It’s spring in Toronto. Days are longer, nights are shorter and the tulips and birds are making their appearance. This time of year has me wanting a refreshing, but satisfying breakfast.
Tea and homemade granola (my mango coconut granola post here) are two of my favourite things. So when Alokozay Tea asked me to create a recipe with their loose leaf earl grey tea, breakfast granola was the first thing that came to mind. I sipped this classic tea as I made the granola and what’s not to love about a food product that’s delicious and can be delivered to your door after easily ordering online? Earl grey tea traditionally has great floral and citrus notes so adding dried wild blueberries and lemon juice to the granola keeps it light tasting and extremely addictive. This recipe made enough for six generous servings over yogurt at home, plus two portions I gifted away to friends. Keeps well once completely cooled in an air tight container for two weeks, or freezes well.
wild blueberry earl grey granola
5 tbsp brewed Alokozay Earl Grey Loose Leaf tea
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 and 2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds or sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of half a small lemon
1 cup dried wild blueberries
Brew 1 heaping tablespoon of loose leaf earl grey tea to 2/3 cup of water. Mix wet ingredients and add to dry. (Leave out the blueberries.) Pour into a glass baking dish and bake on the middle rack at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes. (A dark metal pan can quickly burn granola, so use glass if you can, if all you have on hand is metal then reduce the heat to 250 degrees.) Stir every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in the dried wild blueberries. Let cool before storing. Delicious with plain yogurt or as a breakfast cereal. Enjoy!
Ps. Want a coupon for Alokozay Tea, Friendly Food Snobs? Check out this link. Alokozay Tea is available for purchase at Metro, Bulk Barn and Food Basics and Adonis.
I heard stories about a sweet potato smoothie. Cautious, yet optimistic I decided to try it out for myself. With this recipe I was hooked. Think less sweet potato-y, and more creamy and delicious smoothie. Perfect for cold winter mornings when you want the benefits of a smoothie, but need a break from the green ones. Enjoy!
sweet potato smoothie
1 large sweet potato (boiled or steamed and peeled)
2 medjool dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop protein powder (I like sprouted brown rice)
I boil the sweet potato the night before and peel it cold in the morning. Combine all ingredients in blender. Makes two beautiful servings.
Sundays often start with these gluten-free protein pancakes. Full of oats, egg, cinnamon and fruit they keep us full until lunch.
My dream Sunday starts with these pancakes and ends with a clean house, full fridge from a grocery shop and cup of peppermint tea sipped curled up on the couch. Between those two events, there’s a lot of room to slow down and feel joy.
This recipe has actually been taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard for years. It even moved into our new house with us. It’s a winner. Hope you enjoy them. Makes four large pancakes or eight small. I serve them with butter, fruit and maple syrup.
1/2 cup oats
1/2 all-purpose flour or gluten-free (I use Bob’s Red Mill Cup for Cup GF)
1 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
1 banana mashed
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/4 cup almond milk (or your fave milk, dairy works)
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon to taste
butter or coconut oil for cooking
Using one large bowl I mix all the wet ingredients, then add the dry in the same bowl and combine with a fork. You can also use a blender. Let batter sit for five minutes for optimal fluffiness. Heat a non stick pan and coat with butter or coconut oil. Using a large spoon scoop pancakes size drops of batter into pan. Flip once you see bubbles. These take a little longer to cook than regular white flour pancakes.
While I make these one by one, I keep the rest warm in a 200 degree oven. Feel free to add to the wet batter some fresh blueberries or a scoop of plant based protein powder for more protein. Hope you enjoy!
Fall’s arrived. Sweaters are being yanked out of storage and scarves are back. All I want is cozy.
Muffins made with squash, oats, nuts and coconut oil are perfect for chilly morning with a mug of something hot. Texture is crispy on the top and moist inside. They smell beautiful as they bake and to me, make the house feel warm and cozy.
You can easily swap out the squash for canned pumpkin puree, or baked sweet potato. You can’t even tell they’re squash, promise. Makes 12.
squash pecan muffins
1 cup mashed oven roasted acorn squash
3/4 cup all purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (use 2 tsp if using gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar (1/2 cup is delicious too and slightly less sweet)
2 tablespoon canola oil or coconut oil
*optional toppings: pepita seeds or more chopped pecans
Squash can be roasted in advance. Slice in half, remove seeds and bake at 375 degrees skin side down with a little water in a casserole dish for 1 hour. (Or use canned pumpkin puree if you want quick and easy!) Once squash cooked and cooled scoop it out and mash it in bowl you’re using for the wet ingredients. You only need one cup. I freeze the rest in a ziploc bag to add to a soup.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the muffin’s wet ingredients with brown sugar. Combine remaining dry ingredients. Mix together. Spoon into lined or greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with extra nuts or seeds if using. Bake for 22-25 minutes. (This is long, I know, but it needs it.)
Great with almond butter or regular butter for breakfast. Or drizzled with honey for dessert.
These little bars have no gluten, no baking time, require minimal effort and then they reward you with how loaded with protein and delicious they are. Love these recipes where the healthier version tastes so much better than store bought granola bars. Perfect for travel, lunches or general snacking needs. Use your food processor or a good quality blender. I use my blender on the same setting that crushes ice. Makes 12 bars. Let’s get started.
nut + date bars
1 cup unsalted almonds
½ cup unsalted pepita seeds
½ unsalted cashews
1 cup unsweetened cranberries
8 medjool dates pits removed
1 heaping tablespoon of room temperature coconut oil
Line an 8 by 8 or 9 by 9 pan with plastic wrap. The edges at the sides will help you lift out the bars. Pulse the almonds first. Add the pepita seeds, cashews and salt to pulse. Lastly blend in the remaining dates, cranberries and coconut oil. Tumble the mixture into the lined pan. Press down. Wrap it up and store in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight. When set, lift out and slice. Store in the fridge for 10 days or freeze for longer.
Experiment with what you have on hand. Raisins, orange zest, chocolate or crystallized ginger chunks would all be lovely additions. I make these as bars. But if there are little (or big) hands at home that want to help, they could easily be rolled into small balls, and then set in the fridge the same way. Thanks to my own mom and sees for this recipe inspiration!