Easy and Quick Homemade Granola

So between getting ready in the morning, making smoothies, preparing lunch, and brewing coffee who the heck has time to think about what to make for breakfast, right? 

After extensive online research I found the easiest, fool proofest (let’s pretend that’s a word), and quickest version out there and, well, simplified it some more. The beauty of this recipe for granola is that it’s just a base–you could add or subtract whatever ingredients you have or like, if you’ve got the toasted oats, you’re good to go.

In the ingredients section below, you’ll find the mandatory ingredients in bold, and the ingredients that depend on what you feel like putting in your mouth in italics, okay?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of jumbo, uncooked oats (NOT QUICK OATS)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (preferably organic honey)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (preferably organic)
  • A handful of seeds (either pumpkin or sunflower, or both)
  • A handful of almonds
  • A handful of dried fruit (apple, mango, coconut…)
  • A teaspoon of ginger powder
  • A teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons of milled flax seeds

Method:

1-  Preheat oven to medium heat (about 200 c)

2- Grab yourself a wide oven tray and toss in all the ingredients. Yes, all of them. Yes, it is that easy. 

3- Flatten out mixture on the tray evenly.

4- Now toss the mixture with your hands rubbing the ingredients together and then tossing some more. The reason you’re doing this with your hands is so the coconut oil and honey dissolve with the warmth of your hands and mix into the oats well.

5- Bake in the middle of the oven for 7 minutes altogether. 4 minutes through the cooking time, take it out of the oven and toss mixture (not with your hands this time) to ensure that every single element gets toasted. Then, place back in oven for another 3 minutes. This is the most crucial step. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve decided to be a smart one and mutli task while making granola, only to forget it. 2 extra minutes of baking time could seriously bake them babies black. No good.

6- Remove from oven and let cool.

7- When cooled (I mean completely cooled) place in an airtight container. It will last in the fridge for a good week although I highly doubt it will last that long.

I have a cup of granola every day during weekdays. I have it with milk or yogurt topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for extra sweetness. It’ll keep you full until lunch, it’s a quick and healthy breakfast fix–what more could you possibly ask for?

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a try! I’d love to hear from you!

Also, follow me on Instagram: @straightupbananas

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Healthy Chocolate Fudge Truffles

Healthy Chocolate Fudge Truffles:

So what do you do when you want to make your sweet-toothed husband something fudgy, decedent, and healthy? You begin the online research and make up your own twist, that’s what you do! Behold! My easy chocolate truffles that are packed with protein, fiber, and all around goodness—sure to give you that energy boost you’ll need for a busy day, while curbing any cravings for junk you might get.

This recipe is sugar-free, guilt-free, and full of antioxidants.

Ingredients:

–          Dark organic chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)

–          Raw cocoa powder

–          20 dates

–          Vanilla extract

–          Wheat bran

–          Almond powder

–          Powdered pumpkin seeds

–          Powdered sunflower seeds

–          Cinnamon powder

–          A squidge of honey (optional)

I think it’s worth mentioning that you could easily substitute the powdered almond, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds for one of the other. You could even substitute them all for powdered oats.

Method:

–          Soak the dates in hot water for about 15 minutes. Then drain, pit, and place in a food processor or blender.

–          Melt chocolate with a little bit of milk and add to dates.

–          Add all the other ingredients.

–          Blend till dates are completely blended, and the whole mixture is completely incorporated together.

–          Place in a clean bowl.

–          Begin rolling into small balls. (If the mixture is too wet to form balls, add some wheat bran and/or cocoa to thicken it up. If it’s still too wet, place in freezer for 20 minutes).

–          Roll balls (hehe) in cocoa powder, seeds, or shredded coconut.

–          Place balls in the fridge for a few hours until set (overnight is wonderful. But if you can’t be bothered to wait, just put in the freezer for an hour or two and you should be good to go)

–          Place balls in an air tight container. It should last for about 5-7 days when refrigerated, but as a general rule of thumb, they usually get eaten long before that.

Go straight-up bananas and give this recipe a go! I’d absolutely love to hear from you!

Easy and Healthy Salmon Teriyaki Dinner

In a previous post I had talked about the wonderland that is the Jumeirah fish market in Dubai. If you didn’t get to read it click here http://tinyurl.com/jumeirahfishmarket 

This post is going to be about how I got those fishies to sing “under da sea” in my belly. Here’s a quick and easy salmon recipe.

I made teriyaki salmon with a simple yet healthy soba-noodle salad and it was mighty fine if I do say so myself. It’s an easy and healthy dinner/lunch recipe to have in your culinary repertoire.

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Ingredients:

–          Salmon fillet

–          Soba noodles

–          Bell peppers

–          Fresh ginger

–          A handful of cashews

–          Coriander

–          Soy sauce

–          Chili flakes

–          Spring onions

–          Garlic

–          Sesame seeds

–          Honey

–          Sesame oil

So first things first, you need to get the salmon in a marinade and let it soak up all those flavors for at least 30 minutes before cooking. The longer the better.

–          For the marinade, grab a Ziploc baggie, and pour in ¼ cup of soy sauce, a swig of honey, a pinch of chili flakes, some grated ginger and a grated clove of garlic and just let those babies dye themselves  in the soy sauce.

–          As for the soba noodle salad, I promise you it could not be easier. Soba noodles need exactly 6-7 minutes to cook so if you’re a slow chopper, I suggest you cut everything up before you put the noodles to cook.

–          Slice the garlic, spring onions, ginger, and bell peppers as finely as you possible can. (If you’ve got any other veggies on hand and would like to add them…why the heck not? You could add broccoli, zuchinni..basically any thing you want.)

–          Boil the noodles and after they are cooked drain them and wash with cold water.

–          Get started on the salmon, just braising it by searing it on a high heat on both sides and then pouring the marinade liquid to let boil gently until just flaky and cooked.

–          On a high heat (and preferably in a wok pan) pour some sesame oil and cook the bell peppers for 1 minute; then, add the ginger and garlic and noodles. Flip a few times, then add some soy sauce and toss a few more times. Then turn off the heat, and sprinkle sesame seeds, spring onions, and coriander and you are in business.

–          You could serve in a giant romaine lettuce leaf and top with toasted cashews and salmon fillet. Voila

These quick and easy salmon or seafood recipes are really good to have on you if you’re swamped and hungry–so you have a quick lunch or dinner to put together! 

Swim into My Belly, Little Fishies!

So there’s nothing I love doing in the world more than shopping for fresh ingredients to cook with, and my trips to the fish market at dusk are no exception. 

A lot of people I know have asked me about the fish markets here in Dubai–the location, cost, and what you can get; so I thought I’d just focus on that in today’s post. (The exact location will be posted below.)

So there are two fish markets (that I know of) here in Dubai, one giant one in Deira, and one smaller, but equally fresh and well priced, here in Jumeirah. I’m telling you, once you go to the fish market and see the difference in quality and price, you will never ever EVER order fish out again!

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 The one in Jumeirah is located right across from the Customs office. It is crazy clean. In the front, you’ve got the vendors selling their daily catch and in the back you’ve got the fish cleaning area. 

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The market is right on the fishing-boats marina–so you know that when you get those fish, they’re going to be as fresh as it gets.

Here’s a few general rules when going to the fish market:

1- ALWAYS heckle the fish monger! We bought a kilo of salmon for 40 aed, he originally suggested we pay 65 aed lol.

2- The earlier in the day you can go, the fresher the fish.

3- The later in the day you go, the better the price you can get because they just want to get rid of whatever they have and go home. I know the situation’s a bit of a Catch-22 but you get to choose: fresher or cheaper?

4- Always make sure the seafood is fresh because unfortunately, sometimes, they will try to get rid of the older fish to make room for the fresher. 

Remember! Fresh fish always has clear eyes as opposed to cloudy. Smells like the sea, NEVER fishy.                                                             Has super red gills.                                                                                                             The fish shouldn’t be floppy, it should stand up straight if held upright.   Got it? Okay!

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My husband and I bought 1 kilo and a half of wild salmon for 50 aed, 1 kilo of tiger prawns for 60, and a kilo of hamour (reef cod) for 40 aed. Now you tell me what restaurant in Dubai serves 1 kilo of the freshest shrimps around for 60? I think it’s also worth mentioning that if you buy big quantities, you’ll get better prices per kilo.

Now to the cleaning station.

My friend Omar is a king! He’s the sweetest, and he always takes extra care of us. He’ll clean the seafood you just bought–scaling, skinning, deboning, deveining, filleting–you name it! the cleaning area charges 5 aed per kilo of whatever and saves you the trouble of having to go home and start messing with fish eyeballs and poop. Yes. I went there.

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Lastly, I pinpointed the exact location today! You’re welcome! 

 25.175378,55.217231

Just copy and paste the coordinates on Googlemap or click the link  http://tinyurl.com/fishmarketumsuqiem 

You should be good to go!

If you go, let me know how much you liked it! 

Healthy and Easy Lentil Soup recipe

This baby is a recipe I got from my wonderful mother. It’s her faux creamy orange lentil soup with veg. It is a winner, I promise!

Back at home we used to usually have this soup during the cold winter months, or during Ramadan for extra nourishment–protein and hydration. It’s an easy and quick vegetarian recipe to use when you just can’t be bothered to cook a decent meal–a bit of this soup and you’re warm, full, and fuzzy inside. It’s a good option for a healthy and quick lunch or/and dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • ¾ of a mug of orange lentil
  • ¼ of a mug of basmati rice
  • a pinch of cumin
  • 1 cube of chicken stock
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • coriander
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 ltr of boiling water

Method:

First, chop the onions and carrots and saute until tender in a deep pot. While the veggies tender, measure your lentils and rice in a mug and wash until the water runs clear (getting rid of any excess starch or muck). To the onions and carrots add the garlic, green pepper, stock cube, and coriander and cook on a medium-low heat.

Once the cumin has been toasted, add 1 liter of boiling water and add rice and lentils. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until carrots are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with ripped coriander, a drizzle of olive oil, and lemon.

You can never go wrong with my Puerto Rican mother’s version of a Palestinian classic ‘Shorbit Adas’.