Granola for Busy Ladies

School is right around the corner. Yeah, I said that. You can ignore it. No matter what is around the corner, we are all busy. We are at the stage in our house where the 9 month old is into everything and the toddler doesn't like the 9 month old touching anything. That leaves only very small increments of time to do things-- especially cooking and cleaning my bathroom, but I might just be avoiding that one. Today I bring to you a recipe for a super easy, fairly hands-off, granola. I know, I know. I bring to you recipes of granola likeness all the time. I like oatmeal. I like it so much that I recently bought twelve 42 ounce containers of old fashioned oats (the sale price was only $2 a carton! Somebody side with me that I am not crazy...)

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This is a little different from the muesli recipe-- this is a true, chunky granola and has a bit more sweetener in it. We eat this granola recipe like cereal, but it is also great topped on ice cream (with peanut butter, yum!), on top of yogurt, or snuck by the chunk without your toddler knowing as you creep through the kitchen, not that I've done that.

What you'll need:

  • 6-8 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups chopped nuts and/or seeds (almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,  etc.)
  • 1/2-1 cup ground flax seed and/or wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional, though I feel this adds great chewy texture)
  • about 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • about 3/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)

What you'll do:

  1. Set aside the need to follow recipes exactly. I mean it. I demand that you only use a 1 cup measuring cup, a big bowl, a big spoon, a dish to melt the coconut oil, and a pan. We don't need additional dishes to wash!
  2. Measure dry ingredients first (key to only using one measuring cup!). Mix together oats, nuts/seeds, flax seed/wheat germ, cinnamon, and shredded coconut in a big bowl. Try to separate coconut shreds if possible. Exact measuring is not needed. Use your palm to measure cinnamon.
  3. Using same measuring cup as you used for dry ingredients, measure roughly 3/4 cup coconut oil and spoon into a microwave safe dish. Melt in microwave.
  4. Using the same measuring cup as previous, measure roughly 3/4 cup maple syrup. Pour into dish with coconut oil and mix together.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients onto dry ingredients. Stir well so that everything is coated.
  6. Pour oat mixture onto a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides all around) lined with parchment paper. (Use only one pan.) Using the bowl that you used to melt the coconut oil, squash the oat mixture down so that it is flattened evenly. This will help create a chunky granola and also eliminates the need to hover and stir your oats. granola for busy ladies 2
  7. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Rotate pan and cook another 20 minutes. Turn off oven and allow to cool completely. It needs to cool to get crispy.
  8. Break apart and enjoy! Wash minimal dishes and enjoy coffee while it is baking, instead of warding off children with third and fourth arms every time you need to open the oven to stir.

Feel free to play around with this "recipe" to better match your families palates. Click here to print.

What recipes have you changed for your busy lifestyle? Anyone else have children climbing into oven drawers while you aren't looking?

BeckySig2

Asparagus Frittata

If you frequent the farmer's market or have a garden of your own, you know that asparagus is ripe for the picking/purchasing here in Wisconsin.

This is how I used this week's bundle. You could put the mixture in muffin tins for individual servings that freeze well. *You could also add any pre-cooked protein (chicken, breakfast sausage, bacon or ham).

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Click here to print the recipe or click the image in the top corner to "pin it" for later!

KellySignature

The Breakfast Club, Part Two

I hope you all had a chance to toast up some muesli last week, because this week I am adding another cereal to the list. This is a little more involved than muesli but still super simple to make. Today we shall make bran flakes! I love raisin bran type cereals, so I figured nothing could beat a fresh flake toasted right from my own oven. And it's true. These toasted flakes are spectacular. So let's start this process, shall we? I discovered this recipe from Willow Bird Baking.

First, measure out your dry ingredients. These include wheat bran, whole wheat flour, almond flour, and a little bit of sugar, baking powder and salt. I found the wheat bran by all the other weird flours. It was a steal at just about $2 bucks a bag. I didn't buy almond flour. I used my food processor to mash up my own. You could probably use other nuts interchangeable with great results. I bet pecan would be amazing...

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Then pour in your milk, water and vanilla while balancing a camera in one hand. Okay, you can skip the camera part.

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Mix this all together to make a squishy, wet dough.bran3

Pat dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Top with plastic wrap, and roll into a very thin sheet. It will almost be transparent in some parts. The thinner you make it, the crunchier your flakes will be.

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Remove plastic. Bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool. You have just made a giant bran flake, but we aren't done yet. The flake will be kind of leathery and bendy.

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Tear your giant mama flake into little baby flakes. I did this by tearing it into three strips, stacking the strips, and tearing all three strips at once into pieces. Spread into a thin layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

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Pour into your bowl and enjoy! My favorite way is to mix the bran flakes with last week's muesli, top with fresh fruit and some whole milk. I can't think of a better way to start my morning. :)

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Bran Flakes Recipe

What are your favorite fruits to add to cereal? Have any recipes to share with me? I love details...

BeckySignature

The Breakfast Club, Part One

I am always fascinated when I go to the grocery store and peruse down the cereal aisle. There are so many cereals to choose from. You can find bunches of oats, flakes made of bran (with and without raisins), puffs of every kind of grain, fruity things, chocolatey things, tiny cookies, and even marshmallows. Despite the nearly a million options, I have a hard time finding a healthy cereal that doesn't taste similar to packing peanuts or cardboard and actually keeps me full for longer than two measly hours. I am not a happy person if my tummy has the rumbles at 9:30.  Furthermore, the ingredient lists on a large number of these cereals are fairly long (especially for what they claim to be.) AND if I do find that lucky one that isn't packing peanutesque, I usually have to pay part of my right leg for it. Because of these reasons, about a year ago I started eating traditional old-fashioned rolled oats for breakfast. After I found a way to make myself choke the oatmeal down without gagging, I was golden. (If you are wondering, it's totally a texture thing. I helped that by adding banana, raisins, and nuts to break up the gooeyness.) Although I have been living in my golden breakfast glory, my poor hubby continues to pour his cereal and milk every morning. Despite much encouragement and subtle (and not so subtle) comments about the cost of his cereal, I can't seem to teach that dog a new trick...er..breakfast, rather. So of course in line with my determination to simplify the ingredients in our diets, complicate my life, and save a few pennies here and there, I decided to try my hand at making some cereal. It was surprisingly simple, tasty, and fairly quick.

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This recipe is for something called muesli. I got my recipe from Easy Peasy Organic.  It's basically oats mixed with whatever you want.  I did find a number of recipes that just mixed raw oats, nuts, and whatever else and served it with milk or yogurt. I chose a recipe that was toasted, because I prefer a toasted oat over a raw oat. I mixed in some chopped pecans, walnuts, and almonds along with a scoop of flax seed, cinnamon, vanilla extract, a spoonful of brown sugar, olive oil, and a combo of honey and maple syrup. The sky is the limit on additions. Any combination of nut, seasonings, sweeteners, or dried fruit will work. You can serve this with yogurt or milk. Use your imagination. Use the scraps left in your cupboard. You can't do wrong, and you won't be disappointed!

Directions are to mix together your ingredients of choice. Spread on a jelly roll pan. Toast at 275 degrees for 20 minutes stirring every five minutes.

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Allow to cool. The oats will crisp some while they cool.

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Pour into a bowl, add milk and fruit, and chow down! (See, I told you it was easy!)

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 Muesli Recipe jpg

Are you also appalled at the sky rocketing price of cereal these days? How do you switch up your breakfast routine? Feeling like you may join the club and toast up some muesli? Please share!

 BeckySignature