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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mmm Canada...Spicy PEI Mussels in Wheat Beer

On Tuesday July 1, 2008 Canada will be celebrating it's 141st birthday. To celebrate I decided to join the food event Taste Canada, hosted by Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. For this event she is asking bloggers to write about what Canada tastes like to them - savoury or sweet. Confessions of a Cardamom Addict is hosting the savoury side of Canada and Jennifer of Domestic Goddess is hosting the sweet side of Canada.

Canada is known as a melting pot of different cultures, races and religions. Such diversity has brought so many great culinary delights to this nation. The days of going out to your traditional St. Hubert's (a traditional Quebec/Ontario restaurant) are far gone. Today going out for dinner can be a all day ordeal trying to figure out if you are in the mood for japanese, chinese, korean, italian, african, greek, indian, thai, english pub fare, mexican etc....

When it comes to Canadian food there are so many foods to think of from coast to coast and season to season (not to mention all the beer & wines). Rather than going through them all I will tell you what Canada Tastes like to me in my region.

I grew up in a small town in Ontario on the border of Quebec (near Ottawa and Montreal), thus some of my meals growing up were traditionally french- canadian. As a kid I remember eating Habitant French Canadian Pea Soup with grill cheese sandwiches, Poutine from the local frie stand with squeaking St. Albert's cheese curds, Montreal Smoked meat sandwiches, tourtiere/meat pie, butter tarts, and my all time favourite strawberry shortcake.

My background is not really known, but we figure my dad's ancestors were from England and my mother's from Italy. So there is a mixture of english-italian living in a french-english community. My husband's roots are thought to be from Ireland & Belgium before settling in French Canada. To this day they continue on with many of their traditional meals of pancakes with maple syrup, pate a rague, creton, peameal bacon and sucre a creme.

Now that I am living in the nation's capital, Ottawa, Canada taste's like Beavertales after skating on the canal; pints of a local cold brew (Clocktower) on a patio in the hot summer sun; a Poutine from Elgin Street Dinner (ESD). It tastes like local fresh berries from the Byward Market, tomatoes & cucumbers from my dad garden, backyard bbq's and my favorite - corn on the cob.

Canada Day itself use to make me think of partying in the capital in the Byward Market and on Parliament Hill. These days Canada Day is symbolic for cottaging with friends, bbq and beer and that is exactly what I will be doing. So as I will not be around to blog have a


Tonight I was going to make a traditional backyard bbq with burgers or a beer butt chicken. But with the rain, I decided to stay indoors and make Steamed PEI mussels from LaPointe's Fishmarket in the Byward Market with Mill St. Wheat Beer, brewed at the Mill St. Brewery in Toronto. The flavor and aroma of this dish in incredible. I believe my husband found this recipe from Bobby Flay. I kind of went crazy on the pics!

Spicy Mussels in Wheat Beer

3 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried curshed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 wheat beer (2 cups) - Mill St. Wheat
1 lemon sliced
1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned
1 medium to large chopped and seeded tomato
Serve with crusty whole wheat italian bread.

Heat the stove to high. Heat oil in large pot and add onion, cook until soft. Add garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add wheat beer (or use a white wine), lemon slices and 1/4 cup of parsley, bring to a boil.

Add mussels. Cover pot and cook until mussel shells open, stirring once, about 6 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Using spoon, transfer mussels to large shallow bowl. Boil broth in pot until reduced to 1 cup (about 3 mins). Season with pepper and salt. Pour broth over mussels and sprinkle with the tomatoes and remaining parsley.

Skating on the Rideau Canal on Valentine's Day....Mmmm Beavertails.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Grilled Meditaranean Pizza

If you have ever been asked the question what is your favorite meal? If you had one last meal to eat what would it be? If you over think this question you undoubtably will have an endless list of great foods and dishes you love from decadent chocolate desserts, grilled steak, large bowl of ice cream, pasta...

When I don't overthink this question the first thing that comes to my mind as being the last meal would be pizza and a glass/bottle of wine. There is something about the flavors of pizza that keeps you going back for more and more even though you know you are more than full.

The great thing about pizza is you can put whatever ingredients you desire on it. Myself, I love meditarranean flavors. I usually make my own dough, but recently tried this indian flatbread from President's Choice and love it. Cooks well on the BBQ.

Two Questions:

1. What would be your last meal?
2. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

My Favorite Ingredients

1 stonebaked flatbread (indian flatbread or homemade pizza dough)
homemade pizza sauce
homemade basil pesto
zucchini, sliced thinly

cherry tomatoes, halved
white mushrooms, sliced thinly
red onion, diced
red pepper, diced
sundried tomatoes (did not have any this time)
black or kalmata olives, whole (pitted)
feta crumbled

Spread a light amount of pesto on the crust. Then spread a desired amount of tomato sauce over the crust (i like lots). Then add your toppings.

Preheat grill to high until 500F. Then shut one side off and turn the other side of the grill to low. When the temp is at 400F turn the one sid eup to about med or low-med and maintain the heat.

Place the pizza directly on the BBQ on the side that is not on, and cook using indirect heat for about 10-15 minutes (crust crispy and toppings cooked).

Then to broil the pizza on a top rack (if have one) - crank both sides of the BBQ to 500F and let broil until browned and cheese melted, about 5 mins.

Related Recipes:

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and Pizza Sauce
Meditarannean Pizza

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This dip reminds me of canoeing in Algonquin Park with friends. It must have been about 8 years ago by now that I did a portage trip with some friends in Algonquin Park. Six of us set out to paddle about 5-7 lakes, I think the beer we lugged in was heavier than our canoes, but made for a good Canadian Camping trip. The first night my male friend who weighed about 140lbs carryied an 85 white water canoe for flat water decided he'd drink an entire box-o wine. Not being a wine drinker, and well consuming an entire box-o wine mainly to himself, he was indeed a hurting boy the next day. The thought of having to portage an 85 lbs canoe, paddle lake after lake in the scorching sun was enough to make anybody sick, paticularly with a wine hangover. But even though he got stuck in a tree with his canoe, and even though his boat almost had a hole in it because he decided he would ride it down a hill rather than carry it and even though he must have been sick several times during the day he managed to make it to his destination in one piece. Okay so that was a side story, and one I cannot help think of when I think of this dip and Algonquin. So advice, leave the box-0 wine at home before going canoeing.

Dips (roasted red pepper, hummus) with flatbread (tortillas or pita) are so great to bring camping, hiking or canoeing. They are low maintenance such that they require no preparation, no dishes and offer lots of carbolicious energy for activities. Back then before my all so important food processor entered the picture, I bought a container of roasted red pepper dip and thought it was creamy and had a great taste. I admit I ate too much of it over a period of time and swore it off for years. But I am ready to give it a try again. This homemade roasted red pepper dip has a great redish orange color, the texture is so creamy and the flavor is slightly tangy.

1 can (19oz) white navy beans (drained and rinsed
1/2 cup roasted red pepper (jarred)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2 T olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Try these similar recipes:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Spicy Hummus

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chicken & Rib Festival / Bridgehead

I had a long weekend this week, and the plans were to go hiking in the Adirondacks'. But I am still dealing with patellar tendonitis and therefore the weekend spent doing other things. I was able to get in a few rounds of golf in and walk around the Chicken & Rib Festival.
Although I was salivating from the irresistable smell of the smoke and sauce I did not end up trying them. It was not because of the long line ups or the 5 cups of sugar and 5lbs of butter coating each piece of meat - okay well maybe that has something to do with it. But I had planned on taking my husband to my favourite sushi place for lunch. When we got there it was closed (much to his dismay I am sure). So instead we headed to our favourite local coffee shop - Bridgehead.

If you've read some of my blogs you might know that I advocate fairtrade, local fare and organic foods. Therefore I thought I would pay omage to a local coffee shop that offers fair trade products. Bridgehead's coffees and teas are fairtrade as well as organic, in fact it is the first company in Canada (Ottawa) to offer consumers fairly traded coffee. Since then, they have been supporters of the grassroots movement in support of Nicaraguan farmers - helping small scale farmers become competitive in the international markets, while at the same time supporting environmental farming practices.

Now all that is great and definetly a selling point for me to go their. But from another stand point they have great rich, aromatic coffee. The service is always friendly. And most importantly they serve delicious wraps, sandwiches, soups and baked goodies.

I have a number of favorites such as their vegetable and cheese sandwich, tuna and dill sandwich (on great multigrain bread) and their famous pecan chocolate square. Today I decided to have a vegetable wrap which had hummus, tabouleh and vegetables. It was delicious. So next time you are in the Nation's Capital, find a Bridgehead to enjoy a coffee and one of their many great sandwiches or desserts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Whole Wheat Raisin Bread

I get up pretty early in the morning and head to work. I usually eat while at work, which means I take something that does not require a lot of effort - cereal, bagel, oatmeal, muffins. Well I am pretty tired of all of those options and decided I needed something new. A few weeks back I bought a delicious raisin bread from the farmers market - this seemed like a good change - and also reminded me of childhood breakfasts before school.

I thought perhaps the nostalgic feeling and eye popping aroma of the bread would be a good way to wake up in the morning. Well that and a good cup of strong espresso. I have not made many breads, and decided it would be a nice to try something new. I found this one of the internet and cannot for the life of me figure out where... sorry! The only thing I changed from the recipe was that I used whole wheat flour rather than white bread flour. It seemed to workout just fine, giving it a healthier and more rustic look. The bread turned out really moist and hearty with a great taste and texture. Will definetly make this again.

1 cup raisins (sultans)
1 cup + 2 T 1% milk
2 1/2 T unsalted butter (softened)
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (and extra for flouring surface)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1 2/ tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
non stick cooking spray

Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil. Remove frmo heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain well.

Combine 2 3/4 cups flour, brown sugar, 3/4 tsp of the cinnamon (not all of it), salt and yeast in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a small saucepan heat the milk over low heat (do not bring to a boil). When warm remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until melted.

Add the warm milk/butter and the lightly beaten eggs to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the raisins and stir until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky so keep adding a bit of flour to the dough 1T at a time until no longer sticky.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and flip to coat the other side. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour (should double in size). After 1 hour press two fingers down into dough, if imprints remain it is ready. Punch dough and then cover for 5 more minutes.

Roll dough out into a 14 x 7 inch rectangle on a floured surface. Evenly sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the surface of the dough. Roll up the rectangle tighly, starting with the short edge pressing firmly while rolling to eliminate air pockets. Pinch the seams and ends to seal.

Place the roll, seam side down, in a 9x5 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover an dlet rise for 30 minutes (should double in size).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until loaf is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan an dcook on a wire rack.

Makes about 16 slices.

Similar Recipes:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stuffed Portobellos & Healthy Cooking

While reviewing some of my favorite foodie blogs, I stumbled upon a food event hosted by Fun and Food. This Healthy Cooking event seemed perfect for me as the basis was to create a healthy vegetarian recipe. Anyone who knows me, could tell you that I have a passion, sometimes obsession, with health and fitness. The majority, if not all of my meals are cooked using healthy foods & healthy methods. Although I am not a vegetarian, I do advocate eating less meat and more vegetarian meals for environmental and health reasons.

In fact I am currently reading a great book called In Defence of Food, by Micheal Pollen, which talks about the need to eat "real food" to be healthy. I must say I agree with his point of views and if I can add my two cents about health and health weight, I'd advocate eating more vegetables and fruits and what Pollen states as "real food" as oppose to substitutes like low-fat snacks (muffins, cakes, cookies, chips) and diet drinks. These types of food provide no health benefits, depsite any disclaimers made on their fancy packaging.

The vegetarian meal I decided to submit to this challenge was one that I have been wanting to make for a while - stuffed portobello mushrooms. However, the rain seemed to deter me again and again from putting these delicious stuffed portobello mushrooms on the grill. Alas, I decided not to let the rain deter me anymore.

Never having made or eaten a stuffed portabello mushroom before I was amazed at how great they were and what a hearty and healthy vegetarian meal they made. At only 26 calories per mushroom (not stuffed) and about 90 calories stuffed these were actually filling.


I decided to stuff the mushrooms with some of my favorite flavors tomato, garlic, green onions, rosemary, feta and zucchini. Tomatoes are a staple for me in the summer, as the local tomatoes are so flavorful and fresh. Not only are they delicious, but they contain lycopene known to be an anti-carcinogen. Studies have shown that lycopene can lower risk of certain cancers such as lung, pancreas and prostate. The other ingredients also provide their own set of health benefits. And buying organic eliminates any unhealthy chemicals.

Before placing the mushrooms on the grill I brushed them with a light coat of olive oil & lemon juice. Grilling the mushrooms with a light coat of olive oil not only prevents them from sticking to the grill, but provides essential oils for the body. It is important to know that en if you are trying to lose or maintain weight health oils and fats are needed for proper body functioning.

These portabellos can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or a main dish. I found 1-2 with whole wheat couscous or a spinach salad pretty filling.

1 medium tomato chopped
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup feta
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 zuchinni diced
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper
4 portabello mushroom caps (stems and gills removed)
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl combine the tomato, bread crumbs, feta, oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, green onion and garlic. Mix well.

In a small skillet cook the zuchinni over med-high until slightly soft. Add to tomato mixture and stir.

Once the mushrooms have been de-gilled and cleaned brush them with a mixture of oil, lemon juice and soy sauce.

On a med heat grill grill the mushroom caps stem side down for 5 min and then flip and grill other side for 4-5 min. Before the 5 min is up, scoop heaping amounts of the tomato mixture into the cap of the mushroom. Then close lid of bbq and grill for 3 mins, should be enough for cheese to melt.

Serve immediately as an entree with couscous, an appetizer or a side dish.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Moroccan Scallops with Eggplant Confit

Moroccan cuisine has an abundance of wonderful flavors including cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, paprika, anise, sesame, black pepper, allspice, caraway, cloves, coridander and many more. The combination of any of these ingredients are sure to make a delicious dish. Staples are usually chickpeas (hummus), pita and couscous, whereas main dishes are typically hearty stews made with lamb, chicken and vegetables. Although Moroccan's do eat fish, seafood such as scallops are not your typical Moroccan meal.

Scallops are a great combination with the wonderful Moroccan spices as they readily absorb these flavors. This particular recipe is taken from the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine (Spring 2007 issue). I have been wanting to make them for awhile, mainly because I thought the presentation looked pretty. When I tried this dish I knew immediately that it would be one of my top 10 meals to cook for company. Not only is the presentation nice, but the flavors of the scallops and the eggplant confit is amazing. The cayenne and ginger add a good amount of heat to the dish, and the lemon zest provides one of the most balancing compliments I've tasted in a dish. Each bit has a heat followed by that subtle lemon freshness. I served this dish over whole wheat couscous.

1 medium eggplant
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup chopped white onions
1 T chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 T lemon juice
2 T chopped chives
12 large scallops
2 T unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut strips of skin from eggplant to make a striped effect. Cut eggplant into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush with 2 T oil, season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes turning once or until browned. Remove from heat and cool. Cut into ½-inch (1-cm) dice.

Combine ginger, paprika, cumin, cayenne and lemon rind. Heat remaining 2 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add half of spice mixture and cook another 30 seconds.

Add eggplant and tomatoes, stir together, reduce heat and cook slowly for 25 minutes or until mixture is very thick and tasty. Stir in lemon juice and chives and season with salt and pepper. Reheat when needed.

Sprinkle scallops with remaining spice mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Heat butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and sear about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Scallops should be opaque in the centre.

Boil 1 cup of water. When water comes to a boil, add 1 cup couscous and remove from heat and stir. Let sit for 5 min.

Spoon 1 scoop of couscous onto serving plate, then spoon eggplant mixture over couccous and then top with scallops.

Serves 4 (3 scallops per person).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce

Well I have missed a few posts this week due to a combination of having a weekend of wedding festivities and being sick. Last night I had plans for stuffed portabello mushrooms, but being vertical was a difficult task, so I postponed making anything exciting. But today I felt better and was able to walk around the market for some fresh air and local food inspiration.

Much of my inspiration and motivation for cooking comes from great local fare. A few days ago I was hanging out at my favorite local pubs - The Manx. If you are from downtown Ottawa, you've likely heard of this small basement bar which is known for great beer, food and service. The other night I ordered the crab cakes, a dish I had yet to try there. They were like all their food mouth-watering.

This dish inspired me to make my own. Most of the recipes I found on the web were pretty similar. In the end I used a great recipe from Kevin's Closet Cooking. I adapted his recipe slightly to include some lemon juice and red pepper. Can't say they look as great as his, but they tasted delicious.

1 lbs crab meat
3/4 cup bread crumbs (panko)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 T lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
3 T mayo
1 tsp grainy dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 T oil
1 T butter

In a bowl mix together all of the ingredients but the oil and butter. Cover and refridgerate for 1 hour. Then form the crab mixture into patties - makes about 8 dinner sized cakes, if making for an appetizer could get about 16-20 out of the mix.

In a skillet heat the oil and butter over med-high heat. Once melted, place the crab cakes in the skillet and cook each side for 4 mins. Serve immediately.

Crab cakes are traditionally served with tartar sauce, remoulade sauce or mango salsa/chutney. I made a lemon dill dipping sauce with low fat sour cream, grainy dijon mustard, dill, salt and pepper. The dill was not mature enough so the dill flavors were lacking a bit in this dip.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

About 1 year ago I went through a quesadillas craze. Every restaurant I went to I felt compeled to try their version of quesadillas as well as make many of my own versions. I became inspired by so many wonderful flavors from wild mushroom and gruyere; apple and brie; portabello mushrooms and goat cheese; caramelized onions and chevre, and the list goes on. As a Mexican food lover I decided to make a black bean & corn quesadillas which can be served with sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole. I will definetly be making these again, as they are quick and delicious.

On a side note mexican food makes me think of sangria, although spanish in origin, I started indulging in this drink with girlfriends back in high school at the local Mexicali Rosi's. Every summer I usually make a sangria and love the flavors of wine, brandy and fruit together, I have yet to perfect the perfect concoction, but is has been fun trying. My husband found a recipe in the LCBO Food & Drink magazine that called for whiskey infused with fruit, which can be found on his blog Fort's Place under Whiskey and Infused Fruit. We have yet to try it as it must sit for 10 days. However, I am anticipating a good sipping drink with some appetizers.

1 can black beans
1 cup corn kernels
1-2 plum tomato, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1 garlic minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (if you like it really spicy)
olive oil
shredded cheese (monterey jack, old cheddar)
6 x 8" whole wheat tortillas
light sour cream
medium to hot salsa

In a medium skillet over medium heat add 1 T olive oil. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Mix together and cook for about 5 mins until heated throughout.

Spray an 8" skillet with non stick cooking spray and heat skillet over medium high heat. Place an 8" tortilla in the skillet. Using a laddle scoop the bean mixture onto one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over the bean mixture and then fold the other half of tortilla over the bean mixture.

Cook each side of the quesadilla for 3-5 mins per side, until golden brown and crisp.

Remove from skillet and cut in half. Serve immediately with sour cream and salsa.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Asian Inspired Coleslaw & Ginger-Sesame Dressing

Being from Canada I live for bbq and patio season. Most traditional barbeque meals include a variety of salads, with coleslaw being an oldy but goodie. I find this salad light and with the right dressing can be flavorsome. I tinkered with this one to get the right amount of ingredients so it would not be too peanuty, or too gingery. In the end I think the balance between the ingredients works well.

Ginger Dressing

6 T rice wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 T peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
3 T brown sugar
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper


8 cups of shredded (red and green)
1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
2 carrots julienned
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
1 apple shredded (optional)

Use either a pre-shredded cabbage or using a sharp nice finely chop 8 cups of cabbage. Cut the remaining vegetables and put together in a bowl and mix.

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour some over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars

For me the summer means many weekends of hiking the Adirondack Peaks in New York state. There are 46 peaks over 4000ft which offer spectacular views. Although I am not in any rush I plan on completing them all and becoming a member of the 46ers. Hiking for me is not just about physical activity and the outdoors which I love, but a mental escape from hectic daily life. It is so peaceful and quiet in the trees it gives me a chance to decompress, reflect and just be in the moment. I have an added motivation to hike them this year as in September my husband and I will be hiking the Mont Blanc Tour in Europe. This is a hut to hut hike through the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. I am sure as the trip approaches I will talk more about it.

I have consumed my fair share of Gorp (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) or trail mix/granola bars on my hikes. In order to make a healthier trail mix, one with less sugar and less oils, this year my husband I decided we'd make our own homemade trail mix/granola mix. This idea then inspired me to try a granola bar recipe. This recipe is adapted slightly from The Kitchen Sink. I have seen others that used wheat germ, which I may try next time.

The bars are very good, crunchy and the sour cherries compliment the nutty flavors. However, I must say I prefer a softer chewier granola bar. So in the end I ended up breaking up the granola bars into granola mix. This is great for on the trail or as a cereal mixed with berries and milk.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried cherries (really good fruit to use, but can use any dried fruit)

Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the oats, coconut, seeds and nuts; spread out evenly on the rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. Gives them a nice roasted flavor.

When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture and dried cherries. Mix until all dry ingredients are moist. Spread the mixture in a greased baking pan (9 x13). With the bottom of a measuring cup press the granola mixture into the pan and create a smooth, even surface. Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely.

When completely cool flip granola onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the granola into desired size bars. If you desire granola then you can crumbled with hands or place in a bag and crush with the back of a mug. Store in air tight container.