.

Granola is PRICEY! There are a few brands I really like, but I can't justify buying a small bag for $4, when I can make pounds of granola for much less.

Once you know the basics of granola making, your imagination and pantry are your only limits. I started making my own a couple of years back, and honestly, I don't use a recipe anymore. I have two versions: a molasses one and a maple-almond butter one, but I never measure or use the recipes.

It isn't a science. You need oil, sweetener, some dried fruit, nuts, seeds and maybe some spices.

I prefer molasses or maple syrup for my sweetener, coconut oil to crisp it up, and plenty of ground flax and chia seeds for nutrition and flair.

Most often, I make the almond butter-maple granola. It's really easy.

Maple-Almond Butter Granola

1/2 c maple syrup

1/4 c coconut oil

1/4 c almond butter

1 T cinnamon (or more if you prefer your granola to have a stronger cinnamon flavor)

2 1/2 c. rolled oats

1/4 c ground flax

1/4 c chia seeds

1/2 c chopped nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pepitas)

1/4 c unsweetened coconut

1/2 c mixed dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins)

liberal sprinkle coarse salt


Mix maple syrup, coconut oil and almond butter together. If your coconut oil is at room temperature, you might need to melt it first.

Mix oats, coconut, and cinnamon together, then add to wet ingredients.

Pour onto a baking sheet in an even layer. (I use a silicone baking sheet liner, but you can coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray if you prefer.) Bake at 300 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I like my granola to be somewhat "raw."

Immediately upon removing the granola from the oven, add the chia, flax, seeds/nuts and dried fruit. (The fruit swells and gets sticky in the oven, and raw nuts/seeds retain more of their nutrition.)

Add a sprinkle of kosher salt and toss well. The salt really brings out the sweetness and other flavors. Makes 15 1/4-cup servings!

Calories: 197.5
Total Fat: 11.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
Protein: 4.0 g
I gave away this granola to friends and family this year. It was a big hit!

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20 December 2009

Peppermint Bark

1 package dark chocolate chips
1 package white chocolate chips
6 candy canes

Remove candy canes from wrapper, break into small pieces, then place in a blender or food processor and pulse until mostly crushed.

On the stove over low heat, melt each chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan. Stir often, until chocolate is almost melted, then remove from heat and stir again.

Spread waxed paper over two baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread 3/4 of the dark chocolate over the sheet pan in an even layer. Sprinkle half the candy canes over the chocolate. Repeat with the white chocolate. Drizzle the remaining dark chocolate atop the white chocolate bark, and drizzle the remaining white chocolate over the dark chocolate bark.

Let harden, then break into small pieces.

03 December 2009

Le grand retour

Friends, I have been remiss. Alas, my day job is fully satisfying. 'Tis my dream: To be surrounded by fully supportive, wonderful people whose mission aligns completely with my moral and ethical code.

I sleep well.

Except for tonight.

Lately, my dear old blog has been neglected, as hass my creative spirit. I no longer photograph food. I come home from yoga, a run or the gym starving, like those damn vampires in the series I dislike so much. I am, as Heather so eloquently deemed it, hangry.

My food is quite often a mishmash of Mexican or a conglomeration of Korean foods. But it's good and plentiful. I miss sharing recipes and taking notes. I feel too cool for school after three summers of sniffing produce and feeling up tomatoes. Have I gone hard, like the supermarket produce that has once again begun to appear in my cart?

I vow to return. Weekly, or better. I'm good enough (better, actually), smart enough, and doggone it, people like, nay, love me.

It's time to prioritize, focus on me and share my good eats.

But first, I must learn how to photograph food to save my life.