Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vanilla Spice Granola

Here's an idea for a holiday gift from your kitchen: granola! It's a nice change from cookies and fudge -- not that there's anything wrong with those, of course but I like to mix it up. 

Granola is easy to make and you can make a lot at a time so there's plenty to share with all of your friends. Here's the version I came up with this year.

Vanilla Spice Granola

8 cups regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup flavorless oil (safflower, canola, etc.)
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped raw walnuts
1 1/2 cups sliced raw almonds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or lightly oil two large baking sheets with oil.

In a large mixing bowl, stir oats, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pour the oil mixture over the oats but leave a couple of tablespoons of the liquid in the small bowl. Stir the liquid into the oats until they are coated. Divide the oats between the two baking sheets and spread to an even layer in each pan. Bake 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets about halfway through so it bakes evenly.

Mix the nuts and coconut with the remaining maple syrup mixture until coated. Add to the baked oats. Stir them in and move the browned oats around the edges into the center. Spread the mixture again in an even layer and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the granola is a light golden brown. Cool completely. If you like add a couple of cups of raisins or dried cranberries or cherries.

For gifting--make sure the granola is completely cool. Transfer into plastic bags that you can tie with festive ribbon--or place into pretty jars or tins.

This makes about 11 cups of granola (or more if you add fruit)

Friday, December 06, 2013

BONUS RECIPE: Chickpea Noodle Soup

Robin Robertson was kind enough to share a recipe from her new book One-Dish Vegan. 

Chickpea Noodle Soup
Recipe © 2013 by Robin Robertson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press

 Gluten-free option | Soy-free| Serves 4

This comforting, versatile soup can be altered easily to suit your taste. For example, vary the vegetables according to personal preference, or substitute seitan, tempeh, or different beans for the chickpeas. As the noodles cook in the soup, they will absorb some of the broth, so you may want to add a little more broth before serving. Alternatively, if you have leftover cooked pasta from another meal, you can just add it when ready to serve instead of cooking the noodles right in the soup. To make this soup gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and, of course, make sure that your vegetable broth is gluten-free.

·          2 teaspoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water
·          1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
·          2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
·          1 celery rib, thinly sliced
·          3 garlic cloves, minced
·          1 teaspoon dried basil
·          1 teaspoon dried thyme
·          7 cups vegetable broth, or more if needed
·          4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
·          4 cups coarsely chopped stemmed kale or cabbage
·      3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
·          1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
·          Salt and freshly ground black pepper
·          6 ounces uncooked linguine, broken into thirds
·          1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
·          2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

 1. Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, then add the basil, thyme, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

 2. Add the green beans, kale, chickpeas, and tomatoes with their juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

 3. Stir in the pasta, peas, and parsley. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve hot.