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
Melt coconut oil. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract. Pour over dry ingredients and toss to coat evenly.
Spread granola mixture on a large baking sheet in a thin layer.
Baked until granola is golden brown, toasted and crunchy
Store granola for 2-3 weeks in a sealed container at room temperature.
Serve granola over yogurt with fresh or dried fruit
And before you know it, it’s going…going…gone!
This past Memorial Day weekend was an awesome weekend and a great start to the summer. My parents came to 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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?!
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.
The salad dressing ingredient line-up (forgot to include the honey!)
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy
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!
I can’t wait for you to try this dressing!