Tag Archives: oats

Granola Love

Welcome to my new self-hosted WordPress blog and happy late Valentine’s Day!

I made a couple batches of granola recently, one from The Candle Café Cookbook and one from 500 Vegan Recipes. Both were totally different kinds of granola, but delicious in their own right. :)

The Candle Café Granola was really interesting in that it used steel cut oats as well as regular rolled ones, which I’ve never done before. Plus, it called for coconut oil and maple syrup–the best fat and the best sweetener! This granola came out super crunchy, with no clumps whatsoever–almost like a cross between granola and muesli.

Unfortunately, I had barely any of the ingredients that it called for, so I subbed sesame seeds and pine nuts for the sunflower seeds and walnuts, dried orange cranberries and candied ginger instead of currants, and extra almonds for the coconut. Now that I think about it, I think my version is better. Much more exotic–it had a really exciting flavor that you couldn’t quite put your finger on!

Then I made a recipe I’ve been dying to try since Celine first posted it at Have Cake, Will Travel: PB&J Granola!

This was a much healthier, more subtly sweet granola made with rolled oats and brown rice flour (or at least I think I used brown rice flour–we forget to label our plastic bags of bulk bin flour sometimes…), with chunks of jam swirled in just before baking. I used strawberry of course! What is UP with those people who only eat grape PB&Js?!

Maybe I underbaked it, but this granola was super soft and chewy. It made GREAT clumps, so if clumpy granola is your thing, then please go buy this book (there are also four or five more phenomenal granola recipes in the book!).

Perfect with bananas and vanilla hemp milk!

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Cuckoo for Coconut Peanut Butter!

As you all know, peanut butter is kind of my thang. Although straight up PB will always be my favorite, I do have a soft spot for “special” peanut butter–as long as it’s free of weird additives and oils. I thought I’d pretty much explored the world of specialty peanut butter–and what a wonderful world it is!–with Peanut Butter & Co., Justin’s Nut Butters, and Naturally Nutty, but I found out I was wrong when Tropical Traditions’ Coconut Peanut Butter walked into my life.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a jar to sample, and I’m so grateful that they did. This product contains just what it should and nothing else: organic dried coconut and organic roasted valencia peanuts. That’s it.

Those two ingredients are all it takes to produce a butter that’s so sinfully salty-sweet, you’ll think you’re eating frosting.

So after eating half of the jar with a spoon over the course of a couple weeks, I started thinking about what foods it would go best with. Turns out, coconut peanut butter can pretty much be put on anything you’d put regular peanut butter on, with similar or better results. :)

Like sweet potatoes:

As you can see, coconut peanut butter is much runnier than regular peanut butter. It takes on that thin meltiness of coconut butter more than it does the thick spreadableness of peanut butter. When cooler than room temperature, it’s solid.

Okay, so this next one’s slightly more decadent than a sweet potato, but hey–those peanut butter Newman O’s were asking for it!

And finally, the ever-versatile oat bran. In this case, sweet potato oat bran, topped with coconut peanut butter, and–get ready–sweet potato coconut paste! The paste was from the care package that Jessie at Vegan Minded exchanged with my mom. I stole it from her, hehe. Thanks Jessie!

As you can see, Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter is a fantabulous product; whether you’re a PB lover like myself, or just want to add a unique and healthy product to your diet, you should pick up a jar for yourself!

Cookies for Breakfast

Well, not just cookies (though i don’t have a problem with that either). I’m talking about incorporating cookies into an otherwise balanced breakfast!

I had some Liz Lovely Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies from my package swap with Lindsay at Cooking for a Vegan Lover, and decided that their best use would be to add a little sweetness to my mornings.

I give you: Sweet Potato Smoothie with Ginger Cookie Crumbles!

I just blended up a frozen banana, sweet potato purée, soy milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dollop of maple syrup, and some ice cubes, then crumbled half a cookie on top (these are BIG cookies).

I liked the sweet potato/ginger/molasses combination, so I stuck with the same theme for a bowl of oat bran the next day.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran with Ginger Cookie Crumbles!

What a carb fest. In a good way.

What random toppings to you all use for smoothies, oats, and/or soy yogurt? I still have to try the ice cream-topped oat bran that was floating around the blog world a few months ago…

Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Thanks for all the good luck wishes, everyone! Apparently, they were effective because I ran my half marathon in 1:57:21, a full 13.26 minutes faster than my first one in September. That’s basically a minute less per mile!

It was an awesome experience running a race in my hometown (well it started in Phoenix, but ended in my hometown, Tempe). Fun fact: the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll in Phoenix is the largest same day marathon/half marathon in the United States! This year, there were over 30,000 runners!

This race was also special because I was running for Team Tempe to help raise money for local charities. Of course running is highly personal and when it came down to it, I ran for me; but it was nice to help others in the process!

I’m really proud of my time since I was only able to train intensively for two and a half weeks. Out of the 1,144 in my division (F 18-24), I came in 154th!

I loved running the Disney one with my good friend, Chelsea, but it was also really nice having my parents there to greet me at the end (my dad took the photo).

Wonder what the perfect post-race vegan meal is?

Oats in a jar, of course! Well banana-vanilla-cinnamon-date oat bran in a PB jar to be exact. Normally, I can’t eat this much, but I was really hungry for obvious reasons. :) This baby really hit the spot.

Hot, gooey, lovely mess. Taken with my new Canon 60mm macro lens!

Is running 13.1 miles really that hard when you have this breakfast waiting for you at home?

Round Orange Things

This post is kind of pathetic, but I haven’t been eating anything particularly interesting lately, and I figured something is better than nothing.

We’ve had a sugar pumpkin sitting in our suite’s hallway for a month, but instead of tossing it, I decided to try my hand at making my own pumpkin purée. So, I stuck that baby straight in the oven–no oil, no pan, I literally just put it, whole, onto the oven rack–and after an hour or so, I sliced it open (SO much easier than trying to cut it beforehand), scooped out the seeds and stringies, and puréed the flesh in my Magic Bullet. It was definitely lighter colored than canned pumpkin, and somewhat starchier, but otherwise pretty similar. Obviously, it would make better pie, so don’t be lazy for the big day next week: make your own pumpkin!

I also roasted the seeds. Just of spritz of canola oil, and some cinnamon and sea salt.

I had two remaining brown rice cakes, so for a random breakfast, I slathered on some pumpkin (with cinnamon and nutmeg added), sprinkled with seeds, and called it a morning.

I forgot to mention that, a few weeks ago, I won Lindsay’s hummus giveaway at Cooking for a Vegan Lover. She sent me a jar of Wild Garden Black Olive hummus, and two single serving squeezepacks: Traditional and Sun-Dried Tomato.

I think the black olive was my favorite (so good thing I had a full jar!), but they are all quite good. Impressive nutrition stats too! I think 2 Tbs of the black olive was only 35 calories, and most hummus is about 60. Also, these guys had nice, short ingredient lists: mostly just chickpeas, tahini, water, olive oil, and sea salt, plus whatever flavor. That’s always a big plus for me because even brands like Trader Joe’s hummus often have a decent amount of additives. Plus, it’s cool that they’re shelf-stable, like cartons of soy or almond milk, so you can always have them handy!

For a snack today, I just spread the sun-dried tomato one on some Nairns Oatcakes. Simple yet delicious.

I love these oatcakes though! They’re just wholegrain oats, palm fruit oil, sea salt, and baking soda (or, because they’re from the UK, I should say, sodium bicarbonate!) They’re produced in Edinburgh, and even though I may not have loved every minute of my study abroad experience there, I’ll always have a soft spot for British health foods, like oatcakes and flapjacks. :)

Pumpkin for My Pumpkin

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for my little sister, that is!

I’m currently visiting my favorite person in the world. She’s a sophomore (and DI soccer player!) at Colgate University in the charming town of Hamilton in central NY. It’s my first time here, and I’m loving it.

Of course I couldn’t come empty-handed–I’m her big (wonderful vegan baker) sister, after all! I had to make something seasonal, and having my own fond memories of my mom sending me pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in October of my freshman year at Pomona, I decided that was the route to take. Good decision, I think.

I used this recipe from the PPK, subbing 1 cup of chocolate chips for the walnuts and raisins because, um, which would you prefer? I added the optional flax seed as well because, in my book, chewier cookies always take the cake. (Uh oh, mixed metaphor!)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try them (still doing elimination diet stuff, so no sugar or gluten for me at the present!), but my friends and Olivia all seemed to love them! From making and at least smelling them, however, I got the sense that they weren’t quite pumpkin-y enough. Liv said the molasses kind of overpowered the pumpkin (I think maple syrup would be a better option), and my mom thought they could use a bit more spice. Still, they’ve all been wolfing them down nonetheless, so I’m marking them as a win, even if I would probably try a different recipe next time!

So far, the weather’s been surprisingly mild (for NY in October…). We’ve been enjoying the brisk and sunny autumn days to the fullest, an enjoyment that necessarily includes playing in the leaves:

Please notice the heart formed by the leaves around Livers. She’s so talented.

The novelty of foliage to an AZ girl who goes to school in SoCal.

Can I switch schools, please? Freezing 98 percent of the time must be worth a month or so of this kind of magical.

Don’t quote me on that. ;)

Peanut Butter Pancakes and Lotsa Granola

So, I’m back at Pomona College to start my senior year! I’m nervous about the workload and senior thesis and, well, becoming a real person in 9 months time, but am also super excited to be back with my friends and settle in to this new schedule. I’m living with three of my best friends in an adorable suite, and life is good at the moment.

My last few days at home were full of some decadent treats because I knew I’d go back to eating a lot more Hugh Jass (in honor of Shelby!) salads once I was back at the dining hall. I’m not complaining; I do love salads, and there is some pretty decent vegan food here in Claremont – but still. I also knew I’d mostly be having cereal in my room for breakfast – so I wanted to pack in some variety pre-departure. Take, for example, these Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Syrup. I know, I know! The pancakes are from the PPK (but with chips added), and the syrup is Celine’s recipe!

I love this pancake recipe so much! It’s seriously just ground oats, peanut butter, banana, and soy milk (well, and baking powder, and I added chocolate chips and a pinch of salt – but still, super simple!) I liked making pancakes with oats instead of regular flour and the peanut butter-banana flavor was perfectly balanced. Topped with the syrup and fresh bananas, this was the perfect breakfast to have my last day at home. I may have even enjoyed these little love cakes alongside a glass of chocolate soy milk. ;)

A funny thing about the batter was that I had it two days in a row, so I kept it in the fridge overnight, and the next morning, it had turned into oatmeal. Peanut butter-banana oatmeal. The oats had absorbed all the liquid, and it had gotten really thick. It probably would have been delicious as it was actually (minus the baking powder!)

I also made two kinds of granola for my dear little sister, Olivia, who just began her second year at Colgate University in NY (she plays DI soccer there!). She’s a big granola fan, but has pretty high standards. Apparently, standards that Colgate cannot fulfill. So of course she called me! She requested an apple-cinnamon batch, so I made one of those, plus another for experiment’s sake. For the apple cinnamon, I used the recipe for Greg’s Granola in Vegan Lunch Box, but that seems too oddly personal of a name, so I’m going to call it Apple-Cinnamon-Almond Granola, okay?

I followed the recipe except for using all dried apples (instead of apples + raisins), and subbing the pecans with Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Almonds. It came out really well–a little sweet, but not over the top.

I also made Pecan-Cranberry Olive Oil Granola from the New York Times website (subbing the pecans and cranberries for the pistachios and apricots in the original recipe, and switching the cardamom for extra cinnamon). I personally would have made it with the given flavor combo, but Liv is a bit picky and I wanted to make sure she’d like it! I wish I could say I chose to make olive oil granola in honor of my sister’s name (I call her Olive sometimes), but honestly, it just looked really, really good.

Granola mountain!  This was my first time using olive oil in granola (although I have used it in blueberry muffins before and the result was delicious!), and I’d definitely do it again! It gave the granola a super rich, almost “buttery” taste that fat-free granola, or even granola made with canola oil, would certainly not have. This recipe had a bit more sugar (maybe to mask the olive-y taste?), but whatever. A crowd-pleaser for sure!

Be back soon with some more of my last-minute eats at home, including, oh, I don’t know, Teesey nachos and stuffed mochi? Oops. Gave that one away, didn’t I?