5 Ingredient “Raw”nola

So I decided to make it my goal this summer to try to post at least one recipe per week. I’d really like to do a weekly recipe round-up of all the recipes I’ve made in that week but that probably won’t be happening, since I have a lot of recipe mishaps. Most of the things I make are at least edible, if not yummy, but sometimes they don’t turn out as well as I hoped they would and I don’t post them because they aren’t amazing. Like the sour ‘cream’ and onion kale chips I made last weekend. They weren’t half bad and I loved how the dehydrator made them perfectly crispy, but the flavor wasn’t exactly reminiscent of sour cream and onion.

This “raw”nola on the other hand is delicious. It’s got just enough sweetness with a touch of nuttiness and I like that it came out in huge clumps. The clusters are always my favorite part of granola! Plus it’s (mostly) raw and has only 5 simple ingredients. And it’s so easy a 4 year old could make it.

Mmmm, look at those clusters!

Sunny “Raw”nola (vegan, raw)

1 cup oats (could use oat groats)

1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp raw almond butter (or other raw nut butter)

1/4 cup agave (I used honey vanilla flavored agave)

pinch sea salt

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and seeds. Add the almond butter, agave and salt until they coat the oats and seeds and form a sticky mixture. Spoon large clumps onto a lined dehydrator tray (I used a round wax paper cut-out) and spread out until granola is about 1/2 inch high. Dehydrate for 4-6 hours, then set granola out to air dry for 1 hour. Store in a plastic bag/container or enjoy with almond milk. Makes about 2 cups.

What’s your favorite granola flavor? 

Pancake Party!

I get into breakfast ruts a lot. For most of my life, I ate cereal with skim milk and possibly a side of waffles for breakfast basically every single morning. I’ve never been a savory breakfast kind of girl, because I’ve always hated eggs, bacon and sausage. Within the past year, though, I’ve moved away from having cereal for breakfast. First, I was on an overnight oats kick that started about a year ago. I was obsessed and came up with a million different combos. I still love overnight oats, but now I’ve been having them for snacks more often than for breakfast. Just a couple of weeks ago, I started having a smoothie-in-a-bowl basically every single day, topped with fruit or crushed cereal. So good. But since I’ve been home for the summer, there’s been only one thing on my mind–pancakes.

Before a week ago, I don’t think I’d ever made pancakes from scratch. Sometimes on the weekends I’d whip my family up a batch made from an Archer Farms mix. While they have tons of awesome flavors, they aren’t super healthy (or vegan–why do so many things have to have milk in them?) Earlier last week, I made my first homemade, single-lady pancake batch and I was hooked!

If you’re intimidated by making your own pancakes completely from scratch, fear not. They are super simple to make, take practically no time at all (maybe 10 minutes at the most, if you make a batch for just yourself) and are totally customizable. Here’s the basic formula I’ve been using…

3 T to 1/4 cup flour (I like peanut flour or oat flour)

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 to 1 T flax seed, ground and made into flax egg

2-4 T unsweetened almond milk (any flavor) plus extra water to thin

sweetener (I’ve been using Truvia packets or flavored liquid stevia)

Stir flour and baking powder together in a small bowl until combined. Add in liquid ingredients until mixed well. The batter should be thin enough to drip off a spoon but thick enough to hold together. Makes 3-4 small pancakes.

The baking powder is really the only thing you can’t substitute. You can use any flour you like, gluten-free or whatnot. If you’re not vegan or don’t have flax on hand, sub in egg whites or chia seeds. You can use all water, or all almond milk, or any kind of milk you want. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can leave out the sweetener or you can use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey. And of course, any add-ins  and toppings you like! You can even play around with the texture. I love mine really thick and fluffy, so I make tiny, pillowy pancakes.

I’m sharing some of my favorite combos that I’ve made so far–all of them have been amazing and so much better than pancakes made from mixes!

Carrot cake pancakes made with oat flour and shredded carrot/fresh pineapple chunks/cinnamon/raisins, topped with peanut flour sauce and raisins.

PB&J pancakes made with peanut flour and topped with homemade strawberry jam and sunflower seed butter.

Cookie dough pancakes made with oat flour and chopped vegan chocolate chips, topped with honey vanilla agave syrup.

Tiramisu pancakes made with oat flour and Starbucks instant coffee powder, topped with homemade cashew ‘mascarpone’ cream, dusting dark cocoa powder and honey vanilla agave syrup.

Cashew ‘Mascarpone’ Cream (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in water overnight

2-3 T unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or plain)

5-6 drops liquid vanilla stevia, to taste

Drain water off cashews and pour into food processor or high powered blender. Add in almond milk and stevia and process until mostly smooth and creamy. Serve on top of pancakes/waffles, as a dip for fresh fruit or as sandwich filling. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Do you prefer pancakes, waffles or crepes? What are your favorite toppings for pancakes?

Saturday Seven: Oh, Fudge!

Let me just say that I loved all your responses to my WIAW post–you guys are the best, seriously, so thanks! I’ve been getting some…erm, weird, creepy and downright mean comments in my spam box but seeing all the supportive and nice comments from you all has really helped me brush off the anonymous negativity.

Anyway, I’m spending another weekend on campus, this one filled with tons of studying and homework, but at least I have a weekend at home to look forward to a week from now! I thought I’d do yet another Saturday Seven post because they’re just fun so here we go!

1. You can make fudge in a dorm room

Oats topped with peanut flour paste and frozen PB fudge cubes.

I know I complain a lot about not having the best food living in a dorm, but honestly, I’ve been making do and it’s not that horrible. I actually eat pretty similarly here and at home, just minus the extra cooking appliances like an oven, stove and food processor. However, I think this is my first real recipe that I’ve ever created in my room–and it rocks! I made two variations and I really love both. So simple, so tasty…make it now!

Frozen PB Fudge (vegan)

1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (I used Almond Breeze)

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1/2 tbsp peanut flour

sweetener, to taste (I used 2 packets of Truvia)

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Microwave for another 3o seconds and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray)

I was surprised how delicious these little fudgy cubes are. They’re a bit icy, but I don’t mind that. They’ve got a rich chocolate flavor from the combo of the chocolate almond milk and dark cocoa powder. And they’re a lot healthier than traditional fudge–low cal (about 40 for the entire batch!) and sugar-free (if you use a natural no-calorie sweetener like stevia or Truvia).

Frozen Vanilla PB Fudge (vegan)

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Pacific Naturals)

1/4 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Soytein)

1 tbsp peanut flour 

sweetener, to taste

Stir all ingredients in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; take out and stir til mostly mixed. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours (makes 1 small tray of fudge cubes or half a tray if you have a bigger tray). 

This combo is also super yummy and has about 8 grams of protein in the entire batch–not too shabby for ‘fudge’!

2. Snow is really pretty…as long as you don’t have to be out in it

The view from my room on Thursday night. Isn't it gorgeous out there?

I’ve lived most of my life in Colorado, so it’s safe to say I’ve been through my fair share of real winters. Almost 17, to be exact. Okay, okay, maybe they’re not as brutal as Midwestern or even Northeastern winters, but they can still be pretty rough. I used to love snow as a kid, because it meant sledding, hot cocoa and snow days. Now, it means cussing under my breath while trekking to class. Even last winter, when we had sub-zero temps (which never happen here!) my college was basically the only school in the state that didn’t close. Yeah, didn’t appreciate that. Anyway, this Thursday and Friday was supposed to be the mother of all winter storms. As far as I know, it snowed a ton in Denver and at my house, but not so much in my college town. It probably snowed 5 inches, which isn’t horrible, and the sidewalks were just a little slushy. But still, I hate having to be out in snow! Can it just be summer already?

3. I really love quick cardio circuits

Looks easy, but it's a really effective workout!

I am not the kind of girl who likes to hit the gym for a workout–I prefer fitting exercise into my day, like walking to classes (I walk for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week!), outdoor sports like tennis and biking or my personal favorite, shopping! What, it totally counts as cardio 😉 Because it’s winter, doing stuff outside is usually not an option, so I turn to cardio circuits I can do in my room. I love that they’re quick but they do give you a really good workout. I’m definitely sweating and my heart’s pumping after 15 minutes of these circuits. I typically do two different ones per day, as well as some yoga and walking to class. The one above is a new personal favorite, and I also love this free workouts app I have on my iPod that gives me a good full-body workout.

4. I’m obsessed with ordering food online

Still waiting impatiently for my kale chip order!

I ordered a Hugh Jass thing of peanut flour as soon as I got back from winter break (hey, I was running out!) and earlier this week I ordered some Natural Nacho Brad’s Raw Kale Chips. I’m really nervous that my order isn’t going through, since I got the confirmation email and it said that there’s a lot of demand for the chips at the moment…and then the other day, the charge was canceled on my credit card. I’m holding off on reordering for a few days so I don’t spend money that I don’t need to in case the shipping is just delayed. I can’t wait to get my hands on the kale though–I’ve heard good things about it!

5. I have 4 tests coming up in the next 2 weeks

So. True.

They’re not even midterms–I’ve only ever had two midterms in my year and a half in college, so I don’t know the awfulness that is midterm week. I’ve got a weather & climate test on Tuesday, a broadcast writing test on Valentine’s Day, an American environmental history essay exam on that Thursday, and a national parks history test the next day. Yikes, I hate having three tests in a week! It makes me think it’s finals week, which sadly it isn’t. Luckily, this semester I only have ONE final exam, so I guess it’s not too bad having so many tests back-to-back.

6. I don’t get Recipage

I just don't understand how it works!

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers using Recipage, and I think it looks really professional, so I set up an account and followed all the directions, but it didn’t create a Recipage on my blog! WTH? I don’t get what I did wrong, so for now, I’m still storing my recipes in a somewhat disorganized way on my Eats & More page. I really want to set up a Recipage at some point, so does anyone have any advice for me on how to make it work?

7. Naps are my new BFF

I can only hope to look this cute when I take a nap!

I don’t know what’s been up with me but lately, an afternoon nap has sounded so good to me. It’s not like I’m not sleeping enough at night–I get about 8 to 9 hours per night (I’m one of those people who needs that much to function) but I think it’s because my Tuesdays and Thursdays are crazy-busy. I have classes straight from 9:30-2 and by the time I get back, I just want to take an hour-long power nap. I’ve napped 3 times in the past week, and that’s just something I never do. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing right now since I’m getting used to having a crazier schedule, plus I feel so refreshed when I wake up.

Do you take naps? What do you think about snow?