Apples & Cinnamon Granola

It is feeling like fall in New York City. The air is cooling down, the sweaters and coming out, and there is Halloween candy being displayed at my local CVS. For me, I connect the season fall to the cinnamon spice and cozy scarves. And from now on, I will also connect fall to this: Apples & Cinnamon Granola.

This granola turned out so well words can hardly describe. I have not been able to stop eating this granola since it came out of the oven. And the best part about it is that in the grand scheme of things it is actually a pretty healthy granola. The oil level is low, as is the manufactured sugar content (honey is a natural sweetener, people!). Plus, the quinoa has a nutty texture and adds some protein! Light, not-too-sweet, and satisfyingly crunchy, to me this granola defines culinary success!

Apples & Cinnamon Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 cup rice cereal, or 1 cup dried coconut flakes)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used a mix of sunflower seeds and almonds
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried apples (I made my own, with the help of Snack Girl)
  • 1/3 cup honey (plus more for drizzling; can also use maple syrup)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or other plain oil)
  • 1/8 cup water

Directions:

Spread oats onto a baking pan and toast them in the oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes. While that’s toasting mix nuts, grains, dried apples, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pour in oil, water, vanilla extract, and honey. Mix. Take oats out of the oven and add them to the bowl, coating them thoroughly. Spread mixture back onto pan and pop into the oven. Turn oven up to 350 degrees F and bake for 2 minutes, or until edges of granola start to brown. Take the pan out of the oven and let it sit and cool for 20-30 minutes (it will still be soft, it needs the cooling time to harden). Once cool, snack away. Delicious with milk, on top of yogurt or frozen yogurt, in a smoothie, or on its own. Store whatever is left after your snack attack in an airtight container.

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Quick n’ Easy Biscuits

It was a challenge in self control to wait and take a photo before devouring these biscuits. They’re just that good.

As you all know by now I love baked goods. And biscuits are a personal favorite of mine. Maybe because they’re bread-like. Or maybe because they’re buttery. Or because I can spread jam on them…

Apologies for the digression.

Anyways, these biscuits are perfect with jam and butter or accompaniment with soup and salad. They reheat in the microwave too, so not to worry if you do not eat the whole batch hot out of the oven (though I found if I cut the recipe in half I did). You can get the original cream biscuit recipe here from The Alchemist. Since I am living by my lonesome and I prefer baked goodies as fresh as possible I cut the recipe in half. I also used soy milk instead of cream because I did not want to leave my apartment (lazy, I know).

Quick n’ Easy Biscuits (Makes 3 drop biscuits)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 + a little extra tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt with a whisk or fork. Slowly pour in milk and mix with a spoon until the dough comes together. Next, you can either roll the dough out with flour and cut it, or do drop biscuits like I did. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Best just out of the oven with a pat of butter (and jam of choice).

Bagel Snackwich

Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Yesterday I decided to sign myself up for an 8pm spinning class

1. Because I love spinning and 2. Because I have not recently done many workouts that leave me “breathless” at the end like track practice used to. And the masochist in me misses that.

But 8pm is extremely late in my mind. (why you ask? because for 4 years the college dining hall hours conditioned me to eating a 6pm dinner). Thus, when I got home from work, I knew I needed something to eat that would power me through spin class and to act as a light dinner to hold me over until spin class was over. Thus, the snackwich was born!

The Snackwich (a little smaller than a meal…a little bigger than a snack)

1 mini bagel

2-3 slices honey roasted turkey

1 slice tomato

3 thin slices of cucumber

1/4-1/2 cup spinach

1 Tbsp spicy mustard

Refreshing Garden Salad

Yesterday was a busy day. I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with Nick (the boyfriend) and his family in Boston. It was a weekend filled with food (between a South End food tour with my bud Magda and apple picking with Nick’s family, you could say my stomach was satisfied) and relaxation.

But of course Monday was a reawakening into reality; and reality is quite busy. So when I came home last night, I was spent. Like, can of soup sort of spent. But, I decided to partner my soup with some homemade quick biscuits (recipe coming soon!), a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and this simple garden salad.

Easy to make, light in flavor, and a great accompaniment to any dinner!

Refreshing Garden Salad

2 handfuls spinach

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

1/4 cup sliced red bell peppers

1 sliced small-medium tomato

Balsamic Vinegar, to taste

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Parmesan, to taste (I am quite liberal with my parmesan-like almost a handful of parmesan)

Toss together and enjoy!

 

Super Awesome Quinoa Shrimp Stir Fry

You could say I am quite pleased with myself and the outcome of this dish.

I made this delicious, fresh concoction on Thursday night for dinner. I was leaving Friday to ship up to Boston (I had to go “see about a guy”). And I knew I should not leave any fresh produce in my fridge. I found myself working with mushrooms, snow peas, onion, baby carrots, and cilantro. What to do what to do…then it hit me: my med school buddy and fellow foodie Magda was telling me the other day all about a chicken stir fry she created. It was the perfect solution for this hodgepodge occupying my fridge.

Stir fry is the best way to eat the maximum amount of whatever you want to get rid of. I decided on shrimp because I love seafood, and I was apprehensive about mixing in quinoa but it turned out to be perfect as the slight crunch from the quinoa created the perfect texture. Easy to make, and flexibility in ingredients: I cannot wait to experiment and make a more “Thai” inspired stir fry with peanuts; or a bona fide sweet and sour sauce. Oh the possibilities!

Quinoa Shrimp Stir Fry

Ingredients:

12 precooked frozen shrimp; defrosted (optional: butterflied)

1 handful baby carrots; cut in half or thirds

1 small onion; cut thick

1 cup mushrooms; sliced

1 cup snow peas

3-4 Tablespoons cilantro

2 Tablespoons marinated ginger; minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes; to taste

1/2 cup water

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 clove garlic; minced

1 cup cooked quinoa.

Directions:

Premix stir fry sauce in a small bowl by mixing soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan; heat olive oil and garlic until aromatic. Throw in onions, mushrooms, and carrots; turn heat up to medium-high and stir constantly. After about a minute throw in snow peas. Pour water into saucepan (it might steam-this is normal!) and let water evaporate while the steam helps cook the vegetables lightly. Stir mixture while adding in shrimp. Immediately pour stir fry sauce in after and coat all the ingredients. Allow the sauce to warm and heat the stir fry. When the vegetables in the stir fry are of the consistency desired (I personally prefer my veggies on the firmer side so I heat the sauce/stor fry mix for about a minute, maybe 2) turn heat down. Add in cilantro and quinoa. Eat on top of rice, more quinoa, or by itself.

Pesto Mushrooms

Confession: I like when my fridge starts running out of food.

Really? You may ask. A food lover who likes running out of food?

Allow me to explain. I like running out of food because I like being challenged; forced to make something tasty out of the remnants of what is still fresh and edible in my fridge (and these days is not frozen since I accidentally turned the cooling knob up on Saturday).

I had already made a mediterranean falafel salad to eat when I got back from the gym. But  I found that I was still hungry. I knew I wanted something with protein, but I did not want to defrost any chicken, and I wasn’t feeling up for turkey slices. Which is when I realized that I had a huge basket of mushrooms waiting to be sautéed with garlic and olive oil, and some homemade pesto sauce I made the other day using basil, kale leaves, lemon, greek yogurt, parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil. I just heated this all up together in a saucepan and served it alongside my salad with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. In a word: SATISFYING. The natural nutty flavor of the mushroom meshes perfectly with the tangy basil. And prepping this dish like I would a pasta is the way to go: I almost fooled myself into thinking I was eating pasta. Except it was better, which is a hard thing to convince myself of considering my love for a good hearty carb.

So next time you start running out of groceries, instead of making your shopping list, start making a list of all the things you would make with just what you have. Now get going and be creative!

Pesto Mushrooms

2 cup mushrooms

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup pasta sauce (it doesn’t have to be pesto!)

Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic clove. Throw mushrooms on and stir for a couple minutes until they get nice and warm and steamy. Pour pasta sauce right into saucepan and mix, turning the heat low for a few minutes more. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with Parmesan, and pat yourself on the back for being healthy and clever in the kitchen.

Simple Sugar Cookies

Sometimes, all you want is a basic, chewy sugar cookie. This one is it! Great recipe, shout out to Sweet Peas Kitchen for exposing me to this recipe. I would not say I am typically a “sugar cookie kind of gal”-but I must say this recipe might change that!

 

 

 

 

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies (courtesy of Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for rolling dough
  6. 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

 Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Place the ½ cup sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands in the water and shake off any excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball between moistened palms, roll the ball in the sugar, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, moistening your hands as necessary and spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet). Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in the remaining sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about ¾ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking (after every 2 or 3 cookies).
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and their center are just set and very lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: about 24 cookies