Tag Archives: Granola

A Saturday Baking Project

This was supposed to publish last night (Saturday) WHOOPS! So here you go!!

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I am STILL, trying to put a dent in my baking supplies, and I honestly can’t believe the amount of food that I have been able to make without buying anything, but butter. I don’t really have tons and tons of sticks of butter laying around, so that was the only thing on the shopping list lately.

This morning, I ended up taking on the project of making some Granola Bars. Surprise, surprise, I made them chocolate chip and dried cranberry granola bars. I don’t know what it is with this combo, but I LOVE it. I’ve always been a bit nervous about making these, simply because I thought there was a lot to it…or that it was complicated. But after making them, they couldnt’ have been easier. I would absolutely say they are easier than making rice crispy treats (I have some trouble with making those).

Chocolate, Cranberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Honey 1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. In a medium sized sauce pan, on low heat, melt the butter, sugars and honey together. Do not boil the mixture.

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2. Stir in the oats, cranberries, almonds, and walnuts. Then take the pan off the heat, and stir in the chocolate chips.

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3. Line a smaller baking dish with parchment paper and press the granola mix into the pan. I used a 9 by 11 pan and ended up scrunching it to the end because it would have resulted in really thin bars that wouldn’t stay together well.

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4. Lastly, bake the bars for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the top to be golden brown.

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Let it COMPLETELY cool before taking it out of the pan and cutting it. While it is hot the bars will not stick together. You can pull the whole parchment paper out and lay it on the counter to slice easily. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars.

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I am actually going to bring these bars with me to Naples. Brent and I are celebrating Christmas with his family and I thought it would be fun to bring some treats. I was trying to come up with a good way to bring them without the bars falling apart or sticking to each other and decided to wrap them individually in parchment paper. This way you can actually just throw them in a bag while you are on the run and don’t have to worry about a mess! GENIUS!

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I know this isn’t really an original idea, but afterwards, I kind of felt really smart. Haha, no puzzle is to difficult for THIS one to solve! Just don’t give me a rubix cube and completely kill my smarty pants ego.

Have you ever come up with a solution that just made you feel really, really smart??

Taco Salad and a Half Marathon!

This morning, I didn’t end up getting to the gym because sleep sounded like a much better idea. When I got up, I sat down at the computer and before I knew it, it was 8:30 and I was starving. I REALLY didn’t feel like spending anytime, even five minutes, putting something together, so yogurt, granola and blueberries it was.

It was actually pretty darn satisfying. I headed out on the road to Melbourne, visited some accounts, ventured over to Longwood and met a few new faces then headed home for the day. By that time it was already 3. I was about to gnaw on the steering wheel if I didn’t get anything in my stomach ASAP. Seriously.

When I got back, I pulled together a Taco Salad (while munching on some dried apricots). The girl….was hungry. I ended up using some crumbles for the ground beef instead because I am sticking to a vegetarian diet. But definitely feel free to put the meat back in the Taco! I honestly don’t think its that different though…

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Crumbles or Ground Beef 1 Crushed Hard Taco Shell
1/2 Tomato, chopped 1/3 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Romaine LettuceTaco Seasoning to Taste 2 Tablespoons Catalina Dressing

Yummo. Needless to say…I devoured that. It was really really good.

This afternoon I was looking around online at road races in the area because Brent and I are currently signed up for the Autumn Rock N Run 5K next weekend. As I was perusing, I came across a half marathon in December. A half marathon has always been in the back of my mind as one of my life goals. This one just seemed to be starting me in the face. It was exactly 3 months away, leaving the perfect amount of time to train and was close to home.

So I called Brent up, to ask “what are your thoughts on running a half marathon.” I was expecting to be laughed off the phone. Instead, I got an enthusiastic “Yea! Let’s do it!” I’m in. SAY WHAT?! “Look, whoever you are, put Brent back on the phone.”

There was no persuading, no hey this could be fun, no nothing. Just yea! I’m in! Now, the terror sits in. We are doing a half marathon. It’s happening. In 3 months.

I googled a couple of training programs, just so I have an idea of what I should be doing. I found Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Program for Novices. I am going to try to follow this as closely as possible and hopefully get in great shape for running my half marathon. This is the PDF version that is up on the site:

Half Marathon Training

So there you have it, my next fitness goal laid out.

I know there is still room in the 5K this weekend so there is still time to sign up! If you’ve never given one a try, now is the time! It should be a great morning for a run!

Now I guess it’s time for me to actually hit the gym today seeing that I have 13.1 miles ahead of me!

Any tips for training for a halmarathon?

Peach Mango Smoothie and Sun Dried Tomato Egg Sandwich

This morning was a slow one. After being out late with a few friends for labor day, I woke up and grabbed for the coffee. As soon as I sat down at the computer to start going over some work emails, the phone calls and emails just never seemed to stop. Before I knew it, it was 9:30 and I hadn’t had breakfast or gotten ready to walk out the door. So breakfast was a quick and easy smoothie that Maggie had whipped up. Yummo.

Ingredients:

1 Mango 1 Peach
8 Medium Ice Cubes 1 1/2 Cups Fat Free Greek Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar

Directions:

1. Puree the mango and peach. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend. Top with granola.

BOOM! Delicious Mango, Peach Smoothie! Perfect way to start off the work day…well mid morning snack I guess.

When lunch finally rolled around, I was craving eggs. I was so surprised at how well it came out. I felt like it could have gone either way, but man did it satisfy! I wanted a second one after this was polished off!

On this sandwich there is:

1 Over Easy Egg 2 Table Spoons Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
1/4 Cup Sprouts 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives
1 Honey Wheat English Muffin

Surprisingly, overwhelmingly good. I topped my meal off with 2 Whatever You Got Oatmeal Cookies from last night and went back to work.

Tonight I wen to the gym for a quick workout on the treadmill. I am not so much into long distances on the treadmill because I find them really boring and if I attempt to, chances are I’ll just quit half way through. So, tonight I did a 25 Minute Interval Workout.

 

Now for some tea, and TV!

Crunchy Granola and Taylor Swift

Today I woke up and met Brent for a quick Starbucks run with the puppies before he had to run off to work. The day really started off absolutely amazing. It was so relaxing to just sit out and people watch for a while sipping on an Iced Americana. Brent went off to work and I headed home thinking I was going to grab a book and head out to the park in Winter Park and just read a book and get some puppy training in for Oreo. Well, just as I walked in the door my sister shot me this picture,

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YES!!!! Taylor Swift and my sisters! Standing in a picture….together! Not exactly what I was expecting when the morning started…My sisters had gone to church this morning and spotted her with her new beau, one of the Kennedy’s, and asked her for a picture. Absolutely jealous.

After I got over the excitement (I literally felt like I somehow was there and got all nervous and excited) I grabbed my book and headed out to the park to read for a while. I found a bench around the fountain and parked myself there thinking a few people might walk by that could help Oreo get over her fear of people.

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Oreo was doing fairly good. Children were running past and she’d bark every once in a while. Then, a little three year old boy came by with his father and grandfather and sat on a bench across the fountain from us. As soon as he noticed the Oreo he came running over just to be greeted by Oreo lunging from under the bench right at the boy barking like mad. The poor thing turned right around and ran right back to his father. Munched another french fry and decided to give it another try. This time he walked over tentatively and sat on the bench next to me. He would chat with me, finish his fry, and run back to get another one, then plop back onto the bench next to me.

Oreo got used to the little boy and ended up wanting to play with him. THEN, she noticed his french fry. He obviously didn’t want to give it up so Oreo decided to go on a barking rampage at the poor thing. Naughty. A florida afternoon storm rolled in and we went back to the house.

With the rain beaming down, I decided to make something! Obviously. I have been wanting to make my own granola for a while now and just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. I had been told by a man at the local farmer’s market that once you make your own granola, you will never go back to the store bought stuff. FACT. I will never buy store bought granola ever again. This was just so much better. So this is how I ended up making my granola:

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Ingredients:

5 Cups Old Fashioned Oats 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts 1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans

1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds 1/3 Cup Flaxseed Meal

3/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon 3/4 Teaspoon Salt

3/4 Cup Agave Nectar 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, all the nuts, flaxseed, seeds, salt and cinnamon.

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2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and Agave Nectar until it is a thick consistency.

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3. Now pour the liquid mixture to the dry mix.

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4. Take 2 cookie sheets that have edges to them, and spread out the oat mix among the two. You want to have a thin layer coating the pan.

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5. Cook the granola in the oven for 20 minutes. Take the pan out and flip the granola. You want to move the oats that are on the outside of the pan to the inside and visa versa. Then put the pan back in the oven for another ten minutes.

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The granola should look a golden brown throughout. Once the granola cools you will get the crunchy texture that you would expect. The batch that I just made came out amazing! I don’t think I will ever buy granola again. It takes not time to make and you can play with the flavors as much as you want.

Add your dried fruit to it once it has completely cooled. Options:

Fruit: Raisins, cranberries, cherries, currants, figs, pineapple, figs, apricots…and the list goes on.

I know the list of ingredients looks a bit longer than normal, but if you don’t have something there is no need to go out an buy it. Substitute it for something else. I made a short little list of some substitutes for ingredients to play with:

Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios

Seeds: Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas

Flaxseed: Wheat Germ

Sweetener: Agave Nectar, Honey, Molasses

Mix the recipe up to be whatever you like. Granola is great for that. I am just bottling up the granola as is and not adding any fruits because I am planning on adding in the dried fruit when I prepare the actual meal. That way I can mix up the fruit as I go as well!

Give this one a try if you like granola. It makes enough that you won’t have to make it very often and it keeps really well. It will also end up costing you less that buying the store bought granola. I’m sold.

You want to store this in something air tight. I am using a glass jar because I store everything in glass jars. I find that they have a cleaner look and make the foods on the inside look more appetizing. They are also extremely air tight so foods stay fresher longer.

For a print friendly copy, click here…Printable Recipe

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Enjoy your granola! And let me know what combos you come up with!

Happy Eating!

Crunchy Cinnamon Fruit Oatmeal

Morning! I have found that a hearty fiber filled breakfast is the key to maintaining weight. It keeps you from grazing throughout the morning or picking out a poor snack form the office vending machine. One of my morning “go to’s” is Crunchy Cinnamon Fruit Oatmeal. This easy to make breakfast is filling and holds off hunger pangs all morning! (Win!) There are endless fruit combinations that help keep this oldie but a goody interesting. Today’s concoction included blueberries and sliced bananas.

Crunchy Cinnamon Fruit Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of Old Fashioned Oats

2/3 cup of Water

Fruit (today:1 sliced banana and 1/3 cup of blueberries)

Agave Nectar to taste

Cinnamon to taste

1/8 cup Granola

1.) Put Old Fashioned Oats in a medium sized bowl with 1/2 of the sliced banana and half of the blueberries. ( I like to put half of the fruit in the beginning so it cooks in the microwave and gets extra sweet.)

2.) Dust generously with cinnamon.

3.) Drizzle the agave nectar on top.

4.) Add the water and stir. Cook in the microwave for approximately 1:30 to 2 minutes. The cook time may differ depending on your microwave. Watch the microwave to avoid overflow and exploding fruit. (I have learned this the hard way).

5.) After carefully removing the bowl from the microwave, top the oatmeal with the remaining fruit and granola.

6.) Enjoy!

I am all about texture when it comes to food. You can also add some skim milk to adjust the texture of the oatmeal. Personally, if oatmeal is too thick and paste like I have trouble getting it down. I love adding granola to my oatmeal for some textural contrast. That is also the reason behind only putting half of the fruit in prior to cooking. Its the difference between fresh delicious oatmeal and mushy wall paper paste.

For around 250 calories you get about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. That is some staying power right there! Its delicious and keeps you full and energized throughout the morning. What more could you ask for from your breakfast?!

Hope you have a great day!