Recently, the Upper East Side has become more hip with good restaurants and stores (not that it makes the UES hip or cool… but it’s moving in the right direction….). My favorite addition is Hu Kitchen. Back in the day, I would take the subway downtown to Union Square, just to go to Hu Kitchen and get my hands on some cashew cream mash (think frozen yogurt, but not). Now that there is a location close-by, I go there weekly to get my fix of granola, crack bars, raw brownies, and drinks. As a granola snob, I can safely attest that their granola is TO DIE FOR. INCREDIBLE. And made with healthy, pure and raw ingredients!
Paleo Granola! Say what??? SOLD SOLD SOLD.
Currently on a granola bar kick (as witnessed a couple weeks ago here), here is my latest granola bar obsession: Lola Bars. Yes, I am on a roll with granola bars!
HOLY COW, best granola bar ever and it is made with only healthy ingredients. They are grain-free, soy-free, paleo, gluten-free, dairy free, wheat-free, and oat-free. The Nola bar!
One of my favorite pastimes is scouring the grocery store and finding new items to eat. I love food, and I love trying new things! So here is what I am currently loving in the kitchen (and in my belly!)
Dough Nutella Doughnut
Looks sweet and delicious, right?
Best Granola Ever. I am addicted and obsessed with granola and this is HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE brand. No other type of granola comes close to this heavenly bowl of goodness! For the past several years (at least 5 years, or even more!), my dear mother in Eugene, Oregon, has been sending me boxes of this granola from the bin in our local grocery store (which is ten times better than any Whole Foods) to New York City. I never knew that it was sold elsewhere! Until I found it in a random Korean Deli Store in Upper Manhattan. It was startling, exhilarating, and life changing! Grizzlie’s Granola — Aunt Maple’s Crunchy Granola — the best of the best.
Heaven in a bag
As the self proclaimed Granola Queen (both in terms of the noun “granola” and the verb “granola”), I have played around with making granola bars. This granola bar is a winner. It takes under 30 minutes, requires no baking, has no sugar (unless you count honey and/or dates as sugar), and is delicious (obviously). MAKE ‘EM!
As a sucker for all granola, I am also obsessed with muesli. Although very similar, they are not the same thing. Both granola and muesli contain oats, fruits and nuts, but muesli is raw, whereas granola is baked. People enjoy muesli like they do granola (served with milk, sprinkled over yogurt, drowned in kefir) or they soak it overnight (in milk or yogurt) to create a cool, porridge-like consistency. Both of my parents (foreign born) eat muesli almost every morning (except for Saturdays when Papa Proskurowski makes his famous omelet) so I have been around different forms of muesli all my life. And Mu Mu Muesli, my friends, is one of the best. The best.
Since I love granola, quinoa, and making granola, I thought trying out a recipe for quinoa granola would be a no-brainer. If you have been out of the health loop in the past several years, quinoa is considered to be a super food and one of the most healthy ingredients out there. It is protein packed, full of fiber, rich in magnesium, high in iron, and is overall magical. I first read a recipe for quinoa granola in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, but it took me months to find “quinoa flakes.” Once I found them, I was ready to go. And let me tell you…. quinoa granola is heavenly, light, sweet, crunchy and perfection.
* 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1/2 cup of maple syrup
* 3 cups of quinoa flakes
* 1 cup of shredded coconut
* 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
* sea salt
* 1/2 cup of chopped dates
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees
* In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and the maple syrup.
I do not recommend licking the whisk / spoon after this combination.
* Then, add the quinoa flakes and mix, followed by the coconut and almonds.
Kinda like cookie dough?
* On a parchment paper lined pan, spread the mixture out evenly. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure it is not burned.
Lined up evenly.
I am a granola snob (fun game to play: what are you a snob about? For example, I am a granola snob as well as a coffee, grocery store, shampoo, and gym pant snob. I just have expectations for these items to be the best of the best. And if they aren’t, then I am snobbily unhappy). I absolutely love granola, and as you may recall, absolutely love Blackberry Farm Granola. I have tried to make my own granola but have never been satisfied (I am a tough critic), until NOW! Big cluster maple granola from the cookbook “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” did the trick. And not just with the granola recipe, but with every recipe. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!
* 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1 cup of unsweetened shredded/flaked coconut
* 1 cup of crushed walnuts (or any other type of nut)
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon of salt
* 1/2 cup of maple syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
* 1 large egg white
* 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, raisins)
The Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Everything about this is to-die-for. First of all, it reads like a novel, the pictures are divine, and the recipes themselves are winners. I can’t wait to try more recipes!
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees
* Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl. Make sure to mix evenly.
Mixing everything together made me want to eat the “dough” before cooking it. It smells like perfection.