Middle Eastern Oat Groats

I'm in love with this new dish, made from whole oat kernels, also known as oat groats or oat berries.


It is full of yummy ingredients and flavors including:

  • whole oat groats (GF)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • pistachios
  • walnuts
  • pine nuts
  • fennel seeds
  • citrus zest
  • coconut
It's one of those dishes where you make enough to last you a few days and then add different things to it each time you eat to.


My latest addition was my mandarinquats from the garden, with some kale, also from the garden and drizzled with pomegranate molasses!


Pomegranates are so beautiful  - just like jewels. I think they make most dishes look beautiful.


This is a great healthy dish, full of fiber and nutrients with no added oil.  Have you tried cooking with whole oat kernels before?
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Festive Cranberry Vegan Tart

After yesterday's spice cake recipe from Christmas, I thought I'd show you the tasty tart I made for my Christmas dinner.  It was made from chickpeas, walnuts, oats, cranberries, spinach....etc



The recipe was from the lovely book Let them eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton.

I made it as 3 little individual tarts instead of one large tart, and then froze some of the filling to have without a pie crust.


The only other changes I made to the recipe were to omit the olive oil, make a gluten free pie crust, and then also added some fresh cranberries to mine, to boost the lovely color.


I made them again when friends came for dinner between Christmas and New Year. The non-vegans/vegetarians loved them too.  I was very happy with them.

What did you have for your special holiday meal?
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A pocketful of pecans

Harvesting continues....since October we've gone from grapes, to figs, to persimmons.....sort of missed the guavas when we were away....to olives and today, to a pocketful of pecans.


Yes, our pecan tree is still small so we both picked a pocketful. There were 17 in all!

Yeah. 17 pecans!  They now "cure" - i.e. dry - for 2 weeks before we open them up and see the goodies inside.


And did you know...pecans are the most nutritious nut with amazing antioxidant content.  I always thought walnuts were healthier than pecans...hmmm....our little tree better get growing! 

Check out this little video from nutritionfacts.org and see if you know how to rank nuts.



"What's next to harvest?", I hear you ask.... Citrus. Our citrus harvest is in mid flow...more on that another day.
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Starry, starry delights....

Santa has been busy preparing a few healthy edible gifts for the holiday season.


But I hope you'll be nice Santa, and won't make us wait to see what is inside.  Go on Santa, open up the tin.....

Look at his delight!  Inside are starry, starry delights!


They are healthy squares, decorated with edible gold stars ******


Here's the simple recipe - Oat, walnut, and raisin starry delights:

1/3 cup GF oat flour (or use GF rolled oats and process in a food processor until a flour consistency)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles - eg edible gold stars

If using rolled oats, make them into flour first in the food processor.

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and process thoroughly. To begin with, it won't look like it will ever come together, but keep processing and eventually it'll form a ball in the processor.  Timing will very depending on the power of your processor will be at least 2 minutes.
Remove from the processor and flatten on parchment paper. Use a rolling pin and roll into a square or rectangle.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.  This will yield approximately 16 x 1 inch squares.  Decorate or leave plain. Store in the refrigerator.

Arrange in a small tin or box for gifting or enjoy for yourself.


They can last 2 weeks in the fridge or can be frozen.

Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free.  You can cut them into bars for larger snacks/cookies or roll them into balls if you prefer.
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Walnut Roulade

Yes, I'm definitely in a roulade phase! This is the third type of roulade I've made in the last few weeks. This was for an event we held on Sunday.  It is refined-sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.


I was really pleased with how it came out.  It is made with just eggs, lemon juice, xylitol* and walnuts.  Of course, I then decorated it with fresh raspberries and then drizzled a little fruit-sweetened, sugar free raw chocolate and grated lemon zest on top.

It was eaten up very quickly, but I did manage a little slice, only to check how it tasted, of course!


*Xylitol is a natural sweetener, a sugar alcohol used as a substitute for sugar.  I like it and it seems to work well.  It is a cup for cup replacement for table sugar, so it's easy to substitute in recipes.  It is also granulated like sugar but you can grind it up finer, as necessary.

Xylitol is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables and can be extracted from various berries, oats, mushrooms, as well as fibrous materials such as corn husks and birch.  Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health, reducing caries to a third in regular use and it has also been shown to reduce the incidence of ear infections.


It has a much lower glycemic index than sugar - GI 7 for xylitol vs GI 80 for sugar, so it a great low calorie sugar substitute for diabetics  that doesn't cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

I don't notice any difference in taste at all between it and sugar, but I find it takes a little long to dissolve when I am cooking with it, for example if beating it with eggs, it stays granular longer so I just whisk it a little longer.

Have you ever used it? What are your thoughts?  If not, give it a go. I think you'll like it.
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