A lot of store bought granola's are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. This recipe is quick, healthy and delicious! Feel free to be creative and adapt using whatever nuts, seeds, spices and/or dried fruit you enjoy or have on hand! You can easily opt out of using nuts for nut allergies. It's great to have with yogurt, milk or as a snack by itself. It's also a great gift when in a mason jar and tied with a pretty ribbon! I found these great "Handmade with Love for You" gift tags at World Market. Enjoy!

3 cups rolled oats 
1 cup raw almonds, slivered 
1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped 
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut 
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds 
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw flax seed, whole 
1/4 cup chia seeds 
2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raw honey
1 TB vanilla extract

2 cups raisins
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup unsweetened, dried cherries

1. Combine first set of ingredients in large bowl. 
2. Combine coconut oil, honey and vanilla in small bowl. 
3. Add liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix well; it's easiest if you do this with your hands.
4. Spread granola on parchment rimmed cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until lightly browned) at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, being careful to not burn.
7. Remove granola from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack. It will harden as it cools. 
8. Add dried fruit. 
9. Store in an air tight container.

Yield:  46 1/4-cup servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1/4 cup serving): 158 calories, 9 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 19 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar, 3 grams protein, 0% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 9% Iron
Steel cut oats (also known as Irish Oats) are a great breakfast choice! Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber and protein so it keeps you satisfied. The big difference between steel cut oats and instant or rolled oats is that steel cut oats are less processed. Instant oats or rolled oats are steamed, rolled and toasted. Steel cut oats are simply oat groats that are just chopped. They are coarse & hearty in texture and remain chewy after cooking.  They have a lower glycemic index which means your blood sugar will not spike as much after eating them.  Since they do take longer to make than rolled or instant oats, make a huge batch and enjoy it all week long. They reheat very well.

1/2 cup uncooked steel cut oats
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp almond butter
1 apple, cored and chopped (keep peel on)

In a medium pot over high heat, bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add oats, apple, vanilla, flax seed and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat off and let sit covered for a few minutes. Mix in almond butter. Serve immediately or allow to cool and transfer into air tight container in the refrigerator.

*Double, triple or quadruple this recipe to have oatmeal all week!
Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition Facts (per 1 serving):
264 calories, 7 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 2 mg sodium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 8 grams protein, 1% Vitamin A, 5% Calcium, 7% Vitamin C, 12% Iron


This recipe was slightly modified from the original, by Giada De Laurentiis. I first tried Chia Seed Pudding when I did a "mason jar" breakfast exchange with some girlfriends. We all made 6 mason jars of one type of make ahead breakfast to share and went home with 6 new ideas (and breakfast for the week!) This one was my favorite, made by my friend Lindsey.

Chia seeds are a healthy addition to your diet! They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. They also contain protein and minerals including as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. They may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. The high fiber will be filling, so helpful for weight loss.  Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in liquid making it easy to mix them into dishes.

I love this recipe because you can make it ahead in a mason jar and just throw the jar in your bag as you head out the door to work. No extra effort. You can double, triple or quadruple the recipe and have breakfast for every day of the week!

½ cup unsweetened almond milk (could really use any kind of milk)
½ cup 0% greek yogurt (can also use 2%) - for more volume and a thinner pudding could substitute equal amount of milk for the yogurt if you avoid dairy
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 TB chia seeds
1 cup raspberries (any fruit works – strawberries, peaches, mango, pineapples, etc)
1 TB slivered almonds

In medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, yogurt and vanilla until blended. Whisk in chia seeds and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir to distribute seeds if they have settled. Put in glass or small mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning top with raspberries and slivered almonds. Voilà! Breakfast is ready to go!

Yield: 1 glass

Nutrition Facts:
298 calories, 13 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 138 mg sodium, 30 grams carbohydrates, 17 g fiber, 11 grams sugar, 19 grams protein, 6% Vitamin A, 54% Vitamin C, 55% Calcium, 19% Iron