Monday, November 23, 2015

Cranberry Chai Granola

cranberry chai granola with nektar honey crystals

The spices make it smell sooo good: just like the holidays.  Better and yummier than potpourri!

I woke up recently craving granola: specifically a lightly sweet spiced granola.  I also felt like a little pre-holiday baking to get me in the spirit (yes, I've already started listening to Christmas music whenever I walk the dogs...)

This granola recipe was inspired by the Nektar Honey Crystals I was given to play around with recently, and I must say I am very happy with the flavor the honey provides--also to be quite honest, it's much easier than messing with a sticky honey jar and trying to make sure the honey gets incorporated in.  I'm also happy to announce that one of you will get the chance to win your very own jar of Nektar Honey Crystals!  To enter, head over to Instagram or facebook and let me know what your favorite holiday-time breakfast is.

Christmas came early!

One of you will win your very own Nektar Honey Crystals
Unfortunately most granola has gluten, or at the least, is made with oats that are not certified gluten-free, meaning they likely are cross-contaminated by either being used on the same machinery as wheat or in the same facility as wheat.  Even if you can procure some gluten-free granola, more often than not it contains lots of cane sugar or oil.  I avoid most nuts and flax due to sensitivities, so long story short, I've rarely had a store-bought granola that didn't make me sick.  Luckily, granola is pretty simple to make and stores for quite awhile.  Here's a granola almost everyone can enjoy, and best of all, there is absolutely no oil, and just a touch of honey sugar and apple-juice sweetened cranberries.  Hurrah, a delicious guilt-free filling holiday breakfast at last!

Cranberry Chai Granola
Oil-Free & Gluten-Free

gluten-free oil-free healthy cranberry chai granola


3 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup millet (uncooked)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons Nektar Honey Crystals
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup apple-juice sweetened cranberries


1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a pan with a silpat, or parchment paper.
2.  In a large bowl, mix oats, millet, seeds, honey crystals and spices.

3.  Juice half an orange (1/4 cup plus a little extra), add to the mixture and stir, coating ingredients.

Any orange juice will do, but it is best straight from the fruit!
4.  Lay granola mixture on the pan and bake 30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every 10 min as not to burn.  Add the cranberries at the end, baking an additional 5-8 minutes.
5.  Let cool and serve.  If cooled completely will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gluten-Free Muffin Mix 3 Ways

Happy November!  It poured rain much of today in Monterey (to my absolute delight!).  Being in a drought, obviously rain is always good.  Since rain is pretty rare here, I relish the chance to enjoy warm tea and nestle on the couch with a little work or book to read.  I came across a Bob's Red Mill gluten-free muffin mix package and decided a rainy overcast morning was the perfect chance to experiment.  Also, why stop at muffins?  I wanted a pumpkin waffle for breakfast, so figured I would play around with a few different flavors and breakfast items.  Thus two different muffin flavors and one great pumpkin waffle came to be, all from one easy gluten-free dairy-free mix!

Though I prefer baking from scratch, it is a nice luxury to whip up a one bowl recipe in just mere minutes, with a foolproof result.  

gluten-free pumpkin muffins

Gluten-Free Muffin Mix 3 Ways
Yields 2-3 waffles and 12 muffins

gluten-free muffin mix waffle


1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Muffin Mix
3 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

Add-ins (see directions before adding!)
pinch each of ginger, allspice and cinnamon
crystallized ginger
nondairy chocolate chips
unsweetened coconut


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners or spritz with oil.
2.  Place mix in a large bowl, make a well in the center and add oil, pumpkin, eggs and nondairy milk and stir well.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Muffin Mix

3.  Set aside 1/3 of batter and add a handful of nondairy mini chocolate chips, and add about 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.
4.  Preheat waffle iron.
5.  Stir in spices into pumpkin muffin batter, and set aside about 1 to 1-1/2 cup of batter for waffles.
6.  In the remaining batter, stir in crystallized ginger.

gluten-free waffle and muffin mix

7.  Spoon chocolate chip batter and crystallized ginger batter into muffin tin; it should make about 6 of each (fill each tin at least 2/3 full).
8.  Bake for 20-24 minutes (mine were perfectly done at 21 minutes).  While the muffins are baking, cook the waffles and serve plain or with unsweetened applesauce.

pumpkin waffle

Let muffins cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing and enjoy!

gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and ginger pumpkin spice muffins

If you can handle ingredients like corn and xanthan gum, this is a super fast way to make fluffy muffins and waffles very quickly.  It's also a one-bowl recipe, making clean up a cinch.  I made these for my husband knowing he had a 12 hour work day ahead of him, and plan to freeze any extras, but they would be a great fast and easy brunch for company or to give as a gift! The mixture is pretty sweet, so it's definitely more of a breakfast treat or dessert item.

I'd love to see Bob's Red Mill make a less sweet version sans corn products, but in the meanwhile it's a great gluten-free, soy, nut and dairy-free option.

gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin spice muffins