Sunday, February 23, 2014

Homemade Granola

One of the simplest ways to eat healthy, maintain your weight, or lose weight is eating a good breakfast.  Unfortunately, we've been trained to eat boxed cereals and/or Pop Tarts (Oh how I miss these!) as we rush out the door.  Not only do these not provide you with sustainable energy, but they are so sugary and mostly fake ingredients.  For the past 6 weeks, I've just eliminated cereals all together and been enjoying whole wheat banana pancakes or 2 eggs with whole wheat toast.  I have missed my bowl-and-spoon breakfasts, so I thought I'd try this 100 Days of Real Food granola.  I found all the ingredients I needed at Sprouts, but I'm sure you can find them at Whole Foods.  I haven't searched for these at my local Kroger, but it's possible you'd find them there as well.  I love that this recipe is versatile, so if you can't find something substitute it for another nut or seed or simply leave it out.  Let me know if you have any questions or if I can encourage you along your clean eating lifestyle :)  I hope you enjoy!  

  • 3½ cups rolled oats (if you want bars use steel cut oats so it will stick together better)
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces (or walnuts or pecans)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Also need – parchment paper
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, seeds and spices together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the butter melts stir in the vanilla and salt.
  4. Pour the hot liquids over the dry ingredients and stir together with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
  5. Spread mixture onto prepared pan in one even layer. Bake for 75 minutes.
  6. The granola will become crisp as it cools at which point you can break into pieces (if making bars) or break it up into small chunks by pounding it in a zip lock bag (if making cereal). Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sausage and Spinach Baked Ziti

If you're like me, you don't always have time to plan your week's menu and shopping list.  Although I really enjoy doing it, it's not practical every week.  So, I recently joined the most awesome website, which not only sends you weekly dinner recipes (and breakfasts and lunches if you choose) but also populates the shopping list.  There's also an app for it!  I would highly recommend Emeals to any busy person or family to have delicious meals every night of the week.  This isn't a sponsored advertisement, I'm just really a fan. I'm a huge proponent of eating at home every night if you can :)  Here's an emeal recipe from the "Clean Eating" menu.  Delicious as always! I hope you enjoy:

  • 8 oz whole wheat ziti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb lean pork sausage, casings removed
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped (organic if possible)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (organic if possible)
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 5 oz package fresh baby spinach (organic)
  • 4 oz shredded Italian cheese blend**
**Pre-shredded cheese has been known to have more non-real additives than block cheese, so I choose to buy block cheese and shred it at home

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare ziti according to package directions; transfer to large bowl.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add sausage and garlic.  Cook 6 minutes or until browned.  Drain and return to skillet.  Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce; cook 7 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add tomato mixture to pasta; stir in ricotta, basil and spinach.  Pour mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle top with shredded cheese.  Bake 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

From emeals Clean Eating plan