Berry Walnut Granola

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I am a big fan of granola, and I prefer homemade–I think it tastes so much better! I’ve posted several recipes for granola bars, like Crunchy Honey Almond Granola BarsDark Chocolate Granola Bars, and chewier Granola Bars. I’ve also made an unsweetened Cranberry Raisin Nut Toasted Oat Cereal. So I thought it was about time I posted a granola cereal recipe that I like making. It’s sweetened with honey, shredded coconut, and a mix of dried berries. You can serve it with milk or Greek yogurt in the morning and it’s great as a snack, too! This recipe makes A LOT of granola, so you can halve it if you want to make a smaller batch.

BERRY WALNUT GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes 16-18 servings 

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (or substitute pecans)
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes (shredded coconut)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted and salted sunflower kernels
  • 2/3 cup non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups dried mixed berries (I used a mix of dried cranberries, cherries, and blueberries)
  • parchment paper for lining pan

Adjust oven rack to middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside (or use two rimmed 10 x 15″ cookie sheets).

In a very large bowl, stir together the oats, nutss, wheat germ, coconut flakes, and sunflower kernels.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together the oil, honey, and cinnamon; heat in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes; stir, then heat for 1 additional minute and stir again until well-blended.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture in large bowl, stirring to coat evenly. Spread mixture in an even layer on the lined 13 x 18″ pan.

Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove from oven, stir mixture (so it will bake evenly), then return to oven for another 20 minutes–for a total baking time of 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in the dried mixed berries. Let granola stand until cooled, then stir again to break any large clumps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Are you a granola fan too and do you make homemade granola?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

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Cocoa Banana Smoothie

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I think this just may be the hottest week of summer. And that calls for a smoothie–even better, a chocolate smoothie! There’s a soy and non-soy version for this recipe, so you can take your pick. The smoothie I made pictured here is the soy version. I’ve never made a smoothie with tofu before, and it does give the smoothie a nice creaminess. It’s not super-thick, though, so if you’re expecting a smoothie like that, you’ll be disappointed. But it has a lightly creamy texture from the tofu and banana, and the unsweetened cocoa powder gives it a rich chocolate flavor. The honey gives the smoothie a light sweetness that’s just right–not too overly sweet. But if you do want it sweeter, you can always add in a little more honey!

COCOA BANANA SMOOTHIE by NancyC, adapted from EatingWell.com

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings, about 14 to 16 ounces

  • 1 medium size banana, cut into slices or chunks and frozen (for about 3 to 4 hours or overnight)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon soft silken tofu (for a non-soy version, use plain or vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla–for a non-soy version, use regular milk; use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker smoothie)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 ice cubes

Slice banana and freeze until firm (about 3 to 4 hours or overnight). Blend tofu (or greek yogurt), soymilk (or milk), cocoa, and honey in blender until smooth. Add in the frozen banana slices and blend; then add in ice cubes and blend until mixture is smooth.

Smoothies always sound good to me on hot summer days! What’s your favorite healthy warm-weather treat?

Chilled Cucumber Soup

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Chilled soups are perfect for summer! And if you like cucumbers, you’ll want to try this one! It has Greek yogurt, green onions, fresh dill, and parsley in it. Some lemon juice and salt give the flavor a little punch and I also added some garlic powder to the original recipe. The croutons on top are a nice touch, too! It’s a great summery soup to serve for a light lunch or dinner.

CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP by NancyC, slightly adapted from Country Living

Makes 6 servings, 135 calories each

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, diced, and divided (divide amount in half to add in recipe at different times)
  • 4 green onions, sliced and divided (divide amount in half to add in recipe at different times)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or a little more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • a bag of your favorite croutons
  • more chopped fresh dill for garnish

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and vegetable broth, blending well; set aside.

In a food processor, puree 1 peeled, diced English cucumber, 2 sliced green onions, chopped fresh dill, and chopped fresh parsley. Add this cucumber mixture, along with the lemon juice and salt, to the yogurt mixture in the large bowl; whisk to combine. (Note: if you do not have a food processor, you can put the above ingredients in a blender and puree them all together–your blender will be pretty full, so you may want to blend it in 2 batches; after blending, pour mixture back into your large bowl).

Stir in the other peeled, diced English cucumber and the other 2 diced sliced green onions, mixing well to evenly distribute ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then serve in bowls and garnish with chopped fresh dill and croutons.

Light summer meals like this are perfect for those really hot days. You can use regular cucumbers in this recipe, too, if you’re growing them in your garden–it would be a great way to use them! I would think maybe 4-6 small or 3-4 medium cukes would be equivalent to 2 English cucumbers–that’s just an estimate!

What types of lighter foods do you like to eat during the summer?

Peach Cucumber Salsa

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Are you growing cucumbers in your garden this year? Here’s a recipe you can use those cucumbers in! It’s perfect for summer because it’s a little fruity, lightly sweet, and a little spicy–good with tortilla chips or as a side dish … Continue reading

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta

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If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, … Continue reading

Blueberry-Honeydew Smoothie

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It’s really been warm lately, so I’ve been making lots of smoothies–they just taste so good on a hot day! One fruit that I really love but haven’t used that much in smoothies is honeydew melon. They’ve always been a little challenging … Continue reading

Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie

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I saw this smoothie at Food.com not long ago and was kind of intrigued by the blueberry/green tea combination, wondering just what that would taste like. I had plenty of green tea on hand, some blueberries in my freezer, and … Continue reading

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Bread

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The first time I made this banana bread, the weather was chilly and rainy…the perfect time for baking! As I’ve mentioned before, I like trying out different banana bread recipes and decided to try a whole wheat version that I found on … Continue reading