Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

We live in the Pacific Northwest, where hippies are not something out of the ordinary. In our house we already separate the trash in 3 buckets – “regular”, recyclable and compostable. I drive a fairly small car, not one of the gas guzzlers which are typically associated with people living in the US. I have a (very) small vegetable garden in my backyard. And in my quest to get my hippie card, I decided to follow a friend at work and make homemade granola.

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There’s no standard recipe for granola (even store-bought ones have different ingredients), and I’ve already played with the ingredients a few times to get to what we prefer in our house. Most supermarkets around here have a great section for foods in bulk (cereals, grains, nuts, etc.), so I was able to experiment with some different recipes over time. The basic idea is simple: a cereal (usually rolled oats) for the base; some nut for flavor and crunchiness (I usually go for walnuts, but I’ve already used slivered almonds and pecans); seeds for texture and healthy properties (pumpkin seeds are my favorites); some syrup to bind everything together (I like maple syrup best, but honey or even corn syrup should work as well); and more “healthy” ingredients which don’t compromise the taste (oat bran, flax seeds, etc.). A few times I also added raisins (or craisins – cranberry raisins), but I usually skip those.

One thing which I’m often impressed is that even though I use quite a lot of maple syrup, it still tastes a lot less sweet than the packaged cereals – no wonder so many people condemn those as one of the culprits of the obesity epidemic. I wouldn’t go as far, but it’s nice to have something healthy which you know all the ingredients which went into it. This recipe is one which I prepared last month.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, raw
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, crushed to small pieces
  • 2/3 cups oat bran
  • 1/3 cups flax seeds
  • 1 1/3 cup maple syrup

Mix all the ingredients well then spread them in a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (it will likely require to be split in two sheets). Bake in a 350ºF oven for 12 minutes, then remove and stir. Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes, until the oats start to brown. When it starts smelling of roasted oats it’s about time to remove it from the oven (the time may vary depending on the oven and the amount of granola).

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It can be served in different ways. I like to eat it either as a “regular” cereal with milk and some berries, or mixed up with plain or vanilla yogurt.

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Enjoy!

Getting my kids to eat vegetables, especially leafy ones, isn’t the easiest thing to do. Sometimes they will eat broccoli, corn, peas, carrots, but leafs just aren’t their thing. To my surprise, my daughter said that she tried kale chips at her school, and she liked it (“if you put a lot of salt”).

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So we decided to try it at home, and it was amazingly easy – and a hit with both kids (and adults as well). The leafs, dried up on the oven, almost vaporized in our mouths and, indeed, the salt helped the flavor. As a bonus, I had an eager helper for the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • a little drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the hard stems from the leaves, then tear the leaves in 1-2” pieces (great for kids). Spread the leaves in a cookie sheet, and lightly drizzle with olive oil (do not overdo it; the first time we did it ended up too much). Finally, add the salt and put it in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the leaves start to brown. Remove them and put them on top of some paper towels (or a rack) to let the excess oil to drip. Let it cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy!