Sacramento-Style Deep Dish Pizza

I’ve been really busy lately.  Really busy.  Like, eating-exclusively-cereal-and-freezer-burnt-leftovers busy.  So, I don’t have much to talk about, food-wise.  I could show you what a bowl of shredded wheat looks like, but I’ll spare you.

Things finally slowed down tonight, so I decided to break into that block of Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella that’s been hanging out in my fridge for a while, thanks to my mom.  I like vegan cheese (although, frankly, the various brands all sort of taste the same to me), but I don’t ever buy it for myself, and I never really know what to do with it when I do have it.  Pizza seemed obvious, so that’s what I made for dinner tonight.  Deep dish style!

I used the Cook’s Illustrated deep dish pizza dough recipe as inspiration, but I didn’t really follow it.  I used whole wheat bread flour instead of white, agave instead of sugar, olive oil instead of butter (and less of it), and added extra water to make up for the whole grain flour.  I also skipped the laminating process entirely, as they did over at 30 Bucks a Week.  It turned out really good!  I liked this crust a lot.  I wouldn’t call it Chicago-style because I’m from California and have never had an authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza, but I would call it a satisfying meal, whatever it is.

Toppings included broccoli, spinach, vegan cheese, and a thrown-together sauce made from various leftover canned tomato products.  Not bad for cleaning out the fridge!

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Whole Wheat Orange Bundt Cake

Despite all of the sugar I’ve been posting about lately, I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  I’ll have a bite of something sweet, enjoy it, and then be done.  I’ll make a batch of cookies, eat one, and then give the rest away.  I absolutely love to bake, but I’m not really into eating the stuff.  However, this cake?  This cake was a problem.  I kept sneaking bites from the fridge — it was calling out to me.  When I have trouble resisting a dessert, that means it is good.

This cake is moist, not overwhelmingly sweet (giving you the perfect excuse to eat it for breakfast!), orangey, and delicious.  And, since it’s made with whole wheat flour, it’s practically health food!  You need it in your life.  Trust me on this one.

Whole Wheat Orange Bundt Cake (Adapted from VegKitchen)

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Oil and flour a 12-cup bundt pan very thoroughly.  I repeat: oil and flour.  I only oiled the pan the first time I made this cake, and it broke into a million pieces when I tried to flip it out.  More on that mini-disaster later.

Sift together the dry ingredients over a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and pour the wet mixture into the dry.  Whisk just to combine, being careful not to overmix. (And be super careful not to drop your camera into the bowl while clumsily trying to get an action shot.)

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and tap it on the counter a couple times to get rid of the air bubbles.

Bake on the middle oven rack for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is light golden brown and a tester comes out mostly clean.  It was perfect at exactly 45 minutes in my oven.

Cool completely in the pan before flipping onto a wire rack.  Pray to the cake gods that it comes out in one piece.  If your pan was floured well enough and the cake is completely cool, it should come out easily.  Rejoice!  Otherwise, well, follow my lead and turn your giant bowl of crumbs into a small army of cake balls.

For the cake that did turn out, I made a simple glaze out of powdered sugar and orange juice.  A drizzle of chocolate ganache would be fabulous on this cake, too.  That’s probably what I’ll do next time.  Bundt cakes are great in that they look sophisticated without any complicated decorations.  I don’t like buttercream, so maybe I should just start making all my cakes in bundt form.

Whoever invented cake balls was a genius.  I seem to spend a lot of my kitchen time doing damage control, so I appreciate ideas for turning failures into successes.  Sometimes cakes just don’t turn out, and cake balls save the day every time.  Often, they even end up being more impressive than than the original cake ever would have been.  I love that.

Most cake ball “recipes” will tell you to add a can of frosting to the cake crumbs to make everything stick together.  I guess that makes sense if you have a ridiculously dry cake, but I’ve never had to add extra moisture.  I just clump the crumbs together and roll into balls (a 1-inch cookie scoop works great for this!).  Refrigerate.  Dip in melted chocolate.  Laugh when everyone raves and begs for the recipe.

The cake that became these balls had chocolate chips in it (but was otherwise the same as the above recipe), so there’s all kinds of chocolate going on here.  Chocolate, good.  Broken cake, bad. Chocolate covered broken cake, very good.

(And yes, those are vegan chocolate sprinkles!  I found them during my great vegan sprinkle hunt.  Awesome!  I’m amassing quite the collection.  What else can I put sprinkles on?!  How about broccoli?  Tofu.  Healthy foods, healthy foods, healthy foods…)

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Semolina Rolls

I haven’t been eating very well, lately.  It’s been Operation Pantry Clean Out around here, which has resulted in a lot of starch-based meals.  Today’s meal plan, for instance, was bread for breakfast, chickpeas and VegNews Macaroni & Cheese (starch-with-starch-sauce) for lunch, and bread for dinner.  And then I had a banana smoothie, which I guess was sort of heading in a healthier direction.  Oh well.  Although my newly adopted bread-based diet isn’t exactly something I’m proud of, I have at least been eating delicious, homemade bread.  I get credit for that, right?

This is perhaps my favorite bread recipe.  It’s definitely the one I make most often.  These rolls are puffy and soft, with a beautiful golden color from the 100% semolina dough.  They are the ideal dinner roll for soaking up soup, or for breakfast with nut butter or jam (or Earth Balance, if you’re into that sort of thing). I mostly just eat them plain, because they’re delicious on their own.

I find it pretty entertaining to watch them rise in the oven; they get way bigger than you think they should, and it impresses me every time.  Not that I stand around watching my bread bake or anything.  Except sometimes I do.  Don’t judge.

I’m posting both the weight and volume measurements, but I’ve never measured by volume for this recipe, so I can’t vouch for the results.  Weighing ingredients is not only more accurate for baking, it’s also easier.  Put a bowl on the scale and start dumping everything in.  I’m lazy, you know.

Semolina Rolls (Adapted from Local Breads by Daniel Leader, via The Fresh Loaf)

Makes 8-10 rolls

  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 500 grams (3 1/4 cups) semolina flour
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 10 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Lightly flour your work surface with semolina flour and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. Or, you can make the dough in a stand mixer or food processor fitted with the appropriate hook/blade.  Turn it on and let it go. It will take a little less time than hand kneading, for obvious reasons.

The dough will start out super wet.  You’ll think you need more flour.  If you can, resist this urge.  The more you knead, the more it will come together.  The semolina absorbs more moisture as you work with it, so it will get easier as you keep kneading.  In the end, the dough will still be a little sticky, so don’t worry about it.

Once you’ve finished kneading your dough, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Alternatively, if you have a bread machine, ignore all of the above and just throw everything into the pan and set it on the dough cycle.  Let it do its thing.  I know it sounds like a major cop out, but I use my bread machine a lot for making dough.  It takes all the work out of kneading (remember: lazy), and it provides a nice, warm little box for the dough to rise in.  I picked up my machine for $5 at a thrift store, and it was worth every penny, even though the baking function doesn’t work and ultimately just produces weird masses of semi-baked, super dense dough*.  It’s no wonder someone got rid of it.  It works fine for my needs (or my kneads, har har), though!  I don’t want to bake in it, anyway.  Would I have bought a machine for whatever they cost brand new?  Definitely not.  It’s worth trolling the thrift stores for a used one, though.  I see them all the time, and they’re always dirt cheap.  Those things seem to be high on the Unwanted Gifts list.

*I’m not even going to lie; the first time I “baked” a loaf in my machine, and it didn’t even rise and came out as a big, doughy lump, I ate that stupid lump anyway — the whole thing (not at once, though; I’m not that crazy).  By the end of it, I actually kind of started to like it.  I missed it a little when it was gone.  Yes, I am ashamed.  You can judge me for that.  You probably should.

Anyway!  Back to the bread.  At this point, you’re ready to shape your rolls.  The easiest way to do this is to weigh your dough, then divide by the number of rolls you want to end up with, to determine how much each ball of dough should weigh.  I like to make 9 rolls, and each dough ball generally weighs in at just under 100 grams.  If you’re not using a scale, I will forgive you if you just eyeball it.  To shape them, wet your hands and pull the dough into a tight ball.

Place your rolls on two baking sheets lined with parchment.  Give them plenty of room, because they will expand significantly in the oven.  Cover with plastic wrap and let them proof for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  They don’t need to double in size again, but you should see them puff up a bit.

When your rolls are nearing the end of their second rise, preheat the oven to 375F.  On the middle rack, bake one tray at a time for 18-22 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on top and sound hollow when you knock on them.

If you want fresh rolls for breakfast (the best idea ever!), you can omit the second rise and refrigerate the shaped rolls on the baking pans overnight.  The next morning, take the pans out and let them come to room temperature while you preheat your oven.  As soon as the oven is hot, you can bake your rolls immediately — no additional rising time needed.  They’ll bake up just fine.

These rolls are best served straight out of the oven, but they also freeze very well.  I’ve found that they get stale really fast, so any rolls you’re not going to eat within a day will be best if frozen right away.  They are excellent toasted, though, so that’s also good option for day-old rolls… if they last that long.

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Cookbook Challenge: 500 Vegan Recipes

The PPK is doing a weekly cookbook challenge.  I haven’t been following along very well (or at all, really, since they cooked from 500 Vegan Recipes several weeks ago), but I like the idea of using my cookbooks more.  I tend to buy a cookbook, read through it, bookmark recipes that appeal to me, and then never return to them again.  It’s kind of dumb.  I’ve had this book for a few months, and I haven’t used it much.  I always turn straight to the Chocolate Tahini Quick Bread and ignore the 499 other recipes in the book.  I decided to remedy that! (But seriously, make that bread.  And then make it again.  And again.)

I should note that I have a hard time following directions.  Even when I do decide to cook from a recipe, I usually end up changing things.  It’s a disease?

Caramelized Onion Tart with Sweet Potato Sage Crust

I think a recipe would really have to suck to mess up two of the best foods in the universe: sweet potatoes and caramelized onions.  Fortunately, this recipe does not suck.  Quite the opposite, actually.  It’s good!  The title is a little misleading, though.  I would not describe this as a tart.  It’s a pizza.  A non-traditional pizza, but a pizza nonetheless. Next time, I’m going to embrace the pizza-ness of the thing and go ahead and bake it on my pizza stone.  I used a baking sheet lined with parchment, as called for in the recipe, and the crust came out puffy and very soft. The leftover slices were better when I heated them up under the broiler for a few minutes, so maybe I should have just done that to begin with.

I deviated from the recipe (I can’t help myself!) by omitting the nutritional yeast/sunflower seed/sesame seed “parmesan” topping and just topped it with some toasted sesame seeds instead.  And since I thought I didn’t have sage (I found it afterwards, of course), I used thyme instead.  I wouldn’t recommend this because the thyme sort of overpowered the whole thing.  Next time I make this, I’ll do it properly and use sage.

Banana Oat Morning Fuel

I felt silly following a recipe for a smoothie, but I liked this.  Blended up in there are a banana, non-dairy milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and oats.  I skipped the agave called for in the recipe because it really didn’t need it.  This is very similar to a chocolate/banana smoothie I make regularly, but the addition of oats was new to me.  They made the smoothie quite filling and gave me something to chew, so thumbs up!

Agave Bread

This bread is excellent!  For a 100% whole wheat loaf, the oven spring was unbelievable.  It’s so light and fluffy!  It tastes good, too.  The agave makes it a little sweet, but not obnoxiously so.

It took me about thirty seconds to break out the peanut butter to spread on that end slice*, and it was delightful.  I think this will be my new go-to whole wheat sandwich loaf.

*When we were kids, my best friend used to call the end slices “butt bread.” As in, “I brought a butt bread sandwich to school for lunch today.”  I hated that term so much.  I cringed every time she said it, and she seemed to say it a lot — probably just to irritate me.  To this day, every time I eat the ends of the loaf, I still hear her saying “butt bread.” Sigh.

Refried Beans

There is no meal more comforting to me than a simple bowl of beans and homemade tortillas.  The beans were good, but a little bland.  The recipe doesn’t call for any salt, which is surely because it calls for canned beans — either black or pinto — in their canning liquid, and that stuff is crazy salty (and also kind of gross).  I cooked my own black beans (down with canned beans, forever and ever!), so I had to add some salt.  Even then, they were pretty basic.  If I made them again, I’d probably double the spices.  I also think two tablespoons of Earth Balance is probably unnecessary for cooking the onions; I couldn’t really taste it.  I’d use oil instead, and probably less of it.

The tortillas were the best part, and that recipe came straight from the back of the Maseca bag.  When I was a little kid, I used to sit at my grandmother’s kitchen table and “help” her make tortillas.  In reality, she’d give me a ball of masa harina dough and I’d play with it like Play-Doh.  I was a master masa harina mini-snowman-builder.  The smell and feel of that dough still gives me the warm fuzzies.

I also want to note that as a recovering cilantro-hater, the fact that I’m now voluntarily adding it to stuff shows remarkable growth.  I used to be the person who made a face and picked it out of everything, and then complained about how it tainted everything else on the plate with its dish-soapy flavor.  I guess my palate changed at some point, because now I rather like the stuff.  Weird!  I wonder what else I could train myself to like.  Actual dish soap?  Perhaps!  Even mushrooms, maybe?  Probably not.

Coconut Rice with Sugar Snap Snow Peas

This was kind of disappointing.  It’s just rice (the recipe calls for white; I used brown) cooked in coconut milk, with lime juice and cilantro (there it is again!) stirred in at the end.  It’s not bad, but it’s a little too tart for me, and there aren’t enough other flavors going on to balance out the lime.  The recipe calls for raw sugar snap peas to be added to the rice after cooking, but I had snow peas in the fridge, so I used those instead.  I don’t like them raw, so I steamed them.  I topped it all with some very simple baked tofu.  That was my favorite part, and it wasn’t even part of the recipe.  I won’t be making this again.

So, overall, I’m happy with 500 Vegan Recipes so far.  It’s hard to write a real review since I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this book has to offer; 500 is, well, a large number of recipes.  I had a hard time deciding what to make because there was just so much to choose from.  My choices were basically dictated by what was in my pantry, as is usually the case with me and cookbooks.  I need to get better about planning ahead of time and picking out recipes before going shopping.

I’ll return to this book soon, but up next: Vegan with a Vengeance!

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Making fail into fail-ade

Or something?

As a result of yesterday’s failed attempt at coloring white chocolate with liquid food coloring, I ended up with a cup of seized up, pink-speckled, melted white chocolate.  It still tasted fine, so I threw some Rice Krispies (well, you know, a vegan generic) in a bowl, mixed it all up, and pretended like I’d intended to make Rice Krispies treats all along!  Yeah!

I need to eat a vegetable.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged | 3 Comments

Circus Animal Cookies

When I was a kid, my absolute favorite cookies were Mother’s Circus Animals.  Cute little animal-shaped cookies, coated in pink and white waxy icing, and covered in rainbow sprinkles: the best cookies ever.  I grew up on those little cookies.  I miss those cookies. There aren’t actually a whole lot of non-vegan foods I crave anymore, but Circus Animals are among the ones I do.  Every time I pass them in the grocery store, I feel a little twinge of sadness.  Every time I see someone else buying them, I get jealous.

The most logical solution was to recreate them, minus the nonfat dry milk, high fructose corn syrup, and sorbitan monostearate.  Undesirable additives aside, the main ingredients actually look fairly simple: sugar, flour, and fat.  There are no identifiable added flavorings; these cookies taste like straight up sugar (and perhaps circus magic; who knows?).  In other words, this is your basic shortbread cookie.

I recently acquired several bags of Lieber’s white “decorating chips,” and while their only ingredients are sugar and cocoa butter, they don’t really taste like authentic white chocolate.  They’re sort of like eating sweet wax.  While that’s not something I’d normally get excited about (and I actually wondered what I was going to do with all of those disappointing chips), I thought it’d be perfect for recreating the coating on these cookies.  The Mother’s cookies get their waxy texture from actual carnauba wax.  Since I had no intentions of procuring any of that for my own recipe, I decided just to melt down some Lieber’s chips and dip the cookies in that.

The biggest hurdle here was finding vegan nonpareil sprinkles.  Do you know how hard it can be to find sprinkles that don’t contain confectioner’s glaze (otherwise known as shellac, or ground up bugs.  Mmmm, yummy!)?  Well, I do.  It’s hard.  I believe you can order them online someplace, but I don’t have the patience for that sort of thing.  I went to several stores and completely struck out, and then finally, feeling desperate and defeated, ended up in Wal-Mart.  I’d been reading and re-reading ingredients lists on bottles of countless varieties of Wilton sprinkles all day, only to be disappointed every time.  They all contained confectioner’s glaze.  I almost didn’t even pick up the bottle of Easter/spring-themed sprinkles I saw at Wal-Mart because I already knew they weren’t going to work for me.  As it turns out, this particular assortment, which contained two colors of sparkling sugar and nonpareils (!!), was vegan!  No bugs!  I must have read that label ten times before I believed what I was seeing.  And they were even the right shape!  Perfect!

For what it’s worth, Whole Foods apparently sells Sprinklez vegan sprinkles, and I would have broken down and gone there had I not eventually found them elsewhere.  The thing is, both of the Whole Foods in my area are way out of my way, and that store irritates me, anyway.  I just don’t like it.  It’s expensive and yuppy and blah.  I have accepted that there are some things there that I just can’t buy elsewhere, but I make a point of not needing those things very often.  They do have delicious spinach bagels in the bakery case, though.  I’ll give them that.

The cookie cutters were easy.  I picked up a set of tiny “Noah’s Ark” cutters at Michael’s.  The set came with a lion, an elephant, a giraffe, something I think is supposed to be a dog, a teddy bear (huh?), and an ark (useless, but appropriate, I guess).  I’m not an expert on Bible stories or anything, but this is the first I’ve heard of teddy bears being herded onto the boat.

So, materials gathered, I set out to make my cookies.  I think I got pretty close, at least as far as I can remember.  It’s been several years since I’ve eaten Mother’s cookies, so they’re not exactly fresh on my palate.  I’m happy with mine, though.  They definitely satisfied my craving, and I don’t know if I could have improved them without tasting the originals, which I obviously wasn’t going to do.  My mom agrees that they taste similar, but she says mine aren’t as waxy.  I can live with that.

The recipe makes about 100 tiny cookies.  I actually made a double batch, and it was quite an event.  If you’re feeding a lot of people or want to eat nothing but animal cookies for several days, go nuts and double it.

Circus Animal Cookies

Shortbread cut-outs (Adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather):

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance vegan margarine, softened
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

White chocolate coating:

  • 3 cups non-dairy white chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • pink oil-based food coloring for candy making (not the liquid kind from the grocery store!)

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until just combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until the dough is firm enough to roll out.

When the dough is adequately chilled, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Liberally flour your work surface and rolling pin, and have extra flour on hand for flouring your dough.  Grab a ball of dough, and return the bowl to the fridge.  The dough needs to be kept cold, so any dough you’re not actively working with should be in the fridge.  The freezer would probably be even better.

Roll out your dough as thin as you can get it without it breaking.  The dough will be sticky, so sprinkle on more flour as necessary.  Cut out your cookies, and then put your scrap dough back into the bowl in the fridge.  Grab a cold ball of dough, and repeat the process.  Try to work quickly, because as the dough warms up, it will get too sticky and hard to work with.  If it gets too warm while you’re rolling and cutting, pop it into the freezer for a couple minutes and then try again.

When you fill up your first baking sheet, put it into the fridge and preheat your oven to 300F.  Chilling the cut-outs makes the dough less likely to spread in the oven and bake into amorphous blobs.  While your oven is heating up and your first tray of cookies is chilling, work on rolling out your second tray.

When your oven is ready, bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until they’re light golden brown.  Don’t let them burn!  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for at least 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool fully before icing.

So, the cookies are cool, and while you were waiting patiently, you had fun watching Rachael Ray explain how she came up with the revolutionary concept of — wait for it — breakfast for dinner!  In two separate episodes!  Moving along.  Let’s talk icing.

While this will no doubt come as totally obvious non-news to anyone who’s ever dyed chocolate before (i.e. not me), here’s a tip I learned the hard way: you can’t add just any old liquid food coloring to melted chocolate.  The chocolate will seize up and get grainy/clumpy, and the color won’t mix in properly.  You will be sad.  You will have to make an emergency run to Michael’s for oil-based candy dye, and you will have to start all over.  Fortunately, the stuff isn’t very expensive, and the colors are super intense, so you only need a tiny amount.

Start by dividing your chocolate chips evenly into two bowls: 1 1/2 cups for the white icing, and 1 1/2 cups for the pink.  Melt the chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, being careful not to burn them.  When they’re getting close, but haven’t quite melted all the way, take them out and stir vigorously with a spoon.  The remaining clumps should melt from the residual heat.

For the pink icing, add a couple drops of pink food coloring and stir well.  A little goes a long way, here.  Meanwhile, melt your coconut oil in the microwave, and divide evenly between the two bowls of melted chocolate.  Stir well to incorporate. The food coloring will make the pink icing slightly more liquidy than the white; to compensate, you can add a little extra melted coconut oil to the white icing. The oil helps thin out the chocolate and makes it easier to coat the cookies.  I think it also contributes to the waxy texture we’re trying to achieve.  Depending on the consistency of your white chocolate, you may need more or less oil.  Just eyeball it.

A note about coconut oil: since it is only solid in colder temperatures, you’ll probably want to store the cookies in the fridge after they’re coated, lest they stick together.  It’s still winter here (barely), and my kitchen is cold, so this wasn’t a problem for me.  If I were to make these cookies again in the summer, I would be sure not to let them sit around in the heat.

To coat the cookies, submerge them completely in the melted chocolate (your fingers will get messy; embrace it!) and let the excess drip off before placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  If the icing starts to get too thick to work with, microwave it for 10-15 seconds to get it nice and melty again.  Sprinkle the cookies with sprinkles, and when the tray is full, move it to the fridge to set.  When the coating has fully hardened, you can move the cookies to a plastic storage container.  Or put them directly in your face!  The end!

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Quinoa-Almond Granola

A little of this, a little of that: oats, quinoa, wheat germ, banana, walnut butter, almonds, cinnamon, and just a touch of agave — all the good, beige stuff I could find.

After it baked up all nice and toasty, I tossed in some raisins and tried to let it cool before I ate it all. I was only moderately successful.

Quinoa-Almond Granola

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons agave (or more to taste; I don’t like mine very sweet)
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoons ground flax
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 300F.

Mash the banana in a large bowl with a fork. Add the rest of the wet ingredients, and stir to combine.

Add all the dry ingredients, except for the raisins, into the wet mixture.  Stir it all together and spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Try to break up any huge clumps that might otherwise stay mushy inside.  I try to keep most of them because I like clumps.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, stiring every 10 minutes, until the granola is starting to crisp up and the nuts are getting toasty.  It will burn easily, so keep a close eye on it. It will get crunchier as it cools, so it’s okay if it’s still a little soft when it comes out of the oven.

After removing the granola from the oven, stir in the raisins.  Allow to cool completely on the pan before transferring to an air-tight container.  I store mine in the fridge.

Lately, I’ve been blending up frozen bananas with unsweetened soy yogurt (my ratio is one banana to one cup of yogurt), and it’s delicious.  Add a handful or two of homemade granola, and you’re totally in business. Bonus points if you fill your bowl so full that it almost overflows when you stick a spoon in it.

Yeah, my first post is granola porn.  That’s how vegan I am.

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