Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crunchy Quinoa Granola

I'm turning 50 this year.

In May.

That's just five months away.  It may sound like I'm freaked out about it.  I'm really not.   Not about being 50.  Maybe about being 50 and being 20 pounds overweight.  We have a couple of big trips planned this year.....one for my birthday to Little Dix and one in October to Bali, Borneo and Singapore.  I'd like to be in better shape for both of them.

It seems when hubs retired a few years ago I subconsciously relaxed a tad also and these extra pounds creeped on when I wasn't paying close attention.  When he quit working, we went from him being gone during the week and only home on weekends to well, obviously being home all the time.  When he was gone, I didn't really eat dinner that often.  I'd have a big lunch and be fine for the rest of the day.  That all changed when he retired.  For some reason, he likes to eat dinner!  Not only that, he's 6'7" with a metabolism to die for, so he can eat pretty much whatever he wants. Seems I can't.  Hence the 20 lbs!


Soooooo, if I want to enjoy these upcoming vacations like I'd like to, I've got to get busy.  Here's my plan:

*  Up the cardio.  It's not like I currently do nothing.  I'm good for three miles on the treadmill four days a week.  I'm raising that to a minimum of five miles, six days a week.  I'll jog at least three of those miles.

*  Ask my personal trainer to kick it up a notch.  I work out with him 30 minutes, three days a week.  I'm asking him to get tougher!

*  Change the eating habits.  Look, I'm not going all vegan here.  I like good food.  Good.  Food.  I'm not eating things I don't love anymore.  No wasteful calories.  If I feel like having a burger, I'm having a burger.  Maybe only half and that sucker better be tasty or I'm not wasting my calories on it.  That being said, there will be three meatless dinners per week.  I've also cut out red meat for the month of January.  But that was really just to detox after the holidays where I went a little overboard!

*  Finally, more fiber.  It not only keeps things moving (so to speak), it's incredibly filling.

Which brings me to this Crunchy Quinoa Granola.  I loooove homemade granola with greek yogurt for breakfast and this just became one of my new favorites.  The almonds and pumpkin seeds make it super crunchy with just a touch of sweetness from the cranberries.  Plus, it's packed with protein and fiber from the quinoa and chia seeds so it keeps me completely satisfied until lunch.   Hubs even had this sprinkled on his ice cream and chocolate sauce one night.  I had a bite and it was delicious!  It's even great all on it's own.  Put some in a zip lock baggie and throw it in your purse for a satisfying and filling snack during the day.  The only disclaimer here is to have a toothpick or a toothbrush handy after you eat this.  Between the black chia seeds and the quinoa, you'll definitely want to do a mirror check before you smile at anyone!  Just sayin.

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Quinoa Granola
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

3/4 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup shaved coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup natural applesauce (unsweetened)
 2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries


 Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

 2. Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, oats, almonds, pepitas, shaved coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

 3. In a small bowl, whisk together applesauce, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until granola is golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

4. Stir in the dried cranberries and raisins. Let granola cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to one month.

Note-to make the granola gluten-free, use gluten-free oats. To make the granola vegan, use agave instead of honey.


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I wanted to show some pics from our Christmas/New Year's holiday in Colorado at our fabulous friends, the Rose's.  It was sunny and snowy and cold and absolutely beautiful and we couldn't have had a better time (despite hubs being under the weather most of the week).





































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