National Granola Bar Day

Granola Bars with oats and nuts on the tableThe United States is a country that is obsessed with food. Now that can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Today is another day of observing a food item. Yes today is – National Granola Bar Day.

A granola bar includes whole grains, like oats, and quinoa and barley are also used. There are also dried fruits and nuts. To sweeten the bar either honey, molasses, agave nectar or sugar syrup is used. There are a variety of combinations that can add flavor and nutrition.

Making granola bars is a simple task. You mix the ingredients which are then pressed into a baking pan, and later cut into bars.

Granola bars are a go to food, because of seen as a energy bar. The are conveniently carried on hiking trips or biking trails. The bars can be high, but despite that, they are a healthy alternative to a candy bar. Eating a granola bar as a snack is okay, as long as you are active so as to burn the calories.

Outside of the United States granola bars are known by several names, including flapjack, meusli bars and cereal bars.

Here’s our rendition of a all organic, gluten free, paleo approved Granola Bar, and the following is what you will need.

mixed oats, nuts, seeds, raisins, honey and coconut oil, black background, selective focus

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1cup wheat germ

1cup flax seed, slightly ground

14  cup sunflower seeds, optional to use sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds

1 cup almonds, sliced, these nuts can also be used cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias or pecans

1cup dry shredded coconut

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1cup honey, optional to use raw honey

4 tablespoons butter

1cup brown sugar

1 cup dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots, cherries, papaya, and prunes (optional to use fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds and almonds.

NOTE: If you chose to mix in another nut with the almonds, divide the nuts up into 1/2 cup servings, such as 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/2 cup of the nut of your choice.

Spread mixture out evenly over the baking sheet and toast for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Stir mixture once or twice, to evenly toast the grains.

NOTE: We slightly ground our flax seeds, as whole flax seeds can not be digested whole, therefore not receiving the benefits of the seed.

In a large bowl combine salt, coconut, cinnamon and dried fruits, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the vanilla, honey, butter and brown sugar. Stir continuously, bring mixture to a soft boil.

NOTE: You can use raw honey because of it dense nutritional content, but after baking the bars much of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will be destroyed from the high heat, therefore processed organic honey would be okay to use.

When oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to the same bowl with coconut mixture and stir to evenly combine, then add the honey mixture and stir to incorporate.

Line a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with waxed paper. Spread the mixture, using the back of a wooden spoon, pressing the mixture out over the waxed  paper evenly to create a smooth, even surface.

Place another piece of waxed paper over the top, pressing down to evenly compact the mixture.

NOTE: Compacting is important so the bars won’t fall apart when cut. You can place a smaller pan within the 9 X 13 inch baking pan to press the mixture out evenly. You can also use a large drinking glass, by rolling it over the wax paper.

Homemade Granola Bars on the tea cup backgroundCool, than refrigerate about 2 hours. Doing so ensures a clean cut. After cutting the baked granola into bars, wrap them in waxed paper and store in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.Ty can even be store in the freezer for up to between 6 to 8 months.

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Vegan Hot Chocolate

 

Vegan Hot ChocolateEating a vegan diet is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, and an associated philosophy that rejects the treatment of farming animals for food.

Being a vegan is clearly more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet, writes Christian at Medical News Today.  He also writes that the vegans lifestyle doesn’t use animal based products for clothing as well.

The magazine “Food Technology” published (October 2012) explaining that plant-based diet can either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type II, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (Science Daily).

Most who profess to be vegan do not eat honey at all. Though some may, as Sophia explains at Sophia Gubb’s Blog, stating, “As for the ethics of being a vegan who eats honey, I see it as somewhere between eating animals and eating plants. At times, I’m even unsure whether the harm to plants might be more intolerable. Bees, like plants, have short life cycles, making the death of a bee less tragic than the death of a long lived animal. I also get the feeling that the worker bees are made to be more expendable somehow than most animals are. They often die when attacking to defend their hive.”

To enjoy a delicious beverage that is vegan, doesn’t mean you have a practice the lifestyle, but rather just enjoy the flavorful ingredients that are simple and easy to purchase at your local market in the organic section.

Now for our featured beverage recipe – Vegan Hot Chocolate – and here is what you will need.

socking cashews in water1/4 cup raw cashews – soak overnight in fresh water
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao brew (or cacao powder)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

ingredients for Vegan Hot ChocolateWe used Nog coconut milk by SO Delicious with added cane sugar and nutmeg, as well as an organic raw honey with cinnamon. If you use the cacao brew, you will need to strain the hot chocolate, as cacao brew is grainy just like ground coffee beans.

adding raw honey

Place everything in a blender (we used our Nutri-Bullet), and blend thoroughly.

adding blended liquid to sauce potAdd to a small sauce pot bring to a boil around 165 degrees. Set aside to brew for 5 minutes, with a lid on the pot. Drain through a strainer (if using cacao brew).

Vegan Hot Chocolate - image 2Makes about 2 six ounce cups of hot chocolate. Enjoy the flavors and taste of Vegan Hot Chocolate.

Archaeologists discovered that cacao has been around for 3,500 years or possibly longer. The culture accredited with growing and harvesting cacao is the Olmec civilization dating back between 1500 B.C and 400 B.C.

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Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel which is sometimes confused with Anise, is one of the ingredients in this fresh salad.

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, that is documented as an herb, and all parts of the plant are eaten, were as with the Anise, only the seeds are used for consumption.

The fennel has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native plant to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Because of its highly aromatic smell and flavor, it has found its way, becoming naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Fennel has found its way into culinary dishes and the medicine cabinet, as it has medicinal uses as well.

The seeds are used whole or are ground into a powder and used in many culinary dishes of India, Pakistan, Ground fennel seedAfghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East.

Fennel seeds are the primary flavor component in Italian sausage.

Chinese Five Spice PowderThe Chinese also use the seed in their Five Spice Powder, which we personally use for our desserts that call for pumpkin pie spice.

Now for our featured recipe: Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, and here is what you will need.

4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens

4 cups basil, fresh

1 fennel, thinly sliced

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1 medium red onion, sliced

6 to 8 ounces goat cheese

1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked

Raw Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside. Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.

Wheat Berry cooking in olive oilToast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Building the Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese SaladStart building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.

illustration of chopping basilChop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air. It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time. As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil. The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad - close up

After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter. Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.

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Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil

Thai Chicken Stir fry with Holy Basil

Illness and conditions Holy Basil helps withHoly basil or Tulsi has medicinal properties. The leaves are used in Thailand for sharpen memory.

The leaves of holy basil are used during the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent.

The tender leaves are boiled with black tea, to use as a preventive against theses diseases.

A tea is also made from the leaves, and raw honey is added with fresh ginger as an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold.

These little green leaves can also reduce blood cholesterol. Holy basil is also used as an anti-stress remedy.

Recent studies have shown that chewing 12 leaves of holy basil basil, twice a day, can help to fight stress.

Now for our featured recipe: Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil

avocado oil for Asian cooking - Thai Chicken with Holy Basil

Healthy Cooking to 500 Degrees

Cook 1 cup of your favorite rice according to package instructions (use chicken broth in place of water, provides more flavor for the dish).

2 tbsp. avocado oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

8 ounces chicken breast, boneless and shredded into medium pieces

1 tbsp. red chili flakes

Red chili is a great source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin-A to sponge cell damaging free radicals. The chili also helps reduce Red Chili Flakesinflammation and reduces blood clotting.

2 handfuls of holy basil

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. raw sugar

2 tbsp. chicken stock

Heat a wok (or similar pan) over medium heat. Add oil and garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds or until you smell the aroma of the garlic.

Turn up the heat to medium-high. Next add the chicken, chilli flakes, half of the basil, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Now add the fish sauce, raw sugar, and stock. Mix in well. Stir-fry until chicken is oblique.

Turn the heat to low, and add the rest of the basil. Stir-fry the contents of the wok or pan 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Plate some rice and spoon on top some Stir-Fried Chicken with Holy Basil and enjoy.

 

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Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Another great cupcake recipe I found in the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

The muffins came out perfectly, so soft and moist! Dark chocolate and banana is a great flavor combination. You can bake this recipe into a dessert bread as well. Just pour the batter into a 9-inch bread pan and enjoy.

Dark cocoa according to Health News Library (HNL) has great health benefits, like potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron in high concentrations. You know what that means, right? Dark Chocolate is great for your heart and lowering high blood pressure.

HNL states, “The copper and potassium help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular disease. The iron protects against anemia, and magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease” (read more here: Dark Chocolate Helping with Health Concerns).

Now for the featured recipe: Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk (we forgot to add this to the cutting board)

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 bananas, peeled

Honey for topping

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

 

Grease twelve 2 ½ -inch muffin cups; set aside.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

 

In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and butter. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened.

 

bananas cut for topping Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Peel and trim ends from bananas and cut each into 6 pieces. You should do this before mixing dry ingredients in with the wet. Once the wet ingredients hits the dry portion, it activates the soda. As a rule of thumb, once you have mixed the wet and dry together, get it in the oven as soon as possible.

Next, spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full and press a banana piece into each prepared cupcake batter, but the banana should not be covered completely, only push in half way.

Now the next part says to drizzle with honey, then bake for 15 minutes. But it is not recommended to heat honey above 100 degrees, it kills the enzymes that benefit good health.

Ask A Scientist says, “Honey bees keep the temperature of their brood nest at just under 100 degrees. Many figure that honey should not be raised above this temperature to preserve many of its good qualities. If honey is heated above that, there is disagreement on what the temperature is at which the helpful enzymes are damaged. It is likely in the 120 to 140 range.”

They go on to say, “Honey distributed by large distributors and sold in larger stores is usually heated to 180 degrees.This is to dissolve even the smallest crystals that might act as “seeds” that promote crystallization. Although crystallization does not harm the honey in any way, it is considered less desirable (in the US but not necessarily abroad). The enzymes that are not visible are sacrificed for the sake of “good” looks.”

Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we use raw honey, in its whole form. To liquefy the honey: boil some water in a sauce pan. Place the amount of honey you want to liquefy into a small glass jar and dip the jar into the hot water. The honey will soften and become runny, but will not heat to above 100 degrees.

 

 

cooling Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Now bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until tops are firm, then remove and cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

 

 

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins (end article)

 

Remove from muffin cups. Drizzle with honey and serve warm. Here we drizzled with raw honey. As a side note, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar dosen’t sweeten the muffins to well. But adding the honey will sweeten every bite. If you don’t wish to drizzle with honey, increase your dark brown sugar to add the sweetness you desire. Enjoy!!

 

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Honey Has Healing Power

Honey Has Healing Power

Honey has many uses in our lives. We my use it to sweeten our coffee or tea. We may use it as a substitute for sweetening our food creations, either it be cooking or baking.

Splendid Recipes did post an article: Cooking with Honey – The Healthy Sweetener.

Are you aware of the healing powers of honey? You may think of the most popular one, being used as a cough remedy. But there are a lot more.

Here is an article from the Health News library I thought you would enjoy: The Healing Powers of Honey.

The article goes on to say:

When you go to the grocery store, you see an entire shelf dedicated to various types of honey. One of the great things about honey is how good is tastes.

If you have heard about the power of honey as a healing remedy, it’s important to note that it is found with raw honey. Raw honey has not been “sterilized” with high heat, and it has not had anything added to it…READ MORE

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Check out our Desserts and if you wish to substitute the sugar for honey, do the following:

use 13th/16th of a  cup of honey — that’s 1 cup minus 3 tablespoons. Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.

You’ll also find some vinaigrette‘s here that use honey or sugar that you can substitute for honey: Vinaigrette’s to Complete Your Salad.

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Remember the healing powers of honey, it has medicinal qualities, it kills germs, soothes burns, fights coughs, helps heal wounds, helps with dry skin. That’s the power of honey.

Read the article here The Healing Power of Honey.

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