Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blueberry Challenge Days 1-3

So I'm trying to eat half a cup of blueberries every day, and the past two days I've taken the two obvious choices: oatmeal and yogurt (apparently blueberry pancakes are also an obvious choice, who knew?).  Okay, so today I might not have made it to 1/2 of BLUEBERRIES, but I did get a good half cup of dark berries.  And since blueberries and lemons go so well together, I had a lemon zesting/juicing party this morning.  It was fun, kind of.  I zested and juiced 5 lemons, by the end I just wanted to be done.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, I made Steel Cut (or Scottish) oats and decided that was the best breakfast in the entire world.  I wasn't following a recipe, I just looked up how to cook them, and I guess I accidently ate two servings.  However, they kept me going so long and I felt so content from the oatmeal that all I ate for lunch was a banana and an apple and all I ate for dinner was a salad (which i should also discuss because it was a fantastic salad) and that was enough (oh, and the cake I made, which is another post, also).  So this is what i did:
2 servings (but it apparently keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
dash salt
1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
2 Tbsp toasted walnuts
Maple syrup/brown sugar to taste

Toast the oats lightly in a saucepan.  I think maybe you were supposed to use butter to do this; I didn't, I just turned the heat on and toasted for a little while while I microwaved water.
Add 1 1/2 cup boiling water (and salt?) to the hot saucepan.  Simmer on gently, stirring once or twice until the oats are tender or the water is absorbed.  This will be a while, maybe half and hour (good time to putter around doing other things in the kitchen like toast your walnuts)
Add milk and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add blueberries, walnuts, and maple syrup.  Cover and let sit for 2 minutes.

Blueberry Parfait, Day 2
This was another easy choice, and a great post running treat.  I ate it out of my measuring cup because it is the only clear glass container that I could see the layers and easily dig a spoon into (our glasses are tall and thin)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2+ cup frozen berry blend (or blueberries!)
Sprinkle of sugar
2 tiny pinches lemon zest
2 Tbsp toasted walnuts

First defrost your fruit (oops) and sprinkle the sugar and mix in.
Layer the half yogurt and mix a pinch of lemon zest and mix.  Sprinkle half the walnuts on top, add the fruit and repeat.  Actually, it would probably be best to mix the yogurt and lemon zest separately before layering, but that dirties another dish.

Blueberry Lemon Granola, Day 3
Lately I've been looking through my 12 best foods cookbook (in fact, that might have been part of the inspiration for the challenge), which includes both blueberries and walnuts (and oatmeal, conveniently).  Remember, oatmeal helps with the absorption or something of the awesome blueberry properties, so they are a good pairing.  And to think I've always stuck to almonds.  The secret ingredient: well, I don't think there is just one...  And the funny thing is what I had to buy to make this recipe: dried blueberries and lemon, well and I guess the coconut, but I bought that without the intention of making this specific granola.  But I had everything else on hand, I buy everything raw and unsalted, I can do that myself and I love the smell of things toasting.

1/2 cup blanched almonds (oops), halved (I used sliced, oops)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (thanks Kroger)
1/4 raw sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp unhulled sesame seeds (yeah, I just used regular sesame seeds), secret ingredient 1
1/4 blueberry or mesquite honey (I used regular cheapo honey, but I can tell good honey would have made this granola even better.  Then again, it's addicting enough as is, I don't think we need any more)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground cardamom, secret ingredient 2
2/3 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 325
Stirring frequently, tast almonds and walnuts in large heavy skillet over medium heat until the just begin to color.  Mix in oats and coconut and toast until the the oats color slightly, continuing to stir often.  Add sunflower and sesame seeds, stirring constantly until the mixture turns an even beige.  Off the heat, mix in the honey, lemon zest, and cardamom until all ingredients are thoroughly coated
Spread mixture on a jelly roll pan, making an even layer.  Bake for 5 minutes, stir and respread.  Bake for 5 minutes and repeat once more until the granola is golden brown.  Mix in blueberries and spread hot granola on a baking sheet to stop the cooking, cool to room temperature.  This keeps for 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Or how I did it: add the ingredients you toast in the order specified, but forget to actually turn the stove on.  Realize it isn't on, toast everything at once.  Remove from heat and pour in a bowl because that's easier to clean honey off of than a big cast iron pan.  Go running and come back and the granola will be cool.  Then add honey cardamom and lemon zest and mix.  Put it in a 9 inch round pan because that's what is there (and easy to clean), so increase to 4 sets of 5 (or a little less) minutes, stirring after each.  Remove and then follow the rest of the directions accurately.

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