This banana nut granola was made on a total whim. I wasn't totally sure how it would turn out, but it ended up being fantastic! Both roommates tried some and both of them enjoyed it. As for me, I've been snacking on it everyday since I made it. It stores nicely for about a week in an airtight container on a countertop. I'm very excited to share this recipe as it is not only delicious, but contains no refined sugar. While I did use some maple syrup for flavor, the overripe bananas are the main reason why this granola contains no refined sugar. When bananas are overripe, they have a stronger flavor and also become sweeter. This lessens your need for added sugars, which is why bananas are so awesome in baked goods. And in general. I generally just love anything with bananas.
Last weekend, I went camping in upstate New York with my sister and a friend of ours. Let me diverge from food talk for one moment to tell you how beautiful it was: It was BEAUTIFUL. We went to Watkins Glen, Taughannock Falls, and Robert H Tremans State Park, which was my personal favorite. So many water falls, trees, and other incredible sights to take in.. I loved it. The reason I bring this up, though, is because I had bought some oats to bring along so I could eat them for breakfast. I ended up bringing him about half the container, so I knew I had to do something involving oats when I returned and I had been meaning to do a granola. Then, I noticed that one of my roommates had some forgotten bananas in the fridge. While most people may see a blackened banana and deem it inedible, my eyes light up.
As for the add-ins, I went a non-traditional route. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of walnuts. I do like banana walnut muffins and I do have a banana walnut french toast recipe, but they just aren't my favorite nut. Bananas also pair well with so many nuts, so why stick to something that we see time and time again? I chose to go with pecans, because they're my favorite nut, as well as some hazelnuts.. mostly because I saw them in the store and thought they'd be a fun addition. You can keep things classic with walnuts, do walnuts and pecans, just pecans, almonds, or no nuts at all! This part I would definitely cater to your personal taste.
Banana Nut Granola (GF)
I might be jumping the gun on the fall recipes here, but it's still a nice, crisp salad so I think it's an acceptable transition recipe! Of course, we're very much in between seasons, but every day is some weird hybrid of summer and autumn. I wake up in the morning and I need a light hoodie to walk to work. I leave work and I would be dying if I were still wearing that hoodie. Thus draws my inspiration for this changing of seasons salad.
The bed of this salad is a mix of arugula and spinach, tossed with thinly sliced fennel and shallot to add some depth in flavor. While the pears are sauteed to soften their texture, they still lend this salad a light, crisp feel. While flavor is, of course, the most important element in creating a dish, I also admire the subtle beauty of pears. They may be neutral in color, but there is just something so elegant about their appearance. Of course, being vegan and consuming a diet of mostly produce, it would almost be a challenge to put together a plate that isn't beautiful. With the abundance of color and organic shapes available in nature.. but I digress..
My favorite element in this salad is the dressing. There were actually a few last minute changes made to the dressing which took it above and beyond. Originally, I had made a simple balsamic vinaigrette, which was fine. In the end, though, it just fell a little flat. To give credit where it is due, it was actually my chef at work who helped me perfect the dressing. I told him all of the components of my salad and he suggested a honey and thyme balsamic vin. Of course, honey is a no-go, so I chose to sub it with maple syrup. I'm actually really pleased with the end result. It pairs so well with the salad and.. maybe makes it a little more autumn than 'transitional' but that's alright because it's delightful.
Sautéed Pear and Fennel Salad with Maple Thyme Balsamic Vinaigrette
Happy September! Have ya'll noticed I got new dishes? This is just one of the many things new in my life right now. I just moved into a new place, have two new and astoundingly kind roommates, and started a new second job! It's been hectic, but I managed to find the time to sneak in one more super summer-y recipe with a nod to the upcoming fall season. I personally love soup, so it's a little upsetting that it's usually far too hot for soup in the summer. Thank goodness for gazpacho. This one is delicious and really simple to make.
I really enjoy veganizing traditional meals or finding interesting ways to make substitutes for non-vegan ingredients. It really can be fun. What I really love, though, is making a delicious meal that is naturally vegan and can be enjoyed by anyone without being scared away by 'weird' ingredients. This soup would be one of those fresh, delicious, naturally vegan meals. The base of this gazpacho is watermelon and tomatoes. Not only does this give the soup a very light taste and feel, but it also gives a marvelous pink color. For this soup, you really want to use good tomatoes and juicy watermelon. Any gritty fruits will, unfortunately, take away from the texture. To add to the refreshing quality of the soup, we're also using cucumber in the base. To add some depth to the very delicate flavors we have going on here, I also added a shallot and a habanero. You can adjust the spice level as desired, by adding more or less of the pepper. I like adding one entire habanero, but you can use half of one, or even two!
If you're timid of heat, fear not. We're going to balance out the spice with cilantro and lime. These two citrusy ingredients will also be incorporated into our watermelon-cucumber garnish. Aside from helping tone down the heat, this garnish will also add a bit of texture to the soup. This gazpacho is very light and can be served as an entree, but I would suggest a side. Personally, I think that some ciabatta with oil and herbs for dipping is a really lovely pairing. If you would like to keep things gluten-free, you could opt for a simple bean salad using navy beans or chickpeas. To keep things raw, but bulk this gazpacho up, consider adding some hemp seeds to the garnish for protein. I would recommend keeping your side on the fresh and simple side, nothing too heavy. Make this for a date, and bring a bottle of white wine! That's a side right? Regardless of what you choose, I would love to hear your pairings! Be sure to let us know in the comments. If you Instagram, tag us in your photos with @cookitkind or #cookitkind. I love seeing what you come up with!
Watermelon Habanero Gazpacho
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.