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How To Make Crunchy Granola in the Slow Cooker

The Kitchn

 http://www.thekitchn.com/

How To Make Crunchy Granola in the Slow Cooker

COOKING LESSONS FROM THE KITCHN

Homemade granola just may be why breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and why I will always say yes to breakfast for dinner. After all, it’s toasted, crunchy oats tossed with a medley of nuts and seeds with just enough maple syrup and brown sugar for a hint of sweetness and flavor. What’s not to love? When you make granola in a slow cooker you get all that, plus the ability to make a huge batch at once with far less to clean up than when you make it the traditional oven-based way. And if you were concerned about the crunch, rest assured, we’ve discovered the simple solution for that as well.

Your Slow-Cooker Granola Template

Think of this as more of a template than a recipe. One of the things I love about making granola is that it doesn’t call for too much precision or overly exact measurements. Instead, it’s easy to customize to suit your taste; you can swap ingredients and adjust others to get your granola just the way you like it. The ratios are really the most important part (even though there’s even some wiggle room there for further tweaking). What you want to remember is to keep the same ratio of dry to liquid ingredients overall.

The One-Bowl Granola Solution

As if granola in the slow cooker wasn’t good enough, it still gets better. You’re looking at a one-bowl, one-spoon cooking situation. You can put away that stack of baking sheets, multiple mixing bowls, and your whisk because you won’t need any of it. Instead of mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in a second bowl, and then combining everything together, we’re simplifying things. Because after all, simplicity is the heart and soul of slow-cooker recipes.

The Big-Batch Game-Changer

I don’t make granola as often as I’d really like to, so when I do make it I love to double or sometimes even triple the recipe so it lasts a while longer. There’s a couple hang-ups with this, though: Oven-cooked granola is best made when the ingredients are spread out in a layer across a baking sheet, so taking the big-batch approach requires you to have at least a few handy, followed by the even trickier task of attempting to fit multiple baking sheets in the oven.

The slow cooker turns out to be the solution to both of those issues. No extra bakeware needed, and as long as the ingredients will fit in the bowl you can go for as big a batch as you want.

The Trick to Toasty Oats: Cover the Slow Cooker, but Not All the Way

The real key to making crunchy granola in your slow cooker is air flow. Those sweet coated oats and nuts rely on that steady flow to transform from soft and chewy to the crisp, toasty texture you expect from a batch of granola.

When the slow cooker is fully covered with the lid, it creates a warm environment that’s full of moisture. That’s great for cooking, but not exactly ideal for toasty granola. Instead, top your slow cooker with the lid, but leave it slightly askew so the bowl is only partially covered. This will help pull all that extra moisture out of the cooker.

Use a Baking Sheet for Faster Cooling

Once the granola is finished cooking, and before packing it away in containers, do be sure to let it cool completely. This is also the time when it will crisp up even more. You can certainly leave it in the slow cooker to cool, but because it’s piled high and the bowl is still warm, it will take a while. If you want to speed things along, spread the granola over a baking sheet. The increased surface area will cool the granola and up the crunch factor even faster.

How To Make Granola in the Slow Cooker

Makes about 5 cups

What You Need

Ingredients
Cooking spray, olive oil, or coconut oil, for greasing the slow cooker
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw nuts and/or seeds such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped if large (optional)

Equipment
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
3-quart or larger slow cooker
Baking sheet (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep the slow cooker: Spray the bottom and sides of the slow-cooker bowl with cooking spray, or coat with olive or coconut oil.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in the slow cooker: Place the oats, nuts/seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir until well-combined.
  3. Stir in the wet ingredients: Add the oil, liquid sweetener, and vanilla extract, and stir until the dry ingredients are fully coated.
  4. Partially cover the slow cooker: Fit the lid onto the slow cooker, keeping it slightly askew to allow for air flow and moisture to escape. (Keeping the slow cooker only partially covered is essential for crunchier granola.)
  5. Cook the granola: Set the slow cooker to high and cook, stirring every 30 minutes, until toasted and golden-brown, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours total. Make sure the lid is placed back on askew after each stirring.
  6. Stir in the dried fruit (optional): If you’re using dried fruit, turn the slow cooker off, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine.
  7. Spread on baking sheet to cool (optional): For faster cooling, spread the granola into an even layer on a large baking sheet and let it cool completely.
  8. Cool and store: Cool the granola completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

  • Slow-cooker temperatures: Slow cookers work at different temperatures, so the total cook time will vary depending on the model you use.
  • Storage: Store cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 to 10 days.

Cambria’s Granola with Pecans, Cherries & Coconut

             The Kitchn

http://www.thekitchn.com/

Granola with Pecans, Cherries & Coconut Flakes

Makes about 7 cups of granola.

Adapted from Early Bird’s Olive Oil Granola via The New York Times

3 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup dried cherries, currants, or a mix, coarsely chopped if large

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Mix dry ingredients together, followed by the wet ingredients and spices. (Save the fruit for later). Spread on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until crunchy and golden brown. Remove from oven, add the dried fruit, and stir to loosen up the granola and mix in the cherries. Cool completely before storing.

Store in an airtight container for 7 to 10 days.

(Image credits: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Acai, Hibiscus & Banana Popscicles

IMG_5792Acai, Hibiscus & Banana Popsicles

By Cravings in Amsterdam

It’s been so nice and warm the last couple of days that I couldn’t help myself and made some popsicles. I actually had one for breakfast this morning. They are super easy to make and quite healthy too. I made a reduction with acai pulp, hibiscus tea and banana. Then I swirled it around with Greek yogurt. A guilt free breakfast that tastes like dessert!

This recipe makes about 7 small popsicles

Ingredients:

½ cup of dried hibiscus flowers

1 cup of boiling water

100gr of frozen acai pulp

8 tablespoons of honey

1 banana, chopped

2 cups of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

For the chocolate shell:

300grs of dark chocolate, chopped

3 teaspoons of coconut oil

Dried coconut (optional)

Place the hibiscus flowers in a small bowl, add the boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes are up, pass the tea through a sieve and discard of the flowers.

Place the hibiscus tea, 6 tablespoons of honey, acai and banana in the blender. Blend until smooth.

Then place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it reduce to a thick syrup while stirring so it doesn’t burn. This will take about 5 minutes. Then transfer it to a bowl to cool down.

Once the acai mixture has cooled down, start making the yogurt part. Whisk the Greek yogurt with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and vanilla.

Place a bit of the acai mixture in the popsicle molds, then add some of the Greek yogurt and then some more of the acai mixture. Use a toothpick or tip of a knife, to make the swirls. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.

If you want to coat them in chocolate, microwave the dark chocolate with the coconut oil in intervals of 30 seconds. Stirring in between until it is completely melted. Dip the popsicles in the chocolate shell and immediately sprinkle some of the dried coconut. You can eat them right away. If you want to keep them in the freezer, wrap them individually in plastic film or a Ziploc bag.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Mulbery Peanut Chocolate Bars! (RAW)

Rawmazing-FullLogo

Mulberry Peanut Cacao Crunchy Bars

ChoMain

I have to admit, I am not a fan of making raw chocolate. It never seems to come out how I want it to. If you don’t temper it, you can have problems and since I am all about simplicity, tempering isn’t something I want to mess with. But I still want good, healthy chocolate treats!

I finally have discovered a great shortcut, Organic Raw Cacao Paste. It is an amazing find. Simply melt, add ingredients and you have a wonderful chocolate base that you can make as sweet as you like.

I worked very hard to keep the sugar low in these treats. Processed sugar is not our friend. And using excessive amounts of any kind of sugar in recipes, even “natural sugars” has become a trend in on-line recipes. It catches people’s attention. It stimulates our appetites. It hooks into our “I have to have that” mentality.

I have a sweet tooth which I am actively reforming to the point of eliminating almost all processed sugar from my diet. It was a choice born from the knowledge that sugar is one of the most harmful “foods” we can put in our bodies. And I’m over it. I want vibrant health 100% of the time and highly-processed sugar doesn’t have a place in that plan.

These bites have super nutritious dried mulberries, and peanuts. I used raw peanuts. You can substitute with any nut or seed. The peanut/mulberry combination is a favorite around here and can taste a little like a Butterfinger bar. The bars are super easy to make, low in sugar and delicious!

Baked Eggs on Sweet Potato Skins with Avocado

IMG_4786

Baked Eggs on Sweet Potato Skins with Avocado

By http://cravingsinamsterdam.com/

This was my breakfast yesterday and I got many questions on Instagram on how to make it, so I decided to post the recipe. It’s super easy and very healthy.

This recipe makes 4.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes, I used small ones

4 eggs

1 avocado

1 tablespoon of chopped chives

Sea salt

Chili flakes

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parmenchent paper. Once the oven is hot, bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until tender.

Then take them out of the oven (keep the oven on) and slice them in half. Scoop the flesh out, leaving a thin layer attached to the skin so it keeps its shape. You can use the sweet potato flesh for another recipe.

Sprinkle a bit of salt on top of each sweet potato skin. Since I like my yolks still runny, I separated the eggs whites from the egg yolks. I added an egg white to each sweet potato skin and baked them for 20 minutes until the egg white had set. Then I removed them from the oven and added the yolks. Finally baked them for an additional 3 minutes. If you don’t like your egg yolks runny, just add the whole egg at once.

Once the eggs are done, remove the potato skins from the oven. Topped them with thinly sliced avocado and sprinkle with some chopped chives, sea salt and chili flakes.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Baked Eggs on Sweet Potato Skins with Avocado

Sweet Potato Broccoli Salad with Garlic-Ginger Tahini Sauce

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http://rawmazing.com/

Sweet Potato Broccoli Salad with Garlic-Ginger Tahini Sauce

I was tired. And I didn’t want to cook. But I wanted something super healthy and super healing. Take-out  just never seems to fit that bill. It had to be fast, easy and delicious.

Super Healthy Sweet Potato Salad with a Ginger Garlic Tahini DressingWe seem to have an over abundance of sweet potatoes around (one should always check before going shopping and buying a big bag of them) and I had a lovely bunch of broccolini. I chopped up the broccolini, lightly steamed the sweet potatoes and threw together a 4 ingredient garlic-ginger tahini sauce.

My daughter walked through the kitchen, took a bite and said, “Mom! This is incredible!” I count that as a success. I was a bit amazed at how much flavor was in this easy dish. Don’t be afraid of the raw garlic. It really makes it.

Your nutritional heavy hitters? Sweet potatoes, broccoli, garlic and fresh ginger. Sweet potatoes top the charts as far as nutrient rich per dollar.

I left the broccolini raw in this recipe but lightly steamed the sweet potatoes. You can also lightly steam the broccoli if you don’t want it raw, just make sure you cut it 20 minutes before cooking so the enzymes can start working their magic.

 

Smoky Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Recipe By: Nava Atlas  www.vegkitchen.com

You can make this vegan cheese-y appetizer as a spread in no time, or let it set up into slices. I like it both ways and hope that you will, too. This is good with sliced fresh baguette, or serve it with whole-grain or gluten-free crackers or crispbreads. It’s also quite nice served with chunks of red bell pepper and peeled celery cut into short sections. Grapes served in small bunches on the side add a nice flavor balance. Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 8 to 10

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1/4 cup agar flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow or Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons mesquite seasoning*, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika,
    or 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, any of these to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of turmeric

Combine the cashews, carrots, and rice milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the carrots are tender-crisp. If you plan to make slices, stir in the agar flakes and continue to simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor along with the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula from time to time. It takes a good few minutes to make this smooth.

If you skipped the agar and plan to serve as a spread, transfer to an attractive crock. Allow to cool to cool, then cover and let stand at room temperature until needed, or cover and chill.

If you used the agar, transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled loaf pan (or 2 mini-loaf pans). Pat in as smoothly as you can. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, run a knife around the edges of the loaf pan(s). Turn upside down onto a serving platter. If you’d like, sprinkle a little extra mesquite seasoning over the top. Slice 1/4 inch thick, arrange with slices of baguette and anything else you’re serving with this, like the suggested grapes, and dig in!

* Mesquite seasoning is easily found among the grilling and barbecue spice blends in supermarkets. In my opinion, this gives the cheez spread the most delicious flavor — complex but not spicy-hot.

Read more at http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/smoky-cheddar-cheez/#PLXVfwwV3FvPVYGc.99

Recipe By: Nava Atlas  www.vegkitchen.com

Photos by Hannah Kaminsky

Raw Vegan Dill Cream Cheese

Recipe By: www. flourchild.ca

Raw Vegan Dill Cream Cheese

 

1 1/4 cup of soaked cashews

1 tbsp. of fresh chopped dill (finely chopped)

3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar

1/3 tspn. of sea salt

First things first, you need to soak your cashews. Soaking nuts and seeds is done for a few different reasons. In this recipe, it will definitely give you a smoother final product. Soaking them will also boost their nutritional value and allows for better absorption of nutrients in the body. Other nuts and seeds, like walnuts for example, are not as bitter after a couple of hours of soaking. The soaking process also rids the nut or seed of any residue or dirt that it might have picked up in the processing or packaging plants. All in all, it is a good idea to at least wash your nuts and seeds before consumption.

To soak your cashews properly place them in a bowl; submerge them in water and cover. Keep them soaking and refrigerated for about 4-6 hours if possible. When you take them out they will feel soft and almost rubbery.

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and turn the speed up slowly to incorporate. You may need to scrape down the sides, and possibly add a tablespoon of water if you aren’t getting a smooth consistency. Once you see the texture of regular cream cheese, you are good and done. Store in a mason jar, and refrigerate. This recipe should last a couple of weeks in the fridge. It is wonderful on toast, in a sandwich, as a dip for veggies or in a wrap!

                                                                                                                                                 Enjoy!

 

Recipe By: www. flourchild.ca

Pictures By: www. flourchild.ca

Vegan Parmesan

Recipe By: www.ezontho.com

Almond-Covered Cheddar Cheese Ball

Ah, the Holiday Cheese Ball. When you’re standing around snacking on it at a family gathering, you feel like you’ve got the most coveted spot in the kitchen. If you take this to a real live potluck, you’d better guard it fiercely so it doesn’t simply disappear while your back isturned, leaving you cheeseless and forlorn.

Thankfully, this is a virtual potluck, so nobody can hork this from me. Though, I have to admit to scrambling at the last minute to put this post together since the last cheese ball I made disappeared in the middle of the night last week. Apparently, I’m not the only one in this house who is obsessed with it. Luckily, the recipe is ridiculously simple with only about 10 minutes of hands on time.

You can serve the cheese ball with any of your favorite raw vegetables, we even put sliced honey crisp apples on our tray, the combination of the sweet crisp apples and the piquant cheese was amazing

The cheese ball is also incredibly good with crackers, raw or otherwise.

Kick Ace Extra Sharp Raw Vegan Holiday Cheddar Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in purified water for 4-6 hours
  • 2 packed tablespoons dry pack sun dried tomatoes, snipped into small pieces with kitchen scissors then soaked in the purified water with the cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon mellow white miso (use chickpea miso if you are sensitive to soy)
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • dash cayenne
  • 1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil

Method: Pour the soaking water off the cashews and sun-dried tomatoes and then rinse them with fresh purified water. Drain well. Place the cashews and the tomatoes in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse until they start to form a paste, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add all of the seasonings and pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the coconut oil. Blend or process until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. This process takes up to 10 minutes in a food processor and a few minutes in a power blender. Scrape the soft cheese into a container. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until the cheese is quite firm. Scrape the cheese out of the container and place onto a clean surface. With your hands, form the cheese into a ball. See note below for topping/variation ideas.

Notes: The organic unrefined coconut oil does leave a very slight coconut flavor in the finished product. If you prefer, you can use refined coconut oil for no coconut aftertaste.

The cheese ball can be served as is or rolled in any variety of chopped nuts and or herbs. I used sliced almonds, but walnut pieces or pecan pieces with some fresh minced parsley, thyme or sage would be amazing.

The cheese ball gets softer as it reaches room temperature, so it’s best if it’s kept chilled until immediately before use.