When I first started this blog, I worried that I’d run out of ideas eventually. I looked at other blogs, I thought about cookbook authors who wrote multiple books and I wondered how they could possibly have developed so many recipes.
I had contemplated starting a blog for over a year before I finally did and during that time I started writing down everything I made. By the time I started the blog I had a pretty good list of written recipes to start from, and continued to have ideas. Lately though, the ideas have been pouring in faster than I can keep up with them. I wake up with ideas, I go to bed with ideas, I dream of ideas. I think of ingredient concoctions on the way to work, waiting for the tram, reading restaurant menus, at the supermarket, you name it, it motivates me and inspires a new recipe. I feel blessed to have all of this creative energy, inspiration and motivation and I can only hope it lasts.
I have truly never felt this inspired and motivated by anything in my life. I always used to say that I was the “Jill of all trades, the mistress of none”. I’ve always been relatively good at everything I do, because I don’t give up easily and I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve never felt like I was great at anything until now. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, I finally feel like I have a talent and a creative outlet through this blog and my holistic nutrition study.
In my last post, I spoke about change, finally finding my passion and working towards doing something I love. I truly believe that this was the secret to tapping into and nurturing my creative side. I finally feel like I am in my element, like never before, in any other “job” I have ever done.
That said, I present you my latest concoction from the tiny Harmony à la Carte kitchen in the center of Milan, where my ideas are transformed into reality.
This oil free, refined sugar free and Fragrant Amaranth Granola is aromatic and flavourful and truly delicious. It can easily be made “senza glutine” if Gluten Free Certified Oats are used and nut free if the pistachios are left out. They key to this granola as you may have guessed is the combination of tahini and orange blossom water, a match made in granola heaven. It’s refreshing, comforting and brightens up your morning. It’s delicious with homemade almond milk, plain rice milk, or oat milk, with or without berries, makes a great crunchy topping to oatmeal or almond butter toast with fresh blueberries (yes I’ve gone there) and amazing with a thick greek style yogurt and fresh berries. I haven’t braved making my own yet non dairy yogurt yet, but I did buy some Kefir Yogurt Starter the other day though, so I see some yogurt in my futur. Stay tuned.
I’ve talked about amaranth in a few other posts. I love this naturally gluten
free pseudograin. It’s malty when cooked and light and airy when puffed. It makes a great breakfast porridge or granola bar. It also makes a great addition to soups or can be cooked along with brown rice (1/4 cup of Amaranth for every cup of rice) to give it a distinct flavour and texture.
Besides the wonderful flavour and texture, Amaranth has many health benefits as well. It is not actually a grain, but rather a seed that is used like a grain, much like quinoa. It is from the same family as beets, spinach and swiss chard and has many of the same nutritional characteristics as these vegetables. It’s an excellent source of plant protein, particularly the amino acid Lysine, which is not usually found in plants and is also good source of calcium, dietary fiber, B complex vitamins, particularly B6 and Folate, and iron.
Fragrant Amaranth Granola with Orange Blossom & Tahini
This oil free, refined sugar free granola is made with naturally gluten free and nutrient rich puffed Amaranth and rolled oats and infused with the aroma and flavour of Orange Blossom Water and Tahini. Crushed pistachios and cranberries are added for extra flavour and texture to round out the granola.
- 1 C Rolled Oats (used certified gluten free if necessary)
- 1 1/2 C Popped Amaranth
- 1/2 Tsp Pure Bourbon Vanilla
- 1/3 C Crushed Raw Pistachios
- 1/3 C Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 C Maple Syrup or Brown Rice Malt Syrup*
- 1/4 C Tahini (runny, middle eastern tahini, not thick tahini butter)
- 1 Tsp Orange Blossom Water or Rose Water
*Brown rice malt syrup is a great fructose free liquid sweetener made up of mostly maltose and some glucose. It takes 90 minutes for our bodies to digest it, acting much like a complex carb and causing less blood sugar spikes. It also has a mild sweetness level in comparison to other liquid sweeteners.
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- Combine rolled oats, popped amaranth, vanilla and pistachios in a large bowl
- In a small pot over low heat, combine maple or brown rice syrup and tahini until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in orange blossom or rose water.
- Pour liquid mixture over dry mixture and stir with a spatula to combine. It should start to stick together loosely at this point.
- Spread mixture in a single flat compact layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake on center rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, break up into large chunks and flip. Return to oven and continue to bake for about 5 minutes then give it a good stir, at this point you should have nice clumps of granola, and return it to oven for an additional 5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it. It should turn to a golden colour, but you don’t want it to brown too much or burn. Bake times may vary by oven so adjust as required.
- Remove from oven, stir in cranberries (you could chose to bake the cranberries as well, but they will harden a bit as the granola cools, so it’s best to stir them in afterward if you want them to stay soft).
- Let cool complete and store in air tight jars for optimal freshness. It should keep for a couple of weeks, if you don’t eat it all first.