Tag: homemade

Easy Cranberry Almond Crunch Granola {Gluten-Free}

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to teach a workshop about Yummy Snacks for Healthy, Happy Kids at the Institute for Integrative Health.

One of the goals I set for myself back in April of this year was to present at the Institute sometime this year, so to be able to accomplish that in such a short amount of time was super exciting.

I’m teaching my second class there on October 14th about Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy. Click here to get more info about it and register!

I’m so grateful for everyone who attended Wednesday’s workshop and spent the evening with me! ūüôā

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A common snack that adults and kids eat that is often considered “healthy” is granola, and it was one of the snacks we sampled during the class.

Since there are so many companies that sell pre-made granola, why make your own?

  1. It’s easy.
  2. It’s¬†more nourishing.
  3. You control the ingredients.
  4. It’s fun.
  5. It tastes better!

Let’s take¬†a look at the ingredient list in Nature Valley’s Oats ‘n Honey Granola:

Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Sugar, Soy Protein Isolate, Canola Oil, Honey, Refiner’s Syrup, Rice Starch, Salt, Baking Soda, Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Contains Soy; May Contain Almond, Milk, Pecan And Wheat Ingredients.

Instead of trying to figure out what each of those ingredients is (or wondering why it’s in your granola), why not take a stab at it?

Let me show you how simple it is to make yourself and why you’ll want to give it a try!

Cranberry Almond GranolaGranola Aerial

One thing I’ve learned from all of the moms I’m friends with and from books and blogs I’ve been reading is that kids LOVE to be involved in the process.

For this recipe, kids can help measure the ingredients, pour them and even mix everything together with their hands. If we make eating well fun AND tasty, then there’s a much better chance kids will come on board.

This recipe is meant to be versatile and could be done differently every time you make it, depending on what you have on hand.

You¬†might already have all of the ingredients in your house! If you don’t have one of the nuts or seeds I use, just swap it out for what you do have ūüôā The goal is to keep it real and simple.

You can use this granola as a breakfast cereal, an afternoon snack or to sprinkle on top of something like this 2-minute banana ice cream!

Cranberry Crunch TextGranola Closeup Bowl

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300¬įF.
  2. Mix the oats, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  3. Combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl and pour over granola mixture. Stir with a spatula or your hands to combine.
  4. Pour the granola onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is light brown. Stir the granola every 10-12 minutes or so for an even color and to make sure the granola is cooking evenly.
  5. Remove from the oven and add the cranberries. Stir to combine. Let it cool, as it will continue cooking a little during the cooling process.

Store granola in an airtight glass container, and it should stay fresh for 7 to 10 days. For longer shelf life, store in the refrigerator.

Come to my next workshop about Going Gluten-Free without Going Crazy! Click here to register ūüôā

Zucchini Basil Pesto Sauce (Watch Me Make It!)

I LOVE pesto. It’s my favorite Italian sauce for pasta, veggies, and even chicken.

Anything with basil and garlic in it is bound to taste good, right?

Most pesto sauce recipes are loaded with oil, cheese, and pine nuts, all of which can be clogging to our bodies if eaten in excess. I’m a huge fan of pine nuts and love the way they taste, but there are one of the most expensive nuts you can buy, so I wanted to share a recipe that uses walnuts instead.

This recipe also includes a¬†“surprise” ingredient that you’ve probably never seen in pesto…zucchini!

Zucchini adds creaminess to the sauce and boosts its nutrient content.

I like serving pesto over top of zucchini pesto noodles AKA “zoodles.”¬†(click the link for a “how to” demo!).

Oil-Free Zucchini Basil Pesto Sauce

The completed pesto sauce!

Ingredients

1 cup diced zucchini (no need to peel it!)
1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 oz.)
2 garlic cloves (the recipe called for 4 cloves, but I found that to be wayyy too much, so I would use 2)
¬Ĺ cup raw walnuts
3 tablespoons water (the recipe calls for a 1/4 cup, but I found that slightly less Р3 T works best)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

*I also added in about 2-3 tablespoons of¬†nutritional yeast to give it a little more of a “cheezy” flavor, but you can taste test it yourself and decide whether or not you want to add that in!

Click here for the super simple directions from one of my favorite bloggers and fellow health coaches, The Detoxinista. You can also watch my How To video below!

Green Goddess Guacamole!

Think of a food you dislike.

Maybe you’ve tried it before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, you know you don’t like it, and there’s no way anyone can get you to try it…right?

Until about 4 years ago, guacamole was one of those foods for me. Why? Because I was CONVINCED that guacamole¬†had mayonnaise in it…and I’ve always disliked¬†mayonnaise.

One day at work, we had a healthy cooking demo taught by a health coach like me, and we were learning to make none other than…guacamole! ¬†I had all but made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long before I realized¬†that it was NOT made with mayonnaise and that everyone else was trying it, so…

I gave in to peer pressure and was shocked to find out I LOVED IT!

What had I been missing??

Ever since that day, I’ve been an avocado and guacamole lover.

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Delicious, fresh, and seasonal ingredients for this delicious guac!

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat AND are known as a beauty detox food. Here are just a few of their awesome health benefits:

  • Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals promote moisturizing from the inside, which means¬†healthy, smooth, radiant skin (a true beauty food!)
  • The healthy fat helps our bodies better absorb antioxidants from other fruits and veggies
  • The antioxidant they contain – glutathione – is a powerful¬†cancer-fighter
  • The combo of good fat and fiber helps control blood sugar

My favorite ways to use avocados are in dips, soups, desserts, mixed in to salads, and (of course!) in guacamole. I found a super simple recipe that used a slightly different combo of ingredients than the usual ones, so I thought I would test it out.

Two of the other ingredients in this guac Рcilantro and scallions (AKA green onions) Рare also great for you. Cilantro helps the body detoxify and onions are one of the top anti-cancer GBOMBS foods, so enjoy them all you want!

Green Goddess Guacamole

Creamy guacamole goodness

Creamy guacamole goodness

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled (here’s how to cut and peel an avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH lime juice (don’t sub the¬†bottled kind)
  • 3-4 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced¬†(also called scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons¬†fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†sea salt (add more to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until you reach your¬†desired consistency. We like ours to be a bit chunky, so we don’t mash it too much.

We love dipping fresh veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, red peppers, and sugar snap peas into our guac, along with these tortilla chips!

5 of My Favorite Sweet Treat Recipes!

One of my favorite books that really simplifies how to eat real food¬†is Michael Pollan’s¬†Food Rules. I love what he has to say about junk food.food-rules-cover-484

Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Let’s be honest. If every time we wanted fries, baked goods or ice cream we had to cook them ourselves, we would eat a lot less of those foods. It would truly be a treat when we ate them instead of something we can easily do every day thanks to modern food manufacturing.

In college, I was given the nickname “Betty Crocker” by a group of my husband’s fraternity brothers and roommates because of all of the baked goods I made for them, including my specialties of cookies and cream brownies and half-inch thick chocolate chip cookies.

Now that I’m focused on nourishing my body (and my friends and family) with wholesome, minimally processed or refined foods, I take a different approach to baking.

As I’ve learned more about how to cook and bake in a healthier way, I’ve discovered that a variety of foods found in nature are sweet, minimally (if at all) processed AND delicious, including fruit, dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, applesauce, and blackstrap molasses, to name a few. They are great substitutes to use in recipes that call for highly refined white sugar.

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Like any sweet treat, these are meant to be enjoyed occasionally, not every day, because the more sugar we consume, the more our bodies will crave. In fact, many of us are literally addicted to it.  Two of the keys to curbing a sugar addiction are to minimize our sugar intake and make sure we are eating enough nutrient-rich whole food at regular intervals, so our bodies feel nutritionally satisfied.

Many of the sweet treat recipes I prepare will often include fiber, which helps the sugar in the food release more slowly into the bloodstream, giving your liver more time to metabolize the food.

I like to think of food choices on a continuum of “Good, Better, Best.”¬†All of these options are¬†better¬†choices than grabbing a box or bag of sweets with long lists of ingredients we can’t pronounce.¬†

Here are links to 5 of my favorite tried and true sweet treat recipes!

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  1. Homemade Rolos¬†(oh she glows)¬†I LOVED Rolos growing up. I made these last night for dessert, and they were gone by the time we finished playing Catchphrase! I used¬†Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they only have 3 ingredients and are gluten, dairy, and soy free (you find them at Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and MOMs).¬†oh she glows is one of my absolute¬†favorite¬†blogs. Angela posts so many amazing and delicious recipes – from baked goods to side dishes and salads – and I’ve tried about a half dozen of them and will feature them in future posts.
  2. Chocolate Mint Truffles¬†(Mind Body Green) – I made these for multiple holiday parties this year, and they were full of minty goodness. They’re vegan and don’t contain any processed sugar, but no one will know!
  3. Peanut Butter Granola Bars¬†(The Family Vegan) – This recipe is from the¬†Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which my hubby gave me as a gift for Christmas. We have already made 10 delicious recipes from the book this year,¬†so¬†I can’t recommend it enough!
  4. Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies (Fast Paleo) РThese are a great gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies, and they are delicious! An alternative option is to use half raw honey and half maple syrup instead of using only honey. Sometimes I also do half peanut butter and half almond butter instead of only almond butter.  I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips in these as well, but you can skip the chips altogether, if you prefer, and add cranberries instead!
  5. Banana Bread Muffin Tops (oh she glows) – I just made these for the first time last week, and I really enjoyed them with walnuts and raisins!

Unfamiliar with some of the ingredients? Just do what we do, and buy them off of Amazon. They are usually cheaper there than anywhere else, and we get free 2-day shipping with our Amazon Prime Membership!

I would love to hear if you end up trying any of these recipes. Feel free to share them, and stay tuned for more!

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