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!
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!
Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips is a great source of food inspiration for me. When she posted a recipe for sesame noodles, I wanted them right away … it was a simple, quick recipe, so I went into the kitchen and made them straight away. I have veggies galore in my kitchen right now, so I had to throw some of those in. So I sliced up some cucumber in thin noodle-like strips and tossed in some shredded carrot and sweet onion.
I also replaced the peanut butter in the recipe with PB2 … it’s a powdered form of peanut butter that has most of the oil removed. And I left out some of the oil to cut down the amount of fat. It was still quite delicious. I looove this sauce!
You could add in cooked chicken or shrimp or scallops to dress this dish up, use other vegetables or even replace the noodles with zucchini noodles (have you seen that? zucchini cut up in long thin strips like noodles? I want to try that one of these days!) Anyway, I used brown rice Pad Thai noodles and that worked wonderfully. My cucumber strips weren’t quite straight or thin enough to really act like noodles, but they added a refreshing crunch to the dish.
Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips (who got the recipe from The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman)
There is enough sauce to cover about twice this much noodles/vegies, so go ahead and make more if you have more mouths to feed. I was just cooking for me … I’m lucky, though. Making this amount means I have some of that scrumptious sauce left for another day.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- A 2-inch hunk of ginger root, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (use more or less to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil (I used 1 Tablespoon, but I think it could use a little more)
- 4 Tablespoons PB2
- 3 Tablespoons water
Noodles and vegies:
- 4 – oz. of noodles (I used brown rice pad thai noodles, but any long skinny noodle will work …)
- 1/2 cup of cucumber, cut in long thin strips like the noodles
- 1/4 cup of shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
- Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds (or chia seeds if you can’t find your sesame seeds … like me)
- Make the sesame sauce: whir all of the sauce ingredients in a handi chopper, food processor or a blender until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
- Prepare the noodles according to the package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the noodle cooking water (or 1 cup if you are making a full batch), then drain the noodles.
- Add the reserved cooking water to half of the sesame sauce and blend. Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with the sauce and vegies until everything is coated.
- I skipped this step because I was starving but the recipe says to let the noodles cool to room temperature because they will absorb more sauce as they sit. This might be true … I have yet to try it.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and peanuts or sesame seeds and serve. Try not to inhale them like I did.
I came home from yoga last night wanting noodles. Badly. It was a power yoga class and she worked us hard … I could tell because my legs were sore already. So it was clearly time to make the Pad Thai I’ve been wanting to make. A while ago I had found these beautiful brown rice noodles with a Pad Thai recipe on the back. I THOUGHT I had also picked up some bean sprouts, but discovered rather quickly that I hadn’t. I had already shredded a bunch of carrots and chopped up the greens, though, so I thought to just add in some onion.
I do not claim this to be truly authentic Pad Thai (the Pad Thai police would surely come and get me!), but oh it was delicious. This Pad Thai soothed my craving for noodles and Thai food all in one fell swoop.
Shrimp Pad Thai
This recipe serves 2 – 3 people. If you have bean sprouts, just cut down the amount of other veggies to add in some sprouts. Pad Thai does usually have bean sprouts in it … I was just out of them!
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Hoison sauce
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 4 oz. brown rice noodles (1/2 the package)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup medium shrimp
- a splash of white wine
For the top:
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped green onions
- Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the amount of sugar and Sriracha to your liking. The spicy heat will get soaked up by the noodles, so I would recommend making it a tad hotter than you think it should be. Set the sauce aside.
- Put some water on to boil for cooking up the noodles.
- While the water is cooking for the noodles, whisk the egg in a bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Scramble it in a frying pan or wok sprayed with cooking spray very briefly … take it out of the pan while it’s still wet. It will finish cooking when you add it back into the hot noodles. Speaking of noodles: are they done? Drain and set them aside.
- Clean out the egg from the frying pan (unless you are a neat scrambler … I always have some egg residue when I scramble), heat the pan to medium heat, and add the oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and spinach and sautee for a minute or two, then add the shrimp and sautee until the onion is limp and the shrimp turns pink. If the pan gets a little dry, add a splash of white wine and cook till the wine evaporates. Add the noodles and the sauce and stir to mix everything up. The noodles might not want to mix in too well, but that’s okay. You can put the “extras” on top of the noodles when you serve it.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, and chopped green onion.
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.
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
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 …
This recipe was shared at Meatless Mondays.
Yes, you DO have time to cook! This is faster than fast food and WAY healthier. You can have it on the table in under 15 minutes.
The “magic” in this recipe is the Super Simple Thai Peanut Sauce. If you make some of this up and keep it in your fridge, you can have delicious meals in minutes … if you haven’t made it yet, go do it! Click the sauce picture for the recipe … the sauce itself will take you maybe five minutes to make. It’s super simple.
I don’t claim that it is truly “authentic” Thai food, but it tastes amazing … and if you are a busy working mom who’s starved for Thai food like I am, with no Thai restaurants anywhere within hundreds of miles, well, then I think it’s okay to take some shortcuts.
Okay, now that you’ve got the sauce done, all you have to do is …
1. Cook up some noodles. I used Angel hair pasta. Angel hair is beautiful and fast, and I love the delicate-ness of the noodles! You can use whatever noodles you like, though. (For SUPER expedient gourmet meals, have some noodles pre-cooked in your fridge, then just warm them up when you need a quick delicious meal.)
2. While the noodles are cooking, steam some veggies. You can use whatever vegies you think would go well with Thai peanut noodles. I used broccoli and carrots. Here’s my quickie tricky method for doing that in the microwave. Put your fresh or frozen veggies in a bowl. Add a bit of water to the bowl. Just a splash; you don’t need a lot. Sprinkle the vegies with a little salt and pepper if you want. Cover it with a plate. Stick it in the microwave. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Take the veggies out and check them. Are they crisp tender? If not, stir, cover, and microwave a bit longer until they are crisp tender. Strain the vegies, or use a fork to remove them from the bowl.
3. Optional! Heat up (or cook up) some shrimp or leftover meat. I’ve tried this with leftover grilled chicken and also with tiny frozen (thawed) shrimp, but I also think it is just wonderful without meat at all.
4. Toss the noodles and vegies (and meat or shrimp, if you’re using them) with the noodles and about 2 tablespoons of the sauce per serving. Top with chopped roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
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.
- Simply Gourmet Photography did a lovely dark chocolate peanut butter granola.
- A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll made a dark chocolate one.
- Oh Nuts! Sweet and Crunchy Talk made one with bananas and chocolate and peanut butter.
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
- 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
- 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
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
- In a small saucepan, heat the wet ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring until well mixed and nicely warmed.
- Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed.
- 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.
- Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month.