Pear Cardamom Granola with Pecans

Bowl of granola with pears, pecans and cranberries, large container of granola in background
Pear Cardamom Granola with Pecans

There is something about cardamom that is hard to describe.  At first it is a spicy peppery taste that makes me think of savoury dishes, but then there is a hint of sweet and a nut taste too.  It is a unique powerful spice that is very aromatic.  I love it.  I keep finding more and more ways to use it.  Cardamom is delicious in coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk or of course chai tea.  It is wonderful in combination with apples, pears and oranges and it goes very well with ginger and cinnamon.  Much more commonly used outside of North America in India, Asia, Sweden and Finland, it isn’t a spice I know very well, but I am looking forward to trying more recipes with cardamom as it makes dishes extra special.

This granola is extra special.  Spicy, sweet, crunchy, nutty; it is one terrific bowl of cereal that is hearty and satisfying.  Perfect for busy mornings, it provides a nutritious breakfast that is completely delicious.  Filled with toasty oats, coconut, pecans, just enough sweetness and lovely warm spice from cardamom, cinnamon and ginger it is great for cold winter mornings. I usually make a batch on the weekend to last for a couple of breakfasts throughout the next week or so.

Speaking of batch cooking and planning ahead, that is my January project. There is something about the New Year that makes me want to get organized.  Determined to do meal plans, cook ahead, and organize the kitchen it helps us to save money and time, reduce our food waste, plan to include lots of colours and increase variety in our diets. Make ahead breakfasts, crock pot dinners, batch cooking – it all just helps so much to reduce stress and provide healthy food for our busy family even on the most hectic of days.

Pear Cardamom Granola with Pecans 

Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup)

4 cups oats (Large Flake or Old Fashioned Oats) *

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup pecans

1 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce)*

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 cup brown sugar*

1 tsp ground cardamom

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare cooking pans by lining them with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut and pecans and set aside.  In a small saucepan mix together pear sauce, oil, brown sugar, spices and salt.  Heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Pour sauce mixture into oats and stir well.  Spread out onto prepared pans.  Bake for approx 45 minutes until toasty.  Stir every 15 minutes and add the dried cranberries during the last 10 minutes of baking.  Let cool completely and store in a jar. Makes approx 6 cups granola.

*To make gluten free ensure gluten free oats are used.

*To make pear sauce, wash pears, core and chop.  Add to small saucepan with a little water and cook on low until tender.  Mash or blend.

*Substitute 1/4 cup honey or 1/4 cup maple syrup if desired.



Overnight Steel Cut Oats

Bright, refreshing, tangy; I just love citrus.  It is like sunshine. By using the whole orange (zest, pith, sections, and all), the fresh flavour shines through this warm comforting oatmeal dish.
 The steel cut oats soaked in milk become tender overnight and mixed with carrots, coconut, walnuts and spiced with warm ginger and cinnamon this healthy bowl will make your morning a little easier. Especially since you have mixed it up the night before, the only work in the morning is to pop it in the oven.
 Make ahead breakfasts simply make mornings more pleasant and start everyone off with a healthy breakfast before heading out the door. Stay tuned for more make ahead breakfast ideas!

Overnight Steel Cut Oats with Oranges, Carrots and Walnuts

1 cup steel cut oats*

2 cups 1% milk*

1 large egg*

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup grated carrots

1/4 cup coconut

1 whole orange (pureed in blender)

zest of an additional orange

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon


Butter an over proof dish that is approx 8 x 8.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into prepared dish.  Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.  In the morning remove cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until browned, toasty on top and cooked through.  Serve warm with milk or yogurt.

*to make this recipe vegan, use almond or coconut milk for the 1% milk, coconut oil for the butter and a flax egg instead of the egg

*to make gluten free, ensure gluten free oats are used.  Oats are naturally gluten free, however can come in contact with gluten during processing.


Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

One of my favourite childhood summer memories is foraging for blueberries in the Whiteshell area of Manitoba.  We would go almost every weekend to be sure to get enough blueberries to last our family of 8 for the winter.  That required a lot of blueberries!  On a recent trip to Manitoba, it was high on my list to experience this again with my own family.

What a great day!  Starting from Winnipeg and heading east on the Trans Canada Highway, we watched the prairie grain fields slowly change to rocky and evergreen terrain as we began to see the start of the Canadian Shield.  We reached the Whiteshell in a quick 1 1/2 hour on the road and then meandered through the lakes to a terrific hike at McGillvray Falls.  Although we did the short loop it took us 3 hours.  We stopped often to enjoy the picturesque views, climb up immense rocks,  and to pick wild blueberries which lined the trails and carpeted the forest floor throughout the area.  We quickly filled our containers and our tummies with these delicious sweet tangy blueberries. To complete the day we stopped at Falcon Beach to swim, enjoy the golden sand beach and a little of cottage life.

Having become accustomed to the taste of the cultivated larger blueberries that are grown in BC, what a treat to have these again.  They are delicious fresh, easy to freeze and wonderful in so many recipes.  One of my favourite blueberry recipes are these moist bright and lemony muffins. Low in sugar, low in fat, a good source of fiber from the oats and the blueberries these muffins make a terrific make ahead breakfast or snack.  They also freeze well and are a perfect make ahead muffin to have on hand for busy days.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blackberries and Lemon
Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blackberries and Lemon

This recipe is easily adaptable to other fruit.  Simple substitute other fruit for the blueberries.  Raspberries, blackberries, chopped peaches, nectarines,  and plums all work well.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberries and Lemon

Makes 12

1 cup Buttermilk

1 cup Oats*

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

*I usually use Old Fashioned Large Flake Oats.  If you are short on time substitute quick oats and you can shorten or omit the soaking time.


Line a 12 muffin tin with paper liners and heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size mixing bowl mix oats and buttermilk and set aside to soak for 1 hour. To oat mixture, add egg, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and sugar.  Mix well. In a separate small bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tin to 3/4 full and bake 20-25 minutes or until done.