|I have to be honest. I rarely get in a cooking mood. Of course, I am always in an eating mood, but I don’t usually use the kitchen as my creative outlet. I prefer fast and easy - yet healthy too. Luckily, Kris loves to cook, so we have some yummy dinners ’round these parts.|
However, I have to say that the prospect of all of the colorful food cooking creations for Project Spectrum has me excited (and quite hungry!) Do you like to get creative in the kitchen? There are no shortage of yummy foods that span the color spectrum. So many fresh veggies, fruits and herbs – you could literally eat the rainbow! And why not? Barring any food color additives, the general rule of thumb is: The more vibrant the color, the healthier it is.
Kris and I did a little colorful cooking this week… but first a back story.
My parents bought me the first of a wonderful cookbook series for Christmas: the Williams-Sonoma New Healthy Kitchen: Starters: Colorful Recipes for Health and Well-Being. It includes beautiful photography, mouth-watering recipes, and the best part: it is arranged by color! After trying some delicious recipes in the first book, I went ahead and bought the other two: Main Dishes and the Desserts one as well.
With covers this beautiful, how could I resist?
So, for dinner on Thursday, we concentrated squarely on the orange and yellow part of the spectrum. We had a delicious Carrot Ginger soup, and a Orange Pepper Fritatta. We also focus on the green and purple parts of the spectrum a lot around here too – we love fresh greens, eggplant, cabbage… gosh, I can’t think of a veggie we don’t like.
If you are like me, you also have a sweet tooth. Although I prepared it last night, I had some yummy peanut butter granola on top of my yogurt for breakfast this morning! It was fantastic!
(The recipe was adapted from the fun The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook- a “must own” for any peanut butter lovers out there – seriously. Buy it. Use it. Love it.)
Delicious sandwiches, main courses (a killer Thai peanut sauce!) and of course, desserts! I have already made some peanut butter cookies from the book, and this peanut butter pie is next on my list…
However, the granola is what kept me going last night!
Lolly’s PB Granola – adapted from the book (with a few changes)
3 cups of oats (not instant)
1 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil (I cut this in half)
1 cup honey (I put a little extra…)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (little extra to make up for oil…)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (my addition)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 13×9 baking pan with butter, cooking spray, or vegetable oil. In a large bowl, combine oats, peanuts, wheat germ, coconut, cinnamon, and salt. In a small saucepan on low heat, combine canola oil, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Stir the mixture thoroughly until it cooks down. Do not let it simmer or boil. Pour the sauce mix into the dry oats and mix well until completely incorporated. Using a spatula, spread the granola on the prepared pan, lying it flat onto the surface. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown (mine cooked for only 22 minutes – parts were a little burnt around the edges, so adjust your oven and/or cooking time accordingly!) Allow the granola to cool on the pan. Break into chunks after dry, and transfer to an air-tight container. Add raisins and chocolate chips to the container (adding the chocolate while it is still warm was perfect – it melted the chocolate slightly, allowing the crumbles to stick together better)
YUMMY BREAKFAST or DESSERT!
Sure, there is a some fat and sugar in it – but there is also loads of fiber and protein! (especially if you use the organic steel-cut oats, yummy Valencia-style peanuts, and organic raisins and like I did!)
I am planning to make several Project Spectrum-themed meals throughout the eight-month span, following the color triads – maybe focusing on one of the colors, or more than one. With winter soups, summer farmers’ markets, and delicious veggies from our garden it really is possible to eat the rainbow. Would you like to join me? We can have a subset of Project Spectrum participants who are creatively cooking (and baking) with color. Please feel free to share your food pictures, and recipes on your respective blogs, or on the Project Spectrum Flickr Group. Maybe even a special bake-along for certain dishes?