Pistachio Granola

No crumbles invited [Pistachio Vanilla Granola Clusters]

Crunchy, not overly sweet, with the buttery taste of coconut oil and studded with pistachios these granola clusters make a delicious healthy snack any time of the day. 

Pistachio Granola

If you ever find yourself stuck when trying to : ask a blend! Sometimes I’m really eager to share a recipe but can’t think of a more inventive way to describe it than ‘incredibly delicious’ or ‘downright addictive’. You as readers want details though, right? Well, lucky for you said genius blend said she found writing about a dish easiest while actually eating it. No brainer when you think of it – only I hadn’t yet [and I feel it’d be a little messier with my usual casseroles, stews and the likes]. Another reasoning to grab a handful of granola obviously just for the sake of describing it, though? I’m in.

Granola clusters 3

Onto the granola! Maybe you’d guess there wouldn’t be much more to say after already letting you in on its benefits of doubling as a perfume. Then again: can we ever talk about granola too much? The buttery taste of the unrefined coconut oil is what made these clusters for me. In the depths of my ED I once tried another blogger’s granola recipe made without any oil but applesauce and banana in its place. Whether you’re trying my recipe or venture into granola-making yourself: Get however wild you want but don’t skip the oil! Just don’t. Unless you’re a fan of burnt flavourless oats that no amount of cinnamon can save. Talking about cinnamon: it’s another great flavour in this granola. I wanted to let the vanilla and coconut flavours shine so I went light on the cinnamon.

Granola clusters 2

A little story about the nuts of choice in this recipe. Did you ever notice how ridiculously expensive pistachios are?? Probably only topped by macadamias which would otherwise find their way into more of my dishes. But I digress. Pistachios aren’t exactly budget-friendly. If you purchase the shelled ones, that is. Which – needless to say – I did not  do. Yes, I’d rather shell pistachios myself and save the money. To shell it out on almond butter. Priorities.

Granola Clusters

Speaking of priorities: I’ve told you before that I’m picky when it comes to granola so with this recipe I set out for big clusters only. No crumbs [or at least minimal amounts but who’d be counting]. The chia seeds were a last minute add-in that gives the clusters a delightful chewy bite and keeps them from getting too crunchy for my taste [did I mention I’m a granola snob yet?]. Which is also great if you’d rather turn this recipe into bars because they hold up well. No crumbling issues yet – they’re not invited.

Pistachio Vanilla Granola Clusters

  • 1 cup quick [whole grain] oatmeal*
  • 70 g/ 3.5 tbsps honey or brown rice syrup [for a vegan version]
  • 2 heaped tbsps coconut oil, melted [34 g]
  • 1/3 cup crispy cereal [like crispy brown rice cereal]
  • 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped [or more]
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300 °F/ 150°C.
    Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl stir together the honey and coconut oil. Mix in the cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
    In another bowl combine dry ingredients.
    Add dry into wet ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure everything is well coated in honey.
    Transfer into the prepared pan, spread and press the mixture down.
  3. Bake on the middle rack for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and lift the granola on the parchment paper onto a plate. This prevents it from browning further in the hot pan.

*this was all I had but I’m sure it’ll work with old-fashioned rolled oats, too.

Notes:

This recipe can be easily made gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats.

If you’re looking for more sweet or savoury recipe inspiration pay a visit to Kierston‘s Recipe Friday, Allergy-free Wednesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays and some Strange but good action initiated by Laura.

Happy Friday! If you don’t have any plans for the weekend yet: How about some granola-baking?! (:

 

Happiness inducing today: Some more creative tasks at work making for a welcome break from my usual routine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What is your favourite granola [flavour, add-ins, …]?

Have you ever made your own?

Double-desserting [Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumble]

If it wasn’t for Davida’s Valentine’s Day Bake-Off I may or may not have pretended today was like any other ordinary Friday. Given how many other bloggers will address the fact that it’s the day of love [okay, I kind of did yesterday, too] you might not even have noticed. Or maybe I’m making things up here. I’ll have to admit I’ve never given Valentine’s Day too much of a thought – it would still catch me by surprise every year if it wasn’t for giant advertisements all around the blog and ‘real’ world.

Strawberry crumble

Simply because I’m a member of a family where Valentine’s Day  has always been considered a consumeristic holiday made up by the chocolate and florist industry. Thanks to my parents for not making me appreciate it ;). While I still can’t get all excited about the day itself by now I can get excited about desserts. More specifically: single-serving desserts. Technically, yes, this makes two single-servings. But it could also serve you, times two. Why not?!

Crumble_X

After seeing everybody else’s creations for the Bake-Off so far and knowing the day-dreaming around desserts I’d done before posting this: no, it’s not a real dessert. More like the well-behaved little sister of the sugar-filled amazingness around. Yes, I like sugar. Long story short: this crumble is perfect for when you want to double-dessert – not to be confused with double-dating. My idea of the former is: having my chocolate as the more indulgent ‘real’ dessert and these as a healthier treat. Bingo!

Rummaging through my mum’s cupboards for decorating materials I came up with those adorable homemade pompons and several tea  lights in just the right colours. I know I’ll miss these secret hidden gems once I’m back at my apartment.

Crumble_V

Calling these “Peanut Butter & Jelly” might be a bit of a stretch. But can you really blame me considering anything that combines some kind of berries and peanut butter a PB & J anything? I’m German after all :D.

 Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumble

The “Jelly” part:

  • 1.25 cups [180 g] frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tbsp honey [for vegan option see below*]
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  1. Add the thawed strawberries to a small pot with the honey and let melt together on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The honey will make the mixture thicken without the need of any additional thickening agent.
  2. Stir in the vanilla and divide the mixture into two single-serving ramekins.

Topping:

  • ¼ cup [30 g] of peanut flour
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • about 1/4 of a small banana, not too ripe
  • Salt [to taste – amount depending on your preference]
  1. Mix the peanut flour, oats and salt.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter and knead in the banana to for crumbles.
  3. Top the strawberry mixture with the crumbles and bake for 15 minutes at 320 °F/160 °C.
  4. Serve with a dollop of soy yogurt, [vegan] whipped cream or ice cream.

Crumble_II

*Note: To turn this into a vegan dish you may sub maple syrup or brown rice syrup [stickier] for the honey.

For breakfast, a snack or at whichever time you’re feeling like a sweet little something: There’s really no wrong way to eat a crumble. Did I mention these reheat well, too? Only there might be nothing left to reheat.

Whether on Valentine’s Day or any time, really, crumble is delicious so I’m linking up Healthy Vegan Fridays, RecipeFriday, Wellness Weekends and Strange but good. 

Happiness inducing today: Working on the puzzle with my mum and a walk.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What’s your favourite single-serving dessert? Leave a link if you know of any awesome recipes worth trying.

Are you a fan of double-desserting, too?

WIAW – fully baked [butternut, bars and pastries]

Wow, can I just say: WIAW?! It’s no secret what WIAW actually stands for. However, today it feels more like “Wait, it’s already Wednesday?!” to me. Time has flown by at lightning speed since last week. I won’t deny I enjoy seeing everybody’s latest culinary concoctions and get some meal inspiration. But I’ll admit there’s a slight pressure when looking through the photos I took since the last WIAW and feeling like there weren’t enough. Or if there are several then I might decide there aren’t enough good or interesting ones. Blogger problems?!  But good or bad, boring or interesting – as long as I keep showing some veggies I hope Jenn will approve. When it’s cold outside turning on the oven for deliciousness and additional warmth is totally necessary so here’s to a fully baked edition of What I ate Wednesday. Baked deliciousness in abundance.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Can we talk food obsessions for a bit? Ever since we had the Kale Pastry as a family dinner I’ve [re-]discovered the awesomeness of phyllo dough. Not to celebrate every tiny step on my path in recovery but this is another fear food overcome. I’d been eschewing any kind of pastry seeing it as unneccessary non-nutritious and not saturating calories. While I’d also argue the ‘not saturating’ label I can definitely say these are satisfying. There’s just something about flaky, crispy and slightly buttery pastry enasing whichever filling one chooses. This particular version was different from the original one but just as delicious. [Recipe coming soon.]

Phyllo pastry

Sometimes enjoying your veggies just a little too much can become a problem, too. Like when you can’t for the sake of it decide what to prepare for lunch on an unexpected day off from work with too much time on your hands. The choices, the choices … After countless nibbles on this and that, pulling my hair and the clock inexorably exceeding the ‘usual’ lunch time I finally settled on getting wild with some random cravings and loosely basing my dish on a recipe I’d seen at another blog at some time.

Butternut

Luckily, fate was on my side and the dish turned out really good. It probably didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped for but – as usual – taste beats appearance. Think butternut squash layered with Mexican-spiced kidney bean mix and baked with a vegan cheese sauce. Firm yet tender butternut squash, spicy beans and mild cheesy sauce it was another winning composition of different textures and tastes. I might not be an actual cheese fiend but I’m not exaggerating when I say vegan cheesiness has become a very regular in my meals. [Recipe for this dish also coming soon – I’d appreciate your input in which one to post first because I clearly can’t decide.]

baking pan

Knowing I hadn’t seen any newness in the snack department for a while, either, I decided to kill two birds with one stone [does anybody know a more vegetarian-friendly way of saying that 🙂 ??]. Just like in other parts of life I’m a creature of habit when it comes to snacks: why change a good thing. However, I’ve also noticed I tend to use this as an ‘excuse’ to stray from my usual and challenge myself with new foods. Second was the fact that like when it comes to actually trying recipes from my Pinterest board there are just as many recipes I see on other blogs and never get around making. All change starts with the first step so here’s mine: Amanda’s soft & chewy oatmeal bars.

Amanda's_oatmeal bars

The above is what you end up with when you run out of chocolate chips [who does that?] and have to sub chocolate shavings. Because you need a quick add-in and chopping up a bar of chocolate would take too long. Nevertheless, the bars are a delicious snack and – being generally fond of them in baked goods or bread – I really liked to see flaxseed in the recipe. Obviously adding the desired chewiness but also a special texture and nutty taste that I enjoy a lot. Even as a child I’d secretly [or not so secretly?] pick the flaxseed from the crust of the fresh locally baked whole-wheat bread my mum bought. She still does and I still occasionally pick but I’ve obviously stopped the bad habit. Clearly ;). Some things never change.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: My grandparents stopping by for a short visit.

 

What’s one of your recent food obsessions?

Are you a fan of snacks bars? What are your favourites [whether homemade or store-bought]?

A naturally sweet celebration [Blogiversary giveaway]

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments and wishes on my first blogiversary! It’s been an amazing time getting to know all of you so here’s to more months and years to come!

So yesterday was all about the most important part of blogging: the community. You! Today is about something else that’s awesome about blogging …

Bread pudding

Food! The second best aspect of blogging was and is broadening my palate with an amazing range of new foods – and talking about them obviously. New foods to me at least. I might have walked past it at the store a million times without noticing [sorry, almond butter]. At other times I had been reading about those foods on blogs forever yet had the hardest time ever finding them. One of those ingredients would be stevia. When I first heard of it I wouldn’t believe people saying it was an all-natural alternative to sugar that tasted just like the real deal. Memories of the artifical sweetener my grandma used for her tea came up … brrrr. Let’s not even get there … thanks, I’ll take my tea unsweetened. Nothing will ever stop my sweet tooth from raging, though, so I was super excited when NuNaturals offered to send me some of their products to try. Only when I picked up the package I was surprised to be spoiled with sweetness.

Stevia

And because a birthday calls for a party that’s what we’re going to have today. Come on, use your imagination. It’s the day between two awesome blogger parties [Marvelous in my Monday and What I ate Wednesday] which I naturally can’t and don’t want to rival. But there are cake and presents nonetheless. Are you in? Great!

Bread pudding

Okay, about that cake … I’m admittedly not the hugest fan of it. Give me ice cream any day but keep the cake – unless we’re talking ice cream cake. But I digress … So no cake but with my previous savoury bread pudding in mind I created a sweet version perfect for dessert, as a snack or even breakfast because – you guesse it! –  there’s no added sugar in it.

Sweet Blueberry Apple Bread Pudding

  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ medium apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3.5 oz silken tofu à blend with three drops each NuNaturals Vanilla and Orange liquid stevia [or use more Vanilla stevia and add 1/2 tsp orange zest]
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ seedy whole-wheat roll, stale or toasted [microwave trick]
  1. Blend the silken tofu with the stevia and spices.
  2. Mix blueberries, apples and silken tofu with about half of the toasted bread cubes.
  3. Pour mixture into a single-serving casserole dish and top with the remaining bread cubes.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 350 °F until the top looks slighty puffy.
  5. Serve as is or – recommended – with your favourite nut butter.

Sweet

I know you might be thinking “Okay, but where are the presents?!” so there you go. When I told NuNaturals about my blogiversary they offered to let me give four of you one bottle of each of the Lemon, Vanilla Stevia and Peppermint Flavored Stevia Liquids plus a 50pkt. box of their NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets. There are four ways to enter and the giveway will run until next Tuesday. It is open worldwide but NuNaturals can’t ship to PO boxes. Good luck!

Click on the link below to enter! The mandatory entry is to leave a comment telling me your favourite uses for NuNaturals stevia. You need to confirm you commented through the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But even if you don’t win you can still use the they can receive discounts on all orders placed via NuNaturals’ website by using my discount code. Just enter the DISCOUNT CODE ;  BLG1213  when you get to the checkout page and you’ll receive – 15% DISCOUNT on your entire order. This discount remains effective until  December 31, 2013. So birthday presents for everybody, right :)?!

Disclaimer: While NuNaturals sent me their products free of charge all opinions in this post are my own and I wasn’t compensated by the company in any way.

 

Happiness inducing today: Reading all of your comments on yesterday’s post. I knoow … I’ll stop gushing, promise!

Tell me: Cake or ice cream or …? Which flavour?

Have you ever had sweet bread pudding?

What made you happy today?

Bar I

Sweet sweet October [Chocolate Almond Caramel Bars]

Monday fans: raise your hand. Nobody? Hm … Maybe I can convince you by saying that this post is not just going to be marvelous but mmmm[hhh]arvelous? Happy Monday!

MiMM_new

Do anybody else’s  cravings for anything sweet become even more intense as soon as it gets colder outside? I’m longing chocolate no matter of the season but it’s definitely exponentially increasing with the decreasing temperatures.

But I digress. Sweet is the name of the game because is there any better way to start into the week? [This is a rhethorical question, by the way ;).] In my post on Wednesday I asked for your favourite chocolatey snacks – for a reason. Let’s say my consumption of the ‘real’ deal has gone up noticably in the past weeks. While I’m never going to give up on it [ha, not even considering it] I figured queasing my sweet chocolate tooth with a slightly healthier or actually just a homemade alternative. Michelle’s recipe for vegan Twix hugely inspired these.

Bar I

Not only was I missing key ingredients [read: almond flour] called for in the recipe but reading it I just couldn’t help coming up with my own spin on it in my head already. What sounds good in theory, though, doesn’t always turn out once put to practice. I’m happy to say it did for these little bars of deliciousness, though. For those of you concered with this: my changes also add a protein boost – treats with a nutritional bonus? Why not.

Caramel bars

You’ll notice I once more put an emphasis on using white almond butter in the caramel. While I’ve just recently discovered the amazingness of roasted almond butter it doesn’t lend the sweet and creamy flavour the unroasted one does in this recipe. I dare you to manage not eating the whole batch of sticky caramel all at once … I somehow did but I can’t tell you how. Next time I may or may not need to prepare a litte more …

Date caramel (2)

But trust me: self-control is rewarded. Rich dark chocolate that crisps upon first bite. Creamy sweet caramel. Slight salty peanutty base. Good thing I don’t have to share …

Treat

Chocolate-covered Almond Caramel Bars [makes five to six bars]

For the base:

  • 25 g pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) peanut flour
  • a pinch of salt

For the caramel:

  • 45 g of dates
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of white (!) almond butter
  • 1 tbsp of water (you might need to add more later)
  • pinch of real vanilla [optional]

For the chocolate coating:

  • 1.5 – 2 oz chocolate (I used 85 % dark chocolate)

Blend the dates in a food processor [or the ice crush attachment of your handheld blender] until a paste forms.

Add the date paste to the peanut flour and salt and knead to get a thick doughy texture. You might need to mix in water little by little depending on how sticky your dates are.

Shape into bars and place into the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the caramel by combining the dates, almond butter and water in the food processor. Blend to reach a smooth but not drippy consistency.

Once the bars have chiled for the time required to firm the up spread a thick layer of caramel onto each of them. Place them in the freezer [not fridge this time] until the caramel has hardened a bit.

Melt the chocolate. Cover the top of each bar with chocolate. The coating should harden right away. If not return to the fridge until set.

in hand

In case you’re wondering: yes, this post’s title was inspired by the movie Sweet November. So romantic, so sad. Perfect for the season. If you haven’t watched it yet: do it! Maybe with a Chocolate [Caramel] Bar to sweeten things up?!

Happiness inducing today: Lots. For one a nice long telephone chat with one of my cousins, Exciting blog news [more to come]. Oh, and Chocolate Caramel Bars – sorry ;).

Have you ever made your own candy bars or found any great recipes online? Please share the links! Amanda had an awesome collection in her Sunday link love post already.

What are your favourite romantic movies? It’s the season so I’m looking for recommendations. Preferably ones that have been released a few months or better yet years back so chances are my library will have them.

Weekends are for …

Hi and happy first Monday in October!

I wasn’t going to be that obvious and say it but … how are we one week into October already?! Didn’t we just ease into September still trying to pretend Summer had yet to end? Well, I guess it’s time to stop ignoring the signs of Fall and embrace the season with all its side actions but also lots of things to like. Some quite marvelous things indeed that I’m sure our amazing host approves of. Thanks for reminding us to start the week off with a smile, Katie!

MiMM_new

Weekends are for …

Autumn walk_October

… walks with friends on a surprisingly warm October day. Unless it’s raining cats and dogs we always meet up for a little [or a little longer] stroll outside. Soaking up the sunshine, walking and talking are the components for a perfect catch-up in my opinion.

Weekends are for …

Apple

… kitchen experiments. Trying to keep up my September goal in October, too, I’m enjoying to switch up my meals and create my own recipes. Something I previously shied away from because I was afraid of ideas turning out wrong and me wasting calories on food I didn’t enjoy. Looking back at some of my first posts I see meals created with too much fear and lacking in taste. But the more I allow myself to stop measuring every ingredient and go with the flow the better the outcome. Definitely recipes worth sharing.

Weekends are for …

Farmers' Market

… visiting the Farmers’ Market. A country bumpkin at heart still I can’t miss out on any chance to get farm-fresh produce that tastes a million times better than anything offered at supermarkets. Stocking up on fall produce and the last of summer’s bounty is a necessity whenever I have the time to go. What I especially enjoy about Farmers’ Markets is getting to know the people behind the food I eat and have a chat with them. Why yes, I’m the person who lets the vendor tell her about the whereabouts of his blueberries only to anxiously ask how long he thinks he’ll still have some for her. [Please keep your fingers crossed for another week of the best sweetest berries ever for me.]

And … weekends are for

meeting potential new roommates. My current one is about to move out at the end of the month and I had a number of candidates visit to look at the room and chat for a bit. Admittedly, I wasn’t too keen on sharing a flat anymore after my previous roommate experiences. Believe me, there would be some stories to tell … After getting to know all these sympathetic, fun and open-minded girls, though, I think I might change my mind again. If only I didn’t have such a hard time picking just one of them now … A decision I won’t get around making this week. But for now:

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: My mum mailing me to say thanks for the letter I mailed her and making a fun suggestion for a little mum-and-daughter project.  A first letter-writing success :).

 

Tell me: Weekends are made for …

Do you regularly visit Farmers’ Markets? What are you must-buys?

Any ideas on how to make the decision for a roommate easier ;)? If only I had more than one spare room …