Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dairy Free Granola and a Book Review!

I'm on day 6 of being dairy free and I have to say that's it's not as bad as I thought it would be. The up sides are that I'm eating a lot healthier over all, I'm already seeing improvements in my skin and allergies, I feel better and it's forcing me out of my normal food ruts. The down sides are no more cream in my coffee (that's a serious bummer, if you know of a good substitute that's natural please pass it along!) and good bye to some of my favorite comfort foods like mac & cheese and buttermilk scones. But let's not dwell on that, overall I like what I see so far:)

My dairy free granola is an experiment today. Most granola has butter in it to make it a bit crispy when baked, so I've substituted canola oil for the butter, it totally works! You can pretty much use whatever you have on hand for your granola, oats are kind of a base, add some nuts, your favorite dried fruit and you're good to go!

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients- I have oats, hemp seeds, mixed nuts, dried cherries, craisins and raisins, flaked coconut and some cinnamon and ginger for flavor.

Add to that honey and canola oil that have been warmed through and mix well

Spread out evenly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes

Here it is just after coming out of the oven, you can see it's just starting to brown on the top. It smells amazing! Let it cool completely. Once cooled break into pieces, at this point you can add chocolate chips (I found that the Kirkland brand from Costco are dairy free) and place in an airtight container for storage. Enjoy!

Dairy Free Granola

3 c oats
1 c hemp seeds (or ground flax seed or oat bran, etc)
1 c mixed nuts
1 c dried fruit
1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/2 c honey
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a small sauce pan warm honey and oil. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet. Once cooled break into pieces and add chocolate chips. Place in an airtight container for storage.

The Flavor Bible
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

I have been cooking since 2002. Before that I had no idea how to cook, nor did I have a desire to learn. But after my first son came into the world I had this huge desire to feed and nourish my family in a traditional way and for the first time in my life I also had the time. What I found when I began to make new recipes and try new things was an incredible satisfaction that came from providing for my family in this way. For several years I experimented with new recipes, different foods and recreated from scratch my favorite boxed versions that I was accustomed to. And largely with success. After time went by I began to know what I really liked, what my family would enjoy and I was able to read a recipe and know if it would work for what we like, or not. But I was still making other peoples recipes, unable to know how to create my own favorites.

Now, with so much information online, I rarely buy a cook book. But it's really fun to look and that's what I was doing one day a few years ago. I was walking through the cookbook isle at the book store, enjoying a few peaceful, quiet moments perusing the vast variety of cuisines, cultures and amazing looking pictures on the covers. And I stumbled upon this little gem, The Flavor Bible. This is not a cook book, but instead it's a list of every food you can imagine, in alphabetical order. It gives a small description of what the food is like and what technique is common in cooking it. Then it lists all the flavors that go well with it and ones to avoid.

This has been such a helpful tool for me as I continue to experiment with my cooking and become more comfortable with making my own recipes or tweaking a found recipe to my taste. If you enjoy cooking, or are brave at experimenting, this book will be a great asset to your library!

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