Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

granola, gluten free granola, healthy granola, chocolate granola.jpg

Granola doesn't last very long around Living Kitchen HQ. We love it so much that we could eat it for every meal (alright, maybe we're exaggerating a little bit). While oats are packed with heart-healthy soluble fibre that makes for a satiating breakfast, store-bought versions are often high in sugar - around 12.5 grams per cup according to The Guardian. Eating this first thing in the morning can absolutely be a recipe for a massive energy spike and crash later in the day. 

Homemade granola is definitely the best option if you're looking to control your sugar intake. It is easy to prepare a large batch on Sundays to use for grab-and-go breakfasts or snacks. Prioritize loading it up with healthy fats from nut butter and seeds, adding sweetness with honey or unsweetened dried fruit. 

We created these crunchy granola clusters that are packed with cacao, peanut butter, and dried cherries. It is light on sweetness with only a touch of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals. The best part? It's completely adaptable and you can modify our recipe to include the things you love.

Plus we have an awesome cooking technique that you can use to get nice crunchy clusters! 

healthy granola, granola, honey, raw honey, gluten free

Cacao Cherry Granola Clusters

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut butter (or preferred alternative)
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Additional Toppings:
3 tbsp dried cherries
2 tbsp dried mulberries
2 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a small pot over medium-low heat combine peanut butter, raw honey, and coconut oil until completely glossy and smooth.
3. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until completely coated and spread evenly on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Do not stir it (trust us).
5. Place on a cooling rack, allowing to cool completely to the touch. Once cool, break into large cluster sized pieces and mix with additional toppings.
6. Store in an airtight glass container or mason jar.
7. Serve on top of yogurt, or with a splash of coconut milk and a drizzle of raw honey. 

Let us know what your favourite granola toppings are over on our Instagram page. While you're there, don't forget to enter our Spring Snack Giveaway where you can enter to win a jar of raw wildflower honey from Beekeeper's Naturals.

Happy snacking!

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

blueberry banana muffins, blueberry spelt muffins

Ever crave a muffin in the morning that's perfect for breakfast but not too sweet? We are always trying to find recipes for baked goods that won't give us a sugar rush or that shaky feeling that comes from eating something too sweet for breakfast.  This recipe is a lovely combination of spelt, oat and buckwheat that creates a flavourful, rich flour that's also still fluffy.  Buckwheat is a gluten free flour that we love to bake with, but it is very dense when used on it's own.  That's why spelt flour and oat flour give the muffins a better texture.  You are going to love the bite of candied ginger in these muffins, it pairs beautifully with the familiar sweet taste of banana and the fresh pop of blueberries.

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt

1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup dairy-free milk
2 eggs

1 cup blueberries (we like to use frozen wild blueberries)
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped in small pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.  Fold in the dry ingredients.  Then stir in the blueberries and chopped candied ginger.

  3. Portion out into a mini muffin tin, lined with muffin liners. Alternatively, you can bake in a normal sized muffin tin.

  4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and knife or toothpick comes out clean. If you're making larger muffins, they might take a little longer to cook in the center.

Blueberry Banana Ginger Spelt Oat Muffins

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

cranberry sauce, sugar free cranberry sauce, cranberry apple sauce

If this recipe had another name it would be "All the warm and fuzzy holiday feelings sauce!"  It's our warming, spiced, boost your immune system winter sauce that's the perfect combo of sweet and tart.  Cranberries, orange, and apples simmered with fresh ginger root, cinnamon and maple syrup will make your home smell so comforting and welcoming.  We love eating this sauce with breakfast, as a snack, as a healthy dessert or you can use it in any meal where you would use standard cranberry sauce.

cranberry ginger sauce, sugar free cranberry sauce, cranberry apple sauce

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

1 bag of cranberries
1 apple, diced
1 orange, peeled and chopped roughly
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated or minced
1 cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

1. Rinse off the cranberries and apple, and peel the orange.

2. Dice the apple and cut the orange roughly in small pieces.

3. Grate or mince the ginger root.

4. Combine the cranberries, apple, orange, ginger root and cinnamon in a pot.  Pour in the water.

5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is soft and cooked well.

6. Stir in the maple syrup.  You can mash the fruit if you prefer that it is smooth.

cranberry apple sauce, sugarfree cranberry sauce, cranberry ginger sauce

Pumpkin Buckwheat Mini Muffins

pumpkin muffins, gluten free, buckwheat

It's fall and that means pumpkin spice season! These little muffins have all the spices from pumpkin pie and are perfect for breakfast or as a snack.  Buckwheat is a gluten free grain that has an earthy taste that can be noticeable in some recipes, but pairing it with oat flour in these muffins helps to mellow out the strong flavour.  Pumpkin (and squash) is a wonderful seasonal vegetable to eat in the fall and winter because it's packed with vitamins and antioxidant strength.  

We recently learned that it's especially important to purchase organically grown squash (and pumpkin).   These veggies are particularly good at pulling contaminants and chemicals out of the soil they grow in (which means it's going right into the squash we eat as food).  So, stick to organic squash and pumpkin.

One more note for this recipe: You'll find that these muffins are not too sweet.  If you have a big sweet tooth, you could add an additional Tbsp of maple syrup to the recipe.

 

gluten free pumpkin muffins, buckwheat

Pumpkin Buckwheat Mini Muffins

1/2 cup oat flour (use certified gluten free oat flour if needed)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch sea salt

Topping:
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients and then fold into the dry ingredients.

3. Scoop out the muffin batter into a mini muffin tin (you can line with parchment paper muffin liners to make it easy to pop them out of the tray). Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top of each muffin.  The batter will make 24 mini muffins.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are cooked in the center.

Matcha Chia Pudding

matcha chia pudding

Smooth, creamy, sweet and yet kinda like earthy green tea at the same time...matcha lends a unique taste to this chia pudding.  Chia pudding is one of our favourite things to make for breakfast because it's so easy to prepare in advance (even days in advance) and then just grab it and go in the morning.  With this recipe, we even prepped all the fruit in advance and stored it in the same mason jar as the chia pudding. 

If you like green tea, then you'll love this special matcha treat. And, since matcha is made from whole ground up green tea leaves it's super rich in antioxidants.  Chia seeds are wonderful to support digestion and keep things moving regularly, plus they also contain protein and anti inflammatory omega 3 fat.

matcha chia pudding

Matcha Chia Pudding

2 1/4 cups dairy-free milk (we used 1 and 1/4 cups hemp milk and 1 cup  full fat coconut milk
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 tsp matcha
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Toppings:
raspberries
pomegranate (if it's in season)
green apple, slivererd

Directions:

1. The first thing you'll need to do is whisk the matcha into the milk.  Make sure there are no clumps. 

2. Then whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl.  You can taste it and add more maple syrup if you'd like it to be sweeter.

3. Pour into 2 mason jars (or 3, if you want smaller servings).  Cover and place the jars in the fridge over night.  The pudding will be thick in the morning.

4. Top with berries, pomegranate and apple slices.  To save time for another morning- add in the fruit in advance and seal up the jar, keep in the regrigerator.

matcha chia pudding

Pomegranate Blueberry 10-Minute Pancakes (gluten free, vegan)

blueberry pomegranate pancakes, gluten free, vegan

When you don't have a lot of time in the morning, breakfast usually comes last, and quickly.  We get pretty tired of toast, smoothies and granola though.  Pancakes are normally reserved for the weekend, on more leisurely days.  But, with this month being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we've been thinking about simple ways that we can incorporate more self care.  Self care doesn't have to be an hour long massage or a girls' night with friends (although we love those things and would love to bank some more hours there).  Self care can be simple.  And, we want to put our attention on those simple things.  Pancakes for breakfast is a form of self care.

Taking a moment to breathe deeply is self care.  Washing your face with a natural soap that you love, buying your favourite beautiful fruit to enjoy even if it's not on sale, curling up with your favourite blanket and good book for 15 minutes before bed...these are all moments of self care.  Although we are nutritionists and talk a lot about food and importance of eating nourishing things to support your health, self care and how you emotionally feel is just as important when it comes to preventing disease, managing illness and recovering and healing. 

Our Top 4 Self Care Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

1. Skin brush.  Buy a skin brush and use it in the shower every day, or even once a week.  Just start out with using it occasionally, so that you can implement the practice and avoid getting overwhelmed. Skin brushing helps stimulate your lymph system and move toxins out of your body (the things that can get stagnant and lead to blockage and illness). Remember, always brush toward the direction of your heart when skin brushing.

2. Get outside in nature. Whether you live in the city or in a more rural area.  Walk in nature.  Walk in a park or nature reserve area if you live in the city.  Spend some time sitting on the earth.  Being in nature helps calm the mind, body and spirit.  Haven't heard of forest bathing? Check it out: Forest Bathing

3. Detox your home from toxins. Clean out your house of all the cleaning supplies, soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. that are made with chemicals.  Anything that has a really strong smell is a good sign that it's probably not the healthiest thing for you to keep around.  Instead, pick up some new cleaning supplies from the health food store that are made with natural and organic ingredients.  Choose soap and beauty products that are free of dangerous chemicals.  Need help?  Check out the Environmental Working Group's guide: Skin Deep Database

4. Make pancakes more! Take the time to prepare and eat the foods that you love.  A little self care and nourishment is easy to incorporate when you make recipes that use good quality ingredients. 

Pomegranate Blueberry 10-Minute Pancakes (gluten free, vegan)

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour (certified GF if needed)
2 tsp coconut sugar (omit if you don't want sweets)
tiny pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water
1 cup dairy-free milk
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup wild blueberries (we use frozen)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

additional coconut oil for cooking

Directions:
1. Combine the chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Create a well in the dry ingredients in the center of the bowl.  Add in the chia seeds and water, milk, and melted coconut oil.
3. Mix all together.  If the batter is too thick, you can add some more water or milk.
4. Then fold in the blueberries.
5. Heat a large skillet with some coconut oil.
6. Scoop out batter to form small pancakes.  Cook for about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook on other side until center is firm and the edges are just beginning to crisp slightly.
7. Serve pomegranate seeds over top.  If you eat butter, add some on top of the pancakes (or use coconut oil), along with maple syrup or raw honey.