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!
and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.
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.
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.
(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 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
- Cook the quinoa.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add in the quinoa, bacon, vinegar, oil, basil and season to taste.
- 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.
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.
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.
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 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!
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 slices of french bread or Sunflower Spinach Parmesan Bread
- 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
- 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 …
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.