Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola

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This maple coconut quinoa (yes, I said quinoa) granola is so good! The maple and coconut flavors pair really well together and the quinoa adds a great crunch.

I created this recipe out of desperation. I’ve had tummy trouble for as long as I can remember, so I’ve recently started the low FODMAP diet to see if I can pinpoint the cause. You can read more about the low FODMAP diet here if you’re interested, but in a nutshell, I have to eliminate a number of “problem” foods for several weeks and then slowly add them back to determine which foods are triggering my symptoms. That means some of my favorite foods are now off-limits (cereal with milk, apples with peanut butter, avocados, bread, ice cream (gasp!), etc).

Desperate to find a low FODMAP snack that I could enjoy (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc), I came up with this recipe, and boy am I glad that I did! I would eat this over wheat cereal any day. Even my kids and husband loved it.

Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola

My favorite way to eat this granola is sprinkled over yogurt (lactose-free for me) with some frozen raspberries. Yum!

Maple Coconut Quinoa Granola with Yogurt

Keep in mind that raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are considered low FODMAP as long as they are kept in small quantities (2 tablespoons or less), so keep your portions small if you are following a low FODMAP diet.

I also recommend soaking the nuts and seeds prior to making this recipe, especially if you have trouble digesting them. The soaking/drying process will take about 24 hours, so be sure to start the day before you want to make the granola. Or you can skip the soaking process if you’re short on time.

Ingredients
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup pre-soaked nut/seed mix (instructions below)
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water to remove the bitter coating. Add the rinsed quinoa, nuts/seeds, oats, shredded coconut, and salt to a large bowl and stir to combine. (Note: if you are using pre-soaked nuts/seeds (instructions below) they will be lightly salted, so you may want to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.) Pour in the melted coconut oil and maple syrup and mix together until evenly coated.

Spread the granola out on a large cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring a few times during baking. Remove from the oven and stir in the golden raisins, then let cool for at least 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container on the counter.

Nut/Seed Soaking Instructions:

  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water and mix in a tablespoon of salt.
  2. Add raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts and chopped almonds to the bowl (or your favorite nuts and seeds).
  3. Soak nuts in the salt water overnight for 10 – 12 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 125 degrees.
  5. Drain the nuts and spread onto a large baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 hours (this will dry out the nuts and prevent them from getting moldy).
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Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These chocolate chip cookies get an extra dose of bliss with the addition of almonds and coconut. The almonds add a nice crunch and the coconut gives the cookies a nice chewy texture. I love the flavor of chocolate, almonds, and coconut together too . . . kind of like an Almond Joy in a cookie!

Ingredients
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar (I use organic sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter, white and brown sugars, and the vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixture until the butter looks lighter in color and has fluffy texture. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Using a big wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and almonds.

Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, making sure to leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. (Note: I baked some of my cookies on a light-colored baking sheet, and some on a dark-coated baking sheet covered with foil. The cookies on the dark-coating baking sheet had a higher-rise and were more golden brown in color than those on the light-colored baking sheet. I think this recipe is more suited to a dark-coated baking sheet. Just food for thought!)

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving cookies to a wire rack to cool completely (or at least until your family discovers them!).

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Almond Butter Balls

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My kids love peanut butter and almond butter. They would eat it right out of the jar, if I let them. These no-bake balls are ready to eat in minutes and make a perfect after-school snack. The oats provide fiber and energy, and the almond butter adds protein and healthy fats. Just what tired kids (and moms!) need after a long day. This makes a small batch; just enough for a day or two.

Ingredients
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons honey (use less if your coconut is sweetened)
Coconut flakes, unsweetened cocoa, and finely chopped almonds for coating

Combine the oats, almond butter, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, and honey in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring to completely combine the ingredients.

Using your hands, press the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll them in the coating (coconut, cocoa, or almonds).

The balls can be stored at room temperature, but I prefer to store them in the fridge to help them keep their shape (less messy to eat too).

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Apple Cobbler

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Mmm, there is something comforting and completely satisfying about warm apple pie on a crisp autumn day. I love apple pie, but this cobbler is better than most apple pies that I’ve tasted, and it’s easier to make too! The almonds add another flavor that makes this cobbler unique (and extra tasty). You can also split this between two smaller baking dishes, and either share one with a friend, or stick it in the freezer for later.

Ingredients
6 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the sliced apples, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and cinnamon. Let stand for about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour into the apple mixture and stir well. Pour the apples into the bottom of the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add the melted butter and milk and stir until combined. Stir in the walnuts and almonds. Place individual spoonfuls on top of the apple mixture (it’s okay if you don’t cover all of the apples), and bake for about 45 minutes.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Ah, bliss!

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Almond Pear Pie

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It’s pear season and this is an excellent recipe if you find yourself with a surplus of very ripe pears. Choose pears that are soft when ripe, such as Bartlett, rather than crisper pear varieties (Asian, Bosc, etc).

Ingredients
1/3 cup softened butter, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 frozen pie crust
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 very ripe pears

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, and then add the almonds. Toast the almonds until golden and fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 1/3 cup butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and then mix in the flour. Fold in the toasted almonds.

Working quickly to prevent browning, peel the pears and cut into thick slices.  Arrange the pears in the bottom of the pie crust (don’t bother trying to make it look pretty). Pour the custard (mixed in the previous step) over the top of the pears.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the custard is set in the center. Cool completely before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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Jamie’s Cranberry Spinach Salad

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Okay, get your grocery list and write down these ingredients — no really, this salad is that good. Below is my version of the recipe (which can change depending on the ingredients that I have on hand), but click here to see the original recipe on allrecipes.com. I serve mine with sautéed chicken to make a delicious main dish salad. Mmmm, it makes me happy just thinking about it!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, onion, paprika, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil, until the sugar is dissolved. Toss with spinach just before serving.  Enjoy!

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