Review: The Sconage Bakery Granola

Some people are as particular about their granola as others are about tomato sauce. Some buy only one brand while others have recipes passed down through generations with specific ingredients and methods. I don’t typically buy granola because of the high sugar and heavy processing leaving an unhealthy product with no redeeming values (high in oil, refined sugar, refined grains etc.) .

However, when The Sconeage Bakery sent me a sample box with full sized packages of their Fresh Roasted Granola products I was happy to taste! They included a Blueberry Cranberry Granola bar, a Chocolate Granola Bar and a 1 lb. container of their Fresh Roasted Blueberry Cranberry Granola.

The ingredients were plant based and minimal, just what was needed for the texture and taste of each product. These indeed tasted like fresh baked products, things I would have been pleased to have come out of my oven for a special treat.

I was upset when I found the box on my front stoop (a day or two after it had arrived) because the box was bashed in and it had been very hot outside. Although the bars were a little smooshed, the wrapping wasn’t broken and no ants had penetrated the barrier. Whew! The chocolate was a little melty but that ended up being a good thing since it tasted like a giant delicious fresh baked chocolate chip cookie…Oh my goodness Yum. AJ and I had been outside working in the yard, mowing, trimming, planting when I had found the box and as soon as I assessed the damage I broke open the granola for a snack break.

 

It was super crunchy and sweet, the caramelized pieces tasting just slightly shy of burned, like caramel popcorn stuck to the pan. I loved the dried blueberries and cranberries mixed among the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, coconut, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. The only other ingredients were canola oil, vanilla, salt and brown sugar. This was AJ’s favorite of all three products. I’m sure this would be a delicious addition to coconut yogurt, fronana or on some fresh or grilled fruit, but we ate the majority of it, over a few days, by the handful.

 

 

 



My favorite was the Chocolate Granola bar, in all it’s giant gooey chocolate chip cookie glory. The package stated there were 2 bars in each Granola bar bag even though it was formed into one awesome envelope sized block of goodness. The blueberry cranberry bar was also yummy, but I’m primarily a chocolate girl. The ingredients in the bars were the same except the Sconeage Bakery swapped brown sugar for brown rice syrup to give them their chewy, soft consistency.Thank you so much to the Sconeage Bakeryfor sending me your tasty handcrafted treats to review!If you’re looking for a “somebody else did the dishes” super tasty treat with some redeeming qualities to boot, I highly recommend ordering some of their granola to try. www.sconeagebakery.com. They have many other enticing flavors like pumpkin, apple cinnamon and even make no sugar/unsweetened varieties, nut free varieties and 100% organic granola.

Quick Fix: Miso Lime Marinated Tofu Sandwich with Broiled Tomatoes & Avocado

Sometimes you just want a big ‘ole sandwich to sink your teeth into. I also wanted something flavorful enough to stand up to my delicious heirloom tomatoes. We loved the bite of the crisp tofu with the juicy warm tomato and creamy avocado on a toasted kalamata olive roll. This would be great on toasted multigrain bread too!

I was inspired when I saw this picture on Happy Healthy Life.

Miso Lime Marinated Tofu Sandwich with Broiled Tomatoes & Avocado
2
 
Ingredients
  • package of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 lime
  • 1½ tbl. miso paste
  • cracked black pepper
  • garlic salt
  • Heirloom tomato
  • Daiya brand mozzarella "cheese" (optional)
  • 2 whole grain rolls
  • ½ an avocado
  • spinach
Instructions
  1. Cut tofu block in half. Press tofu or use a kitchen towel to squeeze them dry.
  2. Whisk juice from lime, miso paste and few turns of cracked black pepper. Smear tofu with paste, heat a pan over high heat and spray with oil.
  3. Sear tofu on each side; (about 1-2 minutes per side) don't move it until it's browned, then flip.
  4. Sprinkle sliced tomato with garlic salt and then broil in oven with cheese (optional).
  5. Toast your rolls.
  6. Assemble with avocado slices and spinach.

 

Thank you so much Kathy at Happy Healthy Life for the inspiration! Yum! Check our her original recipe here.

 

Quick Fix: Fried Egg Polenta Cakes with Spicy Okra & Tomatoes

This came out of a desire to eat some items in the fridge that needed to be used. Honestly, I had never had okra before and was inspired to grab some at the Farmer’s Market to try. According to online foodies, it needed to be thinly sliced right before you cook it and pan-fried super hot to sear in the moisture. The polenta I sometimes buy in the prepared rolls at Trader Joe’s or Wegmans, just slice and brown on each side. We had dinner in under 30 min. and no food went to waste, perfect.

 

 

Quick Fix: Fried Egg Polenta Cakes with Spicy Okra & Tomatoes
entrée
2-4
 
Polenta is made from cornmeal and can be bought in tubes in the produce at Wegman's or in the Italian section of most grocery stores.
Ingredients
  • half a large onion, diced
  • 1-2 hot peppers of choice (or sub mild)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Okra, about ½ lb. rinsed and dried in kitchen towel
  • Tomatoes, diced about 1½-2 cups
  • Tomato paste/Ketchup
  • 1 cup veggie broth (or water mixed with veggie bouillon)
  • Polenta
  • Eggs
Instructions
  1. Saute onion, peppers and garlic in a large saute pan with a little olive oil.
  2. Heat a separate saute pan over high heat, add vegetable oil. Slice okra on bias to get longer slices. When oil begins smoking, add sliced Okra in single layer. Let sear, then stir to flip. Total of only 3-4 minutes cooking time.
  3. Add to sautéed veggies, add tomatoes, few tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup and broth as well. Salt & lots of cracked black Pepper.
  4. Meanwhile slice polenta, spray okra pan with oil and begin browning one side over medium high heat. About 3 min. check for browness/crispness and flip.
  5. Taste Okra mixture, adjust seasonings/more tomato paste, add hot pepper flakes if desired.
  6. Cook eggs over easy when all is done and seasoned to liking. (Crack in medium high heat pan sprayed with oil, let cook until whites almost set and bottom browned, season heavily S&P, flip, turn off heat.
  7. Plate browned Polenta, Okra & Tomatoes and egg on top.

Dinosaur Kale Salad

Dino-what? As perplexed as the checkout people at the grocery store were, the two names I knew to look it up under were Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale and they couldn’t find it. Oye…few minutes later a checker sprinted back “Tuscan Kale”. Alrighty then, this yummy dark leafy green has 3 names. It’s also one of my favorite new things to eat in the following salad. Thanks to MommaPea over at Peas & Thank You for turning me onto this fabulous idea!

Dinosaur Kale Salad
appetizer
2-4
 
Discovered and loved this kale from Peas & Thank You. A simple citrus Dijon dressing on this slightly bitter chewy green is delish. I eat the entire bowl in two sittings. Yum.
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of Dinosaur/Lacinato/Tuscan Kale
  • 3-4 Tbl Dijon mustard
  • 1 lime (or lemon)
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • White wine vinegar (optional)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Nuts/Seeds (Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, or Pine nuts)
Instructions
  1. Wash the kale and tear off the leaves leaving any very thick stems behind (save for smoothies or juicing). Briefly dry with kitchen towel or spin in salad spinner.
  2. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, add juice from citrus, Dijon, drizzle of Olive Oil, Squeeze of Honey, S&P. Splash of vinegar & Nutritional Yeast if using.
  3. Add Kale leaves, use hands to mix well. Taste, adjust dressing ingredients as needed (if too bitter add more honey etc.)
  4. Sprinkle with seeds or nuts. Yum!

Check out Peas & Thank You’s version here.

Everyday Chocolate Cookie Pie

A cross between a raw cookie and a decadent graham cracker crust pie, this chocolaty dessert is easy enough for any night of the week.

Everyday Chocolate Cookie Pie
8-12
 
I make this using almost exclusivity raw ingredients, especially raw nuts which give it it's creamy and rich consistency. As it is a rich desert, I have found a small square is decadent and filling enough for adult and child alike.
Ingredients
Crust Layer
  • 1½ cup nuts (almonds/walnuts)
  • ½ unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup dates (high quality medjool) or soaked store brand
  • dash of salt
Chocolate Layer
  • 1⅔ cup dates
  • ½-2/3 cup cashews
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2 tbl. coco powder
  • chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
Crust
  1. Line a mini cake pan or round bowl with parchment or plastic wrap, enough to come up and over the completed pie.
  2. In the food processor or high speed blender, blend the nuts, coconut, salt and ¼ cup dates. You want a crumbly, sand like consistency; the date will act as the binder. You should be able to squish it into a ball and it holds it's shape. Add dates one at a time until the right consistency.
  3. When ready, press into the bottom of your pan or bowl.
Chocolate Layer
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth and you're able to make into a test ball. Taste tester : ) Adjust more cocoa powder etc. if needed. (Add chocolate chips at the very end-if using).
  2. Press evenly onto the top your crust layer. Lay the extra plastic wrap over the top and smooth it.
  3. Refrigerate to help firm.
  4. Thirty minutes to one hour before ready to serve, use plastic wrap to lift out of pan and peel off.

 

CowgirlBeans Power Shake

I’ve had clients and friends use this ‘recipe’ for their whole families; as a quick breakfast or yummy lunch on the run, for kids before games, active teens, sick elderly relatives etc.  This is just a variation of our favorite, beneficial ingredients. You can read more about why I like this protein powder here.

CowgirlBeans Power Shake
Entree, Snack
1
 
This is an awesome milk shake for those looking to gain weight, supplement nutrition or as a meal replacement. Also great for kids and teens.
Ingredients
  • Handful Spinach
  • 2 tbl. flax seeds
  • ¼ cup Oats
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Powder
  • 2 Tbl. Almond Butter
  • 1-2 frozen Bananas
  • 2-4 cups Almond Milk
Instructions
  1. Blend until thick and creamy. You may need to adjust by adding more Almond milk or frozen bananas.

Sunwarrior Protein

Quick Fix: Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Cashew Sour Cream & (Shetland) Tortillas

This is a great quick supper. I was craving Chipotle after a late Friday work day but decided to whip this up quickly instead. I had recently made the Salsa Verde Enchiladas with cashew sour cream so had black beans and sour cream on hand. I just made some mini Cowgirlbeans tortillas to serve on the side and my craving was quickly quelled.

Quick Fix: Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Cashew Sour Cream & Tortilla
entrée
 
This is a great leftovers meal if you already have the tortillas & cashew sour cream made. Otherwise make the tortillas and whip up some cashew sour cream in under 45 minutes.
Ingredients
  • Romain lettuce
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado, Diced
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Salsa (Trader Joe's Spicy Garlic Chipotle)
  • Tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make dough for tortillas
  2. Let rest while prep salad greens & make Cashew cream (20 min.)
  3. Cut dough into sections
  4. Get out skillet and preheat, slightly roll out dough into fat mini tortillas
  5. Cook dough (or spray already prepared ones with olive oil and reheat on skillet)
  6. Heat up beans
  7. Plate salad, beans, avocado, sour cream and salsa. Serve with Shetland-tortillas.

 

Salsa Verde Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Cashew Sour Cream

You can use store bought tortillas and jarred salsa verde but I promise if you use homemade these will be out-of-this world! Cowgirlbeans Salsa Verde & Corn Tortillas

Salsa Verde Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Cashew Sour Cream
Entree
4-8
 
Ingredient Notes: Salsa verde is usually made with green chilies and or tomatillos. Chipotle in Adobo sauce are delicious red jalapenos that have been smoked, dried and canned in a light tomato sauce. They are smokey, sweet and hot. Start with one chopped in recipes and then add more as you like. They can be found in any grocery in the Mexican section. Cashew Cream: (optional but SO delish. To make you must use raw cashews that have been soaked in water for two hours-overnight. (unless you have a Vitamix which will pulverize anything- no soaking necessary). I didn't measure exactly for the lemon and vinegar- so go scant with each and add more by the tsp. after you taste. You'll know when it's just right.
Ingredients
Enchiladas
  • 1 jar Salsa Verde
  • 10 Corn Tortillas, warmed (if you skip warming they will break)
  • 2 cups cooked or 1 can Black Beans
  • 3 Cooked Sweet Potatoes
  • Chipotle in Adobo Sauce
  • Smoked Paprika
  • fresh Spinach
Cashew Sour Cream
  • ½ cup raw cashews (cannot be roasted), soaked in water 2 hrs. prior
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • salt
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
  2. Smash sweet potatoes in a bowl, add 1 chopped chipotle in adobo sauce and heavy sprinkle of smoked paprika. Taste, add more of both if needed.
  3. Pour half of the salsa verde in the bottom of a baking dish.
  4. Place a tortilla in the sauce, move around a bit to get saucy, then smear sweet potato mixture down the middle. Add spoonful black beans and spinach.
  5. Roll up and push to edge of pan.
  6. Repeat until fillings are gone and or your pan is full of enchiladas nestled next to each-other.
  7. Pour remaining salsa verde over enchiladas.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes: you want them heated through and the tops of the tortillas browned and crispy.
  9. Serve enchiladas with a dollop of cashew cream and a salad with creamy avocado.
Cashew Cream
  1. Place soaked cashews, lemon juice, pinch of salt and vinegar in blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until thoroughly combined and creamy. Taste, add more of lemon, vinegar or salt as needed.

Sunday Night Supper: Nshima, Greens & Beans

When AJ returned from Africa, we decided to start a tradition on Sunday nights of eating what the people of Zambia eat 3 meals a day (if they’re able). It is composed of 3 things: Nshima (pronounced she-ma) and two “relishes”, usually beans and greens. Nshima is a cornmeal mush similar to a firm grits or polenta. Zambians eat with their hands, scooping the nshima and then dipping into the relishes. The only addition I make to the Zambian traditional meal is a “Makoua*” veggie- sweet potato.

*What the children would yell whenever they saw AJ “white man!”

 

 

On the 10,000 acre farm at Sons of Thunder Mission where he visited, the local Tonga people learn agricultural practices to combat starvation & malnutrition while building self-sufficiency, confidence, pride, and independence. They learn “Farming God’s Way” including training in irrigation, harvesting, storage, and marketing.  Sons of Thunder  also operates a grade school, a clinic/medical ministry, and an outreach program, including evangelism, church planting, and feeding /meeting the needs of the hungry and starving.

 

All parts of  their meal is grown on the grounds, the Nshima is made of mealy meal, or corn ground into a fine flour, greens (AJ thinks swiss chard) cooked with tomatoes and onions and beans cooked with salt. They also grow some different kinds of squash to sell to the local hotels, but they do not in fact eat it themselves. AJ promised to bring me back to show them how to cook the Makoua vegetables! Gladly : )

Sunday Night Supper: Nshima, Greens & Beans
entrée
 
Traditional Zambian Meal
Ingredients
  • Dried Beans
  • Stone ground Cornmeal (2½ cups water+ 1 cup cornmeal = 4-6 servings)
  • Greens (Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Kale), cleaned & chiffonade
  • minced Garlic & thinly sliced Onions,
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2-4 diced fresh
  • Sweet Potato, scrubbed & cut into bite sized pieces
  • Salt & Pepper, Vegetable oil, Water, vinegar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rinse and cook beans (I use a rice cooker and just a bit of salt to season).
  2. Cook sweet potatoes in a baking dish with some water in the bottom (350 degrees,45 min- 1 hour)
Nshima
  1. Put water on to boil, add cornmeal, stir.
  2. Turn down to a simmer, stir often until thick and smooth (about 20-30 minutes).
Greens
  1. Heat a pot of water to boiling, add greens and stir.
  2. Heat a bit of oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add garlic & onions, saute until fragrant. Let collards boil 5-8 minutes, drain, add to saute pan.
  3. Add a can of diced tomatoes, stir. Let simmer 10 minutes, taste & add garlic salt if needed. This is where I add a big drizzle of Ume Plum vinegar (optional).
  4. To eat, form cornmeal Nshima into patties, use to scoop up the beans, greens and potato.

 

Pumpkin Scones

Sorry folks I can’t seem to find the pictures…you know what a yummy scone looks like though, right? I’ll just have to make them again soon. Can you hear AJ lamenting?

 

Pumpkin Scones
Breakfast
12
 
Mmm Pumpkin Scones with spiced drizzle!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour (I used a mix of both)
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar or Zsweet or sweetener of choice
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter (Earth Balance vegan)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup almond milk
Drizzle
  • ½ cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • heavy sprinkle cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, ginger and cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Combine all dry ingredients. Add butter and use a fork to cut into the flour mixture. You want a crumbly texture like fine sand.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and milk. Fold into dry ingredients,make a dough ball.
  4. On lightly floured large cutting board, form ball into large rectangle. Cut into 3 pieces. Then cut these into 4 so you have 12 total triangular pieces.
  5. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned and interior done (test with toothpick).
  6. While they cool on a wire rack, mix together your glaze until smooth. When scones have cooled for at least 30 minutes, drizzle glaze over tops....