Almond Chia Seed Granola + Top Granola Recipes

IMG_4659

We are big granola fans around here. It’s perfect for breakfast or a mid-day snack. I literally try every recipe I can get my hands on… Which has led me to this creation!

Little tip for those who are new to using coconut: unsweetened shredded coconut can be kinda hard to find! Most local whole food stores carry it. Bob’s Red Mill also carries it on Amazon for an amazing price. But make sure to use unsweetened to avoid the processed sugar.

Almond Chia Seed Granola (Paleo):

1/2 c coconut oil

1 flaxseed egg (1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)

2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

1 1/2 c almonds

1/2 c chia seeds

1 c sunflower seeds

1/2 c walnuts

1 c unsweetened coconut

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour all dry ingredients in a food processor or blender and grind, making sure to not over grind- you don’t want a powder! Combine in separate bowl with wet ingredients until thoroughly blended. Pour onto pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until crispy. It also helps to stir every 15 minutes to achieve total crispness.

Here are more amazing granola recipes that I highly recommend:

Flaxseed Granola

 Grain Free Chocolate Granola (Paleo)

Coconut Granola

Sunflower Oats Baked Granola

Raw Superfood Cacao Granola

Another thing I love about granola, it makes a great gift for the start of school for teachers (who accept the food) or at Christmas time as a little gift for friends! Put it in cute packaging and wha-laa!

Southwest Quinoa Stuffed Soft Tacos

IMG_4650

 

Some evenings, cooking dinner is the last thing on my mind. Happens to everyone. Ya know, some nights, I just feel lazy. And that is the beauty of this recipe. It’s healthy, easy, versatile and tastes delish. What more could a momma ask for?

Ingredients:

1 clove chopped garlic

2 roma tomatos, chopped (can use drained organic diced tomatoes)

1 can organic corn, or 2 cups frozen organic corn

1 cup uncooked rinsed organic quinoa

2 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth

1 can organic pinto beans

3/4 c chopped cilantro (or less depending on preference)

juice of one lime

Taco Seasoning (I make my own; recipe at bottom)

5 warm whole grain tortillas (my favorite are from Trader Joe’s)

In medium pan, cook your quinoa in the broth as directed on packaging. Once quinoa is cooked, literally throw in the rest of the ingredients and stir it up. Serve in your warmed whole grain tortillas. DONE. You can top with whatever suits your fancy. Maybe some spinach, salsa, or greek yogurt. You could chop up some bell peppers to throw in. So very versatile. The quinoa filling makes about 5 servings at about 260 calories per serving.

Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch of Mediterranean sea salt

Pinch of black pepper

Beach Camping Trip 2013

For the past few years, I have taken my kids to the beach for a week of camping with close friends and family. It is absolute heaven! We wake up to a beautiful sunrise and a morning run with the jogger stroller on the beach. The air is so fresh and easy to breathe.

IMG_4604

Then, we spend our day in the sand, hard at work building sandcastles and examining sand crabs.

IMG_4630

IMG_4624

Occasionally, we take turns burying each other in the sand.

IMG_4589

IMG_4632

IMG_4621

When we get back to camp, we scooter the beach, play sand volleyball, enjoy dinner and a beautiful sunset, and then roast s’mores on the campfire.

IMG_4603

IMG_4618

Some of my favorite memories from our beach camping this year:

1. Logan singing to us every time we got in the car. The kid has lungs! He also insisted on taking his spiderman helmet everywhere we went, as well as wearing mismatched flip flops.

2. Our last day, we went and got salads for lunch. Sitting there eating, my friend and I realized we must look homeless. That was a good laugh. The poor people sitting next to us!

3. Arielle walking EVERYWHERE. She did get a few mouthfuls of sand, unfortunately. She is Little Miss Independence and her waddle is beyond adorable. Also, babies in swimsuits are so yummy.

4. Coming home and taking the kids to see Monster’s University. Logan is now insisting on a MU themed birthday party. The brainstorming has already begun and I think it’s gonna happen!

5. Logan ASKING me to go to bed. That. Never. Happens. EVER. (Fist pump!)

6. Cuddling with my babes by the campfire while having some of the best conversations with some of my favorite people.

10 Steps for Successful Weight Loss

20130619-012200.jpg

1. Increase your water intake. Research indicates that just adding two glasses of water to each meal can help you lose more weight and sustain that weight loss. To calculate how much water you need according to your weight and height, click here.

2. Switch up exercises. Sometimes weight loss can be hindered by a cardio rut. Switching up cardio exercises can push you past your rut.

3. Make sure you are doing interval training at least 2 times per week. Here is a great website to get started and learn more about interval training.

4. Eat small meals throughout the day. Not only can it help curb hunger but it can also help with increasing your metabolic rate.

5. Eat more protein and fiber. Both help you feel full longer. Protein will help build and replenish your muscles. Fiber will help regulate your digestive system.

6. Find someone to hold you accountable. Whether it be a gym buddy or someone to look at a food journal, having that accountability will make you stick to your goal.

7. Eliminate processed foods from your diet and replace with whole, nutrient dense foods. Don’t go on any drastic, unsustainable, crash diet. Make sure you can maintain how you are eating and exercising. Both must fit reasonably within your lifestyle.

8. Make sure you have an ultimate fitness goal. For example, mine is decreasing my half-marathon pace per mile. Having a goal can give you that little push you need to make your weight loss happen.

9. Get enough sleep. Research shows that women who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of being overweight.

10. Plan your exercise each week. Don’t just show up at the gym, not knowing what you are going to do that day. Map it out! This will not only help with your weight loss but also cut your gym time because you won’t be wandering aimlessly around the gym.

The Best Larabar Recipes

IMG_8367

Summertime is in full swing! For us, this means camping on the beach. Last week, during nap time, Logan and I prepared a beach snacking essential: Homemade Larabars! Logan loves helping me make these fresh ones and they are perfect for letting him help. There are so many variations you can make of this nutty treat. This Larabar recipe comes from my friend Katy.

Here’s the ingredients:

8 ounces sliced blanched almonds

6 ounces of prunes/pitted dates (soft)

1 ounces of dried apple slices

1 tbsp fresh ginger (finely grated)

1/2- 1tsp cinnamon

1/2- 1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt optional

(I threw in a tbsp of applesauce and a 1/4 c sunflower seeds too)

First grind up everything in your blender BUT the almonds. Then add your almonds, making sure to not over grind them. Also, if you are using a Blendtec blender, make sure to not use the WildSide canister. It’s larger and you only really need one of the smaller canisters.

The key ingredient in these really is the ginger! If you have them, top with cinnamon chips but they are nonessential (and add more calories for anyone concerned about that).

This link will take you to a one stop blog post that explains making Larabars in a nutshell and gives you some excellent recipes.

Some other blogs with great Larabar recipes:

Naturally Ella Chocolate Hazelnut Larabar

My Whole Food Life Larabar Recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Coconut Cream

Chocolate

Peanut Butter Chocolate

Pecan Pie

Enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Tuna Wrap

IMG_4578

One of my favorite lunches is these tuna wraps! They are packed with protein, making them the perfect post-workout, lunch time meal for me.

Here’s what you need: (makes 2 servings)

IMG_4511

1 can white albacore tuna

4 tbsp greek yogurt (I like to use Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Greek Yogurt Dip)

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Dried dill (don’t use if you use the TJ Greek Yogurt Dip)

2 c Spinach

2 tortillas (I use whole grain)

These wraps are about 270 calories per serving depending on the type of tortilla you use. Some other great things you could throw in are chopped celery and bell peppers.

We have been relaxing a lot at the beach this summer. It’s been so fun having my cousins with us! A few things that I don’t want to forget about the last few days:

1. Logan singing to Ari to help calm her down. She was so exhausted, so Logan, being extremely concerned,decided he would sing and it totally worked! It was precious.

2. Going for a morning run on the beach. I had my kids in the double jogger (best investment ever). The view was gorgeous and l felt amazing, like I could have kept running forever. My kids loved it too. Both were so quiet the entire time, just soaking it in.

3. Logan riding his scooter with my cousin who is about a year older than him. They adore each other. Logan never just rides the scooter too, he just shuffles it along. It’s pretty cute. Haha!

Let’s be honest, one thing I would love to forget about this morning was Ari waking up at 4 am and not going back to sleep… (Hence our early morning run!) I’m exhausted. Praying it was a fluke. I’m going to wear her out today! Bwahahaha!

How to Survive Business Lunches Nutritionally

I have a very good friend who is beyond amazing at networking and fundraising. It’s what she does for a living. Part of this requires her to attend 3 to 4 breakfasts or lunches per week. This week, she posed an important question to me. Is it possible to eat nutritiously or even eat clean at workplace meetings? Especially considering that not eating could offend the host? I really was unsure. So I had her write down the menus for the last 3 luncheons and 3 breakfasts that she had attended. Here are the menus:

Breakfasts:

1. Cream cheese blintz with fruit topping, water, fruit, (buffet: muffins, danish, fruit, sausage, bacon, ham, french toast made with texas toast, hash browns, scrambled eggs that possibly had cream or butter in the them, apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice)

2. Baked Crossiant french toast with buttermilk syrup, bacon, fruit- all plated with orange juice to drink

3. Buffet: Fruit buffet, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew; pancakes and scrambled eggs, orange juice, apple juice, milk, hot chocolate

Lunches:

1. Chicken, cheesy potato casserole, green beans, salad with dressing and feta cheese, rolls with butter, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

2. Pork Salad with dressing on the side

3. Chicken fajitas: tortilla, with chicken and vegetables; rice and refried beans; flan

My answer is probably no to the clean eating since she isn’t preparing the food herself. I do believe some of the food can be nutritionally beneficial, so I suggested following these 4 tips:

1. Be extremely selective, examining each dish before you partake. Can you identify the ingredients? If no, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

2. Load up on the whole foods that are available. If there is a fresh green salad served, omit the dressing and eat the vegetables. If there is a fruit medley served, definitely eat that.

3. Now, I may get people that don’t agree with me on this. If you are concerned about offending the host and something is served that you know is a definite no, cut it up, separate it, but don’t eat it.

4. Look for the grilled foods and steer clear of any empty-calorie breads or desserts.

I would also venture to say that if your coworkers and associates know that you like to eat a clean diet, they won’t be offended or pressure you to eat things that may go against your particular diet. Many people advocate “watching what you eat” and aren’t offended by others who have a certain way of eating. Let it be known that you only eat whole foods. Casually mention it to those you work with. Who knows, it may inspire someone else to do the same!

Delighted Momma’s Flourless Cheez-It Crackers

IMG_4477

I am a HUGE advocate for eliminating overly-processed foods from the diets of littles. Nothing is better for a child than healthy, whole foods. My fabulous friend, Lindsay, came up with the absolute best recipe for flourless Cheese-It crackers. SO easy to make! You can find her recipe HERE.

My kids love them. We are packing a huge batch of them for our summer camping trip. She has a few helpful tips at the bottom of the post, so make sure to follow those. My oven only took about 10 minutes for them to cook too. It’s definitely a keeper recipe, and what I love most is you know every ingredient. No worrying about any preservatives or artificial colors and flavorings, because you made them. It’s the real stuff! And as Lindsay would say: These make me go YE-AY!

Also check out her other amazing recipes. She comes up with the best desserts. Go see for yourself!

Whole Wheat Bread with Flaxseed

IMG_4545

I love the smell of fresh homemade bread baking in the oven. Nothing quite compares. My mom would make a loaf on Sundays for my siblings and I to devour- and devour we did! It takes about a day to rise but it is well worth it. This recipe makes one loaf. It’s great for sandwiches and lasts our family of four an entire week.

1/4 c bulgur

1/3 c boiling water

2 tbsp flaxseed meal

2 1/2 c whole-wheat flour

1 3/4 c unbleached bread flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp quick-rising yeast

1 3/4 c cold water

1/4 c honey

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Combine bulgur and boiling water in a medium bowl to cook your bulgur. Once bulgur is cooked, add the rest of the wet ingredients: cold water to stop the cooking, honey, and oil. In a separate large bowl, the rest of your dry ingredients: flaxseed, whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt and yeast. Now combine all ingredients into the large bowl, stirring vigorously. Add about a teaspoon of water if the dough seems too dry. When your dough is thoroughly blended (sticky and not dry or too stiff), coat with oil and place plastic wrap over the top of the bowl. Place dough in fridge for 3-14 hours. Next place dough on counter to begin first rising for 12-18 hours. Now, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Stir your dough vigorously and place in an oil coated loaf pan. Dust your loaf with a little bit of whole grain flour, then taking a sharp serrated knife and cutting down the middle 1/2 inch. Then cover with plastic wrap. Place a cup of water in the microwave and boil. After water is boiling, move it to the side of the microwave and place your dough inside the microwave for 45 minutes possibly longer. Once dough has risen, place in oven and bake for 40-55 minutes. The last 5 minutes, cover with foil. You know your bread is done when you can place a skewer through it and it comes out clean with minimal bread crumbs.

A few things that I want to never forget about yesterday:

1. Grocery shopping with Arielle and having 6 different people come up and comment on how cute my little sweetheart is- totally makes a momma feel good. I need to remember to compliment people more when I’m out too. A smile or a compliment to a stranger can make their day and it doesn’t hurt a thing!

IMG_4542

2. Watching Logan run around with his friends at the park. He was quite the womanizer.

3. Arielle taking off at the park. It’s the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last! Her little waddle is beyond adorable.

 

Recipe adapted from Eating Well.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Madness

IMG_4527

This morning, my SUV was the victim of a hit-and-run. Thankfully, there were people around who saw the accident and got the license plate of the vehicle as it was fleeing the scene. I came out of the store with my kids and an extremely kind woman was waiting for me with all the information. We called the police and they had the vehicle within 5 minutes! I love the city I live in- our police are the best!

Anyway, after that rough morning, Logan and I made the best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that I have ever found during little miss Arielle’s nap. It comes once again from A Pinch of Yum. I am seriously obsessed with her blog! There is nothing whatsoever healthy about these chocolate chip cookies, but making them with my little guy as a present for his uncle created the sweetest memory. We also made a batch using cinnamon chips and cranberries. Those were definitely the hit!

IMG_4531

A few things I would like to never forget about today:

1. Rocking my baby girl to sleep after a long day and just staring at her amazing eyelashes.

2. Logan running around with his cousin Seth at my in-law’s house. They love each other so much.

3. Seth telling Logan how much he loved the cookies he made and Logan just beaming.

4. Arielle devouring the chocolate chip cookie and making the hugest mess in the process. She also tried roasted seaweed today and spit it right out. Not a fan.

1 2 3 4 5