Chai-Spiced Seedy Granola

standard February 18, 2015 Leave a response

I almost bought a box of cereal the other day. I haven’t bought a box of cereal in years. But I was out of granola and really wanted something crunchy to top my daily smoothies.  I talked myself out of the cereal and came home and whipped up a cozy batch of spicy, seedy granola instead. Granola is SO EASY. Oats, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, sweetener, binder. Bake. Done. The trick is finding the right mix of flavors so it doesn’t taste like a bowl of baked oats.  I’ve been on a chai kick after making Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Chai Lattes last week, so I played around with a superfood mix of seeds and spices. This one is definitely a keeper! Perfect on top of smoothie bowls or as cereal with a splash of almond milk.

Chai Spiced Seedy Granola

Chai-Spiced Seedy Granola

Serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • 1/4 c hemp seeds
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, seeds, nuts, and spices in a bowl. Stir well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix applesauce and maple syrup together. Add to seed mixture until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Spread mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until just golden. Let cool in pan. Add cranberries and mix together, breaking granola into clumps.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition:

Per serving (1/2 c): 276 kcal, 29 g carbs, 15 g fat, 8 g protein, 109 mg sodium, 13 g sugars

Chai Spiced Seedy Granola 2

Budget Burgers

standard June 17, 2012 Leave a response

As much as I experiment and try new recipes for things, sometimes an old favorite is the best. I’ve been making these veggie burgers for a while, and they’re easy, fast, freeze well, and best of all, cheap! All you need are lentils, oats, and salsa.

Southwest Lentil Burgers

Makes 8-10.

Print-Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 c cooked lentils
  • 1 c oats (either quick or old-fashioned are fine)
  • 1/2 – 1 c salsa
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1 T Arizona seasoning (or chili powder)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • whole wheat burger buns
  • sliced avocado
  • lettuce

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and a  light amount of cooking spray.
  2. Combine  lentils, oats, salsa, onion, seasoning, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.
  3. Add 2/3 mixture to a food processor and process until just combined. Pour back into bowl with remaining 1/3 mixture.
  4. Scoop about a palm full of the mixture into your hands, and roll into a ball. Flatten to form patties and place on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the outside is slightly crispy and hard. The inside of the burger should still be soft and moist.
  6. Serve with avocado and lettuce. Or crumble on to a salad with corn, bell pepper, and diced avocado.

Dry lentils and oats are super cheap, either in the bulk bin or prepackaged. It takes more time to cook dried lentils, but I like to cook a cup and freeze the leftovers for future meals. One cup of dried lentils will yield 2-3 cups cooked. Considering they are high in iron, protein, fiber, and a ton of vitamins and minerals, their cost is an even better value.

These burgers are great as is, on top of a salad, or crumbled as taco filling. It may seem counter-intuitive to form and cook patties just to crumble them back up, but they make a great single serving that freezes and thaws easily for quick meals and portion control. They definitely never last long in my freezer!

A Month of Breakfast

standard October 2, 2011 Leave a response

Eating breakfast before 8:00 am used to make me feel sick. I was never hungry that early but had no other time to eat before my day started. Running, however, has made my body wake up starving every morning. I always eat a banana before my work out and make breakfast first thing when I get back. Since I don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast before starting work for the day, its nice to have various foods prepped and ready to go. And since it is ten times cheaper to make breakfast foods from scratch, I usually only buy cereal or oatmeal when I am heading out on a work trip.

My Breakfast Staples:

  • Oatmeal mix
  • Granola
  • Muesli
  • Muffins

I love baked goods, so healthy muffins or scones are always a staple for me. And the fact that they hold up well in the freezer and heat up in the toaster oven in 10 minutes, coming out looking like they were just baked, is a big plus.

Granola and muesli are go-to cereals in the summer. Just add some fresh fruit and almond milk, and you’ve got a healthier breakfast than any box cereal. Most granola recipes can be made with half the sugar the recipes call for too, without losing the taste or texture.

Right now, my favorite breakfast is oatmeal. I no longer have to cook it in the car, but I still do not have time to stand over the stove stirring it each morning.  I make a dry mix every so often so I can just scoop out 1/4 cup and start cooking without having to get out a ton of separate ingredients each time.  A batch can be mixed up with quick cooking oats to make the morning cooking process faster, or if using rolled or steel-cut oats, a larger batch can be made for the week in the slow cooker or on the stove and portioned out in containers for each morning.

I prefer steel-cut or rolled oats, so making it up in advance is always key for me. After I have the oatmeal cooked up and in the fridge, I can easily heat a serving for breakfast with a splash of almond milk and any additional mix ins, such as pumpkin or diced apples. I usually have nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and spices already in my dry mix to make it easy, but sometimes I keep it plain so I can mix it up depending on my mood for that day.  After heating the oatmeal and milk for about a minute in the microwave, I stir it all together and heat it for another minute. Then top it with almond butter, jam, or a sprinkle of sucanat, and you have made from scratch oatmeal in 2 minutes!

This weekend I made up a month’s worth of breakfast foods in an hour. Here’s how:

  1. Oatmeal mix – 2 cups of rolled oats with nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon mixed in. One cup of mix will cook up to make 4 servings, so I will get 8 breakfasts out of the mix.
  2. Granola – I doubled the recipe I used, making 8 cups of granola at a 1/2 cup serving each, for 16 breakfasts.
  3. Oatmeal raisin muffins – recipe made 10 large muffins, which I stored in the freezer to last throughout the month. Toasted back up and smeared with apple butter, one is definitely enough for a weekend breakfast with coffee.

Total comes to 34 meals. And since each of these uses similar ingredients, most of which are found in the bulk bins at the grocery store, they can all be made fairly cheaply. And without the additives, preservatives, and sugars of store-bought breakfasts. 🙂