Make Ahead Snack – Granola Bars

I initially wanted to make granola but stumbled upon this recipe this morning. Copy-cat Nature Valley Oat & Honey Bars!

This is a super simple recipe and only 5 ingredients…

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups of Quick or Rolled Oats

• 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

• 1/8 tsp Salt

• 1/4 cup Coconut Oil

• 1/3 cup Honey

• splash Vanilla (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line 8-inch square pan with cooking parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on 2 sides.

2. Place 2 cups of the oats in large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup oats to blender or food processor; pulse into a rough flour. Add oat flour to bowl of oats. Add baking soda and salt to bowl of oats; stir.

3. In a saucepan heat coconut oil until just melted. Stir in honey (and vanilla). Add to bowl of oats. Stir well to coat oats completely. Spread mixture evenly in pan; press down firmly and evenly.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Oats should be golden and smell of honey. Cool on rack 10 minutes.

5. Remove from pan using parchment overhangs. Cut into 8 rectangles while still warm. Cool completely before wrapping. The bars will firm and crisp up as they cool.

That’s it! Super simple right? Thanks to Betty Crocker for this recipe. I modified it a bit – cutting out the white sugar. You can also throw in some additions such as nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit… the list goes on!

Two batches of these covers us for about one week. 16 bars at a fraction of the price of the originals 🙂

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Advertisements

Roasted Parsnip and White Bean Soup

New Year starting off with a fantastic winter soup recipe to keep you warm during this extra cold and snowy January!

I decided I would make my own vegetable broth for this soup. A nice slow process to go with my “slow down and relax” theme of 2018…not everything should be rushed all the time. I am using cooking as a way to help myself do that.

Super simple process here. Chop up your standard veggies for broth (onion, carrots and celery aka ‘mirepoix’). And I mean chop coarsely no need to be fancy here. Leave those onion skins on too. More flavour and goodness. I threw in some peppercorns, fennel and fresh parsley but it’s not necessary.

Add water until veggies are well covered. Bring to a boil and then turn down super low and let simmer overnight, uncovered! Yes I said overnight, uncovered. You want the liquid to reduce leaving the flavours.

Et voila! This is after 12 hours. Time to strain.

After scooping out the large pieces I fine strained the spices out. This broth turned out darker than I thought but still a great veggie broth. I had enough for this recipe plus 3 more litres that went into the freezer for future use.

And now for the main attraction:

Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

• 4-6 large cloves Garlic, skin intact, left whole

• 1lb Parsnips (about 4-5), cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 Onion, cut into rough pieces

• 2 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

• 1 tbsp dried whole or fresh Rosemary

• Sea Salt and Ground pepper, to taste

• 1 can (approx 15oz or more) White Beans, drained and rinsed OR 2 cups cooked white beans

• 6 cups no salt added Vegetable Broth

• 1.5 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ – 1 lemon)

• Pumpkin seeds, to serve

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss garlic, parsnips, onion, oil, rosemary, salt (to taste), and pepper. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until garlic and parsnips are tender and turning golden.

2. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins into a large pot along with roasted vegetables, beans, broth, and lemon juice and purée with an immersion blender. Alternatively add all ingredients into a blender (this may need to be done in 2 batches) and purée until smooth, adding more water or broth if too thick (depends on dryness of parsnips).

3. If you used a blender, transfer blended soup to a large pot. Heat over medium, stirring frequently so bottom doesn’t scorch. Season with additional salt, if desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and drizzle of olive oil.

Thank you to Yummy Beat for this wonderful recipe! We served it with warm bread and cheese. Certainly warmed us up for movie night on the couch 🙂

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Spring Recipe #1: Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

So my first spring recipe is Chicken Lettuce Wraps. A nice light, low carb meal. Perfect lunch in the sun 🌞

*There are no measurements for the ingredients. Just use your own judgment depending on how many people you’re feeding :)*


Slaw

• Brussel Sprouts
• Green Onions
• Red Onion
• Tomatos
• Fennel
• Ginger, grated
• Rice Vinegar
• Olive Oil

1. Thinly slice all the veggies
2. Toss with ginger, rice vinegar, olive oil
3. Set aside (can be made a day ahead)

Chicken
• Chicken Breasts
• Coconut Oil
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Brown both sides of chicken breasts in coconut oil on med-high heat, 2-3 minutes each side
3. Place in a lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes
4. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes
5. Slice and serve immediately for wraps (or refrigerate for next day use)

Toppings
• Creamy Asian Dressing (recipe here)
• Mint Leaves, chopped
• Hot Sauce (optional)
• Boston Bib Lettuce

Take your veggies, chicken and toppings and combine them in your bib lettuce. 

Warning these get pretty messy but are so worth it. Have the napkins handy!

Enjoy 🙂

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Spring is Here! Time for some Fresh Homemade Dressings

Spring is upon us and I have quite a few recipes lined up for the new season! Very excited! This will be the first of the fresh, healthy and delicious foods I will be sharing over the next few weeks 🙂

But first here’s a few little reminders for the mind and soul…break out of that hibernation mode and enjoy what spring has to offer!

🌳 Take a walk
🌞 Soak in that sunshine
🍃 Enjoy the fresh air
And wake up those senses!⚘

It’s that time of year to rejuvenate. Salads and Lunch Bowls are a great way to clean out the system. *The combination of oils and acids are essential to aid digestion of all the raw veggies in your salads!!* So to help you out I’ve got some fresh dressings to incorporate into your meals 🙂 Never buy store bought again!

Fresh Dressings

1. Avocado Dream

• 2 Avocados, chopped
• 1 cup Cashews, pre-soaked
• 1 Lime, juiced
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 cup Water, (or more depending on desired thickness)

*Try my Shrimp Fajitas recipe with this*

2. Berry Blast

• 1 cup Berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)
• 1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
• Fresh Cracked Pepper

3. Creamy Sesame 

• 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (Vanilla works too, gives it a little sweetness)
• 1/2 cup Mayo
         *or use 1 cup of either*
• 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
• 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
• 1 tsp Sesame Oil
• Furikake (a Japanese rice seasoning with sesame seeds and seaweed) *optional
• Hot Sauce (I used Sriracha) *optional

*Try my Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe with this*

4. Basic Delight

• 1/4 cup Honey
• 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
• 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/2 cup Olive Oil
• Salt and Pepper to taste 

For each one, put all the ingredients together and blend!

Hope you enjoy these 🙂 What are your favourite dressing recipes?

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Crispy Oven Baked Wings…you’ll think they’re deep fried!

Oh Pinterest, how I love you.

Nope….there is no oil or frying for these wings….could easily fool you though eh??

We tried this one night and they were amazing! I decided to share them on a family vacation to Prince Edward Island…east coast Canada…and got the thumbs up approval from my 7 year old sister…which is all the approval anyone needs 🙂

Here’s how to enjoy these healthy, crispy, no added oil, gluten-free chicken wings for yourself!

Ingredients:

• Chicken wings (approx. 20 pieces – 10 flats and 10 drums)

• 1 Tbsp Baking Powder (with no aluminum)

• 1 tsp Salt

So why the baking powder?? Apparently it breaks the peptide bonds in the skin causing it to dry out and crisp up while baking. Yum!

Directions:

• Toss all 3 ingredients together…this is not a breading but rather a thin coating…the baking powder will be absorbed and it will seem like there isn’t enough, but don’t worry it will work!

• Line baking tray with parchment paper and line up the wings but don’t crowd them

*the original recipe calls to bake the wings on a wire rack to let the fat drip out onto the parchment…however it works just as well if you put them directly on the parchment too…no need to flip!*

• Bake at 250F for 30 minutes

• Then pump up the heat to 425F and bake for another 45 min

• Remove wings from tray into a bowl.  Toss in your favourite wing sauce and serve! Or serve the sauce separately and dip 🙂

Here’s a few dips that I made:

Sauce #1 (spicy):

1 Tbsp each of:
• Ketchup
• Thai Red Curry paste
• Hoisin
• Sweet soy sauce
• Water

Sauce #2 (mild):

1 Tbsp each of:
• Ketchup
• Oyster sauce
• Maple Syrup
• Soy sauce
• Apple Cidar Vinegar

And a cooling dipping sauce:

• 1/4 cup Mayo
• 1/4 cup Yogurt
• 1 tsp Dill weed
• 1 tsp Lemon juice

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did 🙂 I guarantee you they will disappear really fast! 

Thank you to The Cookful for this amazing recipe and info!

Your, 
Natural Groove Gal 

Morning Step #3: Protein 

The final step in my breakfast routine is protein. 

After a detoxing elixir and nutritious smoothie, the digestive system is awake and cleansed, a great time to consume protein for the body to digest and eventually provide energy into the day. 

**Make sure to wait at least 20 minutes after your smoothie (or fruit) before you eat protein. A lot of gases can be produced in the stomach while digesting fruits (especially whole vs. blended) – you will notice a lot more burping when you start off with fruit – So you don’t want to consume more foods immediately or else you’ll run into some serious indigestion!! **

Here are a couple of options I look forward to putting in my belly…

1) Hard-boiled Eggs with Cheese and a little Tobasco, and half an Avocado

Benefits:

Eggs – protein, vitamin B12 and Dan

Avocado – fibre, foliate, vitamin E, iron, zinc and all 18 essential amino acids to produce proteins which is readily absorbed because of the fibre content 🙂

Both are a great source of essential fatty acids such as omega 3s and 6s.

2) Granola with Vanilla Yogurt, Nut Butter and a sprinkle of Hemp Hearts

Benefits:

Yogurt – calcium, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium 

Granola – fibre, numerous vitamins and minerals 

Nut Butter – fibre and omega 3s and 6s

Hemp Hearts – fibre, omega 3s and 6s, iron and calcium

Try to stay away from meat options. They are harder on your digestive system and you’re looking for efficiency in the mornings!  Save those for a later meal.

Either of these should have you feeling full all the way until the lunch hour and prevent those snacking temptations on unhealthy/convenient foods!

If I’m in a huge hurry, a big spoonful of nut butter usually does the trick!

So there it is. The end of my morning routine/breakfast. Please feel free to share your morning breakfast choices or an alternative protein option 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Your, 
Natural Groove Gal 

New Year. New Toy.

Yup folks. The Magic Bullet. Finally! 🙂

This thing is amazing!! Initially I wanted it to make my vast aray of yummy delicious health smoothies among other things……and there are so many other things you can do….excitement rising…

On top of the many possibilities, it’s not only so easy to use….it’s easy to clean too. Yes the infomercials are fully true!! 
Besides the smoothies, my first experiement was to make sorbet. Two different ones, because why not??

Berry Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen berries – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Red Wine – enough to blend smoothly

Peach Sorbet
Ingredients:
Frozen peaches – about 1 cup
Honey –  to taste
Orange Juice – enough to blend smoothly

Blend. Mix. Freeze.

And there you go! A delicious and healthly treat 🙂
Next I will be trying out soups, dressings, and let’s not forget drinks!

Let’s just say I’m not the only one excited about this…the gormet chef loves it too 🙂

Until next time,

Your,
Natural Groove Gal