Cherry Berry Vanilla Almond Granola

DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1095

You can customize this granola according to your preferences by adding in any sort of dried fruit or using different nuts in the recipe. I stumbled upon this gluten free recipe by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen and it soon became my favorite.
I recently made 12 batches of it to include in Valentines Day Care Packages sent to our graduated NCL Ticktockers that are away at college.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups gluten-free oats (rolled or old-fashioned, NOT instant)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (or melted unsalted butter or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut – optional (I like wide sliced coconut from Sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit – optional (I like Dried Berry Medley from Trader Joe’s)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1078
  3. In a large bowl, use a spatula to stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1073
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter or oil, honey and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk to get the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to come together. Once it comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the pure vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the oat mixture in the bowl. Stir well with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Spread granola on prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 300° until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Once or twice during the baking time, pull out and stir well and put back in for the remainder of the baking.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1054
  6. Transfer pan to a rack; If you want to add in dried fruit, add it now. Cool granola completely. If you want smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools so that it doesn’t harden into large chunks. If you want to add in mini chocolate chips, add them now after it has cooled completely.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1089-1
  7. When cooled, use your hands to break apart to the size you want and store in an airtight container.

by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen

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Apricot Bites with Goat Cheese and Pistachio

Looking for a healthy low carb appetizer for your next party?  Try this simple recipe.  It has just 4 ingredients and is a perfect snack or appetizer.  Dried apricots topped with creamy goat cheese, nutty pistachios and just a drizzle of honey make a perfect combination.

Ingedients
18 dried apricots (I like the larger Turkish ones)
2 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
1-2 T of honey, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Place apricots on a platter or serving tray
  2. With the back of a spoon, spread a small dollop of goat cheese onto each apricot
  3. Sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed pistachios onto each
  4. Drizzle with honey*
  5. Enjoy!

Tip: To avoid putting too much honey on each apricot bite, place honey in a ziplock plastic baggy.  Cut off a small corner of the baggie and squeeze honey from the hole onto each apricot to add just the amount of sweetness to each bite.

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Creds to Jess @ jessfuel.com for this yummy recipe.  Her recipe is for a larger crowd and yields 3 dozen of these yummy treats.  I simply cut the recipe in half.  Check out all her other easy recipes.

 

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

DFTSI Summer Peach and Tomato Salad_6482

Savor every last bit of summer with this delightful combination of ripe summer peaches and fresh tomatoes. This beautiful salad is both simple and delicious. The tart accents of balsamic vinegar and the sweet peaches are devine!
Servings: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

Ingredients
1 large (or two small) peach sliced into wedges (select ones that are just a little bit firm, not too soft)
1 handful of cherry tomatoes sliced into quarters
4-5 fresh mint  or basil leaves chopped (slice them with scissors)
¼ cup  good EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/8 cup good balsamic vinegar (I like 41 Olive’s lemon-infused balsamic, apricot-infused balsamic))
¼ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Arrange the nectarine and tomato slices on a platter.
Drizzle with oil and vinegar followed by the nuts and mint.
Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Note: You can chop fruit and plate it up to an hour in advance but wait to dress it and add mint just before serving.  You can also serve this salad on individual salad plates or a family platter.

DFTSI Summer Peach and Tomato Salad_6484

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Snack Bites

DFTSI Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Bites_6428Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth.  Not these.  They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Servings:  2
Ingredients: 4
Calories: 200/serving

Ingredients

1 medium pear
4 Tablespoons  PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (I like it toasted)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix PB2 with 2 Tablespoons of water.

Slice the pear into 8 -10 wedeges

Spread peanut butter mixture thinly onto pear wedges and place on either a serving platter or 2 individual salad plates.

Sprinkle with coconut and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

 

Poppin’ Pumpkin Seeds

Poppin’ Pumpkin Seeds

I’m a Trader Joe’s fan.  If you are too, you’ll like this savory treat.  It is hard to resist the temptation to munch on them right from the pan as they smell so good.  Let them cool completely before serving though.  You can store for up to a week — Only if you have some left!  Yum!

Poppin’ Pumpkin Seeds

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Mix salt, paprika, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne together in a small bowl. Set aside. Warm butter (or oil) and sugar together in a large skillet over medium heat; add pumpkin seeds and spice mixture to pan and stir until sugar is melted and the seeds are fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes (add a lid when seeds start to pop). Remove from heat, add fresh rosemary and sprinkle on additional salt (if desired) and toss. Immediately spread seeds out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cool completely before serving.

Apricots with Basil, Goat Cheese, & Almonds

apricots-cheese-su-xIngredients

4 ounces fresh goat cheese such as Laura Chenel, at room temperature

About 2 tsp. milk

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

40 dried apricots

40 almonds, preferably Marcona 

2 teaspoons honey

Preparation

1. Mix together cheese, 2 tsp. milk, and basil with a wooden spoon until spreadable. Thin with more milk if necessary.

2. Spread a heaping 1/4 tsp. cheese on each apricot and top each with an almond. Drizzle with honey.

Psst!  You can make this healthy appetizer up to one day ahead.  Refrigerate and then bring to room temperature (30-60 minutes before serving). Drizzle with honey  just before serving.

Gruyere Cheese and Basil Sandwiches

grilled cheese

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Makes: 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Slices Sourdough Bread
  • 3-4  Ounces of Gruyere Cheese
  • 4-6 large Basil Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Preparation:

Prepare ingredients:
Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Thinly slice the cheese into large pieces.

Assemble the sandwiches:

Lay the bread slices on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the cheese slices and half of the basil between 2 of the bread slices;  Complete the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices.  Spread 1/4 of the butter on each of the top slices of bread.

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Cook the sandwiches:

Heat a griddle or fry pan on medium until hot. Add the sandwiches (butter side down) and cook 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown and crispy. Add the remaining butter on the unbuttered bread and carefully flip the sandwiches. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface.
Plate your Dish:
Cut the cooked sandwiches in half and divide between 2 plates. Serve with Easy Tomato Soup on the side. Enjoy!