Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Almon Half-Moon Cookies and Peanut Butter Balls

I was up until 11:30 pm last night completing these two batches of cookies. I finally got the moon cookies right!...well almost. I added more flour this time but I think I added a little too much; such a delicate balance! I also spent half and hour grinding the roasted almonds myself to get the texture and look the same. They turned out pretty good, and after a toss in some icing sugar they will be just like Nonna's!

The peanut butter balls were pretty time-consuming. I probably should have just done half a batch but I wasn't thinking clearly...clearly. I have 65 peanut butter balls in the freezer now. I hope they get eaten at the party in a week and a half. I used natural peanut butter for these which actually worked for once. The only difference is the softness of the ball when you first roll them. I refrigerated them for a bit before coating them in chocolate so they would be easy to handle but they were still a little difficult.

I used dark chocolate for the coating for most of them until I ran out, and then I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. The dark chocolate was definitely easier to temper the chocolate. It hardened much nicer and was smoother when dipping the balls. Also, it is much more delicious. Using a double broiler also made the process a little more fool-proof.

So now I just have one other batch of cookies to make to complete the cookie section of the book. I will probably make those this week so that they can be eaten at the party next weekend.

Tomorrow I will be making one of my favourite dishes. It is a lentil dish from 101cookbooks. I made some substitutions due to what I had on hand and I have been making it the same way ever since. While I normally eat it as a meal in itself, it will make a great side dish for my Mom's 49th Birthday dinner tomorrow night!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Salad Two Ways

Salads are a big part of my daily life. I usually have one, sometimes two. So easy to make, and when made properly can be a balanced healthy meal. Today I had two salads; two very different salads.

The first I had for lunch and mostly contained some fresh baby leaf and head lettuce from our backyard garden. We have so much lettuce sprouting right now. Most of it isn't mature, but can still be used in it's infant stage. I also picked a baby radish. They aren't very big yet but this little guy was mostly out of the soil so I thought I would just pick it. Chives (right) and sorrel (left) also came from the backyard herb garden.

Green Garden Salad:

fresh lettuce
2 chives, chopped
1 baby raddish
1/4 avocado, chopped
5 leaves sorrel, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 tsp olive oil
balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste

I tossed this salad and sprinkled a bit of nutritional yeast on top. I am really liking this stuff as a topper to dishes.

For dinner I had planned on eating a can of tuna, but wanted to do something different then just eat it straight from the can (my normal fare). I finely chopped up some veggies, tossed in some lemon juice, seasoned, and served in radicchio leaf boats.

Zesty Tuna Salad

1/2 can flaked tuna
1/4 orange bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp chopped onion
1/4 avocado, chopped
1 piece celery, chopped
6 hot pepper rings (the jarred ones), chopped
dill to taste
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (to taste)
3-4 radicchio leaves

After mixing all the salad ingredients together I let this marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. I only did this because I had to go out, but I imagine it did the salad good. I then scooped the salad into the radicchio leaves. It makes it easier to eat if you sort of wrap them up and eat them like little tacos.

My day (or should I say evening) was also filled with baking. I managed to finish two batches, and both were a success. I will post about these delicious treats tomorrow.

Happy Chopping

Come One, Come All

I hope everyone likes the new format of the blog! I think it is pretty. I was going to make it food related but this theme made me feel happy just looking at, so I knew I had a winner. I wish I could design every detail myself but I am no website designer and this is blogspot afterall. Maybe one day I'll get adventurous and start using wordpress. I also decided to make the blog public. I am not sure how many readers I will actually get but at least it is out there.

I have the day off today which is desperately needed. Working 3 days in a row on a weekend is exhausting! I am not used to working in general right now. I much prefer being a student and am much looking forward to September. The weather doesn't look so good in Hamilton, and I am quite certain the bike trails are extremely muddy, so I think I'll skip my planned big bike ride today. I have plenty of things to do around the house today as well as make a few batches of my Nonna's cookies! I still have a lot of baking to do for the photography for the book.

On today's agenda:

Moon Cookies - The last batch was a fail! My Nonna told me afterward that they are very tricky to make. The key I think is the texture of the ground almonds used in the recipe. Last time I used blanched ground almonds. The cookies I know and love have speckles of almond skin in them, BUT I cannot find ground almonds with skin on anywhere! I think I am going to grind them myself, even though that is going to take a lot of time and effort. It better be worth it!

Chocolate Balls - Involves a tricky process of melting chocolate to then later harden. Normally people use paraffin wax to do this but I cannot bring myself to bake with it.

I think I will also make more oatmeal cookies and almond biscotti, as those are easy to make, and will be good for my parent's 25th wedding anniversary party in two weeks.

I am unsure how far I will get on this, but I will share my results with you soon!

Something else to look forward too: I could potentially have peas and cucumbers from the garden this week!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garlic Scape Quinoa with Basil

Finally I was able to cook with the garlic scapes which I picked up at the Locke St. Farmer's Market. This plant is the green portion of the garlic plant, and is therefore also called green garlic. I have never seen this vegetable until this year, but will definitely track it down next season. I removed the ends and also the white bulb end. I am sure this is edible, but most sources said to remove the bulbs. There isn't too much information out there for garlic scapes.

I then cut up the middle curly portion into 2 inch pieces. I took a little nibble and the flavour was strong! Initially it was a mild garlic flavour, but then got spicy. Definitely want to cook these, unless you chop them up and use as a condiment.

A lot of recipes out there use garlic scapes similarly to beans in a stir-fry. I know I said I was going to make a garlic scape pesto, but I did not have parmesan cheese, or the time to make the vegan parmesan cheese. That will be for the next bundle of garlic scapes I get my hands on.
Once the green is cooked it has a much milder flavour, and a similar texture to a green bean. I kept the seasoning to a minimum for this recipe becuase I really wanted to see what these bad boys could do on their own. I added fresh basil near the end which was fantastic with the scapes. I would add double next time.

Garlic Scape Quinoa

1 small bundle garlic scapes, ends and bulbs removed, chopped into 2 inch pieces
1/2 stalk brocolli, cut into bite sized pieces
9 white mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (double this if you like)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion for 3 minutes until fragrant.
2. Toss in brocolli and garlic scapes. After 3-5 minutes add mushrooms. Sautee until brown and vegetables almost cooked. Reduce to medium-low.

3. Add quinoa and basil and toss until vegetables soft.
4. Plate and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Quinoa is a fantastic grain because it contains all 8 essential amino acids and has lower amounts of carbohydrates than other grains (Edible by National Geographic). It has a nutty flavour and is perfect for adding to stir-fry and sauces.

If you can't find garlic scapes substitute beans and 2 cloves of garlic. This vegetable is nearly finished its season around here so beans it may have to be in the near future. If you don't have the luxury of a few basil plants in your backyard, pesto would be another option (best when purchased in the refrigerated section). Another option is to add sweet corn. I don't know what it is but corn and basil go wonderfully together.

Using the nutritional yeast as a condiment added very little flavour, but did add some texture. It could be substituted with some parmesan cheese, or left out all together. This ingredient still intrigues me and I am really wanting to see how it works in making sauces. This is not the end of the road for nutritional yeast.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I have been slacking. But not ACTUALLY. While I am unsure how many of my invitees actually read this blog, I hope I am being missed somewhat. I have had a busy week with my graduation, grad party, work, and trying to exercise. The last few weekends have done a number on my eating habits, so this week I was trying to get back to normal. I have been eating some pretty plain food, nothing too exciting. Lots of overnight oats, veggies, cottage cheese, and legumes.

I finally tried the popular trend of overnight oats and I was delighted! They really are quite good, and you can play around with the recipe to suit your taste. A good change from regular oatmeal. I have been adding 1/2 cup soy milk to 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 tbsp ground flax seed, and cinnamon. It is also good with mashed up banana (add 1/4 cup more milk).

With regards to cottage cheese, this food has gone from an intolerable enemy to a yummy favourite for me. I choose the 1% fat variety to make it more satisfying. It is good with veggies, fruits, or nuts!

In searching for a post-bike ride high protein lunch, I mixed 1/2 cup red lentils, 1/2 cup quinoa, and 1/4 cup cottage cheese. It was delicious! I don't have a photo for that one, but it isn't very pretty anyway.

I am going to try some new recipes this evening to have for tomorrow. At the Locke St. Farmer's Market I picked up some garlic scapes, which is the green portion of a garlic plant. I also picked up some nutritional yeast at Goodness Me, which I have been wanting to get for a long time. These are both foreign ingredients for me so this should be interesting!

I'll post with the results soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Birthday Cupcakes, BBQ Raddichio, Bean Pepper and Corn Rice...and some more

So it has been a week since I've posted and boy has a lot gone on in the past week. A string of McMaster convocations, a visit from a best friend from Alberta, parties galore, and my own convocation finally! I wont go into too much detail on some of the things I've made or else this post would be way too long.

Last Friday we celebrated a friend's 22nd birthday, and I was in charge of the cupcakes. I decided to make two kinds. I have been wanting to make this Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake from 101cookbooks for a while. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, or whether people would like it, so I also made a classic Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting. I followed both recipes completely and was fairly satisfied with both. I make the buttercream frosting purple, and dusted the blueberry cupcakes with icing sugar. The vanilla were a hit at the party.

I read so much about barbecuing veggies and fruit and it often looks so delicious. I love barbecued zucchini and eggplant, but I haven't really ventured further than that. I have seen some people barbecue radicchio so I decided to give that a try. It was really quick and browned easily on the BBQ after brushing the wedges with olive oil. Afterward I drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and it was quite tasty. Radicchio does maintain it's bitter flavour however so it would be best to serve the wedges on a plate of greens.

The next day I had nothing to take to work for lunch and I was again, craving mexican food. So I tossed some olive oil, onions, garlic, chilies, pepper, corn, and black beans into a pan and seasoned with chili powder. I had this over rice and it was quite good! This would have made a great filling for a burrito, of course with some added cheese and quacamole.

I had a busy day on Wednesday, I officially graduated! Afterwards some friends and their parents put together a wonderful potluck celebration and there was lots of great food! I did not think I would enjoy convocation day as much as I did, and I LOVED IT!

I drove home from Waterloo the next day and I picked up some farm fresh strawberries off of highway 52. They smell delicious, and I cannot wait to have some in my oatmeal tomorrow, and with yogurt, and then maybe some more on their own...

My mom and I also began preparing some things for Saturday. While at the grocery store, I picked up some yellow and red tomatoes on the vine. They were good, but I cannot wait to get some straight from my backyard, nothing compares. I chopped these colourful tomatoes up and tossed them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil and chives from the garden. It was very refreshing.

Hope to see you all on Saturday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Almond Bread Results...and a Big Red Cabbage Salad

Yesterday I tried to find a way to use the almond flour that cost me an arm and a leg. I found a recipe for gluten free bread on this website, www.elanaspantry.com. There are tons of baked goods on this website that are gluten free. Almond flour is often used in gluten free recipes so this was a good place to look. I varied a bit from the recipe since I didn't have arrowroot powder. I used whole-wheat flour instead. The repercussions of this were just a more dense bread I think. I also used maple syrup instead of agave, and white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.

It tasted delicious while still warm. It made about 14 thin slices. This bread is low-carb, high-protein and high in good fats. This makes it a very hearty bread that I am not too sure I could handle for use in sandwhiches.

Today I had some warmed up with natural peanut butter and it was still delicious.

I also made a big red cabbage salad yesterday. I really like red cabbage. You can buy a head and make 2-3 dishes out of it. Very economical. Inspired by the cabbage salads on www.101cookbooks.com I decided to make one. I chopped up half of the red cabbage into thin strips and bite sized pieces, added 2 carrots shredded with a peeler, 4 radishes sliced and chopped into thin strips, 1/2 a white onion chopped finely, 4 pieces of celery chopped up thinly, and some mushrooms sliced thinly. The thinner and smaller the veggies, the better it turns out.

The dressing is the fun part for this salad. Cabbage salad to me means Asian flavours. With my newly acquired sesame oil I winged a dressing based on some of the ones on 101cookbooks. I juiced 2 limes, added about a tbsp of olive oil and about a tsp of sesame oil. I added some finely chopped ginger, scallions and salt and pepper. It is best to whip it up in a bowl or give it a shake in a jar. I usually make dressings by eye and taste it, adjusting it to my liking. I recommend you do the same; overtime you get better at it. Side note: very little sesame oil is needed to give a good asian flavour, you want olive oil to be the main oil. If you don't get enough lime juice, substitute in some white vinegar and red wine vinegar (about a 2:1 ratio). You want to end up somewhere between a 1:1 and 2:1 ratio of acidic component to oil.

I only made enough dressing for about half of the salad that I made, but you get the idea.

A great crunchy addition (as if there isn't already enough crunch) is toasted peanuts. I recommend buying raw peanuts, chopping them up, and then toasting them on a dry pan on medium-high heat. They burn fairly easily so keep them moving. These will taste so much better than purchased roasted peanuts. Add some of these on top of this salad to add a nutty flavour.

Today I had some leftover salad without peanuts (they were all gone...). Still delicious.

I also had something else for lunch. Now I'm going to start off by recognizing that I eat weird foods sometimes and enjoy weird combination of foods. The other day, Jenna looked in our pantry and said, "Who's sardines are all those?" looking at a stack of about 6 cans of sardines. "Mine..." I replied wearily. To answer her next questions, yes I do eat them and yes I do like them. They are delicious and full of omega-3's! Eating them for lunch today made me think of this so I thought I would share my wacky lunch with you becuase this is the weirdest it has gotten on the sardine front, for me anyway.

Sardines canned in tomato sauce, on Ryvita rye crackers, topped with sliced pickles and hot peppers. Loved it, but I can't say that everyone will.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

I love making soups. I made them all the time while in school. They are not as time consuming as people think, and you can make a ton at once. They are so nutrient dense and can be very filling. Most of my soups consist of a broth, a ton of chunky vegetables, some spices, and is served over rice, pasta, or potato. I have never been a fan of very liquidy soups. Usually my soups turn into stews after being refrigerated overnight. Last weekend on Viva, on one of many cooking shows I watched, the woman made a pureed soup. It started off chunky, but then she took a hand blender to it and reached the consistency that she liked. I liked this idea a lot.

In a big pot I heated about 2 tbsp of olive oil and then sauteed 1/4 large onion for about 3 minutes. I then added a few stalks of celery chopped, 2 carrots chopped, and one sweet potato chopped. I heated this for about 5 minutes, to soften the celery and carrot. This is then when I added 1 big clove of garlic chopped, and some fresh chopped ginger.

The size of the pieces of vegetables will be to your taste, but it is easiest when blending the soup to use smaller pieces; they will also cook faster that way. After the garlic and ginger were fragrant I added a can of diced tomatoes, plus a full can of water. You could use broth instead and add more if a lighter soup is what you like. The soup was brought to a simmer and then removed from the heat. This is where the hand blender came into action. I blended up the chunks of vegetables until it got to a consistency I liked. There were still some chunks but the broth became much thicker, from the blended vegetables. The soup was put back on the heat, and returned to simmering.

Once the soup was simmering, I added probably about a cup of red lentils (maybe more, I'm not to sure) that had been rinsed well. I left this simmering for about 20 minutes covered until the lentils were soft. During this time I added about 1/2 tsp of cumin and some salt and pepper. The soup was mild in flavour, and there was room for some more seasoning. I will probably double the cumin next time I make this.

The soup got very thick after being refrigerated but was still delicious. I also garnished with some scallions.

From baking on the weekend I have so many finely ground almonds, also referred to as almond flour. At 15 dollars a pound, I want to put this stuff to good use. Today I will be attempting to make a protein packed bread with it. Anyone have any other ideas of what to do with almond flour? (No more cookies though please, lol)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Baking Day Successes and Failures

On June 5th, I baked all day with two friends, completing 6 batches of cookies. Some turned out better than others. These cookies were all my nonna's recipes and I was making sure the recipes were easy to follow so that I can compile them into a book for my Nonna and the Di Donato family. Here are some photos of the cookies. Don't worry, they are all in the freezer ready to be served on June 19th, where I hope to see you all.

Chocolate Biscotti (In non-traditional Biscotti form)

Half-moon Cookies, which do not look authentic at all. They taste good however and will not go to waste.

Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter. I burnt these ones. Turns out you can't use natural peanut butter when making peanut butter cookies. I am really keen on still using natural peanut butter so I should probably add more flour to make up for the runnier consistency of the batter.

Almond Biscotti

Almond Cookies

I have 2 more cookies and 4 cakes to make before I have completed the collection. Wish me luck.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jamie Oliver Inspired Stir-Fry

I would like to start this entry talking about the main idea behind this blog. Over the last year my interest in cooking and nutrition has skyrocketed! I have read a lot of flood blogs in that time. I am certain that is what made me want to create my own. However, I want it to be different. I thought for months about how to make one that is different than the rest but the ideas weren't coming. So I decided to just create one anyway. It will be an evolving project that will be only shared with family and friends for now. I will welcome any feedback, ideas or advice on how to improve the blog. I would like this blog to prompt discussion on food, nutrition, as well as ways to make recipes even better and/or healthier. Now onto the entry...

Has anyone watched the Jamie Oliver American Food Revolution? I finally watched the rest of the 6 episode series yesterday. I think what he did was a great thing, that may spark some radical change in the USA. It is great for families to be making healthier choices for themselves and to be more educated, but the US government and agricultural industry has made the food supply system so twisted, that it will take decades, I think, to see nation wide changes. Anyway, the first dish Jamie teaches people is a basic stir-fry with some fresh beef, vegetables and noodles. The important part of this stir-fry is the fresh spices used. The recipe calls for garlic, chili pepper and ginger.

I have never used fresh ginger before! It seems crazy since I love Asian food so much, that I have never tried to create those flavours myself. I refuse to by any pre-made Asian sauces as they are just loaded with salt and sugar, and I need to learn how to make these flavours myself. Fresh ginger has such a beautiful scent! I really liked it, and it will definitely be added to my regular shopping list.

I started off with some olive oil in the pan. Once heated on medium-high heat, I added 2 chopped chili peppers, 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger (chopped), and 2 cloves of garlic. After 1 minute of heating, I added half an onion, chopped. And continued to heat for 3 minutes.

I then added the beef. Now I know this may come as a shock, but I actually touched raw beef with my bare hand and cooked it myself, ahhh! I have to admit though, I only ate one strip of it and then avoided the rest. Once the beef was done I added lots of vegetables: carrots and celery, red bell pepper, water chestnuts and snow peas, in that order.

While this was going on I was preparing the rice vermicelli noodles. I have rarely had success with these in the past. When boiling them, it is so hard to make sure they do not overcook, which turns them into one big rice mass. This time I opted for the soaking method. I filled a bowl full of hot water and soaked them for about 10 to 15 minutes. I think it would have been best to leave them in there for 30 minutes. Usually, this does the trick and they are soft enough. Then you can toss them like this, into the stir fry.

So since my pan was way too full I could not stir fry the noodles with the veggies. The veggies are done though and this is the point where you want to add sesame oil. Sesame oil is not that expensive and has similar health benefits as olive oil. Once I opened the bottle and took a whiff, I knew it was another factor that gave many Asian dishes their distinct flavour. Sesame oil should be added near the end to preserve this flavour. This is the point where I would recommend adding the noodles and letting all the flavours mix together. For me, this is where I topped the plates of noodles with the veggies.

The heat factor here was right up my alley. A little spicy but not too hot. I think I could have added more ginger and sesame oil though, it is all a matter of taste!

Take home message: chilies + garlic + ginger + sesame oil = nice light Asian flavour

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Breaded Eggplant

Did you know that eggplant is also called aubergine? I didn't! Usually when I cook with eggplant it is a failure. It often comes out spongy in stir-fries, which is my go-to method of cooking vegetables. Sometimes when eggplant is not fresh, it is neccessary to salt it, so that it doesnt act like a sponge.

Yesterday I bought an eggplant and was trying to think what to do with it. I had some leftovers of the black bean tomato sauce, so I thought an eggplant parmesan-type dish would be nice.

My Dad keeps a bowl of a good breading mix on hand. It is about a one to one mixture of whole-wheat bread crumbs and cornflakes. It also has some oregano in it. Any of a variety of spices can be added depending on your taste. Some classics would include oregano, basil, parsley or chili flakes. Some interesting ones to try would be cumin, coriander or even dill. I sliced the eggplant into about 1 cm slices. They were dipped in egg whites and then dredged in the breading mixture. They were then baked on a lightly oiled pan at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes each side.

A great addition to this would be a little bit of parmesan cheese. They could be used to make a veggie sandwhich, or eaten on their own with some tomato sauce like I did.

Yogurt Bowls

Now some people would call these parfaits, but I like to call it a yogurt bowl. Whenever I am kinda hungry mid morning or mid afternoon I often have a yogurt concoction with plain yogurt, fruit, nuts, granola or whatever I've got. Yesterday I had such an early breakfast by 11 it was time for a yogurt bowl.

I thought I would share this one because I think it looked so pretty!

This one is Astro all natural 0% plain yogurt, a tiny nectarine chopped, half a banana chopped, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, and goji berries (the newest "superfood"). You could also sprinkle some flax seed on top.

This kind of snack will keep you satisfied for at least a few hours. I bought some blueberries yesterday, and I can't wait to use those in a yogurt bowl for my break at work!

Black Bean Tomato Sauce

I often crave Mexican-type foods, especially black beans and salsa. I had some kasha buckwheat in the cupboard which I was wanting to try. I bought this toasted seed a while ago because I read that it is high in complete protein and is gluten free since it is not a cereal grain. I figured I would try it out by making a sauce, that way if I didn't like the kasha I could cover it up with tomatoey goodness.

On Monday I decided to test out the kasha with some mexican inspired tomato sauce. I started out with some canned tomatoes, black beans, half an onion, one carrot and a big clove of garlic. I had planned on adding tomato paste but the crushed tomatoes had a thick enough consistency for the sauce. This sauce is actually quite thick. Next time I would probably used diced tomatoes and then also add the tomato paste.

I chopped up the onion and garlic, and shredded the carrot.

I heated about a tablespoon of olive oil and then added the onion, garlic and carrots. Here I then added about 1/2 tsp oregano and sprinkled some cayenne pepper and chili powder. This was sauteed for about 3 to 5 minutes and then added the can of tomato and black beans (rinsed very well). After simmering for about 5 minutes I tasted the sauce and decided it needed some salt, pepper, and more cayenne and chili powder.

While the sauce was simmering on low I cooked the kasha. Pretty easy thing to make. Just boil 2 parts water, add 1 part kasha, cover, and simmer on low for 15ish minutes.

So turns out I don't like kasha very much. I still have about a cup of it in my pantry so I better think of something to make with it. The sauce was delicious though, and a dollop of cottage cheese on top completed it perfectly. I appologize for how nasty this photo looks, but I swear it tasted good.

This sauce would be good with rice, pasta, on a piece of toast or on anything really. It is also very good on breaded eggplant, the star of my next post.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peanutty Granola

Welcome! Here is my new blog that is just about food! It is not public and by invitation only for now, but anyone who wants to read I will be willing to invite. Here I will share my food creations. Sometimes they will be inspired by recipes I have found while prowling the food blogs, but often they will just be something I put together myself. The food we consume has a large impact on our bodies, whether we can feel it or not. Using whole unprocessed foods will do the body good. I will try and keep the science and dietetics to a minimum but sometimes I will just not be able to help it.

Granola is such an easy thing to make. A couple weeks ago I made my first attempt, and I realized that no matter what you add, as long as you like those ingredients, you will like the taste of the granola. It may not have the perfect texture or visual appeal on your first try, but it will do the job.

I started off my going to Bulk Barn and getting some ingredients, I chose oats, sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, and shredded unsweetened coconut. Coconut is fairly high in saturated fat, but it has medium-lengthen fatty acid chains, which are digested and used by the liver more readily. There is a lot of debate on the benefits of this type of saturated fat. I mixed 1 cup of the oats and 1/2 cup each of the other stuff. You could substituted any of these things to suit your taste, and even add more of a variety. If using even more nuts, I recommend increasing the oats to 2 cups.

A coagulant is necessary to get the crunchy granola texture as well as to add more flavour. I kinda winged this part. I wanted to avoid large amounts of oil and sugar that are in commercial granola's and most other recipes I found. I melted a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff). I watered it down with a bit of water to make it a bit more liquidy. I then mixed it all in with the nut mixture until it was evenly coated and then spread evenly on a baking sheet. I baked it at 300 for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. I probably could have done with only 25 minutes.

Once it cooled a bit, I added some flax seed for fiber and omega-3s! These seeds shouldn't be heated because this destroys all those beneficial fats. The granola had a good crunch and had a real nutty flavour from using peanut butter as the fat component.

I would make some adjustments the next time, maybe use more oats and no coconut. This is a fun recipe to play around with. Judging by my lack of measurements, you can’t really screw up a granola, but it will take some time to get that perfect batch that satisfies all your needs.

I topped some yogurt with strawberries, a cut up banana and some of this granola for a light lunch!