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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Simplify: Food Choices

I need to be honest. I’m not really looking forward to this portion of my Simplify series. I actually intended on waiting until later in the year to this, so I could just keep on eating the crap I’m addicted to. But, part of my team is doing a cleanse right now, which really just includes clean eating and a few doTERRA supplements. I know these things are usually easier when done in a community, so I wanted to jump on this opportunity.

Now, I’m not doing the “cleanse” part. Even though doTERRA provides a very gentle and safe cleanse, it’s not recommended while pregnant or nursing. Your body already has a high demand during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so there is no need to cause any additional stress. Although, I do have to say, I take doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality pack as my pre and postnatal multivitamin and I’ve had amazing results.

llv-m2m

So, what does this month look like for me? Basically, I’m going to simplify my food choices. If I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it. If it came from a cow, I won’t eat it. If it’s made in a lab (think: refined flours and sugar/sweeteners), I won’t eat it. BUT what I will do is eat more vegetables and fruits. I will eat more Godmade food, and take out the manmade foods. I will explore different grains other than flour. I will try new recipes, and create new habits.

I actually started this on January 29th so I could make it a solid 30 days, instead of a random 28. Why does February only have 28 days? I just liked the way 30 sounded better than 28. I know, I’m weird. All that to say, it’s been 10 days of clean eating.

Giving up sugar was the most difficult during the first 3 days. After that, my mind just switched to FEED ME ALL THE BREAD. I’ve realized much of what I eat on a daily basis is just habit. Normally when I make the kids’ sandwiches, I’ll eat a bite of it. When I put pretzels in a snack bag for them, I’ll take a couple for myself. (I may have spit one out the other day when I realized what I was doing!) I eat pasta at least once a week because it’s convenient and I have a homemade tomato sauce we all love. I got used to eating a flour tortilla while cooking tacos. I made a habit of always eating a bowl of cereal at night because I felt like I deserved it at the end of the day. So much refined flour. Hello, my name is Amanda, and I am a bread junkie.

I’ve made some changes now that are becoming my habit. I’ve stopped packing as much grains for my kids’ lunches. Now it’s not a sandwich and pretzels, it’s a sandwich and an apple or orange. I make zoodles for myself instead of traditional pasta noodles. Instead of eating flour tortillas, I eat the clean taco toppings (ground turkey or black beans, pico de gallo, and guac… so good!) on a bed of greens. They’re small changes, but that’s how change happens. I’m creating new habits. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.

bean-bowl

Cutting out dairy has not really been a challenge, although I totally spaced during the Super Bowl and put cheese on my chili. I also forgot last week and tried a sample of Fro Yo, then thought Why does this taste like heaven? Then I remembered I hadn’t had sugar or dairy in days. Don’t worry though, I didn’t eat a cup! I threw away the unfinished sample, and tried to ignore my mind screaming at me to eat the freakin fro yo while everyone around me enjoyed it.

I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come. I’m already noticing small changes for the better. I’m not craving sugar nearly as often. Usually I don’t want it unless I see it. My mind is still obsessed with bread, but I’m hopeful that this will change as well. I’m excited to try different grains and create new habits. Stay tuned for another update soon!

Have you gone gluten free? Sugar free? Dairy free? Share some success tips with us!

Cold Oatmeal: Sounds gross, Tastes good!

Cold oatmeal: It sounds gross, doesn’t it? When I first read about cold oatmeal it did not sound appealing. I think it’s because I think of the cold oatmeal I am usually eating: you know, the oatmeal that gets left at the bottom of the pot after my kids are all done eating… That kinda cold oatmeal. BUT this is not just someone’s lifeless leftover oatmeal. It’s a whole new way to eat oatmeal and it tastes so stinkin’ good. The best part is that you make it the night before so when you’re ready to eat breakfast the next morning, it’s all done! Did I mention you can totally make this dairy free if you wish? I got a recipe from theyummylife.com and just catered it to my preferences. So, here’s my first cold oatmeal recipe that I tried and adore! Let’s get started.

oatmeal

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup old fashion oats (stay away from instant, it’s way processed)
• ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
• ¼ cup milk
• ¼ cup berries
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Dash of nutmeg

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a glass 8 oz. jar with a lid.
2. Secure tightly with a lid and place in the refrigerator to let it sit overnight.
3. In the morning, top with fresh berries and one more dash of cinnamon. (Optional).
4. Eat and enjoy your healthy, ready-to-go breakfast. Share with your toddlers, which really means you should triple the recipe because everyone loves it!

Notes:
• To make this dairy free, simply substitute the milk and yogurt for a quality soy, almond, or coconut option. I used organic soy milk and it turned out great.
• You can use whatever yogurt you have on hand. If you want to avoid the added sugars of the vanilla yogurt, just use plain yogurt and you can add a splash of vanilla extract and honey to taste.
• When you mix all the ingredients together, it will be a thinner mixture and thicken overnight.
• This recipe makes one serving, so if you’re wanting to make it for your family just double or triple the recipe and place in separate jars so there’s no fighting over it in the morning.
• Get creative with the flavors and add-ins: try it with chia seeds or sliced almonds, bananas or peaches would be yummy too!

Have you tried cold oatmeal before?  What are your favorite add-ins?