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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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

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 {?}

Back on the Trail Again

Last night I was in bed around 12!  First time in weeks, so exciting.  8hours sleep was needed to say the least.  I awoke this morning set on my banana spinach pomegranate green monster.  While constructing I discovered I forgot to put a banana in the freezer last night 😮 I ended up using a regular banana and the result was not the same.  It was good, but their is something about the ice cold creaminess of a frozen banana that transforms the drink.  I don’t recommend making this drink without a frozen B-nana.

Topped with lots of Udi’s Artisan Granola.

For recipe on Banana, Spinach, Pomegranate GM see previous post

Growing up my Mom and I loved going to eat at Schlotzski’s Deli.  Their bread is beyond addicting.  Too me it is so different then anywhere else and I am in love.  The only one in my hometown closed down around 8 years ago and I haven’t been to one since.  How I made it this long is still a mystery to me.  When ze boss at work brought up making a field trip to one near by [in atl] I jumped on it.

Say hello to the BBQ chicken pizza with added black olives.

These photos take the cheezi-ness level to an extreme, but I assure you this pizza is a lot smaller then it looks 😉 and a party in your mouth if ever their was one. 🙂

I was released from work early today, and decided to finally get back outside for a real [non gym] run.  I am a swimmer at heart, and that is my usual choice of exercise.  Me and land sports do not mix – bad things almost always follow.  Running is probably the only thing I can do, and even then I bet someone watching me would say my form is somewhere in China. 😮

The last few months this past spring before moving up to Atlanta for the summer I began running a bit with mom.  Around 3 miles 3 mornings a week.  Since moving up here, however, I haven’t run outside due to time and unfamiliarity with my surroundings.  Today I found a park and set to it.  I got in 20 minutes before the sky decided it was time to let the thunder and lightening come out and play, and it was the perfect amount of time 😉  PLUS the incoming storm gave off a lovely cool breeze.

Before the run I snacked on a frozen peanut butter chocolate chip larabar.  This is without a doubt my FAV of the 4 new flavors.  My new favorite way to eat a larabar?    …     Frozen.  My goooodness it’s amazing.

A fellow blogger who I thoroughly enjoy reading, Peas and Thankyou, had a recipe in her post today for homemade chocolate chip cookie dough bars that made my eyes turn the size of dinner plates.  Click here and take a look!  I will have to make these and soon!

Dinner was a trip to the whole foods salad bar.  I drop way too much $ at this place.  But it is a haven for single people with no kitchen, so I keep my mouth shut 😉

Mixed greens and spinach with carrots, noodles, chick peas, steamed broccoli, steamed butternut squash, artichokes, olives, and more goodies I can’t even name.

Has anyone ever been disappointed eating at whole foods??

Song of the day today would be the song:  “Oh Lord” – by Foxy Shazam

I had never heard of this band before seeing them open at a concert 2 years back.  I immediately fell in love with them upon their first song, which I don’t think I’ve been able to say for many other bands.  The live show they put on is pure crazy spectacular.

Well I hope everyone has a good start to their weekend!

Question: What is your favorite Whole Foods item?  Do you have any grudges or dislikes against the store?

Pad See Ew Please

So This morning started off with a long awaited Green Monster!  An Almond Butter, Banana, Pomegranate green monster to be exact.

Last night was amazing, I had some great dances and even did a few moves … IN THE AIR … I will definitely be finding that partner again 😀  Needless to say I slept well afterwards.

I awoke ready to get my green on.

Almond Butter, Banana, Pomegranate Green Monster :
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
lots of cinnamon 😉
2 extra large handfuls of fresh spinach
frozen banana – broken into pieces
1 tbsp almond butter
4-8 ounces pomegranate kefir – depends on desired consistancy
topped with a swirl of almond butter and Udi’s artisan granola

This was like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in liquid form.  It was a heavenly combination, refreshing, party in my mouth.  I will be making this again soon! 🙂

Song of the Day:  “Elephant Gun” by Beirut.

I came across this band a little over a year ago and fell in love.  They are without a doubt on my list of bands to see live.  This particular song was the one I chose for my reel on my website as well.

At work today I came across a photo link from a performance I did back in February with my college’s swing dance group.  I didn’t even know these existed!

BSA Dance Photos

I am the one wearing the tiny black hat. 😉 Kind of weird to be browsing through videos on you tube and come across a slideshow of yourself, though …

Lunch and dinner were Pad See Ew.  I waitressed at a family owned Thai restaurant for 2 years and got to eat for free while working!  I was spoiled rotten in the category of Thai food.  So I was so excited to go for Thai with the office.  The portions were so big that I easily made dinner out of it.  Two birds with one stone 😉

I asked them to make my tofu ‘soft’ tofu – which means they cook it with the rest of the meal instead of deep frying it first.  I like the tofu better this way, it takes on a bit too much of a spongy texture when fried + is better for you.  Two stones again? 😛  It was just the way thai noodles should be with a good bit of vegetables in the form of broccoli, cabbage, onions, and bean sprouts.

After a 45 min trip to the gym I had an amazing apple.

A very photogenic apple 🙂  Do you find that an apple sliced thin like potato chips is more appetizing then one normally??  I found it to be so.  A thin, crisp burst of apple goodness with every bite.

Still Craving something else I turned to the mini peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Trader Joe’s organic creamy peanut butter with apricot jelly on small rice crackers.  Why I love small rice crackers? – The serving size is about 35-40 crackers!               .. in love –

You can eat them open faced…

Topped with dried cranberries…

Or as an actual sandwich 😉

PB & J can be too much fun, on your night off.

What’s your favorite way to eat Peanut Butter and Jelly?  Do you prefer a different nut butter?

Granola Morning

I am sticking to my goal of less reading/more sleeping this week.  Problem – I’m still not getting into bed early enough due to non reading business.  Never fails I guess.  Next week…I’ll catch up on sleep then 🙂  I didn’t even have time to get on here yesterday but breakfast was a good one.  Trader Joe’s honey greek yogurt was a blessing to a time-crunched morning.  Topped with almond butter and Udi’s granola I was ready to start the day.

I wish I could share crazy fun adventures that occur between meals, but I am sitting in front of a computer.  The epitome of non-excitedness.  I have been on a brain freeze lately concerning my most recent project which doesn’t help matters.  One thing I can say, however, was how awesome lunch was.  I picked up this frozen meal from trader joe’s and was excited to give it a whirl.

*Note – I am sans kitchen this summer and doing the best I can with only a fridge and blender at my disposal.  I usually am not a fan of frozen meals, I find them to be rather bland and watery.  This was AMAZING though.  I was quite surprised.

The sauce was so flavorful and spicy, rice was fluffy and perfect.  I was in shock, definitely getting again.  This is a combination not to miss out on.

Paired with an ice cold organic carrot juice and I was set. 🙂 🙂

After work was a combo of racing around, with a peanut butter chocolate chip larabar, best new flavor!  And fighting my was through a 20 min monsoon.  One minute a perfectly fine sunny afternoon, then right as I begin to look for parking a complete downpour.  I found the smallest umbrella known to mankind in the car and made my way through streets with literal flowing rivers on either side, to meet a friend for dinner.  I became stranded at the end of the last street and found myself with no other choice but to walk straight through an ankle deep puddle.  Non-water canvas shoes and all.  This made for a rather delightful mood I assure you.

Dinner was a slice of fresh spinach, mushroom, and black olive pizza.  It was amazing as you can see from the picture.  I was in such a distracted/I’m soaking wet daze that my mind overlooked the need to take pictures 😮

Let’s hope tomorrow is a tad more dry!

Wednesday is dancing – 😀

Question:  What extreme weather conditions have you been caught in lately?

– Sweet Potato Fries –

I slept horribly last night :/

My stomach was not agreeing with something I ate yesterday, or maybe it was the combination.  Wish I knew so I don’t do it again….

B-fast this morning was something fast because I woke up late again.  So into a bowl went some coconut milk kefir, a chopped banana, and some Udi’s granola.  This granola is realllllly good, my Uncle brought me back this bag from Colorado and I’m savoring it 😉

I ended up meeting the fam again at the last minute for lunch where I had a black bean burger and sweet potato fries.  🙂  No matter where I am if sweet potatoes are on the menu, in any form, the chances are pretty very high that I’ll order them 😉

It was blackbean-mazing to say the least.

OHHHHHHHHH the Glory of the Sweet Potato Fries …

In my sleep deprived state I planned on coming back home and just going to sleep.  Instead I read a bit, Outlander series – I’m addicted right now, had a large apple with peanut butter and a bit more granola.

By some crazy act of god I was completely energized after this……Maybe it was the peanut butter, I’m gonna have to watch that stuff 😉

So I went to the ‘mini’ gym downstairs for about 40 mins.  Story of my life:  I was not even on a machine 60 seconds when the plastic shell covering on the side just falls off to the floor.  This was a HUGE piece of plastic.  I just stared at it.  Picked up my stuff.  And moved to next machine like nothing happened.  Haha.  Yeahhh.

What are some of your favorite go too energy foods?  Peanut butter, it’ll never get old. 😀