Grain-Free Chocolate Crunch

by Susan on February 5, 2016

I have a rather dangerous relationship with all things resembling homemade granola. Basically, I inhale it while I’m making it, while it’s supposed to be cooling and for as long as it lasts afterward.

Since I have a soft spot for the stuff, I tend to not make it too often. I also try to minimize my grain intake, so prefer to make nontraditional granola using nuts and seeds in lieu of oats. This “crunch” is based on a Cooking Light recipe I used to make years ago, adapted to suit. If preferred, you can make it as originally written (click through the link).

My adaptation of this treat is grain and dairy-free.

Grain-Free Chocolate Crunch
adapted from Cooking Light

3 cups raw mixed nuts
1 cup seeds (I used sunflower seeds and hemp hearts)
1/2 cup packed palm sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. bittersweet (at least 60% cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries (ideally juice-sweetened)

Preheat oven to 300°.

Cover a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper.

Combine nuts, seeds, palm sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl.

Combine honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat; cook 2 minutes or until warm. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and chocolate; stir with a whisk until smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture over nut mixture. Gently mix chocolate mixture and nut mixture until combined (I used a silicone spatula).

Spread mixture onto prepared jelly-roll pan. Bake at 300° for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Cool completely on pan; stir in cranberries.

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Asian “Zoodles”

by Susan on February 4, 2016

Asian "zoodles"

I haven’t broken out the spiralizer in a while, so thought a veggie noodles recipe was overdue. I went a little crazy and threw some butternut and sweet potato into the mix, so I suppose it’s wrong to call my dish “noodles.” Zucchini is the easiest to spiralize, though, and the “z” makes for a much more fun name to say. So make this one with whatever veggie noodles you want, as I’m sure it will be delicious however prepared.

I made this one with almond butter because that’s what I had on hand, but any nut butter would work. If you have a nut allergy, stick to sunflower seed butter and top it off with sesame seeds rather than almonds. You can also tinker with the heat by using more sriracha (I kicked mine up by drizzling some on top).

While I usually include some kind of protein with dishes like this, I actually ate mine as written for an easy meal that was both gluten-free and vegan. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Asian “Zoodles”

2 zucchinis, spiralized
1 tbs. coconut or olive oil
2 chopped green onions (or 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped)
2 tbs. water
3 tbs. almond or sunflower seed butter
1 tbs. gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp. natural sweetener (stevia, honey, etc.)
1 tsp. sriracha
possible toppings: sliced almonds, sesame seeds, minced cilantro)

Put spiralized noodles into a colander over the sink. Sprinkle with a little salt and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes for excess water to “sweat” out.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. While onion is cooking, combine water, nut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sweetener and sriracha in a small bowl.

Lower heat under skillet and add nut butter mixture. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until thick and smooth. Add spiralized zucchini and toss to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes more to soften the zucchini.

Remove from heat and taste for seasoning. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

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