Grab the Granola

granola

Much of my recent baking has included rolled oats.  Never gravitated towards oatmeal for breakfast, never could get used to the texture.  I began to feel that I was eliminating a great healthy ingredient that I somehow knew I could incorporate into other dishes and meals since my all-time favorite thing to bake and eat were oatmeal cookies!

I had a vague idea of what granola was but just recently discovered that it is a combination of ingredients that make up the “dish” called granola.  Here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Granola is a breakfast food and snack food consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, and confections such as chocolate are sometimes added.

granola

This is definitely a dish I could recreate it in my own kitchen!  What cemented the idea for me was an article on my editor’s page, Family Entertainment Media, about toasting rolled oats and adding it to yogurt.  Now my editor is an amazing, multi-talented individual but cooking and recipe creating is not something she is passionate about so if she made it and published an article about it, it passed the test for me.  I copied, tried, and enhanced the idea!  Thanks, Judith!

This granola is salty/sweet, has a wonderful crunchy texture and is a healthy, make-at-home, have-control-over, snack!  I also plan to start baking with it as an ingredient in bread or cookies; that will come soon.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Golden rolled oats, being toasted in butter.

Irish butter from "grass-fed" cows! Yay!

Irish butter from “grass-fed” cows! Yay!

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe's.

Great nuts for great granola from Trader Joe’s.

Toasted to perfection!

Toasted to perfection!

The recipe.

Granola

Ingredients

1 T butter
3 C rolled oats
¼ C almonds
¼ C sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
3 T honey
Dash of salt

Process:  in a large, shallow pan, melt the butter; add rolled oats and nuts then toast slowly over low flame care not to scorch.  This process can take about 25-30 minutes to fully cook the oats.  Once browned, add the honey and salt and stir to distribute.  Remove from heat and let cool; store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Home made granola and raisins, now that's yum!

Home made granola and raisins, now that’s yum!

Advertisements

Carrot Crumble

Carrot Muffin with Toasted Oat & Almond Crumble Top

Carrot cake?  Well, close.  This is a carrot muffin with a toasted oat & almond crumble top!  And while I used my healthy carrot “cake” recipe, I’ve decided to call this a muffin.  It’s less sweet than cake — has no sugary frosting — and can be a nice option for breakfast with coffee.

I got the inspiration from a similar “muffin” I had from a wonderful grocery store called Wegman’s in NJ.

I was on an exploration in Woodbridge where I visited a friend who owns a store called Unique Collection.  I spent quite some time browsing the wide selection of Buddha wooden statutes, natural stones, home fragrances and jewelry all while Indian chant music played in the background. Sweet!

I highly recommend my friend’s shop if you’re looking for a unique gift for a special person.

Check here for more: Unique Collection FaceBook page


While the Wegman muffin was good, I like knowing what’s in my baked goods and since I get so much satisfaction from baking, well, that was enough reason to make these.

Here’s the recipe.

Carrot Muffin with Toasted Oat & Almond Crumble Top

Yield:  9-10 large muffins

Carrot Cake Recipe (Note:  Omit coconut)

Crumble Top Recipe

1/2 C. Home made toasted oat granola or any granola you like
2 T. butter, slightly chilled
2 T. sugar
1 T. flour
1/4 C. almonds

Process:  add all ingredients to a processor and pulse about 5 times until ingredients are combined.  Should resemble a moist yet crumbly texture.  Add to the top of each muffin and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick for complete doneness.