Monday, May 30, 2016

Kitchen adventure: Superfood granola

Granola with fresh picked strawberries, blueberries and cashew milk

Store bought granola can be loaded with more sugar and fat than you'd like to start your day.  This granola is packed with superfoods and sweetened with dates and dried fruits.  The traditional oil is replaced with banana and tahini (or nut butter of your choice).   This easy to make recipe works well for breakfast, snacks or dessert.  This recipe was inspired by this original recipe at Jenny Mustard's blog.  Although the ingredient list is long, it comes together quickly. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite nuts, seeds or dried fruits that you like.

Superfood granola

12 large medjool dates, soaked and drained (save water)
1 large ripe banana
½ cup tahini (or use almond, cashew or peanut butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scoop (1 tablespoon, superfood green powder) optional
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup raw nuts roughly chopped, (I used walnuts and almonds for this batch)

8-10 prunes or dried mission figs, chopped (this batch had figs)
½ cup raisins or other dried fruit like cherries, blueberries or cranberries
1/3 cup goji berries (or more raisins)
½ cup raw sunflower seeds

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom 

- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a food processor or blender combine drained dates, tahini, bananas, superfood powder and vanilla extract until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to process, add just enough date soaking water to make a thick smooth paste.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Add the date mixture to the bowl and mix until all the dry ingredients are coated.  
- Spread the granola evenly on a parchment paper or silicone mat lined large baking sheet and press flat with your hand or back of a spoon
- Bake the granola for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown
- Remove from the oven, let cool thoroughly and break into bite sized chunks

- Store in an airtight container.

Thanks for reading!

If you liked this post, you may like:
Healthy cold cereal
Carrot cake granola
Overnight oat and chia seed pudding

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

My mother's Julia Child yellow rose blooming in my garden

As I contemplate Mother’s Day this year, it is with a bit of sadness as it is the first one since my mother’s passing a few months ago.   I still reach for my phone to text her ,“Mom, you won’t believe what I just saw!” or to send a photo of an art project I’ve been working on or show her the progress in the garden. 

 My lovely neighbor gave me a beautiful yellow rose bush named after Julia Child for my garden to commemorate my mother’s life.  She gave it to me because my mother liked yellow roses.  She had no idea that my mother and I watched Julia’s cooking show on PBS together for years when I was growing up or that I endlessly watched the cooking channel with her the last time I saw her when she could no longer get out of bed as cancer had sapped her strength.   Any time I start to miss her, I only have to look out the window and see the pretty yellow blooms open to the sunshine to make me smile.  I smile at the thoughtfulness of my neighbor giving me a beautiful reminder of my mother.  I smile at the memory of my father giving my mother roses often: for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and just because.  I smile for the times she and I spent enjoying Julia Child’s cooking shows and sharing our love of culinary adventures in the kitchen and at the table. 

Although I can't call her this year to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, in my heart my mother is forever holding my hand and encouraging me through the journey of life.   

Me and my mom on a stroll in Hof, Germany