Tag Archives: nuts

Nuts About Almonds

Ah, almonds. Natural, blanched, toasted….sliced, chopped, slivered, ground, or whole—all good, so so good!

There are countless ways to cook with almonds. They can be added to  your favorite salads; sprinkled over vegetables; stirred into cake, cookie and muffin batters; used to coat chicken or fish; ground into nut butter; well, the list goes on and on. But, perhaps the simplest and best way to enjoy almonds is as a snack straight from the shell.

Joe keeps a large container of almonds in the studio, and after the three of us “catch up” with a cup of coffee and treats from Stew Leonard’s (believe me, it’s the best part of the day), I head straight to the almonds for a great big handful!

According to the Almond Board of California, almonds are cholesterol-free and just a handful a day may help you maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E,  and a good source of fiber. So why not make your heart happy and pop a few almonds into your mouth each day?  You (and your heart) won’t regret it.

p.s Let me know what your favorite almond recipe is!

Cathy

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Filed under Healthy, Snacks

Make Your Own Granola

What is granola anyway?  Those yummy sweet clumps of crunch.  I never really thought about it until we decided to photograph a healthy breakfast image and developed our own recipe for it.  Granola is typically a mixture of oats, dried fruit, nuts and a sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, baked and broken into those “sweet little clumps.”  It can be served as cereal either hot or cold, eaten as a hand-held snack,  or sprinkled over yogurt, ice cream or fruit.

I am a real maple syrup fan, and if it were just for me, I would have developed the recipe using all maple syrup, but I decided it would be better to round out the flavor by using both honey and syrup.

Tips

– Use old-fashioned rolled oats, not quick cooking or steel-cut oats.

– “Add in” ingredients are endless.  Start with the base granola recipe of oats and sweetener, then add your favorite extras.

– Be creative with add-ins and spices! Try dried fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, apricots, apples, raisins, dates, & pineapple. Also experiment with nuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and candy bits.  Choose from spices such as ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, or ground cardamom.

– Nuts should be added to the oat mixture before baking, as this will toast them, bringing out their flavor.  Dried fruit will taste fresher if added after the granola is baked.  Chocolate chips and candy bits should be added after granola has baked and cooled.

– If adding spices to your granola, add them into the warmed sweetener (honey, maple syrup) before pouring it over the oats.

– Recipe can be made with just honey or just maple syrup depending on your taste buds.

– To store, place cooled granola in a storage container with tight-fitting lid.

Here’s the recipe!

Makes about 7 cups

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup unsweetened shaved coconut

– Preheat oven to 275F. Place oats in large bowl.

– In small microwave safe bowl, microwave  honey, maple syrup and cinnamon on MEDIUM until warm about 15 seconds. Pour over oats and toss until well coated.

– Spread oat mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes just until it starts to turn golden in color.

– Cool in pan on wire rack.  Break into small pieces. Transfer to large bowl and stir in cranberries, apricots and coconut.

– Store in airtight container up to 3 weeks.

Cathy


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Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Snacks

Healthy Crock-Pot Oatmeal

My husband Rich and I have been trying to eat healthier.  No more bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for our weekend breakfasts!  I’ve discovered steel-cut oats. I love the texture of the oats—nutty, crunchy, so good ! They are the healthiest variety of oats, but also take the longest to prepare.  Crock-Pot to the rescue!!  Since it’s just the two of us for breakfast, I purchased a small Crock-Pot just for the oats—a 1 1/2 to 2-quart size works great, plus they are inexpensive.  I start the oats the night before and have a healthy breakfast in the AM.  I add lots of good toppings, too!

Tips

– Be sure to spray the inside of the Crock-Pot with vegetable cooking spray.  If not, the oatmeal forms a sticky crusty coating on the sides of the Crock-Pot.
– Add dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins, pineapple, apricot, apples—the combinations are endless.
– Add nuts, flax seeds, toasted wheat germ, granola—be creative!
– You can also add fresh fruit.  If I do, I get up a little early and add it about 1/2 hour before the oatmeal is done.
– I love adding brown sugar or a touch of maple syrup (okay, so much for being healthy!)
– If you have a large family, use a larger Crock-Pot and double or triple the recipe. To make a smaller amount as in this recipe, it is important to use the right size (smaller) Crock-Pot as specified above.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 2 heaping servings

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– Spray inside of  1 1/2 – 2 quart crockpot with vegetable cooking spray.
– Place all ingredients in Crock-Pot.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

C

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Filed under Breakfast, Crock-Pot, Healthy