Walnut Granola with Yogurt and Stewed Apples


OK, I feel like a bit of a tool telling you that my now-daily walnut granola with plain yogurt and stewed apples is reminiscent of apple crisp with ice cream, but it totally is. I think you know me well enough by now that I’m not the health-crazed sort who happily replaces cream with yogurt and tofu and finds carrot and celery sticks a perfectly acceptable snack. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I envy anyone who digs munching on carrot and celery sticks and keeps them prepped in the fridge for snacking emergencies. I just can’t get into it.)

I’ve always been a fan of granola with yogurt. It’s usually my breakfast, and often my lunch. Sometimes snacks. In summer I top it with fresh berries or thickly sliced peaches or apricots or pluots, but in winter it sits half naked. Sure, I could do frozen berries, but it’s not the same.

And so I took a new look at apples, which I’ve been enjoying lately – although we think of them as a fall fruit, February is officially apple month because it used to be that’s all that was left in cold storage by February. It still applies – we’re now used to buying strawberries and mangoes all months of the year, but the BC apples you see in the store are from last fall’s harvest, and still surprisingly crisp and flavourful. Stewed apples are like halfway between apple pie innards and applesauce; they break down, yet hold their shape. It’s like homemade applesauce you can chew. To make them, slice apples in chunks (I like using a few different varieties – above is a Spartan, a Fuji and an Ambrosia) into a small pot. Shake over some cinnamon and add a splash of apple cider or water, just to get them going and keep them from burning. You don’t need to add sugar. Cook them until they start to break down and get soft, then put them in a jar in the fridge to dip your spoon into or lob over plain yogurt and granola. It seems to particularly like walnuts. I find stewed apples easier to eat first thing in the morning, when I don’t have the gumption yet to chomp through something big and crunchy.

We always have apples in the house – apple slices are W’s bedtime snack with stories, and although he’s never had a must-have blankie or teddy bear, if we’re ever out of apples it’s a tragedy of five year old proportions. There is no replacement. And yet although I’m almost constantly slicing apples for him, I never think to do the same for myself. And so I’ve started to slice one up for myself to eat at my desk when it comes close to mealtime, thinking that the 60 or so calories and 2 grams of fibre will take the edge off and keep me from devouring too much dinner. (Again, a glass of water apparently fills some people up? I wish.)

Yes, I’m starting to reevaluate my eating habits and take a serious stab at losing some weight. It’s time. Which, ironically, is why I haven’t been spending too much time here – I keep taking a run at the topic and going off on tangents, or not getting through it, or falling asleep or abandoning my post in order to meet a deadline. So I’ll tell you all about it soon, and how I’m going to go about it when I spend all my days writing about, talking about, cooking and photographing food. I’ll use this week as an example: Tuesday I was tasting at the ATCO test kitchen, Wednesday I went to a food event at Rouge, Thursday I went to Winefest and Friday I judged the Lawson Lundell Celebrity Hors d’Oeuvres Competition (which meant tasting every hors d’oeuvre – 10 restaurants serving 2-3 each). This week I’m going to Red Deer and Edmonton and next weekend I’ll be at the Pajama Party at the Jasper Park Lodge. Not complaining – I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to have a career in the food world – it just presents a unique obstacle when I can’t just lay out set menus for the week, put my head down and try to get on with it and not think about food so much. More on all that later.

Off to dinner club! Tonight’s theme: Extreme Mexican. My contribution: homemade churros.


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29 comments on “Walnut Granola with Yogurt and Stewed Apples

  1. rose
    February 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Julie

    Since I first discovered your blog through your amazing weight loss story on line I am really looking forward to hearing what you’ve planned to lose any recent gain. I myself have successfully lost with weight watchers but over time pounds always creep back. So, it’s time for me too. I find the water helps when combined with a small snack, it’s more filling!


  2. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie)
    February 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Granola and yogurt is also my favourite breakfast. Adding fruit is something I do when possible. My weight has also crept up over the years. Last year I lost 15 lbs and then with renovating and living in a basement full of furniture, I fell off the wagon. I want to lose another 15 so will be very interested in your encouragement.

  3. Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way
    February 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I love your blog!
    Granola is one of my favorite snacks too…
    It has got to be tough trying to focus on “getting focused” in the weight loss department in your line of work. Coming from someone who has lost 135 pounds I applaud your recognizing and acknowledging what needs to be done. We’re here for support so keep on keeping on!

  4. Dahlia
    February 27, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I,m not much of a breakfast person, but I do love granola and yoghurt as a snack. I’ve been craving stewed fruits lately, and I’ve even posted about them recently.

  5. Carolyn
    February 27, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Hi Julie – I know you lost a lot of weight a few years ago and you can do it again. I lost about 30 lbs 2 years ago, and since Christmas lost 10 of the 20 I gained back (and I’m at a weight I’m really happy with). In both cases it didn’t matter what my doctor or my waist bands were telling me I needed to do, it had to come from within in order to achieve my goals. My mantra for this latest go round of losing weight is from Drew Carey — “Nothing tastes as good as skinny”.

  6. JulieVR
    February 27, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Was that Drew Carey? we were talking about that quote last week and thought it was Kate Moss.. anyway, the point was whomever said that must have never eaten freshly made doughnuts (or churros, or whatever…) – I get the point, but it’s hard when you’re hungry to compare immediate physical gratification to something that may or may not happen months or years away! I must say, I’m never going to be skinny – even after I lost 165 pounds I wasn’t – it’s just not me. I want to be healthy and in shape and comfortable in my clothes (I hate having to go out to an event and despise how I look, or have to wear clothes that barely do up, if at all) – it’s absolutely true that it must come from within. Knowing it’s possible, and that it’s difficult, does help.

  7. sharon
    February 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

    “Yes, I’m starting to reevaluate my eating habits and take a serious stab at losing some weight. It’s time. Which, ironically, is why I haven’t been spending too much time here.”

    Not ironic at all. You’re really up against a stacked deck. I don’t know how you’re going to do it. If this was me, I’d stop this blog immediately. It’s not contributing to your health, or your income, or at least not the latter to the extent that FK is.

    I wasn’t honest with you, not entirely, about why I stopped posting here. I do not want to be an enabler. Support is not support when the end is destructive.

    Good luck.

  8. JulieVR
    February 27, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I’d argue the food isn’t all bad here. I’d also argue that this blog IS contributing to my health, in the same way having a circle of friends and family is a big part of anyone’s overall well-being. People wrote their thoughts down in diaries long before blogs came to be – presumably because it was therapeutic and did some good in many ways – but having friends like the ones I have here has done me plenty of good, and I hope has done others good as well. I love this place and have no intention of stopping it. It’s all good. Who cares if it doesn’t generate income? Some of the best things in life don’t.

  9. JulieVR
    February 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

    PS what I meant by- “Which, ironically, is why I haven’t been spending too much time here.” – is that I kept trying to start to write about it, without the time or energy to do it properly. It’s far easier to put up a recipe and tell a funny story about my day or my dog than it is to delve into my weight loss history and talk (eloquently) about how I feel about it all now. I have a lot to say, and too many deadlines to keep up with at the moment. It’s not because this blog is somehow a bad influence on my eating habits! The posts come after the food.

  10. Barb
    February 27, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Some people that I often exercise with (strangers who go to the gym at about the same time everyday and visit a little bit) have really begun to look good. One lost 25 pounds since January 1. I’m not sure about the numbers the other has accomplished but you guessed it, my numbers have not changed at all. I’m working hard and I’m eating smartly most of the time. Or am I? Our bodies and metabolisms are all diffetent and it takes something unique for each of us to make it happen. Good luck and thanks for sharing. It does help. 🙂

  11. sharon
    February 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    It’s not all bad. None of it’s bad, except in the context. I’ve recently buried someone with a food addiction, which became the reason he died. I have worked with a food writer who was bulimic. I have read your old posts. I think about you.

    I’m not going to stay here and say “YUM”.

  12. Ann
    February 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you for reminding me of the idea of stewed apples! They’re so good and so easy to make. I, too, love granola, yogurt and fruit – anytime of the day!

    Thank you also for writing this wonderful blog. I love reading about your busy and interesting life and have learned so much about food and food preparation. I have a couple of your cookbooks and most of what I now cook or bake comes from either your blog or your recipe books.

    You do have a difficult challenge in regard to finding and staying at a good weight for you since creating and eating great food is your profession and passion, but I know you’ll find a way to figure it out. Even though we’ve never met, I feel like you’re a very dear friend. You’re not alone in your struggles. We love you Julie.

  13. the other Al
    February 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hey Sharon, what are you alluding to…offside!

    For someone who keeps threatening to leave this Blog, your still here…I’m just sayin

  14. rose
    February 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Hey Julie

    I was the first message on this date and I’d like to add this…..My husband had a recent health scare and has finally starting taking care of himself with exercise and eating breakfast. I’d told him for years the health benefits of breakfast but it took a scare to make him do it. Anyway, in order to help him drop pounds for improved blood pressure and for me to do the same, I’m copying your healthy recipes for our main meals. A binder is where I place them and I do a rotation of your recipes as they’re just what we need. Filled with all the healthy stuff. Thank you for helping us get healthy and achieve our weight loss goals. Obviously some of your recipes will be treat food….everyone can choose what they like.
    love you!


  15. Erica B.
    February 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    sharon enough already.

    Julie write about whatever inspires you; this is your space after all. Your blog has been and will continue to be an inspiration – food and otherwise. Thank you for the recipes, the insight into your life, for Book Club & Thank you for creating and maintaining dinnerwithjulie over the years. 🙂

  16. Gemma
    February 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Julie you are a daily inspiration to me. I appreciate how many of your recipes have taught me to create things from scratch, rather than out of a box, and to try new vegetables which just intimidated me in the grocery store. Your accounts of daily family life always bring a smile to my face and I can so relate to many of your stories! You enable me to eat and live healthier, and I hope that we, your blog friends, enable you to do the same, and to encourage healthy eating habits for all of us. (We all need the occasional treat too!) Keep up the good work!

    I can’t wait to try stewed apples on homemade granola (which I never had thought of making until you inspired me, but is now a family favourite). I always add a teaspoon or so of quick tapioca to stewed fruit, and love the texture it adds.

  17. JulieVR
    February 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Gemma – brilliant! I even have some powdered tapioca somewhere in the depths of my cupboard.

    And thanks for your kind comments, everyone! Sniff. Now I want to go bake you all a cake.

  18. Robyn in Mountain (Ontario that is)
    February 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Live, eat and be well. Thanks for all the recipes, Julie! You’re the best!!

  19. Robyn in Mountain (Ontario that is)
    February 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Wait a minute! Did you say homemade churros? Would you FedEx the leftovers?

  20. JulieVR
    February 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm


  21. Ruth
    February 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks so much for the stewed apples recipe!! I’m four days into a no gluten, dairy, sugar, processed food cleanse and this recipe is a perfect fit! I have recently been seeing the numbers rise on the scale as well and had been eating way too many sugary desserts. While a cleanse isn’t for everyone I figured it would get me back on track! Plus I had a couple of weeks before birthdays and easter started coming on in full swing! Good luck in your endevors!

  22. lovetocook
    February 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I made stewed apples while cleaning up after dinner, ready for breakfast with JVR Granola and All Bran. Good for 4-6 hours.

    My favourite quote: “You can’t be too rich or too skinny”

    My daughter’s reminder: Take 1/2 as much; it tastes twice as good. Good luck, Julie

  23. carol
    February 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm


    I have read your blog over the last two years, but do not often comment. However, after reading some of the feedback today I feel the need to chime in. Your blog is great and I hope that you continue with it. Good luck with your goal to improve your health – and thank you for being so honest with your struggles. As for the “Nothing tastes as good as skinny” quote, it was neither Kate nor Drew; my mother had a fridge magnet with this quote on it in the early 80’s, although I am not certain who coined the phrase.

  24. Sandy
    February 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Julie – I agree with Carol, Gemma and others. Your blog is very inspiring and I’ve tried many of your recipes, always successfully. I often wonder how you manage to do all that you do – you are everwhere there is food these days – it can’t be easy, but I’m sure it’s fun. Hope you continue to inspire us all, especially with home-made dishes and good luck with staying healthy.

  25. Natalie (ga)
    February 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I echo Gemma! I eat very healthy and they are all your recipes!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Ruth
    February 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    made the stewed apples today and they were the perfect thing to top my oatmeal! Thanks so much!!!

  27. Sheila
    March 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Julie, I love your blog as well. Most of my most successful recipes are from you. Thank you!
    Losing weight while having a job(s) like yours is daunting. Last year I found exercising – riding my bike regularly – dropped a few pounds. But if you choose that route, choose something you like – it is easier to stick to it and much more enjoyable I found.

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