Thursday Treats: vegan maple granola

Today I have a treat for all of you! I made homemade maple granola and it was way better than the granola I made a few weeks ago. It’s sweet, but not over powering and this recipe forms those wonderful granola clusters. I don’t know about you, but my favorite granolas have clusters rather than small little oat pieces, but maybe I’m just picky. 😛 Did I mention that it’s super duper easy to make too?  My boyfriend agrees that this granola is really good (but maybe my taste tester has to say that)! I hope all of you agree, though. 🙂

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vegan maple granola

This recipe was adapted from the Easy Homemade Granola recipe on page 13 of The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic. It’s easy to make, portable, tasty, and vegan. Try it on a peanut butter sandwich, with some almond milk, or even by the handful!

yield: approx. 12 servings

ingredients:

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup cashews

3 cups oatmeal

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar plus 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup  raisins or other dried fruit if desired (added after baking)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 in glass baking pan or 2 cookie sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the raisins.

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3. Spread the mixture into the glass baking pan or on the 2 cookie sheets.

4, Bake for about 25 minutes or until the granola turns golden brown (It took me a little over 30 minutes when I used a 9×13 baking dish). Make sure to stir the granola as it is cooking.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Add raisins to the granola if desired and store in a Tupperware or other airtight container.

Running update

On a completely different note, I am back to pain free running! My darn IT band seems to be fine after a few runs in a row. FINALLY! Also, the strength/rehabilitation exercises I have been doing for the last month and a half are paying off as the right side of my body is feeling stronger. And maybe, just maybe I am starting to feel a little bit more flexible because I have been doing yoga a few times per week.  I still wouldn’t call myself flexible, but I am better than I used to be. 😉 Yesterday I went on a lovely, pain free run with my boyfriend and it was the furthest I have run since my half marathon in the beginning of June!

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Yes, 3.63 blissful miles was “far” for me, but not one twinge in the IT band so I’ll take it.This girl is happy to be running in general! I cannot wait to go back to running higher mileage and training for a race, but I know that I must go slow and be patient. I hoping to run a 10k or half in October or November, but for the time being my next mission is to try a 4 miler and a 4.5 miler.

Lollapalooza

The time is finally here! Tomorrow through Sunday I will be at Lollapalooza and I’m super pumped.  I cannot wait to see several of my favorite artists live as well as my sister and a friend from college I haven’t seen in a while. 🙂  This means I may not update this blog for a few days, but I’ll see what I can do.

The weekend is ALMOST here! Anyone have any exciting plans this weekend? 🙂

Wonderful Wednesday: a Lakeshore bike path workout, the beach, and homemade granola

Hi there! Today has been a wonderful Wednesday. The weather was (and still is) absolutely beautiful here in Chicago-not cold or hot and mostly sunny! It’s been a full day because we woke up early and in the wise words of my boyfriend this was because we needed to “get up and attack the day”!

We started the day off right by getting up early to drink some coffee, eat breakfast, and study (well make granola in my case because I don’t have studying to do for my class today), 😛 Then, it was time to workout! I biked with my boyfriend while he ran. I’m still trying to ease back into running because of my IT band injury so I’ll try a short run again tomorrow.

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(What a perfect view during our workout today. I could get used to it! Smile)

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(We worked out on the beautiful Lakeshore bike path. There were tons and tons of people out there today and no shortage of amazing views.)

Then, after our workout it was time for lunch. We used the homemade granola I made earlier as a topping for peanut butter sandwiches. I love eating granola on peanut butter sandwiches for extra crunch. I’ll share the recipe for the granola below!

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After lunch my boyfriend and I went to the beach to get some sun and reading time in. It was a little chilly when the clouds came out, but otherwise a perfect day to lay out!

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(There was no shortage of bird friends at the beach either. 😛 )

All in all, its been a great day so far.  It hasn’t even been a week, but I already love it here!

As promised the granola recipe I made earlier is below. It is inspired by the recipe Awesome Granola by Liz Applegate in the Runner’s World Cookbook (page 20). I made some substitutions, though: flax seed instead of wheat germ, cashews and sunflower seeds instead of almonds, and I doubled the amount of raisins. Here’s a link to the original recipe: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/better-bowl?page=single. This recipe is healthier than store bought because it only uses a small amount of oil and sweeter and it can be made vegan by substituting the honey for maple syrup or another sweetener.

Homemade cashew and raisin granola

ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/8 cup flax seed

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

2/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a medium glass baking dish

2.  On the stovetop, in a saucepan, combine the honey and oil and heat over medium heat until bubbles start to form.

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3. Combine the old fashioned oats, flax seed, cashews, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon in a different bowl.

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4. Pour the honey and oil mixture into the oat mixture bowl and mix until combined.

5. Spread the mixture evenly into a glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the granola turns a color brown color. Make sure to stir the granola every ten minutes.

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6. Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the 2/3 cup of raisins. Let the granola cool completely before storing in a Tupperware.

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This granola is tasty and I like it almost as much as homemade peanut butter granola! My favorite ways to eat granola are in oatmeal, on peanut butter sandwiches, and in Greek yogurt.

Have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday everyone! Smile

What is your favorite granola flavor and way to eat it?