by amvandenhurk | Breakfast, Plant-Based Eating, Vegan, Vegetarian
Years ago, a friend made me granola. It was amazing and she shared the recipe. I made it a lot then life got busy and it had quite a few ingredients. I just couldn’t keep up with keeping the ingredients in the kitchen and making it. I abandoned it.
Fast forward a decade or so, I am sitting a Girl Scout Women of Distinction breakfast in Providence, Rhode Island. The breakfast starter was granola, plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, and honey. It was divine! It got me thinking about granola again. What a nice change for breakfast would it be outside of my usual of Wasa crispbread and cheese or homemade bread and cheese. I went to the grocery store looking for granola. While there was a huge selection, none of them seem to work for me. I don’t know if it was all the ingredients with some I could not pronounce or the sugar or fat content, but I walked away empty handed. Off to the Internet, I went to seek out an easy simple granola recipe. I found it on The Live Fit Girls blog.
Granola Made Simple
The recipe was super easy and quick. Only six ingredients needed to make this recipe and you can make it in about 30 minutes. The key to this recipe is the quality of ingredients. I used organic and local products. They are worth seeking out especially the honey. That said if you can not find organic and local then buy what you can. I couldn’t find raw local honey, but I did buy some organic at the grocery store. As for my rolled oats, I went with Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats Whole Grain. Bob’s Red Mill products are always good quality. And they haven’t paid me to say so.
The preparation could not have been easier. Chop almonds and mix with oats then toast in the oven. While the oats mixture is toasting, you mix the wet ingredients. Once the oats are done then drizzle the honey mixture over the oats then pop by in the oven. The important step is in the toasting. You toast first at 350F then complete the toasting with the oven off. It makes the granola less likely to burn.
I made this recipe at night after a crazy day. Only took me 30 minutes. I let the granola cool overnight and it was ready for breakfast the next day. Recently I have been making this once a week and when I make my bread. Trying to use my time efficiently. Plus the house smells amazing… the sweet smell of toasted oats, almonds, and honey then the next day the house smells of freshly baked bread. Good to live in my house.
This recipe is really a winner at my house especially with my son who is not a breakfast eater and he loves this granola. It is fresh, flavorful, and you can pronounce all of the ingredients. We have it with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, and local honey. It will keep you going the whole day. It even tastes yummy with just milk if you run out of yogurt. As for yogurt, use a good Greek yogurt. I’d recommend Fage or Chobai and I buy the fat-free versions.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients in a glass baking dish and toast them in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the oats are toasting, combine the wet ingredients.
- After the oats are toasted (they should be very aromatic), drizzle the honey mixture over the oats. Stir until well combined.
- On a baking sheet lined with wax paper form a single layer of the oat mixture.
- Place the baking sheet back in the oven and turn the over OFF. This will allow the granola to finish toasting without burning. Let it sit in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
by amvandenhurk | Life, Lifestyle, Uncategorized
Going Vegetarian. Again.
Going vegetarian. Do not worry this isn’t going to be a preachy post about the benefits of going vegetarian. After about twenty years, I am returning to being a vegetarian. The last couple of years have been tough health-wise. On a daily basis, I take nine pills. Yes, nine pills. I’m not proud to type that, but it is true. For years, I have put myself last in terms of my health. Being an entrepreneur, wife, and mom has given me an excuse not to look out for myself. And that’s what it is an excuse. It is easier to focus on everyone else, but me.
Doctor gave two options
My doctor and I had a coming to Jesus moment when she told me I needed to focus on me. Period. That’s what I have been doing these past months. I have been taking responsibility for my own health. I battle two chronic diseases that aren’t curable, but manageable. If I take care of myself. During the move into our new/old house, I damaged my back by being stupid and causing three bulging discs. I have high blood pressure. And what the turning point for me is when my doctor told me I have high cholesterol in June. She gave two options: taking another pill or going vegetarian. I do not want to take anymore medicines. In fact, I want to get off medicines. I choose going vegetarian.
Being vegetarian forces you to think harder about food
Going back to being a vegetarian has caused to me expand my cooking horizons. I have always cooked a diverse array of meals and many were vegetarian, but being vegetarian full time forces you to think harder about your meals. Meat I’m finding was an easy way out for meals. Meat, veg, and starch. Yup. There’s dinner. Cooking vegetarian or fish dishes has forced me to be more creative with food. I have become more aware of textures and flavors. The sensation of eating. That’s a good thing.
Surrounded by meat lovers
My guys aren’t vegetarians and love their meat. Like really love their meat. This has been an adjustment for them at dinnertime. They have been supportive and adventurous. Why it is working is that I don’t restrict what they eat during the day, just at dinnertime. It is just easier that way I’m finding. I think think they are coming around to meatless dinners.
So how do I feel?
Great! In the process of going vegetarian and it is a process, I have focused more on fresh ingredients, fish, and organic products when we can afford it than ever before. It has pretty much rid our diets of processed foods when we eat at home for three meals a day. My intake of refined sugars has been reduced by 90% as well as bread products.
Going vegetarian has made a huge impact on my health. I am feeling so much better. Having Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have very little inflammation in my joints since not eating meat and processed foods. I am sleeping better and moving better. My mood is lighter and happier. Changing my diet with adding exercise has really made an difference.
Only after two months, I can feel it. I am actually looking forward to seeing the numbers in September for my follow-up visit with my doctor.
Tell me how lifestyle modifications have changed your life in the comments.
by amvandenhurk | Meatless Mondays, Pasta, Plant-Based Eating, Vegetarian
My hands smell like fresh tomatoes and basil just picked from the garden… and chopped garlic. Glorious smells. Smells, which say something wonderful is being prepared.
In the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta you can have this wonderful sauce. This is a no-cook sauce. It is so fresh. And it is so simple.
Pull out the food processor. A cutting board and a knife.
Quarter 1.5 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes. I would only use garden ripened tomatoes or ones gotten from a local farmer’s market. The key is to have the tomatoes bursting with flavor.
Put the quartered tomatoes in the food process, add one clove of chopped garlic, some olive, salt, and pepper. Give it a whirl to puree the mixture.
Drain the pasta, spoon the sauce over the pasta, then add the chopped fresh basil mixing gently. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese on the top.
You’ve got dinner. In a flash. And healthy.
by amvandenhurk | Life, Lifestyle
We all have them. A food or drink, which is our kryptonite. Coca-Cola is mine.
I’ve used Coca-Cola as a crutch. I had a Coke when I was stressed. I had one to spark creativity. Some days I had two or three. Sometimes more than that.
Drinking Coca-Cola, it was a ritual. It was my afternoon “cocktail,” a cold glass of Coca-Cola with a lime while sitting on the front porch. When having breakfast out, I would drink a Coca-Cola. (Can’t get a decent cup of tea anywhere; always tastes like coffee.) It was just part of my life.
I’m in the process of transforming my lifestyle to be more healthy and finally lose the baby weight for the baby who is now six years old. Sugary drinks had to be eliminated from my diet. They have been known not only to cause weight gain, but also inflammation. Two things I don’t need.
I am working towards breaking my addiction to Coca-Cola. I’ve have not had one in over ten days. It has been hard. Thanks to a coping method my trainer shared I’ve been able to not to drink a Coke. The method is when I get a desire for a Coke then I drink 32oz of water in a sitting. And if I still feel like one after that then I can have one. So far I haven’t; because, I’ve an idea of what will happen if I did… most likely I would barf and that’s something I’d like to avoid.
Since eliminating Coca-Cola from my diet with some other diet changes and exercise, I’ve lost close to five pounds since July 29. And it is said it take about three weeks to break a habit and gain a new one so I’m about half way there.
Onwards to the return of healthy habits. And by the way… I am sipping 32oz of water right now…
by amvandenhurk | Life
I came across this article on Twitter this morning. And it caused me pause. The images are from the book ‘Hungry Planet: What the World Eats’ by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluision. The family portraits feature pictures of families from around the world with a week’s worth of food purchases.
I was shocked to see the amount of processed foods where shown. Especially in the American families featured. In fact often, processed foods accounted for between 75-85% of all the food eaten in a week.
What are we doing? And how do we change our food habits?