Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola
Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Today it was starting to feel a little more like fall here in Durham. Since returning home safely after my trip across the country with my sisters last week (see my Instagram page for a recap!), I’ve been all out of sorts in terms of time zones, days of the week, and seasons. CA was springlike- cool, sunny and breezy; Utah was HOT but really not humid at all, Colorado had snow blanketing its mountain summits, and Kansas was, well… a lot of corn. And we tried to forget the rest. Except when I got us lost in Ferguson, MO after being distracted from my role as navigator. That wasn’t a very happy moment.

Even after one week of being gone, I’ve noticed that college students have started trickling back to campus, lined paper has started appearing in the “dollar deal” bin near the checkout line at Target, and commercials have started targeting teens with the latest fall trends. In honor of that back-to-school feel, I decided to recreate an old fall favorite: spiced granola. Adapted from Skinnytaste, I’ve made this a few times using different swaps based on what I had in the house. In the past I’ve used kamut to supplement the oats, but this time I used the quinoa the original recipe calls for. I also swapped in molasses (since I have a TON leftover from my Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies) and almonds in place of pepitas. I love this recipe because it hardly uses any oil at all (only 2 tsp for a double batch), yet the granola still forms nice little clusters. It irks me when I see recipes that call for over a half cup of oil… you really don’t need it! I doubled the recipe since I always end up giving some away- it makes a perfect gift!

Enjoy with sliced apples, pears, or peaches, over yogurt or with some nice cold milk. Happy (almost) fall!

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola
Recipe Type: Snack, Breakfast, Brunch
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
Fall is almost here! To get you back in that pumpkin-spice state of mind, try this easy granola recipe that’s great with yogurt and fruit! Feel free to stick with the recipe here or experiment based on your own tastes and ingredients you already have.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 deg.
  2. Rinse quinoa and pat dry. Spread quinoa and oats evenly on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 300 deg.
  5. Combine dried fruit, nuts, and flax with the oats and quinoa.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, spices, salt, and pepper. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until coated.
  7. Spread mixture evenly on the same lined baking sheet, and return to oven for 20 minutes. Stir and return to oven for 5 additional minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool, resisting the urge to stir too vigorously (this allows nice clusters to form!).
  9. Store in sealed containers for up to 2 weeks.

Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola
Rainy Day Spiced Molasses Granola

Coconut Vanilla Reboot Smoothie- Vegan and Dairy-Free!

Because life just tastes better through a straw…

I’ve been pretty excited about coconut water lately. I love that it’s just slightly sweet, but naturally-so (if you get the kind without any extra sugar, not from concentrate). My favorite so far is Organic Naked but I’ve liked a bunch of brands including Vita Coco and the Whole Foods 365 kind. I’ve been hearing a lot about how coconut water can do so much for you to recover following a hard workout. Low in calories and fat, it also has a high amount of fiber and electrolytes to both help you stay full and rehydrate following strenuous activity. In Durham during mid-July, this is super important! It actually gets hot here… who knew?

I was reminded about the importance of hydration in a recent post on my favorite blog, Kath Eats Real Food. In Kath’s own words, “we need every reminder we can get to stay on top of our water drinking this summer!” I understand that some of you may not be feeling the whole water thing. As someone who drinks about 4 L a day, it’s sometimes tough for me to imagine that some folks only drink about a cup’s worth! If it’s hard for you to “swallow” (heh) the recommended 8 cups (or however many your PCP recommends), try some of the tips Kath recommends: namely, adding some fruit juice or sparkling water, a sprig of mint, or some frozen fruit to give it a little more pep!

This smoothie is dairy-free but is still creamy enough to feel decadent. I used a half scoop of protein powder and handful of oats to thicken it up, but otherwise it’s really just coconut water and frozen fruit. You can add some ice cubes or more water to make it thicker or thinner as desired!

Enjoy, and stay hydrated!

Coconut Vanilla Reboot Smoothie- Dairy-Free!
Recipe Type: Smoothie, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Low-Cal
Cuisine: Breakfast
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1
Because life just tastes better through a straw… this smoothie is low-cal, hydrating, and perfectly sweet. A great breakfast or post-workout snack!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp raw oats
  • 1/2 banana (mine was frozen)
  • frozen fruit of your choosing: I used some frozen watermelon chunks, strawberries and peach
  • 3-4 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Add more ice or water if the consistency is too thin or thick!
Coconut Vanilla Power Smoothie
Coconut Vanilla Power Smoothie

Happy hydrating!

Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies

Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies
Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies

I have a lot of pregnant friends. That may sound like a strange way to begin a post, but I promise I have a point.

I’ve never experienced my own pregnancy woes, but I imagine that things like morning sickness cannot be fun. While researching natural remedies for pregnancy-associated nausea, I came across a lot of articles that said ginger and molasses may help. Makes sense, knowing that ginger is easy on the stomach. Originally I’d planned to develop this amazingly healthy recipe that could be eaten as a breakfast… but let’s face it, since when do pregnant women need an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast?

While these ginger molasses cookies are not exactly what one would consider health food… they are pretty darn tasty! Crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside, they sort of melt in your mouth and have a slightly nutty flavor from the brown butter. Pregnant or non-pregnant, you’ll bite into one and wish you were!

Brown Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 36
They have oats in them… that makes them healthy, right?
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
Instructions
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg).
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter on medium heat until it begins to foam. Then whisk continually to prevent burning. When the butter begins to change color and has a nutty aroma, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Add brown sugar and mix on low until combined.
  3. Add the molasses, egg, vanilla and milk and continue to mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add raisins and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to make rolling easier.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  6. Using hands (you may need to wet your palms or roll in a little flour prior to rolling, as this dough is pretty sticky!), roll into balls the size of your choice. Then roll in a little sugar and place on baking sheet. I also pressed my balls down with a fork to make a “criss-cross pattern.” Just make sure that the cookies are far enough apart to prevent them from spreading into each other!
  7. Bake 11-12 minutes depending on size of cookies, or until golden brown.
  8. Cool for at least 5 minutes on pan, then remove and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.

 

Patriotic Oats & Yogurt Parfait

Here’s a little breakfast that’s not only pretty to look at, but will keep you going all morning! Packed with hearty oats, yogurt and fruit with a touch of honey for sweetness, I promise you’ll feel more and more American with every spoonful. May your Fourth of July be happy, healthy, and delicious in every way!

Patriotic Oats & Yogurt Parfait
Patriotic Oats & Yogurt Parfait
Patriotic Oats & Yogurt Parfait
Recipe Type: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
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Serves: 1
Here’s a little breakfast that’s not only pretty to look at, but will keep you going all morning! Packed with hearty oats, yogurt and fruit with a touch of honey for sweetness, I promise you’ll feel more and more American with every spoonful. May your Fourth of July be happy, healthy, and delicious in every way!
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used some almond, some 1%)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Toppings of your choosing: Fruit (I chose bananas, blueberries, and strawberries for the holiday!). chopped nuts, nut butter, dried coconut, dried cereal, etc.
Instructions
  1. Cook oatmeal by adding raisins, milk, and 1/4 cup water and microwaving for 1 1/2 min. Stir and sprinkle in cinnamon, if using.
  2. Stir together plain yogurt and honey for sweetness.
  3. In a mason jar, layer fruit, oats and yogurt, finishing with a yogurt dollop on top. Top with chopped nuts and other toppings.

What are your plans for this Fourth of July?

Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls

Whenever I have something casual to cook for- like a picnic or one of Ben’s game nights- I have all these spectacular ideas for new recipes to try. Bruschetta with crudites, pimiento-stuffed olives, bacon-wrapped dates… you name it. There are so many good ones out there to try! But I always run out of time, and I always come back to some of the same ones. For example, any version of pinwheels work like a charm, and I think I tend towards things that I can make in bulk and then cut into smaller pieces for bite-sized snacks.

Pepperoni rolls are another example. And they are ALWAYS gobbled up in a flash! I can’t remember the last time we had these hanging around our house for more than a day.

Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls
Three-Cheese Ham & Pepperoni Rolls

These are so incredibly simple. Just roll out the dough, layer the ingredients and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. This time I used french bread dough with cream cheese, ham and pepperoni. But you can also experiment with the spreads and spices- I’ve done crescent rolls in the past (though it’s a little flakier), as well as pimiento and hummus with greek seasoning. These can’t really go wrong.

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Three-Cheese Pepperoni Rolls
Recipe Type: Snack
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
These are my go-to “guy pleaser” snacks when I need something simple and quick! They are always gobbled right up!
Ingredients
  • 2 rolls refrigerator French Bread dough (e.g. Pillsbury)
  • 1 container spreadable cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning (I used Penzey’s Creamy Peppercorn Dressing
  • baby spinach
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • sliced pepperoni
  • sliced ham
  • blue cheese crumbles or cheddar slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Roll out dough onto a nonstick surface into two long rectangles. Use fingers to spread outwards if needed.
  3. Spread cream cheese, sprinkle seasoning, and layer remaining ingredients (in order listed) on dough. Roll the dough tightly, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch together edges with fingers.
  4. Bake at 350 for 18-20 min, or until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool before slicing.
Layer cream cheese, seasonings and olives on dough.
Layer cream cheese, seasonings and olives on dough.
Add spinach and pepperoni on top.
Add spinach and pepperoni on top.
Top with remaining ingredients.
Top with remaining ingredients.

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Into ze oven!
Into ze oven!
Cool before slicing.
Cool before slicing.
Slice, serve and arrange!
Slice, serve and arrange!

Homemade Honey Almond Pistachio Butter

Happy Snow Day! Again! Geez Louise, NC doesn’t know what to do with itself with all this snow! Just when the snow from Tuesday had melted away, we were hit with another good 6 inches of wet snow. Read: enough to close down the entire state for like, a week, and to cancel school for the eight day in the past two weeks.

With the extra time this morning, I decided to do a little recipe development. Honey Almond Pistachio Butter! I love the combo of almonds and pistachios, and I’ve been on a big almond butter kick lately. I like how it’s not too sweet (I’ve been buying the little packages of Justin’s Classic Almond Butter and adding it to oatmeal, plain yogurt, and cereal) but still nutty and creamy. I’ve also been meaning to make my own nut butter for months now. I keep hearing how easy it is, so why keep spending money on something I can make just as well at home? Plus, when you make it yourself you can really get creative and add lots of fun different types of spices and add-ins.

Here we go!

Homemade Honey Almond Pistachio Butter
Homemade Honey Almond Pistachio Butter
Honey Almond Pistachio Butter
Recipe Type: Nut Butter
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24
Making your own nut butter could NOT be easier! Feel free to experiment with your own add-ins and other types of nuts!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup roasted pistachios, shelled
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp canola oil (coconut would work too!)
  • 2 tbsp milk or water
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spread almonds and pistachios in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 8 minutes, sifting halfway through. Nuts will be fragrant!
  2. Pour nuts into a food processor with blade attachment. Process on low for 2 minutes until the nuts form a gritty mixture.
  3. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and continue processing 8 more minutes, scraping down the sides every 2 minutes.
  4. Add honey, oil (optional), milk/water, and a dash each of cinnamon and salt. You can also experiment here with other add-ins!
  5. Process on low until smooth. It will take at least 5 minutes for the nuts to release their oils and become creamy!
  6. Store in mason jars in the refrigerator for up to a month.
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After two minutes of processing on low, your nuts will look like this- a fine crumb mixture!
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Keep on processing… the nut butter might form a big pasty ball! This is how you know it’s time to add in your liquids and spices.
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After a little bit more patience, your butter will start to look like this. Make sure to keep scraping down the sides!
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Store in mason jars in the fridge for up to a month!