What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Walnut Mango Granola! Have you noticed how versatile granola has become? It’s no wonder it has turned into a convenient substitute for breakfast when you’re on the run. Oats are full of iron and fiber, which the nutritionists keep drumming into our heads. It keeps us full, energizes the body, and detours junk food cravings. Nuts and seeds have heart-hearty benefits, which everyone wants, right? Personally, I prefer the crumbled version to sprinkle over my morning yogurt. Others prefer the chewy granola bars I find look too much like a candy bar. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy peanut butter and chocolate chips as much as the next guy. I get it, but always check the sugar content because basically that’s what holds everything together. Talk about unwanted calories. No thanks. In the end do what is right for you. Meanwhile, if you want to make your own, this recipe is as easy as pie.
WALNUT MANGO GRANOLA
1 cup walnut halves, chopped
1/4 cup coconut flakes
2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
1 cup oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup dried mango, chopped
1/4 cup dates, chopped
Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss chopped walnuts, coconut flakes, pistachio nuts, oats, and chia seeds. Thoroughly combine; set aside. In another bowl, mix cinnamon, coconut sugar, sea salt, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. Drizzle over walnut mixture and toss to coat granola. Spread granola mixture onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes; turn for even browning and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven. Carefully stir in dried mango and chopped dates. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool completely. Transfer crumbled granola to an airtight container.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Vermont Cheddar Multigrain Toast! Just because you hit the snooze button on the alarm clock does not mean you lose out on a healthy breakfast. Grab a slice of multigrain bread, a hard-boiled egg, and a wedge of white cheddar cheese. Why white, you ask? Um, because I like the deeper flavors of the older extra-sharp varieties. The longer a cheese ages naturally, the more pronounced the flavor. Besides, it tastes incredibly delish with the slightly salty applewood-smoked bacon as its companion. So, while the coffee’s brewing and the toast is browning, get slicing.
VERMONT CHEDDAR MULTIGRAIN TOAST
1-2 slices multigrain toast
1-2 tablespoons sea salt butter
3-4 slices Vermont White Cheddar cheese
1-2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, precooked
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
Snipped chives for garnish
Chia seeds for garnish
Toast multigrain bread on desired setting. Remove from toaster; place on a plate. Spread sea salt butter over toast. Next, layer with Vermont cheddar cheese, thick bacon, and sliced egg. Top with snippets of fresh chives. Sprinkle chia seeds over all.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Marble Rye Deli Classic! One of the most sophisticated breads around is the marble rye with its identifiable dark swirls in geometric design. Did you know that cocoa powder is responsible for this transformation? Truth. Another little secret about marble rye is when eaten for breakfast, it actually keeps hunger pangs at bay for the rest of the morning. I like that idea, which is why an egg salad sandwich on rye is often my choice. The next time you pass by the deli, pick up a loaf of bakery fresh marble rye bread.
MARBLE RYE DELI CLASSIC
4 slices marble rye bread
1 tablespoon butter
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices red onion
Curly endive lettuce
Toast and butter the marble rye bread. Set aside. Using a mini chopper, pulse the eggs to bite size crumbles. Mix together the chopped egg and mayonnaise. Fold in celery seed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. To assemble sandwich, place the lettuce on the rye bread. Next spread the egg salad. Layer with red onion slices. Top with another slice of buttered marble rye bread. Voilà! A Deli-style egg salad sandwich.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Ravishing Radish Sandwich! There’s something a little French about nibbling on a radish sandwich. And you can pull it off without raising your pinky finger into the air. Choose an artisan bread such as a crusty baguette or toasted sesame loaf. All you really need is a little butter and sea salt. However, I went one step further and used a creamy Neufchâtel cheese blended with pimento-filled green olives. Can you say, “Oooh, La La”?
RAVISHING RADISH SANDWICH
1 bunch of radishes, washed, stalks removed, and thinly sliced
8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, softened
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
1 loaf artisan bread
1/4 teaspoon Chia seeds
In a small bowl, mix Neufchâtel cheese and green olives until combined. Slice bread evenly on a cutting board and then toast lightly. Slather each slice of bread with cheese spread. Layer radishes on top, randomly squeezing on as many pieces as possible. Sprinkle with chia seeds to garnish. Voilá!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Yumolicious GF Harvest Muffins! Have you discovered the silky taste of almond butter lately? I recently came across a gourmet item that enhanced the almond butter with cinnamon and chia seeds. Because it works with this muffin recipe, I went ahead and used it. Obviously, if chia seeds are not your thing, no worries. The butternut squash is the star attraction, in my opinion. It has a natural sweet flavor that surpasses the pumpkin patch variety that is more common. Since I recently made a batch of glazed pears, they were added to the “harvest”, but you can certainly substitute with a delicious apple instead. If I haven’t piqued your interest by now, let me further add the fact that these yumolicious muffins are gluten-free. See? It works. You learn something new everyday.
YUMOLICIOUS GF HARVEST MUFFINS
3/4 cup butternut squash purée
1 cup almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pear, finely chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon almond flour
2-3 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 325°. Use muffin cup liners for 12 muffins. Line the muffin tin; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine butternut squash purée, almond butter, maple syrup, beaten egg, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well. Fold in the chopped pears. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. For the topping, mix brown sugar, softened butter, almond flour, and old fashioned oats. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel topping. Top with sunflower seeds. Bake 30-35 minutes or until muffins pull away from paper liner. Watch carefully.
#Letter E – What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Egg Cup Jambon! What’s black and white and crunchy to the taste? It’s the dense little chia seed. This highly nutritional nut is a member of the mint family boasting fiber, antioxidants, and even iron. Sprinkle it on everything from popcorn to yogurt. Today I topped off the Egg Cup Jambon for a nice chewy finish.
EGG CUP JAMBON
Nonstick Cooking Spray
6 slices Smoked Virginia Ham
6 large eggs
6 teaspoons Gouda cheese, shredded
1 green onion
Seasoned salt and cracked pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat six muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Place one slice of ham into each cup forming a bowl. Layer one teaspoon of cheese on top of ham. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Divide the green onion by slicing it between all six cups. This is easily done with a kitchen shears. Next crack one egg into each cup, being careful not to break the yolk. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and broil on High for one minute. The whites should be cooked, but the yolks a little runny. Watch! Remove egg cups onto serving platter and sprinkle chia seeds on top before serving. Enjoy!
*TIP: Make ahead and gently reheat in the microwave on 20% power for those mornings-on-the-run.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Ranch Pretzel Twists! You’re thinking snack-city. I know, right? Except this version of baked pretzels is made with one of the healthiest foods around: Chia Seeds! They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals in a balanced diet. With every bite you’ll practically be doing the “Happy Dance”.
RANCH PRETZEL TWISTS
15-ounce bag of pretzel twists
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 packet Ranch seasoning mix
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Preheat the oven to 275°. Empty pretzel twists into a gallon storage zipper bag. Mix thoroughly all the remaining ingredients except chia seeds. Pour over pretzels and close the bag. Toss the bag to evenly coat all pieces until the oil is absorbed. Empty contents onto a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Try to form a single layer. Lastly, sprinkle the chia seeds over the pretzels. Bake 10 minutes. Then turn pretzels over and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before storing in sealed container.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Guacamole-Stuffed Tomatoes! Avocados are so convenient to use as a modern salad alternative. Adding fresh lime, tomatoes, and herb seasonings make it a winning combination for more than a Super Bowl Party or Cinco de Mayo celebration. Whether the results are chunky or smooth, once the dish is made it needs to be eaten before the natural exposure to oxygen turns the guacamole sauce brown. The lime juice slows down the process a bit, but this is definitely not a “do ahead” recipe. Make fresh and eat fresh!
2 romaine lettuce leaves
2 medium size tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon chia seeds
Place one romaine lettuce leaf on a small luncheon plate. Take one whole tomato; remove top stem; score tomato into 8 sections leaving the bottom intact. Transfer to luncheon plate, atop romaine lettuce leaf, opening tomato to form a serving well. Scoop the flesh from the avocado and place in a mini chopper. Add lime juice, garlic powder, and sea salt. Pulse to thicken. Fill tomato centers. Top with red pepper flakes, green onion snips, and chia seeds. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Egg Salad Extravaganza, A Crêpe Idea! The debate continues………. Mayonnaise and Celery or Miracle Whip and Pickle Relish? What is your preference in Egg Salad? It probably all depends on how your mother made it during your childhood. Fortunately both can be made in a snap!
EGG SALAD EXTRAVAGANZA
3 eggs, hard cooked
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon celery, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon pickle relish (optional)
Combine mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Peel and chop eggs, breaking into small pieces. Gently stir into mayonnaise mixture. Add celery or pickle relish. Fill two Crêpes with egg salad. Tuck in several lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with Chia seeds.
(For an alternative bread choice, please reference Crêpe Expectations for the batter recipe at https://snapshotsincursive.com/2015/05/17 to make crêpes in advance.)