Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nutty Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup cashews (feel free to substitute nuts and seeds as desired)
  • 1 c shredded coconut
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1/3 c real maple syrup
  • 1/4 c olive oil or coconut oil (if you use coconut oil, heat until it's in liquid form)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit you prefer)
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar (or sucanat).
  3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.  
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the oats mixture and combine well.  
  5. Lay out granola onto 2 sheet pans and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every half an hour.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to large bowl.  Add in the raisins and mix well.
This gluten-free recipe is great because you can obviously add any kind of nut, seed, or dry fruit that you'd like or have in your pantry. It's very simple in terms of hands-on time, but you definitely have to plan for the bake time.  Granola also makes a great gift! For Christmas this year, we made some and put it in jars tied with a ribbon. Simple, thoughtful, and tasty too!  It would also be a great gift to accompany a get well meal or a meal being delivered for new parents. My whole family helped in the process, although I'm not sure Owen's participation always counts as "help" ;). Yes, those cashews tripled the value of his airplane!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

World’s Best Roasted Butternut Squash Soup- this soup is my favorite! Perfect for a cold day.
1 large butternut squash (about 5 lb squash peeled and cut or 4 lbs pre-cut)
1 large green apple, peeled, sliced and cored
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken broth
1. First things first. How do I take a store-bought squash and transform it into something I can cook? To prepare a butternut squash, first cut a thin slice off the bottom of the squash so that it can stand flat on the counter and is easier to handle. Next, peel off the outer layer off the squash. Then, using a sharp large knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. You can either discard of the seeds or rinse them and roast in the oven. Lastly, dice the peeled and seeded squash into cubes. Of course, you could also buy pre-cubed squash from the grocery store to make life a little easier.
soup ingredients

peeling the squash
For this recipe you don’t need to worry about making the cubes uniform, because they will be blended eventually. The same goes for the shapes of the sliced apple, onion and carrots. Everything is roasted in the oven after being tossed with some spices, and then combined in a large pot with some chicken stock to simmer. The more chicken broth that you add, the soupier it will be
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin. Mix together, coating the squash well. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Next, in the same bowl that the butternut squash was in, toss the apple slices, onion, and carrots to coat with the remnants. Place on a second rimmed baking sheet and add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast for 50 minutes until soft, stirring once.

roasted butternut squash

4. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot on the stove. Add the roasted ingredients and then the chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
5. Using an immersion blender, combine the ingredients until smooth, or transfer to a blender to puree. Serve warm.