Crunchy Roasted Granola

Buying cereal in Switzerland is nothing like back in the States. At home, cereal can be found on its own aisle! You could probably fit 10 Swiss aisles into one US cereal aisle!

My husband once told me that when he moved to the US, he kind of panicked whenever he made his way to the cereal aisle. He’d observe what locals were buying and quickly grab something and continue with his shopping. Considering many shoppers were parents buying their kids ultra, frosted, sugar-glazed cereal — he quickly opted for another method. As an American, I guess I’d never thought about the amount of choices being overwhelming.

Actually, when I moved to Switzerland, I practically couldn’t find the cereal aisle. Well, it wasn’t really an aisle, rather a small section of an aisle with probably no more than 10 – 15 choices of cereal. Crazy as it sounds, I suddenly spent more time, trying to figure out, which cereal to select. With only a few choices, I felt the need to read the ingredient list and nutritional information on every box, to do a price comparison to figure out the most economical choice. Well, this is Switzerland and I shortly realized, economical is not part of the vocabulary here. Things are pricey! I just couldn’t justify paying 7 dollars for a tiny bag of organic granola. In the end, I walked away from my few choices, deciding not buy anything at all.

This worked out well for me, because I discovered, making my own granola was just as good, if not better than store-bought granola. Best of all, it costs a fraction of the price. Here’s my recipe for crunchy granola. You can adapt it to your liking.

What you need (feel free to double the recipe if you’re cooking for more than 2 people).

  • 3 cups of oats (not the instant kind)
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts and/or seeds of your choice (I used pecan and sunflower)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of molasses, maple syrup or honey (I used molasses)
  • 1 cup of raisins or dried fruits/berries of choice. Add in some chocolate chips to if you’d like.

How you make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C)
  2. Place oats in a large skillet and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Throw in your seeds/nuts and cook on low heat with oats for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour into a baking dish (9×13), sprinkle with cinnamon, throw in salt, mix well
  5. Add your sweetener (i.e. honey, molasses or syrup) and mix well.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, remove and allow to cook on a wire rack.
  7. Once  your mixture cools, stir in dried fruit/berries and refrigerate in an air tight container for as long as you’d like.

Play around with the recipe and make it with the things you love. This tastes great with milk, plain yogurt or by itself. I like to make a frozen yogurt parfait: blueberries, topped with plain yogurt, topped with granola – pop it in the freezer for a few hours and enjoy!

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Split Pea Purée

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re off to a lovely start. Personally, I think this year will be  just wonderful! Especially since I lived to tell my survival story (i.e. Dec. 21, 2012). I’ve started the year with only a couple of resolutions, the fewer I have, the fewer I break! One of my resolutions is to consume more vegetables and fruits, especially in a liquified or blended form. If you follow my blog, you know this is an easy one for me, considering I’m fascinated by puréed food.

Here’s  a delicious purée I whipped up last year around the holidays. I can’t really call it a soup, because it’s so thick. I made this with Moroccan Country Bread. Delish! Feel free to abandon your spoon and shovel large amounts into your mouth with your bread.

One thing to note, this recipe takes about 1.5 hrs. It primarily involves waiting  reading a book, drooling over other bloggers recipes, learning the Gangnam style dance, etc., while the beans cook.

What you need.

Recipe adapted from M. Bittmann’s How to Cook Everything.

2 c green split peas

6 c of stock or water ( I used my special trash stock)

*2 potatoes (works as a thickening agent)

2 onions

salt, a little pepper and curry (to taste)

extra virgin olive oil

How you make it.

  1. 1. Sauté onion in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent in color.
  2. Pour in stock and peas, bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover partly, stirring occasionally.
  3. Peel and quarter your potatoes, add them to the pot about 30 minutes after the peas have cooked.
  4. Once peas and potatoes are soft (about 60 minutes total), purée with a blender, season.
  5. Serve with a warm bread or croûtons and enjoy!

If you don’t want a thick purée, consider using 1 or no potatoes.

Trash Vegetable Stock

I haven’t blogged in almost 3 months and I return with a post like this!! Apologies, I know the name of this post is a bit gross. I hope you aren’t conjuring up images of me picking through my trash.

Well actually, I am using “trash” to make a delicious soup, however, it’s “saved” trash. When I cook, I keep all of my carrot peelings, potato skins, onion skins, leek leaves, etc., in a container/freezer bag in my fridge. Generally, after about 2 weeks, I have enough scraps to make a soup stock.  This soup stock is cheaper than what you’ll find at your grocery store, healthier, it’s eco-friendly, as it offers an alternative for those who can’t compost, and best of all it’s delicious! Moral of the story, your trash could really be your treasure!

This won’t be a formal recipe, but a foundation recipe for your next soup stock. The measurements don’t need to be perfect, so just throw in what you have and work your magic.

What you need.

  • Veggie scraps – I used about 1 liter of carrot, onion, leek and scallion scraps
  • 2 – 3 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 large onions cut in half (keep the peel on)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 cup of fresh mushrooms or 1/4 cup of dried mushroom soaked in 1 c. warm water
  • 4 TBSP of olive oil
  • 8 – 10 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 8 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (app. 205 C)
  2. Place all carrots, onions, potatoes, garlic and fresh mushrooms (if using dry, keep them on the side) in a roasted pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Put the pan in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes or until veggies are nice and brown. You may have to turn the veggies a couple of times to make sure it roasts evenly.
  3. Scoop the ingredients into a stockpot. Add your scraps and remaining ingredients (excluding the salt and pepper). Bring the contents to a boil, then partly cover and reduce heat.
  4. Cook until veggies are soft (abt. 45 minutes)
  5. Strain the mixture, pressing the vegetables to extract the juice.
  6. You can season your stock now or when you’re ready to use your stock later, this is really up to you.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This made about 3 quarts (little less than 3.5 liters). Add this stock as a base to your soups and enjoy. Now you’ve really turned your trash into a treasure.

Have you tried your hand at making soup stock?

Roasted Tomato, Squash, Red Onion and Goat Cheese on Honey Flatbread

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my husband’s 31st birthday. He wanted a cozy, quiet celebration for what he deems the forgotten age. Actually, he almost forgot his birthday was approaching until I reminded him the day before. To respect … Continue reading