Photo from my Instagram feed
My main concern (lately) has been eating healthier. Since my pregnancy, my sugar intake has gone through the roof. I have always had a sweet tooth, but between pregnancy, then breastfeeding, then moving states and starting a new job, I have been stress eating like nobody’s business. I love my candy, pastries, and hot chocolates a little too much. This summer, I have been trying (with limited success) to get my sugar intake under control.
As part of this effort, I have been reading a lot about the Paleo Diet. I like the main concept of the Paleo: eat whole foods, because that’s what our bodies have evolved to eat. For me, it resonates with the Michael Pollan/Food Rules sort of eating that I loved so much, before I got pregnant with Nora. I just don’t know if I can commit to the details of Paleo: avoid all processed foods including breads and most grains, refined sugar, dairy, and legumes. That’s a lot of avoiding. My sense though is that Paleo recipe books are a good source for healthy recipes, especially for treats that don’t involve refined sugar.
That’s how this weekend, I found myself spending fifteen minutes chopping almonds while Nora napped. I came across Tyler Daniels‘ Kindle Book: Paleo Breakfast Recipes: For Busy Moms and Dads, through Mama Natural’s Facebook page. (Pro tip: She often provides links to free Kindle books on a variety of healthy eating/living topics, so she’s a good person to follow on Facebook or Twitter. However, even at full price, these books are a steal – often $2.99 a piece.) I read through the recipes and found the perfect solution to my afternoon candy bar cravings: grain-free granola. Daniels’ book has five recipes for grain-free granola and I decided to try Hunter Gatherer Vanilla Granola. It has easy to locate ingredients, important when you live in a small town, and it seemed simple to execute.
My caveat: I am not an accomplished cook, by any means. I am someone who loves to cook when she has the time, which is the privilege of the non-primary meal preparer in a house with a toddler. So, I cook maybe once a week, if that. If I can accomplish this recipe in about 40 minutes, give or take, anyone can.
Hunter Gatherer Vanilla Granola
(reprinted with permission from the author)
- 3 cups almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw honey (Note: I used a combination of the last of my Tupelo honey and wildflower honey, if that matters to other honey snobs out there.)
- 1 tbs. warm water
- 1/4 tsp. salt (Note: My pumpkin seeds were salted, but I still used this same amount of kosher salt, and it turned out fine.)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (165 C).
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
- Spread mixture onto a greased baking sheet. (Note: I used a shallow cake pan, which helped when I was stirring and when I was transferring it to jars.)
- Bake for 20 minutes, but stir the granola after 10 minutes so it cooks evenly.
- Cool before serving, then store in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container.
The most challenging part of this recipe was chopping the almonds, which could be easily remedied by using a food processor. Nora was sleeping, so I used a knife and patience. Everything else was as simple as this recipe sounds.
Photo from my Instagram feed
Let me tell you, when I was baking this granola, my house smelled like heaven, thanks to the combination of vanilla, coconut oil, and honey. I recommend trying this recipe, just to smell it as it bakes.
As soon as it was finished cooling, I spooned the still slightly warm granola into my Ball 4 ounce jelly jars, which made about 12-ish portions. I’m not as solid on the portions, because as I was transferring it, Aaron, Nora and I nommed a full portion. In fact, Nora kept stretching over me to get more out of the pan, she liked it so much.
The result, for me, is a highly addictive and satisfying snack. I eat about half of the jelly jar, because it is filling enough, with the protein, fat, and fiber, to last me in the afternoon. I highly recommend trying it, and the other recipes, in the book.
What recipes or techniques have you found that satisfy your sugar cravings? Let me know so I can try them!