So without going into a big old tirade about how busy life is with two kids and work to do, I will just say HEY! It's good to be back. The idea of sitting down to write seems like such an impossibility at times, but here I am again. And your reward for sticking with me? I have been on a little recipe-building spree!
My good friend, Corrie, and I have been back on our fitness and nutrition program with Vicki Waters. I have spoken about her before; to read more about what it entails read here. It's good to be in control...when I fall off track with my food and exercise, I feel physically and mentally depleted. For me it is worth the time and effort required to take care of myself; I am happier and accomplish more, and am generally just a whole lot nicer to be around. Have I mentioned that exercise is THE BEST cure for depression? Can't say it enough.
I haven't reached my final goal yet (and it is not a number - for me it will be about how strong and energetic I feel, and okay, how my jeans fit to a degree). But in this round of the program my goal has really been more about making a permanent lifestyle change. Weight loss is a nice side effect of it all, yes, but I am very focused on the mental shift I am going to need to have made to survive this summer. Because last year was a bust! Too many BBQ's, too many houseguests, too many cocktails, before I knew it I was putting a winter layer back on. In August.
So here we are, and I am back on track and determined to keep living a cleaner, more active life so I can be here for as long as possible for my kiddies and other loved ones. Without further ado, allow me to share some of my new recipes. I am particularly excited about my homemade "instant" oatmeal packets. Let's start there.
SAM'S FIBERLICIOUS INSTANT OATMEAL:
Note: I saw a few people doing versions of this around Pinterest and other idea sites - it is basically oats in a baggie without all the added junk they put in the store-bought stuff. I did develop this recipe myself, though, by using ingredients other than just oats and brown sugar. I need a little more than that to get my energy up in the morning.
If you are following Vicki's program to a "tee," you will have to omit the stevia.
3.5 CUPS QUICK OATS
1 CUP GROUND FLAX SEEDS
1 CUP GROUND WALNUTS
1/4 CUP SUNFLOWER SEEDS
1/4 CUP PUMPKIN SEEDS
1/2 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS
1/8 TSP STEVIA
1 TBSP CINNAMON
14 SNACK-SIZED ZIPPER BAGGIES
Next, put your oats aside and get your nuts into the food processor. Pulse them to your desired size. I make mine pretty small so my kids can't identify them as different from the oats (they are fussy about texture), but if you prefer bigger chunks, go for it. Now, combine all ingredients. Using a half-cup measure, place a scoop in each of your 14 baggies.
SAM'S HOMEMADE GINGER CURRY GRANOLA
Yes, you heard me right. Curry in granola. Why? The real question is why the heck not? Curry actually makes pretty much everything taste better. I try not to be judgemental, generally speaking...but if you don't like curry, I will probably think you're kinda weird.
This is a double batch so you will need around three baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
If you are following Vicki's program to a "tee," you will have to omit the maple syrup and the stevia. I feel they are necessary to balance the flavour and given that this is a huge batch, when you look at a small portion it's not a high sugar snack. The only caveat there is the whole carbohydrates converting to sugars the second they hit your bloodstream thing...so watch your portions. I like 1/4 cup sprinkled on my yogurt and fruit in the morning.
6 CUPS QUICK OATS
1 CUP WALNUTS
1/2 CUP PECANS
1/2 CUP CASHEWS
1/2 CUP DRIED CHERRIES
1/2 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS
I TBSP CURRY POWDER
1 TBSP GROUND GINGER
3 TBSP GROUND CINNAMON
1 TSP GROUND NUTMEG
1/2 TSP SEA SALT
1/8 TSP STEVIA
1 TBSP SESAME OIL
6 TBSP MAPLE SYRUP
1 CUP UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE
Preheat over to 325 degrees. Line your baking pans with parchment.
Put the nuts in a food processor and grind to your desired coarseness. I like them in medium-sized chunks for this recipe so they still add some crunch.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients to combine in a smaller bowl. Add the latter to the former. Mix well to combine.
Spread the mixture in an even layer on each of the baking sheets. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to keep the mixture at the edge of the pan from burning. When golden brown, cool and store in a jar. Serve with milk or on top of fruit and yogurt. YUM.