Dang Good Granola

I love granola, so much so that I add it to my fruit bowls, my smoothie bowls, halved papayas, parfaits. You get the picture. My kids on the other hand not so much, they do like some of my variations (goji berry is their preferred) but not adding it to everything, haha. Well, I started with  recipes from Minimalist Baker and Cookie and Kate and sort of tweaked it according to my likings and my inventory.

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Gather all your ingredients, I used what I had on hand at that time. Oatmeal, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, himalayan pink salt and coconut oil. That powder you see in the first pic, that’s my plant shake mix. I just threw the mix in then gave it all a whirl. I literally threw various amounts of nuts into the food processor and pulsed until they broke up a bit. I then ground the chia seeds and added those while pulsing again. Being careful not to over process so I didn’t end up with nut flour. Next I poured this into a large bowl and added roughly 3 cups of raw uncooked oatmeal, gave it a little stir to mix it all in. Let this sit for a minute. Go over the stove and add 1/4 coconut oil and 1/4 maple syrup to a pot and melt over medium high heat mixing the two together to a liquid.

Now, listen I am all about skipping steps and just throwing it all into the food processor and hoping for the best. I mean come on……..we have about 6 1/2 minutes to whip recipes up on most days so……… you make do. This one however, really does taste a whole lot better when you add the cooking on the stove step.

So, back to the recipe. Once the oil and syrup are thoroughly melted, add this to your bowl and stir by hand really getting all of the oats and nuts fully coated, fave part for the kids. A whole lot of finger licking after this one. hahaha, I was fine with it.

Now once all ingredients are completely covered and mixed in spread the mixture onto a baking sheet as evenly as you can. Bake in the oven at 400 for roughly 8 minutes and take out, stir up the bottom, flatten out again and bake for another 5 minutes.

Walala, Dang Good Granola!! Store in a sealed mason jar in the fridge for about 3 months. However, if it lasts that long I’d be very surprised.

 

For those of you who need some measurements, I’ll do my best. I eyeballed this one but there are a few specifics.

  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup ground chia seeds ( I just used my coffee grinder)
  • various nuts added to your own liking
  • Bake at 400 for 8 minutes then take out, stir and bake another 5 minutes

When it turns golden brown, it’s time to take them out.

I had this ready and in bowls in under 30 minutes, whoop whoop!! It’s delicious, vegan, gluten free and simple. Add your own homemade almond milk, your favorite plant based protein shake mix and you’ve got one heck of a nutritious start to your day.

Head on over to the 2 sites above and get some more ideas!!

I’d love to hear your faves in the comments.

Oh, you can add some fun superfoods to it if you want to get a bit creative. Like raisins, chocolate chips, craisins, dried mulberries, goji berries, cut up dried figs………so many options.

Rawsome Rocket, Jackie

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice

Ingredients

14ounces non-gmo extra-firm tofu, drained

2tablespoons gluten free soy sauce, I use Tamari

1– pineapple, or 11⁄2 cups diced pineapple

1tablespoon coconut oil

— onion, thinly sliced

— Pink Himalayan Sea salt

3– cloves garlic, minced

2teaspoons curry powder

1teaspoon ground coriander

1teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

3/4cup cashews

— carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2cup frozen peas

1/2cup raisins

3/4cup cooked rice, preferably brown basmati or quinoa

1/4cup vegetable broth

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a small baking sheet.

Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible. After pressing, cut the tofu into 1⁄2-inch cubes. In a bowl, toss tofu with Tamari sauce until each cube is coated. Place in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, turning the tofu a couple of times with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare pineapple, cut in half lengthwise using a sharp knife. Remove the flesh and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside 11⁄2 cups for this recipe, and save the rest for another use (see here for other uses) Reserve the shell for serving.

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned. Season with pink salt. Add garlic, curry, coriander, and chili-garlic sauce, and let cook a few more minutes. Add cashews, carrots, peas, raisins, rice, broth, pineapple, and tofu. Cook until heated through and adjust salt to taste. Serve the rice or quinoa like they do in Thai- land—in the pineapple shell!

Raw Joy, Jackie

Spotlight Saturday, in the kitchen

Spiral vegetable slicer

Zucchini noodles prepared using a spiral slicer

Spiral vegetable slicers (also known as spiralizers) are kitchen appliances used for cutting vegetables, such as zucchinis, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, and beetroots, into linguine-like strands which can be used as an alternative to pasta.


 Spiralizers usually contain three blades: a round blade for spaghetti, a small flat blade for ribbons, and a large wide blade for spiral strands. Vegetables are clamped between the blade and crank. As the handle turns with a bit of pressure, the vegetable is pressed between the turning handle and the blade, which cuts it into spirals.

Spiralizers are often used to produce vegan or vegetarian meals or to transform high calorie meals into healthier options. Recipes containing spiraled ingredients are available on health blogs, (particularly vegan, vegetarian and paleo) and on social media sites or like this Tangled Thai Salad here.

I have to admit, not only am I learning to love easy, simple and quick creations but I’m also really loving being in the kitchen! And that’s HUGE!

So go spin a veggie, Jackie

P.s. I’d love to hear what you create.

I’m not going to lie…

Living a life, where Real Food takes center stage, can take effort and time.

But. I have good news. It doesn’t always have to. For those of you who are really busy but would love to have some truly easy and healthy meal ideas to throw together, then this post is for you.

For starters, let’s understand what Real Food is. Real Food, for me, is:

Eating as many foods from scratch.
Eating foods that are minimally processed.
Eating foods that are close to nature.
Eating foods that my great grandma Teeny (she was all of 4ft. tall) would make.
Eating foods that rarely come from a restaurant and/or box.
This is how I keep my family healthy. This is what I love. This is what works for us.

But… A life full of Real Food based on those bullet points above takes time. Quite a bit of time, in fact.

Yes, there are quick recipes that can be made in a slow cooker, (we do this on Wednesdays) like this chicken tortilla soup recipe, this grass fed beef recipe, or these vegan quinoa black bean crockpot stuffed peppers. And, with my recent experience in a Raw Food school (with world renowned chef, Russell James), I’ve learned how easily fresh and delicious plant based, raw foods can be made (20 minutes of prep max with about 15 minutes of “creation” time) and how to quickly sear a grass fed steak (a couple of minutes each side and finish in the oven – that’s pretty simple) topping it with a brown sauce, and properly steaming some vegetables for the side. As well, scrambling up some home raised (we have 6 chickens laying two each daily) eggs or blending a smoothie can be a fairly “fast”,  food experience.

Still… even those simplest of preparations actually do take time and maybe more importantly they take forethought. I have to thaw the grass fed meat. I have to wash the organic vegetables, prep, and steam them. I have to make sure I have demi-glace made (and thawed) for the sauce. As you can see, it can still be a bit of a draining experience from thinking about the process to actually making the food, even if the ultimate food prep is only 20 to 25 minutes for a fabulous dinner.

Where am I going with all this? Well, even though I do those things most of the time, there are times I just can’t.

Enter: Real Food Fast Food. I have a stash of foods that qualify for decent, if not great, Real Food, but make the fastest meals ever: Real Food Fast Food.

There’s a very real place in life for Real Food Fast Food. For those days I’m:

  • tired or not feeling like supermom
  • running around all day with no time to make a proper meal
  • running around all day and need food in a cooler (here’s my latest favorite eco-friendly cooler I love)
  • just coming back from vacation (and nothing is thawed or the refrigerator is pretty empty of fresh produce)
  • working extra hard because someone is in need of just a bit more sweetness (attention) (thereby making my CEO of household job busier)
  • needing a simple break from all out warrior planning, prepping, coaching and teaching with a passion that’s on fire. Quite frankly, that’s a tough one to need a break from!

Real Food Fast Food is not food that I want for every meal, every day of the week, because that would be boring and not much fun. Real Food Fast Food is food with a purpose… Real & Fast.

Here is my list of ideas that can help you have Real Food Fast Food meals when you need a break from the kitchen or you simply have no time to spare.

To qualify for Real Food Fast Food, the food must require MINIMAL preparation, if any at all(!), apart from putting it on a plate or in our hand. It should not require cooking or blending either. Real Food Fast Food is food that you can grab (quickly) when you walk in the door from a long day, and feel satisfied by the deliciousness, high nutrition, and not guilty in the least that it took you all of three minutes or 26 seconds to put together. Yes, some of these foods are packaged, but they still include minimally processed ingredients so they make the cut for me. 

Real Food Fast Food Options (Most of these ideas are not to stand alone as a meal. Depending on my mood, I mix and match any of the ideas together to make a satisfying and nutritious meal):

Fresh fruit or frozen fruit
Raw nuts and hemp seeds
Coconut yogurt
Gluten free crackers and homemade avocado butter spreads
Home made dried fruit leather. Mostly mango from our 26,789 mangos on our property
Low mercury canned tuna fish
Bell peppers (I bite into it just like an apple), raw carrots, raw celery  

Raw sprouted almond butter (and other nut butters, especially for dipping with raw veggies and fruit)

Dried fruit, like those holy-&!$&! awesome Calymara figs
Organic coconut oil
Complete Plant Based Protein Shake -Use a shaker cup – add water, complete, a scoop of raw chocolate powder and a few drops of stevia, if desired, and shake it up – no blender required. You can also keep canned coconut milk on hand for adding to complete protein shakes in one of these seriously bad-ass travel mugs, MCT oil or coconut oil, . Put the tight lid on, SHAKE it up. Done. See? That’s fast.

Wild caught fish

Raw Coleslaw

Kombucha
Sauerkraut
Pasture-raised(!) raw egg yolks. You can separate the yolks, usually three at a time, and put them in a shot glass, and chug them down like a handful of pills.
Epic’s Grass fed bison 

Gluten free fig cranberry bars
Sea spaghetti Eat it straight out of the bag for a mineral boost like my daughter does.
High Vitamin Butter Oil
Kit’s organic raw vegan bars
Raw honey
Here are some ideas for combinations to make a meal:
Wild caught salmon roe and a large Ramone Nut Coffee Shake on the side
Gluten free crackers with grass fed butter and raw carrots. Maybe a spoonful of coconut oil on the side.
Organic bell pepper, raw cashew cheeze, raw hummus and nut taco meat
Coconut  yogurt granola Parfaits with high vitamin butter oil, frozen fruit, and hemp seeds
Apple, raw caramel date sauce, and grass fed summer sausage (old German tradition) (a favorite combo for my daughter)
Low mercury tuna fish in a cabbage cup ( the leaf ) with a salad of mixed greens eaten with slices of cucumber
Avocado, sea spaghetti, and a plant protein shake like this one

And if you want to take it just one step further there’s this meal plan too.
So whether you are new at this or you’ve been going at it for a long time, keeping it Real and making it Fast is really the key to your journey.

In good health, Jackie

Simple Changes, Make Simple Habits

Looking to build healthier habits? Remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Start with small steps that you can feel good about. #onesimplechange 

Add nutrient-rich foods. Instead of thinking about what not to eat, think about the things you can add to your diet. Strive to incorporate more greens and colorful veggies into your meals.


Eat closer to nature. Concentrate on whole foods in their natural forms, such as fruits and vegetables. If it looks like it did when it grew from the earth, that’s your cue that it’s a healthier choice.
Go for whole grains. Instead of reaching for regular pasta or white bread, look for varieties made with 100% whole grain flour. Better yet, fill your belly with whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or barley.
Find alternatives to oil. Believe it or not, you don’t need added oils to make the foods you love. You can steam fry those onions and replace the oil in those muffins with applesauce.
Reorganize your plate. Think of lean meat and fish as flavor boosters instead of the main event. Put beans, whole grains and veggies in the spotlight, and keep servings of meat and fish at 3 ounces or less (that’s about the size of a deck of playing cards).

Make whole foods your NEW Normal!

Peel me off the floor! 

  
The only thing that could possibly make this better (if that’s possible) would be my plant protien mix. It tastes like birthday cake batter, I’m making this NOW, bye! 

P.s. Tell me how you like it in the comments below, thanks!

Rawfully yours, JR

I just might be in a coma tomorrow!

As my Raw food Prep Class approaches, I’m trying out some new recipes. More to come this week! Sign up for the class over there on the right side of the page! Hope to see you, Rawfully yours, J  

Eat Fruits and Vegetables, Be Happy?

New Study Links Fruit and Vegetable Consumption With Happiness

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There’s a certain jolt of joy I get from biting into a perfectly ripe peach from my local farmers’ market or slicing into a luscious vine-ripened tomato from my garden. I always thought this was a temporary high — one that disappeared as soon as the juice was dried from my sticky fingers. But according to a new study, how many fruits and vegetables we eat daily may measurably impact how happy we feel.

Researchers from New Zealand recently published a study in the British Journal of Health Psychology which observes a link between eating more fruit and vegetables and feeling happier and more engaged in life.
The study followed 405 university students for a 13-day period during which they kept food diaries and filled out questionnaires designed to measure creativity, curiosity, and other aspects of psychological health. Subjects rated statements such as “Today I was engaged and interested in my daily activities” on a seven-point scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

The results? People who ate more fruits and vegetables reported higher levels of curiosity, creativity, and other positive emotions. They also felt more engagement, meaning, and purpose in their lives. “These findings suggest that fruit and vegetable intake is related to other aspects of human flourishing, beyond just feeling happy,” explains University of Otago psychologist Tamlin Conner.

Importantly, the results were not only applicable across people, but also across time. In other words, on days when participants ate more fruits and vegetables, they felt better than on the days when they skimped. That’s some pretty immediate feedback from the body!

While it’s possible that feeling more positive causes people to eat better rather than the other way around, researchers suggest the micronutrients in produce, particularly vitamin C, might be at work. Vitamin C helps the body make dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation and engagement. Another factor could be that eating fruits and vegetables helps reduce inflammation, which may improve mood.

This is just another reason why growing your own produce makes sense. When it’s steps from your door, there’s no reason not to include healthy food in all your meals. I know from experience that gardening isn’t always easy, but there is something that can make it easier. Tower Garden!
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Tower Garden is a highly efficient aeroponic growing system that allows you to grow a lot of produce in a little space. It has quite a few advantages over traditional gardening. First, it grows produce in about half the time of soil-based agriculture. Second, it uses just a fraction of the water and soil, so it’s an ecological alternative.

Third, its compact design fits in just about any sunny spot outdoors (think patios, rooftops, terraces, balconies, decks, or porches), and assembly is easy. Fourth, there’s no weeding, tilling, kneeling, or getting dirty. Fifth, because it’s designed to last a lifetime, Tower Garden is actually a better long-term value than store-bought produce. And with this new research, who knows? It could even make you and your loved ones happier.

Have you ever thought about the relationship between your diet and your mood? Have you noticed a happiness lift from eating more fruits and vegetables? Share your experiences in the comments below.

It’s as EASY as 1-2-3

DIET – This word is not allowed at my house, the first three letters spell DIE.  Which is what you feel like when you change your food habits!

I am guest posting over at http://simplerecipebox.com, thanks Heidi for having me over, you are a blessing and it is a pleasure.

The topic of discussion is Meal Planning; how to follow a 60/40 lifestyle. 60% Raw food, and 40% cooked, alkalizing food.

As a family of seven you might wonder where, how, or even why we would choose to eat in a way that some might say; could cost a fortune, is inconvenient, or too hard.  It’s all in perspective, I had to wrap my brain around the idea of changing, not just my food habits, but our way of living. You see, change doesn’t come naturally, to most people. We were programmed to eat or behave in a manner of convenience based on our situations. So, it became very clear to me that I needed to change my way of thinking in order to provide the most healthful, yet convenient, and cost-effective way for my family to live.
So, I devised a simple PLAN:
It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

Step 1.  Meal Plan – Spend two days of your week, no more than 1 hour each, to plan your meals for the month. Use only 10 recipes for the entire month, then rotate them throughout the weeks to feel as though you have a variety. Create a shopping list according to your recipes for week 1 only. This will be cost effective and time effective. 

 
Step 2. Commit – Commit to replacing one “unhealthy” food in your families lives a week. Ex… Substitute white sugar for AGAVE, or COCONUT PALM SUGAR. Make this commitment for 90 days, and I guarantee you’ll see and feel a difference in both you and your family. This change in our lives immediately made a difference in my children’s behaviors. Less aggression, more focus (which is key for homeschooling), and sleep through the night.
 
Step 3. Take action – Involve your family in this new healthful way of living. Ask your kids what their favorite meal is and then substitute some of the ingredients to accommodate this change. (See recipes on meal plan)
 
You’ll notice on my MEAL PLAN I have named the days, this is to get the family excited for the meals I have planned and to also have them help with the planning, prepping and creating. You never know, you may have a budding chef among you!
I’ve included a sample of a weeks worth of menu items that I’ve planned for my family of seven. There is very little variety. That’s on purpose. The more we have, the less content we become. If I offer to many choices, then it becomes more difficult and defeats my purpose.
The key here is to do what works for your family. This Weekly-meal-planner is an example of a 60%/40% MEAL PLAN that works for my family. And, not all people are one-size-fits-all, so I have outlined just a sample of what we do to offer you encouragement, with easy to follow recipes, to implement this into your lives.
Let me ask you a question, how do you eat an elephant? That’s right, one bite at a time. So, understand that in making a lifestyle change, whatever that change is, is not going to happen overnight. When you develop a plan, commit, then take action, your plan will be successful!
Rawfully yours, Jackie Reiter
Simple Organic Solutions for EVERYDAY Life