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Posts Tagged ‘applesauce’

Growing up, Sunday mornings meant cold cereal. We looked forward to those mornings because our parents made them special. We never ate cold cereal any other day of the week, just Sundays before church. The rest of the week Mom cooked us pancakes, waffles, hash-browns and eggs, applesauce oatmeal, Scottish oatmeal, Cream of Wheat or breakfast burritos. I laugh now, remembering that we thought the processed, boxed cereal beat out the other homemade treats. Strange kids. Now I prefer any other option, including oatmeal, but with that silly thing called a job, I find few mornings with time for measuring cups, sauté pans or even boiling water. I just don’t like getting up any earlier than I need to! So, I typically make the most important meal of the day a bowl of granola. But, have you ever read the ingredients on a box of the stuff? And the healthier options just get me even further into debt. My version below includes olive oil, flax seeds, maple syrup, all my favorite ingredients! I added applesauce to reduce the fat content (plus, the applesauce really helps to create wonderful clumps, the best part!), and used maple syrup and honey as the sweeteners. And I know with every bite exactly what I am getting.

Granola - Before baking

I love that you can really make a granola recipe your own, as long as you keep the proportions of liquid to dry ingredients correct. Feel free to experiment! That is the best part of cooking. I didn’t add dried fruit to mine because I just don’t like it that much, but definitely add some if you are a fan!

Cinnamon-Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 cup Scottish oatmeal (you can substitute quick oats, or just add more rolled oats. Do not use steel-cut oats)

1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal

1/2 cup golden flax seeds

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup applesauce, very smooth (I used my recipe and pureed the applesauce in a food processor. Chunky applesauce is yummy, but doesn’t work as well as an oil substitute!)

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, spices, salt, coconut, Scottish oatmeal, flaxseed meal, flax seeds and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. The granola should be very golden brown when done. If you like it extra clumpy, as soon as you remove it from the oven, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the granola and press down firmly and evenly. Remove the parchment and let the granola cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Granola - After baking

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I hate peeling. Anything. Anything at all. I will cut up fruits, veggies and meats all day long, but I cannot stand peeling. Not a great thing, considering my profession. Dishwashers and prep cooks peel for me at work. But who peels at home? Well, usually, no one. I buy mostly Yukon gold potatoes and use them skin-on, the same for apples, pears, and almost anything else. Even carrots I cut up to use in stocks or sauces, peel on. Most of the nutrients reside on the outer surfaces of produce anyway, so my laziness translates into more nutrition for me! Yay! I really do prefer the taste and texture of fruits and vegetables with the peel on, in most instances. But, through experimentation I found one item in which the peel only takes away from the result. Applesauce. I do not mean the nasty baby food purée sold in jars on supermarket shelves. Gross. I mean homemade, tart and chunky applesauce with just the right amount of cinnamon. Unsweetened and untouched by chemical processes. If only someone would peel the apples for me. A freezer full of homemade applesauce waiting for me year-round? Heaven. I remember helping my mom with this freezer staple on sweltering summer and early fall days. Fine, “helping”. My definition of help included whining about how much I hated peeling apples, moping, and taking early tasters from the finished batches. Mom did not especially appreciate this kind of help. She told me if I wanted to snack, to make my own applesauce and not eat the batches she just slaved over. She also reminded me of how much I enjoyed eating the applesauce on my pancakes, waffles and french toast during the winter months. If I wanted to partake of those treats in the season where produce only comes from the grocery store, I must help her. I grudgingly agreed, and proceeded to sulk as I peeled endless mounds of green, red and yellow fruit. I appreciated all this effort when breakfast time arrived, and a pile of oatmeal pancakes topped with applesauce appeared on the table. Just hard to remember when elbow deep in apple peelings. Mom always microwaved the batches, but I remember how many boil-over issues this caused, which also led to the dreaded microwave cleaning. Ever tried to scrub cooked-on apple bits from the inside of a box? I do not recommend it. I prefer the stove top version. More time-consuming, but less mess. I love this applesauce stirred into oatmeal, as a sweetener for granola, with yogurt, breakfast foods (as mentioned before), topped with toasted nuts or simply by the spoonful. Not even close to the store-bought version, and outside of the peeling, very easy as well.

Cinnamon Applesauce

Yields 4 servings (If you can share!)

4 ea apples (I used organic Fuji apples, but almost any tart apple works. Combinations work best. Granny Smith, Gravenstein, etc. Just please do not use Red Delicious. More like Red Flavorless)

1 cup water

1 tsp cinnamon

Peel and quarter the apples. Core the quarters and cut each quarter into four pieces. Add apple pieces to a large pot. Add water and cook covered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples soften and mush when stirred. Add more water if necessary. The cooking process can take up to an hour and a half, just be patient and keep and eye on the pot. Add the cinnamon and stir well. Remove from heat, cool slightly and serve immediately. The applesauce can also be made in large batches and refrigerated or frozen. Great to make when apples are plentiful in the summer and fall.

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