Homemade Granola

I have been making this granola for years now. It is such a simple recipe and is easily adapted. Even a non-baker like me can’t screw it up! I have made it a couple of times for my neighbor, Karin, and she wants the recipe. So here you go, Karin…this is for you!

I really love granola, but I don’t care for most of the options that you can get at the grocery store. They are usually too sweet for me and they are always stingy with the nuts! By making your own, you get it exactly as sweet as you want it, with the flavor you like, and whatever nuts you prefer.

This recipe is a great starting point. You can get creative with the flavors and ingredients to suit your mood. I love adding pumpkin seeds, pecans, and pumpkin pie spice for a yummy fall granola. Another favorite of mine is macadamia nuts and coconut! I will sometimes scale back on the sugar, or add more if it is for my special Christmas morning granola and yogurt parfaits. Get creative and make it exactly as you like!

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Make sure you use good quality oats (NOT instant or quick cooking) and raw, unsalted nuts. For sweetener I like real maple syrup. If you don’t like the flavor of maple syrup, honey or agave works well too. If you want to add any dried fruit, do it after the granola has cooked and cooled. I know this takes a long time to cook, but slow and low is the only way. I tried higher temps and less time and ended up with a slightly burnt taste.

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My perfect breakfast is plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in topped with this granola…DELISH! Granola also makes a great holiday gift for neighbors and friends. You can get all cutesy with a mason jar if you are the creative type!

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Your kitchen will smell amazing while this granola bakes. It smells like sweet oatmeal cookies! The end result is just lightly sweet, crunchy, toasty, nutty and oh so good! This recipe makes a lot, but you will be surprised how fast it disappears!

 

Granola

For a printable recipe, Click here

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oats)
  • 2 cups assorted nuts like walnuts, slivered almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts (raw & unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (Can substitute honey or agave syrup)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (Can substitute brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 250.

  1. Add the 3 cups of oats to a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the nuts you would like to use (except for the slivered almonds…you can leave those whole). Add the nuts to the bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the coconut oil to a small microwave safe bowl (I like to use my Pyrex measuring cup). Heat the coconut oil in the microwave until completely melted. It should be warm which will help the other ingredients mix well with it. Add the maple syrup, the coconut sugar, the vanilla and salt and whisk well to combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Slowly pour the coconut oil mix into the oats/nuts while stirring to combine well and evenly coat all of the oats.
  4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly filling up the whole pan.
  5. Bake for an 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so to bake evenly.
  6. Once completely cooled, store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.

Optional Recipe Additions:

Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (add to dry ingredients before baking)

Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice (add to wet ingredients)

Dried Fruit – raisins, cranberries, chopped dates (add AFTER baking)

 

 

 

 

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Banana Breakfast Bread with Chocolate Chips

A little sweet and very satisfying!IMG_2471

I had to get this banana bread recipe on to Juicy Bites so that I can share how yummy this healthier version is! Its been my go to recipe for a while now because it’s simple to make and my boys love it for breakfast. Who doesn’t love breakfast with a little chocolate in it! It makes our crazy mornings before school a little easier when I have this ready to go. I slather on some peanut butter and they gobble it up. I think the chocolate chips (only a half a cup!) disguise that it is made with such healthy ingredients.

I basically took my regular banana bread recipe and substituted  some better options for the white flour. There is still some flour (whole wheat), but I took more than half the flour out to add in things like oats, flax, and almond flour. I love the hearty consistency and texture that has. It is really filling and satisfying!

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Ingredient Notes…

If you have a well stocked grocery store, you can find all of the ingredients for this without going to a specialty or health food store. My grocery store has a great “Bob’s Red Mill” section where I can get almond flour and flax meal and good quality oats. I like to make my own “oat flour” in the food processor and it just takes an extra minute to do. If you can find oat flour, you can skip this step. I used to use buttermilk in this but now I prefer to use plain kefir, or drinkable yogurt. I never seemed to get through a container buttermilk, but we do use the kefir in smoothies. I also like that the kefir is mostly lactose free and it is easy for me to find organic brands. The sugar that I use in this recipe is coconut sugar. It measures the same as granulated sugar, so you can use that if you want. Coconut sugar looks and tastes similar to brown sugar. I like the way it works in this banana bread and I like that it has much less fructose than regular sugar so it is much easier for your body to metabolize it.

Banana Breakfast Bread with Chocolate Chips

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain organic Kefir (drinkable yogurt) OR buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 small or 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup PLUS 1/2 cup of whole rolled oats OR 3/4 cup oat flour and 1/2 cup whole oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray one 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray coating.
2. Add the eggs, the kefir or buttermilk, the coconut oil, the bananas (cut in thirds), and the vanilla to a blender. Blend on medium until smooth and mixed well
3. Put 3/4 cup of oats into a food processor and pulse several times until it resembles a course flour (if you are using oat flour, you can skip this step). In a large bowl, stir together the coconut sugar, whole wheat flour, flax meal, almond flour, oats from the food processor (or oat flour) and whole oats, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the mixture from the blender and stir until just combined. Gently mix in the mini chocolate chips.
4. Pour into prepared loaf pan (I spray mine with plenty of PAM for baking) and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until it is cooked through. Mine takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes in a glass baking dish.

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

A perfectly portable breakfast or snack!

IMG_2218-001JUST when you were beginning to think…I wonder what happened to that juicy blogger girl? Here I am! Ok, so maybe I am flattering myself and no one was really thinking that because you all forgot I existed. I like the first scenario :).

I have a long list of yummy things that I need to get on Juicy Bites…and I am starting with these little guys. My Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Cups. I have seen a lot of different recipe ideas on the web with baked oatmeal. I love the idea for a few reasons – they can be made gluten free, you can throw just about anything in them, they are totally simple to make, AND they are tasty!

IMG_2219-001My version has lots of organic, gluten free oats, flax meal, chia seeds, and crunchy almonds. I added greek yogurt, bananas, and eggs too keep it all together.  They are the perfect package of whole grains, heart healthy omegas, and protein. These can be whipped up quickly (I use my blender!) and they are my go to breakfast all week. My 10 year old loves them in the morning with a smoothie.

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I use these gluten free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. They don’t have any unnecessary ingredients and they are a good quality chocolate.

You can adjust this recipe to suit your taste/diet restrictions. Use 1 cup of almond or coconut milk instead of the greek yogurt if you want them to be dairy free. Also, leave out the nuts if there is an allergy. I love having the nuts for crunch and for some extra protein.

Now don’t get these confused with a yummy, cake-like muffin, because that they are not. There is no flour to speak of, so they are a little on the dense side. There is also no added sugar besides the coconut and chocolate chips, so they are not overly sweet. They get most of their flavor and sweetness from ripe bananas. You can definitely add a little agave, honey, or sweetener of your choice if you want these to taste a little sweeter. I think the chocolate chips and sweetened coconut give them what they need. My 7 year old (Mr. Picky) said he doesn’t care for them and that if I would make them without the oatmeal he would like them better. Well…sorry Mr. Picky, can’t please everyone.

IMG_2226-001I will be trying some different versions of these soon and I will post if they turn out as good as these. I think they would be great with shredded apple and raisins or with pumpkin. These last about 5 days in my fridge in a zip-lock bag. They also freeze well for longer storage. I throw them in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes to get them warmed up a bit before eating.

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Coconut and Chocolate Chips

Click here for a printable copy of the recipe

Makes 16 muffins

Ingredients:
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups oats – not quick cooking (gluten free if desired)
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts of choice (I used almonds)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, (gluten free if desired)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the bananas (cut them in half), yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, and eggs in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed and creamy (about 30 seconds on high in my Vitamix).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flax meal, chia seeds, chopped nuts, coconut, salt, and baking powder and mix well. Add the wet ingredients from the blender and stir to combine. Add the mini chocolate chips and mix well.

Spoon the oatmeal mixture into muffin tins lined with muffin cups (fill them just below the top of the muffin cup). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops are starting to brown a little and they are cooked all the way through.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Creamy Cutie Smoothies (Two Versions!)

Good Morning, Sunshine!

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OK, so it wasn’t really sunny this morning. It was pretty much overcast and gloomy.  But…this smoothie tasted just like sunshine! That is if sunshine tasted like a creamsicle :).

I seem to keep buying cuties (those yummy, sweet, small tangerines) every time I go to the market. I just love the way a bowl of cuties brightens up my kitchen. I also love to snack on them and so does my family. Unfortunately, we don’t always get through them all before they start to go bad. So…what do you do when you have too many cuties? Make a cutie smoothie, of course!

IMG_1328These smoothies were sooooo good! They reminded me of the Orange Julius you would get in the mall, only way better (and healthier). I made 2 versions of this smoothie, and decided to post both so you could pick the one you think you would like best. The one pictured is my fave and it’s the vegan (no dairy) version that was made with my home made almond milk. It was still creamy and delicious and both my 9 year old and I loved it.  The one I made for my 6 year old did have dairy. Which ever one you try…I hope your family loves it as much as we did!

IMG_1330Cutie Smoothie (Vegan Version)

Ingredients for one smoothie:

  • 3 small seedless tangerines, peeled
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy. YUM!

Cutie Smoothie (Dairy Version)

Ingredients for one smoothie:

  • 3 small seedless tangerines, peeled
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy.

You can make this a creamier, richer smoothie (more like a milkshake!) by using whole milk and full fat greek yogurt. Adjust the honey to suit your taste. The plain greek yogurt is pretty tart so it’s really there to just to sweeten that up. If you use vanilla yogurt that is already sweetened you could leave the honey out all together.

Check out my Cutie Smoothie photo on Tastespotting!


Coconut Blueberry Baked French Toast

French Toast Perfection…

French toast collage

I made this delicious Baked French Toast over the weekend for breakfast. I knew after I had my first bite that I had to post the recipe on Juicy Bites. I was too hungry to stop and take pictures, so I finished my serving, then a second serving, then I cut a piece for the sole purpose of taking some pictures. Then…I ate THAT piece too! Needless to say I was extremely remorseful about my HUGE carb (and fat & sugar) intake, but I kinda think it may have been worth it!

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I have never actually made one of these baked french toast casserole type dishes. I looked for a recipe that sounded good, then totally changed it to suit what I was in the mood for. Most recipes I found called for 2 to 3 cups of cream, half and half, or milk. I wanted to incorporate some canned coconut milk into the recipe to replace some of the dairy fat with a more heart healthy fat. I also love the flavor that you get from coconut milk. I also added some frozen blueberries and unsweetened coconut. It was a home run combination!

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This was a super simple dish to make and I did it the night before. I was thinking it would be great to post this close to Easter for a brunch idea, but I just couldn’t wait. And…there’s the fact that I probably wouldn’t remember that I had a delicious french toast recipe to post by the time we get close to Easter. So…you will all just have to remember that this would make a GREAT addition to your Easter brunch.

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On a side note…Santa brought me a REAL camera for Christmas. These are my first official blog pictures with my new Canon Rebel. I really don’t have much of a clue when it comes to food photography, but I will keep practicing until my pictures look so fabulous that I will have a gazillion followers :).

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If any of my food blogging followers have  photography tips for me…bring ’em on! I need all the help I can get.

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Coconut Blueberry Baked French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread or Challah loaf (about 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extact
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup frozen (not thawed) or fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)

Method:

Cut the bread into large cubes.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and arrange the bread cubes evenly in the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and beat with an electric mixer or whisk until blended but not too bubbly.

Scatter the blueberries evenly throughout the bread cubes. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and blueberries, making sure all of the bread is covered.

Work the butter and brown sugar together with a fork to get a crumbly mixture. Add coconut and mix to combine, then sprinkle over the top of the french toast. Cover with foil and refrigerate over night.

The next morning, let the french toast sit out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and add the optional chopped almonds to the top of the french toast. Put the foil cover back on and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 10 minutes or until the french toast is puffed and lightly golden. Once you remove the foil, keep a close eye on the coconut so it doesn’t burn. You want it to turn a nice golden toasty brown. Serve with maple syrup.

 


Savory Breakfast Casserole

Perfect for a Holiday breakfast…

breakfast casserole close up

I actually made this casserole for dinner the other night and served it with a salad. It was simple and delicious and I am going to make it again for our Christmas breakfast. You can do most of the prep work the night before and quickly assemble it before baking the next morning.

breakfast casserole plateI got the recipe from my friend Loretta and made a couple of changes to suit my family’s tastes. It starts with a layer of frozen hash brown potatoes. Look for a brand that doesn’t have any added junk. I got mine at Trader Joe’s. I made it with broccoli, mushrooms and Canadian bacon, but there is no end to the different combinations of goodies that you could use in this. I think it would be great with spinach or cooked sausage also.

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There is a cup of cottage cheese mixed in with the egg and I think it gives it a really nice texture without adding too much fat. A layer of shredded gruyere cheese on top adds great flavor!

Savory  Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of mushrooms, either sliced or quartered
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1  1/2 cup of cottage cheese
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 package of frozen hash brown potatoes, not thawed (my package was 28 ounces)
  • 3 cups of raw broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 8 ounces of diced ham or Canadian bacon. Sub cooked sausage or bacon if you prefer!
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan or romano cheese
  • creme fraiche to garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 350

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have released all of their juices. Turn heat up if necessary to make sure all of the excess liquid has cooked off, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and cottage cheese. Add the green onions, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer the frozen hash browns evenly in the bottom of the dish. Next layer the cooked onion and mushroom mixture, then the broccoli and the diced ham. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the shredded gruyere and romano cheeses over the top.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until the eggs have set in the middle and the top is golden brown. Depending on your oven, you may need an extra 10 minutes or so. You can also give it a minute or two under the broiler to give the top a nice golden color. 

Serve garnished with creme fraiche if desired.

 

 

 

 


Quinoa for breakfast…?

YES!!! Especially if it is a Quinoa, Apple, and Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl!

After I got my kids off to school this morning I started rummaging through the fridge and pantry looking for something for breakfast. I wanted something healthy and hearty to get me through my work out and beyond. I do smoothies for breakfast most days but the mornings have been getting chilly (even though it is supposed to be 80 degrees today) and I was in the mood for something warm. That’s when I remembered that a fellow blogger (Shira from in pursuit of more) just posted a recipe for a quinoa breakfast bowl and I had all of the ingredients to make it. Although you need a little time (20 minutes) for the quinoa and apple to cook, it was quick, simple, and easy to make.

I love quinoa, but had never thought of eating it for breakfast. Let me tell you people…this was sooooo delicious!! You can find the full recipe along with more delicious details and beautiful photos here:  Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl.

Shira, I promise I’m not “blog Stalking” you, but I just couldn’t keep this one to myself! It is so simple, healthy, and satisfying. The chopped apple cooks with the quinoa and gets soft & sweet. The coconut butter and almond butter add a yummy richness and maple syrup is the perfect sweet touch. Next to my Chia Seed Breakfast, this one is on the top of my list of healthy breakfasts.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly. You mix some uncooked quinoa with 1 peeled and chopped apple (I used a lovely organic fuji) and some water and cook until the quinoa & apple is tender (20 minutes). Then you mix in a spoonful of almond butter, a little coconut butter (not necessary, but delicious!) and a little maple syrup. I also added a dash of cinnamon to the apple/quinoa/water mix in the pot before cooking. I topped mine with toasted walnuts and some unsweetened coconut. This was such a satisfying breakfast, I felt like I could have run a marathon after eating it! Ok…maybe not quite a marathon, but at least my usual 3 miles.

Since I am food obsessed, I am constantly reading food blogs and cooking magazines, and watching food network. I see so many things that look good and that I want to try, but then quickly forget about them when I go about my busy day. I am so glad I didn’t let this one get away! It may seem like a small, simple, and basic meal…but it made me oh so happy.

 

 


Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

The taste of fall…

I LOVE all things pumpkin! I try to cram as much pumpkin into the months of October, November and December as I can. I have pumpkins all over the house, pumpkin scented candles, and I try to cook with it as much as possible too. Come January…I am so pumpkined out that I never want to eat or see another one (until next fall)!

Just as the weather started to cool down enough for me to want to bake something, I got an email from Putney Farm (a great food blog that I follow) for their post on Pumpkin Muffins. Putney Farm’s blog is not only loaded with delicious recipes, but also has amazing cocktails that will have you dreaming about happy hour. I made the yummy pumpkin muffins last week and they were really good! I did not have the pastry flour that the recipe calls for and used a mix of whole wheat and regular flour, so I’m sure mine were  not as light and cake-like as theirs were…but they were still DE-LISH!

Now for the pancakes! I had some pumpkin puree left over from making the muffins and decided to try my hand at pancakes. I am not really a home-made-pancake-making kind of mom. I will make them from a mix now and then, but our pancakes are usually eaten out at a restaurant on the weekend. Since I had the pumpkin and some buttermilk in the fridge, I figured this would be a good way to use them up and score points with my pumpkin loving kids!

I found a recipe that looked good on a blog called Pinch My Salt. I liked that there was some whole wheat flour in the recipe and not too much oil. They came out great and my kids loved them. Thanks for a great recipe, Nicole! I only changed a couple of things…I used a pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s has a good one) instead of using the cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg. I also had to use all purpose flour instead of cake flour because that’s what I had.

There is something about the combination of pumpkin and cinnamon that makes my heart swoon. Then you get to top that with butter and maple syrup…forget about it! I highly recommend that you work these pancakes into your fall weekend breakfast rotation. You won’t be sorry!

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from “Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes” – (Pinch of Salt)

Makes 10-12 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients (whole wheat flour through pumpkin pie spice). In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients (buttermilk through brown sugar).
2. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Lumps are ok, just make sure all the flour on the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. If batter seems too thick to pour, you can gently stir in a little more buttermilk. (Mine needed a bit more buttermilk to thin out the batter).
3. Drop pancakes by ladleful onto a medium-hot griddle. Pancakes are ready to turn when the edges start to look a little dry and you can see small bubbles forming on the surface.


Extra Yummy Banana Muffins

These healthy muffins have a little surprise inside…

This week both my boys were in camps that started early so I wanted a quick and healthy breakfast for them so we could get out the door on time. Muffins fit the bill perfectly so I whipped up a batch of these Banana “Surprise” Muffins with the over ripe bananas that I needed to use. I found a recipe for Banana-Buttermilk and Oat Muffins and tweaked it a little to add some extra health benefits as well as the “surprise” in the center. I added oats, flax, and whole wheat flour to amp up the nutritional benefits. I also subbed coconut oil for the vegetable oil in the recipe.

Surprise! The middle of these muffins have a delicious dollop of my favorite Chocolate Almond Butter. I love all the nut butters from Justin’s, but the chocolate ones are my favorite. They are full of real chocolate flavor without a lot of sugar.

http://bebalanced52.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/justins.jpgThis stuff is good on just about anything, but in the middle of a banana muffin…it’s just dreamy!

All I did was fill the muffin cups 1/2 full with batter, then add a spoonful of the chocolate almond butter to the center before filling them up the rest of the way.

I’m really not much of a baker, but these tasty muffins are very easy to make!

So when breakfast time rolled around, I would pop one of these babies in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes which makes them a little warm and extra delicious. One of these with my Tropical Green Smoothie and you have a delicious, quick, and easy breakfast.

My boys really loved these and are asking when I will be making the next batch.

Banana Oat Muffins with a Chocolate Almond Butter Center

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or *coconut oil
  • 1 c mashed ripe bananas (I used 2 bananas)
  • Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter (or nut butter of your choice)

*Note: If you use coconut oil, you may need to heat it up under warm water or in the microwave depending on the temperature. Coconut oil is solid at room temp, but mine was liquid due to some warm weather we were having. You also need to have your buttermilk and egg at room temp so that the coconut oil doesn’t solidify when you mix the wet ingredients together.
Method:

Preheat oven to 400 F and line your 12 cup muffin pan.

In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, whisk or beat the wet ingredients together. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stop as soon as you see the last bit of flour disappear. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 1/4 full with batter. Next add a teaspoon full (or more!) of chocolate nut butter, then add the remaining batter on top. Bake for 18 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Cool in tin for 5 minutes and then leave them to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!


My Chia Seed Breakfast

I recently discovered chia seeds and have been experimenting with them. This breakfast is my latest obsession! Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia Hispanica that originated in Mexico and South America. These tiny seeds are full of beneficial fats and are becoming a popular “super food” in America. Health gurus like Dr. Mehemet Oz and Dr. Andrew Weil have been touting the many benefits of chia seeds and their popularity is growing daily. A serving of these little wonder seeds is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. They are also very filling and sustaining which makes them great for breakfast. After trying them in smoothies and sprinkled on my oatmeal, I decided that this is the way I like them best. It’s like a breakfast pudding topped with lot’s of yummy toasted nuts, coconut, and berries. I feel like I’m having dessert for breakfast! You probably won’t find chia seeds at your local chain grocery store, but they do sell them at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and other health food stores. You can also find them on Amazon. I bought them at San Clemente’s local health food store, Hanson’s Market.

The chia seeds expand in what ever liquid you put them in and thicken to a creamy pudding-like texture with a little crunch from the seeds.

I mixed mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk that I blended with a couple of dates to sweeten it up. Dates blended with almond milk is delicious and creamy on own! Add a half of bannana and some ice cubes and you would have a delicious shake! You could easily sweeten this with a little honey or agave, but I am really trying to cut back on my refined sugar so the dates are a perfect way to add sweetness without adding sugar. You can also use coconut milk, soy milk or even regular milk if you prefer. You will need to cover and refrigerate your mixture to get it to thicken. I do this step when I first get up and am having my coffee then after I have gotten a few things done in the morning It’s ready to eat. You can also do it the night before, it will just be a little thicker.

After about 15 minutes in the fridge…

I always have a variety of raw nuts on hand. For this I used almonds and walnuts that I chopped up and toasted in my toaster oven. I just put them on some foil and use the “toast” setting for about 2 minutes. I also toasted some shredded coconut the same way.

This is seriously so yummy…I can hardly wait for it to be ready in the morning!

Chia Seed Pudding

Makes one serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk (plain or vanilla)
  • 2 dates, pits removed
  • toasted almonds and walnuts (or whatever you prefer)
  • toasted coconut (optional)
  • berries of your choice

Blend the almond milk and dates in a blender until smooth. Put the chia seeds and almond/date milk in a bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 10-20 minutes or overnight. Remove from the fridge and stir again. The mixture should have thickened. The longer you leave it, the thicker it gets. Top with berries, nuts, and coconut and enjoy!