Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crunchies Recipe (i.e. homemade Clean granola)

I haven't made my "regular" recipes for a few months now...since I did my juice fast.  My clean-eating granola, cookies, brownies, muffins, etc...  I've stayed pretty much raw as far as food prepared in-home.  But this week for some reason I find myself needing something snacky and reaching for sugar again.  Seriously...what IS it with me and sugar?!?  Once an addict...always an addict. 

So tonight I decided it was time to get back to my recipes and make something that will satisfy my snack-need but still be healthy.  I tend to use my blog as my own personal recipe book (which I guess it is!) but when I looked up my Crunchies (i.e. granola) recipe, it wasn't here!  This is the #1 recipe I've recommended to people over the past year + and I'm embarrassed to see it's missing from my blog.  Time to correct that!

I had originally posted it in the Recipes section and then was rotating the recipes out every 2 weeks.  If you take a look in there you can see that hasn't happened in awhile.  So I'm going to update the Recipe section a little and just put the links to the recipes that are posted throughout the blog, and then make sure the recipes I've already posted are all here again and accessible. 

Amy's Crunchies

I originally posted this recipe on 9/10/11 and this is what I wrote:

This granola recipe has become the #1 breakfast and snack food in my house.  We eat it in a bowl with milk, sprinkled over Greek Yogurt or in baggies as a snack.  The kids love it in their lunches at school.  I love it when I need something sweet in the middle of the day. 

I did, however, find this recipe on Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean Diet website, posted by one of her followers.  Boy am I grateful she did post it!  The original name for it was "Chocolate/PB Eat-Clean Granola" (who wouldn't love that!).  We changed the name to "Crunchies" because my kids won't eat things with certain names.  Granola is one of their forbidden words ...they won't touch it if it's granola. (I know - they're weird.  They also won't eat a sandwich if you call it a sandwich.  Call it peanut butter bread and they're all over it.)  So one day I called these Crunchies and they downed the entire tray!

·   2 cups of Oats
·   4 Tablespoons crushed raw walnuts (or other nut of choice)
·   a few Tablespoons flax seeds
·   1 tsp chia seeds
·   2 Tablespoons all natural nut butter (any kind you like)
·   1 tsp pure vanilla
·   3 Tablespoons raw honey
·   3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
·   1/2 c chopped dark chocolate (70% or higher)
1.      Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
2.      Mix the oats, walnuts, flax seed and chia seeds in a mixing bowl.
3.      In a separate bowl add the nut butter, coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Heat in microwave in 20 second intervals until melted. Stir until nice and creamy.
4.      Slowly add the wet mixture to the oats and fold gently until all oats are covered and a bit moist. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips).
5.      Place a sheet of parchment paper or tin foil on a cookie sheet. Spread the oatmeal mixture on the parchment paper nice and flat. Bake for 12 minutes and then flip and move the oat mixture around, then cook for another 12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 30 minutes.
Makes approx 3 1/2 cups of granola.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

*My side notes: my family prefers when I make this with peanut butter and I usually add a little more than the recipe calls for.  My sister's family prefers it with almond butter.  Almond butter will make the granola come out darker.  Both taste great!  I double the recipe but pack it all onto one baking sheet so that it hardens into larger clumps, which make great snacks that are easy to hold. 

Serving suggestion: mix finished granola with other nuts, seeds, dried fruits and pretzels (if you're not going 100% clean) and make a trail mix.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Some Interesting Things

I've come across a few interesting things lately so I thought I'd share them with you.  I'm a big fan of Raw for Thirty Days (how to be healed from diabetes in 30 days...amazing!!).  Alex Ortner and his brother and sister (Nick and Jessica) have done some amazing research on the human body and I've found it fascinating how God has designed us with such incredible thought and detail. 

They sent out some info this week by Jon Gabriel called "The 9 Primitive Fat Triggers In Your Life".  If you had the opportunity to view Hungry For Change that came out earlier this year, Jon Gabriel was featured in that film.  (If not, you can watch the first 20 min at the link I included.  Please's worth it!!)  There is a 3-minute test at this link to find out your top fat triggers (why your body wants to hold on to fat).  Take it here:  There's a short video with it where John shares a little of his story about being 400+'ve got to see him now!  What a story!  (My #1 fat trigger is Toxicity, #2 is Lifestyle Stresses...feel free to share yours in the comments.)

Something else I discovered this week that I found interesting is the following:

One of the most common things I'm told is "I could never eat like you because it's just too expensive!"  I'd like to challenge you to keep track of how much money you're spending on food for one month.  I'm not talking JUST grocery store...track every trip to McDonald's, Chick Fil A, icecream etc... ANY food you eat, keep track of it in a notebook.  When I first started on my journey to health, I did this and found I was spending approx $300/mo in the grocery but over $400/mo on fast food.  It was crazy ridiculous!!!  At that point I was eating fast food 2-3x a day.  Even if I am spending the same amount on groceries now as before (I don't know, I haven't tracked it), I know for sure I'm saving at least $400 a month because eating as I now do (Clean and plant-based) keeps me away from fast food!  Give it a try and then PLEASE don't tell me anymore how expensive eating healthy it!'s a fun little nutritional quiz I heard today and want to pass on to you.  What food do we eat like a vegetable, call a vegetable but actually is NOT a vegetable?  It's a grain!  Click this link: Chocolate Covered Katie for the answer.  I was surprised...are you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Amazing Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

I've tried dozens of pancake recipes over the past year, trying to come up with just the perfect one for my family.  I've found some decent ones but ususally there's something wrong... a strange smell... they're too heavy...or they just plain taste wierd.

I'd been using this recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie for awhile but the kids hated it and it had a strange smell.  I'm honestly not sure why but I think it might have been the whole wheat flour that I was using.  A few weeks ago I took this recipe and changed it a teeny tiny bit but what a HUGE difference it made.  I made them again this morning and the kids were RAVING... "Mom, you're the BEST COOK!" "These are the best pancakes EVER." etc...  I had to agree...they really were fabulous!  It only took a year to come up with something that would get as good of reviews as Aunt Jemima.  I feel like I can finally sit back and say "Job Done!"

Here it edited version of Katie's blueberry pancakes.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1 1/3 cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup + 2 T oat flour (just put the oats in a blender/grinder and blend into powder)
  • 2 overflowing tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • rind of one lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • several handfuls of blueberries

I tossed all the ingredients except the blueberries into my blender and blended until it was a smooth mixture, but you can also mix by hand.  Gently add blueberries.  Coat the frying pan/griddle with coconut oil and cook.  Because of the lemon and the spelt flour, these come out light and fluffy.  If you don't like lemon, replace lemon with 2 tsp cinnamon.


**Note: Spelt Flour is not gluten-free

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Have I Fallen Off the Face of Earth? (+ new recipe)

I think the honest and real answer to my title is "yes".  Or maybe it's YES!!!  Some unexpected and difficult things have happened in my life the past few months to derail not just my blogging but pretty much everything I find enjoyable in life.  Nevertheless, while I may have disappeared as a blogger for awhile, I've continued to stay strong with my healthy eating lifestyle.  In fact, I've actually progressed to a whole new level!

I do want to (and will) eventually blog the details as so many people are asking me about it.  In short, I've learned about juicing, enjoyed a 21 day Juice Fast and as a result lost 10 lbs (gained back 4 for a grand total of -6!) and haven't eaten meat in nearly 2 months.  I'm loving my plant-based life!  (i.e. Vegetarian)

I have a few new resources to share that I've gained the past two months. 

For those interested in juicing, I'd recommend picking up anything by Jason Vale, otherwise known as The Juice Master.  Also I encourage everyone to watch Fat Sick and Nearly Dead (available on Netflix) or click the link to head directly to the website.  This will be the best hour and 1/2 investment you could put into your health!  And you'll fully understand why I chose to do a juice fast.  Finally I'd recommend Forks Over Knives (also on Netflix) for a deeper understanding of why I've chosen a plant-based diet.

All three of these resources have had a life-changing impact on me the past few months that have helped me more fully understand the WHY behind my choice to eat healthy and strive to obtain optimal health.

I've also changed gyms and hired a trainer.  I did my full-body test and came out as still being clinically obese, or as my trainer calls me "skinny fat".  And my age equivalency came out to be the same as a 59 year old woman (not to offend any of my beautiful 59 year old friends...but I am only in my 30's!).  So while I thought I was doing great, it turns out I have a looong way to go to obtain optimal health.  That whole pride coming before a fall has really hit me hard this month.  On the plus side, I am on the right track!

So, on to the recipe.  I was in California last week and fell in love with all the healthy vegetarian options everywhere I went (i.e. Legoland, Sea World, the beach!).  I discovered a fast food restaurant that served vegetarian and vegan food options!  Man I wish I could clone it here in Arizona.  It was called CBW (Crazy Bowls and Wraps) and it was listed as a "green" food fast chain.  Click the link to check them out and see if there's one by you. We went through the drive-thru each day and I love love loved one particular item on their menu.  Here's my version!

Indonesian Peanut Stir-Fry

1 grain (choose either quinoa, brown rice or white rice)
chop and lightly stir-fry your choice of veggies in coconut oil (8 or more for a nice variety)
Indonesian peanut-sauce (see below)

*optional - add black beans or tofu for an additional protein punch.  CBW grilled the tofu, cut it into chunks and added it.  Fabulous!!

Sauce: Whisk the following ingredients in a bowl until creamy (takes a few minutes)

1/4 cup peanut butter
3 T low-sodium soy sauce  (tamari or coconut amino's will work too)
2 T red wine vinegar (or 1 T cooking wine and 1 T your choice of vinegar)
2 T water (or a little more if the sauce tastes too strong for you)
2 tsp sesame oil
optional: 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions: Put 1/2 cup of your grain in a bowl and top with a generous helping of your stir-fried veggies, beans and/or tofu.  Put a dollop of the peanut-sauce on top and enjoy!

Some veggie suggestions: kale, broccoli, carrots, onion, bell-pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, egg plant, garlic...  Whatever is in your fridge!  This is a great recipe for cleaning out the veggie drawer and not letting anything go to waste.  This would taste great with pineapple chunks mixed in too.