Coconut Pecan Granola

I’d like to say I’m a granola aficionado.  I’ve tried out many different combinations and this one will always be a favorite.  I’d urge you to make your own granola, because it is amazing how much sugar can be packed into the store-bought stuff.  Cascadian Farms Oats and Honey Granola used to be my favorite, before I considered that 14 grams of sugar in just 2/3 of a cup hardly constitutes anything more than a dessert.  I think the key to a good granola is using the right type of oatmeal.  Quick oats are already cut up, meaning they make a flaky, powdery granola.  Regular oats are a safe choice, but I have found that thick-cut oats (available in bulk at Whole Foods Market) make the best crunchy granola.  I’d highly recommend using them for your homemade granola endeavors.

IMG_1937

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups thick cut oats

1/2 cup wheat bran or oat bran

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup pecans

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cherries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Combine oats, bran, coconut, and pecans in a large bowl.  Melt the coconut oil and mix together with maple syrup and vanilla.  Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Stir mixture and add dried cherries.  Bake for 15 more minutes, or until granola is browning and house smells fragrant.

This granola is delicious on its own, or in a bowl with milk or yogurt.

Advertisements

Why “More Than Kale”?

The title for this blog is based on the fact that there is more to healthy eating than gorging yourself in a bowl full of kale. Working in a health foods grocery store, as a healthy eating specialist, I was exposed to lots of customers looking to get healthy with one or two foods. One day it was white mulberries, the next it was dark cherry juice concentrate, and there was a distinct correlation between what Dr. Oz was touting as the new fat-blaster and what customers came in looking for. Some thought they’d overhaul their life by detoxing on concoctions of maple syrup and lemon juice. In the end, my best advice for healthy eating is what we’ve been hearing all along… eat fruits and vegetables! There is no magic potion to run out and buy for your fridge or pantry, but commit to spending most of your grocery budget on fresh produce and learn to enjoy it!  It is my hope that these recipes will help spark some appreciation for all the fresh goodness out there.

This veggie plate features a sweet potato with a pat of Earth Balance butter, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, roasted beets with an orange vinaigrette, and sautéed kale with a bit of garlic salt.

IMG_1309

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

It’s summer and nothing tastes better than a red, ripe strawberry that sends juice dripping down your chin.  Okay, so I can’t recall ever having juice from a strawberry dripping down my face, but the image is so classically summer. I always freeze any fruit that looks like it might be going overripe.  It happens a lot with bananas and berries.  I also discovered that fresh rhubarb freezes quite well when cut in little chunks and can be used just like the fresh stuff.  For this recipe, we used frozen rhubarb and strawberries and it made it so easy!  Anyone out there looking for a recipe that is gluten-free and vegan, this is your dessert… but don’t fear butter lovers, this recipe will not disappoint.

IMG_1894

Ingredients:

1 cup rhubarb

1 cup strawberries

Zest and juice from half a lemon

2 Tbsp honey (more if you prefer a sweeter crisp)

1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup chopped cashews

2/3 cup almond flour

1 Tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp coconut oil

 

Instructions:

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl (rhubarb through cornstarch) until well blended.  In a separate bowl combine next 5 ingredients (cashews through salt) and blend completely.  Combine honey and coconut oil until mixed.  Add honey and oil to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  In a small baking dish or ramekin add the fruit mixture and top with crumble.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until fruit mixture just begins to bubble.  Top with vanilla ice cream for a perfect summer dessert!

Beet Walnut Burgers

Saturday in Madison means the farmer’s market (Madison is home to the country’s largest outdoor farmers market!), which is where Courtenay and I spent a good part of our morning.  When we entered the sea of people moving in a slow heard around the Capitol the first thing we saw was bunches of beets for $1.  Courtenay and I love beets!!!  Something about their slightly sweet taste and rich, purple color I find so satisfying.  We bought a few bunches and brought them home to experiment.  We pickled a few with eggs, but the rest went into beet walnut burgers.  They were a little crumbly, but the flavor was delicious and we both were very happy with our efforts.

Beet Walnut Burgers

Beet Walnut Burger

Ingredients:

Small yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup walnuts

1/4 cup raisins

1 cup cooked beets, shredded

1 tsp paprika

1/2 cup lentils, cooked

3/4 cup brown rice, cooked

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Saute onion in a bit of oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add walnuts, raisins, beets, and paprika, and cook until walnuts begin to toast and flavors begin to blend, about 5 minutes.  Add to a food processor and process until combined, but not smooth.  It’s okay to still see the individual ingredients, you just want to chop everything up a bit.  Transfer to mixing bowl.  Add lentils and rice to food processor with salt and pepper.  Process until combined.  Add to mixing bowl and form into patties.  Makes about 5 patties, depending on size.

To cook patties, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan.  Place burgers into pan, cook until browning on both sides, about 5 minutes.  Serve with goat cheese spread and zucchini noodles.