Homemade Granola

by BiteSizedJessica on March 29, 2015

Almond_Granola © 2015 Jonathan Meter

When I was a kid, my mom used to lament the difficulties of making dinner every night. I’ve always remembered this with a little disdain – I’m constantly coming across recipes I want to make. How could anyone struggle with dinner? It’s so easy. My problem was always picking which recipe out of a hundred that I wanted to cook.

I hate to say this, but my mom was right. Now that I’m constantly trying to come up with healthy dinner ideas for me and Jon, it’s nearly impossible to make something that’s good and good for you every night of the week. I fight a constant internal battle between kale salads and ordering pizza.

Recently I started making yogurt and granola for dinner. It sounds weak and Jon hates it, but it’s healthy, easy and cheap. I started making homemade granola to go with this dinner mainly to incorporate more almonds into our diet. They’re high in health-promoting fats that reduce the risk of heart disease, which has started to become a concern for  me considering how many times a week we’ve been eating tater tot nachos at the bar across the street. You can read more about almonds here!

This recipe is easy and the granola is great for snacking or mixing into yogurt, or sometimes on vanilla ice cream. Good luck with dinner!

Almond_Granola_030

INGREDIENTS
(Makes about 2 quarts)

1 tsp cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
2 tsp canola
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups oats

2 cups almonds
1/2 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup toasted pecans
3/4 cup coconuts
1 cup pepitas

 

What To Do:

 

Mix cream, vanilla, sugar, honey, water, oil, spices and oats. Bake on a sheet tray at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then add almonds, apricots, pecans, coconut and pepitas and bake for another 8-10 minutes until browned and crispy. Be sure to mix on the sheet tray to prevent burning.

 

{ 0 comments }

Bagel Brunch

by BiteSizedJessica on January 12, 2015

Bagel Brunch-077-RecoveredI know it’s January and that means New Years Resolution month in full effect. Healthy eating, exercise, less drinking…it seems like those are the top three resolutions on most people’s lists. My question is, who came up with this masochistic tradition? January is the coldest, meanest month of the year – and that’s when we are supposed to stop eating cheesy pasta bakes, give up red wine and head outside for a brisk run? Is everyone insane?

In honor of my abstinence from this barbaric form of self-torture, I am kicking off the month of January with a fully loaded bagel brunch. Toasted everything bagels from Ess-a-Bagel (best in the city), whitefish salad, olive cream cheese, tomato, onion and cucumber. There’s no better way to start a cozy Sunday morning hiding out from the icy chill of winter’s winds. I think I’ll have a glass of red wine with dinner tonight…

{ 1 comment }

Banana Bread

by BiteSizedJessica on July 6, 2014

Frozen_BananaBread-101Growing up, my mother’s freezer was the most notorious place where food went to die an undignified death. Bagels were tossed in there half wrapped in a piece of paper towel. A crumpled piece of foil obligatorily placed atop an opened loaf of bread signified zero understanding of food preservation techniques using a freezer. Yet if you ever questioned the madness, my mother would vehemently defend her freezer tactics. “It’s just a frozen bagel! It’s perfectly good,” she’d assert while microwaving said bagel, before toasting it into oblivion.

The other very notorious kitchen violation my mother commits is the way she handles bananas. My mother knows how to rot a banana with the best of them. Every time my father goes down to the market for something, my mom asks him to throw in a banana for good measure. It’s just this obligatory request that’s born more out of an impulsive need to buy more than one thing at a time, than out of need.

As a result of this compulsive banana buying, I too have become a hoarder of this Musa fuit. Every time Jon goes out to the store, I ask him to buy a banana, just like my mother. We accumulate them more than anything else in our apartment.

Fortunately for the sake of not wasting food, I learned a great trick about preserving rotten bananas years ago. Apparently, if you freeze a banana, it remains preserved and ready to use in banana bread. Banana bread quickly became my go-to housewarming gift, my favorite party-favor and one of my most trusted recipes. It’s the perfect way to re-use a fruit that would otherwise be considered trash.

Here’s my recipe for banana bread. Please, rescue any otherwise doomed banana from the garbage. Put it in your freezer when it starts to turn brown and save it for a rainy day.

Frozen_BananaBread-010

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cupu sour cream
4 browned banaans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups flour

Frozen_BananaBread-052

What to do:

1. Cream butter and both sugars in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

2. Add eggs one by one until fully incorporated.

3. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, bananas and sour cream. Beat until incorporated.

4. Slowly incorporate flour in 3 parts until batter is smooth.

5. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 until a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

6. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

{ 1 comment }