Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sesame Almond Cherry Granola

While traveling through southeastern Utah and western Colorado last week, I was fed the best granola alongside my morning Americano at Steaming Bean Coffee Co. in Durango, Colorado. I fell for it, hard. First, let me say this little coffee shop was excellent — Mitch and I posted up in a sunny window seat where we look out on the town and enjoy our treats. We'd spent the morning taking a run around the quaint downtown and checking out the local guitar shops.  But back to the granola — it was crunchy and sweet and full of delicious nuts and sesame seeds. I had to recreate it for you, with a few additions.

{Sesame, Almond & Cherry Granola}
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch cardamom 
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, walnuts, coconut, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Set the cherries aside.
3. Stir the olive oil mixture into oat mixture. Spread onto the lined baking sheet and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30-35 minutes.
4. Let cool in pan, then stir in cherries. Serve with milk or yogurt, or snack on it plain!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Three-Bean Beef Chili

It's April now, officially time for spring … but nobody told the weather gods here in Utah. It's another chilly, snow-covered day in the mountains. In my book, that means another good day for mouth-watering, heart-warming, sweat-inducing chili.

I like my chili full of tomato and packed with vegetables, with just the right amount of spice.

{Three-Bean Beef Chili}

1/2 pound to 1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium-sized zucchini, diced
1 can (8-ounces) diced tomatoes
2 can (15-ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (15-ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15-ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15-ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
Grated cheddar cheese, jalapeƱos and sour cream (optional)

1. In a large nonstick pot or dutch oven, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown. Drain.

2. In a large nonstick pan, heat the rest of the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in pepper and zucchini and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add to ground beef.

3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fixings of choice.

The great thing about this chili is that you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Plus, it's even better the next day. Apply crushed red pepper liberally and enjoy!