Coconut and Pumpkin Granola

 

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Homemade Granola 

 

Traditional granola is made with whole oats , a sweetener, and a mix of nuts, seeds, grains, and sometimes dried fruit. This popular breakfast and snack food is a powerhouse of nutrition that includes a good source of fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, folate, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. Eating granola has many health benefits and can help with digestion, weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, boosting energy, improving brain function and cancer prevention. Store bought granola is expensive and can be high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Making your own granola is very easy and a lot more healthy than store bought granola.

This homemade granola recipe is made with unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, and is naturally sweetened with maple syrup. You can customize this recipe with your favorite add-ins such as pecans, sunflower seeds, and quinoa. Serve granola over Greek yogurt, as a parfait,  in a trail mix, over baked fruit, or as a topping on muffins or pastries.

Coconut and Pumpkin Granola

3 cups regular oats

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)

 

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup maple syrup

¼ cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg white whipped

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix orange juice, maple syrup, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in oil. Cool slightly and then add vanilla and whipped egg white.

Pour maple syrup mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, stir well. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and stir in dried fruit if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks

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Zucchini and Carrot Muffins with a Maple Glaze

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Homemade muffins are easy to make and can be healthy and so much more nutritious than store bought muffins. There are endless possibilities of muffins you can make.

5 Tips to Making  Healthier Muffins

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  1. Reduce the sugar by 25% in your muffin recipe and use natural sweeteners such as bananas, applesauce, or maple syrup for part of the sugar.
  2. Replace butter with a healthy oil such as canola oil, and reduce fats by adding applesauce,  pumpkin or prune puree.
  3. Replace 1/3 to ½ of white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. For every one cup white flour use ¾ cup of whole wheat pastry flour.
  4. To increase nutrient value, add healthy additions such as fruit, nuts, seeds, flaxseed and wheat germ.
  5. Skip heavy sugar sweetened frostings for a light glaze or a topping made of nuts and seeds.

          Zucchini and applesauce provide the moistness in these healthy muffins. They are  naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Serve with breakfast, as a snack, or a dessert. IMG_0622 

Zucchini and Carrot Muffins with a Maple Glaze

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups white flour sifted
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

maple glaze:  1/3 cup powdered sugar; 1 tablespoons maple syrup;                                                                   ½ to 1 teaspoon milk

DIRECTIONS

        In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate bowl mix sugar, eggs, maple syrup, canola oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Gently mix into dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots and zucchini. Add walnuts.  Lightly spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use paper lined muffin cups to prevent sticking. Divide muffin batter evenly to make 18 muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

Blend maple glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over cooled muffins.

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