Smoothie Bowl with Homemade Granola

¡Hola Pola Granola!

This granola has got a story to it, and I’ll start this new year by telling you about my spiritual and healing journey through the universe and layers of time and … no, wait. Just kidding. I’m not really that spiritual. -bummer. But I did do some “crazy” things in 2015!

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So, some time ago, a friend of mine that studies Journalism had to make a documentary as a part of one of her graduation tasks. She decided to go with the topic of Superfoods and the hype that’s been created around it.
We thought it would be fun to do a little experiment by putting me on a Superfood diet for a month, and thereby proving its effectiveness.

Turned out it wasn’t that fun at all.

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I’m not gonna bore you by telling you about how I came to hate “superfoods” in the end (not all of them ofcourse) – you’d have to watch the documentary for that. But I can say that this granola has been a life saver and something that I could eat everyday for a month straight -with “superfoods” in them- without wanting to throw it out of a window. Together with the delicious vegan Lovechock chocolate ❤ and piles of fruit.

But let’s talk crazy delicious granola for now.

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I think by now everybody knows how much I like change, and you can pimp this granola up with so many ingredients, that it turns out to be like the god of all granola recipes. Or something like a chameleon granola or whatever. I’ve already made this recipe with honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, pistachios, mashed banana, pecan nuts, pumpkin spice, faerie dust, chocolate chips, and so on. The possibilities are endless.

And the great thing is that you can eat it for breakfast with some yogurt and fruit, as a snack with a fruit bowl and chocolate, for dinner, for lunch, for pre-lunch, for after-lunch, for dessert; basically just all through the day – and it’s quite a healthy snack too! So no stuffed turkey feeling or sense of guilt, just plain granola.


This recipe is only a guideline to how you could make your granola (it’s how I like it most), but you can easily use different types of nuts, spices or seeds, to whatever suits your mood.

Homemade Granola {Vegan & Sugar-free}

Ingredients

  • 135 g (1 & 1/2 cup) -instant- oatmeal flakes
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) coconut oil
  • 50 g (2/3 cup) agave -/honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 45 g (1/2 cup) pecans -/walnuts/almonds
  • 45 g (1/2 cup) pistachios
  • 3 tbsp puffed quinoa
  • 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries + 1 tsp coconut oil

Instruction

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350F
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil together with the agave (or substitute) and vanilla extract. Remove from heat when the coconut oil is melted and pour in the oatmeal flakes. Mix all the dry ingredients together on a chopping board -except for the cranberries -, chop them into coarse chunks, and pour them into the oatmeal mixture.
  3. File a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly onto the sheet.
  4. Bake the granola for about 17 – 23 minutes, but make sure that you check your bake now and then to make sure that the edges don’t burn. If the edges tend to get dark brown but the center is still blank, just take the granola out of the oven, cut the edges off and lay them aside, and put the baking tray back into the oven.
  5. Put the dried cranberries and the tbsp of coconut oil in a little ramequin or something heatproof and put it in the oven with the granola for the last 5 minutes. You could also use other dried fruits or berries.
  6. Once the granola looks golden brown, remove it from the oven, wait until it has cooled off a bit, and add the cranberries. If you don’t like your granola chunky, give it a good toss to break the clumps.
  7. When completely cooled down, store in an airtight container or jar, and devour whenever you feel like it. The granola can be stored for up to a week without losing its crunch!

Smoothie bowl

Simply blend frozen blueberries, raspberries, 1 banana, some Greek or vegan yogurt, and water until smooth, and cover with passion fruit, sliced banana, slices figs, chocolate chunks, or whatever you desire. Making smoothie bowls is a matter of testing out what ingredients you like best and how thick/thin you want your mixture to be. There’s no right amount of fruit or yogurt to use, so knock yourself out on experimenting!

 

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Granola {Vegan & Suikervrij}

Ingrediënten

  • 135 g havermout
  • 40 g kokosolie
  • 50 g agave siroop (/honing/esdoorn siroop)
  • 1 tl vanille essence
  • 45 g pecannoten (/walnoten/amandelnoten/…)
  • 45 g pistachenoten
  • 3 el gepofte quinoa
  • 4 el pompoenzaad
  • 1 el lijnzaad
  • snuifje zout
  • 50 g gedroogde veenbessen + 1 el kokosolie

Instructies

  1. Verwarm de oven voor op 175°C
  2. Doe de kokosolie, agave (of vervanger), en vanille extract in een pan en verwarm op een laag tot medium vuur. Haal van het vuur wanneer de kokosolie gesmolten is en voeg de havermout eraan toe.
  3. Meng de droge ingrediënten -behalve de veenbessen- en hak ze in grove stukken op een snijplank. Voeg ze bij het havermoutmengsel.
  4. Bedek een bakplaat met bakpapier en spreid het mengsel gelijk over de plaat.
  5. Bak de granola 17 – 23 minuten in de oven, maar hou het baksel in de gaten aangezien de randen nogal snel verbranden. Als de randen donkerbruin beginnen te worden maar het midden nog wit is, haal dan de plaat uit de oven, snij de randen van de granola en leg ze opzij. Steek de bakplaat terug in de oven en wacht tot de rest goudbruin is alvorens ze opzij te zetten om te koelen.
  6. Doe de gedroogde veenbessen en el kokosolie in een vuurvast kommetje en steek het de laatste 5 minuten in de oven bij de granola. Je kan natuurlijk ook andere gedroogde vruchten gebruiken!
  7. Als de granola lauw is kan je de veenbessen eraan toevoegen en, afhankelijk of je graag een fijne of grove granola hebt, de granola wat opbreken in stukken en door elkaar mengen.
  8. Wanneer de granola helemaal is afgekoeld kan je ze bewaren in een luchtdichte container of glazen pot, en ze opeten wanneer je maar wil. Ze kan ongeveer een week bewaard worden voor ze haar krokantheid verliest!

Smoothie

Doe bevroren (of verse) bosbessen, frambozen, 1 banaan, wat Griekse of vegan yoghurt , and wat water in een blender en mix het tot een glad mengsel. Voeg er daarna passievrucht, stukjes banaan, stukjes vijgen of wat chocolade aan toe en geniet.
Een goede smoothie maken hangt af van welk fruit je zelf graag eet en welke consistentie je graag drinkt (dik of lopend), dus er bestaan niet echt vaste hoeveelheden voor. Experimenteer en personaliseer je smoothie naar hartelust!

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Credos to myself for taking the pictures! I took them on my doorstep dressed in my onesie while the temperate was like 7°C, so yeah, I deserve a pat on the shoulder.

The original recipe is adapted from http://minimalistbaker.com/banana-bread-granola/ and let me tell you that the version with mashed bananas isn’t that bad either, so try it out! 😉

The chocolate (vegan & sugar-free) is from a Dutch brand named Lovechock (http://www.lovechock.com/en/) and it’s incredibly tasty!

Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake

I’ve already attempted to make carrot cake. Twice. And as you’ve probably guessed, I failed, twice.
I obviously wouldn’t have written that first sentence if I didn’t. But now you know that after more than 5 years of non-stop baking, I do sometimes fail at doing things that I’m used to doing. And yes, life lessons can be learned from baking. Such as, ‘try again but use a different recipe’. And ‘don’t give up, just please use a different recipe’. Or ‘don’t hang on to something that’s bad for you, so just use the other damn recipe’. So after this short list of valuable life lessons which I’m sure of that you can use in your wonderful daily lives, I can tell you that I used a different recipe, and I finally succeeded!

While I was writing this philosophical masterpiece on life lessons, a dear friend of mine, Tali, asked me a rather interesting question that sparked my lacking flow of inspiration. The question was the following: ‘Why don’t you write something about the history of the carrot cake? I mean, I’m interested in who’s idea it was to put a carrot in a cake.’ And I have to admit, I felt like reading a weird story for a change. So I did some research. And I was a little bit disappointed… No crazy history à la roquefort, but I did found out about the existence of a carrot museum!
So no one actually knows how the carrot cake was created precisely. During the middle ages it seemed that sugar and other sweeteners were quite difficult to come by, and rather expensive too. So they used carrots as an alternative sweetener for desserts. Can you imagine using carrots as a sweetener because there’s no sugar available? I can’t… But if I’d ever wanted to get rid of my addiction to sugar, I’d definitely timetravel to the middle ages and wear lots of crinolines and corsets, and eat carrots in stead of sugar.

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Carrot cake

Ingredients

Carrot cake:

  • 100 g pecans or walnuts, roasted and chopped
  • 350 g carrots, finely grated (the texture has to be almost mushy)
  • 260 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 240 ml vegetable oil (you can also use peanut oil, but don’t use any strong flavored oil like olive oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 60 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 230 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 115 g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon or orange zest, finely grated (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter two 23 cm cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Let them cool and then chop them coarsely.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Peel and finely grate the carrots.
  3. Beat the eggs together until frothy for about 1 minute, and gradually add the sugar. Keep beating for about 3 – 4 minutes, until the batter is thick and light colored. Add the oil to the batter in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Fold in the carrots and chopped nuts with a rubber spatula, and evenly divide the mixture between the two prepared pans. Bake the two cakes 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter with a wooden spatula, until combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, the vanilla extract and lemon zest until fully incorporated.
  5. To assemble the cake, remove the parchment paper from the cooled cakes and place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread one side with half the frosting and gently place the cake onto the other one. Spread the rest of the frosting over the top of the other cake. If desired, you can garnish the frosting on top of the cake with toasted nuts.

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This cake serves approximately 8 -10 portions and can be stored for quite a long time (about 4 -5 days) because of the use of oil instead of butter


Pictures taken by myself (and I know they’re kinda askew; by the way, you should type ‘askew’ in to Google and see what happens 🙂 ) , and very slowly uploaded by my brother.

Special thanks to Tali for the sudden flow of inspiration and a non-thank you to my carrot grate for trying to grate of my skin.

Source: history on carrot cake: http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotcake.html & Original carrot cake recipe: http://www.joyofbaking.com/CarrotCake.html