Simply the Best Granola

Simply the Best Granola

This is a standby at our house. We even take some with us when we travel for a snack in the car or an easy breakfast in hotel. You probably have most of the ingredients already in your kitchen. It definitely beats the ones you’ll find in the cereal aisle.


granola bowl

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (look for Red Mill)
¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup vegetable oil (canola or coconut oil works well)
½ tsp. salt

2 cups diced dried fruit (apricots, dried cherries, raisins)


– Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

– In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl combine maple syrup, oil and salt. Combine the two mixtures well. Spread the granola onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour stirring every fifteen minutes. The low heat allows for a nice, lightly toasted flavor.

– Allow the granola to cool, and add chopped fruit and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

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This is a modified version of Alton Brown’s recipe.

Chopped Greek Salad with Farro

A hearty and colorful salad, it has plenty of opportunities for substitutions based on what you may have on hand. Navy beans can stand in for the garbanzo beans, and barley or quinoa will work as well as farro. The dressing is flavorful without being heavy on the oil, and it stays moist on days two and three, but you’ll be lucky if it lasts that long!

Chopped Greek Salad1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
¼ small red onion, diced
1 small red, orange, or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
10 whole Kalamata olives, pitted and drained and diced
2 pepperoncini peppers, seeded and diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup feta cheese
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups cooked farro

½ cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons red wine or Sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the farro according to package directions. Run the cooked grains under cold water. Chop vegetables into a consistently small size. Combine veggies with feta, farro, and garbanzo beans.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, dill, vinegar, agave nectar, water, salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and combine well.

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Recipe adapted from Greek Salad found in The Lean, A Revolutionary and Simple 30-day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss, by Kathy Freston (recipe by Dayna McLeod).

Mexican Black Bean and Veggie Tortillas

Serves 4

black bean and veggie tortillaIngredients
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. black pepper
Whole wheat tortillas
Brown rice

Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
Low-fat sour cream
Red onion, chopped fine
Red pepper, chopped
Arugula or fresh spinach leaves
Cucumber, peeled and diced
Carrots, chopped fine

Begin by preparing brown rice. As the rice cooks, combine black beans and diced tomatoes in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin, coriander and black pepper. Heat for 10-15 minutes. Heat tortillas until golden but not crispy.

Meanwhile chop vegetables putting them out, smorgasbord style, along with cheese, sour cream and salsa. Create your tortilla using a combination of your favorite ingredients. Vegans can leave out the dairy. If you’re limiting carbohydrates, omit the rice or even the tortilla.

This recipe is healthy, cheap, adaptable, and easy. It is such a staple in my house that we refer to it by the shorthand, “Mexican.” I always keep black beans and diced tomatoes on hand. (Buy BPA-free canned goods whenever possible.) Good tortillas can make or break this meal. A delicious uncooked option is available at Costco. Toppings can include whatever you have on hand. I pile my tortilla high like a salad and eat it with a fork and knife. My kids prefer theirs burrito style.

This is a great opportunity to make extra rice for meals throughout the week. Leftover chopped vegetables can be stored in glass containers and thrown into tomorrow night’s salad. Sometimes I add frozen corn or a cooked, diced sweet potato to the beans. Fresh cilantro is always a nice addition. The possibilities are endless.

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Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

These delicious, moist muffins make a hearty snack or a quick breakfast. There are no eggs or milk so these qualify as vegan muffins, but you certainly don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them. I use a coffee grinder or a mini food processor to chop the walnuts and carrots so that kids don’t even know they are there.

The only difficult thing about this recipe is remembering to buy extra bananas so that you can let a big bunch of them to get brown and extra sweet! Try buying bananas often, allowing them to ripen and then peeling and freezing them. You’ll always have a stockpile for muffins and smoothies. Enjoy!


1 ½ cups whole-wheat flourVegan Morning Glory Muffins
½ cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
5-6 overripe bananas
¼ cup rice milk (can substitute almond or soy milk)
6 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup walnuts, chopped or ground fine
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
½ cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, wheat germ, baking powder and baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In another bowl mash bananas, add rice milk, oil, and vanilla. Combine well. Add dry ingredients to wet and combine without over stirring. Fold in nuts, carrots and raisins. Use muffin cups or non-stick spray with muffin tin. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 30 minutes.

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