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Sunday Brunch

Paleo (Or Is It?) Granola

In January, my husband and I embarked on a 21-day Paleo Diet Challenge – no sugar, no grains, no dairy, no alcohol; only vegetables, fruit, and lean meats. We did pretty well and only cheated a tad (mostly because I just needed a little red wine!). And we felt great – our bellies got flatter, we had more energy, and just felt good, all in that short of time! I realized that it is a way of eating that I can follow pretty well and have sought out recipes and variations that we can include in the mix. One difficulty I have with the paleo diet is breakfast. I mean, who can eat eggs or meat every day. It is extremely difficult not to reach for a piece of toast, a pastry, a bagel, a bowl of cereal … granola!
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But now, I’ve found a recipe for paleo granola – inspired by Paleo Cupboard that is fantastic! Serve it with a little almond milk or coconut milk and you have an option for cereal that will blow your paleo and non-paleo mind. I don’t think I can eat any other granola after having had this recipe! It really has the perfect balance of sweet to salty with the raw honey and delicious fresh ground pink himalayan sea salt. I will say that this recipe uses raw honey, which is probably not permissible on the paleo Whole30 plan. And because it is granola cereal in concept, purists would still reject it. But I’m thinking it’s an acceptable recipe to include in the mix of a mostly paleo diet – and it is 300% times better than any store bought cereal or granola available.
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This recipe also doubles as a snack in place of granola bars. You could technically form it into bars, actually, but I prefer to break it into clumps and store in a jar for easy snacking. Just don’t eat too much – it does have a lot of calories with all of those nuts!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (no shell)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pink himalayan sea salt
1 cup dried cherries
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DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Place the almonds, cashews and coconut flakes in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to break into smaller chunks.
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2. Microwave the coconut oil, raw honey and vanilla extract together in a medium sized mixing bowl for about 30-45 seconds. Add the seeds, nuts and coconut flakes and stir to coat.
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3. Spread the granola mixture evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once or twice.
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4. Remove from heat and add the dried cherries and sprinkle with sea salt, pressing the mixture together to form a flat surface.
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5. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes or until hardened, and then break into chunks and enjoy in whatever form you like!
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Bon Appétit!

You Say Potato, I Say Frittata

Frittata in pan

You know when you’re reading magazines and there’s an article about how you can wear a scarf 39 ways or some other accessory? I usually think of some meal or food item I can make 39 ways. And today I wanted to post about the wonderful world of frittatas! This simple little egg dish can be as versatile as you want as a breakfast, brunch, or lunch suitable for 2 or 20 people.

I like to think of a frittata as essentially a crust-less quiche. I love a quiche as much as the next guy, but I can whip up a frittata in a little less time. A frittata is also started in a frying pan and finished in the oven. A quiche is normally baked in a quiche pan (more on quiches some other time). Because you do put the pan in the oven, you need a handle that won’t melt. Supposedly you can wrap a plastic handle in foil and it won’t melt in the oven, but I’d rather not learn this the hard way and ruin my skillet. Buy a $3 one at Walmart and experiment. Or use a pan with a metal handle.

Frittata Ingredients

Eggs & Milk

Every frittata starts with these 2 ingredients. If you are making a frittata for 2 people, then maybe limit your eggs to 6 and a 1/2 cup of milk. If you are serving 20, you will need a lot more eggs and milk! I usually substitute almond milk as well, and I’m guessing other milks would also work (i.e., coconut, soy). Again, experiment!

Accoutrements aka Fillings 🙂

This is the fun part – using what you have on hand or what you plan for your special event. For the pictures, I used a combo of grape tomatoes, parsley, chives, and garlic. But I usually use whatever I have on hand that can be heated/sauteed – i.e., zucchini, red pepper, spinach, basil, tomatoes. You could also add bacon, ham or sausage. How about asparagus, onion, with gruyère cheese? Or tomato and basil with fresh mozzarella? Ooh, now we’re talking.

Cheese

I’m already giving hints into the cheese portion! Because it just adds a nice finishing touch to our versatile frittata, I think it’s a great addition. I usually have shredded mozzarella on hand so that always does the trick. But how about something more interesting like red pepper, onion, and spinach with a pepper jack cheese?!  Ooh la la!

Frittata

And now the fun part, cooking it up!

INGREDIENTS

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 TB olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 TB chives, chopped
1 TB parsley, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk the eggs and milk together and let stand. Sauté the vegetables according to density over med-high heat; i.e., zucchini before spinach, etc. If using garlic, I warm a little olive oil in the pan, sauté the garlic and then add sliced grape tomatoes. Don’t completely cook the veg. Pour in the milk mixture and cook until the edges just begin to set. Put the pan in the pre-heated oven and cook 10 minutes until set. Sprinkle cheese and cook another 5-7 minutes until melted.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle herbs (chives, parsley) over the top.  Run a knife around the edges, and cut for serving.  Slide onto plates and add any garnish.  Bon Appetit!

Frittata