Search Results for: granola

Back to Basics: Granola

I have a new idea for the blog–a series on basics. Not all recipes can be creative, take a half a day to make, or use lots of ingredients. And not all weeks have original content all the time! We like repeats too, especially when they are awesome. It also takes a lot of time to continuously find new things to try and write about!

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This week, we’re talking about granola! If you were reading about a year ago, I was on a granola kick. There were bars, sticky bites, loose granola. It was crunchy, sticky, one burnt batch from not watching close enough, and some were fruity or full of good spices. We went through a lot of Quaker Oats!

Recently, I’d been thinking about granola again. I like it with breakfast, on top of yogurt for a snack, and I had a lot of raisins in my pantry.

I referred to my favorite recipe from last year and made some modifications based on what I had in the pantry. From the original recipe, I accidentally left out the brown sugar and didn’t notice in the taste. I don’t have flax meal in the pantry anymore, and I used more raisins instead of craisins. I also didn’t have almonds so I used more pecans and peanuts. Use what you have!

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Oatmeal Raisin Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 C old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 C pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 C unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 C sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C gold rainsins
  • 1/2 C black raisins
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T smooth peanut butter

Instructions:

  • Mix maple syrup, applesauce and peanut butter in a small pan on the stovetop and let simmer for 8-10 minutes over low heat. It will get thick and caramel-like. Don’t let it burn.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the wet to the dry once thickened.
  • Pour on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 300* for 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15.**
  • Cool for 20 minutes before eating.

For this batch, I actually had to take Lily for a walk while the granola was baking. She insisted. I turned the oven off at about 20 minutes and left the tray in. It was perfectly done when I got back. Just watch your batch so it doesn’t burn!

 

Oatmeal Raisin Granola
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • Oatmeal Raisin Granola
  • 2.5 C old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ C pecans, chopped
  • ¼ C unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ C sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ C gold rainsins
  • ½ C black raisins
  • ¼ C maple syrup
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T smooth peanut butter

Instructions
  1. Mix maple syrup, applesauce and peanut butter in a small pan on the stovetop and let simmer for 8-10 minutes over low heat. It will get thick and caramel-like. Don’t let it burn.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the wet to the dry once thickened.
  3. Pour on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 300* for 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15.**
  5. Cool for 20 minutes before eating.

High Protein Granola

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Granolas can be a little risky to have in your pantry because they are usually high in sugar and fat. I like to live on the edge, but I also like to find a better-for-you alternative.

One of my favorite sites, Oh She Glows, made this lightened up granola a few days ago. What intrigued me about it was that it didn’t have any dried fruit, and it used millet. She also didn’t use any oil, which adds calories fast, and used simple things I had at home. I did make a few substitutions for what I had at home.

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I subbed quinoa for the millet because that’s what I had, and added raisins after it came out of the oven, I learned that trick a few batches ago when the raisins burned while cooking with the granola. And I don’t make my own nut butter. I tried once and flopped.

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Lighter Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds, I mixed some slivered and some whole
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 T ground flax meal
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 2 T applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Brown Rice Syrup
  • 3 T peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat.
  • In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.In a medium sized bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (except for the  extracts). Microwave for about 60 seconds. Now stir in the extracts until combined.
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir well until everything is coated.
  • Scoop onto baking sheet, spread out.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once half way through baking. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet. Makes about 5 cups. Store in an air-tight container for 1-2 months.
  • Add raisins after it comes out of the oven if desired.

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This granola was super crunchy and crispy. It had plenty of clumps too. I like adding raisins because they are like the little prize that you hope to get in each scoop, but it’s not necessary. If you thought quinoa in granola was strange, it’s no big deal. Just adds more protein and crunch.

If you’ll notice from the ingredients, there are a lot of superfoods. From the quinoa to flax meal to chia seeds to oats and peanut butter, there’s a lot of power for energy. Lots going on in this recipe! Added with yogurt or milk, it’s a great combo of protein and carbs, necessary every time you eat.

If you are unfamiliar with brown rice syrup, it is very sticky and has a distinct flavor. If you find you don’t like the flavor of the finished product, you could sub maple syrup.

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So are you going to give it a try?

High Protein Granola
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 5 cups
 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup almonds, I mixed some slivered and some whole
  • ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 T ground flax meal
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 2 T applesauce
  • ¼ cup Brown Rice Syrup
  • 3 T peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.In a medium sized bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (except for the  extracts). Microwave for about 60 seconds. Now stir in the extracts until combined.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir well until everything is coated.
  4. Scoop onto baking sheet, spread out.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once half way through baking. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet. Makes about 5 cups. Store in an air-tight container for 1-2 months.
  6. Add raisins after it comes out of the oven if desired.

Simple Cinnamon Raisin Granola

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I’ve been thinking that I should give you an update on fitness and things not food related. I realized that my posts have been very food heavy and not fitness related in a while.

But first, granola!


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On my quest for a simple and low calorie granola, I came up with this one. It is mostly oat based with less dried fruit than some of my other versions. It’s crispy and crunchy, and a great addition to yogurt as breakfast or a snack, or to munch on by itself. Stored in a container, it will last quite a while.

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Cinnamon Raisin Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 C almonds (mixed whole and slivered)
  • 1 T flax meal
  • 2 T applesauce
  • 2 T apple juice
  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup (can sub honey)
  • 1 C raisins
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

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Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • Mix dry ingredients and spices in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, apple juice and brown rice syrup. Stir with a spoon to incorporate.
  • Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
  • Spray cooking spray on baking sheet and pour granola on top. Spread evenly to cover baking sheet.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.
  • Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

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One thing I might change is to not bake the raisins with the granola and add them in when it’s done. They expanded in the oven and then came back down to size, but tasted a little more crispy than soft. I would also add more cinnamon for a more vibrant flavor, maybe 1 T cinnamon.

I really liked the crisp-ness of the oats without the brown rice cereal which I use sometimes in granola. The coconut toasted nicely in the oven, and the flavor came from nutmeg and cinnamon.

A fitness update:

Well, if you’ve been following along, you might remember that I’ve been having pains along my right leg for quite a while. No one likes a complainer, so I just stopped writing about it. I’ve been doing some physical therapy, got a cortisone shot, had an x-ray, have stopped running for a few weeks, and continue to stretch and not do too much on my foot. My right ankle area is strained, which should get better with time, and my right IT Band continues to be a booger only when I run.

To make up for not running, I have been walking more, doing the elliptical, stair master, jumping rope, etc. I still do CrossFit two days per week which is still the most intense workouts I do. I would like to start swimming again, but for now I enjoy being outside since the weather is nice. When it gets really hot, I’ll want to get in the pool again. It could be tomorrow when it’s mid-80s, who knows.

I am glad that 2010 was the year of racing for me, because my right leg will not have it right now. Even though the half marathon in December was what really triggered some major lingering pains, I am very glad I accomplished it! And I’ll deal with my leg over time.

Until then, I don’t have many fitness related goals, except to keep exercising and sweating and challenging myself. I have some CrossFit related goals, like to get faster and hustle and to continually lift heavier, so those are good to work toward.

It has been quite a bummer to not be able to run the distances I want, but it could be worse.

 

Granola Bar Bites

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On Friday, I received a package of yogurts from Chobani, and the my brain started churning about what I could make to go with the yogurt to have this week.

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I love granola, but usually like it homemade so I know how it’s made, and have tried many variations.

This time I decided to create a sticky, crumby granola that was more crunchy than crispy, but still filled with fruits and nuts. How’s that for adjectives to describe it?

I sort of combined some different recipes, flavors, and baking techniques to create Granola Bar Bites.

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Granola Bar Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1 C puffed cereal
  • 3/4 C almonds (mixed whole and slivered)
  • 2 T flax meal
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries
  • 1/3 C raisins
  • 1/4 C crumbled banana chips
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 2 T applesauce
  • 2 T creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 C brown sugar

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Instructions:

  • In a medium sized bowl combine all dry ingredients and dried fruit.
  • In a small microwave safe bowl, combine wet ingredients (brown rice syrup, applesauce, peanut butter, brown sugar) and microwave for 20-30 seconds until softer and easier to stir.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to mix well.

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  • Line a small brownie square baking tin (9×9) with parchment paper and pour mixture on.
  • Press down and smooth out well.
  • Bake at 300* for 25-30 minutes or until the top starts to brown.

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  • Remove and place in refrigerator for a few hours before cutting.
  • Remove from refrigerator and lift the parchment paper out of the baking tin.
  • Slice into squares or crumble into pieces.
  • Store in airtight container.
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What I liked about this granola compared to the others was it was really a mix of a crumbly granola and a bar. That’s why it’s called a bite. It did not cut nicely into bars, but didn’t completely crumble either.

I love the cranberries and raisins as they pop in your mouth, but also love the subtle hint of peanut butter and the stickiness from the syrup.

It’s not overly sweet, and is very dense in lots of nuts, seeds, and natural sugars.

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Ingredient Challenge Monday:

This week, the ingredient for the challenge I am participating in is tofu. I didn’t make tofu this weekend (it’s more of a weeknight food for me since I am the only one that eats it), so here is a look at some previous tofu recipes. Tofu is a great source of soy protein and very versatile and easy to cook with. I have only tried firm tofu, but another variety is silken or soft tofu.

 

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No Bake Granola Bars

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I’m still on this granola bar kick, and this time I tried some different ingredients with a no-bake technique. These are packed with nutrients like flax, oats and healthy fats, and some basic spices for added flavor. The peanut butter flavor is very strong, and the textures of seeds and crunch is really nice.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 C old fashioned oats
  • 1 C puffed brown rice cereal (or any kind of puffed cereal)
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 C each chopped dates and craisins
  • 2 T ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 C brown rice syrup
  • 1/3 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

A few things to note about ingredients:

I always talk about Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter, but for baking, I use a generic very creamy butter. Partly because it’s cheaper, and also because the texture and flavor is strictly peanuts and more liquidy.

I use dates instead of raisins because I like their added sticky-ness. You can also use any dried fruit, I just always have these in my pantry.

This was my first time using brown rice syrup, which I read a lot about. It is a similar texture to honey, but I have read that one cannot be substituted for the other.

Instructions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and spices.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine vanilla, syrup and peanut butter. Microwave for 20-25 seconds until easier to stir.

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  • Once combined, add the wet to the dry and stir well. The liquid is very thick and sticky so work hard.
  • In a square baking dish, pour mixture evenly and press down with back of spoon. Press it well because it’s not going to bake.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting.

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I flipped mine over to cut them very smoothly. Slice into squares or rectangular bars. Would make 12 bars or about 15 squares.

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Keep refrigerated so the bars stay whole and don’t crumble. I individually wrapped mine in Saran Wrap.

These held together much better than my first try at bars. They are chewy because it wasn’t baked and crunchy because of the puffed cereal. I loved the flavor a lot, love the pieces of dried fruit, and love the look. I still wish they cut prettier and held together better. But for homemade, they are a keeper. Would be great to add to a lunch or have as part of a snack. Or crumble in yogurt or cottage cheese.

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I took mine to California and they traveled great and lasted until they were gone.
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Banana Nut Granola Bars

Making granola is fun and pretty simple, and there’s so many ways to change it up. I wanted to try making granola bars(as opposed to granola pieces) and try a new flavor, so here you have Banana Nut Granola Bars. [Read more...]

Crunchy Fruity Granola

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I used to not like granola hanging around the house because it is really not a healthy food, even though you might think it is. It can be very high in sugar and calories from oil, dried fruit, and extra sugars. And it can have a lot of preservatives to make it last a long time in your pantry. The alternative to buying granola, even if it’s gourmet and made in a grocery like a Whole Foods house brand granola, is making your own where you control the ingredients. Here is my latest obsession–crunch, fruity granola clusters.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 C old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 C almonds (about half each whole and slivered or sliced)
  • 1/2 C pecans
  • 2 T ground flax meal
  • 2 T sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C craisins
  • 1/3 C raisins
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 2 T applesauce
  • 2 T smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 C brown sugar

Instructions:Boil the wet ingredients on the stovetop and let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

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Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the wet to the dry once thickened.

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Pour on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

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Bake at 300* for 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15.

Cool for 20 minutes before eating. If you can wait that long.

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What I liked best about this granola is that it was crunchy and there were little clumps that stuck together. I have made granola in the past, like here and here, which were good, but this is better. I store it in a tupperware container and it lasts a long time. My favorite ways to eat it are plain as a munchy snack, on top of oatmeal for a crunch, in milk for a little snack, on top of cottage cheese, or in yogurt with a high-fiber cereal.

If you try this one, let me know what you think! It’s one of the best recipes I’ve created.

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P.S. I have a new story all about making perfect oatmeal on CultureMap. Click here to see it.

Product Comparison–Granola

Galaxy Granola

Bear Naked Granola

   

  

  

  

 I love granola, but I feel best eating it when I know what’s in it, and that it’s good for me. For a long time, I ate Bear Naked Granola because I liked their story, their grassroots background, and of course the taste. But I always ate it in moderation because it has 7 grams of fat per 1/4 cup serving. That is a lot! I know, good fats, etc. But it can’t be that good. Also calorie dense.Then I recently discovered Galaxy Granola. They bake their oats in fruit, not fat. Their servings are 115 calories per 1/4 cup and only 1.4 grams of fat. That’s a big difference! 

On a blind taste test if I didn’t know the nutritional info, I would probably pick Bear Naked. Their chunks are more filling, and I like their Peak Protein product to bump up the protein. It’s also easier to find in regular grocery stores right now. But knowing the nutritional info, I just bought a new bag of Galaxy Granola. Hard to beat better stats for the same serving size. I recommend the Not Sweet Vanilla, and I just bought Raspberry (has real dried raspberries in it!) 

Granola has never had a great reputation because of it’s fat content, so Galaxy’s push at lowering the fat wins in my book. 

And by the way, my favorite way to eat granola is with cottage cheese. 

Question of the day: Have you tried either? Which gets your vote? 

 

Fall Favorites

Two years ago, I blogged every day and posted recipes and trials in the kitchen all the time. I love October and Fall flavors and colors and spent lots of time baking with pumpkin, cooking foods I hadn’t made at home before like butternut squash and parsnips, and taking time to take pictures.

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I do miss trying all those new things and even creating recipes from scratch. I also miss sharing stories about food and taking detailed pictures of a recipe. My mind is always rushing and I usually would rather spend free time not at the computer.

This October, I am cooking similar things again, just quicker and usually without the photos on my balcony like before. Here are a few posts I wrote in years past of things I’d show you again and things I am creating year after year.

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For more things with pumpkin or Fall flavors (there are lots, start with muffins), check out my Recipes page.

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My Pregnancy Journey: Week 38

Wow for making it to March and Week 38! It’s a relief to make it to March, since all along we’ve been planning for a baby in March. February would have thrown us a curve ball. Next goal is to make it to the move! Then the baby is welcome and encouraged to arrive on its own.

This week, BabyCenter says the baby is the size of a leek and weighs 6.8 pounds and is almost 20 inches long. Again, these don’t mean much to me anymore! Baby is basically cooked and just adding some weight.

I feel about as uncomfortable as I look in this picture. And why is it so hot and humid in this city?!

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Highlights of the week included our final date night last Saturday. We went to a new-to-us restaurant, Philippe, to have one last date before the baby arrives. We hope the next date night won’t be too far off. And I have a feeling it will involve sushi and/or wine when that date comes! Either that or a turkey sandwich.

We also cooked dinner at home for Oscar Sunday, and I made another batch of homemade granola for nibbling and breakfasts.

This is my last week of work for the school year, so that is exciting too. No more packed lunches! Those do get old every day. I reverted back to a first trimester favorite this week–PB&J on a bagel and an apple for lunch. I did compensate by having a colorful Whole Foods salad with tofu for dinner!

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Over the weekend, I also had two walks on the treadmill at the gym. They are still getting more uncomfortable and slow, but at least I’m going! It does feel good to just get dressed and be there.

We are getting a bit more ready for baby and moving. We washed the clothes, sheets and blankets we have, and are trying to stay organized.

My sleeping has been alright. Not as bad as last week’s report. My doctor actually said Tylenol PM is ok to take, so I did take that a few nights and it was so wonderful.

Baby is constantly rolling, kicking, punching, etc. All day long. All night long. It’s like a party all the time. Not saying I don’t like feeling the movements, but I won’t be so nostalgic for it (or anything pregnancy related)! It makes me nervous and they are starting to hurt.

Today I have another doctor’s appointment. Hoping I have made some progress in the right direction, but it’s looking to be doubtful. I will update later if anything changes!

Lily and Jeffrey wanted to say hi. They like having their picture taken too. Jeffrey is practicing the baby cradle hold.

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