I’m Dreaming In Chocolate.

 

I think I have become obsessed—completely and hopelessly obsessed!—with chocolate.

I don’t think there’s any hope of turning back.

 

 

It all started with Valentines Day, and my bowl of chocolatey chip covered oats.

It continued on through pumpkin-chocolate breakfast cookies (more on that in future posts.)

And now, I’m moving on to chocolate granola.

I’m dreaming in chocolate.

 

 

The nice thing about granola is that a little bit goes a long way.  That, and the fact that it’s pretty easy to turn granola into a health food, while still including a bit of an indulgent flair.

Oats.  Cocoa.  Peanut butter = health food.

Coconut.  Butter.  Honey = indulgent flair.

 

 

Granola is so easy to make, I’m surprised at myself for not making it more often than I do.  The one and only glitch that I’ve found is in making sure that there’s enough fat to give the granola its expected crunch.   A little butter or oil does the trick.

Well.

Okay, there’s one more glitch.  Granola needs to be checked very, very often, in order to avoid scorching or burning.  It happens quickly.  Trust me.  I’ve made more than my fair share of burnt granola, when I decided to go off and do something “real quick.”  Let’s just say that I’ve learned my lesson, and now I glue my feet to the kitchen floor whenever I make a batch of granola.

 

 

I’m dreaming in chocolate.

And there’s no hope of turning back.

 

 

(p.s. My most current obsession is taking crunchy, toasted wheat germ…


 

sprinkling it on top of some yogurt, and finishing it all off with a healthy scoop of “I Dream in Chocolate Granola.”)

I highly recommend it.

 

 

I Dream in Chocolate Granola

Feel free to add walnuts, chocolate chips, chopped almonds, and any mixture of dried fruit to this granola.  Just make sure you let the granola cool for several minutes before sampling, as it is very, very hot when it comes straight from the oven (i.e., painful…and I speak from experience. 😉 )

Serve this chocolatey granola on your favorite yogurt snack or sprinkle on your dish of morning oatmeal.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 2-1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/4 c. coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil honey, butter, and peanut butter together for about 2-3 minutes.  Take off the heat and combine with oatmeal, cocoa, and coconut.  Place on baking sheet that is coated in cooking spray, spread out and bake for 8-12 minutes, stirring after every 3 minutes or so.  Check often to avoid burning.  Granola is done when it feels hardened and appears toasted.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite way to eat granola? I love going backpacking and waking up to a bowl of granola with hot milk and dried fruit on top!

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a success story

Amidst all of the chocolate, butter, and cream, I hope you find the time to bake yourself a batch of granola.

I’ve been in the process of overcoming a lot of my fears, these past few days and weeks.  Public speaking.  Grocery shopping during rush hour.  Eating things with jalapenos. 

So—I decided—why not bake granola? 

But with a past history of burnt-to-the-crisp “granola” and smoky ovens too, I wasn’t really sure what to expect this time around. 

With a fresh new bag of coconut flakes and a determined attitude, I got right to work.  Granola is supposed to be easy, after all.  I can do this! 

All of the ingredients were tossed into a big bowl, stirred together, and spread out onto a rimmed cookie sheet.  So far so good.

Thirty minutes later:

The house smelled like heaven.  Heaven!  The sweet smells of toasted coconut, mixing and mingling with roasted pistachios.  Heaven.  And best of all, my oven wasn’t smoking, the granola wasn’t charred, and everything went as planned.

Although I have to warn you against taking that first, delicious bite of warm granola straight from the oven.  It’s hard, I know.  But trust me, you don’t want to give in to the temptation until it’s had at least 5 minutes or so to cool! 

You do, after all, want to be able to taste that snack which you have planned for later in the afternoon.

Homemade granola makes for the perfect party gift.  Simply tie a ribbon around a clean, emptied peanut butter jar, top with a bow, include the recipe on the tag, and bring along with you to your next holiday gathering. 

Or you could just keep it tucked away in your pantry and not tell anyone.  Nobody’s judging. 😉

Olive Oil Granola—as seen in “In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite,” with some minor tweaking.

This is by far is my favorite granola recipe that I have ever tasted.  The original recipe (<—seen here) called for dried apricots, pumpkin seeds and coconut chips.  I improvised, based on what I had on hand.  I also cut the original recipe in half, which still gave me a full 4 cups worth of granola.

The granola is super crunchy, sweet, and addictingly salty (think kettle corn.)  It’s delicious eaten by the handful, sprinkled over greek yogurt, or served with warm milk.  ENJOY! 😀

  • 1-1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 c. raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • 1/2 c. sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4-1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats through ginger.  Spread mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
  3. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add the cranberries, tossing to combine.  Let cool completely and place in airtight container to store.

Question: What are your favorite granola mix-ins?

how convenient

Two busy bumblebees.

One rainbow.

One leaf falling.

Four birds flying.

Let’s just say that looking up at the sky while in a side plank position is way more exciting when done outdoors versus looking up at the ceiling of my basement.  Tack it on to the ever growing list of why I love summer so much.

Followed by my morning workout which included fifteen minutes of arms and fifteen minutes of legs, I set out to make a hot, steamy bowl of oatbran.  Leave it to me to crave such a breakfast on one of the hottest days of the year (although, I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this 😉 ).

  • 1/4 c. oatbran
  • 1/4 c. wheatbran
  • 1 c. milk + 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 c. fresh strawberries
  • toppings: 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 T. Galaxy Granola, 1 scoop of peanut butter

It made for one delicious breakfast.

Morning Snack: a juicy orange

By noon today, it was 85 degrees and humid—I had one thing on the brain: salads.  I can not get enough of these big bowls of produce.  And for one reason or another, this bowl of green was particularly interesting today. 

Full of f-r-e-s-h. 

Full of c-r-u-n-c-h. 

Full of carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, mushrooms, sliced bell peppers and white beans. 

I’m really into simple dressings lately.  This salad was drizzled with a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tsp) and followed with a bit of sea salt.  So simple.  So delicious. 

+ kashis and a slice of swiss

+ some after-lunch sweetness in the form of my favorite kind of berry

 Afternoon Snack: 6-oz. plain yogurt + 2 T. crushed flax + 2 T. Galaxy Granola Hint of Honey

When it comes to dinner, who doesn’t like a bit of convenience now and then?  I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes when life gets hectic, dinner needs to be simple.  And quick.

I was tempted to pick up a box of veggie burgers for tonight’s dinner, even though it wasn’t on my shopping list (okay, $4 wouldn’t exactly break the bank, but I’m trying to be good here.)  I sighed and placed them back into the freezer as I scrambled to think of something that would be just as quick and easy.  Then it occurred to me…duh!  I could make my own!

I had successfully made homemade black bean burgers in the past (using KERF for inspiration!,) and I also happened to remember that they were super easy to prepare.  Cheap and convenient?  Sign me up!

Black Bean Burgers

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. worcestershire sauce
  • lots of garlic powder (lots, lots, lots)
  • cayenne to taste (remember that this stuff is hot)
  1. Just mash everything together really well.  It takes some good strong effort.  Don’t be afraid to show those beans who’s the boss!
  2. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.
  3. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray, heat to medium and cook 4 patties until browned on one side.  Flip over and cook until browned to preference.  About 10-12 minutes total.

The first time I made these, I undercooked them.  This time I remained patient and let them crisp and brown up nicely.

Served with side salads, sweet potato fries, a whole wheat bun and some Trader Joe’s catsup.  They were just as delicious as I remembered them to be.  Yum!

Off to make a snack and read some of Eat, Pray, Love.  I’d like to finish the book before the movie comes out. 😀

Question: It’s late.  You’re hungry.  Food needs to be placed on the table as quickly as possible.  What do you do/make/buy?  First I grab a carrot stick or a handful of almonds to prevent myself from chewing off my arm.  And some of the easiest meals that I’ve made in a hurry include sweet potatoes with black beans&salsa, or scrambled veggie omelets.  In a pinch, cereal isn’t such a bad option either.  😉