Wednesday, February 16, 2011

steel cut oats with a bunch of other stuff

 (not great photo, courtesy of my phone)

This is the breakfast of champions. Well if I gave this to a champion of something—then it would be. But, I do CHAMPION this breakfast (see what I did there?). In the winter, this is the way I prefer to start my day (when I'm in town, and have the time to make something.) You can mix and match a few things, but this is my basic formula:

1/4 uncooked steel cut oats
1 tablespoon of uncooked quinoa 
1 cup water
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves or cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground flax
2 teaspoons toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup almond milk
a few drops of vanilla
a handful of frozen blueberries
a handful of sliced almonds

Bring water to a boil, add the oats and quinoa and turn down to medium-low heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the almond milk and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Let cook until desired consistency (I like mine pretty thick) and serve. This set of portions feeds one fairly hungry strawberry blonde.

**In OTHER NEWS: I will have a normal life again, starting a week from today. So, I will be back to more regular posting, testing, and maybe I'm thinking about reviewing places. We'll see what 2011 has in store, but I'm thinking this year will be tops.

Monday, February 7, 2011

slow cooker granola

Slow cooker granola sounds totally weird, right? Well, as you know, I've been looking for mulitple ways to use my crock pot/slow cooker and have looked up a lot of ideas on the interwebs and in books. I keep finding great recipes in this one that my parents got me a few Christmases ago (before they realized that I didn't have a functioning slow cooker.) This is the same book I got the apple butter recipe from. And we know how much I liked (loved) that. This is a great granola recipe, and the thing I love about granola is that it's so flexible. You can really change things up depending on what you have on hand or are just in the mood for. I was regretfully out of coconut (the horror!) and had some toasted macadamia nuts on hand so I changed things up a little from the original recipe, but you can really be loosey-goosey with these things.

Maple-Almond Granola
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds (I added 1/2 cup of toasted macadamia nuts, as well)
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I used this amount of a mixed bag of dried fruit)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (it's near impossible to find unsweetened so just use what you can find)
1/2 cup chopped dates (I substituted raisins)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup pure maple syrup (this doesn't leave an overwhelming maple flavor. Just enough to sweeten)
1/4 cup canola oil (I did a little less)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a lightly buttered slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is crisp and dry.
3. Spread the granola on a baking sheet to cool completely (I totally skipped this step). Store in airtight jars. It will taste best if used within 2 weeks.