Dobroye utro, friends!
I am totally back on track with eating healthy and working out and I've got to tell you, i feel really great! I don't want to jinx myself, but I've been able to get a good workout almost every day since last Thursday and I am starting to feel like I am getting back to my old self. Believe it or not, besides my love of all desserts and breakfasts, I used to be very particular about what I would eat and I was always super active.
By the time I got back to America during my pregnancy, I was super picky about what I would eat. For the first couple of days, I would only eat prunes my sister's friends brought over. Everything was processed or loaded in salt and I wanted nothing to do with it. Eventually I caved and ended up eating what everyone else was and ended up gaining some extra weight I was able to hide under the guise of "baby weight" As soon as I had Natushka, I started back working out and eating the way I wanted and got back to my prebaby weight in a year. (It only took me that long because we had some issues when she was a newborn that took all my time) Sadly, once I started working full time something happened and I stopped working out and was back to unhealthy eating habits. For the first time in ages, I am so happy to find a piece of my old self again.
I'm pretty obsessed with granola. It took me a while to get to that point because I always ate it plain and found that it was way too many calories for me to snack on the way I wanted. Only recently did I realize the granola is best as a topping or in addition to something else and now I. Can't. Get. Enough. I've been making batches of yogurt and making smoothie bowls galore just so I can have an excuse to sprinkle on a bit more of this granola.
I adapted the granola recipe from Pinch of Yum. I love her version so much, but I wanted to change things up a bit to better fit my personal tastes. I used ground flax meal here, but you can use whole wheat flour or oat flour (which you can make by blending old fashioned oats until they reach a powdery consistency).
Almond Butter & Jelly Granola
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup creamy almond butter
- 1 cup roughly chopped almonds
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- ⅔ cup maple syrup agave nectar, or honey
- 1 mashed ripe banana
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ - ⅔ cup dried cranberries and cherries
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips optional
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
- In one large bowl, mix together the oats, flax meal, salt, and cinnamon together. Toss well. In another bowl, mix together the almond butter, oil, syrup, banana, and vanilla together. Mix well until creamy. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and mix until well combined.
- Place the mixture in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet (I used a 9 x 13 inch baking pan). Bake for 15 minutes. Lightly toss the mixture and bake for another 15 minutes and turn off the oven. Lightly break up the granola, leaving as many large chunks as possible. Allow it to cool and harden in the oven with the door cracked for at least two hours. Fold in the dried fruit and chocolate chips if using.