Chunky Coconut Granola (Clean)

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How is it already Saturday? I was so looking forward to using this October break productively. I was going to finish all my college essays and come up with a Math IA topic and finish my Extended Essay and study for my upcoming math integration test and my psychology socio-cultural level of analysis test and get started on writing my psych IA and oh god I’ve done nothing. Well, then again, I didn’t do nothing. I mean, I did watch more movies than I’d normally watch in half a year, and I finished a book. Oh – and I ate a lot of food. That counts for something, right?

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I just read my first Lee Child book – Killing Floor. It’s the first book in the Jack Reacher series and I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the book just wasn’t as good as it’s hyped up to be. I watched the movie afterwards, which was based on a different book in the series, and I feel like I could pretty much predict aspects of every story in the series. Always has to be a damsel in distress (or any hostage really), a betrayal, a car being tailed, and Reacher shoving his thumbs in someone’s eyes. Has anyone read the whole series? Am I close?

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Oops I haven’t even told you anything about this recipe yet. I’m tired and cold. Forgive me.

Now, I have a lot of granola recipes, but this one is definitely a favourite. I’m not usually the biggest fan of coconut-flavored things, but this is seriously amazing. The granola is suuper chunky. You know granola’s gonna be chunky when the whole sheet of it just sticks together and you can break it into chunks as big as you’d like. Check this out (warning – bad quality phone pictures incoming):

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“Is that what I think it is?” YES. It’s a giant sheet of granola. You could’ve broken it in half and called it reaaally chunky granola.

Point is, this granola gives you the clusters of your dreams, and is infused with such an aromatic and sweet coconut flavour that you will not be able to resist.

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Chunky Coconut Granola

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (135g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (40g) toasted and salted coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup (80g) raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (25g) raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, coconut flakes, almonds, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat and whisk until fully combined. Add in the vanilla sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in the coconut oil mixture
  5. Spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, turn the pan around so that the granola bakes evenly, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Granola has a tendency to be a little unpredictable in the oven, so keep and eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. When the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and allow it to cool completely before breaking it into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Rustic Blueberry Tart with an Oat Crust (Clean)

When I say that it’s blueberry season, I mean hell yeah it’s blueberry season!

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Throughout the entire year, during my hundreds of unnecessary visits to the grocery store, I always stop to check the prices of a) avocados, and b) berries. In the past week, blueberries have been on sale – the best kind of sale there is when it comes to fruit, and is usually nonexistent – buy one get one free! Guess who stocked up?

Being a berry-lover, I couldn’t resist the temptation, and ended up buying tons of blueberries. Being a baker, I couldn’t resist the temptation of turning at least half of them into baked goods and desserts.

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The filling of this blueberry tart is pretty standard. A solid amount of blueberries with starch and sweetener. The crust is something special. It’s a healthy crust, without any refined white flour or butter. Thus, it’s also gluten-free and vegan.

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While a regular slice of blueberry tart could get you feeling full and slightly guilty, and two slices would most certainly make you a little uneasy and guilty, that’s not the case with this one. The crust is light and crumbly, while still able to hold it’s pretty tart shape.

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Rustic Blueberry Tart

Adapted from Bakerita

Makes one 8-inch tart

Ingredients

Blueberry filling

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca or corn starch

Crust

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, solid
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries, honey/maple syrup, and starch together until the blueberries are evenly coated in the mixture
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, oats, honey/maple syrup, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add the coconut oil and crumble it in with your hands or a fork until there no large clumps remain, and the mixture holds together when pressed
  4. Remove a heaping 1/2 cup of the crust dough for the topping and set aside. Press the rest of the dough in a loose bottom 8 or 9 inch tart pan
  5. Add the blueberry mixture onto the crust, leaving any extra liquid from the blueberries in the bowl
  6. Add the chopped pecans to the remaining crumble dough that you set aside earlier, and sprinkle on top of the blueberry mixture
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the blueberries are bubbling and the crust is starting to brown
  8. Let cool completely before serving

Easy Cinnamon Banana Nut Granola (Clean)

I haven’t posted anything in the last week. I know. I’ve been in Singapore. I had an insanely awesome time there. We had three upgrades. We got a seat upgrade in the plane, an upgrade at Four Seasons, and most importantly, we got randomly upgraded from some 700SGD hotel room at Marina Bay Sands to a freaking 6000SGD suite that David Beckham stayed in. The suite has a gym, massage room, karaoke room, an insane view, and even a grand piano?!?! It was insane.

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Anyways, I’m home now, and it’s back to baking.

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As you might already know, granola is very important to me. It’s always a pantry essential to have at home. I’ve stopped buying granola ever since I discovered how incredibly easy it is to make homemade granola. You throw in a bunch of ingredients into two bowls that you don’t really have to measure too precisely, add the wet stuff to the dry, mix, and then you spread the whole lot on a baking sheet and bake it. It’s too simple, really.

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Another good thing about granola is that it lasts forever – even the homemade stuff. It’s perfect to store at home for an easy, healthy snack paired with fresh fruit, or for when you come home from vacation and your fridge is empty but for a couple of apples.

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Easy Cinnamon Banana Nut Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or agave syrup
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius or 340 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, walnuts/pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the melted coconut oil, honey, mashed banana, and vanilla extract
  4. Add the banana mixture into the oat mixture and mix until fully combined
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned (and until your kitchen smells like cinnamon). Remove from oven and allow to cool fully before breaking into chunks. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Caramel Coconut Breakfast Quinoa (Clean)

Chocolate Caramel Coconut. Damn, that’s a mouthful (Ha. Get it?).

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True, more flavors don’t necessarily result in better tastes, but in this case, it definitely does. How could you possible go wrong with chocolate and caramel and coconut?

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I’m not gonna lie and say that I didn’t have a foodgasm when I took my first bite of this. I can not stress how well all the flavors worked together and how super creamy the quinoa is. Normally, quinoa is cooked at a ratio of 1 part quinoa and 2 parts liquid (water), but guess what I had here? I had 1/2 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cup water, and then I added another cup of coconut milk, which resulted in a creaminess similar to creamy oatmeal recipes. If you want a creamy breakfast quinoa where coconut is the star of the bowl, then be sure to check out this nutty coconut quinoa!

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The caramel taste comes from this 2-ingredient easy date caramel, which I’ve been adding to everything recently. I know it seems like a lot of work to make a recipe in order to make a recipe, but as you can see from the title, the caramel only requires 2 ingredients, and it takes about 5 minutes to make. Plus, it’s multi-purpose (see the post).

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And where do I get started on the toppings? The chopped chocolate goes slightly melty when it comes into contact with the steaming hot quinoa, so that it quite literally melts in your mouth. The texture of the chocolate contrasts with the crunch from the nuts and cacao nibs and OMG YUM.

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Notes: The honey/agave nectar is kinda optional, depending on how sweet you want your quinoa. Feel free to replace it with your favorite sweetener, to increase it, or even to omit it altogether. Also, you don’t have to use the same toppings as me, but I highly recommend you at least use nuts, cacao nibs, and chopped chocolate.

Chocolate Caramel Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp raw honey/agave syrup
  • 2 tsp date caramel
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toppings (I used chopped pecans, chopped chocolate unsweetened shredded coconut, almond flakes, cacao nibs)

Method

  1. In a large pot, combine the uncooked quinoa and water and set the pot over medium-high heat until the water is boiling. Lower temperature to low heat and allow to cook until all the water has absorbed, stirring occasionally (approximately 10-15 minutes)
  2. Stir the coconut milk, cacao powder, date caramel, and salt into the pot and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the quinoa has reached your desired consistency
  3. Transfer into bowls and serve immediately with your desired toppings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days

Crunchy Oat-less Granola (Clean)

I adore oats in all forms. Whether it’s in the form of granola, regular breakfast oatmeal, overnight oats, classic oatmeal cookies, sugar-free blueberry pecan oatmeal muffins, or even just using oat flour, I’ll have it all.

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Then again, I know that some people don’t eat oats, which I couldn’t do, but if they did make that decision, then I get it. I’m sure there’s ways around using oats. I know that oat-less oatmeal exists, an oat-less granola probably already exists, but I decided to make a recipe for it anyways. I didn’t expect it to be that great, honestly. I thought that I’d miss the oats, but quite frankly, I didn’t that much. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my oats, but the absence of them in this recipe is hardly noticeable.

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And perhaps the disappearance of the oats lets the crunch of the puffed brown rice and nuts to shine through, which are really what make this recipe so wonderful.

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*As with all granola recipes, feel free to substitute the nuts/seeds for the nuts/seeds of your choice, as long as you keep the quantities the same

Crunchy Oat-Less Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups brown rice puffs (I used Nature’s Path)
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the rice puffs, chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt until fully mixed
  3. Pour in the coconut oil, honey, and applesauce, and stir in until everything is fully mixed
  4. Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes
  5. Allow to cool before consuming. Store in an air-tight container.

Sugar-Free Blueberry Pecan Oatmeal Muffins (Clean)

I feel like these muffins are going to become a staple in my house. They’re just so snackable and yummy.

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You won’t understand how addicting they are until you make them. I was so surprised at how sweet and flavorful they tasted. There’s hardly any added sugar. No refined sugar, no coconut sugar, no agave syrup, no honey, no maple syrup, nada. There is a tablespoon of powdered stevia, but still.

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They’re really flavorful too. There’s plenty of plump blueberries in each muffin, which pairs beautifully with oats and buttery pecans. JUST TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

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Before I give you guys the recipe (technically you already have it, if you just scroll down, but shh), I just wanted to talk about something I saw on Youtube the other day.

Generally, I don’t talk about anything except for food in my posts, but I felt like this is important and something that we all have to keep in mind. I watched Why Our Hearts Ache by Carrie Hope Fletcher yesterday, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. Carrie explained that the amount of heartache you feel reflects how much you cared about whatever it is that caused the heartache. (You guys should still go watch the video, because it sounds so much nicer and makes more sense coming from her…I think. Plus, she’s perfect and kind and inspiring and gorgeous and wonderful and I love her.)

Sometimes you put a lot of work into something, and when it doesn’t come out right, whether its a relationship or a project or something, you won’t really care too much. Other times, you’ll feel like your world has collapsed and it’ll take you days or months or even years to get over. Those are the times where you realize how much you truly cared about whatever it is that you did.

It makes perfect sense, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m slightly surprised that I hadn’t come to the same conclusion, but it just makes so much sense.

And on a more personal note, the video made me realize what I really care about, and I found that to be fascinating. For example, some days, I’ll be in the kitchen and I’ll put all my effort into creating amazing food. When they don’t turn out right, I do get really really upset. I’ve gotten used to kitchen experiments not working out, but when I spend hours baking with tons of effort, and not ending up with a good product, I’ll essentially feel heartache. Not in the lovey-dovey way, but I will truly feel disappointed.

Then again, there is that lovey-dovey stuff.

Take this example.

A guy liked you two years ago, and you treated him badly without thinking twice, but then, he was all you wanted, and it was too late. You spend the next two years missing him and wishing that you were closer, though you get all anxious and nervous and jittery around him and when he’s around you can’t focus on anything and you practically forget how to speak and be yourself. You want the best for him, and you’d do anything to make him happy. He’s the only one who can make you smile just by saying your name in that special way, or just by giving you that look. Sometimes you’ll talk for hours and you’ll never want to stop. Then, in the middle of math class, your friend tells you that he’s moving at the end of the year, and you nearly break down crying in the middle of class. The rest of your high school life seems to crash and you can’t bear with the thought of him leaving. You wish that he told you earlier, and that he’d told you himself. On the bus ride home, you cry, and on your walk home, you cry. At night, you can’t fall asleep because you’re so filled with grief, so you click open your phone and you say, “hi”. He says, “hii. I’m sorry for not telling you >.<” and endless waves of tears stream down your cheeks as you type back, “It’s okay”, even though its not. And then you tuck your phone away and curl up under the covers and you cry and you cry and you cry your f***ing eyes out.

And that’s when you know how much you cared.

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Oh. I didn’t expect for all of that to end up being typed up. What the hell, though. Maybe it’ll help you guys get through difficulties in life and maybe you can relate. When things go bad and you feel like everything is breaking down, at least you’ll know how much you cared and to know how much you could possibly care for something or someone.

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BACK TO THE MUFFINS.

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They’re delicious. Full stop.

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Blueberry Pecan Oatmeal Muffins

Adapted from Sugar Free Mom

Makes 14-15 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp powdered stevia
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh (I used fresh)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped roughly

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, buckwheat flour, ground cinnamon, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, and powdered stevia
  3. Stir in the eggs, applesauce, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla extract until just combined
  4. Fold in the blueberries and pecans
  5. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake/muffin tin, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean
  6. Serve!

Nutty Coconut Quinoa (Clean)

I used to have oatmeal for breakfast everyday, and quinoa occasionally for lunch. Now, quinoa is like my second oatmeal. It’s so so so delicious, especially in this recipe.

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The recipe makes a larger batch, so you could share it at breakfast with your friends/family, or you could do what I do.

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Since quinoa takes longer to cook than oatmeal does, I prefer having these pre-cooked when I wake up early to go to school, while I can make oatmeal on the spot. Therefore, after making this, I’ll place the leftovers into an airtight container in the fridge. For breakfast, I’ll just add in a splash of soy milk and throw on a bunch of toppings.

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Nutty Coconut Quinoa

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (414ml) coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Chopped nuts and shredded coconut/coconut flakes for topping

Method:

  1. Stir the coconut milk and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat
  2. Turn the heat down to low and add in the quinoa
  3. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa
  4. Stir in the almond butter and maple syrup
  5. Serve with chopped nuts and shredded coconut/coconut flakes, or your toppings of choiceDSC_0643.