Monday, December 28, 2009

Utopia Granola

Time for a post I've been sitting on for awhile! You see, a few weeks ago the Farm's Book Publishing Company sent me a bundle of dessert books to review. One of those was Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik, a beautiful full-color tome of mouth-watering dessert recipes. I immediately decided on making the Utopia Granola as Xmas gifts for all my friends. So of course, I couldn't post about how delicious this stuff was until all the gifts were handed out.

I made a couple of variations — Cranberry Pecan Utopia Granola:

And Coconut Almond Utopia Granola (with raisins):

Valencik's granola recipe provides a list of base ingredients (like oats and sugar, of course) and suggests quite a few add-ins, like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I love pick-and-choose recipes like this! In a weird way, the freedom to choose my granola add-ins reminds of those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s (anyone remember those?). Your choice influences the final outcome.

And lemme tell ya, the final outcome for both of these granolas was scrumptious. I made two giant batches and bagged them up into nine cute holiday treat bags. The friends who received granola were pretty excited, and all attested that it was delicious. Of course, I also saved a bit for myself, and I believe this is way better than any storebought granola I've tried. It was absolutely delectable topped with a little unsweetened soymilk for breakfast.

So far, I've only tried this recipe, but the gorgeous full-color photos of EVERY dessert have me craving more. Next on the list: Sticky Toffee Pudding (see Voracious Vegan's post for tasty-lookin' pics), Coconut-Almond Cheesecake Pie, Carrot Cake Cookies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate Sausage (I know that sounds weird, but it's just a cute name for something that doesn't involve any real or faux sausage ... just raisins, rum, chocolate, nuts, and graham crackers).

I'm not sure I'll be making any more sweets until February though. I'm starting the Adventure Cleanse Tune-Up on January 1st (details to come). So no sugar for almost a month ... but after that, it's on.

Oh, and some of ya'll requested that I post pictures of the punk rock prom dress that my best friend Sheridan made me for Xmas. I have one picture, but my eyes are closed. However, I know Sheridan took one too, so I'll post hers when she sends it to me. Promise.

13 comments:

Crystal said...

There is no better way to have granola than homemade- I have one recipe that I use and love- and others love.. and I'm always nervous to try another one, in case it's not so good.. but this look amazing.. I would love to try that out! And it's such a great gift idea :)

jessy said...

the Sweet Utopia granolas both look great, Bianca! i can't believe i've never made granola at home before - i really, realllly need to do so! i saw that sticky toffee pudding on Tasha's site - it's looking like Sweet Utopia = awesomeness! oh, and speaking of awesomenesses - hoooooray for the ACT cleanse! i can't wait to read all about your eatz and drool over all the raw yummies! you'll be creating some goodness with your new dehydrator, fo 'sho! :)

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Knit-Picky C said...

I love "Build Yer Owns"..., then I get what I want and I'm happy & content. This is also the kind of stuff I like to give & receive for gifts - my friends Vicky and Charlie gave me homemade granola and tea bags last year - I savored it all for quite the while! When I get into my own place again, I'll be doing a lot of "putting up" for next Holiday season - jams, jellies, beans, pickles, spaghetti sauce right along with knitted items! I'll bet your friends were really jazzed to receive their gifts!

Jenna- The Tofu Lush said...

can't wait to hear about the Adventure Cleanse!!

Tony said...

The first time I made my own granola was a revelation! It is so much better then any store bought granola. I love that I can make it however I want; with whatever fruit or nuts that I feel like. And, lately, I've been making it with no added oil so I can feel even better about eating it!

veganinprogress said...

Hey girl! I've started blogging again. That granola looks mmmm, mmmm, gooood. You have some lucky friends! Want to do me a solid and replace "cardiovegsular" on your blogroll with my new blog? :)

moretolifethanlettuce said...

Can't waitfor the sticky toffee pudding post!

Janet said...

Lucky you to receive a bundle of dessert books! And the variations you made of the granolas sound delicious.

Dani said...

Ooh I think the coconut one is my favorite, and I just happen to have the ingredients on hand. Can't wait.

Mary said...

Sounds crunchy and delicious! People were probably excited to get something relatively healthy for Christmas...healthier than cookies and candy, anyway.

Also, I second Sexy Lady of Asian Escorts London. Wait, no I don't. At all.

pixiepine said...

Good luck with the cleansing- maybe we can trade good recipes!! I have a great oil-free salad dressing from Bryanna Clark Grogan and Fat Free Vegan has been super helpful as well.

nora said...

yum! i had a hard time deciding which book from them to review...maybe i'll do that one next!