Grass, greens, granola! Signs of Spring


Yesterday was a good day. After my 3 hour environmental geology lab, I had the rest of the day for myself! I started by purchasing new adiZero® Tempo running shoes. For all you runners, I have to admit I was shocked that I didn’t walk out of the store with my usual pair of Asics (DS-trainers). The Adidas fit so perfectly, I literally walked out of the store wearing them and went straight to the lake/park to run! P.S. there are SO many great spots for running in downtown Charleston. The lake’s circumference is = to about 2 laps around a track, perfect place to run a couple miles. Cool note: There were about 12 RVs stationed around the lake with security and police paroling the area for a movie being shot here in Charleston! Who knows what it will be?
Now to the food. I have to admit, last night’s meal was one of my favorites! To no surprise, I got the recipe from my first foodie crush, Donald Skehan’s blog. He and I must be on the same wave-length, because we both decided its time for Spring which means bold, crisp, and hearty salads! So for dinner last night and lunch today I enjoyed Skehan’s recipe for “Rocket Power Chicken Superfood Salad.” I left out a few of the different bean sprouts but for the most part did everything according to recipe. Oh, and the dressing rocks on this salad!
Serves 2
1/2 cup bulgar wheat
3/4 cup boiling water
A drizzle of olive oil
2 chicken breasts
A little black pepper
3/4 cup brocco shoots (I used alfalfa sprouts)
1/2 cup bean shoots (optional)
3/4 cup soy beans (edamame cooked and cooled and shelled)
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup rocket leaves (I used fresh spring mix)

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of natural greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of English dried mustard
A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl with the boiling water and cover with cling film. The bulgar wheat will cook in the water while you can get on with the rest of the salad.
Season the chicken breasts with a little black pepper, brush a griddle pan with a little olive oil and cook over a medium high heat for 4-5 minutes either side or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and slice thinly.
While the chicken is cooking, cook the soy beans according to the packet, drain and rinse in cold water, set aside.
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together in a small bowl.
In a large bowl toss the spinach, spring mix, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, and soy beans with the dressing.
Assemble the salad with a layer of bulgar wheat on each plate, top with the salad leaves and sprouts and finally place the chicken slices on top and serve!
Mmm Homemade “Grain-ola” adapted from a recipe in Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
*Important notes about homemade granola:
Only use RAW ingredients – ie. raw nuts and seeds.
Roasted nuts will make your granola taste burnt
Coconut oil adds a nice flavor to granola and for sweetener I used a combo of wild flower honey and light agave nectar 🙂
Granola is EASY! Add any variety of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, oats, coconut flakes and zests.

Swanson notes,”Although we think of granola as health food, many of the versions currently available are made with highly processed oils and refined sweeteners. This granola, a favorite of mine, is a mix of honey- and citrus-kissed oats toasted until golden and then tossed with a colorful selection of dried tropical fruits. It keeps well stored in a glass jar and makes a great housewarming gift. Serve with creamy, cultured yogurt and fresh fruit for a perfect pairing.”

Ingredients:
2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds (my favorite)
1/2 cup raw cashew and/or almond nuts, chopped into halves or quarters
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup assorted unsulfured dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, and blueberries), chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp raw mild-flavored honey (or agave nectar syrup)
4 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and set aside 1 rimmed baking sheet.

2. Combine the oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, dried fruits, and zest in a large bowl. Heat the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk to thoroughly combine, then pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

3. Divide the mixture between the baking sheets and spread into a thin layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 30-40 minutes, until toasty golden brown. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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