Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pecan Pie Granola Cereal



Have you seen the price tag on clean granola cereal? It's not cheap and you can't control how it's sweetened. 

However, the good news is, you can make your own at home for a fraction of the cost! This recipe is so simple a child can make it! My daughter helped me make our first batch but she will be making it on her own next time.



Pecan Pie Granola Cereal

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbps Coconut Sugar
  • 3/4-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup raw pecans (no oils added), chopped
  • 1/3 cup honey (local is best choice) or use Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, melted


Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees 

1) Add the top 5 ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
2) Add honey, vanilla and coconut oil to a small bowl and mix well.
3) Add the wet to the dry and mix (we used our hands) until evenly coated.
4) Spread evenly on a baking pan. Bake for about 20-30 min, stirring every 10 min. 

NOTE: It will harden as it cools. Eat it dry or pour some UNSWEETENED coconut milk or almond milk on it. It's delicious!

Enjoy. 


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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 {a year in review} : Take a Risk.



Happy New Year!

Every year I make time to sit down and write a year in review.  A lot can change in 12 months!  I'll bet when I read this in January 2016 a lot more has changed in my life. I suggest you do the same and reflect back each year.

I have always heard this saying (below) and I bet you have too!



But, did I ever truly take the risks I felt I should be taking? Four years ago I went all into EATING CLEAN and the rewards were GREAT, so GREAT! I am still living, breathing and experiencing those rewards. But, there was one thing I always wanted to do that I never did (never ever did): move to warmer weather and leave Indiana. I let fear, the unknown and the "what ifs" keep me on the "shore" (or should I say, in the "cornfields"). Not to mention all the "work" to relocate. 

 I have ALWAYS hated the Indiana winters. The seasonal depression. The limitations Indiana winters bring. The mood and funk it puts me in. The complaining and crankiness it brings out in people around you. The shoveling snow. The painfully cold temps. The lack of sunshine.

Well, after a record snowfall for the season 2013-2014 (Dec-Jan-Feb) of 51.6" of SNOW, we had enough. I think a part of me died that winter. Seriously. 

We, as a family, decided (in July) it was time to risk it all. Select a place to live we hoped to be happier living in with more sunshine! Closer to a beach, closer to mountains and let's get to the important things...close to a Costco and Super Target! With that decision came loads and loads of research. After we landed on an area (near Charlotte), my husband began the (what seemed impossible) job search. 

I did have hope, it was dim at times, but I had it. I had faith in God that he would lead me to where we should be if it was his will. Without my faith in God, I wouldn't be where I am today. We experienced so many emotions to get where I am today: Lake Wylie, SC. , but it was worth it.  It's currently 30 degrees warmer than Indiana. Enough said. 


I have had that breakthrough at almost 40 years of age. It's NEVER too late to take a risk to be happier.

I challenge you to look at your life and evaluate your happiness level. You deserve to be happy. Risk something. Risk people judging you for your new wacky food choices....risk your family being upset with you that you will no longer be nearby....risk going into a new challenge without knowing how it will change you....risk letting go of the comfortable ....risk moving away from your rock, your best friend....simply risk something!, because without doing so you may not experience some of the greatest rewards life has to offer.


Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
~Paulo Coelho

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
~John F. Kennedy

If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.
~Richard M. Nixon

A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for.
~ Albert Einstein



If you ever wondered it weather impacts your mood, it does. I am so much happier here. My kids are happier. They love their new school. They have met new friends. I have met new friends. I hear birds chirping in January! We have been enjoying the sunshine (and even the rain compared to snow). I will blog more down the road on the differences I have experienced moving from IN to SC. 

As I reflect back on my 2014 I am grateful for my health. My husband and my kid's health too. I am grateful I am alive and well. I am grateful our families stayed positive during this HUGE decision to relocate. This is a big change for them as well and even though they would prefer us closer, they want us happy! We all take different paths in life and they don't always lead us to the same physical destination.

I am STILL grateful for making the change in 2010 to completely overhaul my life and my family's life. I have told you many times I think I was living in a processed food "fog" for years. Eating Clean gives me clarity and perhaps more courage. 




Taking a risk in your life may just be what you need, read Why Taking Risks Comes Great Rewards 

Don't let a world of processed food weigh you down from being the best you that you can be. Eat clean. You deserve to feel awesome.

Have a splendid 2015. I'm going to try to!

I look forward to sharing all my new adventures with you all! xo Angie






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Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Grandma

One of our guest Pastors for the summer gave a sermon on treating everyone as if they are God's masterpieces. Everyone. Don't push people to the sidelines just because you aren't like them. Get to know them. Hear their story and how they got to "today". Don't judge them on what you see in the here and now.  We all have a story. Some stories are more like fairy tales and some aren't so easy to hear.

(that's me on the left)

I spent a great deal of time getting to know my 83 year old grandma this weekend on a personal level...talking...looking at pictures...and more talking as we stayed two nights with her in her tiny 2 bedroom home out in the country.  She literally only had a good 18" x 24" space to prep food. Even with that lack of space she made me delicious vegetable soup. She doesn't use a cutting board, she cuts it all by hand without even touching the countertops. Impressive. And she gives her rinds and scraps to the raccoons that visit her property at night.

She would tell me stories of how her and the kids had very little money for food and some times they even ate just plain macaroni pasta because they couldn't afford anything else.  I am beyond grateful I can provide my children with real whole food and a rather endless supply of it! For many years they didn't have plumbing in the house, which I'm guessing that anyone reading this has plumbing. Be grateful.

I won't say it was easy to live in a VERY little kitchen for around 48 hours. BUT I learned a lot.  I must get a lot of my frugal traits from my gram (and dad). I don't like to waste!  I am grateful always for money to go into ANY grocery store and purchase food for my family. Lots of food.

I can't stress enough how important it is to grasp the fact that many of you reading this have more than most. Way more. You have access to read this message. You probably have electricity to cook a good meal. You probably have a working stove and fridge. If you do, be grateful and don't let these luxuries go to waste. Cook meals for your family or yourself. Eating real food is a blessing. Stop spending money on restaurants that don't have your best interest at heart.  Don't let food go to waste. Be frugal!

Don't settle for crappy food if you don't have to! Drive a cheaper car if you have to. Buy cheaper clothes. Live in a smaller house. Do whatever you have to do because one day you could wake up with a load of regrets as your health starts to decline rapidly. I am so grateful for my health I have today. I pray that I have great health for many years to come, but it's not guaranteed.  I just want to look back and know I tried my best.

Do your best. Learn often. Eat clean. 

xo
Angie






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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I've got some good news and some great news for ya. The good news... I have a dip for you that is so delicious. The GREAT news... it's dairy free! And I don't even miss the dairy. True Story.

Give this a try. Even if you "hate" cashews.


Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
  • approx. 5 oz Organic Spinach (rough chopped, more so if you don't plan to throw it in the blender)
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped, I use my Vitamix)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbps Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbps lemon juice (approx one lemon)
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (approx 12-15oz), chopped.
  • 1-1 1/2 cup of cashew cream*
Directions:

1) Saute the spinach, onions, garlic and EVOO in a pan until spinach has wilted nicely.
2) Add in the sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Stir.
3) Add in the cashew cream and stir until combined.
4) Eat cold or bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I love it warm straight from the oven. 

NOTE:  I use my Vitamix to make this. After I have made the cashew cream I add in all the stuff from the oven pan (which I don't bother chopping my spinach much or the artichoke hearts because the Vitamix will do that) I coarsely chop on #4 until it's the consistency I like. Then I pour directly into oven dish. So simple!

*Cashew Cream:

Soak 3/4-1 cup of cashew in enough filtered water to cover them for AT LEAST 2 hours or overnight (especially if you don't have high speed blender they will need to soak longer).

Drain and rinse and add to blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water. Blend on high until it's smooth and creamy. You can add more if you need to to get it to the creamy consistency. 

ENJOY!



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Carrot Cake Muffins

My daughter and I created these together. We think they turned out great. If you are gluten free you could try making these will oat flour. Or a mix of your two favorite gluten free flours.

They turned out very moist which is great when working with wheat flour. This is a GREAT way to get some veggies in your morning or on the go! Plus, coconut oil is said to help reduce appetite. Win Win!


Carrot Cake Muffins


Ingredients:

Makes 12-18 muffins
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (I like to grind mine in the Vitamix)
  • 1 Tbps cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 Tbps pure vanilla extract (read the ingredients not the front label)
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 6 dates (if you don't have these, then add more coconut sugar by 1/4-1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup pure pineapple juice (or you could just grind pineapple into a liquid in your Vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup Organic Coconut Oil, unrefined. (My favorite is Barlean's but I often use Costco Organic due to budget and the amount we go through)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots (I chopped mine in the Vitamix instead)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

1) Mix the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside. 
2) Add pineapple juice, pecans, vanilla and dates to high speed blender (I'm obsessed with my Vitamix) and blend until smooth. You can leave it chunkier if you wish but my kids don't care for nuts in their muffins so I hide them.
3) Whisk the eggs together and gradually add in the coconut oil (You will need to melt the coconut oil, but don't get it too warm and cook the eggs)
4) Add items from steps 2 and 3 to the bowl in step 1. Mix until incorporated.
5) Fold in the carrots.
6) Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)

NOTES: When using whole wheat flour you need to move quickly, so don't make it and walk away. Or forget you are even baking muffins in the first place.  It will lead to firm muffins. You need to scoop it right after it is mixed.  

My baking isn't rocket science. If it isn't easy, them I'm not doing it! With that being said, if you don't have coconut sugar you could use raw cane sugar instead. You could even try honey instead of coconut sugar (which is a great choice).  It's all about finding what you want to sweeten the muffins with that is considered clean. 

Also, keep in mind my family is off refined sugar. This muffins are plenty sweet to us but that may not be the case for someone just starting to {eat clean}. You can always add more dates to help sweeten and get more fiber in the process. Everyone needs a little more fiber in their life. 

ENJOY!




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Monday, July 7, 2014

Canola Oil {why to avoid it}

A fellow Clean Freak brought up the point of Canola Oil containing GMOs. I thought I would make sure you all know this fact and other reasons why you should avoid it. Choosing the right oil is very important when eating clean and working towards optimal health.



Let's start off with this...Canola Oil = BAD FAT

Olive oil comes from olives, Coconut oil comes from coconuts, and canola oil...comes from...well, it's derived from the rapeseed plant and then genetically modified.

In 1956, when it was still called rapeseed oil the FDA banned the produced because it was too toxic for human consumption. Years later in the 1970s they lowered the toxic erucic acid and introduced it as Canola Oil.  Canola oil is coined from "Canadian oil, low acid". That's right, it's a Canadian invention!

Read more here: 
Stop Using Canola Oil

and here's another link:
Don't Let Organic Cooking Oils Fool You 

Just make sure you read up and know the facts!  


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{gluten free & dairy free} Clean Brownies



I have only made this recipe in mini bite size Silicone molds.  It was a huge hit and they are perfect for fitting into the kid's Planetbox lunch system.

This recipe is sweetened only with dates and coconut sugar.

{gluten free & dairy free} Clean Brownies

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Organic (cold pressed) Coconut Oil (I love Barlean's), melted
  • 1/2 cup Water + 12 pitted dates (blended in Vitamix until creamy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Organic Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Millet Flour
Optional: I added 5 mini Enjoy Life dairy free chocolates on top of each before baking. 

Directions:

1) Mix coconut oil, "date water", 2 eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
2) In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt, and millet flour.
3) Add the dry to the wet and mix well.
4) Add batter to whatever baking dish you will be using (spray with oil). I'm guessing 9 x 9 pan if you are going a full pan brownie route. I will have to update that later if I try it. 
5) Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean. Approx 13-18 minutes.
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