Vanilla, Honey, and Almond Granola with Dates

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I am a huuuuggge granola/granola bar junkie! I try to opt for the healthier granola bars so that’s exactly why I decided to whip up my own batch myself. Granola and granola bars (especially all of the good tasting ones) that you buy from the store tend to be extremely high in fat and sugar..it’s almost as bad as eating a candy bar in some instances.  Granola is extremely easy to make and you can add all of your favorite flavors and fruits. I love granola as a quick snack..I love putting it in my yogurt or even on peanut butter and apples. There will definitely be more granola recipes to come so stay tuned! 🙂

Ingredients:
4 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. honey
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
6 dates; chopped
1/4 cup almonds; chopped
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and honey and microwave for about 30-45 seconds until the peanut butter and honey have melted together. Stir together and then add in the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Add in the almonds and oats and stir until everything is coated evenly.

3. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes…every oven varies so you will know when granola is ready when it’s golden brown. *I would recommend flipping granola every 5 minutes with a spatula for an extra crunch Enjoy!
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Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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I started baking as soon I was able to reach my kitchen counter and the very first cookies I started to bake were Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the Mrs.Field’s Cookie Recipe Book. Since my Dad is an almond grower I started to switch out the walnuts that the recipe called for and used roasted almonds. I also decreased the amount of sugar and incorporated honey as well. This is the recipe I used below and I think they are just perfect…they also brings back so many memories every time I take a bite into one!

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter; softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds (optional)

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and honey.
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2. Beat in eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla extract until combined. image

3. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, oatmeal, raisins, and almonds (optional) until dough is formed.
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4. With a mini ice cream scooper, scoop cookies and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Pop in oven…bake for 15 minutes. The cookies might look a little under cooked but they will cook a little more when they are cooling.
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Place on cooling racks……….almost done!
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Finally!! Enjoy!
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Healthy Apple Crumble

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Do you ever buy too many apples at the grocery store like me!? I believe in the saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away” so I tend to always have one too many apples laying around. When this happens, this is always the first thing I love to bake because its so easy and delicious! If you love apple pie (like me) this is the perfect alternative for a healthy version of course 🙂 You can even enjoy this for breakfast like me and my fiance did!

Yield: 6

Ingredients:
6 small apples; sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
For the crumble:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup cinnamon graham crackers; crushed
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter; cubed
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl add sliced apples, lemon juice, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins. Mix until apples are coated evenly.

2. Pour apple slices in a pie dish and set aside. Using the same mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the crumble topping! (this part is easy!)..Mix with a fork until it has a crumby consistency. Pour on top of apples and let bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
*The is best if served with vanilla ice cream..or vanilla frozen yogurt if you are trying to be extra healthy 🙂

Healthy Carrot Cake Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast so I try my best to make time for it. Carrot cake is one of those foods where you either love it or hate it for most people, and I loooove it…but my waist doesn’t. This hearty breakfast definitely cures my sweet tooth without feeling guilty. I love recreating the original oatmeal recipe because the new flavor creations are endless and this recipe is completely good for you. This is so good and full of flavor you will easily forget that it’s healthy!

Yield: 2

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk; unsweetened
1 shredded carrot
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Sprinkle of almonds or pecans (optional, I prefer almonds!)

Steps:
1. In a small or medium saucepan, heat almond milk and add carrots and raisins. Stir consistently for 5 minutes..this will soften the carrots and plump up the raisins.

2. Once milk is warm, add honey, oatmeal and steel cut oats. Stir with a spoon and add in cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Stir until oatmeal thickens (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, spoon into bowl, sprinkle with almonds and a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy while its hot!

Check out my other Healthy Oatmeal Recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal
Banana Nut Bread Oatmeal
Overnight Peanut butter & Nutella Oats

Cinnamon Roll Popcorn

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The best part of watching any movie is the popcorn of course! I have had my favorite caramel corn on my mind  from a candy store on the wharf in Monterey. I finally have made some time to make my own version from scratch for the first time. This sweet crunchy snack tastes like a combination of caramel corn and the inside filling of a cinnamon roll….its amazing and addicting so be careful!

Yield: 6

Ingredients:
10 cups popped plain popcorn; or 1 1/2 microwavable popcorn bags
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter; cut into cubes
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup white melting chocolate
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl add popped popcorn and pecans. In a microwavable safe bowl add butter, cinnamon, and corn syrup. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds. Once melted add in vanilla extract and baking soda and mix until combined and consistency is like a syrup.
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2. Pour syrup mixture in large bowl and with a spatula, mix until popcorn is coated evenly (about 3 minutes). Pour coated popcorn on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat ( what I used). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

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3. Once baked, let cool for about 15 minutes. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over cooled popcorn. Sprinkle white chocolate chips and let cool for another 15 minutes until chocolate is cooled. Enjoy with your favorite movie or just as a perfect sweet snack!
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