Category Archives: Breakfast Foods

Clean Eating Cranberry Granola and Degrees of Crunchiness

Yum yum, in my tum! Or on top of homemade Greek yoghurt.

Yum yum, in my tum! Or on top of homemade Greek yoghurt.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pioneer. I had read all of the Little House on the Prairie books, and wanted to be living on a prairie, making my own bread, sewing, wearing a bonnet, and so on. Today I make my own bread, I sew, and…I don’t wear a bonnet.

Given that I wanted to be a pioneer, it’s no surprise that I tend to make pretty wholesome food, decadent chocolate desserts notwithstanding. That said, I’ve left my pioneer day behind and these days, am showing more of a hippy-ish streak. Quoi, you ask? Well…I’ve mastered making my own yoghurt (mostly because I wanted to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet), and my latest love-love-love-it food: granola!!! Or better yet, mixing homemade yoghurt with homemade granola! And that’s the hippy-ness I was talking about. (If I had Birkenstocks, I would be a granola-eating Birkenstock wearing stereotype. But I don’t. Down with stereotypes, people!)

I’ve tried several recipes over the course of the last few months (chocolate almond granola, anyone?) and found that they all seem to suggest too long a roasting time in the oven. My chocolate almond granola burnt after too long in the oven (which I stubbornly ate, because chocolate). So when I came across a recipe on The Prudent Homemaker website that only called for a short period of roasting, I was intrigued!

Of course, me being me, I modified the recipe. I added some things in, I changed some amounts, I threw in flax seeds because I have too much flax in my kitchen, and then I ate the entire batch within a couple of days. By myself. Just me. (I have no regrets. Was fibre-licious!)

Speaking of pioneers and hippies, check out The Prudent Homemaker website. This woman has eight kids (!) and manages to homeschool all of them, while growing a hugggge amount of food (in the desert yet), cooking from scratch, AND doing it all on a minute budget. I think she is the closest thing to superwoman I will ever come across. What I really love about the site though, besides the encouraging vibe, is her focus on making life beautiful. I think everyone could use more beauty in their lives.

And granola, because this granola is da’ BOMB! (It’s really good, is what I’m saying.) Try it out, modify it to suit your tastes, serve it to others and wait for their stunned reaction when you casually mention that you made it yourself, and pop it into canning jars with pretty labels and give it away as gifts. Which is what I plan to do for Christmas. (Only 2 1/2 months away, people!) The pepitas and dried cranberries give a nice green and red theme to the granola, perfect for Christmas.

Lookin' wholesome!

Lookin’ wholesome!

Clean Eating Cranberry Granola (adapted from The Prudent Homemaker, props yo’)

  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, but I like cranberries because of the slight chewiness. Also, I like lots of dried fruit. If you don’t, decrease the amount of dried fruit that you add.)
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • ½ c. pepitas
  • ¼ c. flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp. flax meal

Mix together everything but the dried fruit, and spread that mixture on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and toasty looking. Make sure to stir the mixture once or twice during the roasting, in order to get an evenly toasted granola.

Once granola is cooked and cooled, stir in dried fruit. And enjoy!!!  Makes the equivalent of a box of (healthy) granola from the grocery store. Or, enough for me for a week. (Is delicious!)

If you make this recipe, let me know how you modified it! I’d love to get some inspiration from my blog readers!

Next Post: Apple Pie, French-Style! Or…easy-peasy homemade yoghurt. Or apple custard! So many yummy things to blog about, what’s a gal to do!

Linking up at Southern Plate this week! And this one!

Memories of Meals Past: Quesitos, A Pastry By Any Other Name

Crunchy, cream-cheesy bites of sweetness!

Crunchy, cream-cheesy bites of sweetness!

Things that go together: doughnuts and coffee, sugar and spice, cheese and crackers, me and anything chocolate, and…cooking and drag queens?!???

Apparently so! The other day I came across a funny youtube video when I was surfing the net for cooking videos. The title of the series is “Cooking with Drag Queens“, and it is, literally, a cooking show where the hosts cook with drag queens. In full drag. The dishes seem nice if not polished to a T, but the drag queens are definitely polished and then some! (I wish my hair was half as good). The show isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I did find it fun, and liked the documentary parts of each episode the best. And then of course I had to try one of the recipes!

Which recipe? Quesitos! Because they sound like a version of the Venezeulan cachitos that the DH introduced me to (my waistline will never be the same). Quesitos are a pastry filled with sweetened cream cheese; very easy to nom upon. Cachitos are sort of like mozzarella sticks covered in dough and fried, but much tastier than that description. Personally, I wonder if there are many versions of cachitos/quesitos/cheese-filled pastries-savory-sweet-or-otherwise floating around Latin America.

Whether or not there’s any relationship between the two cheese pastries, I decided to try the recipe shown in the youtube video, but with a classic me twist (substitutions, oh YEAH!). Instead of the filo dough that the hosts suggested, I used spring roll wrappers that I had sitting in my freezer. And instead of the brown sugar that they suggested to sprinkle on top, I ground up some of the cane sugar block that I had in my kitchen cupboard (courtesy of a shopping trip by the DH to a South American store).

The results? I loooooved that filling! So yum! The spring roll wrapper pastry I wasn’t super thrilled about, and the filo pastry, eh, I’m just not feeling it. I’m not sure what the best wrapper would be. Any suggestions, my cooking confreres?  Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Buns, buns, bunnnnnnssssss…aka Dinner Roll Odyssey. I’m pretty sure. Or maybe chocolate cake.

Memories of Meals Past: Carrot Muffins & Apple-Pear Butter

Fluffy, moist, and vegelicious!

Fluffy, moist, and vegelicious!

I had some carrots in the fridge that I wanted to use up, and I was craving something sweet but healthy, so last night I made carrot muffins using this recipe. I meant to post it last night but after baking until the wee hours of the morning, I thought I should actually get some sleep, so while it’s not a tbt feature, it is technically a memory of meals past. Good enough, I say!

In terms of the recipe, I swapped the raisins for dried cranberries, since I don’t keep raisins in the house (not a big raisin fan) but I always I have dried cranberries for baking. I also stirred in about 1/3 c. ground flax seeds, because I had them in the fridge and why not add some omega-fatty-acids? Good for the brain and all that! And then I added a pinch of ground cloves.

If I made it again, I would add some additional spices, and definitely some nuts. I had this warm out of the oven with some chilled homemade apple-pear butter (I used this recipe but subbed in some pears for some apples because why not), and OMG, my mouth was in Autumnal heaven! The flavours of fall all melded together and became so drool-worthy that my mouth is watering again as I type this, no joke.

I didn’t read the comments on the recipe beforehand, and if I had, I probably would have reduced the amount of oil in the recipe, just to up the healthiness quotient, but they turned out fantastic, so maybe I wouldn’t have after all.

I packed a muffin and some apple-pear butter for lunch today, and then ate them while sitting with a couple of cool cats. I offer pictorial proof.

Not catnip-flavoured? Not interested.

Not catnip-flavoured? Not interested.

Cat was curious but not impressed. But if you make these, your mouth will be! Just be sure to add in those additional spices. And if you do, let me know what combo of spice you favour for flavour!

Next Post: Peanut butter cups! Really! And wine jelly bonbons.

All-Natural, Protein-Rich Smoothies & How to Eat Your (Hidden) Greens

Can't see the kale, can't taste the kale...but it's in there!

Can’t see the kale, can’t taste the kale…but it’s in there!

One of my friends is a holistic nutritionist and recently ran a 30-day smoothie challenge on her fb page. Shout out to @KarinRHN! She lives in a converted schoolhouse, goes on wildfood foraging adventures, and grows her own heritage vegetables. Needless to say, she’s living a holistic foodie’s dream. I normally just eat cereal for breakfast (works for my IBS issues, I’ve found), but her gorgeous pictures of smoothies, and her delicious sounding recipes inspired me to create my own smoothie.

I also came across some dried kale powder in Bulk Barn last week and thought it would be the perfect addition to a smoothie. I ignored the additive-rich protein powder in the bin beside it, and went for the pure stuff: 100% dried kale. I put it on my kitchen counter to remind me to make smoothies for breakfast.

So smoothies were on my mind. And then I came across a recipe on Buzzfeed last week, that talked about adding almond butter to smoothies, and I thought, huh, I’ve got peanut butter…I wonder if that works?

Let me tell you, it does! Read on for the super-easy, super-DELICIOUS recipe!

Invisible Kale Smoothie

  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter (all natural, chunky)
  • 1/3 c. frozen Ontario strawberries
  • 1/3 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 c. ice cubes
  • 1 c. Greek yoghurt, vanilla
  • 1 generous tsp. dried kale powder
  • 2 tsp. ground flax seeds (ground, so you can digest them)
  • optional topping: homemade chocolate granola

Blend all ingredients together. And…done! If it’s a bit thick, you can add in a bit of milk, but I like mine thick so I rarely add that in.

What’s awesome about this recipe is that the Greek Yoghurt and peanut butter make it high in protein, the ground flax seed gives it a dose of omega-fatty acids, and the frozen fruit and kale powder gives you a generous dose of fruits and veggies. Basically, it couldn’t get any healthier!

And it tastes soooo good! Fruity, creamy, and with a hint of peanutty goodness! Mmm…I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow!

Next Post: Peanut Butter Cups or Grind-Your-Own Garam Malasa? Choices, choices!

Maple-Cinnamon-Walnut Monkey Bread, with Apples

Baked and about to  be eat! Oh, sticky deliciousness!

Baked and about to be eaten! Oh, sticky deliciousness!

I saw a recipe for maple apple cinnamon buns a few months ago, and it inspired me to create this deliciously sticky brunch (or dessert!) recipe. It’s a quick bread, so there’s no waiting for the dough to rise, which means it’s actually pretty quick to put together and bake. And just like my pumpkin cinnamon buns, there’s corn starch in the dough, so they’re extra fluffy, which I like!

The maple flavour is subtle but adds a nice note to the brown sugar flavour. My favourite bits are the crunchy sides. Mmm…buttery, crunchy, maple-y bites! You can double the recipe to make a much more sizeable monkey bread, but you’d need to have a large family to eat it all! Or the metabolism of a racehorse. Neither of which I have.

Maple Cinnamon Walnut Monkey Bread with Apples

Dough:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. milk 

Everything Else:

  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into little chunks

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and cut in the butter until it looks like peas. Mix in the milk, and set aside the dough. It’ll be lumpy and wet, but that’s ok!

Mix the melted butter and maple syrup. Set aside. Mix the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon and set aside.

Ring of yumminess!

Ring of yumminess!

Get a bundt pan and put it in your workspace. Roll the dough into little chunks, the size of Timbits (doughnut holes, for all you non-Canadians out there). Take each little ball of dough, and roll it in the butter/maple syrup mixture, and then in the cinnamon/brown sugar/nutmeg mixture. Place in the bundt pan. Repeat until you have a ring of little balls all around the base of the pan. Sprinkle half the walnuts and half the apple chunks over them. Repeat with remaining dough balls, and remaining walnuts and apples chunks. If there is any of the brown sugar mixture left, sprinkle that on the very top, and pour the remaining maple syrup and butter mixture over the very top.  

Bake in a 400 degree oven for half an hour, and then let sit for at least 15 minutes so that the syrup cools and holds the dish together. Loosen the edges of the bread, place a plate on top and invert. Remove the pan and voila, your fancy-looking dish is done!

Monkey bread before baking. The nuts and apples make it healthy, yes?

Monkey bread before baking. The nuts and apples make it healthy, yes?

You can drizzle a simple glaze on top like I did, but it’s probably healthier not to. I just mixed up some icing sugar with a dash of milk and vanilla extract and drizzled it with a fork right on top of the warm monkey bread.

Then the DH and I dug in! Only half is left now. I think I’ll freeze the rest, because after eating that much, all I can think of is floating in a cool vat of iced cucumber water. So cool. So cleansing. There must be a spa treatment like that out there! *grin*

Next Post: Baked Zucchini Coins — a low-fat and tasty way to satisfy your French fry craving while eating green veggies.