Tag Archives: honey

Apricot-Honey Granola

This golden granola reminds me of summertime! The combination of chopped and chunky dried apricots and golden raisins taste great together. Apricot-Honey Granola has a lot of other good things that I often add to my homemade granolas: sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped nuts. It’s sweetened mostly with honey and a bit of brown sugar. You can serve it as a cereal with milk, in yogurt parfaits, or just as it is, for a snack.

APRICOT-HONEY GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 12 cups

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cups hulled, raw sunflower kernels (if using roasted, add them in after baking)
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line two 10×15″ rimmed cookie sheets or one 13×18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, toss the oats, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped pecans; set aside.

In small microwaveable bowl, heat honey for 20 to 30 seconds to make the consistency thinner. Then, in medium size bowl, blend honey, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt, blending everything well.

Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well-coated.

Spread this mixture onto the prepared baking sheet(s) and bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and  toss the mixture (for even baking). Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, until granola is golden.

Remove from oven and add the golden raisins and chopped dried apricots to the mixture on the pan; toss to combine everything well. Let mixture cool completely on pan (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools), then store in a tightly-sealed container for 2 to 3 weeks.

When I make granola in the summer, I usually do it early in the morning, when it’s still cool. I try to avoid using the oven later in the day because my place gets so hot! But it’s worth making this yummy granola, even if you do have to get up extra early to do it! 🙂 Have you made any granola lately? What do you like to add to yours?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Create with Joy.

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Stovetop Apple Cinnamon Butter

Stovetop Cinnamon Apple Butter @ NancyC

Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.

This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!

STOVETOP APPLE CINNAMON BUTTER by NancyC

Makes 3 3/4 cups

  • 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
  • 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).

Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.

This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.

Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck.

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup)

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade applesauce if you have the time. It’s really easy to make your own–the most time-consuming part is peeling the apples. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and letting it cook for 25 minutes until the apples are soft. If you like chunky applesauce like me, you can just use a potato masher to mash those apples into applesauce. If you like your applesauce smooth, you can puree the cooled apple chunks in a blender (you may have to do that in several batches).

I like sweetening my applesauce with honey or maple syrup. If you prefer using brown sugar, you can use that instead. The cinnamon and nutmeg also give this applesauce a great flavor.

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup) by NancyC

Makes about 4 servings

  • 8 cups (3 pounds) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or sliced (this would be about 8-9 medium-size apples; use your favorite variety)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or substitute 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium-size saucepan, combine apples, juice or cider, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir ingredients together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until apples are soft. Let apples cool, then mash them with a potato masher. Or you can puree them in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

You can serve this applesauce chilled as a side dish or snack. Or for dessert, heat it and use as a topping over ice cream. You can also serve it warm or cool at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt.

Have you made homemade applesauce before?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Sunday Features, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Inspire Me Monday, Making Memories Monday, Show and Share, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Share Your Style, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Friday, Feathered Nest Friday.

Blackberry Honey Lemonade

BlackberryHoneyLemonade@NancyCreative.com

Drinking lemonade in the summertime is always a treat, and it’s always a nice change of pace to try different lemonade flavors. I’ve made Strawberry Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade before, so I thought I’d try making some Blackberry Lemonade. And I wanted to sweeten it with honey instead of sugar to make it a little healthier. I really like the way this tastes! It has a rich fruity flavor from the blackberries, but it’s very lemony, too. This is the perfect thing to drink on a hot summer day, as you’re sitting in a nice shady area outside…with your feet propped up…maybe even reading a good book!

BLACKBERRY HONEY LEMONADE by NancyC

Makes about 4-6 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 4 cups cold water, divided
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (or use 1 cup, if you want it really lemony)
  • 2 lemons, sliced (use some for stirring into lemonade and some for garnish)

In a blender, add berries and 1 cup of the water and blend about 1 to 2 minutes, until berries are pureed. Strain the juicy part of the mixture into a small bowl with a wire mesh strainer, discarding the solids and seeds.

Heat a second cup of water with the honey in a small saucepan (or microwave in a microwave-safe container), bringing it to a boil; remove from heat and stir mixture until honey is dissolved in the water.

In a large pitcher (about an 8-cup size), pour remaining 2 cups of water, along with the lemon juice, the honey/water mixture, and the juicy blackberry mixture; stir everything well.

Refrigerate mixture until chilled. When ready to serve, add lemon slices to pitcher (save slices as a garnish for the serving glasses) and stir mixture to ensure all ingredients are well-blended. Serve over ice and garnish each glass with a lemon slice.

Of course there’s always good ol’ Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, too…I like them all! Do you have a favorite lemonade recipe?

Linked to Inspiration Thursday, Create It ThursdayFabulous Foodie Fridays, Full Plate Thursday.

Vanilla-Almond Granola

VanillaAlmondGranola@NancyCreative.com I’ve been putting off making granola because it’s been so hot outside! I try to avoid using my oven if I don’t need to when the weather is really hot, but I was really wanting to make some granola. So I got up very early one Saturday morning–which lately has been the coolest, least humid part of the day–and made this Vanilla-Almond Granola. It seemed like a nice, basic, summery flavor to try. I really like the vanilla-almond combination. You’ll notice that it does have quite a bit of vanilla in it–2 whole Tablespoons! It’s a slightly sweet granola, so if you like yours more sweet, add in the brown sugar, which I have listed as an optional ingredient. It’s sweet enough for me without the brown sugar, though, and I love eating this sprinkled on top of some vanilla Greek yogurt–a good, easy breakfast for the summer months!

VANILLA-ALMOND GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 6 1/2 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower kernels (if you use roasted kernels, add those to the mixture after baking)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you want your granola sweeter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • Parchment paper for lining baking sheet

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, almonds, wheat germ or ground flax seed, sunflower kernels, brown sugar (if using), salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a small microwaveable bowl, heat honey for 20 to 30 seconds to make the consistency thinner. Then, in a medium size bowl, blend honey and melted coconut oil. Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts, blending everything well. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well coated.

Spread granola mixture on prepared baking sheet and bake at 300˚F for 45 minutes, until mixture is golden, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let granola cool completely (the mixture will get crunchier as it cools). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

I’ve heard that you can also freeze homemade granola for two to three months, although I haven’t tried that myself yet. This granola would also be good sprinkled over ice cream for dessert. Have you made any special homemade granola flavors this summer?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Inspiration Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Show and Share.

Green Pistachio Smoothie

ncGreenPistachSmthienm Because of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been seeing lots of green when it comes to recipes the last few weeks! A lot of them have pistachios as an ingredient, and I love pistachios! So I thought I’d try them in a smoothie. A green smoothie, of course, with a healthy blend of milk, yogurt, honey, frozen banana, baby spinach leaves, and pistachios. It’s a lightly sweet, creamy smoothie that doesn’t taste super-spinachy. If you’re put off by green smoothies, you might want to give this one a try–it has less of a veggie taste than others I’ve had. You do have to do a wee bit of planning ahead to make this by putting a banana (or half of a banana) in the freezer the night before you make it, but otherwise this is super quick and easy to make!

GREEN PISTACHIO SMOOTHIE by NancyC Makes 1 (10-ounce)  serving

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or use soy milk; use 1/3 cup if you want a thicker smoothie)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or use soy yogurt)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup well-packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)

In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass, top with a light sprinkling of pistachios, and serve. Makes about 10 ounces.

Have you made any green smoothies? Do you have a favorite recipe for one? Hope you are having a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Linked to Let’s Get Real Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Sunday Showcase, Full Plate Thursday.

Chai Tea Latte

ncChaiTeaLattenm

I enjoy drinking tea and recently had the chance to try three chai flavors from Choice® Organic Teas. They sent me their Chai Spice Black Tea and two of their new Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified chai flavors–Rooibos Chai and Masala Chai. If you’re chaiTeasnot familiar with chai teas, they’re blended with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper, giving them a warm, wonderful spiciness that tastes so good on a cold day!

The Chai Spice Black tea and Masala Chai have a rich spicy flavor that I love–both are made with Assam tea. The Chai Spice tasted just a little more spicier to me than the Masala Chai. These teas are perfect for making the Chai Tea Latte recipe that I posted below!

The Rooibos Chai tea is naturally caffeine-free and has a slightly milder spicy flavor, along with a subtle sweetness. Rooibos tea is one of my favorites because it’s such a healthy tea. If you’re wanting to make a caffeine-free Chai Latte, this would be a good tea to use.

I happened to make this Chai Tea Latte on a cold, snowy day and it was the perfect beverage to warm me up! Chai Tea Lattes are a nice change from coffee and hot cocoa. If you’ve never tried making one, you’ll need to try this–it’s easy and just as good as having one from a coffee shop! And it’s a healthy drink, too, sweetened with honey instead of sugar.

CHAI TEA LATTE by NancyC

Makes 1 serving (about 8 to 9 ounces)

  • 1 Chai tea bag
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup milk (you’ll need a frother for the milk)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey (this is lightly sweet with 2 teaspoons, so use 3 if you want it sweeter)
  • ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Heat water to boiling, then steep tea bag in water for 5 minutes; remove tea bag and set aside.

While tea is steeping, add milk and honey in a microwave-safe container. Heat in microwave for 60 seconds or until hot (I heated mine for 60 seconds plus an additional 15 seconds). Stir milk and honey with spoon, blending well, then froth the mixture with a frother to make it light and foamy.

Pour the steeped tea into your serving cup (if it has cooled off, reheat in microwave for 15-30 seconds), then add the milk mixture to the tea. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top for garnish.

Do you drink chai tea? What about Chai Tea Lattes? This was the first time I tried making one, and I have a feeling I’ll be making many more! 🙂

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Tea Time #7 at EclecticOdds n Sods, Thursday Favorite Things, Lets Get Real Friday, Inspire Me Monday.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Shake

ncChocPBBrkShakenm

Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please. Especially when it’s a healthier way to have chocolate. This may not sound very healthy, but don’t let the words “chocolate” or “shake” fool you. There’s lots of good-for-you ingredients in this–banana, peanut butter, honey, unsweetened cocoa powder, Greek yogurt, and low-fat milk (you can sub non-dairy products in this, too). This shake has a super-rich chocolatey taste with a hint of peanut butter and banana and it’s so smooth and creamy!

If you like having chocolate in the morning, make this for breakfast. Or drink it for an afternoon snack…or have it as a dinner dessert–it’s great any time of day! One thing to remember is that you do have to plan ahead a little–you need to cut a banana into chunks and put in the freezer so it’s frozen when you make your shake–I usually do this the night before I’m going to make it.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BREAKFAST SHAKE by NancyC

Makes 1 (10-ounce) serving

  • 1 medium banana, cut into chunks and frozen (do this the day before you’re making it, or at least several hours ahead of time)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt or soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk, soy milk, or almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour in a glass and serve immediately.

This shake is a real treat and while it’s great for breakfast, I really like making it in the afternoon–that’s when I tend to crave chocolate. When would you make this?

Linked to Wow Me Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Foodie Friday, Inspire Me Monday.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola

ncChChpChryGranola2nm

I was wanting to make some granola this past weekend, but I was also wanting something chocolatey. So I decided to combine the two and I came up with this Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola. I thought it would be a great healthy snack to munch on and keep me from being tempted to eat too much Valentine candy! It’s sweetened with honey, sweetened coconut flakes, dried cherries, and those cute little mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. So it satisfies my sweet tooth, but it still has very healthy things in it like oats, almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

I love the combination of flavors in this granola and the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips are the perfect chocolate touch. If you want a healthy sweet to nibble on, too, you should try this out!

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHERRY GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 9 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds, salted or unsalted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cherries (or one 5-ounce package)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl or container, heat the honey for about 30 seconds so it’s thinner and easier to stir; then mix the honey, oil, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, sliced almonds, chopped pecans or walnuts, coconut, and sunflower seeds. Add in the honey, oil, and salt mixture and toss again, combining all ingredients well. Spread mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss mixture for even baking. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, until mixture is golden, and remove from oven.

Stir granola, then let it cool completely on pan (if the granola isn’t quite crunchy, it will get crunchier as it cools). When completely cool, add in the dried cherries and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Or package in mini treat bags and give as a healthy Valentine’s Day treat!

ncChChpChryGranolanm

Not only is this granola a great healthy sweet snack, you can have it as a cereal for breakfast, too–although you may want to leave out the chocolate chips…or maybe not! 🙂

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Fresh Mango Smoothie

ncFrshMngoSmthie1nm

Since many of us are trying to eat a little healthier after the holidays, I thought I’d share this recipe for a Fresh Mango Smoothie I made the other day. Mangos happened to be half price the last time I went to the grocery store, so I thought they would be great for a smoothie! I usually use plain or vanilla Greek yogurt in my smoothies and I like sweetening them with honey. I added a little ground flaxseed in this for extra fiber, too. This smoothie is so thick and creamy! It’s perfect when you want something that tastes dessert-like but is really good for you!

FRESH MANGO SMOOTHIE by NancyC

Makes 1 (12-ounce) serving

  • 1 cup chopped ripe mango
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes

Place chopped mango, yogurt, milk, honey, flaxseed and ice cubes in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes about 12 ounces, enough for 1 large or 2 small servings.

I need to make a note to myself to buy mangos more often–I really like them, but I forget to buy them when I’m at the store! Do you use mangos much in your recipes?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, Show and Share at Coastal Charm and Let’s Get Real Friday at Joy Love Food.