Posts tagged ‘maple syrup’

July 1, 2011

spumoni

When I was studying abroad, I went on quite a few weekend trips to other European cities.  Most were only between 2 and 3 days – luckily the way my school was scheduled everyone had off on Fridays, how awesome is that?  A three day weekend every week!  I knew when heading over to London that I wanted to travel, and Italy was definitely on the top of my list.  Luckily, it was on the lists of three of my friends as well so we planned our trip together.  We scheduled it over May Day weekend – with one extra day off of school!  So we had a wonderful four day trip.

Then came the hard part – deciding where to all go.  We all wanted to go to different locations – Rome, Florence, Venice…  What was the final choice?  All of them.  On Friday we flew into Florence and took a train to our hotel just outside of the city (I’m not a fan of hostels and with four people it was a better deal to get a hotel room instead – and then we had privacy!).  We decided to stay in Florence every night so we didn’t have to travel with all of our belongings – which was just a backpack a piece but it still weighs you down while walking throughout the day.

Day 1:  We walked around Florence and saw David and the other magnificent sights of the city!

Day 2:  We went on a tour of Tuscany – a bus trip my aunt highly recommended and it was by far the favorite part of the trip for all of us!  It started and ended in Florence and we went to Siena, San Gimignano, the Chianti Countryside and Pisa.

Day 3: We took the train from Florence to Venice and walked around Venice for the day and then headed back to Florence.

Day 4: On our final day we took a train from Florence to Rome, walked around the city for the day and flew out of that airport.

We not only made it to all the cities we had wanted to go to, but had an entire daytrip where we were able to visit all of the beautiful and quaint Tuscan towns!  One thing I did way too much on this trip?  Eat.  It’s hard not to in Italy… and the gelato is amazing.  I never had spumoni gelato while I was there, but that is not going to stop me from segueing from my trip to Italy to a delicious recipe for granola that I made last week… Spumoni Granola!

Spumoni is a mix of chocolate, pistachio and a red fruit (traditionally cherries but strawberries work for me ;) ).  You’re also probably wondering why I am posting an Italian-inspired recipe close to the Fourth of July?  Well, there’s really no reason for it besides the fact that it is delicious.  I’ll attempt to make something red, white and blue inspired soon :).

Spumoni Granola

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2c ground flax
  • 1/2c shelled pistachios
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1/2c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T grapeseed oil
  • 1/4c dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2c freeze dried strawberries or dried cherries

1. Mix together the oats, flax and pistachios.

2. Whisk together the maple syrup, applesauce and oil.

3. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and put on a baking sheet.

4. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so until the granola is golden brown.

5. Allow to cool completely and mix in the chocolate chunks and fruit.

Even though this granola is not quite as good as being in Italy eating gelato, but I’ll take it :).

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June 24, 2011

carrots for breakfast

Many people, including myself most days, ignore vegetables in the morning.  I would rather have my oatmeal without broccoli or peas and definitely no salads… Only when I happen to have spinach in a smoothie do I seem to get a dose of veg in the morning, but to be honest, there are more mornings than not where I wait until later in the day to get my veggies in.  But not this morning.

Normally baked goods with carrots contain so much sugar and oil that it definitely outweighs the benefits of carrots haha.  This recipe is great in that regard because it contains only 1T of maple syrup and no oil, leaving only the vitamins and nutrients found in carrots!  This recipe is also vegan and gluten-free, making it a great treat for almost anyone!  I just started experimenting with gluten-free baking, and it did take a couple trips to the store to stock my cupboards with some of the staples.  The original recipe called for Sweet Rice and Teff flours, which I didn’t have, so I replaced it with my favorite gluten-free flour, oat.  I also made a few other changes that I typically do to recipes ;).

Vegan & Gluten Free Carrot Muffins

  • 1c sorghum flour
  • 3/4c oat flour
  • 1/2c millet flour
  • 1/2c tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/2t nutmeg
  • 1c finely grated carrots
  • 1/4c raisins (optional)
  • 2t vanilla
  • 1 flax egg (1T ground flax +2-3T warm water, let sit for 5 minutes and whisk)
  • 1c unsweetened organic soy milk (or non-dairy/dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1t vinegar (I used apple cider)
  • 1/3c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T maple syrup
  • optional: pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350* and line a muffin pan with muffin wrappers.

2. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Add in the carrots and raisins.

3. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar.  Add in the applesauce, flax egg, maple syrup and vanilla.

4. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully incorporated (no risk of overmixing with gluten-free flours!).

5. Scoop into the muffin pan (I made 12 muffins).  And top each muffin with a sprinkling of pecans.

6. Bake for 20-22 minutes.  These won’t brown up too much, so make sure to test with a toothpick.

I was surprised with how big these muffins got!  Usually vegan baked goods don’t puff or spread that much, but these definitely did!  They also did not have the extremely grainy texture that is common in gluten-free goods, I think because I didn’t use rice flour?  I’m getting used to this gluten-free baking!  Glad to have another success!