It’s Monday! Where did the weekend go? I just returned from teaching my marketing strategy class and was famished as usual after talking for two and a half hours, so I decided to make myself a vegetarian pasta lunch from scratch. I can’t remember if I have ever taken the time to cook myself a “meal,” beyond a salad, soup or sandwich, for lunch. Odd, lunch seems to have evolved into this meal in passing, during the week, where cooking and sitting down to eat lunch is more of an exception than a rule.
This past weekend was quite busy with lots of socializing. Fortunately I had time to make my weekly batch of homemade granola that is a staple in our house. Granola is one of my go-to breakfast/brunch staples and after reading and getting turned off from too many granola labels from store bought items, I was motivated to learn how to make a healthier version for my house. I typically make a batch every 10 days depending on who is around and what we are doing and store it in a big Ikea jar.
I can’t tell you how easy it is to make granola if you’ve never tried. My recipe is a combination of two recipes, plus room for creativity and flavour variation. The first (it’s been a while), I believe came from a Toronto Star recipe about making your own granola without using oil (often used in store bought products). Next, I later modified it to include quinoa, after testing out a recipe from the Quinoa 365 cookbook.
So far my recipe is as follow- Heat oven to 35oF or 180C (Europe)- if you want bake it slower I’ve also done this recipe at 325F. Depends on how hot your oven is.
In a metal bowl, mix:
3 cups of oats (you can scale the recipe depending on how many batches/how much you need)
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup of slivered almonds, 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (out of shell)
1/4 cup of wheat germ, 1/4 group flax seed (called Lindseed in Europe) (for protein, nutrients and fiber!)
2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of nutmeg (omit if you don’t like nutmeg)
Then add 1 cup of honey and 1/2 or 1 cup of maple syrup to the dry goods and mix everything together. Again you can alter the quantity of liquids (honey/maple syrup) but the point is that the dry goods should be covered, not soaking wet and drowning. This is what helps bind the dry goods together while cooking, so once you’ve given everything a good mix, if it looks too dry, add more of something (honey or maple syrup) until you are satisfied that everything has been coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon out your granola mix on the sheet, pressing the mixture down in order to spread it out right to the edges of the pan. If there is too much granola on the baking sheet, it may make more sense to split it into two batches. I find a thinner layer of granola cooks more evenly and prevents burning, rather than piling the entire batch on one. (Up to you of course!)
Set the timer for 15 minutes to start. At the 15 min mark, it is worth taking the granola out of the oven, mixing it around (especially the edges which will burn first if you don’t watch it), re-patting everything down and then putting it back in for another 10 minutes or so. When the granola is golden brown it is time to take it out. Let it cool either on the pan, or by pouring it back into the metal bowl. Once completely cooled, you can add any chopped dried fruit or other items such as cacao nibs or dark chocolate to the mix. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy on top of yogurt, with milk or sprinkled on gelato.
Outside of my granola making efforts, I wanted to share a couple more tabs that I’ve left open all weekend in hopes of sharing with you these ideas that made me smile:
1. For our Sunday morning breakfast, my fiance made us Joy the Baker’s Smashed Raspberry, Chocolate Chunk Pancakes– quick thoughts- interesting recipe, uses very small amounts of brown sugar instead of white sugar. We both thought the pancakes had a bit more of an elastic texture but still delicious and worth trying.
2. I decided, this year I want to learn more about the science of cooking and just ordered myself a cookbook that I read about on Heidi’s recommended book list (101 Cookbooks) titled Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.
3. Three new Berlin sites that will provide me with endless hours of reading on where to eat and shop when I visit the end of this month: Exberliner (not sure how I missed this one!), Uberlin’s food and drink section, and Cafe Kultur Berlin that sadly looks to be done updating its content but still has some terrific recommendations.
4. Design Seeds, for all you colour palette, inspiration board fanatics- this will be your new bf.
5. Raspberri Cupcake’s Salted Caramel Apple with Popcorn recipe (I’m dreaming of this for my wedding)