The Best Grain Free Granola

Grain Free Granola
Grain Free Granola

You guys have to try this granola!  I’ve made it a couple times now and it is my new go to. This recipe is completely grain-free and made mostly with nuts, seeds and some coconut! It is sweet, salty with the right amount of crunch that is perfect to add fresh berries to for breakfast or to yogurt for an afternoon snack. Now, this particular recipe is made with honey but can be made vegan with one ingredient swap, maple syrup.  Also, this recipe is Paleo as is.  It’s also a great way to use some of that almond meal we made last week! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. First, add all your dry ingredients to a bowl, followed by your wet ingredients, then, mix well. Spread onto a cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper which makes it easier for transferring into a jar later on. cook for  28-32 mins depending on how dark or toasty you like it! let sit and cook for a couple of minutes before transferring into an airtight jar. Makes about 6 cups.

Ingredients (Organic perferred)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Add all dry ingredients to bowl
  3. Stir in wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes depending on how toasted you like your granola
  6. Let cool for at least 5 minutes
  7. Add in raisins, dried cranberries, or goji berries (optional)
  8. Mix if you added dried fruit
  9. add to airtight container and enjoy

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Once you get a taste of this fresh, homemade almond milk, there’s no turning back. I remember the first time I took a sip of pure almond milk, I was blown away by the flavor and thick creamy texture. I had just realized that’s what almond milk is supposed to taste like. I couldn’t believe the difference in flavor and body between homemade and store bought. Plus, It’s just 3 ingredients.  Almonds, salt and water!

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Since this recipe is preservative free, it is good to keep note of the date your milk is made, the shelf life is 5 days and it makes about 4 cups. If you think you will not use 4 cups in 5 days then half the recipe so you don’t have spoiled nut milk on your hands. Nut milk does not require refrigeration, so feel free to pack it with you on your next picnic or for work/school lunches. Almond milk is low in calories, carbs, and sugars (if left unsweetened) and high in healthy fats. If you prefer vanilla or sweetened almond milk then play around with the recipe a bit. You can add a couple drops of vanilla extract or maple syrup before you blend.

As far as cost, I always purchase my nuts in bulk because they are cheaper and if you bring your own bag there is no package or plastic bag waste. Your milk will now be zero waste! My organic almonds are $8.99lb, each pound is about 3 cups of almonds. This puts the cost at $2.99 for 4 cups of fresh almond milk plus, I get to save my pulp and make something fun with it, so watch out for that too!

Preservative Free Almond Milk

Had I known how easy it was to make almond milk I would have been doing it a lot sooner! Just a couple simple steps.  So simple you can do them in your sleep… No really, you can just soak the almonds when you are sleeping! Take 1 cup of almonds and soak them in a bowl of water over night (or for about 8 hours). In the morning, strain, rinse, and place the almonds in a blender with 4 cups of filtered water and a pinch of salt. **If you will be enjoying your milk right away chill your water beforehand** Blend your almonds, water and salt for 45-60 seconds, then strain your milk with either a nut milk bag or fine strainer such as a chinois. I have tried both and personally think the chinois is more efficient. If using a nut milk bag you have to get a little dirty and use your hands to squeeze all of milk out of the bag and then clean the bag afterwards. With a fine mesh strainer, all  you do is run the milk through and let it sit and strain over a bowl for a couple of minutes. When you’re ready, transfer your milk into an airtight container or grab yourself a cookie to dip in your almond milk!
Preservative Free Almond Milk Hold on to all that left over almond pulp, keep it in your nut bag or strainer with a bowl under to catch any leftover excess liquid. Tomorrow we are going to dry that pulp out to make almond meal!

Ingredients

•1 cup almonds
•4 cups filtered water
•Pinch of salt

**optional for sweetened or flavored

•1/8 teaspoon vanilla
•2 teaspoons of maple syrup
Instructions

  1. Soak almonds in bowl of water for 8 hours
  2. Strain and rinse almonds
  3. Blend almonds with 4 cups of water for 45-60 seconds
  4. Strain almond milk with nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer
  5. Transfer milk to airtight container

Makes 4 cups of milk. Use within 5 days

Spice Up Your Life!

I am always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly, produce less waste, and save money, In doing so, I am always making new discovieries but my most recent, bulk spices!  Why has it taken me so long to discover this? This is such a simple money saver! The average cost of organic spices is around $3.99 a jar. Just the past two weeks when my spices ran out I have been washing, and saving my jars for grocery day. The first thing I did when I got to Whole Foods was go to customer service where they are always so kind. I had all my spice and mason jars weighed right there and it only took a minute. They just add a little piece of tape to your jar and write how much it weighs on it so when you check out, the cashier knows how much weight to deduct and you’re only paying for the weight of the contents your jar. Here is a list of spices I have purchased bulk lately with their weight and prices.

Can your old spice jars save you money?
Can your old spice jars save you money?
  • Pink Himalayan salt – 9.6oz – $1.19
  • Organic fine ground pepper – 3.8oz – $5.04
  • Organic Cumin – 1.45oz – $1.53
  • Organic Garlic Powder – 2.72oz – $2.55
  • Organic Paprika – 1.92oz – $1.80
  • Crushed Red Chili Flakes – 1.28oz – $0.76

Can your old spice jars save you money?

Although these weights vary, so do the pre-filled spice jars in the grocery store. I found  most of my pre-filled jars state that they contain about 1.2-1.9 oz of product. It’s hard to visualize weight but they all filled up a typical 3 oz capacity spice jar with the exception of salt and pepper which filled up smaller mason jars that hold about 12oz. I have since used some of these spices so some are fuller than others.

I am so excited I no longer have to toss out my spice jars! No more plastic tops and sea salt containers rotting in the landfill, No more wasted labeling, and I get to save a few bucks and you do too!

2 Ingredient DIY laundry detergent

DIY 2 ingredient laundry detergent

Ever wonder how many toxic chemicals are hiding in your laundry detergent? Is it laundry day? Well, I got you covered with this non-toxic two ingredient laundry detergent recipe. My dear friend Dayna shared this recipe with me a couple years back and I am so thankful for it. This laundry soap works great! It’s all natural, cost efficient, and packagings for both products are recyclable so it is zero waste on your end. For this recipe you will need one bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap castile hemp of your choice, (I always choose lavender) and one box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. Some additional items you will need —besides your ingredients— is a grater, scoop, and a container that will hold about 6-7 cups.

DIY 2 ingredient laundry detergent

    This recipe is two easy steps that will only take about five minutes of your day. First, Scoop 4 cups of washing soda into your container. Next, finely grate the entire bar of Dr. Bronner’s. Lastly, mix the two together and start a load of laundry! For a medium size load of laundry I use about 2 tablespoons. So if you have a small or larger load just add or subtract a tablespoon.

DIY 2 ingredient laundry detergent

I have worked out the cost I paid pre-tax and based this on medium sized loads. The total of this non-toxic all natural laundry detergent comes out to $5.64 for 80 tablespoons. This will last me 40 loads at about .14 cents per load.

Next week, I will make and talk about fabric softener that is only 3 natural ingredients so keep your eye out for that. The specific reason I keep the detergent and the softener separate rather than tossing all the ingredients into one big container is because if you have a dishwasher the laundry detergent we just made can double as dishwasher detergent by using just 1 tablespoon.

DIY 2 ingredient laundry detergent

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap

** This is a conscious consumer side note:

Dr. Bronner’s brand is one of my favorites for so many reasons. Throughout the years they have stayed true to their brand and costumers, making good quality products with integrity. Their soaps are organic, non-gmo, vegan, kosher, not tested on animals, and fair trade! The company as a whole treats the earth with such respect by being involved in soil enrichment, tree planting, and organic farming projects. Also, the facility is in the process of installing solar panels to reduce energy consumption.  They only use recycled materials to make their plastic bottles for liquid soaps and are well on their way to reaching their goal of reducing waste to one dumpster a month. I truly support all of their efforts!

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

    Happy Summer!! We are celebrating here in the Bay Area with some warm temperatures, I certainly did not want to turn my oven on, but had a bit of a sweet tooth this afternoon. These date bites were the perfect solution to satisfy my craving without having to heat up the entire house by baking. My eight year old son is home for the summer and loves to prepare food as much as I do so this was a fun activity for him, as well as a great treat. Dates help regulate digestion, and boost energy, cashews are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and coconut is high in protein, fiber, iron and zinc. These bites are vegan, paleo, have no added sugar yet they are naturally sweet and delicious. Sounds too good to be true right?

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

First step is to pulse your cashews to smaller pieces in a food processor or blender.

After the cashews are broken down to your desired size (I left mine coarsely chopped) add your pitted dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and water and blend together until the mixture is finely chopped and looks a little sticky and rollable.

Set aside a little bowl with some extra shredded coconut. Roll the mixture into balls 1 to 1.5 inches in size, then roll the bites around in your coconut bowl to coat.

last step, Enjoy 🙂 this recipe should yield 10-12 bites. If you think this will go quick in your household double the recipe. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients (organic preferred)

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut plus set aside about 1/3 cup for coating bites
  • 2 tsp of chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water

 

How Do You Prepare Your Broccoli Stalks?

My entire life I had been limiting myself to the florets of the broccoli, until one day about three years ago I was walking through Trader Joe’s and saw a bag of broccoli slaw. I stood there for a moment and just stared with a big, bright lightbulb floating over my head…I was thinking, “wow, I can make that myself!” I felt enlighten and foolish all at the same time. I realized how much food I had been wasting all these years.

Both the Florets and the stalks have equal amounts of vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The stalks actually being a little bit higher in fiber, stated on the University of Berkeley’s wellness site. But both having a tad bit different consistencies.  Towards the end of the stalk, it seems to get a little bit tougher and stringier, so I always just cut a little bit off the bottom before hand.

How to use your broccoli stalks

 

I have two favorite ways to prepare the stalks. One way is to throw it in my food processor and pulse into smaller pieces to make broccoli rice. You can even toss some cauliflower in there and make a rice blend. The other is to shred the stalks to throw in a salad or slaw.

Broccoli Rice & Slaw

     (left) Broccoli rice (right) Broccoli slaw

Broccoli slawCheck my next blog post for a this fresh and delicious broccoli slaw recipe!

Fall in love with these Guilt Free Potato Chips

Who doesn’t like chips? I don’t know a single person that does not love them. Unfortunately most brands of chips are unhealthy and let’s be honest here, you are paying for a lot of air in that bag. So lets talk about healthy, cheap, and delicious chips.

I made a stew that called for peeled sweet and russet potatoes. So, I peeled my potatoes and made my stew. But I was not going to throw out my peels, no way! The skin of the potato has more nutrients than the interior itself and is loaded with fiber and potassium. This recipe is a simple, awesome snack time treat and is almost free because you were probably going to throw your skins out anyway.  This little trick helps reduce food waste and since these chips aren’t coming from a bag, you’ll be saving space in your trash can.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

     Rinse, then dry your skins, drizzle with a little bit of avocado or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake on 400 for 15-20 mins depending on your preference of crispness. You can even get adventurous if you like and sprinkle some cumin or paprika for extra flavor.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

  • Potato skins
  • drizzle of avocado or coconut oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

*Organic ingredients preferred

Enjoy your next snack!

Banana Almond Spirulina Shake

Banana Almond Spirulina breakfast shake

     Lets start the day off right with this banana, almond, spirulina shake! This is one of my favorites, being that it is delicious and filling. I personally feel so much better replacing breakfast with a smoothie, juice, or shake the morning after having a big or filling dinner. By replacing breakfast with a shake you are lessening the demands on your digestive system and allowing your body to continue to breakdown last nights food rather than immediately giving it a new job.

     In this shake I will be using homemade almond milk, just 3 ingredients that I will supply a recipe for later this week, so keep your eye out! You can use any almond milk though, unsweetened recommended. Along with a handful of almonds, 1 banana, drop of vanilla, pinch of salt, dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and lastly spirulina and 4 ice cubes.

     The banana gives this shake a creamy texture and the almonds are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats and high quality protein to keep you full until lunchtime. But the real star ingredient here with many benefits is the spirulina! Adding this to your smoothies and shakes will give you that extra energy boost to get you through the day, help detoxify heavy metals, aids in weight loss among many other things like being rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. But lets get to that shake!

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of spirulina
  • 4 to 5 ice cubes

     This makes a little over 2 cups and organic ingredients are always recommended. If you want to learn more about spirulina I will add a link below.

https://draxe.com/spirulina-benefits/