Recently, it's been a period of self-reflection in my life. Thinking about my purpose, who I have become, what I can become more of and less of, and what is of priority to me in my life.
Family is something that has always been of utmost importance to me. This article I read a few weeks ago gave me a rattling perspective of how precious this remaining time with my family in my life I have, so I've been thinking about it a lot lately.
While I am very close to my whole family, I share a special type of bond with my mother and my sister. My mother, sister, and I are very similar in a multitude of ways- we are insanely organized, planners, and overly accommodating.
Sometimes this can make us clash, because we are trying to over-accommodate each other and then get frustrated. Over the holidays, we were starting to bicker in the car altogether about planning the day, and my future brother-in-law made a very acute observation. He said how he has never witnessed this kind of insane bond between parent and children before-- where we are so attuned to each other's every nuance, thought, and mood, that we can finish each others sentence, or even silently arrive at the same conclusion without saying a word-- and knowing that the other is there, as well. I am lucky to have this kind of fierce love and closeness, indeed.
**I promise, the granola relates into all this, soon!
By nature, I am a caretaker and love encouraging people to be at their very best. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble and I have to remind myself that each person is wholly responsible for their own decisions and actions, and my encouragement and support is all I can do.
I get my sweet tooth and natural penchant for carbs from my momma. With my knowledge of nutrition and exercise, I've gradually introduced her to little changes in her diet and activity. She is a stubborn woman (I wonder where I got that from?) though, and it can understandably be hard to adapt nutritional choices she's gotten comfortable with.
Recently, I got her a blender, and over the holidays I taught her the perk of being able to combine a good dose of your daily produce and nutrient requirements in one smoothie. I saw her a few days ago, and she reported that she's been having smoothies packed with greens, seeds, and fruit every morning for breakfast since I was home, and she was shocked and amazed how much they've helped her stomach issues and how energized she's been feeling.
Those moments. Those moments are what I live for.
Helping others feel good. Witnessing their "seeing the light" moment. Another one of my clients recently got complimented twice in a day in the gym, by two people that noticed how hard he's been working and how great he's looking- the look on his face... lights up my heart and makes it dance. This is why I do what I do.
Why I share recipes, why I share bits of my life, why I share my struggles and journey. If my story, my advice, my knowledge, my cooking or whatever it is encourages someone to try something new for themselves, it's amazing.
On that note! Granola!
Nearly everyone is having struggles right now dialing back their sweet teeth they adapted over holiday festivities, and this gingerbread granola is perfect for easing you back in. Touch of sweetness, gingerbread flavor to remind you of those cookies, but perfect to combine with healthy breakfasts or as a snack on the go.
This is extremely adaptable, so feel free to sub whatever granola ingredients you have in your pantry- nuts, seeds, etc. They really remind me of toasty spice of gingerbread cookies, and are my new favorite topping to yogurts and smoothie bowls in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast.
No hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, and it's gluten-free, vegan, filled with nutrients and toasty yumminess, sooooo here we go!
Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free
*makes about 4 cups granola
2 cups raw, rolled Oats (certified gluten-free if you need!)
1 cup white Quinoa, rinsed/dried
3/4 cup raw Pepitas
1/3 cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1. Preheat oven to 360ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place all dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, pepitas, ground spices, salt) in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine. Add wet ingredients (coconut oil, maple, vanilla) and stir thoroughly until dry ingredients are evenly coated.
3. Spread granola mixture on baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until oats look a light toasty brown. Remove baking sheet, and let granola cool completely on baking sheet (granola will continue to cook a bit!). Transfer to an airtight container and enjoy!