A New Year, a New YOU!

I’m very excited to announce that Susan O’Brien will be guest posting on The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.  Susan is a gourmet cook, baker, cooking instructor, food-management consultant, and owner of two businesses, O’Brien’s Kitchen and O’Brien Consulting.  She has been featured in the magazines Alternative Medicine and Living Without.

I‘ve gotten nothing but raves for all of the recipes I’ve tried from Susan’s two cookbooks.  During the holidays, I made her Awesome No Bake Chocolate Cookies for gifts, parties and personal enjoyment.  How can you wrong when cookies are gluten free, casein free, soy free and sugar free?  Here’s how – they’re so good they’re addictive!

If you’re like me and love easy to make, great tasting food, please welcome Susan!

susan-obrien
If you have been wanting to make a change to your diet so that you have more energy, feel better or because you have food allergies or Celiac disease, then now is the perfect time to make a change! Gluten free eating is GOOD! I have been gluten free for over 10 years now and I never miss it! In order for me to enjoy food, it has to have lots of flavor, look appealing and have great texture. In today’s world, gluten free eating can achieve all of those requirements!

I just finished baking up a batch of my homemade granola that is not only gluten free, but also dairy free and sugar free and YOU WOULD NOT KNOW IT. It is really that good. (I don’t mean to brag, but I want you to know that gluten free, sugar free foods can taste even better then their opponents with sugar and gluten!  I am sharing the recipe with you here. I have to warn you, it’s addicting! I like to make it to take when traveling, share with friends or have on hand as a base for granola bars.
The recipe comes from my cookbook titled “The Gluten Free Vegan”. You can change it up if you want, substituting dried cherries for the dates, or dried cranberries are great this time of year too. Hope you enjoy the recipe and Happy, Healthy New Year!

Susan

Granola:

Makes a LOT!  (about 5- 6 cups)

This is not just for breakfast, and I am not kidding. Once you make this, you’ll be back for more. I had about 10 of my taste testers try this recipe, maybe more, and each and every one of them loved it, and I mean loved it!

1          cup      walnuts, chopped

1          cup      raw cashews, chopped
½         cup      pumpkin seeds
¼         cup      sesame seeds
½         cup      sunflower seeds
2          cups     puffed rice
½         cups     dates (majool dates are best)
1          tsp.      cinnamon
1          tbs.      sorghum flour
¼         tsp.      cardamom
¼         cup      canola oil
½         cup      agave nectar
½         tbs.      ground flax meal

In a large bowl mix all of the nuts, flour, puffed rice, dates, ground flax meal and spices together. Pour the oil and agave over the top and stir to really blend everything together well. You want to be sure that you have thoroughly mixed all of these ingredients together. Once you have done that, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a large baking sheet (I use a jelly roll pan with sides) by spraying it lightly with a vegetable cooking oil.

granola-susan-obrien Pour all of the granola out onto the baking sheet and spread it out so it is covering all of the sheet. Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the mixture is a light golden brown. You MUST STIR THIS DURING THE BAKING PROCESS, to ensure that all of the granola is coated, and cooked through.
It will not be crunchy when you first remove it from the oven, but be careful. Do not over cook. When it cools, it will become crunchy, and this stuff is so good, you will not want to eat it for breakfast, but will want to share it as a snack, carry it with you when you travel, or serve to guests. It is addicting, so watch out!
As soon as it starts to cool, remove from the baking sheet into an airtight container, and let it finish cooling there, as it is a bit sticky, and may stick to your baking sheet if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Store in an airtight container.

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