Tuesday, May 24, 2022

RECIPE: Improved Copycat GRANOLA without seed oils

The best Granola we've ever purchased is from Plowshare Farm.  They sell it on ETSY, and in our farm store.   My husband eats so much of it, I decided to try and make it myself.  I made a few changes - eliminating seed oils for instance - and it's now "the best granola ever!" according to my husband...

GRANOLA without seed oils 
 

Makes 10 cups.

I started out by separating the components in the Plowshare bag, weighing them, and measuring them.

I came up with the following:

  • 41 g. walnuts (1/3 cup)
  • 39 g. raisins (1/4 cup)
  • 26 g. dates (3 T.)
  • 35 g. oats plus coconut (about 2 c.  I was unable to separate these)

Using several recipes I found online as a guide to the process and baking times, I then made one recipe using those exact proportions, but substituting coconut oil for the sunflower oil.  It was good but we thought it could be better.  

Using cacao butter gave it a slightly chocolate flavor, and replacing the raisins with currants and unsweetened tart cherries made it healthier.

Several iterations later, this is the version we like the best.  It's also the healthiest I've found anywhere!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups rolled oats**
  • 1.5 c. walnut chips (my sister prefers almonds, use whatever nuts you like)
  • 1.5 c. chopped dates (about 9 large medjul dates)*
  • 1.4 c. currants
  • 1.4 c. tart cherries withOUT added sugar
  • 3 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. cacao butter
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. malt extract*

INSTRUCTIONS

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 300. 

Slice dates into 1/4" strips and sprinkle with some malt extract (about 1-2 T.).  Slice into 1/4" cubes and sprinkle with malt extract to coat each piece (about 1-2 T.).  SET ASIDE to 'dry' while you bake the granola.  Do not mix with the oats until they're cooked!

Sliced dates on the left, sprinkled with malt powder, chopped dates on the right.

 
Close-up of chopped dates covered with malt powder.


Mix the oats, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  DO NOT ADD THE FRUIT AT THIS TIME!

Mix the maple syrup with the remaining malt powder in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until the malt melts into the syrup.  Add the cacao butter and stir until melted.

 

Add cacao butter to maple-malt mixture

Pour the maple-malt-cacao-butter over the oat-nut mixture and stir to coat evenly.

Pour maple-malt-cacao-butter over oat-nut mixture

Spread evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread evenly in parchment-lined sheet pan

 

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden.  If you don't like big chunks, break them up as you stir.  In my oven it took 1 hour, in my sister's oven 30 minutes.

Baked oat-nut mixture

 

Cool.

Add fruit and stir to combine.  If you add the fruit before you bake it, the fruit will burn.  

*NOTE:  If you can find chopped dates covered with coconut or some other powdery substance you won't need to coat them in malt powder.  Malt powder is slightly sweet but loaded with nutrients that sugar does not have.  You can leave it out, or substitute another sweetener, like brown sugar or Swerve.  My sister leaves it out entirely.  I suppose...you could try coating the dates in coconut flakes...let me know if it works!

**You can use up to 2 cups coconut instead of some of the oats, but we prefer it with just oats.

 

 


RECIPE: MMT Ranch Dressing made without seed oils

RANCH is my husband's favorite dressing.  When we gave up seed oils, I had to find a way to make it without mayonnaise. 
 
Have you ever looked at the label for hidden Valley Ranch Dressing?  So many chemicals!  

 Source: Hidden Valley
 
If you make my original recipe with purchased mayonnaise, even if it's organic, it will still contain refined (rancid) oil, CAFO eggs, fructose, salt and MSG.  
 
For this recipe I use spreadable hollandaise, made with butter or ghee!
 
It is possible to buy organic sour cream without additives.  We use Organic Valley (Organic Custored Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Organic Pasteuried Cream, Acidophilus and Fifidus Cultures, Vegetarian Enzyme).  Make sure the brand you use contains only cream and cultures.  Avoid Carrageenan!
 
Most Ranch Dressing recipes are made with buttermilk, but I rarely have that on hand so I use milk thickened with lemon juice.  If you make your own buttermilk, or buy buttermilk without additives, use that instead of the milk/lemon combination.  
 
Ranch Dressing without seed oils
Makes a scant 3 cups 
 
INGREDIENTS
 
1 cup spreadable hollandaise made with the following seasonings:
2 T. minced shallot or chives
2 T. minced fresh parsley
2 T. minced fresh dill
 
2 garlic cloves minced or grated using a microplane
  
3/4 c. sour cream, preferably homemade
1/2 c. whole milk
4 T. plus 2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. himalayan pink salt
opt: pinch cayenne

INSTRUCTIONS
 
Mix 4 T. lemon juice into the milk and let stand several minutes until milk thickens.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the seasoned hollandaise, sour cream, 2 t. lemon juice, salt and cayenne.  Add the thickened milk slowly until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  You may not use it all.

Taste and adjust seasoning.  Cover and let sit 30 minutes for the flavor to develop.
 

  
 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

RECIPE: SPREADABLE Hollandaise you can use instead of mayonnaise

Earlier this year, we gave up seed oils because they're very high in omega-6.  We didn't want to give up mayonnaise, though, so I started making hollandaise and adding extra water to the emulsion.  When the hollandaise cooled, it was spreadable!  This is healthiest made with ghee, but if all you have is butter it's fine to use that instead.

Original recipe: Foolproof Hollandaise in 2 Minutes

If you don't have an immersion blender, here is another foolproof way to make hollandaise   

SPREADABLE Hollandaise

Makes 2 scant cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup ghee or unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 egg yolks, from medium or large eggs*
  • 3 T. cold water 
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt 
  • OPTIONAL seasonings - garlic, mustard, harissa, curry powder, whatever you would use to flavor mayonnaise!  In the photo above, I used 2T each of chives, dill, and parsley, and 2 cloves of garlic grated on a microplane.

INSTRUCTIONS

*WASH THE EGG SHELLS with soap and hot water.  Dry them, then separate the yolks.  Save the whites for another use.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt ghee or butter until foam subsides, about 5 minutes.

While the ghee/butter is melting, add the egg yolks, water and salt to a pint jar and get out your immersion blender.  If you're going to season the hollandaise, add the seasonings to the jar.

When the foam has subsided on the ghee/butter, pour it into a heat-proof pitcher.

Add the lemon juice to the jar with the egg yolk.

Insert the head of the immersion blender into the pint jar and turn it on.  With the motor running, slowly pour the hot ghee/butter mixture into the yolks.  The acid and heat will perfectly cook the yolks!

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Refrigerate until cold.  

If it's still too stiff to spread, let it come back to room temperature and add 1-2 T warm water.  Mix thoroughly and refrigerate.  If you increase the water when you're making it, it might end up being too liquidy.  I think it depends on the egg yolks - sometimes 3 T. is perfect, sometimes I need to add more water later. 

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

RECIPE: Easy Keto (grain free) Egg Bites with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

 I've been meaning to make these for YEARS, and finally got around to it.  They are quick, easy, versatile, and tasty!

Original recipe: Keto Breakfast Egg Bites

I changed the recipe to use what I had on hand, and you can, too!  If you don't have spinach, use avocado, peas, or sauteed onions.  If you don't have sun dried tomatoes, use cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, or sauteed green peppers.  If you don't have cream cheese, use Boursin.  Whatever you would put in an omelet, you can put in these egg bites! 

I baked them in our convection toaster oven.  I made one batch using the pan with hot water, and another batch without it, and couldn't tell any difference.  Ergo, if you have a convection oven, you don't need the pan with the water. 

To insure I could unmold them, I used a silicone mini cupcake pan.  If you use a metal pan, I have no idea whether you'll be able to get them out of the pan!  

Silicone is floppy, so I placed the silicone pan on an enamel pan for support.  The recipe makes 24, so I baked them in two batches.

Easy Keto Egg Bites 

with Spinach and Sun dried Tomatoes


Makes 24 SMALL (1.75") egg bites.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium-large eggs
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (I used cheddar), divided
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese, quark, or cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and minced
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in oil, OR roasted red peppers, minced
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 t. cayenne

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300F. 

Place the eggs, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper in your blender jar and blend on high for 20 seconds until light and frothy.

If you aren't using a silicone cupcake pan, put about 1/4 t. of oil from the sun dried tomatoes in each of your pan's depressions.  This isn't necessary if you use a silicone pan.

In each depression, put 1 t. chopped spinach, 1/2 t. sun dried tomatoes, and 1 t. grated cheese. 

Fill each depression almost all the way to the top.  In the photo above, I added a sprinkle of cayenne to the top because we like spicy! 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center of the egg bites are just set.

Remove from the oven.

Invert the pan and pop the bites out! 

We like these with hummus, or hollandaise


The only photo I have of the cooked bites was taken at a picnic.  You can see them on the right, next to the chicken salad and meatballs we served them with.  The sauce is harissa hollandaise: