Recipes: Breakfast & Brunch

Recipe: Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

Seedy Granola

So many packaged or bulk granolas have glutenous ingredients, are packed full of nuts (I'm allergic to almost all of them), are waaaay too sweet for my tastes, or have more dried fruit than I like. And thus, I prefer making my own granola. Not only is it cheaper, but I can make it fit my tastes and dietary restrictions perfectly! Here's a recipe I'm making a lot lately. It boasts a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax) as well as coconut, honey, spices, vanilla, and raisins. As for the fat, I love using coconut oil in granola; it lends a wonderfully sweet flavor and fragrance. With a splash of coconut milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt, it makes a great energy-packed breakfast or snack. 

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

yield: 7-8 cups

This granola is very lightly sweetened with honey. I love the subtle sweetness in combination with the roasty toasty oats and seeds. If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to up the quantity of sweetener to 1/2 or 2/3 cup, to fit your tastes. It will still work a-okay, but based on my experiences, it will need to bake just a little longer due to the extra moisture. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut chips
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • optional: 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325º F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut chips, seeds, salt, and spices. Set aside. 

In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt together honey and coconut oil over low heat, stirring often, until liquid. Stir in vanilla extract, if using. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.

Divide granola between baking sheets and spread evently in a thin layer over surface. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven, stir granola, and place pans back in oven on opposite shelves. Bake another 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove pans from oven and let cool completely. Granola will crisp as it cools.

Once cool, store in sealed jars or containers. Will keep for 2 weeks.  

Substitution options:

  • Substitute raisins with any other dried fruit.
  • Substitute honey with other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup). Keep in mind each one has a different intensity of sweetness, so it may be less - or more - sweet depending on your substitution. 
  • Substitute coconut oil with another oil, such as sunflower oil
  • Substitute sunflower and pumpkin seeds with any type of nut
  • Substitute sesame seeds with hemp seeds
  • Play with other spices, such as nutmeg or ground ginger 

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Corned Beef & Sweet Potato Hash (gluten-free)

Corned Beef & Sweet Potato Hash (gluten-free)

IMG_1104

When I was a kid, sometimes my dad would buy those cans of Hormel® Mary Kitchen® corned beef hash. I remember being fascinated by the way the unappetizing pasty, fatty, white hash would turn lovely, golden, and crisp once heated in a pan. As a child, I loved it.  Loved it, that is, until about age 13, when I denounced meat and lived a not-so-balanced veg*n lifestyle for 10 years. Moving on. Hand me a steak.

Dad would fry up the hash on Sunday mornings, or a can would get packed in the food bag to take to the cabin Up North (the proverbial cabin location for any Midwestener). Although canned corned beef hash was by no means a staple in our house, I think a thorough investigation of my parents' pantry would most likely reveal a can of hash hidden in the back corners, way up out-of-reach, saved for my father's solo trips to the cabin....  A guy needs his salty, fatty, meaty fix every now and then. 

This hash is much better than the canned hash of my childhood, a kicked-up modern twist on an old favorite. I used homemade corned beef, sweet potatoes, and onions, seasoned with fresh thyme leaves and a jalapeño pepper. Simple? You bet. Flavorful? Absolutely. Homemade corned beef is a flavor powerhouse. This stuff tastes better than the canned hash any day, has way more nutritional value, and probably only a small fraction of the sodium.  And it looks beautiful, perfectly suited for any meal of the day. I served mine with a sauté of kale, onions, garlic, and roasted red peppers, and a scoop of raw sauerkraut. It would be wonderful with homemade gluten-free toast, or scrambled eggs. Or, just eat a scoop all on its own. I hope you enjoy it, whether for St. Patrick's Day celebrations or any other day of the year.

IMG_1109

Zesty Breakfast Meatloaf (gluten-free, ACD)

Zesty Breakfast Meatloaf (gluten-free, ACD)

IMG_0976

I have recently fallen in love with pork. Pork tenderloin, bacon, prosciutto, sausages, I just can't stop myself. One of my favorites is ground pork breakfast sausage from my local co-op. It is seasoned with sage, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, white pepper, and other spices, and is absolutely addicting. I had a pound of it in the refrigerator, and wanted to make something other than simple pork breakfast sausage patties. "Why not make meatloaf?", I asked myself. I really like meatloaf, but had never thought to make it for breakfast!

While preparing it, I realized that this meatloaf is actually the ultimate breakfast food: pork sausage, oatmeal, egg, and even a bit of jam (I use jam in my Magical Meatloaf Glaze). It's full of all the great things about a hearty breakfast in a single slice. It is a nutritious, filling, and simple breakfast for busy mornings, a true make-ahead miracle. If only it had some pieces of bacon in it...next time.  

 

Cinnamon Raisin Granola (gluten-free, vegan, cane sugar-free)

IMG_0766

Here's another one for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which features coconut oil. Granted, there isn't a lot of coconut oil in this granola, but it is still in there!  Coconut oil is definitely my preferred oil of choice for such kitchen endeavors. But despite my deep love for coconut oil, I don't see the need to drown my granola with it! There are lots of recipes out there for granola calling for upwards of 1/4 cup of oil for a comparable amount of oats and other ingredients, which I think is total overkill and leads to very heavy granola. I like what the combination of a little coconut oil with cashew butter does in this recipe. The cashew butter adds great flavor, fabulous protein, the combination of fats allow the oats to crisp up and turn golden without being heavy or greasy.  

I came up with this recipe for a friend who was having a serious granola craving, and she and her husband both loved how easy it is to make and how delicious it tastes. I hope you enjoy it as much as they do.  Granola is perfect for breakfasts, snacks, or to sprinkle over everything from homemade coconut milk ice cream to rice porridge. 

If you are interested in participating in this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, read the kick-off post HERE and then get cookin'. This month we are giving away a quart of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to one lucky participant. 

This recipe is also linked to...

IMG_0763
IMG_0761

Cinnamon Raisin Granola

yield 4-5 cups

This easy-to-make granola is nutty, sweet, and spicy. If cashew butter isn't your thing, try tahini, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or another butter of your choosing.The unbaked granola "dough" will taste sweeter than the finished granola does after it is baked, so add a little more sweetener while making to taste than you might think you should - it will bake up perfect then.

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (NOT quick cook)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches finely ground sea salt
  • 3/4 cup organic apple juice 
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup, to taste (if desired, use only 1/4 cup sweetener plus stevia, to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup raisins (a mixture of purple, red, and golden raisins would be pretty)

Preheat oven to 325º F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Mix together oats, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.  Whisk together apple juice, cashew butter, sweetener, coconut oil, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Heat over low flame, whisking constantly to mix.  Once is starts to thicken slightly, remove from heat. 

Immediately pour warm cashew butter mixture over dry ingredients and stir. Spread mixture evenly onto a baking sheets. Mixture should be no more than 1/2-inch thick, so if your baking sheet is too small, line another sheet and spread mixture onto two pans.

Place in oven and bake for an hour to and hour and fifteen minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden and crisp (if using two pans in the oven, rotate between oven racks each time you stir). Remove from oven and let cool completely, then stir in dried fruit and store in a well-sealed jar or container. 

If kept well-sealed, this will keep fresh for 2 weeks. 

january 2011 SOS Kitchen Challenge: coconut oil


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Celebrating a Florida Christmas with Sweet Green Smoothies and Maple-Candied Bacon

Celebrating a Florida Christmas with Sweet Green Smoothies and Maple-Candied Bacon

IMG_0260

I am spending the holiday weekend in Orlando, Florida, hanging out at my brother and sister-in-law's cozy little apartment. My parents drove down from Wisconsin and I flew down from Minnesota, and the warm Florida sunshine is a welcome departure from the wildly snowy, grey weather up north.  The weather in Florida has been marvelous, perfect for sitting outside playing cribbage and telling stories, going on walks, and simply enjoying the sunshine. I forgot that there are many parts of the world where things remain colorful, sunny, and green all year round, and this has reminded me that I need to get away to warm places more often during the cold Minnesota winters. I don't even want to think about the snow back home, and I'm sure my parents don't either. I mean really, when this snowy mess (otherwise known as my parents' house) is what the northern Midwest has to offer right now, why wouldn't we want to see all this beautiful color that Florida has to offer?

Why deal with this in Wisconsin and MInnesota when you could have warm, sunny weather and flowers in Florida?

little purple loveliesmy brother and mepalms at Christmastime! Hibiscus are one of my favorite flowers.I'm always amazed at the way that trees become habitats for so many other plants and animals, especially in warm climates. This tree had lichen and two other varieties of plants growing on the bark. Amazing.

Of course, since this is a food blog, I have to talk about what we have eaten thus far. We have eaten lots of great food together so far.  My mom brought down their Vitamix, so we have been able to make lots of delicious green smoothies.  The warmer temperatures left me craving fruit and raw foods, which is an unusual departure from  my normal winter desires for warm stews, meatloaf, and starch!  So, the smoothies were a welcome addition.  In addition to smoothies, I have made lots of other things, like roasted butternut squash, seared Brussels sprouts with apples, chickpea and celery spread, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and a wonderful clean-out-the-fridge leftover soup. I made awesome red curry with chicken, squid, and fresh vegetables, served with quinoa (I will share that recipe soon!).  And my dad made grilled salmon and grilled mahi mahi that brought us to our knees.

Since the holiday always makes me want to bake, I did spend plenty of time whipping up sweet treats to satisfy the cookie craving. I made raw "trail mix" truffles, a nice mixture of a Larabar, dried apple juice-sweetened cranberries, homemade trail mix, and coconut oil.  We ate those on Christmas Eve instead of cookies, and they absolutely satisfied everyone's taste buds.  Later on, I dug through the pantries and my mom's snack box, and managed to throw together a really delicious breakfast scone/biscuit/cookie thing, made from freshly ground rice flour, oatmeal, apple sauce, finely shredded carrot, among other things.  Everyone loved it, and I'm going to refine that recipe and share it in my  next recipe collection.  

But the real star of the kitchen thus far has undeniably been the maple-candied bacon we ate on Christmas morning, accompanied by green smoothies.  

IMG_0269