Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Way Delicious Wednesdays: Carrot-Banana Smoothie and Homemade Granola

Are you still reading after I said "carrot-banana smoothie"? Don't be freaked out. It's SO good. I would get one whenever I'd go to Juice it Up, and when I realized the only ingredients were plain yogurt, banana, and carrot juice, I thought I'd try to make one at home. It turned out delicious and I find myself whipping up this easy drink quite often now. Do not be put off by the carrot juice. You don't taste it - honest. And what better way to get a serving of vegetables!

Carrot-Banana Smoothie

1 large frozen banana, chunked
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup fresh carrot juice
handful of crushed ice

So that's it - just throw it all in the blender and whip it up.

TIP: As soon as bananas get too ripe around here, I put them in a ziploc bag and freeze them. If you thaw for about 5 minutes on the counter, you can easily remove the peel.

Now, the next recipe is one I make on a weekly basis. I think Rich and I have been eating granola for every weekday breakfast since summer began. We're addicted! I get a lot of requests for this recipe, and my friend LaTonya Taylor keeps reminding me to post it for her. So here you go, sister!

Homemade Granola

3 cups oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, and shredded coconut.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, stir together the remaining ingredients (except vanilla) until the coconut oil is melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour warm liquid mixture over the dry oat mixture. Stir well to combine. Divide mixture into two jelly roll (rimmed) type baking pans. Spread out as thinly as possible. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Cool completely and then pour into an airtight container. You can add dried fruit if you like.

NOTE: You can get the coconut oil and the shredded coconut at Whole Foods. The oil is called "organic extra virgin" coconut oil. It is pricey but oh-so-delicious and very healthy for you. I actually get mine in bulk from Vitamin Shoppe, since I use it for practically all my baking. I even slather some all over my face when cooking (seriously- great for dry skin). You can substitute extra light olive oil instead, but I have to warn you - it won't taste as good.

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