Sincerely Carolina

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Oats Vacation Time!

by caroline

So, tomorrow we leave for vacation and that means a few things on this homefront:

  • I’ve waited until the last minute to pack and, in turn, am scrambling to make sure all of the books I want to read are safely tucked away into my bag. (Priorities, people.)
  • I’m peeing my pants with excitement.
  • I have been preparing/packing various food items to make sure I have what I need while away (shopping options are sparse where we are headed).

When I finally started to conquer my to-do list yesterday, the first order of business was, naturally, making granola.

What?

Truth is, I really wanted to try the gluten-free oats that came in my Jules-a-licious box. And I justified my baking session by two factors: (1) granola is a very helpful snack to have on hand and (2) it takes no time at all to whip up a batch.

The latest creation? Chocolate Macadamia Granola. I was inspired by the Kashi Cocoa Beach Granola I used to love before going gluten-free (gawsh it was good).

A note about the Jules Gluten-Free Oats: They are a much lighter and thinner rolled oat than, for example, the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats I typically use. See?

(Jules Gluten-Free Oats are on the left, Bob’s Red Mill is on the right.)

This texture/size difference resulted in a reduced bake time, so this is something to take into consideration when you are making granola. Oat size!

I gathered what I had on hand and here’s what I came up with (don’t ask why the lid to cocoa powder is so dusty … no idea-r).

Chocolate Macadamia Granola

(Print me!)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 2 Tablespoons pure cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons light agave
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

NOTES: I used Jules Gluten-Free Oats, Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract, Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder, Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave and Let’s Do Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut.

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or baking mat (like this).

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, cocoa, salt, macadamia nuts, vanilla and agave. Stir until ingredients are well-combined. Add the coconut and stir until mixed thoroughly.

Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and then bake in oven for 15 – 18 minutes (18 – 20 minutes for thicker oats), until golden brown. (Stir/toss the granola with a spatula halfway through the bake time to ensure even baking.)

Mmmmm …. this granola is crispy and delicious. I had a bit with almond milk and, I must say, it makes for a delicious chocolate-y treat.

Now, one would think I would be content with this granola batch and wrap things up, but once I got going on this chocolate granola train, I just couldn’t stop. In fact, I decided to go wild and combine two of my favorites: Chocolate and peanut butter.

Oh, yes, I did.

Using the Chocolate Macadamia recipe and the one for Peanut Butter Granola I came up with this little slice of granola heaven:

Chocolate & PB Granola

(Print me!)

  • 2 cups gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 Tablespoons all-natural peanut butter, warmed
  • 2 Tablespoons pure cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

NOTES: I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder and Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract. Consider using a chunky natural peanut butter, so you get little pieces of peanuts in your granola. Yum!

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or baking mat (like this). Soften peanut butter by scooping into a small, microwave-safe bowl and placing in microwave for about 10 seconds. You may also warm the peanut butter in a small pot over low heat, stirring constantly until soft.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, peanut butter, cocoa, salt vanilla and agave. Stir until ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and then bake in oven for 18 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. (Stir/toss the granola with a spatula halfway through the bake time to ensure even baking.)

This one is really just ridiculous. I could not stop eating it while I was storing it in a container for traveling. I think it might have to make an appearance in this morning’s breakfast. I know it’s for vacation (Gawd you sound like my mom), but let’s consider this a pre-vacation breakfast. Appropriate, right?

Note: Both of these recipes are gluten-free and vegan. (If you have allergies or food sensitivities, always check specific manufacturer’s products for allergens and/or cross-contamination issues.)

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As for vacation …

Remember that place I told you about in the post about our wedding? Yeah, we’re heading there:

For those of you who didn’t read that post (rude), “there” is the one-and-only Thousand Islands in upstate New York (when I say up, I mean touching-Canada-upstate New York), and it’s the place my family has been vacationing every year since I was a wee one. It’s a tradition that has been passed along through my mother’s family who also called this beautiful place their vacation spot while my mom was growing up.

The 1000 Islands is not Disney World or the beach — nothing fancy like that. In fact, there’s really not much to do at all there. And that’s the beauty of it. The reading, relaxing, spending time with family, a wardrobe consisting of maybe three outfits (one being a bathing suit), enjoying nature and just … being … that’s what this place is all about.

Perfection made better by the fact that I now have everything I need: Granola and books are packed, and that should be all I need, right?

Wait … ;)