Pumpkin Oat Granola

Happy weekend everyone!

Hopefully this weekend will greet you with a little love, peace, and fresh air.

To start the weekend, can we interest you in some fall-inspired granola?

{fun fact, Sonoma State used to be referred to as “Granola University,” or at least that’s what I’ve been told}

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I’ve been a little hesitant to share this recipe because I have never actually made granola before, and I wasn’t sure if my recipe would be “correct.”

There’s always this sort of feeling that things need to be made (whether in terms of eating, working out, studying, working, whatever), according to a certain standard. That there’s a “perfect” sequence or recipe or order to things.

The thing is, who makes the order? Why wait for something external to tell you what to make, wear, feel, say, do, talk, or even eat?

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What if, instead, you can simply create your own path. Saying “follow your heart” has become kind of cliché, that often it looses it’s meaning.

But, maybe that’s the solution to so many of the problems we may face in life.

Taking the time to slow down, and “tune-in,” just to reconnect with yourself, can reveal a lot. It can reveal things that may be missing in your life, in your relationships, in your workouts, in your eating habits. In everything.

Slowing down, and listening within can be beautiful, it can be painful, it can be slow, or it can be messy, but it is necessary. So this weekend, in the midst of this crazy world, see if you can just take five and slow down. For yourself.

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And then maybe make some granola to fill your house with lovely fall scents.

The cool thing about this granola, is that you don’t have to follow it exactly as I have posted it. I created this granola based off what I had on hand, with the idea in the back of my mind that I wanted it to smell and taste like fall. But if something in here isn’t for you, no need to add it. Or, if you would like to add other things, that’s really awesome too. Pecans, almonds, and other nuts, or even chia and flax seeds would be lovely in it.

But, I wanted to keep the ingredient list low, and have something simple and satisfying.

This is what I came up with.

granola

Pumpkin Oat Granola

1 cup rolled oats (use GF if necessary)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2-1 Tbs Molasses, or to taste (or use 1 banana, mushed)

1/2-1Tbs Almond Milk (or enough to make mixture combinable)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 F.Combine oats, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes, and spices in a bowl. Then add peanut butter, molasses, and almond milk. Start with 1/2 Tbs Almond milk, and add more if necessary to make the mixture combinable, without having it too wet.

Spread mixture on a baking sheet, and bake for 7-12 minutes. About halfway through baking, turn the granola over ensure one side doesn’t get too crispy.

Enjoy, maybe even spread the granola love with someone you know, or place remainders in a package for a quick snack or breakfast throughout the week (or weekend)

Let us know what you think! 🙂

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Reconnecting

Before we even dive into this post together, let’s take a moment, close your eyes and connect with where you are at today. We probably get asked the question “how are you” about a million and a half times a day, but how often do you  respond honestly? Or think about the question? Or, even more so, do you take the time to check in with yourself and truly notice how you are feeling? How can you be honest and aware of what’s going on inside? I know I have a lot of trouble with this. It seems so obvious that we should be aware of what we’re feeling, yet sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in life that you forget to “tune-in,” or “take-stock” of what’s happening.

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So, as a means of reconnecting, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself to recognize what’s going on inside. Our culture is so attached to the idea that more is better, but there is so much beauty in stillness.

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As another means of reconnecting, I’ve been trying to become more aware of what I’m putting in my body. I heard a quote the other day that really hit home with me, “Our body’s are the only thing we truly have.”

Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in wanting to look a certain way, that you loose sight of the amazing vessel you are within. Our bodies are so freaking amazing. They are capable of so many wonderful things. There is so much happening inside: cells, tissues, muscles, organs, all working and functioning in a beautiful symphony to carry you each day. When you start to think about how you can better help all these internal functions, and not worry so much about external appearance, suddenly making healthy food choices doesn’t seem so difficult. When we think about “dieting” as a means of loosing weight, eating healthy can sometimes start to feel like a bit of a chore, something you are doing because you have to, not because you want to.

If you start to think about food as something that is becoming part of you, the fuel which is going to energize and carry you, eating healthy just sort of makes sense. When you eat to support yourself, to support your body’s natural functions and to sustain you, then you can connect with your food and yourself on a deeper level. Then eating healthy isn’t a chore, it isn’t about looking like someone from a movie or a cover of a magazine, or impressing the people around it. Then it is about allowing yourself to become the very best version of yourself. It is about allowing yourself to feel sustained, alive, and beautiful. And every single one of us deserves that.

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Creamy Berry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1 cup almond milk (you can add more or less depending on your desired thickness, I tend to like really think smoothies)

2 cups mixed frozen berries of choice (I used a mixture of strawberries , blackberries, and blueberries; but feel free to use whatever fruit you enjoy most)

1 avocado

1-2 tablespoons almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

(optional, but really fabulous) 1-2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

(also optional) a few shakes of cinnamon

Add ingredients to blending (start first with the almond milk), blend until creamy. The cool thing about adding the avocado is that they add a really creamy texture as they blend, but if this idea kind of freaks you out, you can replace the avocado with 1-2 frozen bananas. Another cool thing to try to add in place of the almond milk is coconut yogurt, which makes the smoothie feel really indulgent.

Before you dive in to this smoothie (or your next meal) take a deep breath and think about what you are about to put into your body, and have gratitude that what you are about to eat will be fueling your actions and activities.

Enjoy! Let us know what you think! Hope your week is going beautifully.

Embracing Fall

Now I think we can say the semester is truly in full swing.

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Everyone is becoming quite a bit busier, classes are becoming just a bit more demanding, and exams are becoming just a bit more frequent.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Well, that’s the beautiful thing about fall! I love the changing seasons because they remind me to reconnect. By reconnecting with the seasons, we can take little hints that nudge us to mimic some of the very things we are seeing in the environment around us. In the fall, the environment seems to tell us to slow down a little bit, turn the the lights off a little earlier, and not to be afraid to shed things off our life that are no longer serving us. The same way we will begin to see the trees shed their leaves, we can use this new season to let go of thoughts, actions, habits, and maybe even people who are no longer contributing to our own personal growth.

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As we prepare to dive into Fall, don’t be afraid to listen to what your body is truly calling for. This is a wonderful time to offer nourishment, rest, and warmth to all aspects of our lives. Even though the school year starts to get pretty crazy, still try to make time for yourself.

Time for yourself can include going to bed a little earlier instead of going out, reading a book instead of watching a movie, getting a fulfilling workout in, spending time in silence, dancing to your favorite song (this is an especially great way to start your morning!),or making some nourishing food with some wonderful Fall flavors!

Here’s some great Fall recipes to try from some of our favorite blogs:

Leanne from Healthful Pursuit‘s Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Breakfast Cake

Angela from Oh She Glow’s Black Bean and Butternut Squash Burritos and her Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for Two

Chocolate Covered Katie‘s Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Is healthy eating overwhelming?

Sometimes the thought of switching over to a healthier lifestyle can seem… overwhelming to say the least.

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There is so much conflicting information out there, it can get easy to get lost in the midst of it all.

Let’s try to take a step back for a moment, and get back to the heart of things.

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Maybe healthy eating doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.

I feel like our society tends to promote this idea that, especially in the case of food, the more things you don’t eat, the better. I hear it all the time when people are talking about dieting or trying to loose weight.

“I can’t eat this… I’m on a diet.” or “I can’t eat that, my diet won’t allow it.” All the while longingly staring at the very thing they are denying themselves.  Why do we like to torture ourselves so much? If we really want to be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle let’s first and foremost undo all this “I can’t” business.

When you tell yourself you can’t have something, you are setting the stage to feel deprived. If you are anything like me, I can only deprive myself of something for so long until I finally give in. Usually whenever this “giving in” occurs, I feel the need to make up for any amount of deprivation by over-eating whatever it is that I had been trying to cut out. This over-eating often causes me to feel really guilty, so I start all over again with trying to deprive myself.

So, let’s try and change this language here. What if, rather than setting these deprivation-based cycles with an “I can’t” mindset, we start our healthier lifestyle by recognizing that we are in control, deciding in each moment what we eat. Once we have a basic understanding of what is good for us, and what is not so good, we can begin to look at things and say, “I care about myself so much that I CHOOSE not to eat that.” Or, even better, “I care about myself, my body, and how I feel so much that rather than eating this thing that tends to make me feel bad and has no health benefits, I will eat this super nutritious thing that will both fuel and nourish my body and allow me to feel amazing.” I think we all deserve to feel amazing!

While there are certainly things in the Standard American Diet (SAD) that are not necessary, and may even be disease and inflammation promoting, we forget to talk about the myriad of amazing foods that are incredibly beneficial and that we actually SHOULD be eating!

So, what should we eat?

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Let’s start with eating REAL, whole foods. Buying foods that look similar to how they would have if that had just been picked from the ground.

Adding in more vegetables into your diet.

Switching your meals to more plant-based.  You can visit the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine for more information. Your plate should look something like this:

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Keeping a variety of color on your plate.

Drinking lots and lots of water.

Emphasizing greens.

Allowing yourself to eat STARCH. See this video from Dr. McDougall for more information on starch. Starch can be simply based on whole foods, as in potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, vegetables, rice, oats. Go for unprocessed forms when possible.

And, above all, ALLOW yourself to eat without feeling guilty or deprived. Being healthy is about recognizing that you are a beautiful and amazing individual who deserves to feel your absolute best. You don’t deserve to feel deprived and constantly in a state of lack, you should instead feel nourished, and in control of the choices you are making.

Obviously, there is plenty more to be said on how to start a healthier lifestyle. Some additional insight:

The book: Keep it Simple, Keep it Whole by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD

The film: Forks Over Knifes

Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

This salad looks amazing

This website has great recipes as well.

Let’s keep this conversation going. How do you make healthier lifestyle changes?

Wheat-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you joined us last Friday for our weekly Potluck, you may have gotten the chance to try out this cookie. It’s free of wheat, dairy, and eggs. It does, however, still taste delicious. We adapted these cookies from this recipe from Angela at Oh She Glows (a really great resource for ahhhmazing vegan recipes!). So, as you’re semester starts to pick up (how can there be midterms already!?) you can make yourself, and maybe even your roommates, a little pick-me up. Perfect for a little home-comfort when life is becoming a little out-of control. What can we say, who doesn’t love homemade cookies?

Best of all, feel free to enjoy the dough, no salmonella to fear here! Enjoy!

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Wheat-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 flax egg ( 1 Tbs ground flax seed, mixed with 3 Tbs warm water, set aside for 5 minutes to thicken)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (look for one with little to no added sugar or salt if possible)

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

3 Tbs Agave (can omit for more brown sugar, or for another liquid sweetener, or an extra banana)

1 banana, mushed (preferably ripe)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup oats, blended into flour (or 1 cup oat flour)

1 cup almonds, blended into flour (or one cup almond flour/almond meal)

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2). Combine ground flax seed with warm water in a small bowl, set aside for at least five minutes to thicken. The consistency should become gel-like, similar to an egg.

3). Combine peanut butter with brown sugar, agave, vanilla extract and banana using either an electric mixer, or blender, or really good arm strength, and blend until combined.

4). Place oats and almonds in blender and grind until a flour-like consistency forms. Time may vary depending on blender, be sure to use a high-powered blender, the almonds might harm one that isn’t powerful. Otherwise, skip this step.

5). Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, oat flour, and almond flour one ingredient at a time to the wet mixture. This might take some time to mix everything together. Add the flax-egg , and mix well. If the dough seems too dry, add a little almond milk to thin everything out, or even add another banana if you would prefer.

6). Fold in chocolate chips.

7). Shape dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. If the chocolate chips are having trouble sticking to the dough (which is common), simply press them into the dough with your fingers.

8). Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown. The cookies with be pretty soft, allow them to cool 5-10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring them off.

9). Enjoy! Share them with your friends!

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What is your favorite kind of cookies??? Is there a recipe you would like to see transformed to a vegan, or whole-foods version? Let us know!

Creamy Potato Curry

If you joined us last Friday for the Nutrition potluck, you had the opportunity to taste this amazing dish (created by our Nutritionist, Katie Mae). If you enjoyed it, and wanted to try making it at home for yourself and your friends, here is the recipe! We will try and share some of the recipes that are brought to the potlucks, but if you ever would like to see a recipe please do not hesitate to ask! If you happened to miss us last Friday, we will be having a potluck every Friday evening at 5pm upstairs in the Rec Center, you are always welcome to join!

This dish is perfect for filling the space for home-cooked comfort food, which may begin to start sounding quite appealing as the semester gets busier and the weather cools off. Without further ado!

Creamy Potato Curry 1
Creamy Potato Curry
Serves: 6
Ingredients:
2 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
12 medium potatoes, chopped (you can keep skin on)
1½ yellow onions, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cauliflower head, chopped
½ cup unsalted cashews
1 cup water
10 kale leaves (any type)
2 cups green peas
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 15 oz can, no-salt added, rinsed)
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot with the lid on, bring vegetable stock and potatoes to a boil.
  2. Add carrots and onions and reduce heat to medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices and cauliflower and continue cooking covered for about 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, grind cashews in a coffee or spice grinder. Stir ground cashews and water into potato mixture until well combined.
  4. After 45 minutes, add kale, peas, and garbanzo beans to stockpot. Cook for 5 minutes or until potatoes are completely cooked and kale is tender.

 

Original Recipe can be found at Sproutd.me 

Overnight Oats

As college students we are often notorious for not being the greatest morning people. Yet, still some of us have early morning classes and full days scheduled. Sometimes along the way simple things like breakfast can get lost in the midst. One solution that has proved valuable to me is prepping breakfast the night before. That way when I’m running out the door in the morning, I can just grab breakfast from the fridge and go, no extra stops or extra money spent.

overnight-oats

[Source]

Vegan Overnight Oats:

1 banana, mushed (Optional, but adds natural sweetness)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free if gluten sensitive)

3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, but wonderful)

1 tablespoon peanut butter (or to taste, or optional, of nut butter of choice)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or container, set in fridge overnight. In the morning eat as is, or add toppings of choice. Good toppings might be fruit, crushed nuts, flax seed, etc.

Other great overnight oats recipes:

http://ohsheglows.com/2010/04/08/easy-vegan-overnight-oats/

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/08/09/basic-chocolate-oatmeal/

Enjoy! Let us know what you think! What’s your go-to breakfast food?

Simple Frozen Pea Soup

The school year has started! I love the beginning of the semester. The campus is so alive, so full of energy. Everyone is just a little more friendly, smiles are just a little more common, and the weather is just a little bit brighter (well, mostly).

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We have classes, events, meet ups, work, clubs, new friends to meet, old friends to see. We’re busy. Sometimes during these times it can be hard to fit in making a healthy meal. However, I know in order to survive (and maybe even thrive!)  this crazy time of year I need some good fuel to power through. With the hot weather lately (along with having my wisdom teeth removed-ouch!) Smoothies have been my go-to meal. But I don’t always want something sweet. So, I give you: frozen pea soup. It’s simple. It’s satisfying. It takes only a few minutes to whip up. It has only three ingredients. Best of all, it’s made of whole foods. Enjoy!

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Frozen Pea Soup:

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 lime, juiced (or just pealed and added to blender)

1/2 avocado

1/2 cup water (or for a creamier soup I used 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup almond milk)

  Directions: First add water (and almond milk, if used) to blender. Add peas, avocado, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.  Add more liquid as needed to reach desired texture. Enjoy!

Can top with whole peas, flax seed, or anything you wish! If cold soup isn’t for you, you could possibly heat up blended soup, however I have not tried this and do not know how it would turn out. If you are really feeling adventurous, you can add a handful of spinach!

Let us know what you think! What are your favorite ways to stay healthy during the school year?

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients 

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup oat flour (140g) (for all substitution notes, see nutrition link below)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp brown sugar or brown coconut sugar (or Sucanat)
4 tbsp xylitol or white sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts (or sub another nut)
3 tbsp to 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I never bother to measure.)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
3-5 tbsp milk of choice, as needed

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Add wet, and form into a big ball.
  4. Now make little balls from the big one.
  5. For soft cookies, refrigerate until cold (otherwise, just bake right away). Bake 7 minutes, or until they’ve spread out and look just a little undercooked. Remove from oven when they’re still a little undercooked, then it’s important to let cookies cool at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from tray, as they’ll continue to cook while cooling. For soft cookies, store in a lidded plastic container.
  6. For crispy cookies, store in a lidded glass container.

Brought to you by Chocolate Covered Katie 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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Ingredients:

3 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets

½ cup water or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning

5 medium carrots, peeled

1½ red onions, chopped

½ cup tahini

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup water

1 teaspoon garlic granules

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 avocado, diced (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Coat cauliflower florets with ¼ cup of water or vegetable broth and ½ tablespoon Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning.
  3. Roast in oven until brown and soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Cut carrots into wedges: Slice across at an angle, rotate carrot so that the cut is facing up and slice at an angle again along the cut. This gives them a unique wedge shape.
  5. Coat carrots and onions in ¼ cup water or vegetable broth and ½ tablespoon Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning.
  6. Roast in oven until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. In a blender, mix tahini, lemon juice, ½ cup water, garlic granules and pepper until dressing is blended. Toss cooked vegetables with dressing, parsley and optional avocado. Garnish with extra parsley.

Brought to you by Sprout Wellness