Homemade Crunchy Granola

Yogurt for dinner. This is the kind of dinner I have when my husband is gone. I make random dishes that he doesn’t enjoy: lentil soup, rice and beans, vegan chili, and many plant based recipes on my mind. Now, to be fair: my husbands loves his veggies, but he also loves his meat. So, when he’s gone, we pretty much go plant based because that’s my jam. Plus, I finally found a dairy free yogurt that I love: So Delicious. It’s a coconut milk based yogurt. I like to buy plain and then sweeten it myself.

So, one evening we wanted yogurt for dinner. The kids thought it was a fun idea, and I always think of the movie Julie + Julia when I eat this. However, if you’re gonna have yogurt for dinner, you need all the toppings to go with it. (If you give a mouse a cookie…).  We had plenty of berries, honey, chia seeds… but we didn’t have any granola. Now, I’ve made homemade granola in the past, but I’ve never been able to get it “clumpy,” and all clumpy granola recipes I was finding was using egg as the binder. Now, I’m not 100% vegan, but I like to limit the amount of animal products I eat (except honey, there are so many health benefits, I still use it often).

I finally stumbled upon a recipe by COOKIE + kate that promised clumpy granola without using eggs. I tweaked it a little, and my kids and I love it. Today, I’m sharing my version of this recipe with you… but first, look at the “clumpiness!”

 (Then just break it into the size you want!)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 liquid sweetener (I used half honey and half maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl, and add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix really well to ensure it’s well incorporated.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and pour granola onto the sheet. Make sure to pack it really tight together to help it clump together.
  6. Bake for a total time of 22 minutes, and stir halfway through.
  7. Allow it to cool completely before breaking it up. This will ensure it clumps.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  • I know honey isn’t vegan, but I still use it regularly as it has many health benefits. Feel free to use all maple syrup or agave to make this recipe 100% vegan. You do you.
  • Technically, this is a gluten free recipe, but some oats still contain gluten, so make sure your oats are safe if you have a gluten allergy.
  • Pretty much anything can be substituted or added to this recipe, you may just need to make a few adjustments! Some optional add ins are: dried fruit, seeds, and additional spices.

Enjoy this granola over your yogurt, in your bowl of almond milk (check out my easy homemade recipe), or just on its own as a snack!

Check out the poll I did on Instagram. The amount of people that find it acceptable to eat yogurt for dinner is pretty even, so how about you: Yogurt for dinner?

 

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Almond Milk Recipe

Ok, y’all, now I’ve started making my own almond milk I’m not going back to store bought almond milk. There’s just no comparison, you guys. The taste is smoother and cleaner. My husband, who never liked almond milk before, actually likes this almond milk! So, just take my advice and go do it! It’s so easy to make, and you’ll have NO regrets. I got my recipe from Kris Carr. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just want to start eating healthier, go check her out.

Here’s how easy it is. You ready for it? Let’s go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 2 pitted dates
  • Pinch of salt
  • Nut milk bag
  • Glass jar with a lid for storing.

Directions:

  1. Soak your almond for 6-8 hours. This not only makes them softer for your blender, but helps with digestion as well.
  2. Drain your soaked almonds, give them a rinse, and place in a blender.
  3. Put the filtered water, dates, and salt in the blender.
  4. Blend for a good 2 minutes.
  5. While it’s all blending, line a large bowl (needs to hold at least 32 ounces of liquid) with your nut milk bag. I like to use a liquid measuring bowl so I can easily pour it.
  6. Once it’s all blended, pour into your lined bowl.
  7. Squeeze the milk out of the nut milk bag. You’re basically “milking” the bag to make sure you get all this liquid gold. You should get 32 ounces.
  8. Store in a glass jar with a lid for up to 3 days.
  9. Enjoy on it’s own, in your morning coffee/tea, or anywhere else you like to use almond milk!                                                             

Now, I’ve love to know… what’s your favorite nut milk? I might have to try to make them all!

Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad

It was just there. Staring at me. In all its mac and cheese gloriousness. It was saying Eat me. Eat the mac and cheese. I’m cheesy, I’m gooey, I’m somehow organic even though I came out of a box… I’d been having this argument with myself all morning. I fought with the flour tortillas that I used to wrap my sons’ tacos in, I stared longingly at my husband’s toast that was soaking up the yolk of his egg, and I argued with Annie’s Organic Cheddar shells and cheese. And I won, y’all. I thought for sure I’d be defeated, but I wasn’t, and I came up with a yummy warm salad to combat my hunger after defeating the mac and cheese.

I looked in the fridge, but I didn’t want your typical cold salad. I instantly came up with this simple, but delicious warm salad. The best part? It only took 10 minutes from start to finish. You need to try it, because it will change your life, or at least your vegan lunches.

kale-and-mushroom-salad

Ingredients

1/4 cup of sliced red onions

6 sliced mushrooms, your choice

2 heaping handfuls of chopped kale

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions

1. Slice and chopped the veggies while heating up the coconut oil

2. Place the sliced onions in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Once the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms.

4. Once the mushrooms are softened, add the kale.

4. Sprinkle with garlic powder while the kale is softening, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Enjoy your masterpiece and give yourself a pat on the back for turning down the mac and cheese.

Notes:

1. This recipe serves 1 person. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

2. Use this as a base for your warm kale salad. Get creative with your add ins!

3. Consider adding other seasonings like red pepper flakes or smoked paprika.

4. If you’re not a vegan, top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

5. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, cook chopped bacon with the onions.

Try it out, and let me know what ya think! And help me out, what’s your favorite vegan lunch?

Gerber’s Go To Green Juice

So, I’ve kind of started a new ritual in my morning. Instead of going straight for coffee in the morning, I do a couple of other things first. First, I’ll drink a glass of water with doTERRA Grapefruit essential oil. Why grapefruit, you say? Mostly because it’s my favorite citrus oil in water, but it does have many benefits! Grapefruit helps support a healthy metabolism, aids to naturally cleanse your body, and can even help curb sugar cravings. I beg of you, don’t go to your local health store and drink those essential oils. Most the essential oils in a grocery store are even labeled, “Not for internal use.” Find a good quality therapeutic grade essential oil brand that is safe for ingestion. Obviously, my brand of choice is doTERRA, but don’t just take my word for it. Do your research and decide for yourself. I’ll be blogging soon on essential oil quality!

Moving on. The second thing I like to do after finishing my water (or many times I am drinking my water while making this) is make a green juice or smoothie. I do have a green smoothie recipe already posted, so today I’m going to give you our go to green juice recipe. Yum! I like to drink a green juice before eating breakfast or drinking coffee for a couple of reasons. I think it’s beneficial to provide your body with nutrients right away. Also, our bodies can quickly absorb and digest fresh juice. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can easily be absorbed and then our body can use this goodness to take charge of our day full of natural energy.

Ok, without further ado, here is the Gerber’s Go-To-Green Juice recipe.

Ingredients

  • Large kale (about 1/4 of a bunch)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cucumbers
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of parsley
  • I inch of ginger
  • Pineapple (to taste)

Directions

  • Throughly wash your produce.
  • Cut the fruit and veggies as needed to fit in your juicer.
  • Juice the goodness.
  • Stir and pour in fancy glasses for you and yours.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • This is a rough base. However, there are some ingredients we have found to be a “must have” for our home: cucumber, pineapple, and lime. The rest you can cater to your taste, or what you have in the fridge that day.
  • I try not to use a ton of fruit, as vegetables are healthier and have less fructose. If you find you need more fruit when you first start juicing, then just slowly decrease the amount of fruit overtime so the juice is majority vegetable juice.
  • Unless you really like lime, just stick to 1 lime. I tried 2 limes this morning and it was TART. Isaac loved it, but he could eat lemons and limes as a snack if I let him.
  • Have fun and experiment! We’ve also juiced carrots, beets, apples, broccoli, and much more. Find what works for you and your family.

There you have it, my friends! Enjoy the Gerber’s Go-To Green Juice to start your day.

What’s are some of your favorite juice combinations? Share in the comments below!

Cooking with Essential Oils: Sweet & Salty Popcorn

I’m back! Thank you for your patience while I made some adjustments to my blog. I appreciate all the love and support you have shown. Now, let’s get to it!

Last week I went over to my friend Amy’s house and she served an amazing homemade popcorn. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Best of all: it is composed of all natural ingredients and made with essential oils for an extra dose of awesome.

Ingredients:
• 1 cup un-popped popcorn kernels (preferably organic & GMO free)
• ¼ cup butter
• ¼ cup pure maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup, go get the real deal!)
• 4-5 drops Protective blend essential oil
• Cinnamon powder and salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Place the kernels and a small amount of butter (a tablespoon or so) in a pan or pot with a lid, turn on medium high heat and get popping!
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and maple syrup and incorporate together.
3. Once the popcorn is popped, pour the butter and maple syrup mixture on top. Put the lid on and shake it really well to evenly coat.
4. Once coated, add a sprinkling of salt and cinnamon powder and enjoy!

Notes:
• When I was eating this popcorn, I kept thinking about Cracker Jacks, and thought, Next time I’ll add nuts! So if you love Cracker Jacks throw some peanuts or almonds in and you won’t regret it.
• The Protective blend consists of: wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oil. This blend is formulated to support your immune system, and is great to use on a daily basis. It tastes like a Thanksgiving day celebration!
• Any kettle corn lover is sure to inhale this popcorn, but a note of caution: pregnant women should use the Protective blend sparingly, so if you want to you can always leave it out for them.
• Again, I only trust one brand for internal use and to find out more information on the brand of essential oil I adore, you can email me at info@amandagerber.com.

Who’s making this popcorn for their next movie night?!?

Grilled Mahi Mahi

I’m a 28 year old mom who loves to cook, but I had never grilled fresh fish… Until now. I’m not sure why, but grilling fish just intimidated me, so anytime we had grilled fish my husband made it. Now, I had cooked it in the oven, but never grilled it. Then, yesterday I decided to put that fear behind me when I saw fresh mahi mahi, wild caught for a very good price at the store. I selected my massive filet and came home with a mission.

Y’all, I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner, because it was stinkin’ good. Nathan enjoyed it, and the boys ate it up (with ketchup, of course. Why does every protein need ketchup?). My recipe is pretty basic, and because I knew my little ones would be eating it, there’s not a lot of heat to it, but you could adapt it. Now, on that note, I didn’t measure so the ingredients I am giving you are purely a “guesstamite.” Let’s begin.

mahidone

Ingredients:
• 1 ½ – 2 pounds on mahi mahi, skin on one side
• 3 tablespoons of butter
• 1 lemon, zest and juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
1. If needed, cut your fish in individual portion sizes (about the size of your palm).
2. Heat the skillet on medium high heat until the butter is melted.
3. While you’re waiting for the butter to melt, season the flesh side of the fish with half of the seasonings and half of the lime zest.

mahi1
4. Once the butter is melted, place the flesh side of the fish down. Cook for 3 minutes and season the skin of the fish with the remaining ingredients. (I know you don’t eat the skin, but it just felt wrong not to season it. Plus, I thought the seasonings may absorb into the fish while cooking. I have no idea how accurate this is, but that’s what I did.)

mahi2
5. After those 3 minutes, flip the fish skin side down and cook an additional 6-7 minutes. During this time you can check the natural seam in the fish to see when it is done.

mahi3
6. Once it is completely cooked, turn the heat off and squeeze the lime juice over the fish.

mahi4
7. Serve with your choice of sides and a couple extra lime wedges for garnish. We ate our fish with basmati rice and raw veggies. Yum!

mahidone

Notes:
• Again, these are rough estimates of the seasonings, so add more if needed for your taste.
• The fish should easily come off of the skin. I took it off for the kids when I made their plates, but my hubby and I served ourselves the whole thing. I did notice on one of the thinner parts of the filet it was slightly tough near the edges where it was overcooked, so keep an eye on the thinner pieces. Other than that, it was so tender and juicy.

Is there a dish that’s intimated you in the kitchen? Let me know, and maybe I’ll give it a go!

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

So I have a confession: I am slightly obsessed with Jen Hatmaker’s writings: her blogs, her books, and now… her recipes. For those of you may not know of this awesome woman, you can read her blog and become obsessed as well. Her first book that I read was 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  She has a way with words: humorous, raw, authentic, and her writing will touch your soul (and now tastebuds). Go check her out at jenhatmaker.com and you can thank me later.

Anyho, this tomato sauce recipe came from her website and I just tweaked it to my preferences. This is a big batch of sauce (enough for 4 pizzas or multiple pasta dishes) so you can use some now and freeze the rest for later. Also, it’s so versatile you can use it for any dish calling for a tomato sauce: pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, baked ziti… Are you hungry yet?! Seriously, try this sauce out and I guarantee you’ll always keep your house stocked with it!

Ingredients:
• ½ cup olive oil
• 1 tsp – 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
• Entire head of garlic, grated
• ½ red onion, minced
• 28 ounce can of organic tomato puree
• 15 ounce can of organic crushed tomatoes (I used fire roasted, yum!)
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
• Salt and pepper to taste

tomsauceing

Directions:
• In a medium sized pot on low heat warm the olive oil, red pepper flakes, onion and garlic. Cook about 4 minutes. Your nose will know when it’s done, it smells so good!
• Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until the olive oil is incorporated.
• On low heat, let the sauce simmer for at least an hour.
• Taste throughout the hour and add more seasoning, if needed.
• After an hour feel free to use on the Italian dish of your choice!

tomsaucestove

Notes:
• This first note, I’m taking directly from Jen Hatmaker because she words it so perfectly. “First, a word about the tomatoes. I use Muir Glen, and there is really nothing you can ever say to make me change my mind. DO NOT GET SOME JANKY TOMATO SAUCE FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF. I am so serious. This sauce is only as good as the ‘maters. Cento is a 2nd place brand if my store punks out on the Muir Glen. Fresh, homegrown peeled tomatoes are the Prom Queen of this recipe in the summer obvs, but how many of us are going to boil and peel 20 tomatoes when we could open a can?” (I know, you love her now too!)
• I learned while making this dish balsamic vinegar has different leaf ratings. When I was buying the ingredients, I just got the 1 leaf because it was cheaper, but I came with a sample for 4 leaf… Y’all, I could drink that 4 leaf out of the bottle… But I didn’t, mainly because I only had a sample which I used for the recipe. I gotta tell ya, after sampling the 4 leaf that is all I am going to use from now on. Try it!
• I only used 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes, but the original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon. I strongly suggest if you’re not worried about burning your little toddlers tongues to use the whole tablespoon.
• In my picture, next to the sauce there’s my homemade dough rising, also from jenhatmaker.com. I followed that recipe exactly so if you’re looking for a pizza dough recipe to go along with the sauce, check out her website.
• Again, this is super basic and versatile. You can adjust it to the dish you’re making or add your favorite herbs and seasonings to come along for the ride.  Here’s a picture of the pizza I made.  It was AMAZING.

pizza

Have you been looking for an amazing pizza sauce recipe? What other recipes could benefit from this sauce?