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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One day, three recipes

First, please remember to enter the giveaway for Picky Bars! Info in this post. Giveaway closes on Thursday and winner is announced on Friday.

Also, I have a new story on CultureMap about making homemade granola. Link here.

Sunday was busy in my kitchen, and no desserts came out. That’s a good thing. I am still hooked on Terry Walters’ book Clean Food and found a recipe for corn chowder that is “cleaner” than traditional chowder. To go with this, I made Kale Chips because I found kale at the grocery store for 99 cents. A gigantic bunch of organic kale for under one dollar. It was so big, it took up a whole shelf in my refrigerator. Don’t say eating green and organic is expensive. 99 cents!

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I also found black quinoa at the grocery (I’m talking about Central Market if you live in Texas) in the bulk bins and wanted to try this recipe for Black Quinoa Pudding with Blueberries that Emily made last week.

Here’s the details about all of the recipes.

Black Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

Emily made this recipe last week that is a spinoff of rice pudding using black quinoa. Quinoa, which I’ve cooked with before, is a grain but very high in protein and very good for you. This dish was packed with protein, sweetness, and a berry flavor. I ate it for breakfast one day, but it is definitely great as a snack or dessert too. Quinoa comes in many colors, but I hadn’t tried black before. It’s very mysterious.

Ingredients:

I cut the original recipe in half because it was just me that was going to try this, and I didn’t want to use a whole pint of blueberries. I also added bananas to the mix.

This would serve 2 for a breakfast, 3 for a snack or dessert probably.

  • 1/2 C dry black quinoa
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1/2 C light coconut milk (I could only find the large containers of Silk so I’ll be drinking coconut milk with cereal and in smoothies this month)
  • 1/2 C your milk on hand or soymilk
  • 1/8 C honey
  • 1/2 C blueberries
  • 1/2 banana, sliced

Instructions:

  • First, black quinoa is cooked the same way as other quinoa, so fill a pot with 3/4 C water and add the 1/2 C quinoa, adjust according to how much you do. Cook and stir until water is dissolved.
  • In a separate soup pot, combine coconut milk and regular milk and honey, stir until honey dissolves and milk starts to simmer.
  • When quinoa is cooked, add to the milk pot and stir for a few minutes so milk can start to thicken.
  • Add blueberries and banana and remove from heat.
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. I stirred every so often because the quinoa tends to sink to the bottom.

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I ate a cup of this for breakfast and it was a nice change from traditional breakfast. The coconut milk was new to me too, with its strong naturally sweet coconut flavor. And the quinoa adds a nice nutty and chewy texture. I liked the addition of bananas as well.

I did not think that the mixture thickened as much as I expected, and I also let mine sit overnight. I think I expected it to become more like a drippy yogurt but it was still very milky.

The color of mine was more purple so the blueberries definitely influenced that. Emily’s did not look so purple in her photos. You could wait a little longer on the stovetop before adding blueberries. I would try that next time.

Regardless, it was a packed with protein and was a filling dish. Colorful too.

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Other recipes using quinoa:

Corn Chowder

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Ingredients:

  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 C frozen corn kernels
  • 5 C milk (I would change this to 3 C milk, 2 C water)
  • more salt and pepper for seasoning
Instructions:

  • In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until soft.
  • Add celery, carrots, potatoes, and salt and saute until vegetables are soft.
  • Add corn and milk/water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. (we had to watch ours carefully so it didn’t boil over.
  • Remove from heat and puree in a blender. We pureed about 3/4 of the soup and left the rest to keep some chunky texture.
  • Season with salt and pepper (we used a lot of salt and pepper).
This would serve 4 moderate sized appetites, 3 hungry ones. Or if it was part of a course and not the main course, it would serve more.

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Kale Chips

I have made these once before, but like most things, it takes time to perfect.

This time, I made them right when I wanted to eat them instead of letting them sit for a while. Keeping them hot out of the oven is important. I also tore them into bite sized pieces before cooking, because they are very hard to cut. Tearing the stem off is also important too. Here’s how it works:

Ingredients:

  • Gigantic bunch of kale
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika

Instructions:

(see this post for some step by step pictures of kale chips)

  • Tear leaves off of the stem and place in bowl of water to clean. Tear into small pieces and dry very well.
  • Lay on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. You can crowd them on, they’ll shrink up.
  • Season with cooking spray on top, then salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes, but watch so they don’t burn. They should be crispy but not burnt on the edges.
  • Season with paprika out of the oven and eat once cooled.

These are great as a side dish, in a salad, and since it’s just greens, you can eat a lot. It’s also a dark leafy green, which is the most nutritious kind.

Kale has a kind of bitter taste and can be chewy if you eat a stalk. The seasonings and tearing from the stalk helps this.

Other recipes with kale: Lean Green Salad

It was a busy  Sunday in the kitchen, but that’s my kind of Sunday. It’s great because all of these recipes made more than enough for one day. Cook once, enjoy for days.

What’s your favorite thing to cook on Sundays?

Quick plug: If you like my blog, would you nominate me for the Women’s Healthy Blog Roll? Click here. If you’re a blogger, let me know and I’ll reciprocate too.

Three Things Thursday

First things first, some blog announcements…

  • If you’d like to get my blog posts to your email box daily, my RSS feed wasn’t working but it is now. Just look over to the right where it says “subscribe” and enter your email address.
  • You can also add me to your Google Reader if you use that tool. (And if not, why? It’s the best for keeping up with blogs.)
  • I updated my About Me page a few weeks ago, but just noticed it somehow defaulted back to the old version. It has been re-updated to answer more questions and give you some more info about how I became interested in cooking, blogging, etc. If you have questions, let me know. Would love to add them.

1. Oatmeal Parfait

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This was a fun way to eat hot oatmeal. I made it pretty in a tall glass with a surprise toppings layer in between.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C Steel cut oats
  • 1/5 T flax meal
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/3 C almond milk
  • 1 T raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • few shakes chia seeds
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 banana mashed
  • topped with coconut and pumpkin butter

Instructions:

  • Bring water to a simmering boil, add oats and flax and whisk. Add milk and whisk. Add rest of ingredients and let heat and bubble until thick.
  • Pour half in a glass, then add toppings of choice, then the other half of the oats, and more toppings.
  • A fun way to not run out of toppings! I also really like pumpkin butter because it is a sweet and savory jam like consistency but fewer calories and fat than peanut butter and adds a great taste for the morning. And the coconut looks like confetti.

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2. Leftovers and new placemats

We have had some great leftovers around our house this week, and leftovers for lunch or dinner are delish. This plate has hummus from Sunday (so good), cranberry sauce, potatoes, green beans, and 6 bites of steak from Monday night (really good too but not a lot of meat leftover!), steamed spinach, tomato and carrots.

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Notice my new placemats? I went to World Market, a store I used to think was boring, but it was so fun. I contained myself and only bought two placemats (they’re reversible to it’s like two designs for one), and some yellow cloth napkins. We have two sets of placemats, but one is dry clean only, so that’s no fun to get dirty. And since we are only two people usually, I didn’t want to buy a whole set. They had great dinnerware and serving pieces there!

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3. Airrosti

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I want to spend a whole post about this new therapy I’m trying, but for now, check out my taped leg. I am doing a few sessions at a place called Airrosti that is kind of a hybrid of physical therapy with chiropractor to promote rapid recovery of muscles and injuries. We are working specifically on my right IT Band (also blogged here) and my leg will pretty much be bruised until I complete treatment. Like real bruised.

I have been two times so far, and my running is improving. The hope is that the doctor can heal my pain by manually stretching the muscle with her thumbs in a way that stretching and resting cannot do.
This is just a preview, and I will spend more time sharing this story when I run more and see results. I am like my own science experiment.
If you see me walking around with gigantic bruises running down my leg, Jeffrey didn’t beat me.
See you tomorrow!

Strawberry Banana Nut Butter Muffins

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Ok y’all, I wasn’t planning on getting into Valentine’s Day foods but I had an itch to make muffins, and thought why not make them go with the holiday. In one day, you could have breakfast and dessert from a muffin shape. I’ll think about what you could have for lunch and dinner out of a muffin. Perhaps a cornbread muffin with your dinner? Or mac and cheese cooked in little cups?

Anyway, back to these muffins…they are really good and pretty health conscious too. There’s two fruits–strawberries and bananas. There’s two nuts–pecans and peanut butter, and no butter or oils. Fluffy on the inside, nice and light.

The peanut butter flavor is pretty evident, the color is golden, and the pecans provide a nice crunch.

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Strawberry Banana Nut Butter Muffins

inspired by Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 C unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C almond milk
  • 5 T nut butter (I used a smooth operator creamy peanut butter), warm in microwave to get a little looser for mixing
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 large banana mashed, left chunky
  • 3/4 C strawberries, chopped + a few slices for topping

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375*. Grease muffin tin with Pam and set aside.
  • In one bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans, baking soda, baking powder).
  • In medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (1 egg, beaten, peanut butter, maple syrup, milk)
  • Add wet to dry and mix well.
  • Fold in strawberries and banana.
  • Mix well together by hand, no mixer needed.
  • Scoop into muffin tin. Should make 12 large muffins.
  • Bake for 25 minutes and let cool.

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Does this little plate say “Be my valentine?” or what?

P.S. New story on CultureMap about Valentine’s Day etiquette. I met Lizzie Post, the great-great granddaughter to etiquette expert Emily Post. We talked about how to shop smart for V-Day.

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