Rob’s Infamous Granola #Gluten Free/Low Sugar/No Salt

22 01 2014
Last night my good friend Rob emailed me a recipe for granola. It was perfect timing, as I was heading to the grocery store and had been planning on buying granola — well I should probably make it instead no? I could save myself some money and have the option to put in only what I like to eat. In the past I have had trouble with burning the granola and putting in some unpleasant ingredients… Rob’s instructions were easy to follow and the granola came out awesome! I had it for breakfast today with some bananas. I added all the sweetener options and didn’t think it was too sweet (I also used agave instead of honey, not much clumping but a nice sweetness level). So in his own words, Rob’s Gluten free, Low sugar, No salt Granola:
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This is delicious, nutritious, easy and freezable. Make your own cereal without the preservatives, extra sugar, and salt that comes with boxed store brand. Did I mention its cheaper?

Ok, basically granola is toasted whole oats with fun stuff stuck to/on it. This recipe makes one large cake pan worth of granola.

Makes about 8 cups
Dry Ingredients
- 3 cups whole oats (have to get the oldschool stovetop kind, NOT the instant)
- 1 cup chopped or ground almonds, unsalted
– 1/2 cup flax seeds
- 1/2 cup chi’a seeds
(Other options, crushed peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sesame, sunflower)
Wet Ingredients
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (comes in a liquid or a semi-solid form, doesnt matter which )
- 1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup (depends how sweet you like it)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Clumping Promoters
- 2 tablespoons of honey (optional, once again sweetness factor determines)
Spices
- 3/4 tablespoon ground cinammon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional)
- 2 pinches of salt (you don’t have to have salt, its a flavor enhancer, I like a bit but if you don’t like it, forget it)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional, another sweetness enhancer, leave it out if you are going for max healthy)
Post Bake Mix-Ins
- Raisins ( I put in a half cup but its to your preference)
- Dried Banana chips
- Chopped Dates
- Dried Cranberries
[I added shredded coconut as well]
Steps:
1. Pre-heat oven to 325
2. Mix all the spices in a small bowl
3. Mix all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl EXCEPT Chi’a seeds
4. Mix in half the spices to the dry ingredients, stir until evenly distributed
5. Put all the wet ingredients in a small sauce pan, heat on LOW (burns quick), stirring occasionally, until everything is 100% liquid i.e. all the chunks are out of the coconut oil.
6. Pour half the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients, mix in 1/2 the remaining spices, stir until evenly distributed
7. Add chi’a seeds
7. Pour the remaining wets and spices into the dries and mix, clumping isn’t necessarily a bad thing
8. Drizzle the honey on the mixture, stirring slowly to promote clumping (if you don’t care about clumping or don’t want sweetness, you can skip this step)
9. Taste the mixture, adjust spices to preference
10. Spread mixture evenly onto long rectangular cakepan or cookie sheet (I think they are 12 inches pus long)
11. Put in oven for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, mix and turn mixture to promote browning
12. Put in for another 15 minutes. remove and turn to promote browning
13. Put in for 5 minutes or until golden crust has formed
14. Flip mixture, trying not to mix it up too much, then put back in oven till crust forms on other side
15. Remove, let cool, add in Post Bake Mix-ins
16. Enjoy

NOTES:

Metal cookie sheets tend to cook/toast faster than glass cake pans and require more careful flipping, you also have to look out for loner oats that get burnt near the edges of the cookie sheet.

Adding the spices and wets gradually ensures even spice distribution. Adding Chi’a seeds after the wets ensures you don’t just get a big chi’a deposit on the bottom of your bowl, the things are tiny so you have to mix them in with some stickiness.

People differ in their granola preferences, some (like me) like it really toasted and crunchy, some like it softer and muesli-like. How long you bake it after the initial 30 minutes is going to determine your toastiness level.
All sweetners are optional, except perhaps a certain level of maple syrup. Agave nectar works well in place of maple syrup, gives a …plant-y organic-y taste to it if you are into that.
At its most basic level, the granola formula is oats, some kind of oil or fat, spices, sweetener, oven. You can add or subtract anything else according to your liking, you just have to determine if it gets baked or added in last. My general rule, anything raisin-like or dried fruits goes in post-bake, anything grain or nut gets baked.
Doubling, tripling, and quadrupling the recipe works well, it can all go in the oven provided you have enough containers. 3 batches usually gets me through the week, but I tend to eat granola like its my job. Stuff keeps well just in a bag on the counter like ordinary cereal, but if you are worried you could refrigerate/freeze.
Good Luck
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Birthday Cake

4 02 2013

Hi All! This will be a happy belated birthday post to me (-: My birthday being two Sundays ago, but this being the first time I have a moment to stop and write.

Because I am gluten-free and vegan, people always wonder how they should make me a birthday cake. This year, we decided to make Sticky Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Cake from the Anniversary Issue of VegNews (August 2010). This is my favorite cake at the moment, so I was happy to have the excuse to eat more of it. The picture here really doesn’t begin to do justice to this very incredibly fabulous cake.

Since I cannot find a link to the original version online, I will type it up below. I made a few changes (made it gluten-free for one), and used the ingredients I had on hand instead of the exact ones called for. Non gluten-free people loved it! They said it was a bit dense, but still devoured it with pleasure. I did not notice a density issue – then again I’m pretty used to eating gluten-free foods so that might account for the difference of opinion. Best of all, this spicy cake taste amazing the next day with a fresh cup of chai (or coffee). I especially love this cake because it is so spicy that the sweetness is a bit masked and you can eat it for dessert, but it also makes a nice sweet but not too sweet breakfast.

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For my birthday, Ilana suprised me with some tasty oatmeal lentil cookies (I will try and convince her to guest blog them). Anne also made me the sweetest birthday present: a painting of our dog Maymoona! You can check it out here. And, stayed tuned for my next post on birthday chickens :D

Ingredients:

makes one 9 inch cake

Cake

1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (we used white sweet potatoes)

1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (we used the local squash)

1/2 cup canola oil (we used sunflower)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup alternate milk

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 tsp orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1.5 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

3/4 tsp xanthum gum

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup golden raisins (we left these out – who wants raisins in cake?)

Syrup

1/2 brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 orange juice

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise or 1/2 tsp anise seeds

2 tablespoons brandy or rum (I used orange flavored rum)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch cake pan. The original directions say you should also line it with parchment paper, I was able to flip it out later without doing this step. Also if you use silicone cake pans you shouldn’t have trouble flipping it out. But, if you are worried, also line the pan with parchment paper.

Mix sweet potato, squash, oil, brown and white sugar, milk, vanilla, orange zest, and lime juice together until well blended. Separately  mix the rest of the cake ingredients (except the raisins). Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined, do not over-mix  Add in raisins (if you like that kind of thing) and pour into the cake pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

In the meantime, combine all of the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil stirring frequently. After boiling for 2 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the syrup is reduced by one-third. Remove from heat and cool. Strain the mixture and set it aside.

Cool the cake for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides and carefully flip the cake out of the pan. Carefully flip the cake again, this time onto a serving dish. Poke some small holes in the top of the cake at one inch intervals. Then spoon warm syrup over the cake spreading it evenly over the cake. Be generous with the syrup and add more as it begins to soak in. Let the cake sit for an hour before serving and then serve with extra syrup.

Enjoy!





Nutritional Porridge

3 01 2013

This year I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity through Peace Corps to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as their Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator in Kedougou, Senegal. I am currently helping them monitor their nutrition program, known as PRN. CRS works in many villages in the region of Kedougou to identify malnourished children and pregnant/nursing mothers. Then we follow-up with them by recommending they visit their closest health structure, teaching them how to make nutritious foods from local materials, tracking their progress, and enrolling them in our program to hand out USAID food if this is available in their village.

Recently, I went to a seminar on how to make nutritional porridge and it gave me a whole new meaning to the idea of cooking from scratch. The porridge is fairly simple, and you could probably whip this up in under half an hour. Basically you combine bean (black-eyed pea) flour, peanut flour, rice flour, and sorghum or millet flour. Then you add sugar until it tastes okay and you have your porridge mix. Next you take a small amount and add hot water until it is the desired consistency. To me this kind of tastes like a cross between porridge and baby food, which I guess it is? Still, it is super nutritious so feel free to eat it or feed it to your loved ones.

It could be a great weaning food. Also, it makes good portable camping food! True, it doesn’t taste amazing, but it tastes good enough and don’t we all need some more hearty easy vegan camping food?

I think you can buy all of these flours at a natural foods store although you might need to make your own black eyed pea flour. I haven’t done this yet, but I think if you roasted the dry black eyed peas for about 20 minutes you could grind them up in a spice grinder or food processor and it would work just fine (check out this post on making mung bean flour). Unless you have a grain mill, and then can we be friends please?

Not having those resources, here is how we made the porridge:

First, we took the peanuts that had already been harvested from the fields and de-shelled and we picked through these to get out rocks, dirt, and missed bits of shell:

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Next, we roasted the peanuts a bit over an open fire:

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Then, we took off the peanut skin and pounded it into flour:

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Now we could move on to preparing the sorghum flour. First the sorghum needed to be pounded down:

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After pounding, we shook the husk and dirt out of the sorghum and then washed it:

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DSC04943After drying, it could then be pounded into flour:

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Finally we picked out the rocks and then roasted the black eyed peas (we bought these at a store so it was a short cut). After roasting, these were also pounded down into flour. All that was left was to wash and pound the rice (also bought at a store). Then, after a short seminar on the different health benefits and recap of how things were made, we mixed all of these flours in equal proportions and added a good amount of sugar (enough so that it tastes sweet). This flour was bagged up and given to the women; they say it will last fifteen days without refrigeration. Malnourished children and women are recommended to eat four servings of this porridge a day. One serving was defined as one cup of tea (which is about half a cup) of dry flour mixed with hot water until desired consistency is reached. All in all it was a great seminar, and at the end of a long but enjoyable day we walked home:

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Oh yeah, did I mention that this village is on top of a mountain and has absolutely spectacular views? I love my job.





Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes

26 12 2012

Growing up my Dad always made us Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix pancakes for breakfast. For some reason in my head he was probably the only person who was capable of making pancakes. Yes, I could make them, but only under his supervision and only using this magical mix. After going gluten-free I tried eating some pancakes made from different mixes and they were good, but never knocked my socks off. Then Anne made me banana bread pancakes from My New Roots and I was stunned. I suddenly remembered my childhood and how magical pancakes really are. When I ran out of ingredients to make these pancakes I decided to take a stab at making some more traditional tasting ones. I stole this recipe as a base (it looks really good but I didn’t have all of those ingredients) and worked from there. I am happy to report these came out incredibly delicious and I simply can’t get enough of them! I like to make the batter and leave it in the fridge so I can have a pancake snack whenever my sugar levels are running low.

GF PancakesServes 2

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/6 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup alternate milk (I used rice milk)

1 mashed banana (if you don’t like the banana flavor use some applesauce instead)

1/4 cup sunflower oil (or coconut oil if you have it)

2/3 cup water

I would like to add vanilla extract too but I don’t have any. If I did, I would try adding 1/4 tsp.

Blend dry ingredients well. Mix wet ingredients together and add them to the dry ingredients. Heat up some oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup, agave nectar, jam, or vegan yogurt.





Hash Brown Chili Bowl

19 12 2012

Cold season is finally here! Which means lots of stealing Rachel’s sweatpants and curling up with a hot bowl of chili and cornbread. But what to do when you run out of cornbread? Try this hash brown chili bowl, the perfect warm and filling breakfast (or lunch or dinner). This is also a great way to turn leftovers from last night’s dinner into a satisfying breakfast (-;

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Make a pancake like hash brown (this one was 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded potatoes) and place it in a shallow bowl. Fill with steaming hot chili. Enjoy!





Reverse Dosa

16 12 2012

Dosas might be one of my favorite meals. They are a crepe-like pancake made out of lentil flour and usually stuffed with a potato mixture. You can find them at Indian and Nepalese restaurants, and I highly recommend them. However, today I’m going to tell you about my new favorite power packed breakfast: the reverse dosa. Potato hash brown on the outside and lentils on the inside! Lentils, full of nutrients and protein, make an excellent complement to the hash brown ensuring your breakfast will not only wake you up, but keep you going all morning.

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Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups of potatoes, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup of simple daahl (lentils, water, veggie broth and water)

To make the daahl, boil lentils in veggie stock until they are completely broken down and look like lentil mush and then salt and pepper to taste. I like to start with two cups of stock to one cup of lentils and then add water as needed. For example, if the water is starting to run out and lentils are in danger of sticking to the pan, but they don’t looked mushy yet, add more water. If the lentils are starting to look mushy, and you still have a lot of water left, you should take off the lid (if you have been using one) and boil off the water. Make sure to stir more often when you are doing this to keep the lentils from sticking. For brown lentils, this process takes a while – about an hour – and will require a lot of water. For red lentils it will be closer to 20 minutes, and will be closer to the 2 to 1 ratio of water to lentils. For this recipe I prefer brown lentils, and like to make a big batch once a week so all I need to do is heat them up in the mornings.

Once you have your daahl, make one large hash brown pancake. Heat up the daahl and place inside the hash brown. Then fold over the hash brown. Enjoy!





Hash Browns

10 12 2012

For the past two weeks I have had hash browns every single morning for breakfast. No, this is not an overstatement. In fact, I would say since I moved to Kedougou I eat hash browns for breakfast about 80% of the time. So, in honor of how much I eat these, I feel I owe you a few blog posts on this topic. To start us off, I bring to you today a guest post from Rachel Billings. She is the one who taught me how to make hash browns, so I figured it would be appropriate that she share her knowledge with you directly today.

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Spuds, taters, potatoes, starchy golden deliciousness, Hash browns!

This simple breakfast food has a special place in my heart. As a kid my father taught me how to make hash browns. They were his favorite…. and probably the only thing he didn’t ever burn! When I got older I got interested in running races and triathlons, and my dad was my best training partner. After every race we competed in we always made hash browns. Coffee and hash browns: The best recovery meal in my opinion.

Take as many potatoes that you want to eat (I have in one sitting eaten 2 pounds of hash browns….).

Peel the skins.

Shred with a grater. If this is your first time, I recommend cooking 1 and 1/2 cups of hash at a time.

Pour enough oil in a non-stick flat pan to cover the bottom well. You will need about 1/4 a cup of oil for 1 and 1/2 cups of hash.

Turn heat on high.

Wait for about 2 minutes to get the oil really hot.

Load in your spuds.

–a note: once you put the potatoes in the pan, do not stir them because this will cause them to stick. Just throw them in, flatten them out so they take up as much surface area as you have and then don’t move them. That is the key to not sticking your potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Keep on med – high heat until the first flip (about 2-5 minutes). When the spuds are starting to turn brown on the edges and the middle is starting to dry out a bit if you can easily slip a spatula underneath now is the time to flip. Like a pancake, you want to try and get the whole thing in one flip, but if you mess up it’s no big deal just as long as all the potatoes get cooked.

Once you do the first flip, turn the heat down to medium-low. This will ensure that the potatoes in the middle get cooked.

Flip a second time when the spuds on the bottom are a golden brown (about 15 min for 1 and 1/2 cups of hash at med-low heat).

Continue to cook until they taste done (looses that pure starch taste) and are golden brown and crunchy on the outside. You can flip to cook whichever areas aren’t yet golden brown, and you might want to turn the heat back up to help crisp up the outsides. If it starts to burn, turn down the heat and or add more oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with ketchup or other breakfast things, or just coffee!

That’s all.

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P.S. Make sure a certain someone (cough couCAMILLEgh) tells you if the top to the salt is off……

salty hash browns





Extraordinary Gluten Free Banana Pancakes

6 11 2012

On my last trip to NJ, Anne from The Hungry Griffin made me these absolutely mouth watering Banana Bread Pancakes from My New Roots. I don’t know how to express how much I enjoyed these.  I’m actually not the biggest fan of pancakes – but these are all the goodness of banana bread in a pancake, and they just melted in my mouth.  When Anne was cooking them she got a bit worried because they browned a lot and stuck to the pan a little.  They do come out looking a bit dark, but don’t worry, they taste great!






Cream Cheese

30 09 2012

Home on vacation again! I whipped up some cream cheese to eat on my Food for Life gluten free english muffins.  I used a recipe I found at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. I added a cup of chives from the garden for some extra flavor.

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It was really tasty, however since I don’t have a vitamix I couldn’t get the right texture.  Although it worked great for what I wanted, I have to admit it didn’t taste exactly like cream cheese.  It is a wonderful creamy spread that I recommend for eating with bread/english muffins/bagels, but I wouldn’t try to make a dessert with it.  Next, I’m going to try this recipe.





Black Bean Brunch

11 07 2011

While visiting Portland last year I was inspired by brunch at the Hungry Tiger – a great restaurant – and came up with this soy free breakfast scramble.

Ingredients:

1 – 2 medium russet potatoes, cubed

1 cup of cooked black beans

1 red onion, chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

a handful of chopped chives

salt and pepper (to taste)

sour cream

Rinse cubed potatoes and heat a skillet with olive or canola oil to medium heat.  Add potatoes and stir until coated.  Add some salt and pepper and fry with lid for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and add bell pepper, carrot, and onions.  Cook for another 10 minutes.  Add beans and salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with chives and sour cream. Enjoy!








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