Simple Granola

Who doesn’t like granola?  My favorite way to enjoy granola is over Greek yogurt for breakfast. Sometimes I’ll add milk to a bowl of granola for a great alternative to cereal; sprinkle it over ice cream as a yummy crunchy topping; or add 1/3 cup of dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, raisins, dates or apricots, and eat it by the handful as a snack. The type of nuts or seeds can be swapped out. I sometimes use more walnuts and omit the pecans or use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of sunflower seeds. Choose your favorite nuts. Just make sure the nuts are unsalted.  The granola can be stored up to 1 week in an airtight container.  Placed into a mason jar wrapped with a bow, fresh homemade granola makes a nice little gift.  Who doesn’t like granola?

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick oats)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped, unsalted & roasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine oats, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. In separate small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour over oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread out evenly over parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, stirring granola every 12-14 minutes to ensure even browning. Allow granola to cool on pan completely unless you forgot to line the pan with parchment paper. Clean up might be easier if the granola is transferred from an unlined baking sheet to a glass casserole dish to cool. Otherwise, the granola will cool to crisp little chunks and slide right off the parchment paper. I prefer to leave the granola in some smaller chunks to store.

Cool and store in airtight container up to 1 week, if it lasts that long.

image

granola parfait

DSC_6707

I like a variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews, in my granola.  Choose the combination of you enjoy most.
I like a variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews, in my granola. Choose the combination of you enjoy most.

DSC_6703

The granola can be stored up to a week in an airtight container.  They also make nice gifts.
The granola can be stored up to a week in an airtight container. They also make nice gifts.

J’Wow’s Salsa

I had the pleasure of training for my first Ironman with Jerrold, a good friend and triathlete known as J’Wow.  He’s like a little brother to me.  He’s rescued me when I was suffering from heat exhaustion during a long training ride and encouraged me to run with him when I was suffering from stomach pain during our first Ironman.  And like any little brother, he thoroughly enjoys annoying me with his teasing.

I joined J’Wow at Lake Tahoe this summer when he came up to train with his coach.  This is when I discovered J’Wow’s delicious fresh salsa.  Fresh salsa is a very healthy snack.  Tomatoes, onions,  jalapeños and lime juice contain vitamin C.  Jalapeños contain capsaicin, which generates heat, increases the heart rate when consumed and naturally raises the metabolic rate.  Avocados contain healthy fats, mostly oleic acid, which helps reduce bad cholesterol.  In addition, avocados contain protein, fiber and is an excellent source of potassium.  What a delicious way to consume raw and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

J’Wow prefers chips with a hint of lime flavor to serve with the salsa.  I’ve used the salsa with fish tacos, burritos and a variety of chips.  Although you can serve the salsa right away, it tastes even better the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to marry.  We had 6 people in the house and this recipe made enough salsa for us to enjoy for 2 days.

Serving size: 12

Ingredients:

  • 10 tomatoes on the vine diced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 ripe avocado diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 – 2 1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and minced
  • ½ cup of lime juice (4 medium fresh limes)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, dice the tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper and avocado.  Add finely chopped cilantro and minced jalapeno peppers.  I removed the seeds and was careful to wash my hands well after handling the peppers.  Add more or less peppers depending on your taste and how hot the peppers are.

Add the lime juice. One fresh medium lime should yield about 2 teaspoon of juice.  If the limes are small or dry, you may need more than 4 limes to yield ½ cup.  To get the most juice out of a lime, I put pressure roll it on the cutting board while putting pressure on it with the palm of my hand. I then use a reamer.  You can also put it in the microwave for 20 seconds before squeezing.

Toss all of the ingredients together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_6022

IMG_6004

IMG_6006

IMG_6018