Ingredient: sesame seeds

Nut Free Granola

One of my daughters is allergic (sensitive) to nuts. It’s not anaphylactic but she does get bad skin rashes. She loves granola as a snack, so I set out to create a nut free granola that she would enjoy.

It wasn’t so easy because not everyone in my family likes chia seeds or flax. A lot of recipes called for wheat germ which was met with a resounding “NO”!. So needless to say I just started experimenting.

I started every batch with old fashioned oats. I knew my family likes those. Then I started adding seeds. Which seeds would fit universally at any meal, and would we all like them? From there I added chocolate chips but they didn’t taste like the right fit so I switched to cacao nibs. Then I wanted to sweeten it. I din’t want to use sugar and honey was too sweet for us. I ended up with Pure Maple Syrup. It is set but has just the right bite of bitter. Finally, I wanted some chew, so I started adding dried fruits. A little salt elevated the flavor and I used olive oil to pull it all together.

The recipe is below, but here are a few notes:

You can use coconut oil instead of olive oil, if you prefer. The dried fruit is completely up to you but I used apricots, , dried blueberries, cranberries. Next time I will try cherries to.

For seeds I used sunflower, pepitas (pumpkin), sesame and hemp hearts. You can use any combination. And you can use nuts if you like.  In my second batch I used coconut flakes. It definitely a personal choice.

To see some tutorials of other recipes, subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPPyv_hHuBwjDyhMSBoGVkg?view_as=subscriber

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I love and read all your comments and suggestions so please send them. Enjoy the granola!

Nut Free Granola
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Nut Free Granola
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the oats, seeds, and cacao nibs. Toss in oil and syrup. Add a nice sprinkle of kosher salt and turn out onto prepared baking sheet. Smooth out to a single layer and bake for 20-30 minutes. rotate half way through and stir.
  3. When seed mixture comes out of oven, pour into same bowl and let cool a few minutes. Add dried fruit and toss well. Pour back onto baking sheet and let cool completely.
  4. You can store this in mason jars or other airtight container for 2 weeks in the pantry. You can also freeze for up to 3 months. This makes a great gift!
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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Super Bowl is almost here. Now that the teams have been chosen (Patriots & Eagles) those of us that plan the parties are working on our menus.  Even I am thinking of recipes, as a guest. This year I am on a roll with healthy eating and my 10K-a-day walking. So, the thought of going to what turns out to be Thanksgiving in February is daunting.

Seriously, cheese dips, huge sub sandwiches, chili and desserts galore. All of this is before we even discuss all the alcohol.

This year I am already planning. I love stuffed mushrooms. The buttery breadcrumbs, the wonderful spices, and cheese! Yep, I’m going down the food rabbit hole again. But I have a great recipe that indulges the quest for flavor and cheese without spoiling your healthy eating plan. The trick is to get lots of flavor in without lots of fat or salt. I admit it is “carb-heavy” but they are good carbs; brown rice, cashews, dried apricots and lots of fresh herbs.

There’s a couple of really great things about this recipe. I made them for demo purposes I used large Portobello mushrooms. For the big game, use the “baby bellos”. That way you have bite-sized options. While the recipe calls for “seeds”, you can use any crunch factor. I actually used cashews. Again, the recipe calls for cranberries, but I used dried apricots. For the herbs, you can use whatever you have on hand or get creative in the store. Remember if it smells good together it will probably taste good together. I love to combine Tarragon, Thyme and a little Mint. It’s such a fresh flavor.

I think of this kind of recipe as a canvas. It’s great for changing ingredients or adding ingredients. The best part is the “stuffing” is so good you can make it as a side dish on its own. Just remember to adjust your seasoning like salt & pepper and especially your herbs.

Make lots because these will go fast. The big he-man may hesitate and look for pizza or chili, but once he’s had one of these he will want the whole tray!

Enjoy and as always, send me back pics of your variations. I love to hear from you.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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Ingredients
Main stuffing mix
Tahini Sour Cream Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly brush mushrooms with olive oil. Season, inside and out with salt & pepper. Place open face on baking sheet.
  3. Heat a little of the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion and garlic and saute until really fragrant, but not caramelized.
  4. Place cooked rice in a large bowl and mix in onion/garlic mixture, seeds, dried fruit and herbs. Season with more salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix together tahini, lemon juice and water (if needed). Stir into rice mixture.
  6. Adjust seasonings and mound into each mushroom cap.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.
  8. Take out of oven and srpinkle evenly with shredded cheese and sesame seeds.
  9. Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Sauce
  1. Mix together Tahini, lemon juice, sour cream, garlice powder, salt & pepper, until smooth. Use water to thin out, if necessary.
  2. Drizzle sauce over hot mushrooms and serve immediately. Serve extra sauce along side.
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