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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Chickpea Flour Coconut Chocolate Muffins

One word to describe these:   AMAZING.

These came into existence when I was searching to make a grain and nut free cookie. I came out with a healthy, high protein cookie-muffin-scuffin-mound-nougget. YES. Dense yet satisfying.. they quickly disappeared!

Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour is a new exciting world waiting to be explored. How many people have thought of this ingredient past hummus? I can’t wait to try it in a pizza crust.

Chickpea Flour Coconut Chocolate Cookie-Muffins:

1 cup chick pea flour

1 small container of unsweetened applesauce (4 oz)

1 tbsp ground flax

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp honey + more for drizzle (you can use more for sweeter)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

handful dark chocolate chips

handful raisins

handful shaved coconut (coconut chips)

Combine the flax and water in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes to thicken, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl (or your bowl with the flax) combine the wet ingredients then add everything to the dry and stir until combined. Stir in the raisins, chocolate and coconut last. I spooned my batter into a mini muffin tin, any size will work and baking times will vary. At 350 degrees bake for around 20-30 mins depending on your oven. Keep an eye out, when they begin to get golden and crispy around the edges they are done.

Happy Monday ~

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Oat Squares

Did somebody just say ………. COCONUT{???}

COCONUT.

Yes.  Coconut.  It is amazing.  It is my weakness.

And these little babies are quite the perfect treat/snack for any coconut lover out there.

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Oat Squares

1/2 cup vegetable {canola} oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 cups oats

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

1/4 cup raisins {optional}

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg.  In another bowl combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats.  Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined.  Add coconut, dark chocolate and raisins {if desired} to the mix and combine gently.

You can then roll large spoonfulls into balls and flatten into a cookie like shape on a sprayed baking sheet {or use parchment paper}  I tend to not have much skill, or patience, in this department which explains why so many of my desserts are….squares.  I flattened out the entire mixture, baked, then cut into squares before cooling.  Bake for 6-8 minutes for cookies or around 10 – 12 for squares.

Squares or no squares.  Any way you have it, coconut is delicious 🙂

Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Salad

I am on a tight budget this week as far as meals go.  Hence $2-3 entrees from Trader Joe’s are my savior.  After a long day at work and the lovely trek back to my room [the staircase next to my door won’t open from inside the stair well..GO FIGURE] so I walk all the way around the building.  Extra cardio, though, right?..[disgruntled noise].

Back to dinner, my stocks were rather low.  So I decided it was finally time to use the can of black beans I’ve been staring at all summer.

~ Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Salad ~

+ sweet corn [yum]

~ spices ~

My latest department store deal.  I found this bottle of gold at a Marshals…maybe a Ross, definitely a store of a similar nature 😉  It is so good!  and you can spray it on almost anything.

The finished product.  I love the red specs of the cayenne pepper!

Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Salad ~
1 can of black beans, rinsed & patted dry
1/2 can yellow corn, rinsed & patted dry
1 tbsp or so of honey
sprinkle of cayenne, salt, and cumin.
[I didn’t use exact measurements, so use what your spice levels are comfortable with]
Spray down with garlic grape-seed and sesame oil

Just toss everything together and serve.  Quick.  Affordable.  Easy.  This is a very versatile dish, if I had more ingredients I would have added fresh lime juice and cilantro and served over a bed of lettuce 😉

Afterwards was another Almond Butter Coconut Ball.  I swear these things taste better and better the longer they sit in the freezer.

Yes I am going backwards 😮 , thought I’d start with what was most recently on my mind.  Breakfast today was a quick pomegranate spinach smoothie.

Just some frozen pomegranate kefir, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, cinnamon, and the rest of a bag of spinach.  Blended.  Cold perfection 😀

With an ABC Ball [of course]  possible new addiction? >:)

Trader Joe’s has ceased to please.  Never have I enjoyed a frozen meal as much as the ones at TJ’s.  The freshness and flavor are the same if not better then eating at a restaurant.  Promise.  Today I tried the shrimp green curry on jasmine rice.

It.  Was.  Out.  Of.  This.  World.

Look at this ingredients list!  In my book I don’t want Thai food without all the authentic spices and this dish lived it up in the authentic flavor department.  Thai eggplant and peas, umm AMAZING.

Some more fellow bloggers giveaways!:

http://www.onefrugalfoodie.com/2010/08/18/popular-vegan-cookbooks/

QUESTION:  What do you do for meals when your on a tight budget?

I tend to resort to the famous PB & J 😉

A Nutter Butter Ball Filled Day ~

For B-fast this morning I went with my own attempt at the ‘breakfast cookie’

I used a muesli and apple sauce base.

added vanilla extract and cinnamon

along with dried cranberries, flax, dried coconut, and a bit of chocolate hazelnut butter.  I left it in the freezer overnight, it was alright – definitely needs some further tweaking 😉  I ended up grabbing one of my almond butter coconut balls as well, they were AMAZING after sitting in the freezer all night.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Lunch:  Trader Joe’s all the way.

I was very surprised at how fresh the veggies were in this.  The spinach looked as if I just steamed it on my own stove.  I had to do a double take.

Please don’t judge me.  But for dinner was a another AB coconut Ball.  [<3]

And then some of TJ’s organic dark chocolate truffle.  What I will do in 2 weeks when I no longer have access to this store is beyond me.

This bar was beautiful.  Silky.  Smooth.  Par-tay in your mouth good.

~

This was snitched , I mean chopped..

Then sprinkled a top warm popcorn with dried cranberries and spices.  I like savory spices on my popcorn with sweet add ins…Am I alone in this?

A fellow blog The Couch Potato Athlete is doing a giveaway!  Click here to find out how to enter!

[free stuff=good-ness]

QUESTION:    What is your favorite popcorn recipe? And have you ever just eaten dessert for dinner?

I am a popcorn-addict.  I will eat it in almost any form.  It is a whole grain, right….and I obviously enjoy chocolate and peanut butter as my evening meal from time to time. 😉

Almond Butter, Honey, Coconut Balls

~ ALMOND BUTTER, HONEY, COCONUT BALLS ~

I came home from work wanting one thing.  A cookie.  Since I live in a tiny 15 x 15 ft room, with no kitchen, my choices were limited.  I decided to make a freezer cookie ball.  I don’t think those words can ever go wrong 😉

I started off with 1/2 a cup of almond butter, and a 1/4 of a cup of honey.   mmmmm……..

These 2 ingredients were then stirred together with love.  My forms of measuring are pretty hilarious, I have nothing to measure with but an old single serving apple sauce container that I know holds 4 ounces [a.k.a = 1/2 a cup]  so everything I make is gauged off of this.  Rockin’ it in style in the dorm room.

Then 1/2 cup of raw oats, + another 1/4 cup was stirred into the mix.

Lots of cinnamon

A dash of unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix.  Mix.  Mix.  Scoop out.  Roll into balls.  Roll then said balls into more shredded coconut.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in fridge, or freezer.  Lick the spoon.  The other spoon.  And the bowl.  Done.

I was so excited to have something turn out after my treacherous pumpkin breakfast.

I ate one before it had settled in the fridge long enough, but it was still very tasty.  Coconut butter and/or dark chocolate chips would be a nice future addition to these. 😀

I can’t wait to try one from the freezer tomorrow.  There are rewards for patience 😉

Recipe:
Almond Butter, Honey, Coconut Balls ~
1/2 cup of almond butter
1/4 cup of honey
about 3/4 cup of raw oats
lots of cinnamon
spoonful of unsweetened shredded coconut + extra for rolling balls in
Mix almond butter and honey together first – then add oats, cinnamon, and coconut.  Mix and roll spoonfuls into balls.  then roll in extra shredded coconut.  leave in fridge or freezer for a while before eating.

Question: Favorite ‘no bake’ goods/recipes anyone?

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.

Can’t Sleep + Dancing = ?

So I think my sloth-like habits this past weekend had a bad effect on my attempts for normal sleeping habits 😦  I tossed and turned and finally fell into an uneasy sleep for about 4 hours before work.  Let’s just say my productivity levels were less then par.  Before I embarked on my night of restless-ness I made some overnight…..muesli!

This was my first time using muesli and I love the different grain and dried fruit combinations.

Over night Muesli:
1/2 cup raw muesli
1 cup coconut milk kefir
splash of vanilla extract
lots of cinnamon [you can’t have to much 😉 ]
topped with a sliced frozen banana
Mix everything but the banana in a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight.  Top with sliced frozen banana in the morning right before eating.  ***Note – next time I think I’m going to add a spoonful of honey/agave/maple syrup, what have you for an extra sweet kick.

Can you tell how outofit tired I was!  I was to lazy to make banana soft serve so I just sliced it up and threw it on top.  Still nicely refreshing though.

For lunch today I tried out a tempeh hoagie.  On whole wheat bread with marinated tempeh, grilled onions and peppers, feta cheese, lettuce, and sliced tomatoes.  It was a magical sandwich, which apart from hitting the lunch-time spot now has me hankering for tempeh.

By the end of the work day I was dragging.  Couldn’t concentrate on anything!  It is crazy, you never realize how much your body needs rest to operate properly until you deprive it.  I am trying to set daily/weekly goals for myself.  One of which is going to be no matter how good the book is GO TO SLEEP.  Let’s see if it works.

As an afternoon snack I had one of the trader joe’s dried fruit bars.  I have mixed feelings about these bars, they tend to be on the tough and hard side instead of the moist and chewy side like I’ve experienced with other brands.  Anyone have a favorite fruit leather brand?? There are so many out there now.

Monday Night is Swing Dancing night, and my Aunt decided to come with me!  We met for dinner first at this mexican restaurant right down the street from the dance venue.  Chips, salsa, and a house special – spanish vegetable curry spice hot pot.  It was REALLY good 🙂 hot yellow spanish rice with zucchini, squash, onions, mushrooms, red pepper, peas, artichoke hearts, and greek olives [odd, but good]  You will be hard pressed to find an olive I didn’t like.  All of this was served in the pot it was cooked in, always a cool touch, and loved the hints of curry spice.

After this we headed to Swing and it was packed!!!  More people were there tonight then have been all summer.  Dancing has to be the biggest release ever.  You forget about everything that is bothering you and let it all out on the floor.

I though I would start sharing some of my favorite old-time swing videos.  This one is from hellzapoppin – 1941.  Only difference between then and dancing now is way less arials [girls being thrown in the air]  that takes a LOT of trust 😮

ENJOY

What passion/hobby do you have to relieve the daily stresses of life…running, dancing, reading….??

ALSO – what do you do to combat restless-ness?

LazZzY Weekend

Happy August 1st!!!

August always makes me think of Autumn, which makes me think of Fall.  I am not ready for summer to end…it just started.  What’s new.  But this also means only 5 more weeks till France.  Autumn in France :p I could live with that.

This weekend was very laid back, let’s just say I didn’t sleep much this past week and made up for it during the past two days.  SATURDAY – Saturday I stayed in bed till…………….four…………It was awesome.  Enough said.  I just snacked on cereal, popcorn, and dried cranberries and caught up on some reading.  I finally finished the fourth book in the Outlander series and am excited to begin the fifth.  Around 5 I got dressed and drove over to whole foods, where I enjoyed perusing the aisles then dining on Indian food from the hot bar for dinner.  Does anyone else find extreme joy in walking through the grocery store?  I could probably spend all day doing it…..

After this I returned to my bed 😀 and read some more.  This is a rare occurrence I swear.  Around 9:30 a friend talked me into finally leaving my room and get out for a bit.  What did we go do??  We went and saw a movie.  A huge leap in the activity department.

This theater was HUGE though.  Biggest movie theater I have ever been in.  It was the size of 6 normal theaters…took two pictures to get it all in.  I saw Dinner for Schmucks, which had a few rather stupid moments but was on the whole a rather funny and enjoyable movie.  I would recommend see it, you’ll have a good laugh.

SUNDAY – Sunday I was a bit better 😉  I slept in, read.  While at Whole Foods yesterday I picked up two of the new larabar flavors.  Chocolate chip brownie and Chocolate chip cookie dough.  I unwrapped a chocolate chip cookie dough bar and stuck it in the freezer last night.  It made for an amazing pre-workout breakfast this morning [by morning I mean 12:30pm].  After a 45 min workout I made an amazing green monster smoothie.  Recipe below.  I started making these cups of joy after finding out about them on the blog Oh She Glows.  Some amazing recipes on there, you should take a look 😉

This GM had such an amazing array of flavors!

Coconut Spice Green Monster:
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
Lots of cinnamon
2 heaping handfuls of fresh spinach
a chopped frozen banana
1 tbsp peanut butter
4-8 ounces Coconut milk kefir
splash of vanilla extract
This was topped with more cinnamon, some unsweetened shredded coconut, and cacao nibs.

Especially after a workout these are a party in your mouth 😉

After this I decided to get out and enjoy the rest of my day off walking around downtown before hitting up this brewery for dinner with a friend.

A salad with hummus and pita ensued and it was godly.

Hummus, Pita, …… and Goat cheese.  words can’t express this combination properly.

What is your favorite, go to lazy day activity?