Chocolate Chia Almond Granola – SRC August

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Can you believe this is my second chocolate recipe in a row?!  This treat comes to you today as this month’s Secret Recipe Club pick.  The Secret Recipe Club is the awesome blogging group I’m in, let me tell you all about it!  Each month, a group of bloggers is assigned another blogger to try out one of their recipes.  We can pick whatever we want too!  On the same day, we all post about our recipes and get to see and try a ton of new things.

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with My Hobbie Lobbie, who is a wonderful blogger who bakes, cooks yummy food, and even does crafts.  I don’t know how she has time to do everything!  After going through a ton of her recipes, I found myself CRAVING her Nutty Chocolate Granola.  I just had to have it.  I changed it around to match what I already had in our pantry, and it was delish.  I can’t wait to share with my friends from my new job! (YES, I got a new job!!!  AHHHHH!  I am so super excited, had to throw that in there)

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, until completely combined.

2. Spread the mix onto a foil lined, cooking-spray coated baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring/flipping the granola every 15.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Adapted from:  Nutty Chocolate Granola

Ready to stir!

Ready to stir!

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Halfway done

Halfway done

The finished product... yum!

The finished product… yum!

This granola was a fabulous snack for after dinner, but it would be amazing as a topping to cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or berries and whipped cream!  I could not believe how easy it was to make my own granola, I am excited to do it again and try new varieties too.

Click below to see all of the other recipes that were made this month in the SRC!

Red Pepper Walnut Relish : BA Cleanse 2014

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It’s time to take a hop in the time machine and go back a few months to the beginning of 2014.  Remember when Dave and I did the Bon Appetit cleanse?  We started the year off with two weeks of this awesome cleanse which gave us guidelines AND recipes to follow for every meal plus snacks for every day of the cleanse.  It was awesome.  I actually sorta miss it!

I wanted to share this recipe from the cleanse with you because I love how versatile it is.  You can really use it in so many ways, as we did during our cleanse.  We used this relish on chicken (seen below), on scrambled eggs, roasted tofu, and even by itself as a snack.  It definitely felt good using a topping that was homemade and not store bought.  Yay!

Red Pepper Walnut Relish

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Walnuts
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (1lb)
  • 1 clove Garlic, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Aleppo Pepper* or ½ teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Pomegranate Molasses** or Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darker, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.  DO NOT BURN!!  (I had to re-do this step THREE times lol)
  2. Heat broiler. Broil bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until softened and skins are blackened in spots, 20–25 minutes. Transfer bell peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a brown paper bag), and let steam 15 minutes. Peel peppers, seed, and chop.
  3. Toss bell peppers, garlic, mint, oil, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and walnuts in a small bowl; season with salt, black pepper, and more Aleppo pepper and lemon juice, if desired.
  4. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*Aleppo Pepper is a great spice to have handy.  See if you can find it at Whole Foods or another spice market

**Pomegranate Molasses can be found at most grocery stores, just ask someone where it is.  This is a great item to have for other mediterranean recipes.  It’s delicious.

This relish can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week.

Recipe from:  Bon Appetit 2014

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The relish was such a delicious topping on this chicken recipe from the cleanse.  It adds a super flavorful punch and a really nice crunchy texture too.  I love the flavor that is brought to the table by the pomegranate molasses.  You can absolutely taste it and I totally recommend going out and buying it even if it’s just for this.

If you’re wondering what that gorgeous lookin’ side of white beans is, you can read about it here.  These are just a few of the recipes from the cleanse… pretty awesome right?

You can find a few of my favorite cleanse recipes here…

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Multigrain Hot Cereal w/ Pomegranate & Crunch

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

Spiced Cashew Crunch

Spiced Cashew Crunch

Spiced Pumpkin Seed & Cashew Crunch : BA Cleanse 2014

The Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse is all about cooking healthy, whole foods, and trying new recipes to keep you excited about cooking.  For Dave and I, this has been the “reset” button we needed to hit after eating not so well during the holidays and to gear up for a year of lookin’ good for our wedding!

Before the first day of the cleanse, we had to make a few recipes that we used throughout the days to have on hand like salad dressing, herby tahini sauce, and this amazing Seed&Nut Crunch.  It was a lot of work the first day, but I loved having my own homemade ingredients throughout the week.

Bon Appetit's Crunch... wow!

Bon Appetit’s Crunch… wow!

This crunch has become my new guilty pleasure.  I guess if it’s part of the cleanse, I don’t even have to be that guilty!

The crunch is delightfully spiced with just a hint of sweetness and adds some really nice texture to so many of the recipes.  We even had to make a second batch because we liked it so much!

I really wanted to share this recipe with you because it’s so versatile.  We put the crunch on salads, on hot cereals, yogurt, and even on some of our side dishes.  The spices can be modified to fit your personal tastes too.  I think this is one recipe we’ll totally be taking with us as we finish the cleanse and continue on with our healthy living.  Love it!

Spiced Pumpkin Seed & Cashew Crunch

Ingredients:

Nonstick Spray
1 Large Egg White
1 teaspoon Light Agave Nectar 
½ teaspoon Garam Masala 
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅛ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Raw Cashews, coarsely chopped
¼ cup shelled Raw Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
¼ cup shelled Raw Sunflower Seeds 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°.

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white, agave, garam masala, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add nuts and seeds and toss to coat.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to baking sheet, letting excess egg drip back into bowl. Bake, tossing once, until mixture is golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Recipe adapted from:  Bon Appetit

The crunch was the perfect texture to top this salad of roasted carrots and beets

The crunch was the perfect texture to top this salad of roasted carrots and beets

I also used the crunch in so many breakfasts.  This one I will share the recipe with you soon- SO GOOD!  Hot Multigrain Cereal w/ Pom and Crunch!

I also used the crunch in so many breakfasts. This one I will share the recipe with you soon- SO GOOD! Hot Multigrain Cereal w/ Pom and Crunch!

 

I totally recommend making double this batch right from the start.  If you’re going to even think about snacking on this… just do it.  It’s so good.

Keep an eye on the crunch while it’s baking, my oven tends to burn nuts and seeds when I try to “toast” them, so I like to have the light on and check every couple minutes or so.  The mixture might be a little soft when you take it out, so wait until it cools completely to try it for the best taste.

Check out these other recipes from the #BACleanse…

White Bean Salad w/ Parsley & Pom

White Bean Salad w/ Parsley & Pom

Also, follow me on Instagram (@GoodtobetheCook) to see other pics from our cleanse experience!  Many more recipes to come.

Smoked Salmon Dip

Do you ever have the kind of day or week where all you want to do is go home and eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s?

Crying_icecream_eating

Come on, admit it.  You’ve been there.

I’m having that kind of week.  Work has been slow.  I feel fat.  My dog has been sick all over the house.  One ex-boyfriend got engaged this week, and another married.  Perfect timing, right?

Believe it or not, I somehow didn’t shove my face with Cherry Garcia.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely fixed the problem with food… but this time I decided to make a snack that is more along the lines of my own personal comfort food.  This dip is an ode to one of my absolute favorite meals:  A great Jewish Bagel and Lox spread.  Nothing beats it.

Smoked Salmon Dip

Ingredients:

1 8oz tub of Whipped Greek Cream Cheese (or other light cream cheese)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Dill 

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

4oz Smoked Salmon, chopped

Directions:

1.  In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, fresh dill, and lemon juice.  Add HALF of the chopped smoked salmon.  Process until smooth.  

2.  Add the rest of the smoked salmon and stir by hand keeping the rest of the salmon in bigger pieces.  Serve with Slices of Everything Bagel, Everything Pretzel Crisps, Bagel Chips, or veggies.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light

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A few things about this recipe… besides the fact that it’s super delicious and awesome.

Greek Cream Cheese.  Try it.  It’s amazing!  Light Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt mixed together to bring to you a sweeter tasting product with the same consistency as regular cream cheese.  Lower in fat, higher in protein.  Win-win situation here.

Gourmet Garden.  My new lifesaver.  You can buy these in the refrigerated produce section at your grocery store.  They are pre-washed and chopped fresh herbs in a tube that will last much longer than buying the fresh leaves.  You can freeze them too!

Smoked Salmon.  Every good Jew knows.  Every good friend of a Jew should know too.  This stuff is gold.  Simply delicious and salty.  If you don’t know what it is, get with it.  You can buy it most places but I highly recommend checking out the selection at Trader Joe’s.  They have one variety that is a 4oz container that is already in pieces that will save you some money.  I think it’s <$4.

Now that I’ve consumed almost a quarter of this dip… I can say that I am totally starting to feel better!  🙂

Mango Guacamole

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!!!  

I’m pretty much just excited to get free Rita’s Water Ice and see the sunshine.  Where did they ever get the idea “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”?!?!  I feel like it’s quite the opposite, but then again maybe that’s the point.

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Feeling very Spring-gy today, I wanted to share this great Guac recipe for you that I tried out… it has MANGO in it!!!!!  The mango is awesome in Guac since it gives it a great color and the sweetness and the spicy work so well together.

Sweet & Spicy are my all-time fav combination.  For sure.

Mango Guacamole

Ingredients:

3 Ripe Avocadoes (How to Cut an Avocado), cut into cubes

¼ Cup finely diced Onion 

1 Mango, peeled & diced

1 Jalapeno, seeded & finely diced

1 teaspoon minced Garlic

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Cilantro 

½ teaspoon Lime Juice

½ teaspoon Lemon Juice

Directions:

You don’t even need to measure anything in this recipe… just stir it all together and make changes when you taste it.  The avocado will mush more when you add the citrus juice, but try not to mash it since it’s good to keep some of the pieces in there.

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YUMMY!  I haven’t been very adventurous when making Guac since my normal stuff is just so darn good!  I’m glad I got to try this version… it was especially delicious along with this breakfast I made with Eggs, Corn Tortillas, Beans, & Tomatoes.  Try it with tortilla chips or I imagine it would be super perfect on fish tacos!

To make your first day of Spring even BRIGHTER, check out some pictures of these adorable BABY ZOO ANIMALS!  I love them!!

… and check out these other fruity recipes 🙂

Blueberry Oatmeal in a Mug

Blueberry Oatmeal in a Mug

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Kiwi-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (Eva Longoria's Recipe!)

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (Eva Longoria’s Recipe!)

Asian-Spiced Sriracha Peanuts

I’ve been absolutely CRAZED the past few weeks!!!!!  Shopping, shopping, more shopping and cleaning has completely booked up my time and thoughts while I’m getting ready to move.  I cannot believe it’s finally here!

Dave, our best friend Adam and I are moving into Philly tomorrow.  I could not be more excited!!

The 3 of us from this summer at a Phillies Game!

The 3 of us from this summer at a Phillies Game!

This week I skipped my favorite workout day to try and start packing up my room.  I literally sat in front of my closet for about 10 minutes, playing with Stella when I decided instead of packing, I should be making peanuts!  It was clearly the more important thing to do, especially after skipping my workout.  (Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!)

I have been obsessing over my Roasted Buffalo Peanuts so I bought THREE pounds of nuts when I was at our local bulk candy/nut store.  I made 2 batch of Buffalo Peanuts and wanted to try out something new.

After rummaging through our spice cabinet, I came up with this awesome recipe.  It is not as spicy as the buffalo variety, but it is packed with flavor and let me tell you… it is the most addictive thing ever!  I sat and ate so many peanuts I felt sick, wasn’t hungry for dinner, and the swing of calories from the peanuts vs not burning 1500 calories during my workout SUCKED!  I have to work out extra hard tonight!

Asian-Spiced Sriracha Peanuts

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Ingredients:

2 cups Salted Peanuts

1 Tablespoon Sunflower oil (or Olive Oil)

2 Tablespoons Sriracha Hot Sauce (my favorite condiment)

1 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoon White Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with pam.

2.  Combine peanuts with oil, Sriracha, and seasonings.  Dump onto the baking sheet and spread out.

3.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until toasted.

*Let cool, they are REALLY hot when they come out of the oven, they will become crunchier when they are cooled also*

Like I mentioned, these are not that spicy, so if you enjoy the kick that the Buffalo Peanuts have… add some Cayenne Pepper to the mix!

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(this was before I ate half of them!!!)

(this was before I ate half of them!!!)

 

 

Avocado Sriracha Toast

I found myself with an extra Avocado the other day, and there was no way I was going to waste it!

One of my favorite little healthy snacks is this:

Avocado Sriracha Toast:

Supplies:  Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat British Muffin (or other bread), Fat Free (again, or regular) Cream Cheese, 1/2 Avocado, Sriracha Hot Sauce, and Sea Salt

Take a Whole Wheat English Muffin, toast it, and then spread on some Fat Free Cream Cheese (about 1 Tablespoon for both sides, you don’t need much).

Next, halve your avocado, take out the nut, and slice it into chunks.  Put the chunks evenly on both sides of the English Muffin and smush away with a fork.  

Add a few drops of Sriracha Hot Sauce, a sprinkle of Sea Salt, and enjoy!

 

What’s your favorite thing to do with leftover Avocados?  I’d love to hear!

Avocado!

Nom nom nom