Maple Banana Granola

maple banana granola

Alrighty friends,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, so I’m going to try to make up for it this week. First, I was busy with horrid exams. Since I’ve been done exams, I feel that I haven’t really done anything productive, and I am ok with that. I caught up on Game of Thrones, started and finished Orange is the New Black, watched a TON of documentaries (mostly about food!), read some books, and enjoyed Easter with my little famjam. I am also planning on heading down South next week with Elle to visit my grandma in Tennessee! I cannot wait for some country nature walks (minus the creepy spiders and other giant insects), visiting the neighbourhood horses and donkeys, and of cousre spending time with my Gramsy Gram (and her delicious cooking!).

I’m not taking any school courses this Spring, so I have a whole lot of time to experiment in the kitchen. That is, if Elle will let me stay inside. That little girl is addicted to the outdoors! She has so much fun being outdoors and gets hysterical whenever I bring her in. I think a camping trip is in order so she can just spend a few days completely with nature! Anyway, prepare for lots of new recipes!

Today’s recipe is something I’ve never tried before: Maple Banana Granola from scratch. This recipe will make your mouth water because of its aroma. Seriously, I was so hungry while it was baking because it filled the kitchen with such a sweet, delicious smell.

Elle and I decided to just munch on it how it was as little snack, but of course, you can eat some with milk for breakfast, sprinkle it on your yogurt, or mix it into trail mix. It definitely got the “MMMMM” of approval from Elle!

Here is what you’ll need:
-3 cups of rolled oats
-1 cup of slivered almonds
-1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut
-3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernals
-3 tablespoons flax seeds
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon whole cane sugar
-2 very ripe bananas (Great opportunity to use up any frozen bananas that are in your freezer!)
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Her is what to do:

Step 1)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2)
Mash those bananas! You’ll want them to be pretty smooth, so they’ll mix well, so get those chunks outta there!

Step 3)
Mix together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, salt, and cane sugar).

Step 4)
In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil until melted. Mix in maple syrup, vanilla, and mashed bananas.

Step 5)
Mix your liquids into the dry ingredients until everything is coated. Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet. Pop it into the oven for 45 minutes and let that sweet aroma fill the air! Make sure you keep an eye on the granola as it is in the oven because the coconut oil is quick to crisp it. Mix it once or twice as it is baking. You’ll know it’s ready when the granola is ready when it changes colour to a nice golden brown. (You don’t want a DARK brown, because that means it is beginning to burn and won’t taste good.) I noticed that the edges get crispier first, so make sure to really mix it when you’re checking on it.

Make sure you let it cool completely when you take it out of the oven so it gets nice and crispy. Store it in an air tight container or jar so it doesn’t get stale. I hope everyone enjoys this!

Happy snacking!

-Rianna

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (Each serving is 1/4 cup)
Calories: 181
Carbohydrates: 14g
Fat: 14g
Protein: 3g
Sugar: 4g

 

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Back Bean & Mango Quinoa Salad

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Could it be…SPRING? The sun has been shining and giving me hope that soon I can pack up my witer coats for good! I still have them out because I do not want to take a chance and jinx it. Elle’s favourite new word is “side” (outside). She is constantly bringing me her shoes and asking to go “side, side!” I really don’t know how I am going to get her to come inside at all once summer comes along. I can’t say I blame her, though. It sure is nice not to be stuck indoors anymore. I love how fresh everything feels during spring. Fresh flowers, fresh growth, fresh beginnings. In keeping with the this fresh sensation, I decided that I needed to make something bright, light and fresh to eat. Presenting: Black Bean & Mango Quinoa Salad. The great thing about this salad is that you can really add as many things as you want to it. This is what I put in mine:

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups cooked quinoa (This just happened to be the amount I had cooked already)
1 can (15.25 oz.) black beans
1 Kiett mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced (greens and whites)
1 medium sized lime
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey

Step 1)
Rinse and drain the beans to get all the bean goop off.

Step 2)
Once everything is sliced and diced, mix all vegetables with the quinoa in a large bowl.

Step 3)
Squeeze the entire lime onto the quinoa and veggies. Then drizzle the vinegar and honey over the whole mixture. Mix it all up!
And there you have it. Eat the rainbow with this tangy salad. I served mine over long leaves of lettuce. It also goes really well as a side with grilled chicken breast. I love the tropical vibe I get from this salad…so summery!

Nutritional Information Per serving
1 serving = 1 cup salad, for a total of 8 servings
Calories: 299
Carbohydrates: 59g
Fat: 3g
Protein: 11g
Sugar: 11g

Hope you all enjoy this salad and enjoy the sunshine this weekend!
-Rianna

 

Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad

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Hi everyone! I hope that you’ve all had a fun-filled weekend. Today I am sharing with you a recipe that I decided to try during the week. Since we had one day of 50 degree weather (Hey, this is warm when a few days ago we were hit with more snow!), I was thinking of making something light and spring-y. The recipe? Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad, adapted from the recipe that Curtis Stone shared in Redbook.  I loved it and so did Elle! Well, she liked the chicken and the carrots, but wasn’t such a fan of the cabbage (she is just getting her molars now, so she still has trouble with grinding foods that are hard to chew). Here’s what you’ll need to get started cooking:

Dressing:

¼  cup soy sauce

3 Tbsp finely chopped (and peeled) fresh ginger

3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tsp sriracha (I used 2…i like the kick it gives!)

1 tsp sea salt

¼ cup white vinegar

Salad

2 cooked chicken breasts, marinated in Hoisin sauce, and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 lb napa cabbage (I only used half of my cabbage), cut into thin slices

1 large carrot, shredded

3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 tsp black sesame seeds

STEP 1.

Get that chicken cooked! I used 2 chicken breasts with the bone in. Once marinated, I popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Once it had cooled, I cut it into (bite-able) pieces. You could also grill your chicken, or try cutting it into pieces before you cook it and then pan fry it.

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Step 2.

As your chicken is cooking, you can work on the next steps. It is also a good time to put your toddler in her highchair for snack time while she helps you measure ingredients. Now is the time to mix together all the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside.
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Step 3.

Chop up that cabbage! Slice those scallions! Shred that carrot!
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Step 4.

Toast your almonds. I dry toasted mine on a small frying pan on medium heat. They were very thin sliced almonds and only took about 4 minute to get nice and toasted. We ended up having to make more than 1/2 a cup because Elle and I ended up incorporating  them into snack time!
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Step 5.

Mix together all the salad ingredients, including the chicken, into a large bowl. (Those cabbages are quite compact and seem to really expand when chopped up!) Drizzle your sauce over the salad and mix together until all ingredients are coated. Grab a fork and dig in!
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Hope you all enjoy! I know I did…I may have had it for lunch 3 days in a row.  You might even be lucky enough to have some little hands help clean the dishes when you’re done!
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Nutritional Information:

(I divided this into six servings, so that turned out to be about 1-1/4 cups per serving)

205 calories
10g carbohydrates
15g fat
10g protein

I’d love to know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions!
-Rianna

An Egg-cellent Morning!

This morning I woke up with the strangest feeling… I didn’t feel tired! Last night was the first night in (what seems like) forever, that Elle has actually slept through the night. At first, I was in a bit of a panic, fearing that I had forgotten to turn the baby monitor on and had just not heard my poor baby calling for me all night. But, it was on, and fully functional, so I breathed a big sigh of relief and just enjoyed my pillows for a minute. What to do after an eight hour sleep? Make some eggs for breakfast!

There is not a single variation of eggs that I do not enjoy. Scrambled, poached, sunny side up, give me ALL the eggs! (OK, maybe not pickled eggs. Those just seem scary.) I am going to share my super awesome trick to making the perfect over easy eggs. I have struggled along the years trying to flip my eggs to make them over easy (this usually end up breaking the yolk and then I end up with scrambled mess…good thing Shaun likes his scrambled!)

Here we go: simply start by making your eggs as you would sunny side up. Spray your pan with some non-stick spray, like Pam. Heat your pan for a minute, crack your eggs and cook on high for about 3-4 minutes. Keep cooking until all the whites have solidified and the edges start to bubble, Your eggs will probably start to screech and yell at you at this point. Now, turn those eggies all the way down to low and cover them with a lid to a pot for about 1-2 minutes. Watch them to make sure they don’t overcook! “Constant vigilance!” (Harry Potter reference, anyone?)

pan eggs

And voila! Eggs over east with a dash of salt, pepper, and some Frank’s Red Hot!

toast

Veggie Lo Mein

I don’t know about you, but I looooooooooove Chinese food. My bank account, on the other hand, does not. Ordering in is great of you are really swamped or need to cure that midnight craving after a night of playing drinking jenga. I definitely have a go-to drawer full of take-out menus that have held me through. But recently, I’ve been trying my hand in Asian-inspired cuisine. My favourite Asian staple dish is definitely noodles; lo mein, chow mein, Udon noodles, pad Thai, you name it! Today, I am going to share with you my own recipe for Vegatable Lo Mein. The noodles literally cost 99 cents for a pound! So just add some veggies and sauce and you’re in for some delicious (and affordable!) eats.

Here’s what you’ll need to get cooking:

For the noodles:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 1- 1/2 cup shredded carrots (about one large carrot or 2 medium sized)
  • 1 lb cooked lo mein noodles
  • 1 cup vegetable stock

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid beef bouillon
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Step 1)

Cook your lo mein noodles. Generally these don’t take long at all and cook faster than normal pasta would. There should be directions on the packaging, but I will tell you how I cook mine. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and simmer for 5-7 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse with cool water. Mix with a splash of vegetable oil or sesame oil so the noodles don’t stick together. Set aside.

Step 2)

Chop your onions. Discard the bottom white bulb-y parts. Four bunches may seem like a lot, but they really cook down. If you feel like you are good enough at chopping fast without losing any fingers, this can be done while your noodles are cooking.

Step 3)

Shred those carrots! I used the food processor which gets them shredded in no time at all, but if you don’t have one, you can also use a handheld vegetable shredder to get the job done.

Step 4)

Mix together all the ingredients needed for the sauce in a medium sized bowl, enjoy the sent of that ginger as you stir, and set aside.

Step 5)

Get out a big ol’ WOK! Heat up a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add your onions and carrots and keep the heat on medium for just about 4 minutes.

Step 6)

Crank up that heat to HIGH and add those noodles. They can’t wait to join your veggies in this wok party! Next, add the vegetable stock and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed.

Step 7)

Add your tantalizing sauce to the noodles, mix, and cook on low for about 5 minutes.

Step 8)

Serve and let your taste buds enjoy! (And keep plenty of napkins around in case of messy toddlers who like slurping their noodles!)

As delicious as this is, there are many ways you could change it up a bit. Add any other veggies you like. I think next time I’ll add bean sprouts and broccoli. Add some spice. Add some meat or tofu. Experiment with different noodles. The possibilities are endless!

I’d love to know if you have decided to try this and what you thought of it! Any changes you would make? Questions? Comment or e-mail me at rianna.merie@gmail.com.

-Rianna