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
Heat oven to 300. Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
Combine old-fashioned oats, pecans, almonds, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
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.
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.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Make sure you stir granola around every 10-15 minutes.
Add dried cranberries after removing granola from oven and letting cool off slightly. Package when granola is completely cooled off.
Tuna is a good source of protein if you’re looking to temporarily ditch the chicken. I’m always interested in anything that ends with the word salad; chicken and tuna both, but I’m especially interested when you can cut the calories in half by using yogurt. And while yogurt is ideal, it can also lack a little bit of flavor. This is where apple and celery come in. The sweetness of diced apple pieces and the crunch of celery make this meal an easy repeat offender.
Apple and Yogurt Tuna Salad
A healthy spin on tuna salad, fruit and veggies included.
- 1 small apple, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ¼ cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 5-ounce can of tuna, drained
- 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt, for taste
- pepper, for taste
- Add all ingredients into a medium size bowl. Serve over whole-wheat bread, a bed of lettuce or in a pita.
This may be the easiest salad I have ever prepped before! Aside from washing blueberries, the only thing you really have to put together is the dressing and that’s easy when you have a salad mixer. This one from Crate and Barrel is fantastic; I love how well it combines the ingredients together.
Arugula Power Salad with Blueberries and Honey-Lemon Dressing
A delicious salad made of power greens, blueberries, sliced almonds, feta cheese and a honey-lemon dressing drizzled overtop.
- 5-ounces arugula, kale, butter and spinach lettuce
- 1½ cup fresh blueberries
- 2-ounces feta cheese
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons pure honey
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of black pepper
- Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl prior to making dressing.
- In a smaller bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk well. Drizzle over salad. Toss to cover evenly and serve.
Running short on time during the busy holiday but need something to bring to a party? Use star shaped cookie cutters for watermelon and add red/blue colored fruit to give a fruit salad a patriotic look.
4th of July Fruit Salad
- 1 seedless watermelon
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint strawberries
- 3 gala apples
- 1 pint raspberries
- ¼ cup agrave or honey
- fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- Combine all clean and prepped fruit into a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice and lime zest. Add to fruit bowl and stir well.
Lately I’ve been trying to swear off bread for the most part, but I’ve been constantly running into some really yummy sounding muffin recipes on Pinterest and it made it hard to resist baking some. Breakfast has always needed to be some sort of variety for me. I could never stick to a routine bowl-of-cereal breakfast day after day, week after week. And so I am unendingly searching and testing for new recipes for breakfast. Afterall, we do dedicate our Sunday night dinner to it as well!
I was pretty much sold on this recipe when I saw “chocolate chips” in the title. You can pass off just about any healthy ingredient when you’re adding chocolate chips as well. So if you have some picky eaters in your home, chances are they will still enjoy these muffins. I just leave the “banana” part out at first. You never know, they may not even figure out there’s bananas in there too.
Know what else is great? Each muffin is 170 calories, easily leaving room for that much needed cup of coffee in the morning. That made going off the bread edge for just this week even more worth it!
Not to mention how much I wish I could put into words just how delicious these muffins are. I guess the best way for you to understand would be to just bake a batch yourself. If you decide to, come back and let me know how they turned out!
Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Muffins
A healthy take on banana and chocolate muffins that are easily assembled and take as short as 20 minutes to bake. Plus kids love them!
- 1½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 ripe bananas
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, grease muffin tin well.
- Add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt to a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk well.
- Using a blender, add banana, honey, vanilla, oil, egg, yogurt, and milk. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds. Add blender mix to medium bowl with dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, combine well. Next gently fold in chocolate chips.
- Add batter to muffin tin evenly and filling until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, depending on your oven. Check using a toothpick to see if they are throughly cooked through. If the toothpick comes out clean after you stick in the middle of muffin; they are ready to take out of the oven.
- Allow muffins to cool down momentarily before moving to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
- Muffins freeze for up to 3 months if needed. Just add them into a ziplock baggie and heat for 30 seconds in a microwave to thaw out when ready to eat.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
It’s watermelon season! And because so, I challenge you to make this salsa and serve it at your next party; be it the 4th of July or potluck. Just make sure not to tell your family and friends what’s in it at first! Chances are they won’t suspect those small delicious red cubes to be watermelon.
A sweet way to enjoy your favorite summer past-time snack. Don't let the watermelon fool you though, this salsa has quite the kick to it!
- 3 cups seedless watermelon, diced into small cubes
- 2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup lime juice
- pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Serve chilled with tortilla chips or baked cinnamon tortilla triangles.
It should be mandatory for all salads to include at least one fruit topping. I happen to love fruit so the more, the better in my case. So with that being said, I present to you the holy grail of fruit in a salad:
Paired with chicken, slivered almonds and feta cheese.
Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad
- 4 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup fresh strawberries
- ½ cup mandarine oranges
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Add all salad ingredients into one large bowl. Drizzle dressing over-top and divide between two large bowls.
It wouldn’t be summertime without a fruit salad.
Summer Berry Watermelon Salad
A delicious fruit salad to enjoy during a hot summer day.
- 4 cups watermelon, chopped into cube shapes
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries, quartered
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Add all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Serve slightly chilled.
I’ve been wanting to make some homemade jam for quite some time, so I took the kids to Jacquemin Farms in Plain City to do a little bit of strawberry picking. Every year when I remember it’s strawberry picking time, that time is basically over and we have to wait for it to be apple season before we get to experience anything similar.
We got there shortly after they opened for the day (830am) and I was surprised at how many people were already out in the fields picking! Luckily there were still a bountiful amount of strawberries still on the vines. Enough that we came home with 6 quarts of strawberries; probably triple what I actually needed. So I imagine for the next few days, there will be several strawberry-based recipes. That’s convinent even if you can’t make it out to a strawberry farm; strawberries are in season now so they’re not super expensive at the grocery store!
Washing strawberries is the easy part. Finding somewhere to store them turned out to be a little interesting, so I ended up lining the bottom of one of the 4qt carriers with parchment paper and filled it with strawberries to put in the refrigerator.
Next comes the time consuming part – chopping the strawberries. While there’s always the option of washing your strawberries, cutting off the tops and throwing them in the blender, I happen to like my jam chunky and so I opted to slice small and large pieces instead. This means my prep-time was well over 30 minutes.
Now for the real fun part, cooking strawberries. This is one of the quickest ways to make your entire house smell delicious. It’s such a sweet aroma combined with the lemon and sugar; definitely something that you taste test if your impatient like me.
Your jam will eventually thicken after boiling. Because all stoves cook differently; it may before the estimated time given on the recipe card, or it may be longer. You just have to constantly check as not to overcook.
Aren’t they cute!? I’m in the process of making some cute tags for them as well and will post those when finished.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Jam
A small-batch recipe for strawberry jam made with fresh strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
- 4 cups of fresh strawberries, cut into small and large pieces
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Allow strawberry mixture to come to a boil while mixing frequently with a wooden spoon. Scoop up as much foam as you can and dispose in sink. (foam will be a light pink color)
- After removing foam, allow strawberry mixture to continue cooking for 10-15 minutes; constantly stirring. Jam should begin to thicken. If it seems watery still, let it continue to cook but be sure to watch it so that it doesn't overcook.
- When jam seems thick enough your likening, add to clean mason jars and allow to sit out until they are room temperature. Refrigerate after.
- Canned jam lasts 2-3 weeks if it remains in fridge.
- If you want to try a quick set test, freeze a spoon while cooking mixture. When you want to see if jam is thick enough, use spoon to scoop mixture and tilt spoon ovetop a plate. If the mixture runs off the spoon quickly, your jam isn't thick enough.
When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!
I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more.
Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.
Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.
You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!
Greek Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken
- 1½ cups red grapes, halved
- medium apple, diced
- 1½ cups celery, diced
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg
- Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
- Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.