Amazing Cashew, Almond, Coconut and Flax Seed Granola

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Granola is so easy to make but most store bought versions are full of sweeteners and oil.  People are amazed when they hear I make granola but it is ridiculous how simple it is and how much better it is than store bought.  I love this recipe because it is relatively low on sweeteners and oil, and if you want you can even lower the honey and brown sugar quantity to make it less sweet.  This is a little expensive to make with the premium nuts, but it makes a batch which lasts us several weeks in our household.  Eat this with milk, use as a topping for frozen fruit acai style bowls https://wordpress.com/post/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com/3349 , https://wordpress.com/post/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com/3392  or just eat it plain.  Either way, this will be a hit!

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F before assembly.  The recipe only takes minutes to combine.  Place first 5 ingredients: oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, flax seed, in a large bowl.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix until combined.  Toss the sugar mixture onto the oat mixture and stir gently till combined.  Spread mixture in a thin layer on 2 parchment paper lined sheet pans.  Toss every 15 minutes till golden brown approximately 30-40 minutes total.  Let cool and store in sealed container.  Will keep for weeks.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded or large flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar depending on how sweet you want it I usually use a “loose” unpacked 1/2 cup just shy of the top
  • 1/2 cup honey (use pure maple syrup if you do not like honey)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, I use coconut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbls vanilla

Enjoy!

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The Best Acai Bowl

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pictured above (Acai bowl from Sejuiced, Newport Beach, CA)

If you have never tasted an Acai Bowl you are in for a treat!  Think thick, icy smoothie that you eat with a spoon, it eats like a frozen soft serve ice cream but is all natural with no artificial sweeteners…it doesn’t need any extra sweetness because it is SO naturally GOOD!  Add toppings like sliced fresh fruit, granola, cacao nibs, even a spoonful of almond butter or peanut butter and you are in for a very satisfying treat!

I’ve only made this in a high powered blender such as a Vitamix so I can’t vouch for any other blender. I also use my small 48 oz. container versus my larger low profile container, I found the models which have the slimmer taller jar work better because you will be tamping down the ingredients as you blend.

Ingredients for 1 serving :

  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1/4 Acai Stick (can find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 cup liquid of choice: water, flax milk (1/2 Tbls. flax with 1/4 c water), almond milk, or coconut milk

Toppings: sliced fresh fruit such as half a sliced banana, sliced strawberries, or your favorite fruit, granola (see note below) , peanut butter, cacao nibs

Method:

Place ingredients in blender in the order they are listed.  Turn blender on low and gently ramp up speed using tamper on high speed to push ingredients down and blend to smooth consistency.  Remove from blender with spoon, and layer with granola and toppings.  Enjoy immediately or freeze for later consumption.

Notes:

The recipe is easily doubled if you are making more than one bowl, the more ingredients the easier to blend.

Alternatively, you can use frozen Pitaya sticks instead of Acai sticks.  I find the Pitaya is an acquired more sour flavor and prefer Acai.

Note: Please see my blog for a great granola recipe: https://wordpress.com/post/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com/3648

 

 

 

Make Ahead Christmas Morning Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls and Egg Casserole

Traditions are wonderful. These recipes are a Christmas morning staple for us and the best thing about them is the make ahead factor. Whip them up the day before and just pop into the oven on Christmas morning, it can’t get much simpler than that!  This is an easy way to have some nice warm breakfast treats on Christmas Morning without having to “cook” in the kitchen.

I whip of a batch of no rise, no yeast (easy) cinnamon roll dough some time on Christmas Eve, I place 7 unbaked rolls around the edge and 1 roll in the middle of an Emile Henry Pie dish from Williams Sonoma and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  On Christmas morning this breakfast treat is ready to pop into the oven.  I either make the frosting the night before or just make it in the morning while the rolls are baking.  We always have the rolls with baked egg casserole, recipe below, which also sits in the fridge overnight to be baked Christmas Morning.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe:

 PECAN CINNAMON BUNS

Original source from Bon Appetit submitted by Dawn English. These are a Christmas Morning favorite in our family, just make the day before and refrigerate unbaked rolls and frosting and pop the rolls in the oven the next morning.

Makes 8 rolls

Filling:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1/4 stick) melted

DOUGH
nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

mascarpone icing

for filling: combine brown sugar, chopped pecans, sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in melted butter (filling will be dry and crumbly)

For dough: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. spray 10 inch diameter cake pan with 2 inch high sides with nonstick spray. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Stir buttermilk and 6 tablespoons melted butter into dry ingredients until blended. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour by teaspoon if dough is too sticky, about 8 turns.
Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 12×10 inch rectangle. Brush dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough, leaving 1 inch plain border on 1 long side. Press filling gently into dough to adhere. Beginning at long end opposite plain border, roll up dough jelly-roll style. Pinch border of dough to seal. Cut dough crosswise into 8 equal slices.
Place 1 bun in center of prepared cake pan; surround with remaining 7 buns, spacing apart (buns will expand to fill spaces during baking). Brush tops of buns with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake buns until golden brown, about 23 minutes ( some filling may come out sides of buns). Cool buns in pan on rack 5 minutes. Drizzle icing over warm buns, then serve warm or at room temperature.

>>For mascarpone icing:
whisk 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (an Italian cream cheese available at many supermarkets or Italian markets) and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in medium bowl until smooth.

Hope you enjoy!

 

My tips:

  • Frosting: use cream cheese instead of mascarpone for the frosting if you don’t want to spend the money or can’t find it.
  • Cloves, I am not a lover of cloves in breakfast items so I leave it out

Breakfast Egg Casserole

This breakfast casserole is a family favorite on Christmas Morning. I love this recipe because it is assembled the night before and ready to pop into the oven in the morning.  Often times we use cut up ham left over from Christmas dinner to add to the casserole instead of sausage.  For the past few years my husband usually assembles this one just before we go to bed on Christmas Eve or technically very early Christmas morning usually around 12 midnight or 1 A.M.

6 eggs
2 cups milk
6 slices white bread
1 pound sausage (or cubed ham)
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used a little more)

Crumble and slightly brown sausage. Drain. Cool. In a mixing bowl beat eggs, add milk, salt and mustard. Cube the bread and add cheese and sausage or ham. Put in a 9” square baking dish. Refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees until puffy and set (cooked through) in the middle.