Buckwheat Granola and Other Musings

Spring is officially here!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Bust out the colorful bowls!

Though winter is holding on tight (we have a chance of snow again this weekend…), there is a shift in the energy lately. The extra hour of daylight, the first purple buds popping up on the trees, and the daffodils offering a sunny “hello!” hint of the good things that are just around the corner. I for one am anxiously awaiting the opening of the City Market on April 6!

In the mean time, I’m making basics like granola, and busting out my bunny apron to use as a photography backdrop.

Buckwheat granola

Buckwheat granola

This week has been busy, but in the best way possible. Early in the mornings, my yoga practice has taken a step forward as I started learning the Advanced A series (just the first two poses), and returned to practicing tic-tocs after a few weeks of taking it easy. In the day time, work is going well, and I have been enjoying many new opportunities to expand my leadership in the past few weeks. On weekends, we have been seeing a lot of our family, with more to come next weekend for Easter.

Life is good.

So is this granola.

Simple and Delicious

Simple and Delicious

Inspired by many other bloggers, I have been exploring buckwheat in many forms lately. I bought a big bag of raw buckwheat groats in bulk, and have been using them as a crunchy topping for salads and smoothies, blended as breakfast porridge, cooked into oats, ground into flour for muffins, and tossed with oats, pecans, and sunflower seeds in this simple granola.

You could add coconut flakes or dried fruit, but I decided to keep things simple. Pecans are by far my favorite breakfast nut (yes, that is a thing), especially when they are toasted. I used the overnight method, and was once again pleased with the crunchy result (not to mention the delicious aroma in my kitchen).

Granola

Granola pile

Buckwheat Granola

Inspired by Kath Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • scant 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring at 15 minutes intervals. Turn the oven off and leave granola in the oven overnight. In the morning, it will be perfectly crunchy!

This week's breakfast, on repeat.

This week’s breakfast, on repeat.

Simple, no fuss, perfectly delicious, homemade granola–what more could you ask for?!

I have been enjoying the same breakfast all week– Greek yogurt, sliced banana, a drizzle of coconut milk, a drizzle of Blackstrap molasses, and granola on top! I’m not usually a “repeat” kind of girl when it comes to breakfast, but this combo is so good, I’ve just wanted more and more of it.

Hope your Spring is off to a wonderful start!

-L

Popped Amaranth Cereal with Pistachio Cream

Since starting this blog last May, I have discovered many new ingredients as well as new ways of preparing old favorites.

toppings and cream

This weekend I decided to combine three of my favorite “new” foods to create a homemade cereal dish that is bursting with flavor and nutrition. The cereal base includes popped amaranth and buckwheat groats, and is topped with a pistachio cream.

There are many steps in the process of creating this unique breakfast dish, but it can be made ahead and all of the parts will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

After two weekends away from my kitchen, let’s just say I went a little crazy on Saturday morning, whipping up this and that!

Popped Amaranth

Popped Amaranth

The first step is to pop the amaranth. Heat a pot until water “dances” when flicked on the surface, add about 2 Tablespoons dry amaranth, cover with a lid, and shake the pot until the amaranth has popped. I made about 5 batches to get 2 cups of popped cereal.

pistachio cream

Next, prepare a batch of pistachio milk using 1 cup soaked pistachios and 2 cups of water.

Now you’re ready to assemble the cereal and the pistachio cream.

banana and cream

Pistachio Cream

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup homemade pistachio milk
  • 1 small, very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup pistachio “pulp” (leftover from making the milk)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth.

stirred

Amaranth and Buckwheat Cereal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup popped amaranth
  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Combina all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

pouring

I topped my cereal with sliced banana, frozen raspberries, and coconut flakes before pouring about 1 cup of the pistachio cream on top. I love mixing things up in the mornings and starting my day with a wide variety of flavors and textures. This hearty bowl of “cereal” and “milk” certainly fit the bill.

Enjoy!

-L

Vegan Buckwheat Banana Bread

When I left home last Friday for a weekend away, I left 4 bananas ripening in the kitchen.

There is nothing better than coming home to perfectly over-ripe bananas, just begging to be baked into moist and delicious banana bread.

Vegan Buckwheat Banana Bread

Vegan Buckwheat Banana Bread

Banana bread has always been a favorite in my family. One of my earliest kitchen memories is mixing up a tasty loaf of banana bread with my mom. Her tried and true recipe includes extra cinnamon, and it always makes the house smell terrific.

Lately I have been experimenting with “alternative” recipes. Andrea’s Banana Date Bread and Jenna’s molasses-sweetened version have both been big hits. Coincidentally, big sister Julie has also been experimenting with her own variation, using applesauce as the primary sweetener.

loaf from above

When I bought my first bag of buckwheat flour a few weeks ago, I quickly decided that buckwheat banana bread was in order. I have been reading more and more about this grain seed, and couldn’t wait to experiment.

Buckwheat is the seed of an herb related to rhubarb that is native to Russia. The triangular seeds are ground to make buckwheat flour, but can be found in hulled form, as groats (raw) or kasha (roasted). Buckwheat is gluten free, high in protein, and contains all essential amino acids. It has a distinctive flavor, often described as “assertive” and “nutty.”

slices

Vegan Buckwheat Banana Bread

Inspired by Sarah at My New Roots

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with baking paper, or lightly oil and dust with flour, shaking out excess.

Put the almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few strokes as possible. Fold in nuts.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

front view

My husband often gives me a hard time about my “alternative” baking choices, and he was well-prepared to dislike this bread. Although he described it as “not very sweet” (an intentional choice on my part) and “wheaty” (that would be the earthy buckwheat flavor), he proclaimed “it’s good!” He even asked if he could take a slice or two to work with him.

Husband approved, nutrient rich, deliciously moist and comforting, buckwheat banana bread is a definite success.

Have you ever baked with buckwheat flour?

-L

P.S. This post was shared at Thank Your Body Thursday. Check out Robin’s great weekly link-up for all things healthy living (food exercise, cleaning, and more).