Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

One of the gifts we received for Christmas was a 6 month subscription to the Raw Spice Bar company. We get 3 spice mixes sent to us every month, with recipe ideas for each. It’s been a fantastic gift! One of the packets that came in the post last month was a German Gingerbread spice mix (a mixture of ginger, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cloves, mace and star anise). There were a few different recipes that were suggested, but the one that really caught my eye was for a Gingerbread Granola.

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Jonty is taking a 5-week welding course, which has him tied up on Saturdays. So I’ve been spending that time keeping the apartment warm by making sure the oven in constant use, trying out new recipes. Some recipes have been pretty great, others have been meh. This was a really good one.

I tweaked the Raw Spice Bar’s version slightly, by adding more variety of nuts and seeds, and decreasing the amount of sugar originally called for. I don’t like granola super-sweet, and I think this ended up being the perfect balance between salty-and-sweet and slightly-spicy (I think due to the freshly ground dried ginger).

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Do you like your granola super chunky and crunchy and clumpy? I’m definitely in that camp. There’s something extremely satisfying about munching on a big nugget of granola. And when you get one of those pieces that is flecked with sea salt and gingerbread spices? Gah, so darned good!

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The key to making super clumpy granola is simply to resist the urge to stir it. That’s it, just leave it be, especially once it comes out of the oven. When the granola has cooled completely, you can gently break it up into large pieces.

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I tell you, this stuff is addictively good. When I was taking pictures, I couldn’t stop sneaking little edge pieces – you know, the ones that weren’t photo-worthy 😉

Jonty told me mid-week that we needed to get rid of the granola ASAP because he couldn’t stop eating it! Seriously good.

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This gingerbread granola kept my breakfast routine interesting for the week. My favourite was with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some fruit (the oranges are fantastic at this time of year!).

So if you like gingerbread spices and clumpy granola and food that will keep your body fueled, give this recipe a try. It should keep in an airtight container for a few weeks, if you can make it last that long. 😉

Easy Gingerbread Granola
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This easy clumpy Gingerbread Granola is a healthy way to start your day, or munch on as a quick snack.
Ingredients
  • 315 g (3 cups) large flake oats
  • 100 g (1 cup) walnut pieces
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) cashew pieces
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 pkg German Gingerbread Spice (see notes)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) maple syrup
  • 40 g (2 tbsp) molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, Gingerbread spices and sea salt).
  3. In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, heat together the coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.
  5. Spread the granola mixture on the parchment-lined tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pan before breaking up into large pieces.
Notes
If you don't want to use the German Gingerbread Spice mix, make your own by combining the following dried spices: 1 tbsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground coriander, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and ¼ tsp ground cloves.

Enjoy this Clumpy Gingerbread Granola!

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Multi-Seeded Bread

I try to bake bread once a week, often on a Monday when I’m not in the office. There’s something really great about easing into the start of the week with a home smelling of freshly baked bread, I urge you to try it sometime, perhaps as a New Years goal? It doesn’t even have to be on a Monday! 🙂

I was all ready to go with the bread baking last week: the mixer was out, the oven was pre-heating and I started to weigh out the ingredients for my go-to marbled rye bread, when alas, I realized we didn’t have anymore yogurt!

We needed bread, and I didn’t want to run down to the store for more yoghurt. So I begrudgingly picked up my bread book, in a pouty attempt to find another loaf inspiration (yes, a somewhat first-world problem I admit).

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The bread gods must have sensed my pain, though, because the book magically opened to a recipe for a multi-seeded bread. And, aside from a few seed swaps, I had everything I needed! Phew!

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but all of the breads I make can either be made in one sitting, or can be split over a few days. While I often choose to make a loaf in the morning, you can easily mix up the dough the night before and leave it in the fridge (up to 4 days) until you’re ready to bake. It’s a great way to make bread, if you’ve got commitment issues 😉

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This particular loaf has all the health benefits of whole-grain rye flour, as well as enough seeds to make it taste interesting. I used a combination of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds. I think next time I make this I’ll try adding a few walnuts into the mix too.

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And then as soon as the multi-seed bread was cool enough to slice, I slathered it with homemade peanut butter and raspberry jam, and all was right in my world again!

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Multi-Seeded Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This gives a nice, soft sandwich loaf. It tastes great toasted or as it is! Recipe adapted slightly from Artisan Breads Everyday.
Ingredients
  • 325 g (~2.5 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 45 g (~1/3 cup) rye flour
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) sunflower seeds
  • 15 g (~1.5 tbsp) flax seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 7 g (1¾ tsp) instant quick-rise yeast
  • 30 g (1.5 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) lukewarm water
  • 85 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) lukewarm milk (any kind, or more water)
Instructions
  1. Toast the seeds in a dry skillet or under the broiler, until they become fragrant. About 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients and mix with the dough hook attachment, until just combined (about 2 minutes). Stop mixing and let the dough sit for 5 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
  3. On medium-low speed, knead the bread with the dough hook attachment for 3 or 4 minutes, until the dough starts to come together into a smooth ball. Add more flour, 1 tbsp at at time, only if the dough is very sticky. You want the dough to be soft and supple and slightly tacky (so the dough just sticks to your finger when you press into it).
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead by hand for a few minutes. Add flour, only when necessary. You should have a nice soft, smooth ball of dough at the end.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly-greased, clean bowl. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until the ball has doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Prepare a 8x4-inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the bowl and pat it into a rectangle shape. At the short end, tightly roll up the dough into a log shape, pinching the seams together. Gently place the dough, seam-side down, into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature, until it just starts to dome over the edge of the pan (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  7. About 15 minutes before you plan on baking the bread, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake time. When cooked, the top should be a deep golden brown, and the bottom of the loaf should sound slightly hollow when tapped.
  8. Leave the bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Once it has cooled completely, slice up the entire loaf before placing in a tightly-sealed freezer bag.

Enjoy the Multi-Seeded Bread!

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Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread

Over the last few months, Monday’s have become my bread-baking day. They have also become our mid-morning walk day, enjoying the parks and beaches of Vancouver for a few hours when most of the world is at work. It’s a good way to start the week!

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I do love baking, and I think that baking bread (and working with yeasted dough in general) is probably one of my favourite ways to spend time in the kitchen. I love the way the dough smells and, to me, there’s always something magical about pulling that golden-crusted loaf of bread out of the oven. Seriously, I smile every time!

I first started making this version of a marbled rye sandwich bread a few weeks ago. I was looking through one of my go-to bread books and Jonty spied a picture of a marbled, swirly loaf, and asked if I could give that one a try. At first glance, I thought it might take a lot longer to make, as it called for making two batches of dough, one for the light rye and one for the dark. I couldn’t be bothered with that, so, in true Moira fashion, I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe.

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My version is actually fairly easy to do. I’ve used my cheaters method again of adding yogurt to the rye dough, as a substitute for making a sourdough mother starter, which means you don’t have to start a bread recipe more than a week in advance. And once the dough is kneaded for a few minutes into a shaggy ball, I simply split it in half and knead cocoa powder into one ball (for the dark rye), and leave the other as it is.

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After the two balls of dough have risen, they’re split equally again, so there are two balls of each colour. Pat each of them into a rectangular shape, stack them on top of each other, then roll the entire stack into a log-shape, pinching the seams together. The log hangs around in a loaf pan until the dough just starts to dome over the edge of the pan. In a nice warm house, that will probably happen in about half an hour. Easy peasy 🙂

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Like all bread, you really need to let it cool completely before slicing into it. With the wonderful aroma of this freshly baked bread, wafting through the apartment, the wait can be hard; this is usually when we leave the apartment and enjoy a walk around town.

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By the time we get back the bread has cooled enough to slice, and the apartment smells fantastic.

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Oh man, those swirls get me every time! Jonty thinks this is one of the best toasting breads I’ve made: the bread is nice and soft, yet the crumb is dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart if you like to slice your bread fairly thin, like we do. As usual, we slice up the entire loaf and pop it in the freezer, so we can take out a slice or two whenever needed.

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the rye sandwich bread recipe from Artisan Bread Everyday
Ingredients
For the starter:
For the dough:
  • 190 g warm water
  • 15 g molasses
  • 30 g vegetable oil
  • 1⅛ tsp instant yeast
  • 340 g unbleached bread flour (we prefer Anita's Organic Mill)
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, yogurt and water. It will be very thick and resemble modeling clay. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, molasses, vegetable oil and instant yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, to allow the yeast to bloom.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour and salt. Drop the rye starter, by the spoonful, into the bowl and add the yeast mixture.
  4. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on low until the dough just starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn the mixer off and let the dough stand for 5 minutes, to fully hydrate.
  5. After this wait time, continue to knead the dough with a dough hook until the it starts to look like a smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky. Using wet hands, remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into equal halves (use a scale, for precise measurements). Place one half of the dough back into the stand mixer bowl, along with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, and knead on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the dark rye ball into a clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  6. Return the light rye dough ball back into the stand-mixer bowl and knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the light rye ball into a second clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size (this may take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is), split each ball of dough in half, so you have 2 light rye balls and 2 dark rye balls. Flatten each into a rectangular shape, about 8 x 5 inches. Layer the dough in alternating colours and press each down quite firmly onto the previous layer, to avoid big air bubbles forming during the rise. Tightly roll the dough into a log shape and place, seam side down, into a parchment-lined loaf pan for a second rise.
  8. About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. When done, the loaf should be a golden brown on top and should sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the bread up completely before placing into a freezer-proof ziplock bag.

Enjoy the Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread!

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Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats

I know I’m late to this party, but until a month ago, I had never tried overnight oats. Oh, I heard people raving about them – how quick they are to prep the night before, how easy it is to switch up the flavours. But I was firmly planted in my green-smoothie-breakfast. That was, until the motor died on our Blendtec, and we were without its pulverizing force while waiting for a replacement to come in the mail. FYI, when this company says it offers an unlimited 7-year warranty, they really mean it!

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I need something in my tummy in the mornings, and we had a bag of Rogers Steel-cut Porridge Oats in our pantry that have been staring me down for quite some time. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and try this overnight-oat thing – and you know what? I’m officially on board!

This recipe is nourishing, full of fibre, and loaded with heart-healthy and antioxidant-promoting ingredients. It’s really a powerhouse of a breakfast and can easily be modified, depending on what’s in your cupboards. I’ve been eating this often during the week and it totally hits the spot. It should go without saying, but if you’re gluten-free, make sure you choose a certified gluten-free oat blend. If you’re vegan, use a non-dairy milk. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit 🙂

In case you haven’t heard me lamenting over the very wet, very grey autumn we’ve had on the west coast, I’ll say it again: this autumn feels gloomier than most. It’s a good thing that one day of blue sky (which we had the on Monday this week), can generally elevate my spirit for a few days 🙂

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Another way I get through these dreary months is by filling our fridge with tonnes of citrus fruit. How can a person feel glum, after biting into a ripe orange, or tasting the juicy crunch of a little pomegranate aril! I think that’s why this version of Pomegranate and Coconut overnight oats is hitting the spot for me at the moment. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts, for a bit of extra crunch, too. And, with a good cup of coffee, it’s perfect.

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So if your breakfast is needing a change-up, or you’ve never tried this type of oatmeal before, give this Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats recipe a try. Hopefully it boosts your morning, like it does mine 🙂

Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
No cooking required, and five minutes of preparation the night before, will make sure you have a very tasty and filling breakfast in the morning.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup large-flake oats (I used the Roger's Steel Cut Oat Porridge blend)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces, broken up into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Instructions
  1. In a 250 mL glass mason jar (with a lid), combine the oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, pomegranate arils, large-flake coconut and walnuts (if using). Put the lid on, and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of milk of your choice, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Stir the contents to combine completely.
  3. Place the lid onto the jar and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. In the morning, enjoy cold or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is enough for 1 person. Modify the quantities to feed more hungry tummies.
If you like your oatmeal dense, use 1 to 2 tbsp less milk., If you like your oats with a lot of extra liquid, either add more the night before, or top with additional milk when serving.

Enjoy!

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Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake

I know the words Healthy and Cake are often mutually exclusive. But in this case, I’m going out on a limb and stating, for the record, that I think this Carrot-Cranberry snacking cake is a wonderfully healthy cake. We’re not vegan or vegetarian (although this cake falls into both categories), and we don’t completely shun the sweet treats (although we’re pretty good at limiting those to the weekends). However, every now and then, it’s nice to bake something that we can nibble on during the week that is healthy yet feels like a treat.

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This cake has no refined sugar and relies mainly on the natural sweetness of the fruits and vegetables you put into it. I made this a few weeks ago, sliced it up, and tucked it away in the freezer to nibble on when cravings strike. It’s lasted beautifully and, dare I say, the flavour even improved as it sat!

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With every bite, I’m sure I sound like a broken record, repeatedly telling Jonty that I still can’t believe there is nothing “unhealthy” in this cake! I first saw this in the My New Roots cookbook. If you don’t have it, I would urge you to give it a browse. There are so many great recipes in there, all plant-based, but easy to modify if you want to include other meat additions.

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In the cookbook, this was intended as a loaf. Aside from turning it into a snacking-cake recipe, I also decreased the amount of maple syrup and added toasted coconut. Both were well-received 🙂

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We love a nice tart treat, thus this snacking cake was an instant hit: the balance of the sweet and tart being just right, when you think the fresh cranberries are going to be too sour, you get a hit of sweetness from the roasted carrot and maple syrup. Being chock-full of vitamins A and C and numerous health-promoting antioxidants, doesn’t hurt, either!

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I tell you, this is most definitely something you can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty about! Let us know how it turns out for you 🙂

Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Based on the Carrot-Cranberry Loaf from My New Roots
Ingredients
  • 14 g (1 tbsp) chia seeds
  • 80 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 120 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 180 g (1½ cups) sprouted spelt flour
  • 50 g (1/2 cups) large-flake oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground, dried ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 140 g (1½ cups, or 2 medium) grated carrots
  • 80 g (3/4 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) large flake coconut, toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360 F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and milk and leave to sit for 15 minutes or so, until the mixtures starts to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking powder and sea salt). Add in the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Pour in the chia seed and milk mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in the fresh cranberries and toasted coconut flakes and mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared 8 x 8 inch pan.
  7. Bake at 360 F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the par 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
I baked this cake at 360 F, because our oven runs cool. If you bake at 350 F, you might have to increase the bake time slightly.

This cake freezes extremely well. Allow to cool completely, then cut into slices, wrap well and store in the freezer in a sealed ziplock bag.

Enjoy!

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