Tag Archives: snack

Easy Homemade Granola

Basic Granola TasteFood

Why spend money on boxed granola when you can easily make it in less than 30 minutes? Now that school is in session, try making this recipe to keep on hand for healthy breakfasts and snacks. This recipe follows a basic ratio of 2 cups oats to 1 cup coconut to 1 cup nuts to 1 cup dried fruit. To that I embellish, adding different grains and seeds such as flax, sunflower, or even wheat germ, depending on what I have in the cupboard. Use this recipe as a template and mix and match your favorite nuts, fruit, and seeds to your taste – and consider doubling the batch, because it’s guaranteed to be gobbled up.

Easy Homemade Granola

Be sure to add any of the fruit after the granola has cooked to prevent the fruit from burning. Makes about 5 cups.

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1/4 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins, or more to your taste

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the oats, coconut, almonds, pepitas, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the syrup, sugar, oil, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour over the oats and stir to thoroughly coat.

Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake until light golden, about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven and add the raisins, stirring to blend. Cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Cooking for your Health: Homemade Granola Bars

In this installment of Cooking for your Health, the theme is brain food: Healthy high energy snack food that’s a perfect pick-me-up during the work or school day or following a workout, providing a nutritional boost of energy which improves concentration and stamina. A diet rich in iron, B vitamins, essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates comprises a winning menu for your brain, increasing focus and memory. While nailing the nutrition may be easier to accomplish when preparing a sit-down meal, it’s often difficult to find in a snack when you are grabbing food on the go. What can you eat that’s portable, delicious and healthy? Look no further than these homemade granola bars.

The beauty of homemade granola bars is that you can pick and choose your ingredients, omitting excess sugars, fat and additives without sacrificing flavor. These granola bars are studded with dried fruit and nuts, including anti-oxidant rich blueberries and almonds, B-vitamin heavy lifters oats, coconut and wheat germ, and coconut oil which provides lauric acid, known for its anti-oxidant and antibacterial properties. Come to think about it, snacking never felt or tasted so good.

Homemade Granola Bars

Feel free to substitute the fruit with other dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, dates or figs to your taste. Walnuts may be used in place of the almonds. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten. Makes approximately 24 small bars.

2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
3 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Butter a 9 inch by 12 inch (20 x 30 cm.) baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Toss oats, almonds, coconut and wheat germ together in a bowl. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 300 F/150 C. Heat coconut oil, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the oats, mixing to thoroughly combine. Stir in the dried fruit. Spread batter in the prepared pan, spreading to firmly and evenly distribute. Bake in oven until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely in pan until firm, at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or rectangles. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Yogurt Parfaits with Rhubarb Compote and Almond Granola

~ Rhubarb Compote, Almond Granola, Greek Yogurt ~

Every morning I remind my kids to eat breakfast – and then I don’t eat one myself. I confess that a strong cappuccino is enough to propel me out the door each day, when I know – I know – it’s not smart. How to change my ways and correct this parental double standard? Well, if I had the fixings for this yogurt parfait in my refrigerator each morning, you can bet I would eat it. The good news is  the compote and granola are easy to make in large quantities ahead of time. So no excuses. Eat your breakfast.

Yogurt Parfaits with Rhubarb Compote and Almond Granola

This is delicious for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Feel free to double the quantities so you have extra on hand for breakfasts during the week.

For the Rhubarb Compote:
Makes about 2 cups

2 pounds rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the Almond Granola:
Makes about 4 cups

2 cups oats
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

Greek-style yogurt

Prepare the compote:
Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the rhubarb begins to release its juice. Simmer, partially covered, until rhubarb is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Compote may be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use.

Prepare the granola:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Toss the oats, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk oil, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Add to the oats and toss to thoroughly coat. Spread the granola on the baking pan. Bake until toasted golden brown, jiggling the pan once or twice, about 30 minutes. Remove and cool. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the raisins. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

To assemble the parfaits, spoon alternating layers of yogurt, compote and granola in a glass, finishing with a topping of granola.

Apple Bran Muffins

I rarely bake muffins, but when I do, I try to make them healthy. Muffins are often mini-cakes, packed with sugar and fat, which to some extent can’t be avoided if you wish to eat a muffin that doesn’t resemble a hockey puck or bird food. To compensate, I try to reduce the sugar and fat and add healthy grains, cereal, fruit and nuts. Today I had a request for homemade muffins from my son who is home sick from school. Since he hasn’t had much of an appetite, I couldn’t resist trying to whip up a batch of Apple Bran Muffins. They are reasonably healthy for a muffin, while sufficiently naughty to indulge a craving for something moist and sweet.

This is a recipe that is inspired by one I have used from Ina Garten in the past. While she incorporates bananas into her muffins, I have substituted grated apple for sweetness and moistness. I like to make mini-muffins, which are better sized for snacking.

Apple Bran Muffins
Makes approximately 20 mini-muffins

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup grated apple, packed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place paper liners into a mini-muffin tin. Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add the molasses and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix. Fold in the raisins, apple and walnuts, if using. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them. Bake in the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. (If using a large muffin tin, baking time will be longer, about 30 minutes.)

Post-Halloween Detox: Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Candy overload? Try this healthy respite, updated from the TasteFood archives.

Looking for a healthy diversion from all of the Halloween candy in your house? Pumpkins are not just good for decoration and their sweet nutrient-rich flesh. Their seeds are high in iron, fiber and protein, rich in amino acids and zinc.  So when you are carving up pumpkins or squash for decoration or baking, be sure to save  your seeds.  Clean and dry them before roasting for best results.  Then, when you find yourself peeking into your kids’ Halloween stash, reach instead this healthy, savory snack.


Spice-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Clean and dry seeds:

Rinse the seeds. Arrange in one layer on a baking tray and leave seeds out to dry at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

Roast the seeds:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, one minute.  Grind cumin to a fine powder in a mortar with pestle.  Whisk cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne and oil together in a medium bowl.  Add dried pumpkins seeds and toss to coat well.  Arrange in one layer on baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Cool and store in air-tight container.

Spice-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Looking for a healthy diversion from all of the Halloween candy in your house? Pumpkins are not just good for decoration and their sweet nutrient-rich flesh. Their seeds are high in iron, fiber and protein, rich in amino acids and zinc.  So when you are carving up pumpkins or squash for decoration or baking, be sure to save  your seeds.  Clean and dry them before roasting for best results.  Then, when you find yourself peeking at your kids’ Halloween stash, reach instead for these pumpkin seeds for a healthy, savory snack.

Spice-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Clean and dry seeds:

Remove most of the pulp from the seeds without washing them.  Arrange seeds in one layer on a baking tray and leave them out to dry at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

Roast the seeds:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, one minute.  Grind cumin to a fine powder in a mortar with pestle.  Whisk cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne and oil together in a medium bowl.  Add dried pumpkins seeds and toss to coat well.  Arrange in one layer on baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Cool and store in air-tight container.