maple granola

CIMG3025

Since I’ve been working a regular job with regular hours, finding breakfast foods that are healthy, filling, and quick to throw together in the morning is something I’ve been working on. I’m pretty much a zombie until I make it to my office, so I need breakfast foods that don’t require a lot of mental energy to transform into something edible. I’ve tried fried eggs on multigrain toast, for example, but frying eggs without breaking or overcooking the yolk is too much to ask of myself when I’ve just rolled out of bed.

CIMG2964

So this granola, from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen cookbook (which has been receiving very deserved praise from various corners of the internet since its publication a few months ago) turned out to fit my breakfast needs in pretty much every way. I can make a batch during the weekend that will get me through about two weeks. It takes no effort at all to pair with some yogurt on my weekday mornings. It has lots of healthy stuff, from oats to coconut flakes to pecans to dried cherries, and very little added sugar (some maple syrup to make it sweet, but really not very much at all). I’ve been eating it for breakfast for months now, and I’m still not sick of it.

CIMG2983

It’s so, so easy to make – you basically throw everything into a bowl, give it a few stirs, spread it on a baking sheet and bake for a little under an hour, and, voilà, you have breakfast ready for two weeks, minus the cost, additives, and excessive sugar of anything you might buy pre-made at the grocery store. Writing this is even making me ready for my alarm clock to start bleeping obnoxiously at 6:30 tomorrow morning (which is definitely weird) just so I can enjoy my granola again.  Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

hummus

I’ve been searching for a good hummus recipe for several years now, and have tried quite a few along the way that didn’t make the cut – one was too acidic, another just plain bland. I’ve eaten hummus at many different restaurants and always liked it, and I’ve even enjoyed the mass-produced stuff from the grocery store, so it seemed like it shouldn’t be that hard to find a decent recipe. Much thanks (again) to Cook’s Illustrated, I finally have. I’m not quite sure what made the difference in this recipe – I think it uses a lot more tahini than previous ones. The others I used were also more high maintenance, calling for dried chickpeas that then had to be soaked and cooked down for hours, which was very tiresome, but the recipes claimed that the outcome would be far superior to any recipe involving canned chickpeas. I trusted them, and was let down despite all my hard chickpea-soaking labor.

This recipe calls for canned chickpeas, and is thus much faster, much less annoying to make, and, most importantly, much creamier (I know some people like chunky hummus, but I am not one of those people). It has just the balance of flavors I was looking for, along with the right texture, and thus my quest for the perfect basic hummus recipe is now ended. I am trying to make more healthy homemade snacks to have around whenever I get sudden snacking urges. It doesn’t take all that much work to whip up some hummus or salsa, and then when you get hungry in the afternoon, your healthy snack is already there, waiting for you, reaching out a helping hand to keep you from eating something processed and full of weird artificial crap – or if you forget about it (as I often seem to do with homemade healthy snacks) and let it mold, it may actually reach out a real and not metaphorical helping hand…

For what it’s worth, the weird artificial crap may never mold, which is even scarier. And to move away from that creepy image, I’ll end this little discussion with a nice (non-moldy) picture, before we get to the recipe.

Read the rest of this entry »