Maple-Almond Granola

This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}As I type this post, I am sitting at my dining room table and gazing out the window.  Now that hurricane Joaquin is gone and the rain has stayed away from South Carolina for a week, we have dried out a bit and the leaves are starting to turn.  I could sit here and stare at the trees all day, provided there were plenty of snacks within arms reach.  There is quite a nip in the air (a bit odd for this time of year in the South), but this Minnesota gal is thrilled.  My friends, it actually feels like fall here right now and I am positively giddy.

While some people crave cozy casseroles, hearty soups, and pumpkin spice lattes at this time of year, I have been craving granola.

Is that weird?

I’m not sure why, but every time I have seen it in the store, I commence to drooling.  Its embarrassing really.  I see those toasted oats and nuts studded with colorful dried fruits and it sets my stomach to growling.  I refuse to buy it because I can make it so easily, but I haven’t had time.  This past weekend I was sure to MAKE time, and after a lot of experimentation, I made exactly the kind of granola I have been yearning for.This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}This version is crispy, but not so crunchy that it will shake loose a filling.  Its spiced, but just enough to add a fantastic warmth to the food, not enough to overwhelm.  And the maple?  Gaaaah.  Its lovely.  When you bake this it will smell like your house has been invaded by a stack of syrup drowned pancakes, but the end result is much more subtle.

I took to Instagram on Saturday to share my success with the world.
Maple-Almond-GranolaAfter this picture was taken I added a banana.  Stupendous is the only word I can use to describe it. Absolutely stupendous.

If you have never made granola at home before, I highly recommend giving it a try.  It is ridiculously easy and you can customize it to your own tastes.  In addition, it is just fun to share with people.  Throw it in a jar with a ribbon around the top and VOILA!  Instant gift.  It would be a fantastic thing to bring to the host or hostess of a party this holiday season instead of the usual bottle of wine.  Personally, I would rather have granola under the tree than a reindeer sweater so consider sending some to long lost relatives.  It travels well and smells so good, it will make the security dogs at the post office go berserk! 🙂 Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like crunchy, nutty, cinnamon-y food.  Right?  I thought so.
This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}Maple-Almond Granola
Several weeks ago we made homemade almond milk here at our house.  We had quite a bit of ground almonds leftover after draining off the ‘milk’ so we dried them out in the oven and stored them in the freezer until we could decided what to do with them.  They were PERFECT in this granola, so keep that in mind if  you make your own almond milk!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, add:
2 c rolled oats
1 c ground almonds or almond flour
1 c sliced almonds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended.
In a glass measuring cup, combine:
1/4 c coconut, canola, or grapeseed oil
1/3 c pure (real) maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract

Mix and pour over oat mixture.  Combine well, making sure the moisture is evenly distributed.  This will take a bit.  Dump onto a dry, unlined sheet pan and spread out into an even layer.  Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stir well, toast for another 15 minutes, stir, and toast final 15 minutes.  The granola should be dry and crunchy and slightly browned.  Remove and let it cool on the pan.  It will continue to crisp a bit as it cools.  Once cool, feel free to add the dried fruits of your choice.  Cranberries are especially fantastic with this.  Store in an airtight container.

Hot German Potato Salad

Easy Hot German Potato Salad via Brittany's Pantry makes Oktoberfest especially delicious!Oktoberfest may be almost over, but there is still a week or two to sneak some german inspired dishes into your menus!

But this isn’t just any german dish. This is a family recipe that has been enjoyed for generations. As a kid, my parents made this throughout the colder months of fall and winter (and spring…) and to be honest, I never appreciated it then. I didn’t used to be a fan of tangy, vinegary recipes. Thankfully, I grew out of that and as an adult, I am trying to make up for lost time. Better late than never right? I am very grateful that my kids inherited my love of food!

I actually have significant german ancestry, as does my husband, and while I have ever been very motivated to celebrate Oktoberfest anytime before, I wanted to put together a menu and do something special this year. Unfortunately, our plans for this past weekend were cancelled due to weather (two weeks of rain+hurricane Joaquin=our current situation here in Columbia, SC) but just before our power went out, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I made Sauerbraten with big fat noodles and huge piles of these potatoes on the side. Rest assured, there was also beer.

It is hard to convey the sheer abundance of flavors in this warm salad. It bursts with creamy, salty, tangy, and sour with just a bit of sweet. It goes wonderfully with anything roasted, stays warm for quite awhile when covered well, and reheats great. There aren’t too many ingredients, and once the potatoes are boiled, it comes together quite quickly. At its base, it is just a simple dish. Handed down through the family, I will continue to make it for my own, paying homage to our heritage is small, tasty ways.
Easy Hot German Potato Salad via Brittany's Pantry makes Oktoberfest especially delicious!Easy Hot German Potato Salad via Brittany's Pantry makes Oktoberfest especially delicious!Hot German Potato Salad
Grilled brats, simmered in beer and onions, are so good with this it may render you speechless with joy.

9 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 small onion, minced
2 T flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
2/3 c water
1/3 c white vinegar

Cook potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, fry and brown the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but 2 T of the bacon grease. Add the onions to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until translucent, but not fried. Add the flour and whisk or stir until combined and smooth, continuing to cook until the flour flavor is gone, about one minute. Add the sugar, salt, celery seed and stir. Pour in the water and vinegar and stir or whisk until smooth and thick. Turn off the heat and add the potatoes and bacon, gently string to coat the potatoes well. Taste for seasoning as it may need salt. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm. Enjoy!

Spicy White Bean Dip W/Sriracha

This Spicy Bean Dip is creamy and light without being overwhelming. Great as a snack or appetizer for a crowd on GAME DAY!! {Brittany's Pantry}Have you ever read the description of a dish or read the ingredient list and you just knew it was going to be good?

I do that all time.  Like when I check out the recipe for a chocolate cake and I see the words sour cream, cocoa, coffee, ganache, and vanilla.  Yeah.  You know its gonna be outstanding.  Or a beef stew that has the words red wine and fresh rosemary tucked amongst the potatoes and onions.  Mmm.  You can almost taste it, right?  It is the same reason your mouth starts to salivate when you hear the words apple pie or pumpkin spice latte.  You already know what is in it and that it will be fantastic.

This dip is kind of like that.  Spice, lime, garlic, sesame, curry…mmmm.  For those of you that are looking for a bit of a change from the hummus scene, I got your back.  If you are obsessed with all things spicy and, well…we’ll just say it…Sriracha…then you are covered with this one.  If you are gluten free and love variety in your diet, then here ya go!  And if your house is the place to be for every football game from now until the Super Bowl because of your 879 million inch flat screen and make-ahead snacks with a kick are totally singing your song, well then I am playing your tune amigo!!
This Spicy Bean Dip is creamy and light without being overwhelming. Great as a snack or appetizer for a crowd on GAME DAY!! {Brittany's Pantry}I am not usually into food trends, but it is hard to avoid Sriracha right now.  And for good reason, since it is quite fantastic.  It was around a long time before it became the most famous condiment EVER and it will be around long after the foodie world has moved onto something else.  But don’t burn out on it because the flavor of this stuff is really spectacular.  Spicy, yes, but vinegary and earthy at the same time.  Not just any hot sauce, so don’t be fooled.  It is just good stuff.

The combination of flavors in the finished dip here is a little bit asian and a little bit mediterranean.  A nice fusion that is perfect with the flavor of the hot sauce and makes for a light and creamy dip.  My kids inhale this just as much as my husband and his friends do, so don’t be put off by the Sriracha in the title.  YOU control the heat and since you can dip nearly anything in it short of shoe leather and have it taste good, it covers all your bases.  If you are thinking this would be awesome at your upcoming Halloween party, you would be right. Adding this to your menu for game day and toting it along to a holiday party or two would also be in order.  Check YOU out being all trendy and stuff!
This Spicy Bean Dip is creamy and light without being overwhelming. Great as a snack or appetizer for a crowd on GAME DAY!! {Brittany's Pantry}White Bean Dip W/Sriracha
Recipe adapted from White On Rice Couple
This is great served with just about anything.  It is also fantastic on a tortilla with chicken or wrapped up with some deli turkey.  Spread it on toast with tomato and avocado and gaaaaaaah.

In the bowl of a food processor, add:
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T lime juice
1 heaping tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp sesame oil
1 T soy sauce-I prefer low sodium
2 T Sriracha, or to taste
1 tsp curry powder
1 T water

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Add water by teaspoonfuls if it is too thick.  Scrape sides of the processor and combine well. Serve with crackers, pretzels, and various veggies.  Enjoy!