Browsing Tag


Toasted Coconut Granola

February 6, 2012

Can I interest anyone in a little homemade granola? What about if I tell you it’s packed with good things like toasted coconut, slivered almonds, walnuts and raisins and coated with sweet and earthy real molasses?

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with one cookbook in particular. That is, Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday. It’s a beautiful book, packed with inspiring, mouthwatering recipes that pull me in and don’t let me go. Sure, plenty of the recipes call for ingredients that I don’t typically store in my pantry, and that I’m not willing to shell out the cash to buy. But I’ve found that they’re solid recipes that can easily be adapted based on what you have on hand.

This granola had been calling out to me since I picked up the book. Although I tweaked it slightly (adding cinnamon, using raisins instead of currants, using sweetened flaked coconut instead of unsweetened since I couldn’t find unsweetened, and adding in a handful of slivered almonds) the integrity of the recipe remains the same. And I loved that instead of using sugar to sweeten the mixture, molasses was used instead.

My personal favorite way to eat this granola has been atop plain, unsweetened, full-fat yogurt, with a few berries stirred in for good measure. It’s to die for.

Toasted Coconut Granola
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday
*4 cups rolled oats
*1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
*1/2 cup slivered almonds
*1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
*1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup molasses
*1/3 cup butter, melted
*2/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries

*Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside
*In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the butter and molasses and stir until evenly combined. Pour mixture atop oat mixture and toss to combine and coat evenly. Divide mixture between the two prepared baking sheets and spread into a thin layer on each sheet.
*Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. Remove from oven and cool. Stir in the raisins or dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Happy Baking!

Creamy Chia Oatmeal

February 1, 2012
Good morning, and happy Wednesday! I’m offering up my sincerest apologies for this photo, but certainly not apologizing for the recipe. It’s killer good and a huge hit with my husband, who begged me to put the recipe up for you guys. Hey, if Joey is raving about oatmeal, it’s most certainly got something going on, right?
Over the past few weeks, my love for oatmeal has heated back up. My favorite thing about oats has always been the fact that if you cook them slowly, you can get your oats to absorb a ridiculous amount of water, hence making for a giant, filling bowl at breakfast without added calories. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized you can also bulk up your oats and add great texture and nutrition by stirring in a tablespoon of chia seeds. 
If you’re unfamiliar with chia seeds, they are a small but mighty food that provides fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium and antioxidants. They have a slightly nutty flavor and get bigger when added to liquid, making portions extra generous. If you’re looking for more information, check out what Dr. Oz has to say about chia HERE.
Of course, this oatmeal is about more than just health. It’s perfect, creamy, fluffy and all around delicious. All of which is made better by adding a generous scoop of peanut butter atop for good measure. 
Creamy Chia Oatmeal 
Makes 1 serving 
*1 2/3 cup water
*Pinch of salt
*3/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
*1 tablespoon chia seeds
*2 to 3 tablespoons milk 
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 packets Stevia or 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
*1 tablespoon natural peanut butter 
*In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water, salt, oats and chia seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, for six to eight minutes or until oats and chia seeds are puffed up and the oats just begin to bubble/boil. For ultra creamy oatmeal, cook at an even lower heat for more time. 
*When oats begin to bubble, add in the milk, cinnamon and sweetener or sugar. Continue to cook for two to three minutes, until the oats have absorbed the milk and the mixture is creamy. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Top with the peanut butter. Serve immediately. 
Happy Cooking!

Make Your Own: Chewy Granola Bars

May 18, 2011

Even though I love my job, working in an office every day has its drawbacks for anyone active and fitness minded. There’s the hours of sitting every day and the cravings to be outside in the summer sunshine. And then there’s the challenge of planning snacks and lunches to take along each day.

A few times a week I run home over lunch, but many days I take lunch along. And I always, always pack snacks. Granola bars or protein bars are a favorite snack of mine when paired with a piece of fruit in the afternoon, but when I actually take time to look at the ingredient list of many of my favorites, it makes me cringe.

Take, for example, Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. Snack staple of kids and adults alike. They lure you in with the ‘100 calorie’ burst on the box, but the ingredient list is less than stellar.

I find it hard to believe all these ingredients are necessary, or healthy for that matter. So I set out to make my own, and was more than trilled with the results. Although they fall apart a little easier than their store-bought counterparts, they are bursting with fresh, real flavor thanks to the addition of almond butter, honey and vanilla. And as a bonus, they make your kitchen smell like you’re making waffle cones. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Make Your Own: Chewy Granola Bars

*1/3 cup almond butter
*1/3 cup honey
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*2 cups Kashi GoLean Crunch! cereal (large pieces broken up slightly)
*2 cups regular rolled oats
*1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

*Line an 8x8x2-inch baking bakin with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In a small saucepan, combine the almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture is hot and well combined. Remove from heat.
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the Kashi cereal and oats. Our almond butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir until evenly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
*Press mixture into lined baking pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove granola bar mixture and foil from baking pan and cut into 8 bars. To store, wrap in aluminum foil or store in a zip-top bag and keep in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information per bar: 195 cal., 9 g fat, 119 mg chol., 180 mg potassium, 28 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein, 13 g sugar

Happy snacking!

Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze

June 23, 2010

As much as I may enjoy a busy, fun filled weekend every now and again, this nonstop travel and craziness has got to stop. Returning home from work last night, I was so tired that I completely forgot about dinner. Trust me, that never happens. So I celebrated the longest day of the year by getting the year’s longest night of sleep. Eleven hours later I feel like a completely new person. Not to worry, this new person still likes to eat and blog.

Scones were never a part of my childhood. I don’t have stories of waking up to the smell of scones or my mom teaching me to make them. The first time I remember eating a scone was in college at my friend Emily’s house. Emily lives on an acreage in Minnesota that looks like something out of a magazine. The house is country-chic beautiful and surrounded by fruit trees, chickens, and goats. Her mom is a do-it-all type that happens to make very delicious raspberry scones. Raspberry scones made with freshly picked raspberries. After that trip, I was sold on scones.

I’ve made scones before, but they’ve usually ended up tasting like rocks. Call me crazy, but I don’t think scones are supposed to taste like rocks. On the bright side these Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze taste nothing like rocks, quite the opposite actually. They are crispy around the edges and light inside and the coconut glaze serves to add extra moisture. While eating one, I found they mysteriously tasted a bit like carrot cake. Don’t ask me how or why. Maybe I’m just imagining things and need some more sleep.

Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze 
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2005
(Printable Recipe) 
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*2/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1 tsp. cinnamon
*1 Tbsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
*1 1/2 sticks butter
*2/3 cup milk

*1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
*1/4 cup milk
*1 tsp. coconut extract
*1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened)

*Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
*In the bowl of a food processor, combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add oats and pulse for 30 seconds. Add butter, cut into cubes. Pulse 15 times, until butter forms coarse crumbs no larger than the size of a pea. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
*Add milk to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms and dry and ingredients are just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form into a large rectangle. Cut into triangles and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until scones are lightly golden.
*Meanwhile, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and coconut extract. When scones are slightly cool, drizzle glaze over the scones. Sprinkle with coconut.

Happy Baking!


Homemade Granola: Base Recipe

April 30, 2010

Remember that time not so long ago when I made Whole Wheat Granola Breakfast Cookies? Well, it turns out I am not only the type of girlfriend who likes to bake for her boyfriend, I am also the kind who likes to make her boyfriend’s mom think I’m trying to kill her son by means of serious allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock.

Because adventurous eater and fruit and veggie loving me fell in love with someone allergic to more items than even he can count, including, evidently, commercially produced granola and granola bars. And when his mom, who happens to read Espresso and Cream (Hi, Lisa!) noticed I was sending her son a box of cookies filled with granola she did what any caring mother would do and sent him a heads-up e-mail.

It just so happens that before making those fateful cookies, I had just finished whipping up a batch of homemade granola and decided to use it for the cookies. After talking with J. about what I put into my homemade granola, we determined that he could eat the cookies and avoid a life-threatening allergic reaction, or at least a trip to the hospital. So from here on out I’ve accepted that as long as J. is in my life, I am bound to a life of granola making instead of granola buying. Thank goodness it is both fun and easy!

This granola base recipe is very similar to a recipe for cranberry-almond granola I made this winter, with a few minor changes. It couldn’t be easier and it’s just so gratifying to see the oats toast up in the oven and transform into granola in under an hour. While we were in Florida last weekend, J. had a bit of a culinary revelation: my 10 year-old sister’s vitamin gummy bears. So while this may not radiate culinary brilliance or sophistication, it will be serving a healthful purpose when it arrives up in Minnesota. Customize it fit your taste or leave it plain for a simple, yummy breakfast base.

Homemade Granola: Base Recipe
Adapted from
*3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
*2 Tbsp. brown sugar
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/3 cup honey
*1/3 cup canola oil
*Desired stir-ins of your choice (I used gummy bear vitamins)

*Preheat oven to 300*F.
*In large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine honey, oil, and extract and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over oat mixture. Stir until well-combine. Use hands, if necessary.
*Pour mixture into a large baking sheet or pan. Spread into a thin, even layer. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven and cool completely. Stir the mixture once or twice while it cools (it will harden as it cools). Once cooled, add in desired mix-ins. Store in an airtight container or zip top bag.

Happy cooking!