make ahead meal

Simple Chai Spice Granola

Granola is a staple in my pantry whether homemade or store-bought. I look for brands that have less than 7-8 grams of sugar per serving. My favorites are Grandy Oats or Nature’s Path Organic (see more dietitian approved brands here).

Making granola at home is actually quite easy. This recipe takes no more than 30 minutes and is a great recipe to meal prep for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack.

I like to keep my recipes simple and adaptable. We're not all chefs and we definitely don't have to be in order to eat healthy. Feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand - you will see some ideas and notes listed in the ingredients below. For this recipe, I used chai spice but feel free to adjust it to use whatever spices you have on hand (cinnamon, turmeric, and pumpkin pie spice would all be great!). 

Buckwheat is a type of (gluten-free) grain and gives this granola a really nice earthy taste. I highly recommend the buckwheat but feel free to substitute it for extra oats or another whole grain like quinoa.

To make your own chai spice . . .

Combine the following ground spices . . .
1 Tbsp ginger + 2 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp cardamom + 1 tsp allspice + 1 tsp cloves

 

Ingredients:

Dry:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup roasted buckwheat (also known as kasha)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (walnuts or pecans would be good too)
1/4 cup dried currants, cranberries, or fruit of your choice
2 Tbsp hemp seeds

Wet:
2 Tbsp nut butter (I used 1 T peanut butter, 1 T tahini)
1 Tbsp milk, any kind
2 Tbsp honey (or real maple syrup)
2 tsp chai spice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking sheet.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the dried fruit. Set aside.
3. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate, smaller mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly with your hands.
5. Spread on your baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it starts to get golden brown. Add the dried fruit with about 10 minutes left to prevent burning.
7. Sprinkle on yogurt or eat by the handful!

Simple Chai Spice Granola.jpg
 

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

I know I'm a little late but I thought this recipe would be festive for an Easter Brunch. Oatmeal is actually a great way to get some veggies in early in your day. Whether you add greens and eggs, carrots and walnuts, or pumpkin and spices - it's a totally versatile meal/snack option. This recipe makes about 6 servings (depending on appetites & sides). It's perfect for a crowd or to save and freeze as part of your meal prep. 

 

Ingredients:

1 banana, mashed
2 cups old fashioned oats
1.5 cups grated carrots
1.5 cups milk (I used soy, add until oats are covered, moist when mixed, but not drowning)
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp each walnuts and raisins (I used craisins)

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add to a medium sided cast-iron skillet, or a square baking dish. Spread flat on top.
3. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
4. Top with greek yogurt, cinnamon, maple syrup, or peanut butter and a side of fruit. Serve and enjoy!

I sliced this into 6 servings and put some in the fridge, some in the freezer to heat up throughout the week as a quick grab-and-go breakfast.