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Homemade Granola

Granola is a great snack for munching on, and wonderful as a topping on yogurt and oatmeal. But how often can you actually taste the flavors of your granola? Usually the store-bought varieties are so loaded With sweeteners and artificial flavorings that you can’t taste much of anything. Well, you’ll be happy to know its easy to make yourself! It’s a perfect way to use up your last bits of nuts, dries fruits and seeds, too! And once you’ve tried it homemade, you probably won’t go back!

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Homemade Granola
(Adapted from Jaime Oliver’s recipe)

2 cups whole rolled oats
1/2 c. almonds, chopped
1/2 c. hazelnuts, chopped
2 heaping Tbsps. each pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 generous pinches of sea salt
2-3 Tbsps. Honey
2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 c. Mixed dried fruit cut in small chunks ( I used figs, cranberries, and mango)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the honey and olive oil, and stir. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil or wAndover and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Open the oven door every 8-10 minutes and push the granola around with a wooden spoon to encourage it to brown evenly. Be sure to watch it toward the end so it doesn’t burn. When the granola is done, toss with dried fruit and cool. Feel free to sub the bits and fruits with your favorites!

Super Muffins

By now most people know that a lot of muffins you buy are just cupcakes in disguise. That’s why I prefer to make my own healthy muffins, and save the cake for dessert!

Here’s a recipe for a super healthy muffin. They have no added sugar or oil. These make a perfect breakfast paired with fruit, peanut butter, or yogurt!

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Super Muffins

3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 ripe banana
3 or 4 dried figs
1/4 cup dries cranberries
1Tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Pinch salt
Orange zest
Handful chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds

Mix dry ingredients. Blend figs and banana with almond milk until smooth. Combine with dry ingredients and stir in vanilla, orange zest, nuts, and cranberries. Place in muffin cups and top with nuts and oats tossed with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you need a little extra sweetness, add some honey!

Pad Thai

Do you like pad Thai? Do you want a simple and easy recipe that will bring it to your table in less than 10 minutes? Here you go! (I’m not kidding about the 10 minutes…try it!!)

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Pad Thai
2 eggs
Scallions
Bean curd (or tofu if you can’t find it)
Rice noodles pre-soaked in water
Maesri pad Thai sauce
Bean sprouts
Crushed peanuts

Sautée eggs in your wok with some oil and stir until broken. Add scallions. Throw in noodles and stir in sauce to your taste. Add bean curd and bean sprouts and toss. You don’t want to overcook or it will become soggy. Plate and top with crushed peanuts. Done!

Orange Cranberry Parfait

One thing I love about winter is fresh and juicy oranges. It’s hard to get them ripe the rest of the year, so I tend to take full advantage of citrus fruit around this time of year.

If you have any leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, here’s a way to use it up by pairing the tangy cranberries with a sweet orange. I added some winter spices to really put this parfait over the top. Try it, and I promise you’ll love it!

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Inspired by the citrus afraid at Epicure Boulud

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 an orange
1-2 Tbsp cranberry sauce
Almonds or walnuts (or both!!)
Honey
Spice mix: ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

Start your parfait with the cranberry sauce at the bottom, and then layer 1/2 cup Greek yogurt. Mix honey and spices with the nuts separately, and place on top of the yogurt. Grate some orange zest on top of the nuts, and top with remaining yogurt. Segment orange slices on top of the yogurt, making sure to avoid the tough parts of the fruit, while letting some juice fall into the parfait as well. Top with more honey and nuts, and let sit for a few minutes to settle.

The cranberry with the orange are perfect complements, and the spiced nuts give the parfait a wonderful holiday taste. Enjoy!

Oatmeal To Go

This time of year is always super busy, so every bit of extra sleep in the morning is worth it! Plus, it’s getting colder outside so naturally I’m not as quick to get out of bed and out from under the warm covers. The extra sleep is great, but it usually means compromising something else in my morning routine in order to get to work on time.

This morning, breakfast was the compromise I made, but I didn’t feel like eating a dry granola bar. Here was my solution: Oatmeal Parfait to go!

It’s so quick (just microwave your oats as usual while you’re getting dressed, and layer in your favorites!) Here’s my version:

  • 1/4 cup oats cooked w/ soy milk
  • brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves for spice
  • layers: green apples, almonds, honey, cinnamon cereal, and banana

If you have Greek yogurt, I’m sure that would be really good to add in as well. I put mine in a glass container so it was easy to reheat in the microwave when I got to work. Have fun!

My New Favorite Veggie

I often get bored of the options in the produce section of the grocery store. There doesn’t seem to be much variety anymore…or maybe that’s because I’ve tried everything so many times already. That’s why I feel so lucky to be really close to a number of international grocery stores. I can always count on seeing something new that I probably couldn’t even pronounce.
The veggie I’m sharing today was one of those discoveries. It is so tasty that I have eaten it for the past three days as a side to my dinner! Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to find. Hmart doesn’t even carry it, so we stopped by the Chinese store.

The cooking is simple: sauté with oil, lots of garlic, salt, and a little sesame oil and lite soy sauce if desired. Cook the stalks first and then the leaves. I promise you, you’ll enjoy it!

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Beef Tendon: Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe and instructions for making beef tendon! You will be surprised at how easy it is to cook. Actually, the most challenging part will be finding the ingredients if you don’t have a local Asian store! Try to stick to the authentic ingredients as much as possible because it really makes a difference in the taste. (ie: The soy sauce you find in your Chinese take-out place is not real soy sauce, so don’t use it!)

Follow the pictures below to make your tendon. Basically you just throw everything in a big pot and let it simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours, or until tendon is tender and the water boils down.

This is the tendon. Look for it in the frozen section of your Asian grocery store.

This is the spice pack you will need to season the broth.

Put the tendon in a large pot and cover with water.Add the spice pack to the pot.Now add salt, one clove of garlic, and a piece of fresh ginger.

Now add a few pieces of this rock sugar.

Add about 2-3 Tbsp of dark soy sauce. You can always add more later to your taste.

Cover and let it simmer for a few hours, and this is what you'll get!

There are endless possibilities of ways to eat beef tendon, but today we ate it in a soup with green veggies, bean sprouts, a boiled egg, and udon noodles. Yum!!