Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola

Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola
Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola

“Hidden sugars,” I’m sure I’ve said, with sass loaded into my voice, about granola. When I have an opinion, I can get sassy about it — and I’ve been a bit down on granola before. In some ways, rightly so: the store bought kind is usually full of sugar, despite the “healthy” aura granola has compared to other cereals.

But homemade granola deserves a second look. I admit it. There are no hidden sugars when you’re doing the cooking, and even better you can tweak and adjust and make a version that totally fits your tastes.

Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola
Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola

In this recipe, the only sweetener is maple syrup (the flavor of maple syrup is perfect with oats in the morning). Everything else in the bowl is simple, too: rolled oats, pecan pieces, butter, chia seeds, ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add that all to a bowl, mix it up, and toast it — you’re on your way to a delicious morning bowl! Easy peasy lemon squeezey. 🍋

The house and my clothes smelled like maple and cinnamon for a full day after pulling a big tray out of the oven. ✨

Pictured here: Granola, blueberries and banana in my breakfast bowl, topped with milk. BUT we also enjoyed this granola with yogurt (adds great crunch!) and as a desk snack (still have a jar-full for next week!).

Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola

Cinnamon Maple Pecan Granola

Published February 5, 2019 by
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Yields: 2.5 cups   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    2. In the bottom of a large microwave-safe bowl, melt coconut/butter. Add: oats, pecan pieces, chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Use a spatula to stir until everything is evenly distributed.
    3. Spread oat mixture on prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
    4. Allow to cool and store in an air-tight contain. Serve with fruit and milk like cereal, eat plain as a snack, or sprinkle over yogurt for a parfait.
    5. Store in an air-tight container.

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    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    These sweet potato skins, stuffed with creamy sweet potato mash and cheese and bacon, were originally created as a hooray-it's-Friday, game-day, movie-watching snack, but I'll let you in on a secret: the leftovers make a damn delicious breakfast when reheated. But maybe that's just me. Either way, they DO make a fantastic over-the-top snack/appetizer/appetizer that you're calling dinner. 

    It starts with sweet potatoes (bake 'em up!). The soft, sweet flesh gets mashed with sour cream, which makes them ULTRA creamy and flavorful.

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins
    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Toppings is where these sweet potato skins get their name -- and where it gets really delicious. First -- shredded Monterey Jack. Then, bacon pieces. I used Tender Belly Habanero Bacon which was SO good because it's just the right balance of sweet and spicy, but your favorite bacon will be perfect, no matter what it is. The potatoes go in the oven like that, just until the cheesy is extra gooey, and then get topped with fresh green onions (need a little bit of green in all of that orange! 😉), a dollop of fresh sour cream, a few slices of jalapeño (for extra zip!), and a dash of smoked paprika (which also adds nice color and flavor).

    All that's left to do is eat! 

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

    Published January 22, 2019 by
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    Serves: 12   |    Active Time: 1 hour



    Ingredients:

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Several dashes of paprika, for garnish
  • Optional: 1 jalapeño, sliced for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato with a fork, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft all the way through. Allow sweet potatoes to cook 10-15 minutes, or until they are cool enough for you to handle.
    2. Slice each sweet potato in half. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of each potato half and into a bowl without breaking the skin of the potato (tip: leave about 1/4 inch of flesh attached to the skin, it helps keep everything together!).
    3. Mash sweet potato flesh with 1/3 cup sour cream, salt, and pepper until everything is incorporated (a few lumps are OK).
    4. Scoop mashed sweet potato into potato skins. Top with cheese and bacon bits. Place back in oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble. Remove from oven, and top with green onions, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika, and if using, a slice or two of fresh jalapeño.
    5. Serve hot.
    Reheating leftovers: Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave (1-2 minutes, depending on microwave), toaster oven or oven (350° for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through)

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    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Two delicious fruits are currently in season: Pomegranates and Satsuma Oranges.

    When I was a kid my dad would buy pomegranate as soon as it appeared in stores. Back then the fruit wasn’t “cool” and no one was talking about how it was a good source of antioxidants. In fact, I would take it to school for lunch and other kids would ask, “What is that?” (I got that a lot — I always had the most “interesting” brown bag lunches.) I’ve adopted my dad’s habit, and hop on pomegranate season as soon as the fruits look bright and red and juicy. I put them in salads (like this one with kale and delicata squash or this one with brussels sprouts) and add the juice to smoothies. My favorite is my dad’s Pomegranate Sorbet (!), but this wild rice salad is a a healthier way to enjoy the flavor.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins
    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    When it comes to citrus fruits, I’ve never been the biggest fan — it’s not that I don’t like oranges, there are just other fruits I like more. BUT during citrus season, when everything is at it’s peak and you can find blood oranges and ruby red grapefruits and mandarins… that’s when I get on board. Satsuma Mandarins are the best, aren’t they?!

    These two fruits together sing winter to me — they are a pop of fresh in an otherwise dull season, little gems in this wild rice salad.

    Wild rice, by the way, is another key here. It’s nuttier than white rice and gives this salad great texture and flavor. Either use leftover rice or cook the rice ahead of time. You can do this in an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) by placing 1 cup water and 1 cup wild rice in the pot and setting it to High Pressure for 28 minutes, and then allowing the pressure to release naturally.

    The whole thing is tossed with arugula (which is why it can be called a salad 😏). The bitterness of the greens are a good balance to the sweetness of the fruit and nuts. Add toasted pecans on top of that, and every bite is a combo of nutty and fresh and savory and sweet.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Published January 10, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (leftover rice does great!)
  • 3-4 Satsuma Mandarins, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils 
  • 3/4 cups toasted pecans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Close jar and shake to combine.
    2. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, mandarins, pomegranate perils, and toasted pecans.
    3. Drizzle vinaigrette over rice salad to taste, adding additional salt & pepper to your preferences. Toss and serve.

    2 Comments