Simple Granola

I’m not great with change and these last couple weeks brought enough new and different to last the whole year. In an effort to cope, I turn to familiar recipes. Foods that drown out the smell of disinfectant and fill the house with the comforting aromas of cinnamon and coconut. Recipes eaten all week long. At the top of the list is this simple homemade granola. It uses pantry ingredients and takes only the slightest effort.

While working at the Greenbean (God rest its soul) I made granola weekly. Having a soft spot for the rustic breakfast, I always looked forward to the task. The first time I made it, I was surprised to see dried quinoa as an ingredient. I’ve been hooked ever since. The quinoa adds such a nice little nutty crunch and a good bit of nutrition as well. I’ve made all sorts of granola recipes over the years, but have landed on this simple one. My family took to it once I started leaving out the dried fruit, which is fine with me.

We each have our own preferred method for eating granola. Mike adds milk, JP eats it plain or with vanilla yogurt, Kai likes it with plain yogurt and honey swirled together for a snack. I usually add sliced fresh berries or sliced bananas, along with plain yogurt for breakfast.

Ready to add it to your repertoire? I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Simple Granola

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped, raw nuts (prefer walnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons oil (grapeseed or olive oil)

Directions:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, quinoa, salt and cinnamon. Combine maple syrup and oil in a glass measuring cup and pour over oat mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.

Dump on to a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Roast for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and stir gently, moving the golden edges to the center and the center to the edges. Rotate pan and put back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Check granola and remove from the oven when the pan is uniformly golden brown and dry to the touch. Let cool and then transfer to an airtight container. Store on the shelf for a couple weeks.

Simple Mini Frittatas

I grew up liking eggs in all its forms: fried, scrambled or hard boiled. I like quiches, omelets, egg salads and deviled eggs. Doesn’t everyone? Apparently not. Neither my husband nor children liked eggs enough to actually eat them. Yet, recently eggs have become a regular feature of our weekend breakfast routine. How did this miracle occur? I wish I could take the credit (ok, I’ll take a little credit) but mostly it’s thanks to the kind people at Hilton.

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A couple times a year we pack our bags and leave our little enclave in PNW. More often than not, we stay at a hotel. For some reason the “no eggs” policy went by the wayside as we hustled down to the hotel breakfast buffet. Maybe it was the close proximity to the bacon and pancakes, but whatever the reason, eggs became one of those dependable foods that could be counted on no matter which city we were in. We ate breakfast egg and cheese sandwiches in NYC, mini omelets in LA and we shoveled down softly scrambled eggs in Paris. It seems that they can’t get enough home or away. Eggs are requested all.the.time.

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Now back home when the breakfast buffet isn’t an option. What to do? My solution? These mini frittatas. I honestly don’t quite remember where I found the beginnings of this recipe on the World Wide Web but I think the original version had more veggies and perhaps bacon. Through pure laziness, empty produce drawers and a need for these to resemble the simple egg dishes we’ve eaten over the years, I simplified.

I’ve also found that these mini frittatas freeze incredibly well. Just cool completely before placing in the freezer. Microwave for 30-45 seconds to rewarm. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Quick Cheesy Mini Frittatas

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

Liberally spray a regular sized muffin pan with cooking spray. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cheese, and green onions until well combined.

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Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs are puffed and firm on the top. Let cool slightly (the frittatas will deflate) and take a small spatula to remove them from the muffin tin.

Serve or let cool completely and store in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Reheat for 20 seconds in a microwave.

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Berry Smoothie & Freezer Packs

Feeding children three meals, plus snacks, seven days a week for the last 10 years has taught me many forms of patience and humbleness. I honestly thought that all I had to do was offer my children food and then they would eat it. HA! In reality, it is a much more complex situation; with many moving parts and ups and downs.

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Smoothies are one of the foods that bridge the gap between what I want them to eat and what they want to eat. I used to make smoothies in the morning, but now it has become our afternoon snack. The boys come home from school hungry, thirsty and wanting something sweet. This smoothie is like a daily fruit milkshake. Everyone wins!

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In the past, I often used what ingredients I had on hand to make smoothies. I thought I could throw whatever fresh fruit I had in the fridge or skip the orange juice if I didn’t have it. Silly me! My kids truly only like this one combination. Smoothies with peaches or kale just aren’t enjoyed the same way. The banana? Non-negotiable it seems. So, I have settled on this combination and stick to it religiously.

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My boys want a snack 0.2 seconds after we walk through the door after school. Though blending a few ingredients is super easy, I find that prepping the smoothie bags weekly is helpful in easing the afternoon rush.

What about you? What is your quick, kid friendly, go-to food?

Berry Smoothie

I know it may seem silly to use three different liquids but I truly do think this works best. Using water as the majority of the liquid keeps the berry taste bright. Milk helps mellow the yogurt but too much would make it taste like berry milk. Orange juice helps round out the flavor profile and helps disguise the spinach successfully. Also, I know that the banana would freeze well but fresh and at room temperature is more successful in getting a creamier texture in my opinion.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup blueberries, frozen
  • 4 strawberries, frozen
  • 1 banana, at room temperature and broken into chunks
  • small handful of baby spinach
  • Pinch of flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cold water plus more if needed

Directions:

In blender container combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add additional cold water to thin the smoothie if it is too thick. Add extra frozen fruit if the smoothie is too thin. I like ours to be thin enough to drink easily through a straw but thicker than juice. Pour into large glass (16-18 oz) and serve with a straw.

Pro tip: These smoothies freeze well as popsicles!

Frozen Smoothie Packs:

Each smoothie pack includes the ingredients for one smoothie: blueberries, strawberries, spinach and flax. Store in freezer.