Homemade Maple Brown Sugar Granola

I like granola. I like that it’s convenient for those week days when your morning is rushed and you don’t want to wait in the long line at Starbucks for a muffin. I also like that it doesn’t take a chef in the kitchen to make a batch of it. In fact, you really don’t need to have any kitchen skills; it’s pretty foolproof. You just need a few ingredients and an oven. 

Granola is just like most other recipes; you can tweak the ingredients to your liking or to what you already have in the pantry. I like to add a little flavor to mine by using dried up fruit. Both cherries, cranberries, bananas and apple chips do wonders for a batch of granola. If you’re not the fruit-kind, simply sprinkle some cinnamon on-top to add a little more.

Homemade Maple Brown Sugar Granola


  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • handful of dried cherries, optional


  1. Heat oven to 300. Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine old-fashioned oats, pecans, almonds, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swoosh that pan around a bit, it helps the butter melt a little faster. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
  4. Pour butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients. Stir well until all dry ingredients are covered and layer thinly on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Make sure you stir granola around every 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add dried cranberries after removing granola from oven and letting cool off slightly. Package when granola is completely cooled off.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken and Veggies Skillet

I was in need of a quick throw together meal that was 75% vegetables and 25% protein; something that this recipe has plenty of. If you aren’t a fan of this specific vegetables, feel free to switch them out for something you enjoy more! There’s no such thing as a bad veggie. 

Grilled Balsamic Chicken and Veggies Skillet
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 1½ pounds chicken breasts
  2. ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
  3. 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  4. 1½ tablespoons honey
  5. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  7. salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and ends chopped
  9. 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  10. 1½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl add together Italian dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, honey and red pepper flakes. Combine well and set aside.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Then using a large skillet, add olive oil to pan over med-high heat. Bring seasoned chicken to pan, allowing to cook approximately 6 minutes on each side. Rotate sides until all sides of chicken are a golden brown and thoroughly cooked through.
  3. Next add half of the Italian dressing mix to pan, making sure that all sides of chicken have been coated. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes before removing from pan to a plate and setting aside.
  4. Bring green beans and carrots to pan, stirring frequently and allowing to cook for about 5 minute. (While veggies are cooking – use this time to cut your chicken to whatever size preferred)
  5. Remove cooked veggies from pan and add to plate with chicken. Add the other half of Italian dressing mix back to the large pan, stirring consistently to allow it to thicken up; 1-2 minutes. Re-add the chicken, green beans, carrots and tomatoes to pan and stir well before serving.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy
fitgirlnic http://www.fitgirlnic.com/

21DayFix – Week 1, Plan-A Menu

With summer only 50 something days away, I thought no perfect time than now to clean up my diet and tone my body. I am pretty good at finding clean-eating meals to cook throughout the week but I wasn’t very experienced in portion control. Luckily for me, my husband had purchased the 80 Day Obsession Challenge Pack! So in preparation for the next 80DO challenge to start at the end of this month, I thought I’d use those cute little color containers and start the 21DayFix since I had 21 (well, 23 to be exact) days to practice my diet.

My BB coach directed me to Fixate Cooking, a program on BeachBody On Demand which offers up a large variety of recipes that center around portion control. This was a tremendous help in understanding what I can and cannot eat throughout the day for my specific meal plan. Plus, new recipes are always exciting to try out! Planning out to get the right amount of containers can be a little time consuming, but what meal-planning isn’t? 

The meals below are what I had for my first week. I’m on Plan A, and each recipe was delicious! I would highly recommend them if you’re a Plan A as well and are looking to try something new. Each recipe aside from PBJ Shakelogy can be found on Fixate Cooking, written out in the “Program Materials” link. If you try any, let me know how you liked them!

M1 – Breakfast: PBJ Shakeology
When I first started 21DayFix, I was most excited about Shakeology. I have done a few beachbody programs in the past and have tried a couple of the shakeology flavors and strawberry was hands down my favorite. I had originally mostly made it as a Strawberry Banana shake but I wanted to experiment a little and see what else I could throw together that tasted delicious as well as was healthy for me. Of course I turned to Pinterest for this, like most of us do for anything. That’s where I found a recipe for this PBJ shake. Now if you love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s highly likely you’ll like this shake. Throw in some banana and the flavor is even more delicious.

1 Strawberry Shakelogy Packet
1 banana
1T peanut butter or almond butter
8oz water
3-4 ice cubes
(1 red, 1 purple, 1 blue)

M2 – Snack 1: Carrots and Celery.
(1 green)

M3 – Lunch: Overstuffed Turkey Sandwich 
(1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow)

M4 – Snack 2: 1 clementine
(.5 purple)

M5 –  Dinner: Meat Taco Meat (Day 1 and 2)
(.5 green, 1 red, 1 oil)

M5 – Dinner: (Day 3) Low-Carb Japanese Noodle Bowl
(1 green, 1 red, .5 yellow, 2 oil)

M5 – Dinner: (Day 4) Pineapple Fried Rice
(.5 green, .5 purple, .5 red, 1 yellow, .5 orange, 2 oil)

M5 – Dinner: (Day 5 and 6) Steak Fajitas
(1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 oil)

– Dinner (Day 7) Oven Fried Chicken with Mixed Vegetables – Not Pictured
This is one of those meals where I scarfed it down before I could take a picture. Hey, it happens. 
(1 red, 1 yellow, 1 oil, 1 green)

Interested in joining a Beachbody Program? Send me an email or visit my coaching website to see what challenges and products are the perfect fit for you and your lifestyle!

Slow Roasted Seasoned Tomatoes (Sauce)

A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.


Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.

Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!


Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.

What would you add in your marinara sauce?