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.

Obstacles bring you options and an Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Have you ever felt a moment where you just keep hitting obstacles? That’s been me the past week. From cooking snafus and burning myself to discovering new business needs on permits and finances, it’s been eventful. And I’ve struggled to keep my head above water, physically and emotionally.

I’ve been told this is the beginning of entrepreneurship. Just try and hold on to your seat!

The kitchen is usually my release. It allows my creative mind to work, try new flavors, make foods not only taste good, but look good too. I’ve lost some of that recently with trying to learn new recipes, stay up to date with food safety protocols and cook for clients [and then finally for myself].

Luckily for me, I have managed to keep my head down and continue the grind. What happens when you see an obstacle?

We have fight or flight responses. Our adrenaline kicks in. These are the breaking points we need to beat the plateaus and grow.

This week, I’ve come to realize that obstacles bring you options. You will have more than you can handle at some moments. Ultimately, that gives you the option to more clearly define goals, purpose and action steps as well as see new options you would have never imagined!

The other day, I was feeling like baking and made these delicious protein pumpkin peanut butter cookies.

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

The recipe, taste and consistency were perfect.

I then thought, “what if I added these cookies with some Enlightened Ice Cream for a preworkout shake?

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Magic. I love all their flavors but for some reason, cold brew coffee and pumpkin peanut butter cookies sounded good and it did not disappoint!

The only thing missing was someone to share them with. David was out of town and I would not be seeing anyone for a few days. That’s when it occurred to me that I am sharing.

As those who have followed for a while might know, I love goal setting, reflection and am very futuristic. I am in the midst of setting my 2018 goals (they are not resolutions because mine continue to evolve). One new goal is that for January, I plan to release my first e-book! This one is a dessert e-cookbook and will feature 50 delicious, tested and proven clean treats you and your loved ones will enjoy.

I am also preparing a 1-month challenge contest based around one of my favorite topics: meal prepping! I’ve had many people reach out about how-to’s, tips, recipes and staying committed to healthier food selections. This will touch on all of those and more and I will present an award to a winner at the end of the month!

Stay tuned for updates on both projects, as well as Meals Beyond Athletes. It’s amazing how when you put your mind to it, you can turn like the flip of a switch to overcome those obstacles and discover new options.

For those seeking a new option for a sweet indulgent but healthier, high protein shake, try the recipe below.

I hope you’ll join me in this excitement because I know the next few months will be full of MANY obstacles turning into options! Never take for granted the blessings and gifts right in front of us. I’m thankful for all of you followers and encourage you to share this message with a friend who it would resonate.

Make it a great day and take time to choose your options!

Strong Sweet Caroline

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe


Enlightened Cookie Shake

Serves one, because it’s too good to share. Unless you double the recipe.

Macros: 238 calories, 29g protein, 21 carbs, 4g fat, 4g sugar

Ingredients

  • 1/2 scoop True Nutrition custom whey protein in Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor
  • 1/2 c Enlightened Ice Cream in Cold Brew flavor (discount “STRONGSWEET20” for broad bean crisps ordered online)
  • ~1/3-1/2 c unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • 1 Protein Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookie by me 🙂 – replace with cookie of choice

Process

  • In food process or blender, combine ice cream, almond milk, whey protein, and half of your protein cookie.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into glass and top with other half of your cookie.
  • Indulge without guilt. 🙂