Super Food Pumpkin Granola & Thanksgiving

This is the season for gratitude. Alright, every day and moment should have some gratitude! With Thanksgiving this week, it’s more important than ever to be grateful for the people, things and opportunities we have in life.

I think it’s easy for people to get caught in the whirlwind of our day to day. It’s the grind right? Different days of the week, as well as highs and lows each day, get us axel-wrapped. But all it comes down to is one life. One.

I think Thanksgiving is being heavily overlooked this year. Christmas decorations put up almost immediately after Halloween, Black Friday deals being blasted for weeks and numerous other distractions keeping us preoccupied with what matters most.

If you are like me, you might need a break from it all. Take a deep breath. Go for a walk in a nature park. Do some yoga. Drink a cup of hot tea. Read a new book. Just sit in quiet with your loved one(s) taking in the environment.

Then, come back and remember that love and appreciate you experienced in the little moments. Live each day finding things your are grateful for–make a list of three things at the end of each day or just think about them in your head.

It makes you feel better, right? As you may have read in my last post, the kitchen is one of my muses and I recently felt unattached. My boyfriend David helped me find reconnection and reminded me why he is one of the people I am most grateful for in life. He cherishes me more than anyone and helps me find my inner self and overcome any challenge, even when he travels and is states away.

My latest recipe got me excited to cook and work towards what I’m grateful to work towards — inspiring others to make health simple. David liked it too, even though he isn’t a big pumpkin fan. 🙂

Strong Sweet Caroline | super food pumpkin granola and gratitude

Here is a recipe perfect for Thanksgiving: pumpkin granola! Make ahead of time and put in separate bags for gift giving, sprinkle on top of some yogurt for a dessert or use at home as a breakfast like I did topping my egg whites.

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What are you most grateful for this week? Thanks for reading and look forward to more gratitude and positivity in the blog and each day in your own life.


Super Food Pumpkin Granola

Makes 10 1/2 cup servings

Macros: 158 calories, 4.7g proteins, 22g carbs, 5.8g fats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled or quick oats
  • 1/4 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and patted dry with paper towel
  • 2 Tbsp agave
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1/3 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • 1/4 c raw pepitas
  • 1/4 c chopped nuts
  • 1/2 c dried berries

Process

  • Preheat oven 325 degrees.
  • Spread oats and quinoa on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes in oven.
  • While oats toast, in a small bowl combine agave, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, spices, salt and vanilla.
  • Pour the toasted oats into a medium bowl and add chia seeds, pepitas, nuts and fruit.
  • Pour the sweet pumpkin mixture and stir in until oats and seeds evenly coated.
  • Spread on baking sheet again and bake additional 20-30 minutes until golden.
  • Granola will crisp as it cools.
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Creativity and a healthier ice cream sandwich

One of my favorite treats is an ice cream sandwich. When I was in Charleston, South Carolina for a the NPC Jr. USAs show in May 2015, that was one of my post-show treats. Me and a couple girlfriends found King Street Cookies and it was delicious.

Strong Sweet Caroline and ice cream sandwich

Honestly, I sometimes reflect on foods I have eaten and think about how amazing they tasted! Then I think about the ingredients and how they may have affected my body. Maybe I think too deeply about it, but was it positive or negative? This gets my creativity flowing.

When I’m facing challenges or changes, I spend a lot of time reflecting. This is the stage of life I’m in right now. I will dive into in with future blog posts. But to keep it brief, sometimes all these reflection and wandering thoughts can raise my stress and cortisol and must find alternative measures to overcome that. This is when I get creative and bake.

Summer is the core season for ice cream fans. Who doesn’t enjoy surround a big ole’ scoop of frozen dairy in between two soft and tasty cookies? I sure as hell do. Recently, I’ve found more satisfaction from foods I’ve made myself and used healthier ingredients. That’s where these homemade Chocolate Avocado Kodiak Cookies and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt came together as a healthier ice cream sandwich!

Strong Sweet Caroline Healthier Ice Cream Sandwich

This is for the person who loves chocolate, soft cookies, cool “froyo” and peanut butter. Is that you? Keep reading!

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