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

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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 #2: Shrimp Fajitas 

Ingredients

• 1 Bell Pepper, sliced
• 1 small Onion, sliced
• 2 handfuls Mushrooms, sliced

• Shrimp (around 24 for 2 people)
• 2 Tbsp Olive oil
• 2 cloves Garlic
• 1 tsp Chili powder
• 1 tsp Basil
• 1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

• Avocado Dream Dressing (recipe here)
• 1 Lime, wedged
• Tortillas

Directions

1. Sauté veggies on med-high heat until softened, set aside
2. In a bowl mix shrimp, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, basil, salt and pepper. Sauté on med-high heat and stir until just cooked, set aside
3. Serve veggies and shrimp along side with limes, dressing and tortillas and let everyone build their own 🙂

Enjoy!

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 

Chicken n’ Shrimp in Veggie Sauce (yes, hidden veggies!!) with Kale Pesto Rice

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Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
20 Shrimp (I used 1 frozen package)
200 g Pancetta, thinly sliced
1 cup Rice, cooked

For the Sauce:
4 -5 Tomatos, medium
3 Carrots, large
1 Onion, large
3-4 cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Pesto:
Check out my blog Kale Walnut Pesto

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Preperation:
For the Sauce:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Chop all ingredients roughly and place in a roasting dish.
3. Drizzle olive oil all over and toss ingredients well.
4. Roast for 20-30 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
5. Blend in a food processor until desired texture.

For the Dish:
1. Defrost shrimp in cold water.
2. Meanwhile heat saucepan on medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until just crispy. Remove and set aside.
3. Cut chicken into desired pieces. Add to saucepan and cook chicken, stirring occasionally.
4. Add shrimp when chicken is almost cooked. Add veggie sauce and sitr to combine. About 3 minutes.
5. Take cooked rice and pesto. Mix until just combined.

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Enjoy!!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Kale Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:
1 bunch Kale, hard stocks removed, chopped
1 large bunch Basil leaves
3 – 4 cloves Garlic
1 cup Walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup Olive Oil (approx.)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesean, grated

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Preperation:
1. Saute kale in a heated saucepan with some olive oil, 3-4 minutes
2. Add to a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients (don’t be shy with the salt and pepper!)
3. Blend until well mixed or desired texture is reached
4. Transfer into a serving dish or a resealable container for future use. 

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal 

Simple and Delicious Coleslaw

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Ingredients:
1/2 head of Cabbage
About 3-4 Carrots (or enough to equal the amount of cabbage)
1 cup Apple Cidar Vinegar
1 cup White vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper – how ever much you like
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (if you like it really creamy add more)

Preperation:
1. Shread the cabbage and carrots and put in a mixing bowl
2. Add all other ingredients except mayonnaise and marinate for 30 minutes
2. Drain well. Add mayonnaise and toss

That’s it! Everyone will love the crunch and flavour…it’s the perfect side dish for that last summer bbq or cottage getaway.
And it’s super fast and super easy to make!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal