Unrefined Living

maintaining a healthy balance of the mind, body, and plate


1 Comment

Chocolately Cranberry and Ginger Spiced Granola

So, you might say I have a slight infatuation with granola.  I do.  I admit it.  But, it’s so yummy and fun to make I can’t help myself.  It also gives me a valid excuse to make a smoothie or nana ice cream so I can top it with my granola.  Not that I ever needed an excuse before…

paragraph

Anyway, I made this batch for the holidays and I am just now getting around to talking about it.  It’s been such a busy holiday season.  I am not even sure where the holidays went, or 2014 for that matter.  Oh, before I forget, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

paragraph

Ok, ok, back to baking.  If you haven’t tried making your own granola yet, then put this on your 2015 to do list.  You probably won’t buy store brands after learning how easy and tasty (and healthy) making your own can be.  Unfortunate for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s 😉

paragraph

I adapted my recipe from Cookie and Kate, hope you enjoy as much as I do.  And quick side note, feel free to increase the chocolate sauce measurements…if you are a chocoholic!

paragraph

 IMG_1741
IMG_1739
 What you will need:
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 molasses
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (plus 1 tbsp more for thicker sauce)
  • 1/3 maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • (Optional) carob or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon, and ginger, and mix well.  Add in molasses.

Heat coconut oil in double boiler or microwave until melted (microwave is about 30 seconds on high).  Add raw cacao (or cocoa) powder, maple syrup, and vanilla to create a chocolatey sauce.  Pour chocolate sauce into bowl with other ingredients and mix well.

Spread granola mix evenly onto baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes checking once to make sure edges aren’t burning.  The granola may need a nudge.  Then add the coconut and cranberries and bake for another 7-10 minutes, again keeping an eye on it to prevent from burning.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  If the center seems slightly wet it’s ok, it will continue to cook as it cools, and it should get crunchier.  You might also like to add some carob or chocolate chips to your granola.  Chocolate makes everything better!

Store in an air tight container (mason jars work well), and will last for a few weeks.

Enjoy granola as a yogurt topping, or add to banana ice creamsmoothies, or smoothie bowls.  You might also enjoy adding granola to a bowl of warm milk as a warm cereal alternative.  Or just eat straight from the jar!

Advertisements


1 Comment

Cashew Truffles

Do you ever have a severe snack craving?  I am sure you do.  Maybe salty, maybe sweet, but you don’t want to waste your energy eating something processed or store bought and unsatisfying?   Well thats what I love so much about making these little energizing treats.  First of all, despite the title “cashew” truffles, the truth is you can make these with any nut you have on hand.  I chose cashews because I prefer their smooth sweet taste, but I’ve made these with other raw nuts and they are just as tasty!  Not to mention, you can eat a bunch and instead of guilt, feel like you are snacking with a purpose (assuming you don’t eat them all in 5 minutes).  And, its fun to experiment. So, let’s get to it….
What you will need:

  • 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 c raw cashews (also tossed in a tablespoon of mixed raw nuts because I wanted to use them up)
  • 6-7 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla protein powder (I used SpiruTein)
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder (raw unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp water  (more if too dry)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of pink himalayan sea salt (regular sea salt will do)
  • hemp seeds )option for sprinkling on top)

 

Combine coconut, cashews (and/or any other nuts you have), and dates in food processor or Vitamix and blend until it becomes a fine mix, a few nutty chunks are ok.  Add in protein and cacao powder and blend again. Add the water one tbsp at a time using your judgement to decide if it’s too moist or dry. Adjust as necessary.  Add the vanilla extract and sea salt.  Layer the bottom of a small bowl with shredded coconut. Make small quarter sized balls and roll into shredded coconut and set on a plate or tray. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you are in a hurry like I was, freeze for about 20 minutes then stuff your face and enjoy 🙂

 

IMG_1284


Leave a comment

Crunchy Homemade Granola

IMG_0773

Guess what?  I found an easy flavorful granola recipe for you to try.  So far I’ve made it four times, and inflicted it on many friends (some family) who raved about it.  It’s a keeper.  Actually, I’ve never made granola before this.  I used to by it but having to read labels and deal with sugar content and additives is just a pain in the butt!  Not to mention if I didn’t eat it quickly it would go stale and have to get tossed in the trash.  A waste of money if you ask me.  So now I have no excuse.  If I take the time to make something, I am damn well going to eat it before it goes bad.  And so far this recipe is the best I’ve had…in my entire granola life!  Of course, like all other things in life, that too is subject to change.  But for now, I am true to this granola!

I came across this recipe while looking up something entirely different, not even sure I remember what I was searching for.  Anyway, I am glad I accidentally stumbled across it.  The original source is a recipe for Lavender flavored granola.  I happen to love eating lavender flavored anything, so for me this was a win win.  However, if you can’t stand the thought of eating something flowery, you can simply eliminate the lavender and have yourself plain ole granola, or add something you do like, if you so choose.  Again, win win!

This recipe was inspired by Healthy Nibbles & Bits.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2/3 cup cashews (raw is best, but any will do)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts or almonds (chopped/slivered)
  • 1/3 cup pepita seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey (use raw maple or agave if vegan, or any other sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried lavender (slightly less, or omit completely)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of sea salt
  • egg white *(optional – see note below)
  • carob chips (optional and to be added after granola is cooked)

Preheat oven at 325 (F), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.  Mix ingredients in a large bowl (except egg white).  If you are using the egg white, whisk in a separate bowl until frothy, then pour over granola and lightly toss. *The original recipe called for egg white to create a cluster-like effect.  I’ve done with it it and without it, both options are lovely!  Bake for 30-45 minutes. I like to check mine halfway through and move it around with a spatula so the sides don’t burn.  Keep an eye on it, you want it to get golden brown.  If you went with the lavender option you will soon have an amazing aroma throughout your kitchen. Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in airtight mason jar or container.

This recipe is so fabulous that I barely changed a thing, and luckily I had all of the ingredients on hand.  You can substitute as needed.  And if you have no idea what to do with granola, here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Top your favorite yogurt
  • Add to your overnight oats
  • Garnish your nana icecream
  • Add to fresh fruit salad
  • Enjoy as a hot cereal by adding warmed milk  (preferably almond/coconut)
  • Add carob chips and divide into small ziplock baggies to bring to work as a snack
  • Add to favorite smoothie or smoothie bowl
  • Make your own granola bars or balls

There are many more options.  I am currently experimenting with various granola flavors and will blog about it soon.  I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

IMG_0772


2 Comments

Coconut Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Hello, my name is Michelle, and I am an oatmeal addict.  My addiction started about 5 years ago after I was ‘diagnosed’ with high cholesterol (eek!).  It was the very first major change I made to my daily routine. And since then oatmeal has been my breakfast of choice, with the exception of vacation badness and some healthier experimental pancake trials.  It wasn’t until recently (thank you Instagram) that I’ve begun to venture off into the world of unknown healthier breakfast creations.   But that being said, I still love and crave oatmeal every morning.  And while my oatmeal used to consist of the basics (plain oats, cinnamon, water, fruit, and nuts), I have gotten more creative with it over the past year or so, and I have to credit Chocolate Covered Katie for most of my inspired combos.  Sometimes it takes for someone else to demonstrate that it’s ok to live on the edge, venture outside of your comfort zone.  And let me tell you….chocolate in my breakfast was definitely living on the edge!   Did I mention I am also a chocolate addict?  So you see, this is a danger zone for me.  But it’s ok, I have it under control now.  I swear…..ish….!

So getting back to the reason for this post.  Three things I love: chocolate, coconut, and oatmeal. Baked so it’s like one big cookie.  Soft and gooey on the inside, brown and crispy on the outside.  Oh my!  If you have 20 minutes to spare (perhaps on your day off) and you love these three things too, then this is a must try.  Katie calls it coconut cookie dough oatmeal.  Indeed it is.  I made a few modifications and this breakfast bake is a WIN in our house.  Thanks Katie!

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (less if you are not used to large bowls of oatmeal)Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
  • 1/2 mashed ripe banana
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 nut milk (or water, coconut water, regular milk…organic of course)
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (melted or room temp if your house is warm)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I can assure you I used more than this amount)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (and a few to sprinkle on top)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar (or natural sweetener of choice)

More options

  • 1 tsp ground flax (to mix in or sprinkle on top…or both)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds for topping
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 380 degrees.  {I use my toasted oven and bake it closer to 400 degrees, watching it to make sure it won’t burn}  Combine ingredients well using a fork (I swear it mixes better).  Pour into small glass oven-proof bowl or pan.  I like to lightly grease the bottom of my bowl with oil so it’s not a pain to clean later.  Add a few extra chips on top and bake for about 20 minutes or more depending on preference.  Turn your oven to broil for about 5 more minutes to get a crispier top layer.  Top with almonds, milk, and whatever else your little heart desires.  Enjoy!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)


2 Comments

Acai Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

I am so excited!  My frozen acai packs arrived yesterday, which means that I can finally join in on this acai madness.  I’ve been eyeing these bowl creations for some time and finally had a chance to remind myself last week to order a bunch from Amazon.  Amazon as in the shopping website, not the rainforest…although that is essentially where the acai berry originates.

photo-6

So what is acai, you ask?  And why the sudden obsession?  Well, as I said, acai berries are produced in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and have been used for centuries to heal and boost energy.  The acai berry is most commonly known today as a “superfood,” meaning its loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and omega fatty acids. Regular consumption (and/or use) of acai has been said to help lower cholesterol, heal and improve the appearance of skin, aid in digestion, protect against harmful free-radicals, promote anti-aging, and reduce inflammation (just to name a few).   I always try to maintain a colorful diet since fruits and veggies that are brightly colored are our best protection against disease.  And since I’m a big fan of anything purple, this acai breakfast bowl most definitely has my support!  The only downside is the price.  But I am not making this everyday, at least not yet.  So hopefully my frozen packs will last me a while.  Hopefully…..

Ok, so getting back to the acai bowls.  I’ve been following instagrammers who create such gorgeous breakfast bowls that not only make my mouth water but also make me wonder how long it took to perfect such art!  Anyway, I did my best with what little art skills I have.  This breakfast was super filling and so cold, a perfect choice for 90 degree summer heat!  Eat up before it turns to soup.

photo-5What you will need (for 2 bowls):

  • 2 unsweetened acai frozen packs (I bought mine here)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 banana (not frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 6 frozen cherries (or strawberries)
  • 1/4 coconut milk (might need a few tbsp more)

Some optional toppings:

  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • banana slices
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • sprouted grain cereal (crunchy)
  • granola
  • carob/cacao nibs
  • chia seeds
  • flaxseed
  • goji berries
  • sliced kiwi
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (or honey)

Blend acai, frozen banana, cherries, milk, and banana until smooth.  You may need to stop and stir, then add a bit more milk depending on how dry the mix looks.  I added 2 more tablespoons to mine.  The consistency should be thick and smooth.  Spoon smoothie into two bowls and decorate with your favorite toppings.  Mix it all up and wolf it down.  Beware of the brainfreeze!  Enjoy 🙂

photo-8

The after photo, with a few 70% dark chocolate chips 🙂


Leave a comment

Raw Macaroons (No Bake)

This is BY FAR my favorite no bake dessert, and is always a crowd pleaser.  My family absolutely loves when I make these macaroons, even my niece and nephews love them…and believe me that means something!  And the wonderful thing is you can add and subtract ingredients and tailor them to your needs.  Any time I make these I know the won’t last more than a day or so in my house!

IMG_2139

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Original recipe adapted from Averie Cooks (I don’t really change much with this one since it’s near perfect!)

  • 1.5 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c [raw] honey* (or pure maple, agave, or other if you are vegan)
  • 3/4 c raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional:  1/4 c coconut oil, melted (unrefined organic)
  • Optional:  1/4 c chia seeds

* I often use less than the amount listed and will add more until achieved desired sweetness.  To counter balance “dryness” I opt for the coconut oil.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.  It will become chunky and sticky (and super messy).  Use a tablespoon (or small ice cream scooper) to create small to medium sized balls and then freeze.  Makes about 12-15 balls depending on the size.  This chocolatey goodness can be ready in just 20 minutes.  You might find these macaroons taste like chocolate ice cream.  I challenge you to try and eat just one!  Enjoy 🙂