Category: recipes

Homemade granola

imageA couple of Christmases ago, I was gifted homemade granola and it was the best I’d ever tasted. I got the recipe and after making my own I’ve never had store bought stuff again. It’s easy, healthy and you can customize it to suit your tastes. I’m sharing my basic recipe as a guideline but honestly, any combination of oats, nuts, seeds and fruit will turn out well. ¬†Guaranteed success.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 heaping tablespoons each chia and flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup liquid honey (or microwave honey until it softens)
  • 1 cup total dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, currants and apricots are my favorites and I choose 2 per batch)

Preheat your oven to 300F and put racks in the middle.IMG_0634

Combine oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and cinnamon in a large bowl. This became much easier after welcoming a Kitchen Aid stand mixer into my life but you can mix it by hand and get a little workout at the same time!

Add the honey and peanut butter and mix thoroughly. I often warm them in the microwave to make it more pourable and easier to stir in.

Spread evenly onto 2 large parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for a total of 30-50 minutes until it reaches a golden toasty brown color. Remove every 10 minutes, stir and then rotate your trays so each gets equal time on the top rack. Add the dried fruit for the last 10 minutes of baking or sprinkle it on after baking. Store in an airtight container.

imageThis makes a big batch, ideal for sharing or gift giving. Have fun mixing up the ingredients to come up with your own signature blend. I’ll leave you with my favourite way to enjoy it…sliced banana, scoop of greek yogurt and homemade granola. Healthy and yummy!

Monster bark

imageI am a ridiculously proud Aunty. Don’t get me started…you’ve been warned. My niece and I like to take on crafty projects together and lately we’ve moved our creativity in to the kitchen. We both have a bit of a sweet tooth and like making treats for our family. This is our latest and greatest concoction.image

Ingredients:

  • one bag of Hershey’s mini kisses*
  • about 1/3 cup of gummy bears*
  • about 1/4 cup of baking M&M’s*
    * we highly recommend having a taste test of each ingredient – for quality control!

Place the mini kisses in a heatsafe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Repeat until your chocolate is melted and smooth. Do this in 30 second or less intervals as chocolate can burn easily and it’s just so sad when that happens.
Line a pizza or cookie pan with parchment paper and spread your chocolate out in a nice even layer.
Sprinkle on the gummy bears slightly pressing them into the chocolate, then the M&M’s.
Put the whole pan in the freezer. We left ours for about an hour while we got carried away with another craft! Remove and break into small chunks. Enjoy!

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If you find you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. How’s that for a simple weekend treat? You know you want to try it.

Sunday rituals – Monday oatmeal

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There are a couple of childhood rituals that have never left me. Every Sunday the sheets get changed and I always have a bath before going to bed (in the clean sheets). Don’t get me wrong, I hit the tub plenty of other nights and change the bed linens at other times as well, but I must on Sundays. Recently I’ve added a new ritual that ends the weekend – pulling out the slow cooker to make steel cut oatmeal. I set this up in the evening, let it cook on low all night, then wake up to piping hot, super healthy oatmeal that lasts me all week! Here’s what I do:

Spray the bottom and sides of a slow cooker with cooking spray or wipe down with margarine. Add:

  • 1 cup of steel cut oats
  • 4 cups of liquid (I use 1 cup of milk and 3 cups of water but all water works just fine too)

That could be it. This is the basic recipe which will give you creamy good oatmeal in the morning. Here are some additions that perk up the basic recipe. Use them in any combination you like.

It's not pretty but this crockpot has served me well...and store it out of sight!
It’s not pretty but this crockpot has served me well…and I store it out of sight!
  • chopped, cored, peeled apple or applesauce
  • generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • maple syrup
  • nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, apricots

Simply add your favourites to the slow cooker, put the lid on and turn the power to low. Leave it for 8 hours or so. Give it a stir and serve. I leave my cooker on top of my stove rather than the countertop as a precaution….safety first, right?!
I make the basic recipe on Sunday night, wake up to breakfast waiting and store the rest of the batch in a covered glass container in the fridge. Each morning I serve myself another bowlful, add my toppings of choice for that day and microwave it for 90 seconds. An easy warm, filling and healthy breakfast…yes, please. How about you, any weekly rituals you must practice?