Chocolate Almond Granola

Chocolate Almond Granola, Lake Superior Kitchen

I’m still here!  I do still cook, I promise.  I just haven’t been documenting things the same way these days!  When life is busy, prioritizing is a must.  I have been learning the art of “yes” and “no.”  Some things in life are an absolute “yes”: faith, family, relationships, rest.  And some less obvious things more personal to me: music, dinner with friends, dates with my husband.  I have been learning what things I have to prioritize in life in order to stay healthy and whole.  Consequently, this means saying “no” to quite a few things as well.  One of those things is time on my computer.  I have to be on a computer a lot at work.  Once I’m home, it’s just not healthy for me to be interacting with a screen again.  I have to be really careful with my phone too.  I really love documenting my life with food, but it has been on hold for awhile.  I’m hoping to start incorporating it more again, especially as things slow down this summer.  As you may know, I really love the challenge of making food for my family that is healthy, delicious, and affordable.  The latter is getting more challenging all the time.  Right now, I am responsible for a lot of meals every day: breakfast for 3 kids & 2 adults, packed lunches for those same 5 people, separate extra snacks for 2 kids, after school snacks, and dinner for the same 5.  It’s taken me quite some time to get into a good routine with all this.  But I am discovering better ways to stay on top of things and am coming up with some delicious recipes to help out.

This recipe came from spring break.  It was a cold spring break here in Duluth.  I was fine with it.  One of the great thing about kids is they want to go outside no matter what.  So, despite the frigid days, we spent time on the beach, biking, and fishing.  I also made this delicious chocolate granola.  It could be dessert or breakfast.  It’s chocolatey enough to leave the kids with leftover chocolate milk in their cereal bowls, which is the sign of a good chocolate cereal.

Chocolate Almond Granola

30 min


Ingredients:

3 c regular rolled oats

1 c almonds, chopped

1/3 c cocoa powder

4 T butter

1/3 c maple syrup

2 t vanilla 

1/4 t salt


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F

  2. Stir oats, almonds, cocoa powder, and salt together in a large bowl

  3. Melt butter in small bowl and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla

  4. Pour the butter combo over the oats and stir well until everything is evenly coated

  5. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan 

  6. Pour the granola into the pan and press it evenly into it.

  7. Bake for 22 minutes

  8. Remove the pan from the oven and let the granola cool in the pan completely before removing. After this, you’ll be able to break it up into bigger chunks if you desire!


Chocolate Granola, Lake Superior Kitchen, gluten free, no sugar, healthy granola

Toasted Walnut Shortbread Cookies (Paleo)

Paleo cookies, lake superior kitchen, grain free cookies, paleo dessert, grain free dessert

Apparently I’m really into making desserts these days.  Can you blame me, though?  Tis the season for piles of sugary treats everywhere you go.  I always hang on to Christmas as long as possible.  I consider the entire week after to be fair game for celebration.  I’ve also never been a huge New Year’s Eve person, so that’s not really on my mind.  I’d rather focus on extended Christmas.  We’re still watching Christmas movies, my last present for B came today (I ordered it late, my fault), and we’re still eating the remainder of our Christmas leftovers.  My mom is the queen of hostessing.  This Christmas was probably the best yet.  Farm fresh eggs, ham, smoked salmon, caramel rolls, multiple soups, steak, bread, veggies, treats, and oh so much more.  I keep thinking about that day and wishing I could go back, primarily so I can keep eating.  (and hanging out with loved ones, of course).  Thankfully, my mom sent leftovers home with everyone, so my fridge has been full this week.  In a few days we’ll go back to reality.  Not to be fun spoilers, but B and I are likely going to do a January Whole30.  We’re both thinking a reset would be nice.  I’m trying to gather up motivation in the next few days.  I’ll keep you posted if/when we get started!  There’s time to make these cookies before then…

Toasted Walnut Shortbread Cookies (Paleo)

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

1 c walnuts

3/4 c butter

1/4 c honey

1/2 t vanilla

14 t cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

Pinch salt

3 c almond flour

1/2 c chocolate chips

1/2 T butter

3 T water

coarse sea salt for topping

Directions:

  1. Chop the walnuts into small pieces and spread them evenly on a cookie sheet.  Roast at 350 F for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

  2. Soften butter and place in medium bowl.  Add the honey and vanilla and whisk together.

  3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir well to combine.

  4. Add the almond flour and fold into everything until fully combined.

  5. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter and set the ball of dough in the middle.  Use your hands to elongate the dough as much as you can.  Wrap the parchment paper around the dough and continue to shape the dough into a long round “log” about 2-2 1’2 inches across. 

  6. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 2 hours.  Ideally, leave it overnight.

  7. Heat the oven to 350 F

  8. Remove the dough from the refrigeration, take off the parchment paper, and slice the dough into about 15 cookies.

  9. Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and cookies look set.

  10. Let cool slightly on the pan, then remove to cool fully on a cookie sheet.

  11. Once cookies are fully cool, place chocolate chips, butter, and water in a small, microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir immediately.  Even if all the chips aren’t melted, stir for a minute to let any additional chips melt.  Continue to microwave in 8 second increments if chips aren’t fully melted.  (they can burn easily, so be careful). Add additional water, if needed.

  12. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.  Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt. Let cool before serving.


Paleo Shortbread Cookies, Lake Superior Kitchen, grain free cookies, paleo dessert

Paleo Spiced Pear Cake

Paleo spiced pear cake, lake superior kitchen, paleo dessert, grain free, sugar free

Today felt like winter.  Snow was falling all afternoon and it just smelled cold outside.  Daylight Savings has really made the evenings seem dark.  It’s that time of year when 6pm rolls around and I feel like I should be in bed.  I’ve been trying to get up early to walk the dog.  It feels so good to start my day with fresh air and quiet, but getting myself out of bed when it’s cold and dark takes some serious effort.  Doesn’t it just seem like we should all get extra sleep in the winter?  Couldn’t we all shorten the work day during these months so everyone could sleep in and lay under their warm covers for awhile every day?  Since this seems unlikely, I’m really trying to make healthy choices for myself.  I know I need to be active, eat well, and get out and see friends even though my body keeps trying to convince me to stay home, eat chips, and watch the Netflix Hallmark-style Christmas movies every night.  (Have you watched them?  They’re so great.).  In an effort to grow, I’ve been reading a lot about the Enneagram lately.  Check it out if you’re not familiar.  The Enneagram is a personality assessment that is highly research based, extremely thorough, and insightful.  It’s not a “Which Disney Princess Are You” online quiz or anything like that.  Many books have been written that give helpful insight into how to use your Enneagram results.  So, anyway, I am a Type 9 on the Enneagram: “The Peacemaker.”  As I read about Type 9, I’m learning ways to challenge myself to grow.  One of the most helpful pieces is recognizing how I respond to conflict and how that is perceived by my husband, a Type 1.  I know, it sounds a little cheesy when I talk about the numbers.  But it is amazing how accurate and insightful this can be.  Uncovering unseen things about yourself and the people you love is such a gift for those relationships.   Nines are also prone to sloth.  Which is probably why I have known for so long that I need to stay active and eat well to feel fully healthy.  All people do, of course, but it seems to impact my whole self on a deeper level.  So that is something I’m working through as winter approaches. Dog walks are a start. And eating well is huge. I don’t eat desserts very often. When I do make them, I prefer to make them Paleo. This cake is so delicious, no one would even notice it is grain free. It would probably be delicious with ice cream if you so desire.

Paleo Spiced Pear Cake

45 min

Makes 9x9 pan

Ingredients:

1 egg

3/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 c maple syrup

1 t vanilla

1/4 c olive oil

1/2 t allspice

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground clove

1/2 t cinnamon

1 t baking soda

3 1/2 c almond flour

1 c chopped pears


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 F

  2. In medium bowl, whisk egg and add in coconut milk and maple syrup.  Stir together.

  3. Add the olive oil and vanilla and continue to stir thoroughly.

  4. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the spices, salt, baking soda, and almond flour.

  5. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir together.

  6. Add the pears and stir until evenly distributed.

  7. Pour batter into greased 9x9” pan.

  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

  9. Let cool in pan before serving.



Paleo Spiced Pear Cake, Lake Superior Kitchen, Paleo Dessert, Grain free