Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

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Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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I still remember the first time that I tried rhubarb.  It was probably 10 years ago. I had wanted to try it, but just hadn’t had the chance (I guess) living in suburbia Oklahoma and just didn’t have the inclination to go hunt for it.

But one summer night, I was out working a 12 hour shift doing field work for my Master’s degree and my husband was babysitting my littlest sister who was only 6 at the time. Since they are both the adventurous type, and neither of them really knew how to cook…. they decided to make me a rhubarb cobbler as a surprise treat for when I got home.

I was so surprised when I walked in the door and smelled that amazing smell. It was seriously the best cobbler I had ever eaten. (Maybe it was because I had just worked 12 long hours in the hot summer sun.) But it really was the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. Just like my husband and my sister Olivia. Sweet and tart! 🙂  They began my obsession with this fabulous spring plant…ooooh rhubarb!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Since that first magical cobbler that they made for me ten years ago, I have had quite a love affair with rhubarb. Rhubarb is a perennial that will come back year after year when planted in a good location. My rhubarb plant always lets me know when spring is near, because it begins to sprout its long stalks and leaves when temps rise above 40 F.

Rhubarb can be used in so many recipes: tarts, cobblers, pies, salsa, sauces, and this amazing curd! Yeaaaaaaaaah. Curd doesn’t have to be reserved for citrus! This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd is hands down my favorite. I decided to add some frozen strawberries that I had in order to boost the pink color of the curd.  Feel free to adjust the ratio of rhubarb to strawberries to suit your own tastes.

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd can easily be used to fill a pie or tart crust for an easy dessert. The extra egg whites can be whipped up as a meringue for the top too! I went the easy route this time and I mixed mine in greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast and midday snack! Either way, I know that this will be a favorite for all you rhubarb lovers!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 5 trimmed stalks)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs, yolks separated (reserve whites for another use)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan placed over medium heat, cook rhubarb, strawberries, water, and 3 tablespoons of honey for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and smashing the fruit with the back of spoon. Mixture will begin to fall apart and look mushy. Turn off heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and the honey together until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs slowly. Slowly add the rhubarb and strawberry mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined.
  4. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly with either a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened to jelly consistency, about 10-12 minutes.  Do not let the curd boil! Pull the pan off the stove before it gets to that stage. The curd is done when it coats the back of a spatula or leaves a clear path when pulled through the mixture.
  5. Remove from heat allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour curd mixture into a clean glass jar, but let it cool completely before you screw on the lid. You can even place the filled jar in the freezer (without the lid) for about 15 minutes and then remove from freezer and place the lid on the jar. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Note – Recipe adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal.

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce (Gluten Free)

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

I really have to admit that, honestly, this Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce is one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made.

Honestly. Ever. I don’t know whether the magic of the sauce is from the morels or from the sherry-based sauce..or the heavy cream. Who knows. It’s good. Real good.

I came home to a huge bag of fresh picked morel mushrooms on my doorstep! A friend of mine foraged for them and thankfully decided to share his treasure! These puppies can go for as much as $40 per pound! We are eating like royalty over here!

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

With such a large bundle of morel mushroom-delights, I decided to prepare a recipe that was provincial and special: a french morel mushroom sauce.  This sauce deserves a trumpet of announcement. It deserves to be served in a bowl with amazing a crusty baguette, if you can have it. Sop it up. Don’t waste this sauce. With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream added at the end, the sauce is not heavy but it is substantial. I also think that adding champagne vinegar or lemon juice at the end really brings this sauce home with a small acidic kick.

Note – If you are unable to get fresh morel mushrooms, either substitute the mushrooms for equal quantity of cremini or shiitake OR go online and purchase about 2 oz of dry morels. If using dry morels, you will need to rehydrate them. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and add the morels to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms out of the soaking liquid using a slotted spoon, gently squeezing out the excess liquid back into the saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid. 

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs or breasts (skin removed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion or shallot
  • 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed and cut in half if large (this is how I wash my morels)*
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper up to one day in advance.
  2. Add olive oil (or butter) in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet bone side up, and cook about 6 minutes per side, turning once.  Allow the chicken to become golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  3. Lower the heat to medium. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add onion (or shallots). Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add washed morel mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the mushrooms to a separate plate. Add dry sherry to skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sherry to reduce by half (about 2 minutes). Add chicken stock and chicken to skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the skillet with a lid placed slightly ajar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check chicken after 20 minutes. After cooked through, transfer the chicken to a platter.
  4. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet. Add cream, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter. Sprinkle with additional cracked pepper and fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes – recipe adapted from here and here.

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

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We all need a little treat now and then.  For me, my favorite treat is always peanut butter eggs or dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Swooooooon. I don’t have them often, but when I do, I prefer the mini ones because I can have more than one and not feel so bad. I also am like a squirrel and like to save them, placing them in weird places in our house (hiding them from my chocoholic husband).

We hosted a huge Easter gathering at our house this year and had 30 people in our tiny and cozy little abode.  It was a lot of fun because I had a game plan: only make stress free food! This would ensure that I could enjoy my family and not appear like a crazed woman. One of the stress free foods that I made were these amazing Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs.

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My sister and I whipped up these easy peasy peanut butter eggs a day in advance. They didn’t take much time and they were a great tiny sweet treat for people to pop one, two, or five eggs into their mouth.

Did I mention that these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs are made with only FOUR ingredients? FOUR.  They are very very very easy to make and very very very easy to eat. Too easy. But hey, on the bright side, they are made with all natural ingredients and are only 70 calories per egg. Boom!

Homemade Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

  • Servings: 60 eggs
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Using either an electric mixer or a food processor, thoroughly mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla on high-speed for several minutes until the mixture turns into a thick ball of peanut butter dough. Depending on the time of year and humidity in your kitchen, a tablespoon of water may need to be added to the mixture so that it will come together like dough. You can also pull it out of the mixing bowl and work it by hand for it to come together at the end after mixing it.
  2. Place parchment paper or waxed paper on a rimmed baking sheet or inside several glass pyrex baking dishes.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the peanut butter dough and use your hands to shape into a ball or egg shape, if you are feeling eggy. Place the balls (or eggs) onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Continue making the peanut butter eggs or balls until all of the dough is used. Depending on the size of your eggs, this recipe makes between 50 and 60 peanut butter eggs. Chill the peanut butter eggs in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. When you are ready to coat the peanut butter eggs in chocolate, place the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring between until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the peanut butter eggs from the freezer. Place one egg at a time into the chocolate and roll around until covered. Remove using a large fork placed under the egg and allow the excess chocolate to drip from the egg. Place the dipped egg on the parchment paper to harden. Store in the refrigerator until time to serve.

*Note – for a paleo-friendly version or for those that are allergic to peanuts, almond butter could be used instead.

The Best Flourless Brownies

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’m so sorry.

INCREDIBLY sorry.

I have been M.I.A. for a month. I need to grovel and ask for your forgiveness….

soooo….. I made brownies.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Nothing says I love you and I’m sorry for being away like chocolate + butter + nuts. Am I right?

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been a little off kilter lately and super busy with life and work.  It became increasingly difficult to find additional time (and motivation) recently for posting new recipes.  Maybe it was lack of sun and seasonal depression. So I took a break. I went back to just cooking for the fun of it. I stopped worrying about whether or not it was good enough for the blog or whether I had to cook it at the right time so that I had enough natural light to photograph it.  I just cooked for me.

I think I go through this every winter. I have to realign myself with what is important to me.  Give myself a new focus. In turn, I have also given this blog a renewed purpose.

I want to thank those of you who reached out to me and encouraged me to continue cooking and creating in this space.  I received some lovely emails and words of encouragement.  This is supposed to be a space of creativity and sharing.  I want this space to be several things moving forward and not just a food blog. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still want it to be a space where my inner grandma gets to cook, feed others, and then sit back and bask in the joy of nourishing the one’s I love.  But I also want to focus on discovering, exploring, and escaping comfort zones.

Thank you for letting me cook for you and provide nourishing recipes for the past three years. Also, thank you for giving me satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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And with that…. let’s talk CHOCOLATE AND BUTTAH AND HAZELNUTS.

Get out that good butter and good chocolate. Turn on your oven. We are also going to throw in hazelnuts into our brownies to add some flare!

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V.D. is coming up… I mean, Valentine’s Day. And what better way to celebrate your loved ones and friends (or just you) than to serve up a plate of uuuuuuuhmazing gooey gooey brownies.  These brownies are adapted from a past recipe of mine (Paleo Flourless Brownie Bites) and a recipe from my favorite pastry chef, Dave Leibovitz.  The results are fabulously out of this world.  But, as LeVar Burton would say…. Don’t take my word for it.  Make them yourself and share the love.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Flourless Brownies (Grain Free)

  • Servings: 12 to 16
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 6 tablespoons salted butter (or use unsalted and add 1/8 teaspoon salt)
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted hazelnuts)
  • coarse or flaked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8X8 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Add coconut palm sugar, arrowroot powder, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute to make sugar mixture super fine. Set aside.
  3. In a metal saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until it begins to crackle.  Add 2/3 of the chocolate chunks (about 8 oz) and remove pan from heat. Whisk constantly until chocolate is completely melted.  Add eggs one at a time and whisk constantly.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into food processor with sugar mixture.  Process for at least one minute. Mixture will be glossy and thick. Add 1/2 cup of nuts and pulse once or twice to distribute. Use a rubber spatula and spoon out mixture into greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining nuts, chocolate chunks, and flaked sea salt on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, or until just set.  Do not overtake.

Note – If you do not have a food processor, then you will need to adapt the recipe slightly.  Add the sugar to the butter and chocolate mixture before you add the eggs. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add eggs one at a time, then add sifted cocoa powder and arrowroot powder straight to the saucepan.  Stir with a whisk briskly for at least 1 minute until the mixture becomes glossy and begins pulling away from the sides of the saucepan.  Stir in your nuts and then spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate and bake as directed above.

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hello. My name is Alissa and I am an oatmeal-aholic. I am. *sigh*

My all time favorite oatmeal flavor is cinnamon apple. However, my recent new oatmeal passion is this Banana Nut Oatmeal.

I love oatmeal with all of my heart. I actually look forward to having oatmeal every morning. It’s my favorite breakfast and my favorite thing about chilly mornings. Nothing is more cozy to me than a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal. It’s like getting a hug from your favorite person while wearing wool socks in front of a cozy fire in a fabulous log cabin with Otis Redding on repeat on the record player.

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been making this delicous Banana Nut Oatmeal every morning lately which is the perfect marriage between banana nut bread and creamy oatmeal.  It is also a fabulously healthy way to start your morning during this crazy holiday winter season. The chia seeds and flax seeds help boost the nutrition, fiber content, and protein content which will help you stay full throughout the morning.

I typically work out in the mornings and have to hurry myself getting ready and end up eating breakfast at work while checking my emails. That is why I prep my breakfast the night before. I add all of my oatmeal ingredients to a microwave safe container and simply add liquid in the morning when I get to work and heat ‘er up! So whether you are rushed or have some spare time, this breakfast is perfect for you.  You can either throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate overnight before making it in the morning or you can cook it in a saucepan on an oven and fill your home with amazing aromas. This recipe also serves 4 hungry people. You can either make the whole batch and eat leftovers all week, or cut it down and make it for solo servings.

But trust me, this breakfast is so delicious that none of it will go to waste if you make extra! Invite me over and I will help you out! I’ll bring the coffee!

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or regular cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. Stovetop – Place water, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Dice up one banana and add to saucepan and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Remove from heat. Spoon into four bowls, topping each with remaining sliced banana, chopped pecans, and coconut palm sugar.
  2. Make Ahead – Place all water, almond milk, salt, chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon a large bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and spoon out into four separate bowls. Dice a banana on top of each bowl and add water to desired consistency. Microwave each bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir oatmeal and top each bowl with remaining sliced banana, chopped nuts, and coconut palm sugar.

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
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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!