I am always amazed by some people's creativity with granola recipes. A few years ago I purchased some grain-free granola and I was blown away by how tasty it was! I couldn’t believe that granola didn’t need its usual main ingredient, oats, and that it could be just as flavorful without them. I found myself dreaming of that granola a few weeks ago as I was wandering the aisles of Trader Joes. I grabbed as many raw seeds and nuts as I could and decided to work on creating a similar recipe. The results were fantastic, and my family really liked it too. This granola is VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE and packed with plant power! I made a double batch this morning and enjoyed the sweet aroma that filled our home. The best part about granola is that it is PERFECT for a quick make ahead breakfast, or snack. We hope you enjoy this Seed and Nut Grain Free Granola recipe. Let us know if you try it!
¾ cup raw cashew pieces
¾ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup chopped raw pecans
¾ cup sliced raw almonds
¾ cup unsweetened coconut chips (I found mine at Trader Joes)
1T raw flax seed
½ T melted coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
¼-½ cup of raisins or mixed dried berries
Weed Water has been a staple in my family for many years (no, not that kind of weed...). It was created by my uncle as a way to use up all of the mint and lemon balm in my grandma’s summer garden and has since then been something we’ve all enjoyed year after year. It truly isn’t summer until we’re enjoying weed water by the pool.
Weed water?! Why is it called that? Well, in truth, mint and lemon balm, the primary ingredients in weed water, are quite invasive plants. You need to be careful when planting them, making sure to use separate containers or they will slowly but surely take over your garden much like weeds do, hence the reason we call it Weed Water.
This is a wonderful make ahead solution that will reduce the temptation to turn to sugary drinks on warm summer afternoons. While there is no right or wrong way to make this, please make sure that all of your herbs are rinsed thoroughly! Leave a comment and let us know what you used in your “weed” water. Happy summer!!
A handful of fresh spearmint (leaves and stems)*
A handful of fresh sweet mint or peppermint (leaves and stems)*
A handful of fresh lemon balm (leaves and stems)
* You can use any type of mint but this recipe is my favorite.
** Make sure your pitcher is safe to handle boiling water.
This past fall I had the privilege of taking a 10 year college reunion vacation with my college roommates/best friends. We decided on Portland because it was a new place for all of us and one that we have heard great things about in the past. For the first time in my life, my high expectations were truly exceeded, Portland was MAGICAL. If you know me well, you know that I am quite shy and that I don’t often talk to strangers, well not Portland Danielle, I was having full on conversations with uber drivers, feeding the homeless, asking baristas what their favorite drink was on the menu, actively looking for an opportunity to meet the members of my favorite band, Ages and Ages, and smiling while walking in the rain … Portland. Was. PERFECT! We stayed in the cutest AirBNB along a street packed with culture, unique shops, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, a kombucha bar and a double decker bus that was actually a tea place! We stayed up late doing nails, sipping tea, chatting and acting like we did when we all lived together. One of my roommates Traci is an incredible artist and she documented the joy of that trip perfectly in one of her daily drawings. She creates a Daily “Quipple” which is an inspirational drawing or quote and if you sign up, it gets delivered to your inbox every single day! In college she would literally document every single day with drawings of “us” that we housed in “the book.” This was one of her inspirations for creating the Daily Quipple! Please check it out, she’s AMAZING! Click on the picture to see more of her amazing work and to learn more of her story!!
Anyway, back to food. My other roommate/best friend, Olivia, found this great smoothie place for us to have breakfast at and we went every day while we were there. I ordered the same smoothie each day and have been dreaming about that smoothie since our trip to Portland. It has been my mission to recreate it as best as I could... so, today, I decided to and.. WOW, I did it! This is my dedication to Portland, my soul city, and one that showed me one of the best vacations of my life!!! Cheers to soul friends, soul cities, health and happiness!
Ingredients (makes one large or two small smoothies)
1 frozen banana
½ cup frozen strawberries
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
1-1.5 T creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 acai packet (can be found at Trader Joes in the frozen aisle)
Sprinkle of raw hemp seeds
Directions to enjoy right NOW!
Directions to Make Ahead
I have a very fond memory of going to Chicago with my cousins from Arizona, my sister and my mom and grandma a few years ago. We stopped at Eataly and enjoyed an Italian lunch and then wandered around the sweets floor. We happened upon a drink that featured basil and blueberries and I never forgot how refreshing and energizing that made me feel. I decided to recreate it at home and have been making it ever since for a healthy source of immune boosting antioxidants. I usually make this in the summer when I have an abundance of fresh basil in my garden and when fresh blueberries are in season, however, in light of the Coronavirus and flu that have us all feeling panic, I thought that it would be a good time to share this tonic. Blueberries are some of the most nutrient dense berries and I love using wild blueberries because they are even richer in antioxidants!! (see article)
Even though most of us are not headed into our normal work routine this week, I thought I it was still important to share a recipe in hopes that it could be helpful for your week(s) ahead at home. Taking care of our bodies is so incredibly important during this time of uncertainty. Stay healthy everyone!
Ingredients (makes one tonic)
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
Juice from ½ of a lemon
1 cup of filtered water
2 ice cubes
Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until juice like consistency is achieved. Enjoy immediately or assemble in the evening, store in the fridge and re-blend in the morning.
Work trips, they are a blessing and a curse. For one, you get to step out of your ordinary life for a few days, explore new cities, drive through new areas and meet new people. But, it can also be extremely difficult to stick to a healthy routine and is especially challenging for vegetarians and vegans. SURPRISE… not every area of the United States is “vegetarian friendly.” In fact, in my preparations for my upcoming conference in Peoria I began searching for dinner and lunch options and found close to NOTHING suitable for a healthy balanced vegetarian diet. I was surprised because it is A. a college town, and B. one of the larger cities in Illinois outside of Chicago. So, I began preparing Make Ahead solutions for the road. Here are a few Make Ahead options to carry along with you as well as a few food travel tips should you find yourself in a similar situation.
- Breakfast -
Yes, there is the hotel breakfast, BUT it’s hardly ever a healthy option. Bagels, waffles, sugar cereal, these are okay in a pinch, but if you can plan ahead you can bring along a healthy breakfast that will satisfy you until lunch. This time I took along my Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole. I simply divided the casserole into reusable containers and packed it in a cooler and popped it into the hotel fridge. Two great vegan options include our Gingerbread Raisin Granola or Pumpkin Spice Granola with vegan yogurt or almond milk and our Sweet Potato Casserole Oatmeal. All of these options contain enough protein to allow you to pass on the sweet treats in the hotel lobby on your way out.
- Lunch -
I know from experience, that the only options at this conference are for meat eaters. Hotdogs, pepperoni pizza, burgers, fried chicken, even if I was a meat eater, I couldn’t eat that for three days straight. So, I pack a lunch! My go to this time is perfect for vegetarians & vegans. my Chickpea Salad Sandwiches are a good source of veggies, protein and they taste amazing. I simply made the sandwich filling at home, toasted three whole wheat buns, topped it with tasty cheese (not vegan) and wrapped each sandwich in foil. I love this option because I can eat my lunch without heating it and it is also mess free. I also packed a few of my favorite crackers, apples, carrots and hummus to add to my healthy lunch. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your day.
- Dinner -
I have to admit, this is where I let myself explore and be social. I use a website called Happy Cow to search for Vegetarian friendly places or I enjoy pizza with coworkers. I always make sure to book a hotel that has a gym so I can get in a good workout before indulging and enjoying the evening. If I am alone on my journey, I search the aisles of Target and make a mini spa experience complete with face masks, soft music and my favorite TV shows.
I am a music teacher, professional musician and a vegetarian. I created this site with the mission to share recipes that make life a little more organized, and enjoyable!