Pumpkin Spiced Fall Granola


I love fall. I love the arrival of September, and with it the abundance of apples, pumpkins, and squash. I love seeing the leaves change, and I love returning to soups and stews that warm you up from head to toe. Fall is the season of sweaters, pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, and Halloween. Fall is the season of Thanksgiving, my favourite holiday. Fall is what it means to be cozy. “Fall,” as Lauren DeStefano writes, “has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

pumpkin spiced fall granola // gratitude and greens

Last week I was bundled in a sweater, sipping a pumpkin latte while taking the dog for a walk through the park. Today, I am back in a summer dress and sandals. Although the weather in St. Louis has been swaying between warm and cool, my mind is already in fall overdrive. I’m making apple crisps, acorn squash, and this weekend, I made a fall-inspired granola. I used oats as the base for the granola, with red quinoa, dried cranberries, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds that stand out like jewels among the browned, toasted oats and pecans. Smothered in a maple pumpkin puree, this granola not only looks like fall, but also tastes like fall. Hurry up, sweater weather. I’m waiting for you.

(Note: the pumpkin latte was made with real baked pumpkin and maple syrup. No gross syrup here- just the good stuff!)pumpkin spiced fall granola // gratitude and greens

Why eat pumpkin? The orange colour of pumpkin comes from its carotenoid and beta-carotene content, which your body converts into vitamin A. The antioxidant qualities of beta-carotene have been shown to prevent cancer, and the carotenoids and vitamin A, C, E in pumpkin help to prevent your skin from aging by fighting off toxins and free radicals. Pumpkin is furthermore extremely high in potassium, with a whopping 564 mg compared to the banana’s 422 mg per cup! In addition, the high zinc content of pumpkin is helps to boost your immunity and is beneficial to prostate health.

If you need anymore convincing, pumpkin seeds are also full of heart healthy phytosterols that help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and are teeming with the amino acid trytophan. Trytophan helps your body produce serotonin, a chemical crucial in regulating and balancing your mood. Pumpkin seeds are also a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. 1 oz alone will provide you with 8.5 grams of protein!

pumpkin spiced fall granola // gratitude and greens

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Granola
*yields 6 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple chips
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

pumpkin spiced fall granola // gratitude and greens

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend the oats, red quinoa, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, goji berries, spices, coconut sugar, and salt. I found that adding the apple chips in with the granola and pumpkin purée in the oven made them soggy, so set them aside for after.
  3. Pour the granola mixture into the baking tray.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk the pumpkin purée with the coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
  5. Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat, and pour over the dry granola mixture.
  6. Using a spatula, spread the pumpkin purée over the dry granola, spreading it evenly and coating as much granola as possible.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking tray from the oven every ten minutes to flip and stir the granola. Once it has been in the oven for 20 minutes, mix it every few minutes to make sure the granola is evenly toasted.
  8. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Once cool, add the apple chips and mix well.
  9. Enjoy as it is, or with your milk of choice.

pumpkin spiced fall granola // gratitude and greens

What’s your favourite thing about fall? What kind of granola do you like? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more granola recipes:
superfood granola + almond macadamia milk by dolly & oatmeal
high protein + high fibre cereal by oh she glows
grace’s granola of nuts and fruits by happy belly, written by my lovely friend maria

sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Recipe Redux: The Kale Tortilla Chip


Recipe Redux September 2014: Get Your Dehydrator On

“Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket- dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.”

I don’t remember exactly when kale achieved superfood status, but I do remember that its rise towards its position as “King of the Land of Leafy Greens” spurred a sensation: kale chips. Kale chips are delicious, easy, and cheap to make, not to mention the fact that they are actually good for you. The arrival of kale chips meant, for many, a goodbye to store-bought snacks laden with grease and trans-fat. (And snacks pretending to be good for you. Kraft, Tyson, Nestle, General Mills, PepsiCo… I’m looking at you.) Kale chips became the answer to my hungry, late-night sessions in the library, long car rides, and lazy evenings at home.

Although I’m a bit of a health nut and I love kale chips, I, too, get a craving for crunchy, no-good-for-you snacks every once in a while. When I was in high school, my roommate Rebeca (note: not a spelling mistake. Her name actually only has one ‘c’) and I would finish a family size pack of tostitos in an hour, pausing from our homework only to reach for the bag of chips and the jar of salsa. It was a sinfully delightful habit for the both of us. I haven’t attempted to create tostitos at home, but I have found a way to reconcile my love for both kale and tortilla chips. Since this month’s recipe redux theme is to ‘get your dehydrator on’, I experimented with making a kale tortilla chip. I was inspired after I tried a pack of kale and chia chips from SuperEats. This recipe is in no way an attempt to share their ‘secret recipe’, as their chips are very good and I’m not sure if I am capable of doing their chips justice. Since I don’t own a dehydrator (yet!), I decided to bake these kale chips low and slow at 90 degrees celsius for around four hours. They were solid when they came out, but definitely could have used an additional hour or two in the oven. Feel free to season with whatever spices your heart desires. These kale tortilla chips are raw, vegan, and gluten-free, and are super easy to make. All you need is a food processor and an oven! I know these chips don’t look particularly attractive, but I’d say they turned out pretty well for my first try.

raw, vegan, gluten-free kale tortilla chips // gratitude and greens
Why eat kale? As I mentioned in this post, kale is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and vitamin K. In addition, kale’s high fibre content makes it a heart healthy food that helps to lower cholesterol. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk, making it an ideal vegetable for individuals who suffer from anemia or osteoporosis. One cup of kale alone has 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and 684% of vitamin K. If kale doesn’t sound like a true superfood to you, I don’t know what will!

raw, vegan, gluten-free kale tortilla chips // gratitude and greens
Kale Tortilla Chips
yields around 1 1/2 cups of chips

  • 2 cups de-stemmed kale
  • 1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • chilli powder, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius.
  2. In a food processor, blend the kale, corn, and black beans.
  3. Add the chia seeds, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
  4. Season with chilli powder and sea salt.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a lined baking tray and smooth out with a spatula (the kind for frosting and scraping, not the kind used for frying!)
  6. Shape the chips now, or crack them into smaller pieces after they are done.
  7. Bake for five to six hours, flipping halfway to make sure both sides cook evenly.

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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Friday.

Happy Friday and hello from Tennessee! I’ve spent the past two days in Nashville, and am about to head to Memphis today. Some highlights from this week…

Scottish Referendum. Yesterday Scotland voted on whether to stay in the United Kingdom and to separate. Scotland holds a special place in my heart, and I’m hoping for the best possible outcome, whichever way the vote goes. I’m blown away by the 97% voter registration! As of writing (I’m writing on Thursday), the votes are still being counted and I am holding my breath. Part of me is hoping no, and part of me is hoping yes. It’s a very exciting time for Scotland, and I’m waiting to see what happens once the results come out in the morning. (Update: it’s 11:34pm in the U.S. as I write this and the No campaign currently has the upper hand with 54% of the vote. The Yes campaign is sitting at 46%.)

Kristin of Pastry Affair wrote a beautiful post on what it means to be whole, rather than happy. This post really resonated with me, and gave me some much needed perspective. Thank you, Kristin. I love the Hugh McKay quote she shared: “I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that- I don’t mind people being happy- but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to be a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position- it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are.

Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the world “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

As the weather begins to cool down, I’ve begun to eye a few fall weather recipes…

On Wednesday night’s segment of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head when he talked about how the NFL has no idea what the fuck it’s doing. Also, what is actually new about the NFL’s new policy on domestic violence?

On a brighter note, I found The Gratitude Project by Angela Simson on Instagram this week. She has such an inspiring feed! A quick scroll through her posts always brightens my day.

Yesterday night I met Ashley from Bloom and Nourish for dessert and tea. She is so sweet and it was so lovely to meet her in person! Check out her blog for recipes and her site Bloom Birth Services for health and nutrition counselling during pregnancies.

Have a great weekend,
Gen.

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