balance, breakfast, brunch

Staying on track and in balance

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For many people, staying on track and achieving their goals means never, ever slipping up. That idea may work for some, but for me, I find that striving for balance in all areas of my life, including my nutrition is the best for me. And that includes eating at restaurants, and even enjoying a delicious brunch like the one above.
I had a lovely brunch with my beautiful sister-in-law this past weekend where we caught up on our lives, drank dark coffee and bright tea, shared an incredible cauliflower appetizer (jumpin’ on this brunch appetizer bandwagon- this should be a more common thing!) and allowed ourselves to slow down for a bit in the midst of our crazy  busy lives.
Sharing a meal has long been a social experience, and many studies show that when we enjoy our meals with others, we show decreased signs of stress and often better digestion. We have to eat, so we might as well do it together right?
I believe that leading a healthy, vibrant and full life will often include eating at restaurants, and sometimes you can control this and sometimes you can’t. What you are always in control of however, is what appears on the plate in front of you and how you feel about it. It doesn’t do you or your body any good to feel guilty or like you’re ‘cheating’ by having something off your usual plan.
Swap the potatoes for fruit, add some veggies, put the dressing on the side, or… don’t!
Enjoy the company, enjoy yourself, slow down and really taste your food, experience the moment and the meal for what it is. Know that you are nourishing your body with not only good food, but good conversation and happiness and that it’s ok. Tomorrow you’ll have that fresh smoothie or that kale salad and everything will, as always, remain in balance.

 

breakfast, easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Maple Pumpkin Granola (GF, Vegan)

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I have been ready for fall for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sunshine and warm weather as much as the next person, but not all the time. There is something so comforting about the changing leaves, a slight chill in the area and the coziness of drinking a cup of tea and baking on a Sunday afternoon when it’s grey out. I also think that pumpkin is an underrated squash that only really gets hype around Halloween and Thanksgiving and love using it in all my cooking, including both savory things and sweet.

I’ve been craving some hearty granola, but most of the stuff you buy in the store has a lot of sugar and is highly processed. I wanted some granola that had all of the flavors of fall I love so much, but without the refined sugar. My criteria also included something with healthy fat and lots of plant protein.

Enter my maple pumpkin granola. It’s sweetened with a little maple syrup and some apple juice, pecans and pumpkin seeds for crunch, raw pumpkin for some yummy pumpkin flavor, flax meal for heart healthy omega 3’s and coconut flakes for something a little different.

I am so happy with how this granola turned out, my kitchen smelled amazing  and I could hardly wait to sample this when it came out of the oven. Not only is it delicious but it far exceeded my nutritional criteria and contains vitamins A and C, healthy fat, lots of protein, fiber and iron. I hope you will love this just as much as me, this was so easy to throw together in a few minutes and enjoy all week as breakfast or just a tasty snack.


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Maple Pumpkin Granola

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Bake time : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

2 cups raw oats

2/3 cup raw pecans

2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (can also use raw)

1/3 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes

1/3 cup flax meal

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup apple juice unsweetened

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup raw pumpkin

Instructions :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

Combine apple juice, maple syrup and pumpkin in medium size bowl. Microwave coconut oil to melt and add to remaining wet ingredients.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to coat.

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Spread on a large cookie sheet to cover. Bake for 20 minutes and stir. Bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven and allow to sit and cool.

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Enjoy with almond milk or over yogurt or just by the handful which I ended up doing because it was too delicious to not snack on!