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Clusters of Awesome

Banana and peanut butter is a classic combination.

But there is another.  It is lesser-known, but not any less delicious!  That’s right- there is something else that is equally as delicious as peanut butter and banana.

So what is this magic combination?  Banana and tahini.

Since we started reading food blogs, we have been introduced to many new and wonderful ideas, and the banana-tahini combo definitely makes the list of the top 10 (if we were to make one, that is..).

Unfortunately, we cannot remember on what blog we first heard about putting these two ingredients together, so if you are a food-blogger and have ever mentioned about eating banana and tahini at the same time, feel free to take credit for introducing this idea to us 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s kind of like peanut butter, except its made with sesame seeds instead (it also has no sugar or salt added to it).  It’s a very common condiment in middle-eastern cooking, and is a major ingredient in hummus.  It can be found in pretty much any grocery store, and has a mild, nutty flavour.

We could go on all day about how delicious and versatile tahini is, but today we’re actually here to talk about granola:

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You see, the other day we decided we wanted to make granola.  We had some ripe bananas that we wanted to use up, so our first thought was to make peanut butter-banana.  But then we decided that we wanted to try something a little different-and thus banana tahini granola came to be!

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We really can’t say enough about this granola!  There’s a slight sweetness from the banana that’s balanced perfectly with the nuttiness of the tahini.  If you’ve never had tahini before and you’re a little hesitant to try it, this is the perfect recipe to start with!  The tahini flavour is very mild in this granola- almost an after thought, really.

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In fact, if you didn’t know there was tahini in the granola, you probably wouldn’t guess that it’s there.  You’d just be wondering why this granola tasted so ridiculously delicious.  Then you would just accept it, and go on blissfully eating it by the bowl-ful. 🙂

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There is also one other very important thing that we must mention about this granola.  It has the best. Clusters. Ever.  The secret?  An egg white!  One single egg white.  Add it into the mix, and you’ll get those hearty clusters that are so highly coveted when making homemade granola!

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Would you just look at those clusters?  No need for a bunch of oil or sugar- because we don’t know about you guys, but when we have granola, we want to eat entire bowlfuls of it!  Stuff it full of sugar and oil and suddenly that becomes a not-so-healthy idea.  That being said, we didn’t add a tonne of sweetener to this, so if you’d prefer you can feel free to add a little more if that suits your taste 🙂

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So please do yourself a favour and go make a batch of this granola.  Then eat a bowl full of it.  In fact, you may even want to make a double-batch, because it is that good.

Banana and tahini- seriously, people.

Banana Tahini Granola

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: approximately 5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 medium banana, mashed
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, and cinnamon.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the banana and tahini together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried banana and tahini?  What is your favourite kind of granola?

Maple Pumpkin Pie Almond Butter

Did you know that peanut butter is consumed in about 89 percent of American households? (source)  Even more amazing to learn is that by the time the average child graduates high school, he or she will have consumed on average 1 500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! (source)

As a child, I was not a huge fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  Without fail, by the time lunch rolled around, my bread was always soggy. Gross.

I loved peanut butter, though, and for a few years my Sunday lunch was always a peanut butter an banana sandwich, which, by the way, is still delicious and manages to occasionally find its way onto my plate. (But never in my lunch box, brown bananas = undesirable)

Like most kids, I grew up eating your traditional Kraft or Skippy stuff, but one day my mom brought home some all-natural, no sugar added peanut butter.  You know, the kind that’s basically roasted peanuts ground up and thrown into a jar.

The first time I tried it, I actually didn’t really like it that much.  I guess I missed the extra sugar/salt/ whatever else they put in peanut butter.  But I kept eating it because I wanted to be like mom!  It didn’t take long, though, and I was hooked.  I have been a peanut butter  addict lover ever since!

After all this talk about peanut butter, I feel like now is a good time to tell you that this post is not about peanut butter at all.  My focus is actually almond butter!

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Mmmmm… roasty-toasty almonds!

For a very long time, Julie and I were somewhat adverse to trying almond butter, because we both just loved peanut butter so much!  Is it possible to “cheat” on a food item? Because that’s what I felt like I would be doing if I spread almond butter on my toast instead of the peanut kind.

I don’t remember the exact moment when we decided branch out and try it, but am I sure glad we did!

The thing I love about almond butter (aside from the fact that its amazingly rich and delicious) is its versatility. Its a bit milder in flavour, so it lends such an incredible richness to recipes, without significantly affecting the flavour of whatever it is I’m trying to make.

Its mildness also makes it perfect for a little experimentation 😉

So the other day when I decided to make some almond butter, I wanted to give it a little pizzazz.  Here was my thought process: “Mmmm, maple almond butter would be good.  You know what else is yummy? Pumpkin pie! Hmmm maple pumpkin pie almond butter? Yes. I’m  a genius.”

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So I still love peanut butter, but I think I can make a little room in my heart for almond butter, too 🙂

Maple Pumpkin Pie Almond Butter

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Time: 25 min

Ingredients:

2 c. almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each nutmeg and ginger

1/8 tsp each cloves and allspice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350C

Toss almonds in maple syrup and spices.

Roast almonds for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Allow to cool for  few minutes, then blend in your food processor until smooth and drippy.

~Brit

What is your favourite kind of nut butter?