Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Cereal was more of a snack than a breakfast for me as a kid. I had no taste for milk and preferred to eat my cereal dry, from a ziplock bag. Further, I didn't even like to eat breakfast. Instead, I enjoyed sugary puffs of oats and other cereals as a mid-morning treat when not eating breakfast finally caught up to me, or after school, when it was easy to grab the box and munch away.

I don't miss cereal often, I think just for that reason: it was never a fixed item in agenda, nor was a bowl of cereal and milk all that crave-able. But when I start thinking about parfaits--about the soft sweetness and gentle crunch that granola adds to a bowl of yogurt- then I'm in for. 

Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Granola is arguably yogurt's best friend, right next to fresh blueberries. It adds just the right texture to something that is otherwise in need of a bit of bite, and add a sweet flavor that is worth craving. 

When I got a package of mulberries in the mail from Anthony's Goods, I knew right when they were headed: homemade grain-free granola! Perfect parfait, here I come. 

Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola
Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Made with coconut and slivered almonds, I knew this granola would be crunchy. What surprised me was how the mulberries became perfect little cereal puffs when toasted: lightly sweet and fruity, crunchy (but also puff), and the key ingredient to making this Paleo-friendly granola the best I've ever tried. 

Moral of the story: mulberries. 

Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Grain-Free Mulberry Nut Granola

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

Mulberries turn into puffy, crunchy bites when toasted in this granola. When paired with coconut and almonds, it makes a delicious cereal!

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dates, whole
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup mulberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon cardamom
  • Dash salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Then, remove the pits from the dates if they are not already pitted. Place pitted dates in bowl of food processor and pulse until the dats are minced and for sticky crumbs. Add the spices and salt to the food processor and pulse until combined.
  2. Add the coconut to the food processor, and pulse 1-2 times, just enough to combine the coconut with the date paste (we don’t want to grind the coconut up too small, just mix it in). Repeat with the slivered almonds.
  3. Scrape mixture into small bowl and fold in mulberries. Turn mixture out on baking sheet and break apart into small chunks (like crumble). Bake for 8-10 minutes, until coconut is golden and almonds are toasted. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving over yogurt to make a parfait, or serving with milk of choice as cereal.

Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean salad

It started when I was in high school: my core group of friends began doing dinners together for special occasions--birthdays, prom, etc. Most dinners had a similar landscape, including a main pasta dish with some sort of protein, a salad, and dessert (cheesecake). And Being a lover of cooking and feeling at home in the kitchen, I helped with all three dishes. But, one of those nights, I was proclaimed the Official Salad Maker. 

Now I sort of thought, salad... boooooring. But they said look, you can even make salad taste good, and that's crazy! So I moved on with no complaints. I guess it was a compliment.

Mediterranean salad

Flash forward to 2016 and I'm the first to bring a salad to a party. No one is bringing salad? Don't you worry! Official Salad Maker to the rescue! (I no longer use that title, but somehow, I can't help but be the salad bearer to this day).

I have left many of my old hat tricks for salads in the dark and moved on to more innovative efforts. Candied pecans are out and extravagant ingredients from the antipasti isle are in. So are homemade vinaigrettes. Those jarred roasted red peppers in the ethnic foods section? To die for! Why don't we put those on more things? This salad doesn't last long on a table.

Mediterranean salad

Mediterranean Salad

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This salad has so many delicious ingreidents--it will be everyone's favorite!

Serves: 5   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 heart of romaine
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin (found in near the olives and pickles or in the Italian section in the store)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • Sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Sprinkle of dried basil
  • Roasted red pepper dressing (I used a store-bought version)

Directions:

  1. First, wash and dry the romain using a salad spinner. Then, chopped the ingredients: chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces; drain and dice the red peppers, drain and halve the olives; if you prefer, peel the cucumber, and then dice.
  2. Arrange the ingredients on a serving tray in rows, including 1 row for crumbled feta cheese. Lightly sprinkle salad with herbs.
  3. When serving, drizzle with dressing to taste, and then toss salad until everything is well mixed.

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

The first time I made Nanaimo Bars, I had no idea what I was in for. It was an assignment, per say, and I was just along for the ride. Guys, I'm just going to spoil the story now and tell you that in this case, trusting in the journey was the right move --> those bars were amazing. 

A few months later I made Nanaimo Bars again, but this time it was my own inspiration that got me in the kitchen. I want to put a little twist on the classic Canadian dessert. I added lime zest to the custardy filling and topped each slice with candied lime peel. Those bars were 💛💚💛💚💛.

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

So of course I didn't just move on when I dropped grains from my diet: I found a way to make a whole-food, real-deal Nanaimo Bar. One that uses unrefined sweeteners (maple syrup nonetheless, to make these Canadian bars even more Canadian!), grain-free flours, and no custard powder (which is a key ingredient in most Nanaimo Bars), and real cocoa powder (I used this cocoa powder, from Anthony's Goods). 

If you're guessing that these real-deal bars are even better than that first batch I ever made, you're right! 💯 There is no reason to go back to the other bars. 

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)
Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This dessert is a traditional Canadian dessert. My spin used grain-free flours and maple syrup, for real-deal flavor.

Serves: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

    Base layer:
  • 1-1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

  • Middle Layer:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 sticks butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pats

  • Top Layer:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare your baking pan: line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment, or grease it well with coconut oil. Then, prepare the base layer: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Then, stir in the melted coconut oil and the honey until a consistent dough forms. Press dough into 9x9 pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set on cool wrack.
  2. Next, make the middle layer: whisk the egg yolk until frothy in a medium-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Pour the maple syrup into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil until a candy thermometer reads 240°F or the syrup just begins to reach the soft ball stage (drop a bit of syrup into a glass of cold water—the syrup should stay as a drop, rather than dissolving immediately into the water, however it should be moldable between your fingers). For the next part, move quickly: while beating the egg yolk with an electric mixer, slowly pour the maple syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Doing this slowly will allow you to whisk the syrup in with out getting scrambled eggs! Once the syrup has been poured in, continue to beat for 5 more minutes. Then, add the butter 1 pat at a time to the bowl, beating the whole time. Once the pat is creamed into the maple mixture, add another. Repeat until all of the butter is creamed in and the frosting is fluffy.
  3. Wait until the base layer is 100% cool to the touch before adding the frosting (I let mine cool in the fridge for several hours). Then, spread the frosting over the cookie layer. Place in freezer.
  4. Finally, make the topping: melt coconut oil and maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Once melted, whisk in cocoa powder. Set aside to cool at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove bars from the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over top, gently spreading it around so that the entire top is covered. Return to freezer for 15 more minutes before slicing into squares and serving. Store in freezer in air-tight container.