Japanese Cabbage Salad

Japanese Cabbage Salad

Japanese Cabbage Salad

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Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.
Shredded cabbage, green onions, ramen noodles and almonds on a wooden cutting board being prepaired for Japanese Cabbage Salad.

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to start thinking about grilling, fresh berries and salads. Japanese Cabbage Salad is fresh, light and a little bit crunchy for the perfect picnic, side or lunch salad. The change of season brings about fresh and light recipe ideas for blogging but also a welcome change for everyday living. It’s the opportunity to jog outdoors, enjoy long walks and drive to and from work in daylight. These are important things in my world. What’s got you excited for spring?

Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.

What I enjoy most about this salad is the almonds, they give a great crunchy texture to every bite. Using the chicken seasoning package from the noodles in the dressing is also genius. It provides a wonderful savoury and salty addition to the mound of cabbage. Japanese Cabbage Salad is great for picnics or potlucks because it holds up very well and there is no mayonnaise to cause concern if left to sit for a while. Have it as a meal by adding grilled or rotisserie chicken, it’s a great lunch.

The recipe suggests letting the salad rest for 30-60 minutes to meld the flavours, but truthfully, I enjoy it just as much the next day after the cabbage has absorbed more of the dressing. It’s rather embarrassing how much of this salad I can eat in one sitting, stopping only because my gut aches from eating so much raw cabbage. I’m not sure that salads are usually what people can’t stop eating but this one hits all the right notes for me. Enjoy

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Japanese Cabbage Salad served in a square wooden bowl and garnished with sliced green onions.
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Japanese Cabbage Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pkg chicken ramen noodle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 5 cups finely shredded cabbage, lightly packed about 1 pound
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 each green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg instant chicken ramen noodles

Instructions

  • Whisk together the first six ingredients and set aside.
  • In a large bowl toss together shredded cabbage, almonds and green onion. Add dressing and toss to coat evenly. Break apart ramen noodles into small pieces with your hands and toss with salad. Cover salad and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to meld flavours and soften the noodles slightly. The salad can be made up to 2 hours in advance, tossing lightly just before serving.

Notes

-Slivered almonds are preferred as they offer the best crunch and size.  To toast the almonds preheat the oven to 350°F.  Arrange almonds in a single layer in a pie plate or other shallow baking tray.  Toast for 8-10 minutes until just starting to turn golden. 
-Easily make this salad into lunch by topping with cooked chicken.

Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

(Dutch Almond Shortbread)

 

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A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Who can say 2020 was a wonderful year?  I am thankful and happy to report that I can! What makes my year something special is searching for and finding my biological father. My year started with spitting into a test tube through Ancestry.  I’m excited to say the DNA test result matches were more than I expected.  Although they were not a direct match with my biological father, they were a 100% match with three of his close family members.  One message sent to my matches got the ball quickly rolling, and within two weeks I had my first contact with my biological father. His name is Bernie, and imagine his surprise, not knowing that I existed until now. How someone digests such a thing I cannot say, but what I found was a very welcoming, warm and sincere man who was “pleasantly surprised” to learn of me. What I also quickly learned was that Bernie is very much a family man with a family of four children. How cool, now I have more siblings!  Wait, not quite… not only was Bernie the man being searched for by an adopted child but also one who has adopted his own four children and over time has assisted them in finding some of their biological roots. So I have to say half-siblings in spirit but not biologically. But the interesting twists in my story don’t end here.  I was adopted by a family who live in the same small town as my biological family.  I went to the same high school his children did, shopped at the same stores and practically grew up right under his nose. Ooooh how small the world just became!

I have since had the pleasure to meet Bernie, his lovely wife Joan, most of his children, two aunts, and cousins. I also have a biological grandmother still gracing the earth at 92 years old, but sadly with our pandemic world I have not been able to meet her yet.  It’s truly hard to find the words to describe what an experience it all has been and continues to be, but I do know that time spent with Bernie and his family is very much a gift and I look forward to our continuing story.

A sheet pan of freshly baked Jan Hagel Cookies resting on a wire rack.

Now, on to the Dutch Jan Hagel cookies, also known as Dutch almond shortbread. As you’ve probably guessed I have learned that I am Dutch on my father’s side. My biological grandparents immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1949 on the vessel RMS Seythia. They settled in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada to farm and raise a family of seven children. I’ve been dabbling in several different Dutch recipes but these cookies are my favourite so far. Jan Hagel Cookies are crisp, buttery and very addictive. They are a traditional Dutch cookie often made at Christmas and will become part of my holiday baking line-up from now on. I’m excited to continue to experiment in Dutch cookery and hope to share more recipes as time goes. Till then, enjoy!

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Author Compelled to Cook, adapted from Jan Hagel Koekjes.

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A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
Jan Hagel Cookies
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
    Jan Hagel Cookies
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: 10"x15" tray
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set oven rack to the middle position. Lightly butter a 10"x15" baking tray, set aside.
      2. Cream together butter and granulated sugar. Divide the egg and add the egg yolk, cinnamon, salt and almond extract. Beat to fully combine. Add flour and mix only until dough starts to come together.
      3. Press or roll dough evenly into prepared pan. Whisk egg white with 1 tbsp water. Brush evenly onto prepared dough. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Just enough to create a nice sparkle.
      4. Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes and then cut into squares or diamonds while the cookie is warm and soft. Once cut, allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
      Recipe Notes

      -coarse sugar is a larger crystal sugar that doesn't melt when baked so it keeps a sparkle on the goods it's sprinkled on. It may also be called pearl sugar, decorators sugar, sparkling sugar.

      -I get about 45 - 2" diamond shaped cookies, plus the best and crispiest half diamonds around the edges.

      -I've tried sliced almonds with and without the skin and both are good to use and is a matter of preference.

      -I find it just as easy to cut the squares instead of just scoring them while they are warm, but if you're having difficulty just score them and cut when cool.

      -cookies are best if eaten while fresh, however they will last in a sealed container at room temperature for several days. If freezing, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container away from strong odours.

      Nut Butter Granola Bars

      Nut Butter Granola Bars

      NUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS

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      Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

      These slightly chewy, a little bit crunchy Nut Butter Granola Bars are the perfect snack or grab and go breakfast. As the name implies, they are made with nut butter, and my personal preference is natural chunky peanut butter. I’ve also made them with almond butter, which is tasty too, however the peanut flavour really comes through when using peanut butter and it’s a great flavour that marries up nicely with the honey. So tasty!

      Nut Butter Granola Bars pressed into a 9x13 pan and ready for baking.

      From this recipe, you get 16 nicely sized bars that wrap and freeze well for those of you who like to get a little meal prep done. If it’s likely that your hungry family will hoover through these is a short time, they’ll last for several days in a sealed container at room temperature.

      Nut Butter Granola Bars are gluten-free, packed full of protein from the goodness of nuts and egg whites. The fat from the peanut butter and ground-up nuts helps to keep you feeling full and dried fruit and honey give a little chewiness and natural sweetness. There’s no excuse not to have a batch of these ready for snacking, enjoy!

      Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

      Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted slightly from Bon Appétit

      Nut Butter Granola Bars
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        16 bars 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        30-35 minutes 5 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        16 bars 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        30-35 minutes 5 minutes
        Nut Butter Granola Bars
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          16 bars 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          30-35 minutes 5 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          16 bars 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          30-35 minutes 5 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: bars
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange nuts and pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until golden, stirring once. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
          2. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 300°F. Spray a 13x9" pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, overhanging the long sides.
          3. Using a food processor, pulse cooled nuts and 1 cup of oats until a sandy consistency and no large pieces of oats remain. Transfer to a large bowl, along with the remaining cup of whole oats. To the same bowl stir in dried fruit and oil (chop any dried fruit bigger than a raisin).
          4. In a medium saucepan whisk together honey, salt and vanilla over medium heat until at a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until bubbling vigorously and smells like caramel.
          5. Add peanut butter to oat mixture along with the hot honey and stir to fully combine. By adding together, the hot honey will help melt the peanut butter. Whisk egg white in a small bowl and stir into oat mixture until fully incorporated.
          6. Scoop into prepared pan and pack down firmly and evenly. Using the bottom of a measuring cup helps to compact the mixture and get it flat.
          7. Bake until golden and no longer sticky 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before scoring into 16 pieces (2x8). Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out using the parchment overhang. Cut along score marks into bars.
          Recipe Notes

          -don't skimp on the amount of listed salt.

          -I used a combination of almonds, pecans and cashews.

          -cut bars can be wrapped and frozen, kept in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

          -cut bars will last for about 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

          -other nut butter such as almond butter work well too.

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          Five Spice Mixed Nuts

          Five Spice Mixed Nuts

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          Five Spiced Mixed Nuts in a small bowl on a gold tray with white napkins and glasses of champagne.

          Do you have a New Year’s Eve gathering and need tasty nibbles to pass along with your bubbly? Five Spice Mixed Nuts are very snackable and rather addictive with a hint of spice and sugar. They’re the party favour that you just can’t stop grabbing at. You’ll find a pleasant mixture of Chinese five-spice, maple syrup and brown sugar. The nuts are coated just enough for a light sugary chew with a lingering spice that you can’t quite put your finger on. The added dried cherries lend a little extra sweetness and soft texture to balance the crunchy nuts.

          Five Spice Mixed Nuts is a simple recipe to toss together and will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. They’re perfect to make ahead for any social gathering. Enjoy your holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family. I wish you a wonderful year ahead!

          Five Spice Mixed Nuts
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            5 cups 10 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            60 minutes 1+ hours
            Servings Prep Time
            5 cups 10 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            60 minutes 1+ hours
            Five Spice Mixed Nuts
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              5 cups 10 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              60 minutes 1+ hours
              Servings Prep Time
              5 cups 10 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              60 minutes 1+ hours
              Ingredients
              Servings: cups
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 225°F. Spray a large baking tray with non-stick spray.
              2. In a large bowl toss together nuts.
              3. In a medium bowl whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, egg white, water, Chinese five spice and sea salt. Pour over nuts and stir to coat evenly.
              4. Spread nuts evenly on a large baking tray. Bake for 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. If using dried cherries stir them in halfway through baking time.
              5. Remove from oven and loosen from the baking tray. Allow nuts to cool completely before breaking apart. Will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola

              Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola

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              Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola is scattered over yogurt and served with fresh strawberries in a shallow dish.

              Breakfast couldn’t be any better…

               

              I can call this Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola for two main reasons. One, because it verges on being sinful with lots of almonds and chocolate. The second, because it has the most amazing crunchy clusters. It’s absolutely delicious with yogurt or almond milk. Toss on a few fresh berries and breakfast couldn’t be any better.

              A pink bowl filled with large flake oatmeal has almonds and strawberries scattered around it in preparation for Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola.

              Yes, it’s made with sweetened condensed milk!

               

              You might think the sweetened condensed milk is over the top to use for granola, but I’m here to tell you it’s what makes this granola cluster up so well. It’s not nearly as sweet in the overall granola as you might think either. In fact, I find this amazing Chocolate Almond Granola has just the perfect hint of sweetness.

              Let’s have a closer look at the overall sugar content since we are using something different from the more commonly used maple syrup or honey. The overall sugar content is slightly less than if made with maple syrup and/or honey. Sweetened condensed milk contains 11grams of sugar per tablespoon, whereas maple syrup contains 12grams and honey has 17grams. So overall the total grams of sugar is less than if you used the same amount of honey or maple syrup. The downfall is that sweetened condensed milk contains some refined sugar along with its natural lactose, whereas honey and maple syrup are natural sugars. But I’m here to tell you, this granola is amazing and you’ll want to eat it straight from the jar. Enjoy!

              A jar piled high with Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola and has strawberries scattered at its base.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

              A jar piled high with Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola and has strawberries scattered at its base.
              Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                10 cups 25 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                50-55 minutes 2 hours
                Servings Prep Time
                10 cups 25 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                50-55 minutes 2 hours
                A jar piled high with Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola and has strawberries scattered at its base.
                Ultimate Chocolate Almond Granola
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  10 cups 25 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  50-55 minutes 2 hours
                  Servings Prep Time
                  10 cups 25 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  50-55 minutes 2 hours
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 275℉.
                  2. In a medium saucepan combine almond butter and coconut oil. Heat over low, stirring often until smooth and melted together.
                  3. In a large bowl stir together oatmeal, almonds, cocoa and salt.
                  4. Pour melted almond butter over oatmeal and stir to combine. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir until fully incorporated.
                  5. Spread out evenly onto a large baking sheet.
                  6. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle on chopped chocolate and/or chopped chocolate covered almonds and stir. Return to oven for 25-30 minutes.
                  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature before breaking apart into clusters. (granola will firm up as it cools)
                  8. Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for up to a month.
                  Recipe Notes

                  I like to use a combination of chopped whole almonds and sliced almonds along with chopped chocolate covered almonds and chopped semi-sweet chocolate.  Feel free to use whatever kind of almonds and chocolate you like, they're all delicious.