Unrefined Living

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


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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…

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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!!

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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 😉

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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!

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 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!

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Pumpkin Spiced Granola

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Ahhh, October!  You had me at “pumpkin spice.”  For the first time this past summer I made my own granola.  And I must admit, it was really quite amazing.  It started with a few batches of lavender flavored, then when I realized there is a world outside of lavender, I played with a chocolate version (still tweaking this one). And then this week, I hit the jackpot on the first try.  Pumpkin Spiced Granola…made with love!  How can you beat that?  I want you to know that I am surely not a granola making expert, so I researched a few different recipes before I sort of just mocked up my own.  So if you try this, and you don’t like it….I am truly sorry for you.  Seriously.  🙂
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Getting down to business…here is what you will need:
  • 1.5 C rolled oats
  • 1 C buckwheat groats (or additional oats)
  • 1/3 C pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 sliced almonds
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 maple syrup (or agave or honey)
  • 1 egg white (optional)

 

Preheat oven 350F.  In a large bowl mix oats, buckwheat groats, seeds/nuts, cranberries, coconut sugar, sea salt, and spices.  In a smaller bowl whisk [melted] coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and syrup.  Pour mixture over dry granola ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated.  An added step (which can be omitted) is to whisk one egg white until frothy.  Pour egg white over granola and mix well.  This step will create granola “clumps’ for you hard core tree huggers who love clumpy crunchy granola (hehehe) 🙂  Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat and spread granola evenly.  Bake 25-35 minutes poking and turning granola every 10 or so minutes to prevent burning on the edges.  Remove from oven and cool fully. This will also allow it to dry up and get even crunchier!!!  And then, top your your favorite yogurt or nana icecream.  You can even throw in a handful of carob or dark chocolate chips if you so desire.  Be sure to also enjoy the lovely aroma this will create through your home!

 

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Crunchy Homemade Granola

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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!

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Overnight Oats

No sleeping bag required.  Just oats, milk, and yogurt.   And of whatever else your little hungry heart so desires.  The options seem endless.

Overnight oats have been one of my favorite go-to breakfast concoctions for quite some time.  I make various versions for my self and husband, and he is obsessed with it.  He actually gets offended if I don’t make it for him.  Crazy huh?  Anyway, they are super easy to make, and you can prep a day or two in advanced so you have yourself a couple of on-the-go “healthier” breakfast options.  Just think, you can skip the long line at {enter the name of your favorite breakfast place}, and have this much simpler and satisfying breakfast of champions.  You can also add any flavors you like.  Just know that the more you add, the more calories you will be consuming and possibly the less healthy it will become.  So be mindful of your choices.  You don’t need much, as the yogurt is pretty filling.

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What you will need:

  • 1/3 c nut milk (your choice)
  • 1/3 c yogurt (I choose greek 10% milkfat, organic if at all possible)
  • 1/3 c organic/gf slow cooking rolled oats (instant oats don’t work as well)

A few of my favorite options (but not necessary):photo_4-2

  • 1/2 ripe mashed banana (for me this is necessary)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (also necessary for mine)
  • 1 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (this might require a few more tbsps of milk)
  • 1 tbsp of honey (or coconut sugar if vegan)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (the darker the better)
  • handful of fresh berries
  • 1 tbsp of chopped nuts
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (all natural is always best)
  • 1tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Add the first three ingredients to a clean mason jar (or something similar).  Then add in chia seeds and mashed banana, if you desire.  Then stir with a fork.  You can use a spoon but a fork is better!  Continue adding anything else you choose, and stir well.  Make any adjustments needed, such as adding more milk if it’s dry, more yogurt if it’s watery, etc.  Then put the jar in your fridge overnight, and see how the oats are beautifully “cooked” by the morning.  You can store this for up to 2 days in the fridge.  Enjoy being creative and happy eating!


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