Fiber-tastic Granola

Here’s hoping this experiment goes well! I had all this stuff on hand, and the oat and wheat bran have been hanging out in my freezer for several months. I tried both of them and they weren’t rancid or smelly. The freezer is the best place for these kind of ingredients with fat (healthy of course) because it can go bad quickly. This really is full of fiber, minerals, vitamins, protein, omega-3, and nutrients. I pulled a few ideas from a couple of different recipes, so I can’t credit any one source.
Verdict: Yum! My husband tried some of this and he didn’t recoil! I gave some to a friend and she declared it “tasted wonderful”. I have had it for breakfast the past few days and I can tell you, this will keep you full for several hours – that’s the fiber doing it’s job. I enjoy this with almond milk and a small handful of raisins. It’s hearty, filling, nutty, slightly sweet – near perfect in my opinion. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Fiber-tastic Granola – 
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (I ground up golden flax seeds for this)
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • *suggested additions after baking: 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit, chia seeds
Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with lightly oiled (or non-stick) foil.
2. Toss all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then combine your liquid ingredients in a smaller bowl. Combine the wet and dry together with a rubber spatula then spread the granola evenly over the two baking sheets.
3. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Halfway through baking, stir the granola and spread out evenly again.
4. Place baking sheets on cooling racks – be sure to cool completely before storing in airtight containers. It’s best to store it in the fridge for a longer shelf life – about 7-10 days.

Green Almond Oat Smoothie

Quick Post: Yes, another green smoothie – but this time with oats and chia seeds.

Green Almond Oat Smoothie – adapted from Natural Noshing

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup soaked oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions:

1. The night before, soak your oats in 1/3 cup of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.

2. The next morning: Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

Tropical Smoothie

Quick Post: Yum – this is so luscious! My kids would love this one, but it’s definitely a treat smoothie because of all the orange juice…carbs and sugar! This recipe is enough for 1 serving. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mango, Banana, Strawberry Smoothie – 

  • 7-10 cubes frozen mango
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
Directions:
1. Blend until nice and smooth! Enjoy 🙂

Orange Almond Coconut Granola

I’ve never made granola before, but I love the stuff. It’s perfect on top of yogurt, an on the go snack or a hearty breakfast. Most store bought brands have lots of sugar, salt, preservatives and fat…no thanks! This one is great because it’s all natural, easy to make and it keeps well in the fridge or up to a week in an airtight container. While this was baking, the most wonderful mix of orange and honey came wafting out the oven!  I can’t wait to try this 🙂

Verdict: So addicting! The orange zest gives this an aroma and bright, fresh flavor that I have never had in granola before. It was the perfect pre-workout breakfast. Bottom line – I will make this again and again! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Orange Almond Coconut Granola – adapted from Two Blue Lemons

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups “Old Fashioned” rolled oats (not the quick kind)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  • pinch of kosher salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1/3 cup dried fruit of your choice – I used raisins because that’s what I had on hand*
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300.
2. In a large mixing bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside. (Oats, coconut, almonds, cinnamon, zest, salt.)
3. In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients. (Honey, molasses, vanilla, oil.)
4. Pour the honey-molasses mixture over the oats and spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for about 25 minutes, tossing once in the middle. (Don’t let it get too brown, you want it to still be a little chewy.)
6. Out of the oven, toss in your dried fruit. Makes about 5 cups.

Blueberry Morning Smoothie

Quick Post: The name sounds nice, right? Well, there is a really unexpected ingredient in these, but I was willing to try it. PEAS! I needed to about a half cup more almond milk to thin this out for the blender and more banana to sweeten it up. The toast with real fruit preserves helped to get this one down! 😉 It wasn’t that awful, especially when I think of all the nutrition packed in this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Blueberry Morning Smoothie – (never home)maker

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup almond milk (plus more if needed)
  • 1 frozen banana
Directions –
1. Blend all ingredients until combined. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables over Bulgur

Lunch…I’m not always great at lunch. It’s usually leftovers, sandwiches or salads. This is more work, but I get at least 3 meals out of it. I chopped up some zucchini, summer squash, cremini mushrooms, tossed a handful of baby carrots and grape tomatoes on a baking sheet.  Use whatever veggies you love to roast, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper over all. Bulgur cooks really quickly and by the time all the vegetables were finished roasting I had a really healthy lunch ready to be enjoyed. This was surprisingly good! I knew I would love the roasted vegetables, but the bulgur was cooked in plain ‘ol water with a pinch of kosher salt added. It has a nutty flavor and a meaty texture and keeps you feeling full longer because of all the fiber and protein. I felt full for hours but didn’t feel bloated. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables Over Bulgur –

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small summer squash
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms
  • handful of grape tomatoes
  • handful of baby carrots
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of bulgur wheat, cooked to package directions
  • handful of baby spinach
  • zest of one lemon
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Clean and prepare your vegetables – slice zucchini and summer squash into coins, slice cremini mushrooms in half and discard stems. Toss baby carrots with a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Take the pan out, toss the carrots and add seasoned squash and mushrooms to the baking sheet, roast for another 10-15 minutes. Toss in the grape tomatoes during the last 5 minutes. Serve 1 cup of roasted veggies over one cooked up of bulgur tossed with baby spinach leaves for good measure, and sprinkle lemon zest over top of all. Enjoy!

Green Monster Smoothie

I’m going to be brave and hopefully I will enjoy this. I really need to get more vegetables into my diet! When I eat healthfully, I feel so much better inside and out; and I have so much more energy. I slacked off big time these past few months – food is my weakness. But now that school has started again I have a lot more time to get my workouts in and plan for healthier snacks and meals for me.

Verdict: Wow! Not bad at all 🙂 The more frozen banana the better though, and next time I’ll add some strawberries and maybe some blueberries. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Green Monster Smoothie –

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 large handfulls of spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
Blend all ingredients until perfectly smooth. Drink, enjoy, feel healthier! 😉

Bulgur Chili (vegan)

I have never cooked with or tasted bulgur before today, but I can now say it’s a great healthy, whole grain to use. My only dilemma now is finding more tasty recipes to use up the rest of the package of bulgur! I’ve been looking through my trusty, stand-by websites for inspiration, but there aren’t a whole lot to choose from. I did however find a ton here, some of which I bookmarked and hopefully will get around to trying soon. I have so many bookmarked recipes…really, way too many! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bulgur Chili ingredients – adapted from Naturally Ella

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 whole cloves, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernals
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 mediums jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained (I didn’t have kidney beans, so I used black beans)
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika
  • 3-4 cups vegetable stock (I ended up using 3.5 cups, it just depends on how thick or soupy you prefer your chili)

Directions –

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and peppers, saute until they begin to soften.  Stir in spices, corn, and tomatoes.  Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil (start with 3 three cups of stock.)  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.

If the chili begins to thicken too much, continue to add stock until it reaches a chili-like consistency (the bulgur will soak up a good majority of the liquid.)  Let simmer for 45 minutes until bulgur has softened.  Taste and adjust seasoning.