Homemade Granola

I have been making this granola for years now. It is such a simple recipe and is easily adapted. Even a non-baker like me can’t screw it up! I have made it a couple of times for my neighbor, Karin, and she wants the recipe. So here you go, Karin…this is for you!

I really love granola, but I don’t care for most of the options that you can get at the grocery store. They are usually too sweet for me and they are always stingy with the nuts! By making your own, you get it exactly as sweet as you want it, with the flavor you like, and whatever nuts you prefer.

This recipe is a great starting point. You can get creative with the flavors and ingredients to suit your mood. I love adding pumpkin seeds, pecans, and pumpkin pie spice for a yummy fall granola. Another favorite of mine is macadamia nuts and coconut! I will sometimes scale back on the sugar, or add more if it is for my special Christmas morning granola and yogurt parfaits. Get creative and make it exactly as you like!

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Make sure you use good quality oats (NOT instant or quick cooking) and raw, unsalted nuts. For sweetener I like real maple syrup. If you don’t like the flavor of maple syrup, honey or agave works well too. If you want to add any dried fruit, do it after the granola has cooked and cooled. I know this takes a long time to cook, but slow and low is the only way. I tried higher temps and less time and ended up with a slightly burnt taste.

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My perfect breakfast is plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in topped with this granola…DELISH! Granola also makes a great holiday gift for neighbors and friends. You can get all cutesy with a mason jar if you are the creative type!

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Your kitchen will smell amazing while this granola bakes. It smells like sweet oatmeal cookies! The end result is just lightly sweet, crunchy, toasty, nutty and oh so good! This recipe makes a lot, but you will be surprised how fast it disappears!

 

Granola

For a printable recipe, Click here

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oats)
  • 2 cups assorted nuts like walnuts, slivered almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts (raw & unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (Can substitute honey or agave syrup)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (Can substitute brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 250.

  1. Add the 3 cups of oats to a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the nuts you would like to use (except for the slivered almonds…you can leave those whole). Add the nuts to the bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the coconut oil to a small microwave safe bowl (I like to use my Pyrex measuring cup). Heat the coconut oil in the microwave until completely melted. It should be warm which will help the other ingredients mix well with it. Add the maple syrup, the coconut sugar, the vanilla and salt and whisk well to combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Slowly pour the coconut oil mix into the oats/nuts while stirring to combine well and evenly coat all of the oats.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly filling up the whole pan.
  5. Bake for an 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so to bake evenly.
  6. Once completely cooled, store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.

Optional Recipe Additions:

Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (add to dry ingredients before baking)

Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice (add to wet ingredients)

Dried Fruit – raisins, cranberries, chopped dates (add AFTER baking)

 

 

 

 

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Great Grains Salad

Kamut, Wild Rice, and Quinoa with Pearled Couscous

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Hellooooo Summer! The Lauterbach family has had a very full social calendar lately (we are just so darn popular ;)). We have had lots of fun with family and friends and lots of eating and drinking. It’s a little exhausting to have this much fun!

When you are busy and constantly on the go, it’s kind of nice to have something healthy and hearty in the fridge to grab in a hurry. This grain salad fits the bill perfectly! It travels to work (or the beach!) very well. I originally posted this recipe about a year ago. I have made it a few times since then with a few little tweaks so I thought I would re-post it with my changes and some updated photos.

This is a really delicious combination of grains! This recipe is a bit time consuming because of all the grains that need to be cooked separately, but it is super simple and so good that it is totally worth it. This makes a great dish to bring to a summer pot luck, or a yummy light dinner served over a bed of greens. My husband loved it over baby kale lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil.

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Kamut is related to both durum wheat and spelt, and is pronounced kah-moot.  It has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than modern wheat and is about twice the size. I love the buttery, nutty flavor and the chewy texture of this grain. The best way to cook it is to soak it over night (or all day) first. I know that sounds like too much prep to put into such a simple grain salad, but once again…it’s worth it! You can find Kamut in most health food stores like Whole Food’s, or here on Amazon. If you can’t track it down, a good substitution would be farro, barley, spelt, or wheat berries.IMG_2031

You should be able to find wild rice, quinoa, and pearled couscous (sometimes called Israeli couscous) in any well stocked grocery store. Pearled couscous is just a larger version of regular couscous. It’s closely related to pasta (made with durum wheat) and has a slightly chewy texture. It is simple to prepare – just like cooking rice. I like this whole wheat variety from Bob’s Red Mill. whole-wheat-pearl-couscous

The wild rice adds a great earthy flavor and the quinoa is perfect for a little protein. I like the rainbow variety and it’s pretty easy to find.

grain collage1This salad has a tangy, tart, and slightly sweet dressing that is delicious! Celery and almonds give a nice crunch, and dried blueberries & cranberries add the perfect sweet bite!IMG_2035

Great Grain Salad

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kamut, presoaked
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped small
  • 1 shallot, chopped small
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups of toasted slivered almonds
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Dressing:

Whisk together the following ingredients:

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard,  1 minced garlic clove, 1  teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Once they are all well combined, slowly whisk in 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

To Make the Salad:

The first step in this dish is cooking all of the grains. Cook each one separately – according to the package directions. Make sure you add about a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt to each one while it cooks. You can cook your grains up to a day in advance, then refrigerate until you are ready to make the salad.

Once all of your grains have cooled a little, combine them together in a big bowl. Add the chopped celery, shallots, scallions, parsley, dried berries, and 3/4 of the dressing and mix well. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. To serve right away, add all the dressing and the nuts and mix well. The grains really soak up the dressing, so you will want to reserve a little to add later. If you are serving this later, don’t add the nuts yet, cover and refrigerate  until you are ready to eat. Let it get back to room temperature, add the rest of the dressing and the nuts just before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Super Easy Three Bean and Farro Chili

This was a really easy week night dinner!  Last week we had a few drizzly and gloomy days so I was craving chili. I figured I better make it one more time before it is too warm and I have to wait for fall.  I wanted to experiment with a meatless chili. I really try to cook meatless  as much as possible during the week. I did use chicken stock in the recipe, but that would be easy to switch to veggie stock if you wanted it to be a true vegetarian meal. I also wanted something quick and easy… this totally fit the bill! AND it gave me another use for my new favorite grain…farro. Farro is a whole grain that looks a little like barley, and retains a soft but chewy texture when cooked.  It is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E, and is low in gluten. When combined with legumes, it becomes a complete protein…perfect for a meatless dinner! For this recipe I used a semi-pearled farro (a portion of the outer bran has been removed) which cooks more quickly than hulled farro (all of the outer bran is left intact). I love the way that the farro gives the chili a texture that makes me not miss the meat! You can buy Farro at health food stores like Whole Foods or Williams-Sonoma. You can also buy it on line at Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/Roland-Farro-3-lbs-Bag/dp/B0028VZEJQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336406809&sr=8-1

Food Critics’ Rating: Max (my 8 year old) gave this dinner two very enthusiastic thumbs up and highly enjoyed left-overs the next day. Finn (my picky 5 year old)…not so much. He ate it with complaints and kept saying “were is the meat part?”.  My husband really liked it.

I bought this at Hanson’s market – San Clemente’s local health store

Cooked Farro

I have seen a lot of vegetarian chili recipes with sweet potato so I wanted to try it in mine. I am the only person in my family who likes sweet potato so I decided to do it on the side and add it to my serving to avoid any complaints. I diced up 1 sweet potato and tossed it with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted it in my toaster oven at 45o degrees for about 25 minutes. It came out delicious and added a yummy sweetness to the chili.  I’m sure it would cook fine if you did it with the chili, but this way the non-sweet potato eaters in the family wouldn’t complain. I love the way it tastes roasted so I would probably just do it this way all the time.

Roasted Sweet Potato

So…here is the recipe to this super easy almost vegetarian chili:

Ingredients:

3/4 cup semi-pearled farro

1 quart of organic chicken stock (or vegetable stock to keep this completely vegetarian)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 seven ounce can of whole Ortega chiles, drained, seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons of cumin (I don’t love cumin, so I only use 1 teaspoon)

1 – 2 tablesppons of chili powder (depending on how hot you like your chili)

1 28 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 can each of kidney beans, black beans, & garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

a couple shakes of tobasco

Optional garnishes:

crumbled queso fresco, cilantro, chopped scallions, avocado, black olives, sour cream

Method:

In a small saucepan, cook the farro in 2 cups of the chicken stock. You may need to rinse the farro first – check your package directions. Add farro and stock to pan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside while you make the chili. In a large Dutch oven, saute the onion and pepper in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the green chiles, cumin, and chili powder and mix well. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. If you want to serve this with the sweet potato you can prepare it while the chili is cooking. Dice one or two sweet potatoes into cubes and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a conventional oven or toaster oven at 450 for about 15-20 minutes. After the chili simmers for 20 minutes, add the beans and cooked farro and mix well. Add a few dashes of Tobasco sauce for some extra heat and flavor, taste to see if you need salt or pepper – depending on how salty your chicken stock is you may not need it…I needed about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Serve with any or all of the optional garnishes.


Lentil and Farro Salad

So…for the past 3 days I have been on a juice cleanse. Juice and only juice for 3 days! I felt like I needed a fresh start and help with curbing some of my bad cravings. I had done a juice cleanse in the past through Ritual Cleanse in Newport Beach, CA and I was really happy with how I felt after I was done. This time I did it on my own (MUCH cheaper) with the help of Organic Tree in Dana Point, CA. Organic Tree is a juice bar that uses a top of the line juice press for all of their fabulous organic veggies and fruits. I got all of my green juice from them for each day (kale, spinach, celery, cucumber and parsley…3 times a day!). I also did some juicing at home to complete my 6 a day. One is a very yummy blend of carrot and pineapple!  At the end of the day you get a  “smoothie” made with alkaline water, cashews, dates, vanilla & cinnamon. Did that one in my Vitamix and it pretty much saves you from total starvation! Anyway, I feel really good and want to keep up the good habits so for my first real dinner I thought this salad would be a good start. I also get to have coffee and wine again…THANK THE LORD!

I got the idea for this recipe from a link that my friend Lori shared with me for a very similar salad from a another food blogger. It looked delicious so I adapted it to what I had at home and needed to use up. Here is the link to the original recipe if you want to check it out: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2012/03/recipe-for-lentil-and-barley-greek.html. She used tomatoes in her salad which would be really yummy IF tomatoes were in season. I will try it again that way when our garden tomatoes start coming in.  You could vary the ingredients quite a bit to suit your taste. I used farro instead of barley.  I LOVE farro and it’s chewy texture. It is an Italian grain that is very similar to emmer wheat (sort of like a wheat berry). It can be hard to find but I have found it at places like Whole Foods and it is sold at Williams-Sonoma. For the lentils I used a quick cooking “sprouted lentil” from True Roots.  They cooked in a very short time and I recently read that “sprouted” lentils are even better for you than the regular ones. Any type of lentil would be great though. You need to cook the grains and lentils separately because of their different cooking times and you can do it ahead of time then pop them in the fridge until you are ready to put the salad together.

As for the rest of the ingredients, I used what was in the fridge: a bag of french green beans and a couple of zucchinis that needed to get used. I blanched them – put them in boiling water for just a few minutes then put them in an ice bath to “shock” them and help them keep their nice green color. It’s important to keep a close eye when you  blanch veggies…you want to keep that nice crisp bite and it only takes a minute or two to get them there. I thought green onions would give some good flavor and some Italian parsley (which I pretty much put in everything!). I picked up a really good feta cheese at the market. An imported sheep’s milk feta…much tastier than the domestic stuff! Remember…simple food needs really good ingredients! I feel like the better it is, the less I have to use.

Lentil and Farro Salad

makes 6 servings

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lentils, cooked and cooled
  • 3 cups farro, cooked and cooled
  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces and blanched
  • french green beans, cut into bite size pieces (about 2 cups) and blanched
  • 4 green onions, chopped small
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted pine nuts

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • a few shakes of dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all of the salad ingredients except the pine nuts and mix well. Whisk the dressing ingredients well and mix into the salad. Serve with the toasted pine nuts on top.

My family had this salad for dinner with steamed artichokes (my kids favorite!). The left-overs were really yummy the next day for lunch!