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granola

Home and Homemade Granola

Home and Homemade Granola

After I came back from the latest trip, wretched and tired, last evening, all I wanted was to feel at home. The first thing I did, even before unpacking, this morning, is turn on the oven, toss a big bowl of oats with nuts and honey and let her bake while I pottered about cleaning and setting things in the right place. In 20 minutes, I had my world to myself as I sat happy on the kitchen table with the latest New Yorker, my bowl of fresh, warm granola, drenched in fresh almond milk that I also made ten minutes prior and a short espresso.

I am back on the road in three days, but until then, I will enjoy this feeling of being just where I am, safe and happy :)

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Is it Healthy?

Is it Healthy?

Now, the choice between healthy and desire is a tough one. As anyone who has tried any form of change can attest to... I just needed to find a bridge.

That is when I appreciated the singular merit I see in smoothie bowls - The convenience of combining my two breakfasts into one delivery! It broke no convenience limits because I always ate the granola in a bowl and I certainly didn't bother with artistic presentation of additional fruits. This was perfect!

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Oat + Seed Strength Bars with Maple + Chocolate

Oat + Seed Strength Bars with Maple + Chocolate

There is science behind these bars. Maple syrup as sweetener is nature's very own nutritive element. The oats and seeds are high in protein and slow release of energy, not to forget the good fats. Goji berries for more anti-oxidant protection. And, then there is the inevitable chocolate. Let's face it; chocolate makes everything good for you! 

Every diminutive bar packs the energy needed for a long day, a good workout or something to just keep you going while you hammer out yet another report on the current state of affairs at work. Every bit of that energy you need to run behind your toddler, deal with teenage troubles, listen empathetically to your significant other or friend, all while still trying to decompress from your own day. 

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Pretty Brown Things

Pretty Brown Things

What better way than to start with a little happy?! And, a perfect golden granola is one of life's simple pleasures that make a day seem better even if you got out of the bed the wrong side. Today, instead of an actual recipe, I am sharing a few tips of making sure you have the best granola on hand anytime.

When I make granola, three things are important - flavor, texture and cost. They are not a linear function and some are easier to control than others (viz. cost) and trade-offs are inevitable. My tips are intended to maximize whatever equation the three make with each other, effectively ensuring that the overall experience of eating homemade granola is far higher than even the best (and high priced) store bought ones.

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Oh la la .. In the land of Nar

As I write, I am sitting in my very European room in a boutique hotel in the Old city of Istanbul. All around me for the last couple of weeks has been an abundance of a fruit that I thought I would rarely see when I left India. Pomegranate!

Anar in Hindi and Nar in Turkish... Very similar owing to some overlap of Arabic/Urdu in both languages. Prior to the middle East, I was content to eating this fruit by hand, peeling back the skin and patiently peeling off the arils and quickly popping them into my mouth. Here though you get its juice, crushed in front of you, at pretty much every corner and middle of each block. Such a divine luxury indeed!

The many stands selling the delicious juice of this fruit abound the city and several markets in the country!

The many stands selling the delicious juice of this fruit abound the city and several markets in the country!

There is some history with the Ottoman empire's fascination with the fruit. Much to do with its appearance itself from the arils that look very like high quality rubies to the symbolism of lushness of life as this is one fruit that yields several seeds. In short, the fruit, to them represented abundance, richness, family and so forth. Many dishes are laced in different ways with this fruit, either in its fresh form or as syrup.

Today, its popularity, at least of the fresh fruit has become global. The pomegranate has taken the fancy of the North American eater as well. Ever since the POM Wonderful brand, introduced this fruit into mass market, it has taken every health conscious eater by storm. Now, cold weather has become as synonymous with this bejeweled fruit as with the orange.

In the five or so years, when the fruit has been commonly available in the market, the flavor has been consistently improving and the organic ones are nearly as delicious and sweet as I remember them from my childhood. Before I left on this trip, I bought a boat load of them and munched on them all day long. They simply made everything taste great and added so much oomph to a dish especially as I became equally infatuated with other flavors from this region like tahini.

Today's recipe does not have much to do with the fruit itself per se. Yet, I think it is superbly enhanced by the addition of it whilst serving. The Apple and Pumpkin Granola is a fine breakfast on its own. Have it with your favorite milk and any fresh fruits you like. If I may, I would recommend having it with strained yogurt laced with tahini and topped generously with fresh pomegranate. A very healthful and satiating combination it will prove to be...!


APPLE AND PUMPKIN GRANOLA

2 cups oats

1 medium tart apple, diced small

3 T pumpkin puree, unsweetened

2 T raw honey

1 T brown sugar

1-1/2 T olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds

Β 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix together the oil, honey and pumpkin puree.

Rub the mixture into the oats, massaging them to coat throughly.

Fold in the apples and sprinkle the sugar and salt over.

Spread the oats in an even layer on a baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once midway until browned and the apple pieces have lost most of their moisture.

Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.


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