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Posts tagged “Sunflower seeds

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve been dreaming of this granola for weeks it seems … dying to make it … looking for pumpkin seeds at the store. I thought about toasting up some out of one of these little pumpkins I have here, but I really wanted those lovely little crunchy green ones that you can get, not the big seeds you pull out of your pumpkin and roast.

I knew I saw some at the grocery store, but every time I went back, they were gone … FINALLY, this morning, I found some! Granola time, baby!

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

So I made this lovely granola with maple syrup and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, honey, dried cranberries and lots of fun seeds and nuts.

But  I’m sorry to say, you’re not going to find the recipe for this delicious holiday granola here …

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve decided it’s time for my blog to have its own space … I think we’ve outgrown the capabilities of Free WordPress and we need to move on … sooo I moved everything over to www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … yes, all of it, all the recipes, all your comments, everything! Tada! Isn’t that magic?

Please go over there to find the recipe for this granola (and ALL of my others!) and while you are there, I would really love it if you would click the link to follow me there. If I am can figure out a way to redirect all of you lovely people who already follow my blog, I will … and for a little while, I will post little ticklers here to remind you I’m hanging out over there now.

So what are you waiting for? Come hang out with me in my new home and get the recipe for this lovely Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola!

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com


Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?

Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings

Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
  2. To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
  3. Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
  4. Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
  5. Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted sunflower seeds

Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Weekend Potluck1 Month of Fun and Talent Show Tuesday.


Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

So we got back from vacation last night after a long long 14-hour drive. I needed some GOOD food today, something that not only tastes good, but has all those super-nutritional things in it that are hard to find when you’re travelling. So I threw together this wilted kale salad. It has just the right mix of protein, fiber, grains, greens and herbs, with a little salty smoky taste from the bacon and cheese and a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds. This was just what I was missing while I was on vacation!

The trip to Yellowstone was lovely, the scenery was spectacular, and it was great to spend time together with my kids where we actually TALKED to each other and joked around and just enjoyed each other’s company … we really had a good time … but there were a few aspects of a normal “vacation” we kind of missed. Trips to the coffee shop. Eating exceptional food. We ate our meals in the car or the hotel for the most part. The first night I tried to get the kids to go out with me, but they were exhausted from the drive and just wanted to chill (and play on their computers) in the hotel room. The second and third days we ate sandwiches in the car and breakfast & dinner in the room. The resort we stayed at had a gas grill, so I cooked up grilled salmon one night and chicken and hot dogs the next, but by the third night we were dying for some really good food OUT. So Wednesday after the tour of my favorite brewery, the Grand Teton Brewing Company (which was wonderful!), we decided to try a brew-pub in Jackson, the Snake River Brewing Company. We were disappointed. The food was okay, but the pretzel was cold and hard, the pizzas and fish and chips were mediocre. It wasn’t the really good food we were hoping for at all on our “big night out”. And after visiting Grand Teton, even the beer tasted kind of blah. The whole experience just made us want to go home.

Oh but before we go on, you need to see the awesome beer I had at the Grand Teton Brewing Company … this is the Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter. I really wanted to bring some home with me, but they didn’t have any bottled for sale … I’m hoping like mad that they DO send some our way soon because I really loved this deep dark beer! The other cool part about our brewery tour was my teenagers each got a bottle of the Black Cherry soda straight off the bottling line, which was REALLY cool. It made them feel much more welcome.

Wake up call Imperial Coffee Porter

(No, there’s no beer in this dish … I just wanted to TELL someone about this awesome beer and the great time we had at the brewery … if you want an awesome recipe for dark beer, check out the Black Cauldron Imperial Chocolate Stout Cake)

Okay, anyway, back to the topic at hand … what were we talking about? Oh yes, the quinoa, kale & bacon salad …

So my daughter and I went shopping for shoes and groceries today. (Way fun on both parts!) I had to get some kale. Kale is my new favorite food. It crisps up delightfully to make kale chips, but you can also quick-steam it for omelets and salads. My friend Sonali, the Foodie Physician can tell you how wonderful kale is for your body … and how to make those crispy fun kale chips. But kale also tastes good, and because kale is so good for you, it makes your body feel wonderful all over when you eat it. The bacon and cheese might even win over some of your more skeptical eaters.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa and Bacon Salad

for each serving, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 slices lean bacon
  • 2 stalks of kale, stems removed, then take the greens and chop or tear them into smaller pieces
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • About 3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • Red robin seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • A few very thin slices of Dubliner cheese (you could substitute Parmesan or Romano if you don’t have Dubliner)
  • About 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a frying pan, fry the bacon until it’s crisp, then remove from pan and set on a clean towel to soak up the excess fat. If there’s any excess fat in the pan, drain it out, but don’t wipe out the pan … leave a micro thin coating of bacon fat on the bottom.
  3. Over medium high heat, throw in the kale along with a splash of water. Stir them around a little. The kale will soften and turn a brilliant green almost immediately.
  4. Add in the quinoa, bacon, vinegar, oil, basil and season to taste.
  5. Pour the salad into a bowl and top with the cheese shards and sunflower seeds.

For me this was a full meal, but you could serve it as a side with some meat if you prefer.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Manic Mondays, Best Healthy Salad Recipes, Recipe of the Week and Summer Salad Sundays.


Almond Berry Granola

Almond Berry Granola

I don’t know what it is with me and breakfasts lately … all my posts seem to be about breakfast. Oh well, breakfast is important. What you eat in the morning sets the tone for your day, so you should make it good.

Granola is the perfect breakfast on mornings when you’re in a rush. Have it with fresh berries and milk, or sprinkle some on your yogurt or ice cream. Or just munch on it for a snack throughout the day. Besides, oats are especially good breakfast food. I was just reading about that yesterday.

If you’ve never made your own granola, just trust me that it’s SO worth it. The house smells heavenly while it’s baking and the result is truly fantastic. Oh so much better than the store-bought stuff. I’m really excited for the mulberries to come in because I think they would be just wonderful with this granola. I see the little baby berries starting on my beloved mulberry tree and I’m almost shivering with excitement. It’s the little things in life …

Almond Berry Granola

Almond Berry Granola

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (or other nuts … I was thinking perhaps 1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pecans might work even better)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/8 cup basil strawberry sauce (recipe below) or strawberry applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (or berry syrup), depending on how sweet you want your granola
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional … leave out the salt if you are watching your sodium)
  • 6 oz. dried berries (I wanted to use strawberries, but couldn’t find any dried strawberries at the store. I dried a few strawberries myself, but it wasn’t enough fruit for my granola, so I added dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix the strawberry sauce, honey, syrup and spices. Microwave on high for a minute, stir, and then microwave 30 seconds more until the mixture is good and hot. (Or heat the mixture in a saucepan. Either way will work.)
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Basil Strawberry Sauce

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lb strawberries

In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water and heat to boiling. Add the basil leaves and cook about 5 minutes. Strain out the basil (or remove with a slotted spoon). Add the strawberries with the simple syrup in the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the strawberries are soft. Remove all the strawberry chunks and put it in a blender or food processor, add some of the syrup and puree to make an applesauce-consistency of strawberry sauce. Reserve the rest of the pretty red syrup for using in mojitos or over pancakes.

Almond Berry Granola

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays and Weekend Potluck.


Homemade Banana Nutella Granola

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

I am completely obsessed with homemade granola. It’s so marvelous to munch on … to have for breakfast in a bowl with milk. To make into a parfait. To sprinkle on ice cream. It’s nothing like that flat-tasting store-bought stuff that to me just tastes like sugar and cardboard. Homemade granola is like 10,000 levels better than that. It’s delicious and decadent and nutty.

And the best part is … it’s easy to make.

This granola has been floating around in my head for a while … ever since I saw this “Granola Fit for a King” recipe, I wanted to make something like it. But I wanted more chocolate. And what’s more chocolate than peanut butter? NUTELLA! Oh yeah. That’s the ticket.

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

Banana Nutella Granola

Adapted from Oh Nuts! Sweet & Crunchy Talk

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flax
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 2 cups mixed nuts (I used 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, 1/2 cup pecan pieces, 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 2/3 cup peanuts)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, Nutella, cinnamon, sea salt and cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet chocolatey banana Nutella mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely chocolate brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. This is the hard part. Let the granola cool COMPLETELY before stirring in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. But it is not likely to last that long …

Homemade Chocolate Banana Nutella Granola

This recipe was shared at Meatless Mondays.


Bread and White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

Bread and White Bean Salad

5,000 likes on facebook! :)Yesterday my little blog reached a new milestone: 5,000 “likes” on my facebook page. I was so excited I took a screenshot! … I have met sooo many wonderful foodie friends through this blog. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me. My foodie friends take me on culinary journeys all over the world, but not only that, they lift me up when I am down, they always have a cheery good morning and a good night, a cup of hot coffee, and oh the amazing foods we share. We have parties together, share stories, food, music, drinks … They are my inspiration, but more than that, they are my friends … I want to do something to celebrate and thank all of you but I wasn’t quite sure what to do. One of my friends suggested “5 different things” … we tossed around some ideas for that … at first I was thinking party foods, but I think I will go with 5 favorite foods.

First of Five Favorites: Salad. One of my very favorite foods is salad. I loooove salad! I think I could eat salad every day. Salads are often meals for me. I dress them up with all sorts of things, and I love to make my own salad dressings. And I love sharing my salads with my foodie friends.

For this salad, I wanted to do something like an Italian Bread Salad with my sunflower spinach parmesan bread, but I didn’t follow a recipe. This salad just sort of “happened”, like a lot of recipes in my kitchen do. I just wing it. Most of the time it turns out pretty good. This one was really good, but I’ll warn you it’s super garlicky. Personally I like that. One of the things I want to do before I die is to get to the garlic festival in Gilroy, CA. I already have two garlic cookbooks from there and they are very well used. We drove through Gilroy once. You can smell the amazing garlic from inside the car. For a couple minutes, our car smelled like an Italian kitchen. I bet everyone in Gilroy cooks with a LOT of garlic. I think I’d fit right in …

Bread & White Bean Salad with Feta and Basil

Bread and White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

Makes 1 “meal-sized” salad or 2-3 side salads. Multiple if you are cooking for more people!

Croutons

Beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked Great Northern, Cannellini or other white beans
  • 2 whole canned tomatoes
  • Granulated garlic
  • Red Robin seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • Italian seasoning

Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Red onions, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Lowfat garlic ranch dressing (I used this one) … or I think a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette would be nice on this salad too …

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and granulated garlic. Cut the bread into cubes, and brush lightly with the olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 – 10 minutes or until the bread is toasted and crunchy.
  2. While the croutons are baking, put the beans in a small bowl and crush the tomatoes over them, allowing the juices to drip into the beans, then add the tomatoes. Season to taste with garlic, Red Robin seasoning and Italian seasoning. Heat the beans in the microwave or a small pan till they are hot.
  3. Assemble the salad: in a salad bowl, toss the greens with the onions, beans, and croutons. Sprinkle with feta, basil leaves, and sunflower seeds and drizzle with the dressing.

Bread & White Bean Salad with Feta & Basil

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysMidweek Fiesta, Cast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

I’ve seen a bunch of chocolate granola in the foodie world lately and oh I ached to do one myself. Because I really really love eating chocolate for breakfast.

I looked at all their recipes and they were all different. Each foodie did their own take on chocolatizing granola, and each one looked perfectly marvelous.

So naturally, I did my own take on it. It’s a little of this recipe, a little of that one, a little of my own inspiration.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut buttter
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Add-ins:
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the wet ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring until well mixed and nicely warmed.
  3. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed.
  4. Spread the granola out onto a large jellyroll pan. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckReal Housewives Recipe Roundup, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Peasant Bread

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

Is that bread … green? Yes. Yes, it is. I know it might look a little odd, but I wanted to try making a green bread for St. Patrick’s Day. Well, the color of the bread after it’s cooked isn’t quite as bright green as I might like, but it is still green. More importantly, it’s delicious. I ate about half of one of the loaves last night by myself. The slight crunch of the sunflowers with the subtle cheese and spinach taste play together so marvelously in this bread. I think this would be the perfect bread for garlic toast, bruschetta, sandwiches, toasted or just plain (like I was eating it last night). It’s tasty enough to munch on with no butter or anything added at all.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

You could make this bread really fancy pretty by making the spinach-cheese into a swirl in the bread instead of incorporating the spinach right into the dough, like I did with my French Bread with Basil & Gruyere.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Peasant Bread

Inspired by Ally’s Kitchen’s Buttermilk Cranberry Walnut Bread. If you don’t have a bread machine, see Ally’s recipe.

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed, with the extra liquid squeezed out, and then chopped fine … reserve any liquid to use as “water”
  • 1/4 cup water (or spinach juice)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 3 cups bread flour (add a little more if needed)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds

Dump all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds into your bread machine and start it on the dough cycle. Check the dough a few minutes after you start it while it’s “processing” to see if the dough is sticking together properly and making a nice ball of dough. If it seems like there is too much flour, add a bit of water. If it seems like the dough is too sticky, add some bread flour.

About 25 minutes into the dough cycle (when it is near to done), throw in the sunflower seeds. I actually tossed mine in after the dough cycle was done and then I had to go back and knead them in myself.  I think it would be easier to toss them in just a bit earlier, so the bread machine doesn’t break them to bits, but incorporates the seeds into the dough.

Cut the dough in two and shape it as you like. I shaped half of the dough into a round loaf and the other half into a long, skinny french-bread-style loaf. They both turned out to be pretty big … I was kind of amazed to get that much bread from just 4 cups of flour.

Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This only took about 30 – 45 minutes for me.

Bake at 375 for 35 – 50 minutes or until the top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting with a good bread knife. I like to spray my loaves with cooking spray to soften the crust and make it all pretty and shiny, but if you want a chewier crust, don’t do that.

Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread

Here’s my big old round loaf. I’m going to freeze it and take it along when I visit my sister this weekend. I think she’s gonna love it.

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This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan- Granola

I have long been fascinated with the idea of making my own granola. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually DO it. Suddenly several of my foodie friends are talking about it, so perhaps it was the power of suggestion? I don’t know. I just know that last week I suddenly felt a strong urge to make granola.

And I’m soooo glad I did. It is really quite simple to make and it just blows away the taste of store-bought granola, with the added bonus that you can control what goes into it. So it’s easy to make it healthier. This is so tasty, my parents and I munched on little handfuls of this granola all weekend. The first day I made it, I had three bowls of it with milk. The jar is disappearing quite quickly. (Which is exciting to me, because that means I get to try out my NEXT granola flavor! woo hoo!)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Slightly adapted from ChinDeep.

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened pearsauce (drain a can of pears and blend until smooth) or applesauce
  • 1/6 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, mix oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flaxmeal and nutmeg.

In a small saucepan, warm the apple or pear sauce, maple syrup, honey and oil. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed. Divide the granola between two large jellyroll pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month. But it isn’t going to last that long …

Make your Own Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and Tuesday Talent Shows.


Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Salad

with Feta and Basil Vinaigrette

Bacon, lettuce and tomato salad with Feta and Basil Vinaigrette

Oh it was one of those crazy busy emotionally exhausting days when you barely have time to think, let alone cook. Lunch was a scramble, grabbing whatever I could find in the kitchen. My body was worn out from all the emotional ups and downs life has thrown us lately and was crying out for something super-nutritious. I have a bunch of those gorgeous cherry tomatoes from my friend and some organic spring mix that really needed to be used up. I bet I was in the kitchen 5 minutes. Maybe 10. And back to work. Whoosh!

So what goes with tomatoes and lettuce? Duh, BACON!

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Feta and Basil Vinaigrette

So this is what I found:

  • 2 strips of lower-fat bacon, fried crisp, drained on a towel and crumbled
  • A bowl full of assorted spring mix lettuce
  • A bunch of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A bit of chopped onion
  • A good sprinkle of tomato-basil flavored feta cheese
  • Chipotle-flavored sunflower seeds
  • Just a few fresh basil leaves
  • Basil Vinaigrette

I topped it with a basil vinaigrette I made the other day after a trip to my friend’s basil “field” … really she doesn’t have that big of a garden but the basil has gone CRAZY this year.

Basil Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

I found this recipe on Farm Fresh Living when I was looking for a way to use up some of my plentiful basil (besides pesto!). I used a LOT more basil than the recipe called for. And I adjusted it quite a bit … like I always do …

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons Garlic peppercorn mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • Several BIG handfuls of basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin organic olive oil

Toss all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Drizzle it over your favorite salad toppings.

I love the color in this salad. It was such a relief on a crazy, crazy day.

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Feta and Basil Vinaigrette


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