Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free)

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This year was my third year to host Friendsgiving here in Kansas City.  The first year, we had 11 friends and no kids gather in our small home and bring an amazing assortment of food…including jello shots. Over the years, some friends have moved away and others have moved in. We love welcoming new friends into our hearts and home. This year was much bigger with 15 adults and six children, as many of our friends have become parents. No jello shots this year. Womp Womp. Although the dynamic was slightly different, the joy and love was tremendous.

Friendsgiving 2012

Friendsgiving 2014

Time management is key to hosting a low stress and enjoyable holiday party. By organizing my dishes and using slow cooking techniques, I was able to enjoy the beautiful day and amazing friends that came to our home.

I spent the day preparing for a full house in my tiny space. Since my kitchen and my oven is quite small, I chose to roast a 7-lb pork shoulder in a roasting oven (life saver), roast a 4-lb free range chicken in my oven, and cook my cornbread dressing in my slow cooker. During the great cooking adventure, I did lose a breaker and a fuse a few times (and ended up placing my slow cooker with the cornbread dressing in a spare bedroom!). But it all turned out great and I kept my wine glass FULL.

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So let’s get to this Cornbread Dressing, shall we?

Apples, Fennel, and Pecans! Yeeeeeeaaaas. And don’t forget sage!

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There are several parts of this dressing that can be made ahead of time. The Gluten Free Old Fashioned Cornbread can be made up to 2 days ahead. The aromatics in the dish (onions, celery, and fennel) can be braised in a little olive oil up to two days ahead of time as well. I mixed everything together and placed into my slow cooker and allowed to cook while I was getting other things together. This also kept the cornbread dressing warm until it was time to eat.

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 batch of old fashioned skillet cornbread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 bulb of fennel, slivered
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare cornbread at least one day ahead of time. Crumble up cornbread and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Allow to sit out at room temperature and dry out. Alternately, preheat oven to 250F and scatter cornbread in a single layer on the rimmed baking sheet and bake (stirring often) for about 1 hour or until the cornbread is dried out.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often, and beginning to soften. Add apple, pecans, and herbs. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in dried out cornbread and 1 1/2 cups of broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Spoon cornbread dressing mixture into a large slow cooker or crock pot. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Easy Gluten Free Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, I am preparing a two series post for my favorite Thanksgiving dish….cornbread dressing. Not stuffing. Dressssssing. What’s the diff, you ask?

Stuffing is stuffed inside your bird whereas dressing is a casserole cooked OUTSIDE your bird. Next, make that dressing with cornbread. None of this fancy BRIOCHE. What? Give me southern style cornbread dressing seasoned with plenty o sage!  YAAASSSS. But stay tuned, that’s my next post.

And for my next magic trick, I’ll make amazingly moist gluten-free cornbread. You ready??? aaaah. Put away those boxes of Iffy Jiffy. Serious. This is just as easy and better for you.  It’s perfect alongside chili, soup, and as a base for my Cornbread Dressing for Thanksgiving!  Oh and it’s fabulous with a dab of butter and some honey! holy Moses.

Gluten Free Corn Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So what is Old Fashioned Cornbread, you ask?

Welcome to cornbread 101!  I like to break cornbread (pun intended) into two different styles: Old Fashioned (or rather Southern Style) and Yankee Style (or Northern Style).

(1) Old fashioned cornbread is 100% cornmeal, buttermilk, and a touch of sweetener.

(2) Yankee style cornbread is a more cake-like cornbread that contains around 50% cornmeal, 50% all purpose flour, and a lot of sugar. Think yellow cake and Jiffy in cornbread Tender match. Good…but not cornbread to me.

I prefer a savory cornbread that tastes like CORNBREAD…not cake.

Old fashioned cornbread is also generally cooked in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, adding extra flavor. If you don’t have a skillet (put it on your christmas list and get one), you can easily make this cornbread in a buttered 8X8 pan. However, I should note that something magical happens when the skillet of cornbread is finished. You open that hot oven to an amazing smell of buttery cornbread. Pulling out a hot skillet of hot cornbread from an oven makes me feel close to my grandmother and a different generation that didn’t know about cell phones, and Facebook, and go go go. It makes me wish that she was here with me as I slather a hot wedge of cornbread with extra butter.

Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Easy Gluten Free Old Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups stone ground gluten-free cornmeal*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey*
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature), beaten
  • 1 1/4 buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place an 8-inch cast iron skillet into the preheating oven. (If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, butter an 8X8 baking dish and set aside.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, honey, and greek yogurt until combined.
  3. Remove preheated skillet from oven. Place butter in the skillet, swirl around and allow to melt.
  4. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined and no dry ingredients remain.  Mixture will be slightly lumpy.
  5. Pour batter into the skillet. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden brown. Test the doneness by placing a butter knife in the middle of the cornbread and removing it. It’s finished baking when the butter knife comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm!

*Notes:

  • For a more fluffy cake-like cornbread (yankee style), a half-cup of the cornmeal can be replaced with gluten-free flour such as oat flour, almond meal, rice flour, or a gf flour blend.
  • The honey can also be increased to one-fourth of a cup for a sweeter cornbread. I have also used maple syrup and coconut palm sugar with good results.
  • Buttermilk can be substituted with dairy or non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

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I have been in an alternate universe, my friends. A universe where people never sleep, the air smells like strawberry perfume, puke, and alcohol and no one seems to care that a burger costs $22. Ya….I speak of Vegas.

One of my oldest friends was getting hitched last weekend there. It was great to see him and his new wife as well as many old friends from college.  It’s funny getting back together with friends that you don’t see that often, but when you do see them, it is as if no time has passed. But then the problem is that I feel like I have to cram so much fun into a condensed time span.

So what do you get when you concentrate fun in Vegas?  Drinks that should never be THAT big, beer pong rallies (be sure close to your eyes when the ball hits the floor so that you don’t vom in your mouth), mechanical bull riding that felt like it lasted 10 minutes (I pulled a groin muscle doing this because I’m OLD), no sleep no sleep no sleep.  It took only 12 hours for me and my husband to quickly realize that we were in our mid 30s, not early 20s. Ouch.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As a result, mama is in major decompression mode. No bright lights, no floral smells, no alcohol, no loud noises. All I need right now is to be wrapped up in a blanket like a human burrito while I listen to soul music on the record player. Put it on repeat please.

I also need a massive helping of this warm comfy soup to combat the outside temps that are in the teens!

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 2 onions, sliced in 1/4-inch slivers
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place first six ingredients (stew through beef stock) in a crockpot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, stir arrowroot powder into sherry until a smooth paste is formed. Add sherry mixture to the crockpot and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins with Walnut-Oat Streusel

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Apples are here! And these Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins are healthy, delicious, moist, and sweet.

Similar to the way people are feeling about post season baseball around here is the way I feel about Apple Season.

APPLE SEASON is Post Season to me! Am I right?  Let’s get pumped, people! Summer is over and HELLOOOOO apples. Crunchy, juicy, sweet/tart Apples.

I could seriously OD on apples more than chocolate… weird, huh?  Seriously, I can’t be the only one who has fantasies about going apple picking and bringing home loads of perfect apples and then baking them up in pies, muffins, cobblers, a la mode, cinnamon-spiked applesauce, or, hell, just eating them fresh ALL the TIME.  I’m drooling right now.

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Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I also have to admit that I get SO overwhelmed with all the apple varieties. Holy pooh on a stick! How can you choose?  I’m on the hunt for some interesting varieties this year.  Here in Missouri, there are lots of apple orchards that allow you to pick your own. I’m a big fan of the local varieties of Jonathan, Ozark Gold, Goldrush, and Enterprise. These varieties are good for eating and baking, having sweet/tart flavors with plenty of crunch. They don’t mush up when baked, which is a plus as well.

I used a combination of Jonathan and Golden Delicious when I baked up these luscious Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, but any variety should be fine. However, depending on the quality of apples you have access to, the final flavor will vary slightly.

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I used a combination of two flours: gluten free oat flour and almond flour. I really like the balance of these two flours in muffins. The combo of these flours provide both fiber and protein, which are perfect for beginning your morning and staying satiated longer. And you get a great fall spice treat to start your day.

I used an interesting technique with these muffins. Instead of using store-bought applesauce, I created my own by pureeing one of the three apples in a food processor. After it was pureed, I then added the remaining two apples to the bowl of the food processor and pulsed the apples until they were chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can sub 1/2-cup of applesauce for one of the apples.

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Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And let’s also talk about this Walnut-Oat Streusel topping. Walnuts, oats, maple…mmmmm. You mustn’t skimp on this step, friends. Noo no no. Do this. I typically don’t top my muffins (because I’m lazy). But I took the extra 2 minutes (seriously…why do I not do this) and holy mama was it worth it.

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes prep / 40 minutes cook
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
  • Print

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour (ground from gluten free rolled oats or use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oat flour)
  • 1 cup almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 medium apples, cored and sliced in quarters
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt (or dairy free yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (or coconut oil)
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)

Walnut-Oat Streusel Topping Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rolled gluten free oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line or grease a 12-muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  2. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Combine Walnut-Oat Streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor, place pieces of one apple, greek yogurt, maple syrup, melted butter, and eggs.  Puree mixture until smooth. Add remaining pieces of two apples and pulse until the apples are in small chunks. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir mixture until just combined.
  5. Scoop 1/3-cup of batter into each lined muffin tin to 3/4 full. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly on each muffin. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until muffins are browned and cooked all the way through. Remove from oven. After 15 minutes, move muffins to a cooling rack.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My husband and I ran the KC half marathon this past Saturday. One of the best things about running in the early morning is getting to see the city wake up as the sun rises. You see a view that is typically missed while enjoying the coziness of bed. Chilly morning runs sound so much better, right? I’ll tell ya, that the early morning air was perfectly crisp for me. Plus the trees were all in full amazing bloom of color like they saved all their peak beauty just for us!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s crazy to realize that five years ago I completed the full marathon. *shudder* I will say that I definitely enjoy running half marathons MUCH better than full marathons….obvi. The full marathon is a torturous journey that I’m glad I did once…and will likely never repeat.  (Similar to trying to drink a pint of vinegar on a dare….great to do once, but never again.  Am I right?)

For some reason, I really like running half marathons. It’s a decent length of race to push my training and fitness level a little higher, while not ruining my life or body. Usually. This past training season I pulled a calf muscle three weeks ago but since I gave myself three weeks off from running, I was able to bust out the race. Needless to say, after running 13.1 miles this weekend, I’m in super recovery mode. Give me carbs, give me nutrients….more importantly, give me ice cream!

On Sunday, I did a lot of stretching, drank plenty of water, and worked in my yard enjoying the fall day. I also harvested the end of season crops and late bloomer tomatoes and peppers. I wasn’t sure what to do with my bounty until I remembered this delicious Smoky Red Pepper Soup in one of my favorite new cookbooks, Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasselbrink. I decided to adapt the soup a bit and roast the peppers and tomatoes in the oven together and whip up this nutrient-dense soup to aide my recovery. Winner winner.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This soup is the easiest thing I’ve done all weekend.  It is so easy since all of the vegetables are roasted together on a single baking sheet under a broiler.  Then all of the roasted vegetables are then pureed with spices in either a high speed blender or in a stockpot using an immersion blender. So easy I could sleep and do this. Maybe I am.

The broiler gives a great smoky flavor to the tomatoes and peppers. It is also spiced with both smoked paprika and chipotle powder which add extra smoky punch of flavor.  If you are sensitive to spice or serving this to lil tikes, then I would recommend skipping the chipotle powder since it is a bit spicy.  This is perfect as a main meal with a dollop of greek yogurt or served as a first course with this kale salad with garlic tahini dressing or this Peruvian Roasted Chicken.

Oooh….or grilled cheeeeeeese pleeeeeease.  Sorry folks. As you can tell I’m in carbo load mode.  I’ll get back to being a green machine tomorrow.

You don’t have to run a half or full marathon to deserve this soup. It’s easy, light, and provides your body the nutrients it needs to get through these fall days. Get on it!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (gluten free, paleo, and dairy free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: about 10 cups
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), quartered with seeds/membranes removed
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic (skins on)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 pounds of whole tomatoes (about 8 Roma tomatoes or 4 larger tomatoes)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional if you don’t like spicy dishes)
  • Optional toppings: plain greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, roasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Place oven rack in the upper portion of the oven about 6 to 8 inches from broiler.
  2. Place cut peppers skin side up, whole roma tomatoes, whole garlic, and quartered onions in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the top rack. Broil the veggies, watching carefully, for about 10 to 15 minutes until the pepper and tomato skins are mostly blackened on top.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the pepper skins by running them under running water. Peel and remove the skin from the garlic as well.
  4. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, heat the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, salt, and spices.  Puree the soup smooth using an immersion blender. This step also can be performed using a high speed blender or food processor.
  5. Serve soup topped with greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Note – Recipe adapted from Kimberley Hasselbrink’s Vibrant Food.

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My man and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last month.

Nine! Where did time go?

I am utterly surprised that my husband still looks at me with amazingly bright eyes and is still in love with me. For some reason he likes being married to a neurotic woman with an obsession for ketchup and oatmeal. Not together…separate. Anyways I digress, I really think I got the better end of the deal. He is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well, except at 5am when he sings random songs like “Highway to Hell” or “Baby Got Back”. (Really…we should have no singing rules until well after 8am, right? Right? or at LEAST after coffee!)

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But honestly, anniversaries like this remind me that time is passing so quickly. I hope that I can breathe in as many details of my life and not take things for granted.  I want to laugh more and not take things so seriously. (Except the singing before 8am…I take that very seriously.)

For our anniversary, my husband got me a Vitamix (the ridiculously amazing and over-the-top blender that does everything that you ever imagined, including make creamy nut butter, process ice cream, puree smooooooth soups, grind fine flours, clean your house, complement your hair, and check your email). This blender is sheer madness!!!!  She’s like a personal assistant…that is also your best friend and doesn’t annoy you…ever.

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

What was one of the first things I did with my Vitamix? No smoothies. I made oat flour and then made carrot and apple muffins. Ya, you heard me…muffins. Real muffins, not smoothie muffins. Well…I didn’t bake the muffins in the Vitamix.  C’mon! Ridiculous. That’s the next version…the easy bake Vitamix.

I created these quick gluten-free carrot and apple muffins by placing chunks of carrots and apples in the bottom of the high-speed blender and slowly processing them until they were finely shredded. It took 15 seconds! SECONDS! And you save your fingers! This step could also be done in a food processor, or with a grater.  But it won’t take 15 seconds….maybe 1 minute more. Not bad at all.

The resulting muffins are moist and delicate. They are perfect for breakfast. You could even top them with a cream cheese frosting and serve them as cupcakes for dessert. I will definitely be turning this recipe into a cake soon. Especially since I can cut down the prep time with my blender!

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Needless to say, although I thought that these high-speed blenders were a bit over the top, I’m not complaining that this beauty is now sitting on my counter waiting for me to make my next magical concoction.

Gluten Free Carrot-Apple Muffins

  • Servings: 9
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium apples, cored and cut into eighths
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup oat flour (from ground gluten-free rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces

Instruction

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place muffin liners in 9 cups of a muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Place carrots and apples in the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender. Process on low until carrot and apple are diced into fine pieces. Add eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, greek yogurt, and vanilla to food processor or blender. Process or pulse until everything is well mixed.
  3. Place all dry ingredients (except walnuts) in a separate large bowl and whisk together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir all together until just mixed and no dry ingredients remain. Stir in walnuts.
  4. Spoon about 1/4-cup portions into each muffin tin liner. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F, or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the center of a muffin. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days. May be frozen for up to 3 months.

Note – Recipe adapted from Edible Perspectives.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Granola is where it’s at people! I’m in deep smit with this stuff…. but first let me tell you about my week!

My life was relaxing and simple this past week. I spent four gloriously relaxing days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine with friends in a seaside house that my amazing friend Lisa rented. It’s her favorite happy place and I’m eternally grateful that she shared the experience.

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I would wake up to a crisp breeze and the smell of the ocean. I would meander downstairs to the side room where light poured in through the million windows that faced the ocean and side yard.  I relaxed with fresh coffee, cool air, and great company. Breakfast consisted of greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and a friend’s homemade granola. This was perfectly light and fresh and served as the perfect fuel for each day. Then we would begin our days with long and beautiful walks along the seaside, over the ocean-worn rocks, and through forested trails. We would end the days sitting on a seaside dock with cool breeze, fresh lobstahs, wine, and plenty of laughter. It was perfect.

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It’s ok to be jealous… I’m jealous of my memories. I want more of it. Four days wasn’t enough!

I was so thankful that my friend Susan brought her granola along to share! Everyone needs a great granola recipe in their pocket. It’s the perfect topping for yogurt and also a great portable snack to bring along hikes or…. to Maine! Never leave home without it. It should on the top of a list of the 10 essentials to bring on a trip….right up there with your compass. Am I right?

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I decided to share my person granola recipe that I have tweaked and twisted around through the years. I really like adding as many goodies in my granola as possible.  From batch to batch, they taste different depending on what I have on hand in my cupboards.  This recipe is an adaptation of many many many recipes that I have used over the years. The main twist is that I use a trick from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, where an egg white is used to retain large clusters in the granola. The protein in the egg white are a great binding agent and cut down on the amount of oil needed.

Also, I like to kick up the nuts and seeds ratio and lower the amount of sweetener. Nuts and seeds increase the protein content of the granola which helps keep you satiated and controls blood sugar spikes. This recipe also only has 1/2 cup of sweetener.  I prefer to use maple syrup as the sweetener because it adds a great warming aroma and flavor to the granola, while being a 100%-natural sweetener.  You could also use honey or coconut palm sugar.

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And let’s NOT forget about the spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and crystallized ginger are great additions, providing a warm punch of autumnal love to this healthy granola.  I added a handful of dried cranberries to the end mixture for great tart/sweet combo.  Dried cherries and/or dried apple chunks would also be great additions.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free) / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I love this granola in fist fulls or sprinkled on top of greek yogurt with fresh fruit or applesauce. I have also eaten it as homemade cereal.  It’s also an easy and quick dessert option sprinkled on baked fruit.

Cranberry, Ginger, and Maple Granola (Gluten Free)

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 cups assorted nuts and seeds (I like a variation/mixture of different nuts and seeds such as pistachios, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup diced candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients except egg white, cranberries, and candied ginger in a large bowl and mix well. Whisk the egg white in a separate small bowl until lightly frothy. Pour over granola and mix well.
  3. Spread out the granola mixture evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, lightly mix and try to not break up too many of the yummy granola clusters. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Mix in cranberries and candied ginger. Place in an airtight container and keep tasty for up to 3 weeks!

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