Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Puppy Chow

Christmas baking has officially begun! It may be early, but a few of my friends at college and I decided to do our Christmas gift exchange early this year. For this first time we decided this years gift would be entirely homemade. Homemade gifts, in my opinion, are the best kind of gifts because they come from the heart. My friends love sweets so I put a spin on an old time favorite, puppy chow.

You will need:
  • 9 cups any kind chex 
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 ounces chocolate baking chips
  • 12 ounces M&M's
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup promise butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 gallon Ziploc Bag
  • 5 one quart Mason Jars

Measure out the chex cereal and put it in the Ziploc bag.

In a microwave safe mixing bowl add chocolate baking chips, promise butter, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Microwave for one minute, take out stir, then microwave for thirty seconds, take out stir again making sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Microwave for an additional thirty seconds.

Then take contents of mixing bowl and pour into Ziploc bag. Seal Ziploc bag, double check to make sure the bag is tightly sealed, then shake! Shake for one to two minutes until all the chex cereal is coated in the liquid mixture. 

After all the chex is coated in the liquid chocolate and peanut butter mixture, open the Ziploc bag and pour in the powdered sugar. Seal the bag back up and shake! Shake hard, not too hard to break open the bag, but hard enough to coat all the cereal with the powdered sugar. Rotating the bag around helps distribute the powdered sugar around.

Once all the chex is coated in powdered sugar pour the puppy chow onto a lined baking sheet to cool. Allow puppy chow to cool for three hours. Once the puppy chow is cool mix in the M&M's. Do not add the M&M's in while the puppy chow is warm or the M&M's will melt. The grocery store I went to was out of red and green M&M's which is why I got stuck with patriotic M&M's.

Finally fill mason jars with puppy chow. Before or after mason jars are filled decorate with tags, bows, ribbons, stickers, or anything to make the jars more festive. 

Mason jars filled with puppy chow make the perfect gift for family, friends, coworkers, or any sweet lover in your life! It's never too early to spread some Christmas cheer!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thinking Out Loud #12: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving! I can't believe Thanksgiving is already upon us, it seems like the month of November has been flying by. I really need to buckle down and get some Christmas shopping done, but I have already started so that's a new record for me. 

Even though today is Thanksgiving I still wanted to share a quick thinking out loud. Of course it's totally random (as always) but there's a new song I definitely think you should check out! 

1. If you haven't heard John Mayer's new singer Love on the Weekend you seriously need to! It's SO.GOOD. It reminds me of classic John Mayer like Your Body is a Wonderland and Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. I may have had it on repeat since it came out but seriously it's so good. Go listen to it, I promise it won't be a disappointment. 

2. I swear only in Michigan does the weather change at the drop of a hat. Last Friday the temp reached 73F degrees, Cora and I spent the day outside soaking up every ounce of sunshine and beautiful weather. Come Saturday it was 32F degrees and snowing. We had actual accumulation, but thankfully it melted later on. Beautiful weather please come back. I'm not prepared for the cold weather or snow😭

3. The tradition of Chipotle date night continues. My boyfriend had a really rough week last week so I drove down Saturday night and got Chipotle to cheer him up. It wasn't anything fancy but it took his mind off school for a little bit and I got to see him so it was nice. I did feel bad though because the guy who wrapped his burrito was new and was clearly riding the struggle bus trying to wrap the burrito, poor guy. 

4. I MADE IT OUT OF TARGET WITH ONLY THE ITEMS ON MY LIST!! That totally deserved all caps because that literally never happens. I even wandered around the store, looked at the home decor section (my weakness) and all the Christmas decor and walked out without purchasing any unnecessary items. It's incredibly sad but that store is just so fun. I did get a kick out of some of the Christmas ornaments but nothing really caught my eye, so I walked out a happy camper because I still had money left.

5. My lifting buddy has been off work all week so all week the lifts have been intense. We definitely push each other to lift heavier but we keep it fun. He is the only person I can lift with. I'm just not into workout buddies, but we always joke that we are each others therapists because we will rant to each other about whatever is going on in our lives. There isn't a better destresser than lifting weights💪 but seriously I am so sore. It feels really good because I'm lifting heavy but holy smokes I thought my arms were going to fall off the other day.

6. I am so not a fan of daylight savings time because it gets dark WAY too early. However, the one good thing is it gets lighter earlier so I have gotten to enjoy some seriously beautiful sunrises. Despite it being absolutly freezing outside Cora and I have been going out for a little bit every morning to enjoy the solitude and beautiful skies. A little fresh air and gorgeous skies do the soul good first thing in the morning.

I'll cut things short and end at six today because it's Thanksgiving and I'm ready to dive in to my mom's homemade cranberry sauce😍 here's the recipe for her cranberry sauce if you're interested, you only need three ingredients to make it and it comes together really quick (AKA last minute side dish). Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Confidence Is Sexy

Confidence is something I have always struggled with. I was bullied in middle school so I know that was part of the problem, but a big part of the problem was I never taught to be confident. Some kids are just graced with natural confidence, but I was not one of those kids. 

I think there's a lot that goes in to being confident. To me being confident is not just feeling good about how you look, but that is definitely part of it. I was never comfortable with how I looked, even today I sometimes find myself playing the comparison game. Social media makes it so easy to compare our looks and lives to someone else's lives when in reality we know NOTHING about that person. Someone can have a seemingly "perfect" body or life on instagram but struggle with an eating disorder or depression or other issues that no one knows about. 

I went through a rather toxic relationship a number of years ago where I was regularly degraded. That relationship totally shattered the little confidence I had left in myself. Looking back I am totally ashamed that I let myself be devalued on a daily basis, but on the flip side I also learned a lot from it and I am completely different person now (thankfully). When the relationship ended I was incredibly hurt but I took time to work on myself. I began to invest time into things that made me happy- fitness, nutrition, reporting, etc. and slowly I began to build confidence in myself. 

A professor once told me that confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. As I began to invest time in myself and do things that I genuinely loved I began to gain confidence in myself. Reporting was (and is) my passion, but it became a space where I was able to gain a lot of confidence. I had no problem stepping in front of a camera on location or in studio to deliver news. I love chasing down a story, conducting interviews, and asking the hard questions that people want or need to know. The confidence I gained reporting carried over into other areas of my life as well. 

I've learned to accept gaining confidence is a process. It's not something where you go to bed and wake up in the morning more confident, I wish it worked like that but it doesn't. I spent much of college working to better myself. You see there was always a sassy, confident, speak her mind kind of girl inside of me, but I didn't know how to channel that. Now I have no qualms about speaking my mind, in fact a lot of times I speak my mind when others don't care to hear it (I blame the reporter inside of me).

The woman I am now would like to go back and shake my younger self, but in a lot of ways I think if I had not gone through that horrible relationship I wouldn't be where I am today. I was able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get going again. I learned to stand on my own two feet, to say NO, how to love myself, and most importantly that I am worthy of love. The person I am today would never put up with the kind of stuff I did back then and I certainly would never let a man, or anyone for that matter, talk to me the way he did. I am worthy of respect and I am worthy of love and if you can't handle that, then you have no place in my life. 

That's not to say that I don't struggle with confidence anymore because I do. There are still aspects of that unhealthy relationship that I struggle with. I think it's impossible to escape an unhealthy relationship unscathed. I still find it incredibly difficult to talk about that relationship because I'm ashamed of it. While I know that I would never allow myself to be in that situation now there are things that happened in that relationship that have left scars. Luckily, my boyfriend is a very patient person and any issues that have come up we have worked through together. 

Confidence is about so much more than how you look. There's nothing wrong with being confident. Some people may dismiss you as arrogant, but so what? I'm proud that I am confident enough to stand up to someone and say no. I'm also proud that I'm confident enough to look like a total bum (sweatpants, hoodie, messy bun) in front of my boyfriend because the old me would never have thought about letting a guy see me like that. Guess what? My boyfriend doesn't love me any less for bumming it up on movie nights. I don't dress like that all the time because I do love dressing up and looking nice, but I do it for myself not to impress anyone else. 

Of course I still have days, and will have days in the future, where I don't feel good enough, or beautiful enough, or smart enough, or fill in the blank enough. Remember that you are enough. Period. End of discussion. Don't let anyone degrade you or tell you that you are anything less. Be confident in who you are. Own your personality. I love the fact that I'm naturally inclined to ask a zillion questions because it makes me a better reporter. I love that I'm not afraid to laugh and have fun with people even if I look silly. I have gotten more confident as I have gotten older, but part of that process has just been embracing who I am. 

I truly think confidence is sexy. There's a saying that the best makeup a girl can wear is a smile, but I think the best thing a girl (or anyone) can do is be confident. Be confident in who you are. Everyone is so different and so unique and its amazing! The world would be such a boring place if we were all alike. Embrace your differences and your uniqueness because those things make you YOU. Be confident about them because people notice confident people and people want to be around confident people. Be confident in who you are because who you are is pretty dang awesome. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thinking Out Loud #11

Happy Thursday! Maybe it's just me but this week seems to be going by so stinking slow🙈 I wish we could speed time up by a week so it could be Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to all the delicious foods but mostly spending time with a BF who isn't totally stressed about the zillion projects he has to do for school. Fair warning my brain it totally scattered so this thinking out loud is probably even more random than most weeks, so let's get on with it!

1. I did a happy dance when I found purple sweet potatoes at Whole Foods last week. I rarely go to Whole Foods because they're so expensive and I have to drive over 40 minutes to get to one, but I was less than ten minutes away at a doctor appointment so of course I had to stop. Countless employees asked if I needed helping looking for something but I was just taking my grand old time looking at all the cool products and geeking out at the fact that I found purple sweet potatoes. Purple sweet potatoes are my favorite potato but are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find in Michigan so of course I loaded up😋

2. Jessica's Granola is MUST when I go to Whole Foods. It's made in Michigan and it's allergy friendly, plus it's incredibly delicious. I got the bag on Thursday and it was basically gone by Monday😂 I've tried multiple types of her granola and every single one is SO.GOOD. Literally try to stop yourself from demolishing the entire bag, it's near impossible. I ripped the bag open as soon as I got in the car.

3. California is seriously calling my name. I'm having massive beach withdrawals right now. The temps have finally dropped off and are more typically for November in MI and it has me seriously missing the warm temps and the beach. I've been going through pictures from this year for a Christmas gift for someone and all the pictures from my trip to California are making me seriously miss it! I mean just look at that water and pier, it's gorgeous! All of Newport Beach is just as beautiful, so if you make it out to SoCal Newport Beach is a must!

4. Weekly Chipotle date nights have become a thing. Mexican food is basically the way to my heart so I have no problem with the fact that my boyfriend and I have had Chipotle once a week for three weeks. I know some people hate on Chipotle because some people got sick, but honestly that can happen at any restaurant. Chipotle is delicious, affordable, and their buy one get one free coupon will lure me in every time😬

5. Speaking of date night I found this place out by my boyfriend that was basically a museum of arcade games. Armed with a load of quarters we checked it out and I'm pretty sure it's his favorite thing that we've done. He was in arcade heaven with all the old games. I was never really into or got the chance to play arcade games, but the one game I do love is skeeball. My BF and I are both really competitive so we wound up playing probably a dozen games of skeeball, I won every single time😏 he kept trying to hit the 10,000 points and failing and he was so not a happy camper when I hit the 10,000 slot three times in a row😂 I may have gloated a little bit, but it was all in good fun. I don't think he wants to play skeeball ever again though😂

6. I LOVE getting deliveries, especially when they're surprise deliveries. When the edible arrangement truck pulled into the driveway the other day I was definitely surprised, but immediately thought awe my BF is so sweet, but NOPE the delivery wasn't for me😒 the arrangement was actually for my dad. I was a little disappointed, but my dad shared so that was nice. Edible arrangements are one of my favorite things, don't get me wrong I love flowers but a bouquet of fruit is definitely the way to my heart.

7. This week my energy levels have been really low, I think partly due to the flare but I'm also still fighting off the end of the cold. I've cut back on running and focused more on strength training this week and holy smokes am I sore💪 I love the feeling of being able to lift heavier than the previous week, but after leg day on Monday and arm/shoulder/chest day on Tuesday my entire body was sore🙈 No pain no gain though right?

8. I'm excited to say I FINALLY have some new recipes in the works🎉 there may be a new pumpkin recipe coming soon! My meals have been pretty basic recently which is why I haven't shared anything, but I;m breaking out of my funk and I will be breaking out the crockpot again soon so be on the lookout for that!

I'll end things on number eight today, but have a terrific Thursday friends! 
What kind of recipes would you like to see more of? 
Do you have any fun weekend or Thanksgiving plans?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wine Wednesday: Natura Wines Review

Happy Wednesday! I have been looking forward to today because it's halfway through the week, but it's also Wine Wednesday🍷 The awesome folks at Natura Wines sent me some wine to sample so I am pumped to share a review with you. Break out your wine glasses (or wait until an appropriate hour to do so) because you're going to want to try this wine!

I had seen some posts about Natura Wines on instagram and my interest was peaked. We all know I love a good glass of wine every now and then but I don't like to indulge in it too often because I always worry about how the grapes are grown and what they are treated with. Wine is great, but I don't want to be drinking a gallon of pesticides and who knows what else with my wine. 

Natura Wines peaked my interest because it's 100% organic wine. The grapes are grown and produced by Emiliana Organic Vineyards, which is the world's leading organic winery. Emiliana Organic Vineyards is located in Chilie's central valley and their vineyards are chemical free- they don't use any pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. I was really excited when I learned that because I can feel good about drinking a glass of wine without worrying about what chemicals were used to treat the grapes. Natura Wines are certified organic and are vegan friendly!

I got to test out both the sauvignon blanc and the rose wines. The sauvignon blanc had a light taste with notes of lime and grapefruit. I found the sauvignon blanc to be a sweeter wine as opposed to a dry wine, which I am not a fan of. It paired really well with grilled meat and I could easily see it being served at a dinner party. The rose wine was my favorite of the two wines because it had a lighter flavor. There were notes of cherry and strawberry currant, it was a very fruity flavor and it made me crave summertime. It would be the perfect wine to sip on the back porch or out by the lake in the summertime. Once summer rolls back around I know my friends and I will definitely be getting a few bottles of rose to enjoy while out on the lake, by a bonfire, and while grilling up some delicious eats. This wine will be front and center at the girls night I'm having at the end of the week🙌

I definitely recommend trying Natura Wines and I'm looking forward to trying the other varieties they offer, I've got my eye on the merlot😋 Besides the delicious flavors my favorite part about Natura is it costs about $10 a bottle. As a recent graduate I'm not looking to shell out big bucks on a bottle of wine, but I can justify $10 for a bottle of wine, especially as a once in awhile treat. If you try it tag me on instagram and let me know how you like it! Cheers to a great Wednesday! 

Friday, November 11, 2016


Cheers because it's almost the weekend🎉 This week has felt short but strange, I think election day threw me off and before I could fully figure out what day it was it's now Friday, but I have ZERO complaints about that. 

I haven't done a weekend dets and eats or a life update post in awhile so I'm combining them into one and calling it recently. At lot of times my life is pretty boring because I am a creature of habit and routine, but this past week has actually been busy.

I am not one to watch a lot of TV. Typically the only TV I watch is the news and that's when I'm running on the treadmill, but I couldn't take election coverage anymore. I started watching The Newsroom on Amazon Prime and I'm addicted. My other recent obsession is a new show called Pure Genius. Pure Genius is a really different show, in a good way, and I've gotten my parents hooked on it as well. It's about a tech genius and billionaire who builds a hospital called Bunker Hill where he enlists the greatest minds in technology and medicine so they can develop revolutionary treatment for patients. The show is very well written and the camera and lighting work is phenomenal! The geek in me gets really excited during the show because it's so well done. I definitely recommend checking it out, plus you can get the first episode free right now on iTunes- all the more reason to check it out!

Last Friday night I headed down to see my boyfriend. Earlier in the day my brother had been texting me about getting Chipotle because he had a buy one get one free coupon and of course I had been craving Mexican food. My boyfriend is always up for Chipotle so when my brother sent me the game to play to get the coupon he was quick to finish it so we could go get food. I had never been to Chipotle but I had heard people rave about it. I got a burrito bowl with chicken, rice, black beans, fajita vegetable, tomato salsa, and romaine lettuce. By the time we actually got food I was starving so I devoured the entire thing. We spent the night in watching one of my favorite movies of all time, Accepted. If you've never watched it it's hilarious and I HIGHLY recommend it! 

Saturday was an unusually warm day so we took advantage of it and drove out to Spicer's Apple Orchard. It's quite a hike but it was a beautiful drive with all the leaves changing so we didn't mind. We walked through all the orchards soaking up all the sunshine because the weather is bound to change. Apple picking season is over but we still found some apples on trees. I bet dear and other animals come in when people aren't around and eat the apples left of the trees and the ones that have fallen on the ground, which there were a lot. Most of the leaves are still on the trees so the orchard looked like it was on fire because the trees were almost all shades of red, it was so gorgeous. 

There was a little market where they sold cider, donuts and various other homemade items. There were so many different types of apples for sale. It was fun to look at all the types of apples because there were so many I had never heard of before, let alone seen in any grocery store. I loved looking at the gourds because each gourd is so unique, but every one is beautiful in it's own way, kind of like people. 

My favorite part of the day, aside from walking around the orchard, was the wine tasting. There is a winery on the property that features a full bar complete with hard cider that they actually make, a variety of wines and small eats. I'm the only one who likes wine, but he tried the hard cider and took a few sips of wine. I wasn't a fan of the hard ciders, they tasted like a dry white wine to me and I cannot stand dry white wine. My favorite wine was the peach wine. I have been obsessed with peach wine since venturing out to Robinette's with some friends a few months ago. Robinette's still has the best peach wine, but this was definitely good.

Sunday was dedicated to getting some work done around the house. There was LOTS of leaves outside that needed to be gotten and some various other things that needed to get done before winter. Cora was thrilled to spend the entire day outside even though she is still stuck in the cone. Please excuse my ugly boots, they may not be attractive but they are super comfortable. I never wear them out in public because they are not cute😂 

My mom went to small group Sunday night so I spent the night hanging out with my dad. We went to Home Depot to get some supplies for my dad's latest home improvement project. By the time we got back the sun was already setting so I quickly fired up the grill to cook dinner before it got totally dark. I love daylight savings time but I am not a fan of it getting dark so early. While I was cooking I broke open a bottle of sauvignon blanc wine that the team at Natura sent me. It's a totally organic wine so I was really excited to try it because while I love wine I'm not a fan of all the pesticides that are used to grow the grapes. A full review of Natura will be up next week!

I knew was going to be working the polls on election day so I spent Monday meal prepping. I haven't meal prepped in awhile because I've been lazy and while I was prepping I realized how much I missed it. It makes life so much easier, so I'm going to try to get back into the routine of prepping some meals for the week. Even though the polls didn't open until 7am I had to be there at 6am to set up. I couldn't sleep so I was up at 3:20am and hit the gym to get in a quick 5 miles before heading home to clean up and get to the polls. 

Not pictured is the breakfast I prepped. I cut up strawberries and a banana to throw into my oatmeal which I ate while I headed out the door. For lunch I had an O'Dough's gluten free bagel thin topped with avocado, organic turkey breast and goat cheese with a honeycrisp apple. For dinner I packed roasted sweet potato, sautéed garlic green beans, and grilled greek chicken breast with ketchup for dipping. Normally I am not a snacker, but I knew it was going to be a long day so I packed a container of strawberries (not pictured) and a chocolate sea salt rxbar.

This was my first experience working the polls and it was a unique experience. I always bug everyone to register to vote and to get out and vote so I wanted to be part of the election. It was a really long day since I ended up working from 6am until almost 10pm. I loved interacting with the public, it's the reporter in me, and it was genuinely awesome to see democracy at work. People were excited to be there and it made the day go by faster. I was dead tired by the time I got home so I cuddle up in sweatpants and a hoodie and my boyfriend came over to watch the results roll in. 

I was kind of nervous to be interacting with so many people since I was still getting over being really sick. One of my friends had given me a bottle of hand sanitizer spray from The Honest Company. I kept it with me all day and besides smelling amazing, it smelt like orange, it was super convenient to have. I liked that it never discharged too much like a regular hand sanitizer bottle does sometimes. It helped my germaphobe self not worry about all the people and germs I was interacting with, especially since my immune system is still pretty weak from dealing with this flare. I would definitely recommend this hand sanitizer though as I know I will be buying more.

We were up until almost 2:30 watching the election results roll in. After a long day of working the polls I couldn't last a minute longer so I went to bed. Of course my body woke me up at 5:05am and was wide awake🙈 I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep so I hit the gym for a quick treadmill run because I did not have it in me to lift and run. For staying up so late I was surprisingly really awake all day.

After getting back from the gym and getting breakfast I whipped up some pancakes and took them over to my boyfriend. He's definitely not a morning person😂 After spending the morning with him he had to head back to school so I headed home to enjoy some time outside. Cora was so happy to get outside and run around in the leaves. While Cora ran around in the leaves I enjoyed a few quiet moments by the lake. The water was like glass and it was so peaceful. 

Thursday was a blur of doctor appointments, errands and helping my change the oil in the cars, yes I actually know how to change the oil in my car. It's one of the many benefits of having a dad who's all about doing everything himself. 

I'll end things here and I'll try to get updates posted sooner so posts aren't a mile long. Have a great day and happy Friday! 

Do you have any fun weekend plans?
What is one skill you have that people would not expect?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thinking Out Loud #10

Happy Thursday friendly faces, does anyone else have election hangover? I'm glad the election is over because I was really, really tired of hearing about it 24/7 and I was really tired of being bombarded with political ads, but I was up way too late (like 2:30am😳) watching the results pour after working the polls. I have so much to share, but I'll keep this weeks thinking out loud brief and a recently post will be up tomorrow. Brace yourselves for the randomness...

1. My newest guilty pleasure is Amazon prime streaming. I have been a prime member for five years and this is the first time I have actually taken advantage of streaming TV shows and movies🙈 I got really sick of watching to the news in the mornings while I ran on the treadmill at the gym so I started watching The Newsroom. OH MY GOSH ITS SO GOOD!!! It's pretty accurate as far as what it's like to work in a newsroom. There is constant stress, looming deadlines, competitiveness, and big egos (especially in big TV markets). Definitely check it out, I highly recommend it. 

2. I feel like I should start this with "typical girl status" because I walked into Target for one bottle of ketchup and I walked out with a basket of stuff. In my defense they did have conditioner on sale for an awesome price so stocking up was the smart thing to do. I did find these waffles though and I did a happy dance because they're gluten and dairy free🙌 Of course I had to try them right away and they are really good! The box is already long gone, whoops😋 

3. Speaking of the election I actually worked the polls for the first time ever. It was a ridiculously long day, I was there from 6am until almost 10pm but it was pretty cool to see democracy in action. I bugged pretty much everyone I knew to register to vote and then get out and vote. I didn't care who they were voting for I simply wanted people to exercise their right to vote that so many people would give anything to have. Voting is not just your civic duty, it's a privilege that hundreds of thousands of men and women have sacrificed to protect. It's also important just so you can be an informed citizen. 

4. Up until yesterday the weather has been absolutely gorgeous and unseasonably warm. Of course I soaked up every possible minute of sunshine because I know cold and the dreaded snow is around the corner. Over the weekend my boyfriend and I headed to a cider mill and walked all around the orchard, pumpkin patch and various other areas. It was so nice just to be outside🍎 It's nice to be with someone who loves being outside and active as much as I do. Sometimes we just pick a park off Apple maps and go explore, we are pretty simple and easy to please.

5. I have started looking for a new pair of running shoes because mine are starting to get old. I've racked up a lot of miles on them so before my shoes totally die, or I hurt my feet, I'm looking to get a new pair. The Nike Air Zoom collection has been my go to for years, but the style I always get is being discontinued so I need suggestions on new shoes. I'm a Nike girl because I know they work well, but I will happily take suggestions on good shoes. 

6. I found this bad boy while browsing the baking isle at Kroger (doesn't everyone do that in their free time😂) I can't have Nutella but from what I've heard it's incredibly sugary tasting. This is basically Nutella but gluten, dairy and nut free. I mixed a little in with my morning oats and it's definitely good. I may do some baking with it during the holidays because it is a better option than Nutella, the macros aren't great but it's definitely better and has half the sugar. The sugar that is included is organic and not artificial. 

I'll end things on six this week because I have a feeling tomorrows recently post might get a little long. Have a terrific Thursday lovelies! 

What is your favorite show to watch?
Are you looking forward to the holiday season? Why or why not?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Nutty Granola (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Happy Monday!! It's been awhile since I have shared a recipe so that needed to change ASAP. Truthfully, I just have not baked anything in a really long time. I've been trying to stay away from buying allergy friendly products because they are so expensive, so I've been sticking to fruits, veggies and meat. I have a few allergy friendly staples that I buy and I massively stock up when they go on sale- if anyone is interested I'll do a post about the allergy friendly staples that I do buy. Anyway, after a few rough days (that's a story for another post) I needed some baking therapy. 

I had a few new recipes I wanted to test out so I collected all the ingredients and got to work. I've shared a few granola recipes on the blog, but why not share another? The more the merrier right? My mom and a friend taste tested the recipe and gave the seal of approval so I figured it was blog worthy. This granola makes an awesome snack or topping for yogurt! 

Nutty Granola
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries, divided
  • 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave
  • 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with coconut oil or nonstick cook spray.

In a mixing bowl combine oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, half of the dried cherries, half of the chocolate chips and chia seeds. 

In a separate bowl add nut butter, honey, coconut oil and vanilla. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and if the nut butter is not entirely melted microwave for an additional 10 seconds and stir again.

Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and use a spatula to stir until everything is well coated.

Spread granola out in an even layer on baking sheet and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over it. 

Bake at 350F degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until it's golden brown. 

Remove from oven and allow the granola to cool. While cooling sprinkle the remaining dried cherries on top of granola. 

When the granola is completely cooled break it into chunks and store in an airtight container. 

If you make this granola take a picture, tag me on instagram, and use the hashtag #thesimplelife I'd love to see your creations! Don't forget to like my new Facebook page!