Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Sticky Apple-Pecan Cake

What do the people think of this cake?  Well, there wasn’t much left over for them to take home, so I’d say it was a hit.  It’s moist and a little sticky from the sauce… so good!  Yes, there’s lots of sugar and fat in this one – it’s a cake, and a Paula Deen recipe at that!  If you’re looking for a healthy recipe, check out one of the salads or something. You might not love coconut, but you can’t really tell it’s in there – it really adds something to the cake, though.

If you’re a little scared of making cakes, this one is for you.  There’s not much you can do wrong if you add all the ingredients.  You pretty much pile everything into a bowl and mix, then pour the sauce over top when it’s out of the oven.

What you need for the cake:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups peeled and chopped apples (I used Macintosh)

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cups chopped pecans

What you need for the sauce:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

What you do:

1.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

2.  Add the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and vanilla and mix it up with a wooden spoon until it is combined.

3.  Add the coconut, apples and nuts and mix it.  The batter will be quite thick.

4.  Pour the batter into parchment-lined pans(wax paper will do).  I used two 4 by 12 pans, but that’s an odd size… so you can use two bread pans or, if you have it, one 10-inch tube pan.  What ever you do, bake it for about an hour at 325 F, then test it with a toothpick.  If it needs a little more time, add 10 minutes, check again, adding more time if needed.

5.  Before it has finished baking, prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then adding the sugar, buttermilk and baking soda.  Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring constantly for one minute.

6.  After the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it with the back end of a wooden spoon.  Pour the sauce over the top.

7.  Let the cake cool for about an hour before taking it out of the pan to cool the rest of the way – or just get started on it while it’s still warm!

You could reheat it and serve with a little vanilla ice cream, if you’re looking for true decadence.

Wild and Brown Rice, Pepper and Pecan Salad

If you like pecans, whole grains and vitamin C-rich peppers, then you’ll love this hearty salad.  It’s great for a lunch or picnic.

What you need:

3/4 cup brown rice

1/4 cup wild rice

1 each of red, orange and yellow peppers

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 bunch parsley

1- 2 green onions

1/3 cup dried currants

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon tamari

What you do:

1.  Put the rices in a pot with 1 & 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low.  Cook for 45 minutes, then take off the heat, leaving the lid on, for 10 minutes.

2.  Toast pecans by heating in a frying pan for 5-8 minutes on medium-low heat.  Be careful!  It’s easy to burn them.

3.  Chop peppers into approximately 2 cm chunks.

4.  Chop parsley and green onion.

5.  Mix oil, vinegar, honey and tamari together, then stir in a large bowl with all the veggies and the currants.

6.  Let the veggies and sauce do their thing while you are waiting for the rice to cook and cool.  Mix the rice in, and you’re good to go!  It’s really nice served with a few slices of avocado.

Great for leftovers!

My Best Bran Muffins

These taste great, and they’ve got lots of fibre-rich bran.  I usually add raisins and pecans, but this time I substituted pumpkin seeds.  Dried cranberries are a great alternative to the raisins.

I mixed the dry ingredients the night before, so when I got up I just had to turn the oven on, add the liquids, and place the mix in muffin tins.  Fresh hot muffins in 20 minutes!

Makes one dozen, and freezes well.

You need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 & 1/2 cups bran

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 eggs

1 cup milk (soy is good too)

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup butter

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.  Stir dry ingredients (flour to pecans) in a large bowl.  (If you are making it ahead for tomorrow, this is all you need to do for now.)

3.  Melt butter, then mix in the milk slowly, so the butter doesn’t harden when you add cold milk.  Add molasses.  Pour the liquids, along with the slightly beaten eggs, into the dry ingredients.  Mix only until the ingredients are combined; if you mix more you’ll get tough little muffins.

4.  Place mixture in muffin tins lined with paper baking cups.

5.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.  Take muffins out of tins and cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating.

6.  If you freeze them, make sure they’re completely cool.

Enjoying a muffin in the mountains!