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DIY: How To {Dry Cranberries}

Its fall!  I love it for a few reasons, one the weathers cooling down, two my favorite seasonal fruits and veggies are lining the shelves and three CRANBERRIES are making their appearance! 

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Plus I love the fact that they are from Jersey so I know they are a local buy!  That makes me double happy.

Cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants and also a high fiber source.  Its a win-win with these beauties! 

I love cranberry everything. Cranberry Kombucha, Cranberry Scones, Cranberry Bread, Cranberry Sauce  so I figured this year I would try and dry my own cranberries.  I also make an awesome Cranberry & Orange Shortbread cookie (Shhh!)  🙂

Here’s what I did:

Cranberries were on sale at the farmers market the other day 3 bags for $5.  That’s about as cheap as I am going to get them around these parts. 

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I brought a pot of water to a rapid boil. 

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Dumped in the bag of cranberries.

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Waited a minute or two.  Its funny because you can hear the skins popping!  Its similar to corn popping ~ but better because it’s cranberries.

Scooped them out of the water after a minute or two, dried them on a sheet lined with paper towels.

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Popped them in the dehydrater.  Now we wait! Easy Peazy Right?!

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From what I’ve read it could take up to a day to dry completely, and it you do not follow the water step it will take even longer.  So don’t skip the boil step.

I can’t wait to to see if they come out as amazing as I am hoping they do!  I hope they do they will make a great addition to my overnight oats, trail mixes, and cereal toppers.  Really the list is endless!  Apple slices are next on my list….now to find a mandoline?

What other kinds of fruits or veggies do you like to dry and keep for a rainy day?

Do you use a mandoline?  Any types you suggest? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Spring Rolls w/Ponzu Dipping Sauce

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I mentioned a few weeks ago that I went to a new farmers market that seemed like I had died and gone to heaven.  It was not a fancy place or even a photographic place, but the market was jam-packed from wall – wall with exotic fruits, hard to find items, and things I’ve only seen in magazines.  It had the ingredients that normally I would have to order online if I wanted to try out a new recipe.

The Newark Farmers Market had everything.  One of the things I picked up were these rice paper wrappers.  They had as many sizes and shapes to pick from as letters in the alphabet!  I decided on choosing the large square size because of my skill level in wrapping, and I figured the bigger the better.

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These little spring rolls are a show stopper for sure.  They present well on the plate, they are super easy to put together and rolling was nothing to be intimated by……It is almost guaranteed I will be serving these gems at my next shin-dig.  Let me show you how I did it:

Vegan Spring Rolls w/Ponzu Dipping Sauce

  • 6 –  8″ squares (22cm) of rice paper (Bahn Trang is the brand I used)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 large romaine leaves, torn in pieces the size of your palm
  • handful of rice noodles, cooked

Cook the rice noodles or cellophane noodles according to package directions.  Mine were a little larger than what is normally used, but it is what I had on hand and worked perfectly fine.  I think they cooked about 5-7 minutes but I’m not completely sure because I wasn’t timing. 

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I also used a nifty peeler that juliennes the veggies for you with a quick shaving motion down the side of each vegetable.  If you don’t have one of these tools, I highly recommend investing in one, especially for this project.

It was a snap to do both the carrot and the cucumber.  I only did the four sides of the cucumber and discarded the middle with the seeds.  I also didn’t peel the cucumber so the beautiful green skin was intact.

Slice the avocado in 8 sections.

Using a 9×12 baking dish filled with approximately and 1″ of tepid water, start but dipping one side of the rice paper into the water and flipping it over and repeating on the second side.  Let excess water drain for just a moment and place the rice paper wrapper on a plastic cutting board (they might stick to some wooden cutting boards).  Lay it down on the cutting board diagonally (one point facing you).

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Starting 2″ from the corner place the lettuce leaf, a few strips of carrot, a few strips of cucumber, a few strands of rice noodle, and the top with the avocado.

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Pick up the corner of the rice paper sheet that is closest to you and fold it over the filling and using your two index fingers tuck the corner under the veggies and tightly roll two rotations.  This should bring your roll up to the center of the two side corners. 

Carefully fold into the center the two side corners and continue to “tuck and roll” tightly to finish your spring roll.

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Set aside your spring roll under a damp linen tea towel or paper towel and repeat for the remaining rolls.

At this point, you can slice and enjoy or to store for a few hours, place the rolls on a plate with a little room between each one so they do not stick together and tear and cover with both a damp wet towel and cover with plastic wrap.  I’ve read that they can last in the refrigerator like this for up to 5 hours.  I used this technique and mine were still perfect after about 2.5 hours. 

Prepare the dipping sauce:

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp Ponzu Sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp scallion, minced

Mix all ingredients in a small container and set aside until ready to use.

This particular recipe is vegan , but you can customize your spring rolls with whatever veggies and protein sources you enjoy!

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Filling Suggestions:

  • Steamed shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Ground Meat (pork or chicken)
  • Carrots
  • Jicama
  • Cucumber
  • Baby Spinach
  • Lettuce, Romaine or Mixed Baby
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Rice Noodles
  • Avocado

The combinations are completely endless! 

What do you consider hard to find ingredients?  What do you like to make with them?

How I Juiced My 1st Wheatgrass {100th post}

I am thrilled that today is my 100th post! That’s an exciting little tid bit of news.  It been a little over 6 months now and this blog has become a huge part of my life.  It is like nurturing a small child and it just continues to grow and develop and is now an extension of who I am.  I think it pretty cool!

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Several weeks ago my friend and cohort in this healthy living stuff  introduced me to Wheatgrass Juice. I’ve heard of wheatgrass before, I have  even been to the farmers markets and stood in the back and watched them grind up the bright green blades into a neon silky liquid. But ~ I didn’t have the courage to actually want to taste it. But when my friend presented me with the opportunity to taste it at her house……I jumped all over it!  If I didn’t like it I could spit it out in her sink without a worrying about what others might think!  LOL!

It was good though! It was sweet, not to grassy, (and personally I think it smells a lot like fresh-cut pumpkin ~ but she swears I’m a whacko and says it smells like grass!) but the flavor was nothing that I couldn’t handle and definitely something that I wanted to continue.

Which brings us to this post.  She has a resource that we were lucky enough to get our hands on a whole tray of fresh wheatgrass.  So my project for last night was to slowly and steadily snip and juice the entire tray.

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Now this may not be the most beneficial way to enjoy wheatgrass, and I’m sure many of you might be like its blasphemy ~ but it is a start. I didn’t want to invest in a wheatgrass juicer if it is not something I will stick with, so this method works for me right now.  There are a ton of other methods to juice your wheatgrass; just YouTube it. 

This is how I juiced my first tray using  my Vitamix!

  • I filled my vitamix blender container almost 2/3 of the way to the top of snipped grass blades that were approximately 1″ in length. 
  •  I added 1 cup of water.
  • Slowly increasing the speed as the grass blades whirled around inside the blender making my way up to almost full power.
  • I think I let it blend for about a minute (until it got foamy). I then let it sit for a few seconds.
  • While waiting for the pulp to separate from the juice, I lined a fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth and then poured the mixture into the strainer.
  • At this point I let it sit again for another minute or two and continued snipping more blades and filling up the now empty blender container.
  • Going back to the strainer, I lifted the cheesecloth out of the strainer and twisted the top and started to squeeze the remaining juice from the pulp.

This is what the pulp looks like after squeezing out all the juice.  Crazy looking, huh?  It reminds me of insulation. 

Wheatgrass Pulp

I continued this process until I finished the whole tray. Because wheatgrass has such a short shelf life it was imperative that I juice as much as I could.

I didn’t have room in my fridge to store the entire tray (like many juice bars do to maintain freshness) so I just juiced the entire tray and will freeze it in serving size portions for use in smoothies or just as a refreshing wheatgrass shot!

I started with a full tray that looked like this:

Wheatgrass Tray

I ended up with a tray that looked like this:

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And several mason jars and bottles of fresh juice that looked like this:

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PLUS…….after watching several YouTube videos yesterday to get the technique down, I have decided that I will be trying to just grow my own tray. This will guarantee the freshest possible wheatgrass with minimal waste.  You know ……..just another project to try! 

I’m excited to introduce this alien looking green liquid to my diet because the health benefits are amazing. Check out some of the things I have come across on why wheatgrass can benefit your health.

10 Benefits of Wheatgrass (Source)

  1. Good source of chlorophyll (wheatgrass is 70% chlorophyll)
  2. Powerful detoxifyer
  3. Stimulates the thyroid
  4. Contains Alkalizing Properties
  5. Immune Booster
  6. Slows down aging and rejuvenate skin cells
  7. Contains 19 amino acids
  8. Contains 92 minerals
  9. Contains more vitamin c than oranges & more vit. A than carrots
  10. 1 oz of wheatgrass juice is equal to 2+ lbs of high quality vegetables

Do you enjoy a fresh glass of wheat juice?  If so how do you get your daily supplement?

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips

O ~ M ~ G!   Kale Chips are my new addiction.  And now that I have perfected the drying time and technique to incorporate flavor, I am starting to get border line obsessive compulsive over them.  I can’t stop eating them.

 

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips by: Its All About Me Fitness

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips
by: Its All About Me Fitness

The cost for these puppies in major health chains is astronomical.  If you invest a little in a good dehydrator, in a months time, you probably would be able to recoup the price of the appliance.  I had a friend just find a good deal on Craigslist for $10! 

Saturday I had a bunch of extra kale in the fridge and decided that before it went south I’d throw it in the dehydrator.  Feeling a little adventurous I opted to try a lemon flavor……and it turned out better than I had hoped. 

The Spicy Kale Chips that I made the other week are explosive in flavor from all the cayenne I added to them, so I wasn’t sure how the lemon would hold up against the strong flavor of cayenne.  But the lemon held it’s own with these kale chips.  They turned out just as bursting with flavor as the spicy variety.  And at the very end, and on a whim, decided to grind some fresh black pepper over each tray and it just turned out fabulous.

Lemon Pepper Kale Chips 

  • 1 bunch of organic kale (any variety)
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced, seeds removed
  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Wash and dry the kale leaves.  Remove the thick stems and tear or chop into bite size pieces
  2. Soak the raw cashews in two cups of filtered water for 1 hour.
  3. Zest each lemon and then slice them in half and juice.  Set aside.  (Tip: if you roll the lemon between the counter and your palm before slicing and it will make it easier to remove the juice from the lemon)
  4. Take the soaked cashews, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder and pulse in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. 
  5. Next, add the zest and pulse a few more times until incorporated.
  6. Massage the cashew butter into the torn kale pieces making sure to evenly and thoroughly coat each piece of kale.
  7. Spread onto the dehydrator trays in a single even layer.  Use as many trays as necessary to use up all of the kale.
  8. Sprinkle each tray with a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper to taste. 
  9. Repeat until all the kale is placed on trays.
  10. Cover and turn on the dehydrator and let dry for approximately 1-3 hours depending on how many trays you have and how big your kale pieces are.  It may take longer depending on these variables. 
  11. After they are completely dry, remove the kale chips and store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. 

What flavor combinations of kale chips are your favorite?

 

Memorial Day Recap|Recipe|P90X

Memorial Day was freezing in my neck of the woods, not your typical holiday weekend that is suppose to be the unoffical start of summer.  It was more like a cold day at the beginning of March and not the second to the last weekend of May.  However, the sun was shining most of the weekend and I made the most of it as best I could. 

Took a ride on the BF’s Harley to a nearby park

BF & I Newlin Grist Mill, Pa

BF & I
Newlin Grist Mill, Pa

Had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

Kebobs w/Grilled Veggies & Smashed Potatoes

Kebobs w/Grilled Veggies & Smashed Potatoes

Made a trip to the local Whole Foods market for my first Kombucha drink.

Cranberry Kombucha

Cranberry Kombucha

The rest of the weekend I did a ton of self-reflection about my trip to Blend Retreat in Utah.  The women that I met are fearless, uplifting, driven and frankly they just motivated the heck out of me.  Most were at least half my age if not 10-15 years younger; but they still had a profound impact on me and in what direction I want to set my future goals.

I have this unequivocal feeling that I just can’t seem to shake.  I can be better; I can have more satisfaction in life; I can be happier. 

I have been working on doing things more for myself.  I have always been a pleaser.  The one that takes care of others first, putting my self second or even last, if you will.  But the past few years have been different.  I’m doing things that make me happy now too.   I’m starting to stand up for what I want, finding things that I enjoy doing and make me happy.  It feels good.  It makes ME  feel good. 

Anyway, after returning from Blend, I am back on track with my fitness routine and goals.  I have been sidetracked for sometime since completing my first round of P90X, and I miss the feeling of strength, the look of defined muscles and the tightness of a hard working body.  So this weekend I started Round 2 of Round 2 of P90X. 

P90X Results Day 90 Round 1

P90X Results Day 90
Round 1

I need to get my X body back ~ no, I WILL get my X body back!  I will also try to get more fitness related posts about my P90X journey on this blog.  Not only to remain accountable but to show you (my readers) that at any age or fitness level P90X is an achievable goal. 

So I officially started yesterday with day 1 ~ Chest/Back.  Working my upper body is one of my new favorite things.  My legs have always been strong but I’ve never had any upper body strength.  So I love getting a good burn from the upper body P90X workouts. 

I took it easy with yesterdays Chest/Back DVD made it through but didn’t do a ton of push-ups.  Paced myself with 10-15 of each move except for Dive Bombers and Decline Push-ups.  I skip those completely.  Even at my best at the end of Round 1 I was only able to do like 3 dive bombers and only 1 decline.  But I will be patient and it will come back in time. 

Dive Bomber Push-ups & Yoga to stretch out

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I also paced my pullups.  Only doing about 8-10 reps of each style.  Still nurturing my shoulder injury and the wide front pullups were the most uncomfortable.  But still managed to get in 6-8 reps each round.  I am also starting out this round with my 8lb weights.  So my set will include 8-10-12 lb to start, but I’m hoping to increase fairly soon to 10-12-15lbs. 

The rest of the weeks schedule looks like this ~ I will be following the Classic Schedule and adding Ab Ripper X during the second week.

  • Tuesday (today) Plyometrics
  • Wednesday Shoulders/Arms
  • Thursday Yoga X
  • Friday Legs/Back
  • Saturday Kenpo
  • Sunday (rest day)

So finally moving on to the recipe that sparked a ton of envy on my Instagram page  this weekend. 

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup of cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup of almond milk ( I used unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries
  • splash of maple syrup
  • top with almonds and chia seeds

Place the quinoa, cinnamon, almond milk and blueberries in a microwave safe dish and heat through until hot.  1-2 minutes.  Add the maple syrup and stir until combined.  Top with almonds and chia seeds.

What did you do fun this holiday weekend?

Spicy Roasted Chick Peas

I’m the kinda gal that LOVES my crunchy snacks.  But you know, finding a good healthy alternative to oil laden chips is hard to come by these days.  Food is either deep-fried adding a ton of calories and fat or if you are lucky to find a baked snack it’s usually covered in some kind of powdered flavoring yuck.

I’ve pretty much nixed all the grocery store-bought snacks in my house this year.  My son ( who is in his late teens) is not very happy about it, but will love me later for it ~ I’m sure of it! 

But just because I REFUSE to buy the junk doesn’t mean my cravings for those salty, crunch, spicy snacks have gone to the waist side.  If anything, since they are not readily available I seem to be craving them more! I know it’s probably all in my head, but heck, I still want them!

This just comes full circle too because my new love of beans just gets deeper! 

ROASTED CHICK PEAS!

Yup, chick peas!  I know you’re probably thinking like who the hell eats beans for a snack, but you guys have to try these little buggers.  They rock!  Full of flavor, tons of crunch, and the best part ~ chemical free!  Plus, because they are beans, you get the added benefit of fiber! 

So let’s get to it ~ here’s how I did it:

I actually took frozen chick peas that I had in the freezer from when I made them in my crock pot a few weeks back (remember, click here if you forgot).

Roasted Chick Peas

  • 2 cups cooked or canned chick peas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 3 TBSP of spice mix of your choice
  • 1 tsp of Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Put the beans into a medium-sized bowl. 

Roasted Chick Peas

Add the spice mix and the olive oil and toss to coat the peas thoroughly. 

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Spread evenly onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.

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Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool. 

At this point you can toss them around so that all sides get crunchy, but it is not necessary if they are still sticking to the pan. 

Return to the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes more or until crunchy.

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Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  After 4 days they might start to soften, but they still lend a slight crunch.

My first go around some of the chick peas had a really good crunch and some were still slighty chewy.  I only roasted this first batch for a total of 40 minutes, but I think I may increase it up to about 50 minutes to make sure they all end up with a good crunch.

The spice mix I used in this batch I bought at BJ’s Wholesale Club called Victoria Taylors Seasonings, they offer a variety of unique spice blends that are available on the website if you cannot find them in a store near you.  Splendid flavor and all natural spice.  No fillers. 

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If you cannot find an all natural spice mix you can just make your own. 

Try these little gems out for yourself.  It gives me the spiciness that I crave, the crunch that I need to satisfy my junk food cravings, but with none of the guilt that comes along with a bag of greasy potato chips.

Beans & Greens Soup

Wow,  almost a whole week since I’ve posted!  But I have to be honest, things have been a little hectic in my neck of the woods.  Picked up a nasty virus which caused a wicked head cold, and then on Sunday we had a group ski trip planned so I had to suck it up and we headed up to the slopes.

It’s never a fun day when you realize when you’re just too old you can’t seem to do the things that you once might have excelled at years ago.  I know, I know, your giggling, but seriously, I admit it ~ I’m getting old!

Included in our group ticket was passes for lift ticket, ski/snowboard rental, and a FREE lesson.  Well me and the BF are pretty good skiers at this point. We’ve been skiing now consistently every year for the past five years so we don’t fall anymore (well some of us) and its become a very enjoyable winter get-a-way.  Well this past weekend we had this hair brain idea that we would all switch.  BF and I would try snowboarding and my son would try skiing!  Seemed like a great idea at the time!  HELL NO!  Two trips down the bunny slope and the BF was done!   It took me a few more to convince my ego that this just wasn’t going to happen.  Of course, fall #1 wasn’t so bad, fall #2 ~ yeah yeah it was worse, but almighty fall #3 was a doozy!  Wrecked my shoulder and hip on that fall.  And at that moment ~ yep you can say it ~ I realized I was getting to old for this god damn shit!  And within 20 minutes we both had our ski’s on at it was back to the same.

Not the same story though for the 17 Y/O show off.  Josh decided to put on the skis’ and to forego the lesson and down he went.  No lesson! No clue how to stop! Not an inclining how to turn, but down he went.  Alright now here’s the kicker.  Do you think he fell, NO! The little stinker was skiing backwards in a matter of 45 minutes!  At that was it!  I’M OLD!  It’s okay folks!  I can take it!  We still enjoyed our day, but boy oh boy was the following days brutal!  Hip pain, shoulder pain, stuffy nose and to top it off PMS!  So there you go ~ no posts!

But I’m back now, and back in the kitchen and today I got my cook on and made up a great big pot of Kale and Bean Soup.

Good thing too, because my refrigerator was getting pretty stark.  You could actually see shelves which is pretty unusual for me.  I’m usually stocked to the brim.  Tomorrow is Sunday Prep Day, so looking forward to getting back to normal and having some decent eats in the house.  But for now I’m going to go have a nice hot bowl of bean soup. You should too!

Beans and Greens Soup

Beans and Greens Soup

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can of white beans
  • 2/3 cup of orzo
  • 10 oz organic kale (could substitute fresh spinach here)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Saute the onion for 3 minutes and then add the minced garlic.

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Saute for an extra minute.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

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Add the beans and the orzo and cook 10 minutes until the orzo is tender.

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Add the greens and simmer for 5 minutes until wilted.

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Season with salt and pepper and serve.

I love soups all kinds of soups and I always have them on hand for a quick dinner or to take for lunch!  Until tomorrow’s Sunday Prep ~ D

 

Tropical Granola with Toasted Coconut

This is the last recipe post to round out my Sunday Food Prep from last week.  This recipe made about 6 cups plus of granola, so it was definitely a ton!  But it will last for about 3 weeks in an airtight container.  So bake away…..it will certainly not go to waste!

I’ve have been mixing this in my yogurt in the afternoon, used it to make my Frozen Yogurt Bites, and literally have just scooped a few spoonfuls right from the jar just for snacking!  It was super easy the only thing I’d change for next time was the amount I stirred the granola.  My family likes clumps of crispy granola and this seemed to fall apart and separate more than I would have liked.  So I think the next time I’m going to leave to crisp up a little more before the first stirring.  I have adjusted my recipe below for the extra time before the first stirring.  (I originally stirred after 10 minutes)

Tropical Granola w/ Toasted Coconut

Tropical Granola

Ingredients

  • 3/4 mashed ripe banana or 3/4 applesauce
  • 2.5 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/4 agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins and/or cranberries
  • 1/2 dried mango
  • 1 cup dried pineapple, chop to the same size as the mango
  • 1 cup toasted coconut *see instructions below
  • 1/2 shredded coconut

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Instructions

  1. First, toast the coconut. Spread shredded coconut in a thin layer on a  baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 300F for about 10 minutes, stirring half way to make sure that the coconut browns evenly. Set aside.
  3. Combine oats and all nuts in a large bowl.
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients; the mashed banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, plus the salt.
  5. Add the dry oat mixture to the wet mixture  and mix until combined and moist.  Spread onto large baking sheet in a thin layer.
  6. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes, stirring at the 20 minute mark. Return to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
  7. Remove cooked granola from oven and let cool .
  8. Then mix in both types of coconut and the dried fruit.
  9. Transfer to air tight containers and enjoy!

 

Do you Sprout?

I was recently introduced to sprouting by my neighbor who sprouts almost every week. Sprouted beans and seeds can be eaten raw or in many cooked dishes. And I was so surprised at how easy it was to sprout my own beans.

According to Wikipedia:     Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked by soaking, draining and rinsing.

Dietitians have found that sprouting beans and seeds increases the protein and vitamin content at the same time decreasing the calorie and carbohydrate values. What a bang for your buck!

Sprouts are so chocked full of benefits its hard to say no to something so tasty and nutritionally dense.

Benefits of Sprouting Beans

  1. High in fiber
  2. Increased protein content
  3. Reduced carbohydrate content making it a low glycemic index food
  4. Rich source of essential fatty acids and amino acids
  5. High in phytoestrogens which helps to relieve symptoms of menopause and combat aging skin
  6. High in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E & K, folic acid, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc

Sprouted Moong Bean Salsa

Sprouted Bean Salad

  • 2 cups of sprouted moong beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1-2 small Serrano chili, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • juice of two lemons or limes
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Mix all ingredients into a bowl and stir. Chill for at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld together.

Serve with chips or use as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

* I think that the next time I prepare this salsa I will also be adding a chopped avocado to add some creaminess to the dish.

Sprouting Moong Beans

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1 cup of dried moong beans

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Put beans into a ceramic bowl large enough to cover with enough water (approx 4 cups). Beans will double in size as they absorb the water. Take care to keep covered with water for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, drain and rinse seeds. Put them into a bowl or glass mason jar and cover with muslin or cheese cloth.

Rinse every 8 – 12 hours until sprouted.

I usually only grow my sprouts to about 1/4 inch before I toss them into the fridge to use in salads or cooked dishes. They will keep about a week in the refrigerator after sprouting.

 

Do you sprout?

 

 

 

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger

Black Bean Burger on Salad

Black Bean Burger on Salad

I have been on the hunt for a super flavorful veggie burger for some time  now.  I had ordered the Southwestern Black Bean Burger from Iron Hill Brewery over a year ago and it was filled with chunks of rich roasted sweet potato, red bell pepper, black beans, corn and mushrooms topped with a chipotle aioli sauce.  It was  heaven.

This past weekend I decided to give it a shot and replicate the burger I ate that day.  Of course I had to put my own spin on it, like I always do, and the flavors were outstanding.  I removed the mushrooms and added quinoa and didn’t add the corn or sweet bell peppers.  I think I succeeded in creating a moist flavorful, (and beautiful …if I might add), veggie burger that is both healthy and flavorful.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet onion, slivered
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 3 TBS flour ( I used chick pea to keep it gluten-free, but any type will work as a binder)
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained, rinsed and divided in half
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

First, add the sweet potatoes, onion and olive oil to a roasting pan and coat the vegetables thoroughly with the olive oil.  Roast the sweet potatoes and slivered onions  in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until sweet potato is soft and slightly browned. Stir a few times during the roasting process to keep potatoes from sticking to the pan.

Roasting Sweet Potato & Onion Mixture

Roasting Sweet Potato & Onion Mixture

Second, while the sweet potato mixture is roasting in the oven, prepare your quinoa by boiling 1 cup of dry quinoa in 2 cups of water or broth.  Bring water/broth to a rapid boil, add quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and cool.  Set aside extra quinoa for other recipes like Quinoa Breakfast Bars.

Quinoa

Quinoa

Then, rinse and drain the black beans.  Divide the black beans in half.  Smash half of the black beans in a separate bowl.  When the sweet potato mixture is finished cooking divide that mixture in half as well.  Add one half of the sweet potato and onion mixture to the smashed beans and mash again until smooth.

Next, add to the mashed bean mixture the quinoa, flour, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Stir the remaining sweet potato/onion mixture, the chopped parsley and the remaining black beans until uniformly combined.    Divide mixture and form 6 burgers.

Place the burger patties in the same pan you used to roast the sweet potato and onion mixture.  Place pan back in the 400 degree oven and bake for 9 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for an additional 9 minutes.  Bake burger patties for 18 minutes total.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger

At this point, you can serve on a whole grain bun, or add to a salad like I did topped with guacamole and your favorite dressing.  If you’d like you can cool to room temp, wrap in plastic or wax paper and freeze for another meal.

The flavor combinations are endless.  Try adding mushrooms, corn and sweet bell peppers like the southwest burger I enjoyed at Iron Hill Brewery or mix and match your own favorite flavor combinations.

I will be adding these to my rotation of weekly prepped meals for a meat free, gluten free  meal option.  Enjoy! D~

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