On the positive side of all my recent relocations, I’ve definitely downsized, including my pantry. Over the last year and a half, my pantry stores the basics for healthy Mediterranean style cooking and baking. I prepare meals mostly from scratch so having good quality basic ingredients on hand; I can easily pull together a simple and delicious meal.
One constant staple in my home is having a big batch of home-made granola on hand which I change up seasonally and use in many ways. Granola is always great on its own, bagged up for a take home treat for guests or served as breakfast cereal with non-dairy milk. The one downside is that I have to use restraint and control to not eat it all up by myself!!
So I’ve played around with different ways to use my granola, as in the top picture, a layering and sprinkling of granola over pumpkin banana soft serve makes for a sweet ending dessert that can be whipped up quickly. To make the pumpkin banana soft serve, I just add some leftover pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices and maple syrup to my basic banana soft serve recipe.
For a little energy bite, I drop about a cup of granola into my food processor, add in some pumpkin puree (or applesauce) and some almond butter and process away till the mixture begins to form a ‘dough’. Then I spoon out bite size portions and roll into small balls. Allow to firm up in the refrigerator, about a cup of granola makes about 9 small bites.
Taken a bit further, I will take that ‘dough’ and press it into mini tart shells, fill with sautéed apples and allow to cool for a very quick and easy healthy apple pie!!
5 cups rolled oats
1 cup nuts (whatever you like, pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews – I used a mix this time)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup agave
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a large sheet pan with a Slipat, parchment paper or lightly oiled. In a large bowl, combine the oats through to the nutmeg, stir well. In a separate bowl, stir the pumpkin puree, agave, syrup and coconut oil together until smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the oats and mix to blend well. Spread the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan evenly. Bake until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries. Cool completely, store in air tight container. Being that I live in warm weather, I prefer to keep my granola in the refrigerator.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.