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)

  • 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!

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Grain Free Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Christmas is approaching quickly and I am hosting! Pray for me. I’ve already caught a dishtowel on fire and burned my butcher block.  I will soon have a house filled with kids, love, hugs, ham, chocolate, pie, fudge, nuts, cheeselogs, stockings, egg nog, and so much more. Mmmmmm.

I’m trying to bake a few things ahead of time to prepare for the coming family. I whipped up this batch of muffins this week and have placed them in the freezer ready to be pulled out and rewarmed at a moments notice. Gotta love short cuts.

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

AAAAnd, you gotta love bursts of cranberries in these muffins. Well, everyone except my husband…dat’s weeeahd. But’s he’s weird anyways people. I mean, who puts their shoes in the freezer? Anyone? ya…him.

And who’s favorite christmas movie is Die Hard? Him! Well…and likely most dudes.

Ok ok ok…I love Die Hard too, but what about Jingle All the Way? Most people’s fave holiday movies are Home Alone and Christmas Story. But Sinbad and Arnold give the fabulous gift of I-haven’t-bought-anything-for-anyone-yet-so-I-will-buy-a-not-so-meaningful-but-expensive-Christmas-gift-on-Christmas-Eve-style Christmas spirit. Check it out. And don’t you dare go buy Christmas gifts ON Christmas Eve! Learn a lesson from Arnold, people. Or else you will end up driving around town, being robbed by washed up Santa’s, threatening a radio show host, and trying to steal presents from under other people’s trees. But then you end up dressed like a superhero at the end, so I guess it’s all worth it. But I digress….

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

If you haven’t gotten gifts at this point in the game, don’t do it. It’s a fart in the wind, friends. Make these muffins instead. Put them in a pretty box, tie some kitchen twine around them, and write a thoughtful note. When you present these to others, they’ll eat them and say “wow, that was so thoughtful and so delicious” in the voice of Ma Brady.

Now, isn’t this so much better than fighting the crowds and buying a crappy import mug with two year old hot cocoa mix and crouton-like marshmallows?

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Back to these awesome muffins that you are making for “the ones that you love”, remember?!?

These muffins come together just using the food processor! It’s easy! No need to dirty multiple bowls. I adapted a recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains cookbook (best grain-free cookbook around, folks), swapping out the almond flour for tapioca flour for a nut free muffin version. I also added fresh cranberries for a fleck of holiday red and a punch of perfect tartness.

Oh Oh OH…AAAAND, even thought these muffins contain NO oil, they are uber moist. So there…you just made tasty AND healthy holiday treats for people and didn’t have to punch someone in the face at the store on Christmas Eve. You are a good person. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy a muffin. Because, of course you made a double batch so that you could keep some for yourself. We aren’t heathens around here. Sheesh.

I hope you have a happy Christmas and a merry New Year.  Muah!

Paris 2013

Paleo Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Adapted from Against All Grains

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners and set aside.
  2. Add the cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add bananas, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until eggs are frothy. Add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of the food processor with the frothy egg mixture. Blend/process until well combined.  Add the vinegar/coconut milk mixture to the batter and process for an additional 30 seconds until well mixed.
  4. Add the washed fresh cranberries and whole walnuts. Pulse the mixture a few times (do not over process or the cranberries will be too chopped) to distribute the cranberries and walnuts throughout the batter.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of muffin batter into prepared muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 muffins.
  6. Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven. Bake the muffins at 325 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the muffins are light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and allow to cool further on a wire rack. If freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a ziplock freeze bag or container. Microwave or reheat in oven to thaw. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator and/or freezer.

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

I am a bit of a hoarder.  I’m definitely a food hoarder, but also a hoarder of things. My husband thinks it is junk.  Which it isn’t! But seriously, I keep things in boxes that I have never looked at for the past four years that we have lived here.  I find myself holding on to things because… “don’t you dare get rid of it because I am saving that chair just in case some day I want to paint it red and have a tea party”. Yes…that really came out of my mouth.

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He recently decided to have a garage sale…or an “Alissa’s Things Sale” as I refer to it. He doesn’t hold on to anything. When we got married, he moved into my house with a single box. I had a U-Haul trailer that could have fit a plane. So needless to say, purging is a hard thing for me. I remember every gift someone gave to me. I can’t seem to part with it even if that person totally does not remember giving it to me. They probably just picked it up randomly and thought “crap, it’s her birthday…uhm…ya, here’s a chicken tea pot…she eats chicken…she drinks tea…CHICKEN TEA POT!”.  And here I am 15 years later with the ugliest tea pot and refusing to get rid of it. Until one day I wake up and the love of my life is selling all of my precious belongings (crap) and other people are walking away with my chicken tea pot!  *sob*

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It was a similar feeling for me when I made the switch a year ago to give up gluten. Making the switch to being gluten free can be tough sometimes. It’s hard to not feel like an outsider when everyone is laughing and enjoying cake and big plates of lasagna. Family gatherings and cookouts and office parties offer a plethora of pasta salads and cupcakes and brownies and bread and crackers.  I would end up being the person in the corner snacking on carrots and a bag of nuts that I had stashed away in my purse like a squirrel.  BECAUSE I AM A HOARDER.

One day I decided to PURGE! I threw away everything that contained wheat or even traces of wheat.  It felt awesome.  I began researching and arming myself with easy recipes to bring to gatherings. So now I always offer to bring something that I know that I can eat and that will blow the socks off of others that have no idea how great gluten free food can be.

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This recipe uses nut butter in place of flour! No flour, no oil, no butter.  Basically it is just almond butter and bananas and honey and eggs. Those purged cabinets probably have these simple ingredients in them.  These muffins are rediculously good and rediculously easy!  I have made them with almond butter and also with peanut butter. Both are fabulous.  You can also add cocoa powder to the batter for chocolate cupcakes!

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter* (see note below)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the banana, eggs, and almond butter until well mixed. Add the remaining ingredients except the cocoa powder. With half of the batter, fill 6 muffin liners 3/4 full. I use a 1/4 cup to measure for each. With the remaining muffin batter, add the cocoa powder. Fill the remaining 6 muffin cups to 3/4 full with the chocolate batter.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. Muffins will be firm a slightly golden, but fluffy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the muffin pan to a wire rack.

*Notes

  1. I have also made these with peanut butter and they were great. I assume other nut butters would work too. If you have a nut allergy, sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) would be a good substitute.
  2. I recommend all natural and unsweetened nut butters. However, if you aren’t using all natural nut butters (that is, if they have added sweeteners) then lower the overall amount of added honey in the recipe.
  3. These are also delicious as cupcakes!

Almond Flour Biscuits (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Paleo)

In most diners in small Oklahoma towns, B&G…that is biscuits and gravy…is a standard side that comes with your breakfast. You typically can get two eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes aaaaand B&G for under $7. Oh I forgot hash browns…you always get hash browns.  Oh and you will get a stretcher to roll yourself onto and go into a food coma.

But ooooh that B&G. I dream about it. Even though it is presented as a mere “garnish” to that HUUUGE breakfast, it so amazing. The gravy is so thick. The biscuits are so light, so fluffy, so buttery.   Sure it packs a huuuge caloric and carbalicious load on the badunkadunk. But let’s not ruin my B&G dreams.

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After realizing that I had a gluten intolerance, I thought I would never have a soft, flaky, buttery, amazing, warm biscuit again. I have tried making grain free biscuits using coconut flour, but I was less than impressed. Tropical flavored biscuits are a far cry from flaky biscuit heaven.

But I couldn’t give up. I found this basic almond flour biscuit recipe on Elana’s Pantry.  Victory!!!! These almond flour biscuits are much closer to my beloved southern biscuits…flaky and buttery.   I made the basic biscuit recipe and also adapted a batch by adding cinnamon and raisins. Mmmmmm.

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Don’t expect these to taste like real buttermilk biscuits, people…once you give up gluten…those suckers are gone. But these grain free biscuits are the closest I have tasted.  I just have to remember that by giving up gluten, I have gained so much in the way of health, tummy comfort, and hormone balance! So with that in mind, these come in really close to the read deal in taste. Plus they stand head and shoulders over the “real deal” when it comes to health, protein power, and the fact that they don’t pack on the poundage on the budunkadunk.

Now I just need to tackle a gluten-free gravy….I’m not so sure that is going to be possible. But challenge accepted!

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Almond Flour Biscuits (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

Makes 8

Basic Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter or ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)

Cinnamon-Raisin Biscuits Add-ins:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper (or silpat mat) on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, salt, and optional cinnamon) and blend well with a fork. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients (honey, butter, eggs) and combine with the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms. (If making cinnamon raisin biscuits, stir in raisins now).
  3. For easier handling, roll the dough into a ball and place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Take the dough out and form biscuits with your hands using a 1/4-cup scoop, rolling into a ball and flattening to about 1 inch thickness. Or place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it to a thickness of about 1 inch and cut the biscuits with a cookie cutter.
  5. Place the biscuits on the prepared parchment paper on the baking sheet.  Bake at 350 F for about 12-15 minutes, or until they’re browned on the outside and a toothpick stuck into the center of the biscuit comes out clean.

Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Crustless Quiche (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Want to have brunch with me this morning?

Please? I’ve made a delicious Quiche.  It’s crustless, but I promise you won’t miss the crust.

Go on…pull up a chair…keep your pjs on…I made an extra pot of coffee.  I even have a fire in the fireplace. It’s cozy. No need to put pants on. You are my guest!

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It’s biting cold outside, but in the kitchen it smells of coffee, bacon, and love. Quiche love.  Warm and creamy and hearty and filling Quiche that is baking just for you.  No no no…it was no trouble at all. Whipped it up quick and threw it in the oven. Here…need more coffee? Let’s talk.

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I’m sorry that things have been so tough lately.  Life is crazy and terrible sometimes. But just for this morning, let’s not think of those things. Let’s dream. Let’s remember the great times and the blessings that we have. Let’s remember our small victories.

Need some more coffee? Cream? Sugar?

I missed you.  I’m so glad that you came over.

Need another slice of bacon? Seriously…I made extra. Next time I’ll make us a mimosa.

We should do this more often.

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Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Crustless Quiche (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (low fat or full fat)
  • 2 Tablespoon butter, bacon grease, or olive oil
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 spicy italian chicken sausage, diced
  • 1 package of fresh spinach (or kale) (3 to 4 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan or cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, salt, pepper, and coconut milk. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and thyme in a single layer and sauté until browned. Don’t crowd them. Toss in sausage and brown (about 2 minutes) stirring often. Add spinach on top of cooked mushrooms and sausage. Stir and cook until spinach is slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon and spread the mushroom, sausage, and spinach evenly into the prepared pie pan. Top this with the egg mixture.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until slightly golden brown on edges, puffed, and set in the middle. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Leftovers are great reheated for breakfast or lunch.

Huevos Rancheros with Black Beans

I loooooove breakfast. Lazy Sunday morning breakfast dates with my husband are the best thing on earth.  Our favorite breakfast joint back in Norman was a fabulous place called Turquoise Cafe. They were fresh, inventive, and used local ingredients. Brunch items included oatmeal brûlée, amazing huevos rancheros, and blue corn migas. I’d stab someone’s eye out with a spork for those migas or huevos. Ya, you heard me. Don’t stand in front of me and a good brunch, buddy.

But alas, Turquoise is no more (sniff sniff). It closed shortly after we moved due to some unfortunate circumstances. But, I still crave that food with a vengeance.

I have yet to find any breakfast joint in KC that comes close to Turquoise. We have searched near and far, and still nothing.

I set out to try to recreate the Huevos from that restaurant and I do believe that I have it down to a science, and, in my opinion, have perfected the recipe. Huevos Rancheros (Rachers Eggs) is a basic mexican breakfast that usually consists of fried eggs, tortillas, and cooked salsa.

I like to serve my huevos over black beans. This dish is SO freaking easy and quick. On a busy night, I often will whip this up for dinner. It seriously takes less than 10 minutes to put this meal together.

All you need is eggs, tortillas, cheese, black beans, and salsa. I think cilantro is a huge bonus but not a must. Luckily, my cilantro never gave up the ghost over our lackluster winter and I was able to run out there and nab some to sprinkle on the eggs.

Heat your oven to 350F and place tortillas with a sprinkle of cheese into the oven to melt the cheese. Use whatever cheese you have on hand: cheddar, pepper jack, goat cheese, or even parmesan….seriously.

I like to add a bit of ground cumin to black beans for a good earthy flavor, but it isn’t necessary if you do not have the spice. Add a bit of salsa to your black beans and heat in the microwave while the tortillas are warming in the oven. After the cheese is melted on the tortillas, put the tortillas on oven-proof serving plates and then place a bit of black beans down the middle of each tortilla. Lower the oven temp to 200 F and place the prepared plates in the oven to keep warm while making the eggs.

Fry or scramble some huevos (eggs) to top off the dish. I like my eggs over-medium with a great runny yolk. I recommend getting local, cage-free and farm fresh eggs, if possible. They taste and look so different than traditional store-bought eggs with amazing orange yolks instead of yellow. Mmmmm…love some good orange-yoked eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Huevos Rancheros with Black Beans

Note: On the serving size, I usually eat one egg and one tortilla whereas my husband eats two eggs and two tortillas. So, adjust your portion size according to your crowd.

Serves 2 

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 huevos (eggs)
  • 2 to 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups (1 15oz can) of black beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheese (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • Toppings – cilantro, green onions, extra cheese
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Spray tortillas on both sides with nonstick spray. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese on each tortilla. Place in preheated oven. Once the cheese is melted (about 2 minutes), remove from oven. Reduce oven temp to 200F.
  2. Mix black beans, 1/4 cup salsa, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a medium microwavable bowl. Microwave (or heat on the stove in a saucepan) for about 2 minutes, or until warmed through. Stir.
  3. Place 1 to 2 cheese-topped tortillas on each serving plate. Place about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of warmed black beans down the middle of each melted cheese-topped tortilla. Set aside or place oven-proof plates in 200F oven to keep warm.
  4. Cook eggs over medium (or however you desire). Remove warmed plates from oven. Place one egg on top of black beans. Sprinkle with cilantro, green onions, and extra cheese. Serve with salsa.