Apple pie granola (~8 half-cup servings)

This coming Monday night, I'm incredibly excited to be attending my very first food swap! If you're in the Triangle, come on down to Ponysaurus at 7:00 for this event, hosted by Bull City Food Swap. I've been wanting to participate in a community food swap for years now, so naturally, I was thrilled to learn about this local event.

If I care about you in any way, shape, or form, you've probably been given my granola at some point in the last couple years. Granola is one of my favorite things to make, mainly because the recipe is so flexible. I make so many different varieties, from peanut butter and Almond Joy to cranberry-almond and strawberry-walnut. On Monday, I'll be giving away bags of mocha almond granola and apple pie granola. I'm particularly proud of the apple pie variety, so I decided to share the recipe here!

Click here for a printable version.

You will need:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Tip: It mixes in easier if it's at room temperature.)
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice (My homemade version contains cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cardamom.)
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apples

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil or spritz it with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. Pour the oats and pecans into a large mixing bowl. Pour the maple syrup and vanilla extract  over the oats and nuts; mix with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Once the oats and pecans are evenly coated, sprinkle the apple pie spice and salt into the bowl and mix once again.
  3. Spread the granola mixture out on the baking sheet, making sure it's in a nice even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. You'll know it's done when your kitchen smells toasty-cozy and the oats are golden.
  4. Once the granola has cooled, toss it with the raisins and apples. Store the granola in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve with milk, on top of yogurt (pictured above), on top of ice cream, or just as a crunchy snack.

Using maple syrup instead of corn syrup or maple-flavored table syrup makes this recipe more expensive, yes, but I can't emphasize how much of a difference the real stuff makes. I love that this recipe doesn't use any oil and doesn't add sugar besides the syrup and fruit. I hope this granola will make me some new local food friends on Monday night!

Vegan MoFo starts tomorrow!

As always, October is Vegan MoFo, or Vegan Month of Food. Once again, I will use my blog to post at least one vegan recipe per week during the month of October. In the meantime, here are my top 10 favorite vegan recipes from the archives:

Enjoy!

 

Triangle food round-up

One of the things I love most about living in Chapel Hill is the vibrancy and variety of the local food scene. Between here, Durham, and Raleigh ("the Triangle," for those of you who don't know), there are tons of amazing restaurants, farmers markets, and food events revolving around locally-grown and made food. Here's a wrap-up of what's going on in the near future, plus some resources for Triangle locals to keep up with.

First, let's start with restaurants. Triangle Restaurant Week takes place June 4-10, with dozens of restaurants offering three-course dinners for $20 or $30. Some places even offer lunch! There are three places listed under the vegetarian category, although none of them is exclusively vegetarian. 

If you need help keeping up with the local food scene, check out The Triangle Food Guy. He always has the low-down on which restaurants are closing or opening, which chefs are moving where, and which food events are worth attending. I hope the rumor he posted about a Mellow Mushroom opening on Franklin Street turns out to be true!

There are so many farmers markets in the Triangle and surrounding counties, and I'm ashamed to say I've visited very few of them so far. The Carrboro Farmers Market, which runs Wednesdays and Saturday, is lively and well-stocked. The Chapel Hill Farmers Market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and although it's on the small side, it still hosts a good variety of vendors. By far, the biggest market in the area is the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. It's always crowded and well-stocked, but go early, because it gets hot in the summertime! It also boasts a cute little restaurant on its grounds. Bryan and I like to get there early on a Sunday to get breakfast before we shop!

This Chatham County-based farmers market guide lists markets in Chatham, Durham, Alamance, Moore, Orange, Wake, Lee, and Granville Counties, with hours of operation and contact information for each.

The News Observer's guide features more counties and gives parking information for some of the markets, which is helpful. Although I haven't checked it out myself yet,
the LoMo Market sounds interesting. It's essentially a farmers market on wheels; it has a
regular route and 75% of its offerings come from North Carolina with the remaining 25% coming from neighboring states. It sells flowers and prepared foods and, of course, the usual eggs, cheeses, and produce. I'll have to check it out sometime!

Finally, the local food truck scene is worth mentioning. In this area, you can buy anything from grilled cheese and mini donuts to Korean tacos and crepes from a food truck. Now I know that food trucks once had the reputation of being "roach coaches," but in recent years, food trucks have become much more popular, regulated, and, yes, safe! The News Observer has a list of local food trucks with links to most trucks' Twitter feeds, websites, or Facebook pages. Some food trucks make regular stops at places like the Fullsteam Brewery in Durham. On June 17, Durham Central Park will host another of its popular Food Truck Rodeos with 20+ vendors attending. Sounds like a great event to attend with your family for Father's Day!

That's all I've got for now, but I'll continue to post new local resources as I find them! Enjoy!

Bull City Vegan Challenge

In October, ten restaurants in Durham will take on the challenge of adding vegan options to their otherwise meat-laden menus. At the end of the month, patrons can vote for their favorite meals online, and hopefully, some of these restaurants will decide to keep more meat-free options on their menus for good. I'm impressed by the variety of restaurants that chose to participate; vegans will have their pick from French bistros (traditionally vegan-unfriendly) to Italian-inspired sandwich shops to pub-style eateries. I hope this challenge brings in enough business to make chefs and restaurant owners realize there is a local desire for more meatless options when dining out.

You can read more about the challenge in this article or on the BCVC facebook page.

While we're on the topic of veganism, next month is the Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MoFo, which I greatly prefer. Once again, I will post at least one new vegan recipe per week here, along with any resources I can find. Check back for new recipes soon!