Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the category “Coconut”

Almond Joy Granola

Almond joy granola 1

I’ll keep this post as short and sweet as the granola recipe that follows. Lately, it’s been like my life (outside of work) has been sucked up by a vacuum. Before, I had the entire summer to enjoy each of my hobbies. Recently, I’ve been trying to be better about making sure I take time for myself.

On the bright side, my kids have actually been using a math strategy I taught them to do multiplication. I noticed them using it one morning when they were doing the problems of the day, which are posted on the morning meeting white board. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. Something stuck with them. Even the little things that are taught, stick with them. I taught them something that was useful (for the moment until they’re repertoire of strategies and number sense increases). The feeling of seeing them use what they learned independently is nearly indescribable. Until the next light bulb moment happens, there is always almond joy granola, which is possibly my new favorite granola recipe (and when I say possibly I mean definitely because anything almond joy flavored is amazing – unless you hate coconut and then it’s less than amazing, but I’m not one of those coconut haters and therefore it’s amazing).

almond joy granola 2

Almond Joy Granola:

*Makes about 4 cups of granola

Ingredients:

2 cups of rolled oats

1/3 cup of walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup of almonds, chopped

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

4 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp of cocoa powder

1 tsp of vanilla

1/4 tsp of almond extract

Method:

1- To make the almond-flavored granola:

  • Mix together: 1 cup of rolled oats, the chopped almonds, and the coconut flakes. Then, in a separate bowl mix these liquid ingredients: 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and the almond extract. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until the oats are well coated.

2- To make the chocolate-flavored granola:

  • Mix together: 1 cup of rolled oats, the chopped walnuts, the coconut flakes, and cocoa powder. Then, in a separate bowl mix these liquid ingredients: 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and the vanilla extract. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until the oats are well coated.

3- Add each mixture of granola to a baking sheet – keeping the two variations separate during baking (I put both on one baking pan, but kept the chocolate on one half and the almond granola on the other half). Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the almond granola begins to turn golden brown around the edges of the pan.

4- Let the granola cool for about 25-30 minutes before serving with your favorite type of milk. Store in an airtight container. When I made this granola it lasted for about 4-5 days in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Almond joy granola 3

Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola

Goji berry crunch

Okay, I admit it. I broke down and bought a couple of different superfoods. After watching Food Matters, I became curious about why people were running out and buying foods like goji berries and raw maca. I didn’t know the first thing about superfoods, aside from the idea that they were supposed to be very good for you.

Not too long after watching that documentary, I gave in and bought both goji berries and cacao nibs. Almost immediately, I found myself adding the cacao nibs to different foods I normally made like oatmeal and in trail mix.

The goji berries, however, were a different story. At first bite, I didn’t really like them. They were fairly tough on the outside and had a fruit flavor that I didn’t like the taste of (which is odd because I’d loved every fruit I’d tasted prior to this experience assuming goji berries are a fruit?). I knew they were supposed to be good for me and I’d paid a pretty penny for a small bag of the pretty, coral-colored berries, so I tried to eat a small handful with other dried fruits I enjoyed, like apricots. I tried hard to like them, but efforts were to no avail. They sat in my cabinet for a couple of months with little or no use.

One day, I was talking with the guy who lives upstairs from me and he was telling me how he and his girlfriend were on this superfood kick. They’d bought all different powders, berries, and seeds in hopes of adding them to their diet. I admitted how I’d tried goji berries, but wasn’t too fond of them. He then told me how he loved eating them with chocolate.

Ding, ding, ding. It was like the light bulb went off in my head. I’d never tried the berries with chocolate. What a genius idea. Almost immediately, the idea for chocolate goji berry granola was born.  The combination was a success and now I have a new use for all those unused berries I bought. Whether eating them with granola defeats the purpose or not, is not something I’d like to consider. It was too delicious to contemplate the idea of how healthy it was.

Goji berry crunch 2

Chocolate Goji Berry Crunch Granola: 

*Yields about 3-4 cups of granola

Ingredients:

1 1/3  cup of rolled oats (I used GF rolled oats)

1/3 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes

2/3 cup of chopped nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and cashews – both tasted delicious with the chocolate flavor of the granola)

2 tbsp of cocoa powder

1/3 cup of raisins

1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp of light agave nectar

(possible substitution: maple syrup)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/3 cup of goji berries

1 tbsp of cacao nibs (*optional)

Method: 

1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add your rolled oats, coconut, chopped nuts, raisins, and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2- Melt the virgin coconut oil either in a small pan or in the microwave. Add the Coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla  into a glass measuring cup. Stir once before pouring over the rolled oat mixture. Mix the oats with the wet ingredients, making sure all of the oats are coated.

3- Spread a thin layer of granola onto the parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The granola is finished when the raisins on the edges of the pan begin to turn puff up. After the granola has cooled for about five minutes add the goji berries and cacao nibs (I thought cooking them would make them lose their many nutritional benefits such as the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that they provide). Let the granola cool before using it (it will become crisper as it cools, it will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven).

*Store in an airtight container. Other possible additions: substitute goji berries for dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or banana chips

In case you missed my two other posts on granola, I’ve also made a banana walnut version, as well as maple pecan granola. Enjoy!

Vegan Coconut Macaroons In Four Flavors and the Thanksgiving of Ten Desserts

 Coconut macaroons 2 Coconut macaroons 3 Coconut macaroons 1

 About two Thanksgivings ago I ate ten desserts in that one day. Yes, I admit it. It happened and I certainly didn’t feel good afterwards, but the eating part was so wonderful I just couldn’t stop myself. I shoved my mouth full of my grandma’s ricotta cheesecake, pumpkin and apple pies, as well as many different types of cookies and cake. Now, I know that ten sounds like a lot, but I’m a grazer by nature. I like to nibble on lots of different types of foods. It wasn’t like I just plowed through ten full size desserts, though I must admit, that would be impressive. Really, what led me to eating my plateful(s) of mini-sized desserts and what also let me to bake four versions of coconut macaroons is my indecisiveness.

Who could make just one version? Certainly not me. Nope, I needed to make four and I’m sure I ate nearly half of them myself. I mean when you bring these things to a function (and they’re the only dessert there you can eat), you’re going to devour a bunch of them just because of how delicious they are. These macaroons hit the spot (all four versions). They were lightly crunchy on the outside and oh so moist on the inside. The citrus macaroons were refreshing, while on the other hand, the chocolate and chocolate chip ones were decadent. You choose or don’t and make multiple types of macaroons like I did (I certainly didn’t regret it, especially since these aren’t all that bad for you).

Coconut macaroons 4

Coconut macaroons:

*Adapted from the Coconut Macaroon Thumbprint Recipe found on Oh She Glows

*Makes 16-18 macaroons

Ingredients for citrus macaroons:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 cup of almond flour/meal

1/4- 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread) *this is not the same as coconut oil

1/2 lemon juiced or 1 lime juiced (depending on the flavor you want)

zest of 1 lemon or lime, depending on the flavor you choose

Ingredients for chocolate and chocolate chip macaroons: 

1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 cup of almond flour/meal

1/4- 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup of coconut butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread) *this is not the same as coconut oil

1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tbsp of mini chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips, chopped

*for the chocolate version add 4 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp extra of maple syrup and top with cacao nibs (optional)

Method (same for all recipes): 

1- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Then combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk them together. Then add in the syrup, the melted coconut oil, and any citrus juice or vanilla extract. Mix well. *If you are creating the chocolate version – add the extra maple syrup and the cocoa powder now.

2- Fold in the chocolate chips if creating the chocolate or chocolate chip macaroons. Then use a medium sized-melon baller to create even sized macaroons. Space them evenly apart on the cookie sheet (they don’t need too much room in between because they don’t spread at all).

3- Bake them for 20-22 minutes. They should be slightly crisp on the outside when you pull them out. Let them cool completely before serving (though I’m sure they would taste good warm too). Top the citrus macaroons each with a pinch of fresh zest.

These were delicious. I wouldn’t have made them if there wasn’t a special occasion because otherwise I would have eaten them all on my own. They were that good.

You Pick: Almond Joy or Apricot-Chocolate Overnight Oats

Overnight oats 1

Since I’ve given up eating almond joys (and all foods that aren’t plant-based), it seems like  those little chocolate covered coconut bars have hijacked my thoughts. So far, I’ve made my own raw version of the candy bar (from a delicious recipe I found on Rawmazing) and almond joy flavored popcorn. Now I’m adding almond joy overnight oats to the list. Where will my pursuit of almond and coconut flavored foods end? I’m not quite sure, but I don’t think I’ve reached my recipe limit yet using both of those flavors. They are a timeless combination.

Aside from a recipe for almond joy flavored oatmeal, you’ll also find a recipe for apricot-chocolate overnight oats. It was inspired by one of my other favorite chocolate treats, which are dark chocolate covered apricots. My mouth is watering just thinking of them. If you’re anything like me, then you take no shame in having your dessert for breakfast. These recipes remind me of some of my favorite chocolate treats, but with a healthy (guilt-free) twist.

Overnight oats 2

Almond Joy and Apricot-Chocolate Overnight Oats: 

*Both recipes serve 1

Almond Joy Oatmeal Ingredients:

1/2 cup of rolled oats (GF or regular)

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp of ground flax seed

1 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar (or some other sweetener) *add more if needed

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

2 tbsp of unsweetened finely shreded coconut

1 tbsp of cacao nibs

1 tbsp of slivered almonds

Apricot Chocolate Oatmeal Ingredients:

1/2 cup of rolled oats (GF or regular)

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp of ground flax seed

1 1/2 tsp of coconut sugar (or some other sweetener) *add more if needed

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tbsp of unsweetened finely shreded coconut

1 tbsp of cacao nibs

4 apricots, diced

Method: 

1- Mix the rolled oats, almond milk, flax seed, sugar, and vanilla extract together the night before you want to eat the oatmeal. Then put it into the fridge in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap.

2- The morning of, add the rest of the ingredients and enjoy! You can eat it cold or warm it up (I ate mine cold).

I am happy I’ve found a way to enjoy oatmeal even in the summer months. The consistency is not quite the same as hot oatmeal, but it was still delicious!

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