Vanilla Almond Granola

Although I have a long list of foods that I’d consider to be my favorite, there are only a few that I can say have been life-long obsessions of mine. On the short list is granola. I LOVE GRANOLA. There is something about it that makes me happy. It reminds me of vacation, and relaxation, and it makes me feel totally satisfied. Granola makes my heart and my tummy sing!

Somewhere along the way I discovered that not all granola is created equally. Many packaged varieties are high in sugar and contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce. If you don’t choose your granola wisely, this deceptively healthy breakfast option could start your day off on the wrong foot. Once I began reading the ingredients on granola packages, I made sure to buy ones that only contained real ingredients. Through this granola realization, it never occurred to me that I should make my own at home. Finally, a few months ago I began experimenting with different granola recipes. The minute I saw how easy it was to make homemade granola, I felt completely idiotic that I had waited so long to make my own.

After playing around with different ingredients and proportions, I perfected and fell in love with this Vanilla Almond Granola. I used vanilla and almond extract to flavor the gluten-free oats, and maple syrup and coconut oil to sweeten and crisp them. The final product was a slightly sweet, crunchy and wholesome granola that can be enjoyed on top of yogurt, with milk, or alone, by the handfuls. Granola is so customizable, so if you don’t have almonds or prefer a different nut, change it up. Also, if you don’t have fresh fruit, add in dried fruit. You just can’t go wrong!

It’s tough to say that I’ll never buy granola at the grocery store again, but for now I’m absolutely loving this Homemade Vanilla Almond Granola. Plus, I’m addicted to the way my house smells when the granola is baking in the oven! I can’t wait to continue playing around with different ingredients and recipes to add other new varieties to my granola repertoire.

Add oats, almonds, flax meal, salt and cinnamon to a bowl

IMG_0353

Melt coconut oil. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract. Pour over dry ingredients and toss to coat evenly.

IMG_0355

Spread granola mixture on a large baking sheet in a thin layer.

IMG_0356

Baked until granola is golden brown, toasted and crunchy

IMG_0357

Store granola for 2-3 weeks in a sealed container at room temperature.

IMG_0360 IMG_0364

Serve granola over yogurt with fresh or dried fruit

IMG_0389

And before you know it, it’s going…going…gone!

IMG_0391

Vanilla Almond Granola

What You Need

  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional additions: 3/4 - 1 cup raisins, or other dried fruit of choice

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine oats, ground flax meal, almonds, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Melt coconut oil. Once the oil is melted, combine oil, syrup, vanilla and almond extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over the oat mixture. Stir until everything is coated and well combined.
  5. Spread out mixture on a large baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until toasted and is slightly crunch. The granola will continue to get crunchier as it cools.
  7. Once granola is cooled, add in dried fruit if you are using it.
  8. Enjoy by itself, over yogurt, or with milk
http://glorioffood.com/2015/05/28/vanilla-almond-granola/

Greek Chicken Soulvaki

This past Memorial Day weekend was an awesome weekend and a great start to the summer. My parents came in town to help me celebrate my birthday, which was last Thursday. The long weekend began  with a birthday lunch with my husband at one of my favorite restaurants, and then an early dinner with the family. The weather was perfect all weekend, allowing us to visit the zoo, Grant’s Farm, and the Farmer’s Market.

IMG_0343

Sunday night we had the extended family over for a Greek-themed meal. This was the second time we’ve gone Greek for a dinner party in the last few weeks. If you’ve never hosted a Greek-themed dinner, I highly recommend it for your next party. There are so many tasty appetizers and dishes to choose from, making the possibilities endless. For our meal we started with tzatziki, roasted red pepper hummus, and feta dip. The feta dip and tzatziki were store-bought, but shhhh, nobody has to know! The dips were served with fresh veggies, crackers and pita bread, and an assortment of Greek olives.

IMG_0344

For the meal we enjoyed Greek Chicken Souvlaki, mushroom kabobs, Greek salad, roasted broccoli, and rice pilaf. The recipe I found for Greek Chicken Souvlaki is off the charts! With fresh dill, fresh oregano, lemon juice, garlic, balsamic vinigar, smoked paprika and olive oil, this chicken is guaranteed to be one of the most flavorful dishes, ever. We threaded bite-sized pieces of chicken onto kabob sticks, and then my husband grilled the chicken perfectly. The marinade, plus the flavor from the grill made this chicken truly incredible!

It was so fun preparing this meal with my mom, and I know her next dinner party is going to be a re-do of this menu. After such a fun visit with my family, it’s always so sad when the weekend ends. I hope you had a great long weekend!

IMG_0341 IMG_0342 IMG_0345 IMG_0346IMG_0349 IMG_0350IMG_0352

Greek Chicken Soulvaki

Recipe from: HalfBakedHarvest.com with some slight changes to the preparations

What You Need

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, diced into chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable additions of your choice: 2 small zucchini, cut into slices and/or mushrooms, and/or red peppers, sliced

What To Do

  1. In a medium size bowl or glass measuring cup combine the lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, dill, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Thread chicken chunks onto skewers and place kabobs into a baking dish. Pour 2/3 marinade over chicken, turning chicken until all pieces are generously coated. Place chicken in refrigerator and marinate for 3 hours, if time permits.
  3. Thread vegetables on skewers or if cooking them in a grill basket, place them in a plastic bag. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables. Place in refrigerator for 3 hours, if time permits.
  4. When it's time to grill chicken, preheat the grill.
  5. Grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, gently flipping 2-3 times until chicken is cooked through and has light char marks.
  6. While the chicken is grilling, grill the veggies, either on the skewers or in a grill basket, about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  7. Remove chicken and vegetables from the grill and serve with other Greek sides.
http://glorioffood.com/2015/05/26/greek-chicken-soulvaki/

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

Hope you had a nice weekend! We had a great weekend seeing friends and getting some small projects done around the house. Friday night we went to a friend’s house for a BBQ. Saturday morning I had my heart set on going to the farmer’s market, but it rained for the second Saturday in a row. Instead, my friend had me over for a delicious pancake breakfast. Is there anything better than having someone else cook you breakfast?! It was such a treat. Saturday night my husband and I went out with friends and saw the movie Pitch Perfect 2. The movie was entertaining, but the highlight might have been the giant reclining heated leather seats at the movie theater.

Also on the weekend agenda was my husband’s bi-weekly trip to Costco, (which I’ve talked about before), and boy oh boy, did he hit the jackpot. If you get as excited about organic berries as I do, then let’s just say that Christmas came early! Costco had quite the bounty of the sweetest, most succulent organic blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. When he brought all these goodies home, I enjoyed eating them right out of the container. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to add these berries to fruity baked goods. First on the list was a Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread. Truth be told, I’d made this recipe before and it is amazing! I can never tire of this blueberry banana combo and I want a loaf of this on hand at all times. The bread is moist and soft and it’s all vegan. That means no butter, no eggs, no nuthin! I think that is just the icing on top. As long as the blueberries continue to be as amazing as they are now, I’ll be making this all summer long.

IMG_0223IMG_0224IMG_0225IMG_0226 IMG_0230 IMG_0277

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

Recipe source: www.fairing-well.com with a couple changes

What You Need

  • 1 cup mashed overripe banana
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (can also use brown rice flour or oat flour)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen if fresh aren't available)

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients, salt, and cinnamon. Sprinkle in the dry ingredients and mix well. Using a spatula, fold in the shredded coconut and blueberries.
  3. Transfer to a parchment lines 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes (or until the top is golden brown, and when you stick a toothpick in the center it comes out clean).
  4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to fully cool before slicing and serving.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best if eaten within 4 days.
http://glorioffood.com/2015/05/18/vegan-blueberry-banana-bread/

Favorite Snacks for On-the-Go

Some people like to eat meals and some people like to snack. It may come as no surprise that I prefer a good meal to snacking. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t get hungry between meals and enjoy eating snacks. Also, when you have a toddler that is hungry every 47 minutes, it’s imperative to have healthy bites on hand. In a perfect world, every snack that my family consumes would be a whole food or something homemade, but that is not always the case! When we can’t reach for a fresh apple or carrot sticks with hummus, here are a few of my favorite go-to snack foods for on-the-go snacking:

IMG_0052

Trader Joe’s Apple + Fruit Bars: I list this first because nothing brings a smile to my son’s face like these dried fruit bars. All we have to do is waive one of these in front of his face and he looks like he just won a million dollars. It’s adorable, and I love knowing that the only ingredients are apple, plus whatever other fruit the apple is paired with. These are so easy to throw in my bag for both of us to enjoy as an on-the-go breakfast or non-messy snack.

unnamed

Nourish Snacks: When I read about these individually packaged snacks on another blog, I was immediately intrigued by what they had to offer. There are 20+ delicious snacking options, all gluten-free, non-GMO, and mostly vegan. Nourish Snacks range from chocolate banana granola bites to nut and edamame mixes. Plus, the fact that they are already perfectly portioned out means I can easily take this anywhere and have a yummy snack easily accessible. Although I haven’t tried all 20 flavors, my favorites so far are the Cinn-Sational (cinnamon spiced apples and almonds) and Mr. Popular (half-popped corn kernels), while my husband loves the Holy Habanero spiced corn. I sent a variety pack to my mom as a little treat and she loved the Coconut Chewphoria almond bar. Nourish offers something for everyone! And speaking of offers, Nourish Snacks is offering Glori of Food readers 10% off your order through the end of May using coupon code GLORI10. Go get ’em!

IMG_0057 IMG_0054

Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas: If you’re craving a crunch and don’t want to dive into a bag of chips, these are sure to satisfy your need. Salty, seasoned and super addicting, these baked chickpeas are amazing by the handful or on top of a salad. This high protein snack is also organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. Woohoo! I love the Falafel and the Chipotle flavors.

IMG_0058

Snack mixes: I can thank one of my good friends for inspiring me to make snack mixes. Who doesn’t want a little variety in their life, right?! I love these mixes for on-the-go snacking and so does my son. Our snack mixes usually consist of some type of cereal, dried fruit and nut. The snack mixes are especially great for feeding several hungry mouths because it’s easy to make a big bag of this at once.

IMG_0059

Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Banana Slices: I love bananas for on-the-go snacking…until it gets smushed in my bag. Yuck! Enter these freeze dried bananas that are crunchy, sweet, and smash-free. These are easy to pop in your mouth for a little sweet fix. Another kid approved snack!

IMG_0061

Barbara’s Bakery Snackimals: I had to throw these in as a bonus item. While these animal cookies are geared toward children, they are very much a crowd pleaser for all ages. And they aren’t exactly a “healthy” snack either, but they are a better option when satisfying a sweet tooth in a hurry! I’ve only tried the Oatmeal flavor, but they are available in several other varieties as well. I think it goes without saying that whole family enjoys these for a treat every now and then. (OXO snack cup)

I would love to know, what are some of your favorite snacks for on-the-go?!

IMG_0060

Crispy Thai Cashew Chicken Salad

I can’t believe it’s Cinco de Mayo and what I’m about to share with you is NOT a Mexican dish. As someone who is always chomping at the bit to try a new enchilada, quesadilla or taco recipe, I feel like I missed a justifiable opportunity to post yet another south-of-the-border-inspired dish. The truth is, I’m still basking in the glory of this Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowl from a few weeks ago so I’m kind of okay with this missed opportunity; if you haven’t tried it yet, get on it! I just made the chicken again a few nights ago to use in tacos…so good!

I hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but once you’ve sworn off salsa, chips and margaritas for the time being, I suggest you refocus your sights on this amazing Crispy Thai Cashew Chicken Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing. Packed with red pepper, carrots, edamame, cabbage, chicken and cashews, the salad is bursting with so many awesome ingredients. Plus, the salad dressing is so good, you’ll have to stop yourself from drinking it! I love that the salad dressing recipe calls for cashew butter. By the way, if you haven’t tried cashew butter yet, this salad is a great excuse for you to buy a jar of something you’re totally missing out on! This Crispy Thai Cashew Chicken Salad single handedly saved me from a lunch-time rut. I’m always searching for new lunch ideas, and this one really helped liven up the mid-day meal. But you don’t have to limit this salad to lunch, because it is definitely worthy of dinner too.

IMG_9956

The salad dressing ingredient line-up (forgot to include the honey!)

IMG_9957

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy

IMG_9958

By the way, how cool is this bowl?! My friend recently gave it to me as a gift – it’s from her uncle’s art studio in Chicago!

IMG_9960

I can’t wait for you to try this dressing!

IMG_9963IMG_9961

Crispy Thai Cashew Chicken Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing

Yield: 2-4 salads

Recipe source: http://thehousewifeintrainingfiles.com

What You Need

  • 4 - 6 cups chopped romaine leaves
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup shredded green or red cabbage
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup edamame, if frozen then thaw
  • ½ pound chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • ½ cup salted and roasted cashews, chopped
  • 2 green onion stalks, sliced thin
  • Handful cilantro, diced (optional - I did not include cilantro)
  • Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ tablespoon cashew or peanut butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

What To Do

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the lettuce, carrots, cabbage, red bell pepper, edamame, and chicken.
  2. Top with the cashews, green onions and cilantro, if using.
  3. For the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy.
  4. Divide salads among bowls and drizzle with dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.

Notes

I suggest doubling the salad dressing recipe because I don't think a single recipe makes quite enough. I wanted to include the original proportions of a single recipe in case you wanted to go lighter on the dressing.

http://glorioffood.com/2015/05/05/crispy-thai-cashew-chicken-salad/

© Copyright 2015 Glori Of Food