Coconut Black Sesame Seed Granola

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Spring. Spring. Spring. Spring. Spring.

Sun. Picnics. Granola sprinkled on creamy cold yogurt….

Though in my head I am chanting some sort of spring-song (you know, to supposedly bring on the warm weather) the guy on TV says snow on and off for the next week…My reaction? Bake something that gives off sunshine! This granola is a mix of winter spices like cinnamon and ground ginger but has an island-sweetness from the coconut, a satisfying crunch from the walnuts, and a hint of chocolate from the cocoa powder. And lets not forget about the lovely nuttiness from the black sesame seeds..I have a soft spot for these beauties and tend to sprinkle them on EVERYTHING. Basically this morning treat is a combination of many many things that equal one bright and satisfyingly tasty breakfast. When eaten with yogurt and fruit one has complete permission to pretend not to see the late march snowflakes outside the window.

If you have on hand, add in dried cranberries or any other favorite dried fruits.

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Coconut Black Sesame Seed Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup chopped raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw black sesame seeds, add more if you like them as much as I do

1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/2 heaping tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup, or honey

If you want a sweeter granola you can add an additional 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or molasses

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut flakes

desirable add-ins: dried fruits (cranberries) chocolate chips (after granola has cooled)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together until the contents are coated well. Scoop out onto the baking sheet and spread out with a large spoon or your hands. Make sure granola layer is not to thick or it will not bake to a proper crispness. Bake for about an hour stirring every 15-20 minutes. Let cool before transferring to an airtight container.

Eat on its own as a snack, with milk, yogurt, fruit, ice cream…

~ Enjoy! ~

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~

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Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Granola

Good Morning {!}

And how can your day not be off to a marvelous start with this in your cereal bowl

Life around here has been a lot of catching up with old friends.  A lot of staying in pajamas for extended hours.  And a lot of pumpkin.  These three things pretty much will make up my holidays.

So I am determined to incorporate pumpkin into every meal…

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Granola
adapted from the lovely Roost
3 1/2 cups organic rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed millet cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar [I used a little less for a less sweet granola]
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup local honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp ground flax
cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325F

In a large bowl mix oats and puffed millet.  In another bowl mix together all spices, salt sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of oats and puffed millet and stir until everything is evenly coated.  Spread on a sprayed baking sheet or one covered with a piece of parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.

I tossed the bowl of chopped almonds with a few dashes of cinnamon and the ground flax seed.  After about a half hour turn the granola over a bit with a spatula then sprinkle the almonds on top and bake for roughly another 15 minutes.  Your looking for a light brown color, when the granola begins to get dark it has been in for too long.

Let the granola cool completely before tossing with dark chocolate chips and then sealing in an air tight container.

Served over cold and creamy plain greek yogurt and topped with a handful of golden raisins is pure bliss in your mouth.  What a way to start the day 😉

What is your favorite way to start the day {?}

Yogurt Bliss

This morning was something new for me…. Trader Joe’s Mango Apricot greek yogurt.  A wonderful flavor. 🙂

Layered with chia seeds, cacao nibs, cinnamon, almond butter, brown rice puffs, and Udi’s granola.  And a dollop of raspberry jam on top, of course.

This kept me full for hours!

Lunch was a veggie wrap from publix

Every veggie they offered [minus jalapeno’s plus provolone cheese] on a sundried tomato wrap.  This was alright, I made the mistake of putting oil and vinegar on it which made everything a bit of a mess.

Song for thought:

“Knights at Cydonia” by Muse

Puff. Rice. Crunch.

So I have a new obsession.  wait for it.  Puffed Brown Rice. 🙂  It’s so airy and care free that I find myself wanting to include it with everything!  Not to mention the crunch, and who doesn’t like a good crunch now and again?

Today’s Breakfast was another Pomegranate Spinach Smoothie..with a side cup of puffed rice 😀

Pomegranate Spinach Smoothie
Ingredients:
1 tbsp of ground flax
lots of cinnamon
1 frozen banana
two large handfuls of fresh spinach
4-6 ounces pomegranate kefir
spoonful of peanut butter
and blenddd.
Topped with some cacao nibs and copious amounts of puffed brown rice.  Delish.

Lunch today was another trip to metro fresh, where I had a divine sugar plum salad.  TONS of fresh chopped plums with walnuts, celery, and basil in an orange maple vinaigrette.  omg.  This deserves the honored title of party in your mouth.  A glorious fruit salad!

This was followed by a chicken and farfalle pasta salad in a basil pesto with corn and peas.  This was good but very skimpy on the pasta with way too much chicken.  Ah well.  The basil infused meal was pretty good and I even had some left for dinner 😉

Before Monday night dancing [it’s called Hot Jam on Monday nights(!)]  Their was an array of snack-mania.

Peanut Butter and the new addition to my fridge, the godly raspberry jam, on a cinnamon TJ graham cracker.  This Jelly is like a drug, no joke.

Then I decided to use the last of my pomegranate kefir [tear] on a bowl of surreal awesome-ness.

Base: A broken TJ cinnamon graham cracker, then piles of puffed brown rice, a tbsp of peanut butter, a sprinkle of chia seeds, a dash of cacao nibs (can you dash cacao nibs?) and the biggest spoonful of raspberry jam.  This resulted in the biggest food induced smile ever.  Beautiful.

– Jam of the gods –

Jam before Hot Jam 😀

Then their was some Trader Joe’s Roasted rosemary pecans and cranberries.  I bought this after seeing a sale ad for it online and it is quite good to say the least.

There are actually sprigs of rosemary all throughout this trail mix which makes it quite intoxicating.  It reminds me of the fish my mom would always marinate with rosemary from her garden growing up.  <3.

This would be even more fabulous if made in my own kitchen, can you imagine the smell of roasting nuts and rosemary wafting out of your oven as the cooler days are looming ever closer?

Alas when I am reunited with a kitchen this can be a reality.

Before running of to dance I grabbed one of these sample bags I snagged at whole foods this past weekend.

Great, as always.  I wasn’t expecting them to be as spicy as they were, but a lovely kick 😉

Song of the day – “Help I’m Alive” by Metric.

This band is my new obsession.

Question: Since PP & J is one of my favorite foods, does anyone have a specific way they enjoy this combo?  Anything out of the ordinary?

Pomegranate~Oat B-fast. a.k.a. Dessert.

This mornings Breakfast was so heavenly it shouldn’t be allowed … or should more often maybe 🙂

Pomegranate~Oats

You better bet I had a frozen banana ready and waiting for this mornings breakfast.  I even put my normal ‘lazi-ness’ aside and removed the soft serve from the blending cup and into a stylish mug.  A result of Saturday I dare say.  This was an amazing combo, the graham crackers were from Trader Joe’s and are a bit thicker then normal ones, which is for the better 🙂

Pomegranate~Oats
4-8 ounces pomegranate kefir [up to you on consistency]
1 frozen banana
splash of vanilla extract
lots of cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup raw rolled oats
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 cinnamon graham crackers [broken into pieces]
Blend banana with cinnamon and splash of vanilla extract, empty into dish.  Top with kefir, oats, graham cracker pieces, and chia seeds.  Then garnish with a bit of shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and more cinnamon, it is up to you 😉
Mix ~ Enjoy

After running some errands I decided to stop by whole foods.  Again.  I blame this on not having access to one till last month so I’m trying to make up for lost time.  ALSO there are samples galore on the weekends, a college girl on a budgets dream.  Everything from wild caught breaded fish with organic ketchup and raw granola to locally made yogurt and a frozen chili chocolate cheesecake that should be illegal.

After perusing for an hour or so the salad bar lured me to its never ending variety and I ended up coming home with dinner B-)

Mixed greens and spinach….

Roasted Sweet Potato things = God these were good.  Has anyone ever had sweet potatoes that they haven’t liked?

Chili tofu and balsamic tofu

Roasted garlic cloves, edemame, shredded squash and zucchini, some spinach and orzo, some asian cabbage with sesame

Who knew tofu was so camera friendly?

Green and kalamata olives galore ❤

I swear this salad bowl was not the size of China, I have a bad time resisting putting one of everything in there though – crazy combinations result.

Tonight I wanted to try some new booty from my recent grocery trip.

Apple.  Sliced thin and wonderful.

Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.  I bought some individual packets of this brand because if truth be told…I have way to many open nut butters right now but have never tried Justin’s before.  If only there were sample sized packets like these of everything!  A solo eaters dream…..

Next up was a new Jam.  Having just used up the jar of apricot I purchased Raspberry today.  Probably one of my favorite flavors.  A spoonful on top of 4 oz of brown rice crisp [another of today’s purchases I can’t wait to have fun with] and a splash of pomegranate kefir.  I love to use splash as a measurement… anyways this hit the spot.  I swoon for raspberries of all forms. 🙂

Too much flash

Seeds are always a plus in jam…

Song of the day: “An Honest Mistake” – by The Bravery

One of my favorite songs by them.

And Keep Posted!!! – I will be having a giveaway coming up 😉 so don’t miss out.

I Won’t Get Out of Bed

So this morning was one of those mornings.  Starting the day was the last thing on my mind.  Second to last thing..making breakfast……First thing?   Eating Breakfast.  Don’t you love that combo.  The need to get to work on time resulted in a yogurt bowl.  For me this is emptying a container of yogurt into a bowl and covering it with any and all at hand.

This morning was a vanilla Trader Joes greek yogurt, with ground flax, raspberries, kashi cereal, granola, almond butter, and shredded coconut.  This was amazingly tasty and kept me full all morning!

For Lunch today I had leftover pizza from last night 🙂 and an organic plum.

Something to note about my current living conditions, I ended up interning this summer at the last minute about 4 hours from my hometown.  This resulted in me being lucky to snag a dorm type room which = no kitchen.  I don’t even have a microwave.  I have a fridge with a freezer that allows me to freeze one, maybe 2 if I’m lucky, banana’s at a time.  And my magic bullet.  This is what I use to come up with meals everyday….don’t get too excited!  So for dinner tonight I had vegetable soup, from a can.  The epitome of gourmet.  I doctored with spices and accompanied it with crackers and hummus.

Let me just say that this hummus tastes like a pizza in a container, it’s AWESOME!  I couldn’t believe it the first time I tried this.  Trader Joes white bean and basil hummus.  I had it the other day in a sandwich with spinach and tomato paste and it was like eating pizza, I swear.  Try it.

Then it was ‘mini’ peanut butter jelly time.

Did anyone out there have to deal with dorm cooking?  How did you cope?

Late Morning

So it’s 2 o’clock and I’m saying Good Morning 😀

I awoke around 12:30 to my phone ringing and stayed in bed a bit longer after that.  Happy Sunday!  Since it was so late I decided why not have lunch for breakfast?  I ended up polishing off the rest of a Thai salad I had in the fridge, not picture worthy if I might add.

And now I am snacking on cereal and reading for a bit.  This kind of down time does not come often and I’m making the most of it.

Out of all the skills and talents in the world I would say I’ve got snacking down pact.

Snack, Nosh, Nibble, Munch, Graze, the possibilities ARE endless!

I will not lie I can survive solely on snacks.  I try not to, but how easy is it to find your self going through the day on small amounts of this and that all day?