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!
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 …
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!
with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.
So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …
Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!
- Mixed greens
- Black grapes, sliced or halved
- Walnuts, toasted
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)
Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.
Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
- 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
- 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
- milk or rosewater, to thin
In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.
This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Scrumptious Sunday, All my Bloggy Friends, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.
Is it okay to have cake for breakfast? Because I really can’t sit here and look at all this drizzly chocolate and finish this post without eating some … it’s just TOO tempting.
This all started when Justine at Full Belly Sisters shared her recipe for Cannoli Ice Cream. It looked SO good! A few of my foodie friends also made it and they ALL raved about it. I was totally intrigued by the idea of using ricotta in ice cream … and so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try it too.
I tasted the mixture before it went in the ice cream maker …oooooh yummmm! It tasted SO wonderful! … and when it came out, it was perfectly frozen and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
I discovered something about myself that day. I have a texture issue with ricotta cheese. At least in ice cream. I want my ice cream super smooth and creamy. Crunch from nuts or chewy brownie bits and things like that are ok. But any grainy texture at all … nope. I just can’t to it. Don’t get me wrong: the cannoli ice cream is fabulous, and maybe I screwed up and just didn’t puree it long enough in my blender. I do highly recommend trying the ice cream. Every single one of my friends that tried it totally RAVED about it. But I just couldn’t eat it. And since my kids will not touch anything with nuts in it, they would not eat it either. I put it in my freezer and forgot about it … until I was cleaning out my freezer the other day. I almost threw it out, then I had second thoughts. I stuck it in the fridge instead and started thinking: what could I do with this wonderful mixture? I toyed with the idea of a dessert lasagna, but that sounded like a lot of work.
I don’t know what made me think of it, but somehow I thought of doing an icebox cake. I’ve never ever made one before, but I’ve often marveled at the simplicity and beauty of them. And so began my first icebox cake. I was so incredibly excited to see the beautifully layered result and I cannot believe that chocolate graham crackers and ricotta cheese could transform into such a beautiful, decadent dessert! The crackers become delightfully cakey and they create such a GORGEOUS layered effect … I can’t wait to make my next icebox cake! I already have visions of other flavors dancing around in my head …
Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake
Inspired by Full Belly Sisters Cannoli Ice Cream. I didn’t have the full amount of ricotta mixture shown here because I had eaten SOME of the ice cream, but really it doesn’t matter. Just keep layering till it’s gone! This makes enough for 2-4 desserts, depending on how big your servings are. If you’re making it for a crowd, you’ll probably want to at least double the recipe.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- small pinch of salt
- 1 3/4 cups good-quality ricotta (I used lowfat)
- 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped roughly
- about 2 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, chopped
- Chocolate graham crackers (or cookies) — I used 4 full-size crackers, but you may need more.
- additional chopped pistachios and chocolate syrup, for garnish (optional)
- Put the sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in your blender and blend until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta and puree until smooth.
- Pour the ricotta mixture into a bowl and stir in the chopped pistachios & dark chocolate.
- Spray a small bowl or tray that fits your cracker size/shape, and set a cracker on the bottom. (I used two small square bowls that each fit half a cracker nicely.) Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture on top, then add another cracker, then another layer of ricotta. Repeat until the ricotta mixture is gone, ending with the ricotta mixture on top. Cover your bowl (or tray or whatever you’re using) with a plate that fits tightly (or if you must, use plastic wrap) and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, cut wedges of the “cake” and use a spatula to place them on your plate, drizzle with chocolate syrup and serve. I would highly recommend garnishing this beautiful cake with some roasted, salted chopped pistachios, but alas, I was all out … at least I had chocolate syrup!
This recipe was shared at Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Friday Favorites, All my Bloggy Friends, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Wonderful Food Wednesday and Scrumptious Sunday.
Chocolate craving! Time for something chocolatey good. With nuts. Yes LOTS of nuts. Oh and some peanut butter. Dried fruit in there … ah yes. And to add a little bit more healthy yumminess, some oats.
Roll it all into a little ball and what do you have? A quick, healthy snack. Not one you want to eat a LOT of at one sitting because they are a bit calorific, but something you can grab on the go when you need a little energy, especially before or after a good workout. An energy byte! (Terrible geeky pun intended.)
I like to eat one of these for a bit of dessert after a good meal, or when I am running out the door and need something fast to grab for a quick bit of energy. Or when you need a quick chocolate fix, but you don’t want to totally destroy your healthy eating plan. A little bit of chocolate and a few nuts every day are very good for your health.
Chocolate, Fruit & Nut Energy Bytes
You could use a good quality dark chocolate in place of the almond bark and cocoa powder. I just didn’t have enough on hand, so I decided to make my own “chocolate”!
- 2 squares of almond bark (or white chocolate)
- 4 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons of Chocolate PB2 powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 2/3 cup nuts (I used a mix of peanuts and cashews)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into bits
- Coarse sea salt
- Melt the almond bark in a medium mixing bowl in the microwave by microwaving on high for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 30 seconds, stir again, keep microwaving for 30 seconds/stirring until the white almond bark is completely melted.
- Stir in the dark cocoa powder, PB2 powder, vanilla and peanut butter and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the oats, nuts, cranberries and apricot bits until everything is coated in chocolate. Form the mixture into balls and set on a tray. Sprinkle the bytes with a bit of coarse sea salt.
- Set it in the fridge until the chocolate is set, then transfer to a covered storage container. You can store these at room temperature or in the fridge, as you prefer. I like to eat them at room temperature so I’m not bothering to refrigerate mine. They aren’t going to last that long anyway!
With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!
So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad.
Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles
and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- Mixed greens
- Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
- Peaches (1 peach per person)
- Goat Cheese, crumbled
- Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)
First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces. (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl. Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.
Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.
This is a #peachlove post.
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Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …
Since my first baked oatmeal turned out so good, I wanted to try another version. I meant to make this one banana pecan, but once I got into the kitchen, well, I couldn’t help but add chocolate. In the end, I’m glad I did … this oatmeal is SO deep dark chocolate decadent. I almost want to try making it again without the banana … or maybe use berries instead? Yeah, it’ll happen.
This could be breakfast or dessert. Mid-afternoon snack. After dinner treat. Whenever you eat it, it’s delightful.
Chocolate Banana Pecan Baked Oatmeal
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
- 1/3 cup (30g) pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened quality dark cocoa powder (such as Ghirardelli)
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 2 Tablespoons of Chocolate Chia Pudding or 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon Frangelico (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons pecans
- 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
- A few chocolate chips
- A few banana slices
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray and make a layer of banana slices on the bottom.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle half the oat mixture over the bananas, then add another layer of bananas and cover with the remaining oats.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, chia pudding (or egg white), vanilla, and Frangelico. Pour this liquid mixture over the oats, trying to coat all the oats with liquid. Sprinkle the top with the toppings, then set in the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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
- 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.)
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats and nuts. Set aside.
- 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.)
- Pour the hot sweet sticky mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
- 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.
- 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.