Thursday, January 6, 2011
With a new year, comes new resolutions. For many people, these "resolutions" revolve around food and diet. For me, one thing I am making a conscious effort to do this year is to make more posts featuring wholesome and healthy foods. While I maintain a pretty healthy diet, that may not seem so obvious all the time here at A Wicked Scoff. However, many of the posts I make are actually weekend "treats" and not my everyday diet.
Besides posting healthier options, another goal of mine is to take recipes and make them even more nutritious than they already are by making subtle changes such as using leaner cuts of meat, adding fibre through the addition of beans, wholegrains or brown rice, and by getting as many fruits and vegetables into recipes as possible. A great example of this is a chicken and rice soup I made earlier this week and will be featuring in a blog post next week. Besides the standard chicken, onion, celery and carrots that I put in any chicken soup, I boosted the wholesomeness by making my own chicken stock, using brown rice instead of white rice, and also by adding kale, a dark green leafy vegetable that is super healthy and packed with essential vitamins. Just to give you a preview, it was one of the best pots of soup I have ever made. It was impossible to tell the difference between the rice (brown not white), and the kale was mild and undetectable in the flavour. The whole thing blended beautifully and it made for hearty guilt free lunches all week long.
So, with that being said, my first idea for a homemade healthy recipe is granola. I love granola, but have never tried to make it before. It is very healthy, full of great ingredients such as oats, nuts and dried fruit, but it is usually pretty expensive to buy, especially the organic stuff. After doing a little Internet research on some different recipes, I had a good idea of proportions of the ingredients and appropriate cooking times. Here is what I came up with.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups rolled oats (old fashioned, not the quick cooking)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup of mixed nuts, rough chopped (I used a mix of pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried fruit (I used half dried cranberries/half raisins)
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, oil and honey over medium heat. Cook until warmed through and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, with the exception of the dried fruit, mix well and add the warm syrup mixture. Combine well and spread the mixture evenly over a cookie/baking sheet. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir the mixture every 20 minutes or so to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, pour in a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. Store the granola in an airtight container. Will last at room temperature for 2 weeks, but I really doubt there will be any left by then. Use the granola as an additive to your favorite cereal, a topping to fruit and yogurt parfaits, or as a snack on its own. I know you will enjoy this one, and feel free to experiment with the fruit and nuts.
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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).