Monthly Archives: October 2015

Recipe: Grain-free granola

It’s no secret that I have difficulty planning meals for myself. Feeding myself has always been more of an afterthought, but with the pregnancy “afterthought” is no longer an option.

I really struggled during the first trimester just trying to find food that I wanted to eat for more than 2 minutes at a time. While the second trimester has been easier, I still don’t know how long I’m going to want a particular food. Breakfast has proven to be especially difficult to plan for. I really would like a simple bowl of cereal, but that’s not a possibility, so after a month or two of eating breakfast muffins I decided I needed a change.

Right after Andy and I switched over to grain-free eating, I found a recipe for granola that used nuts and seeds as the base rather than oatmeal. While I couldn’t remember where I had found the original recipe, I had a pretty good idea I could figure it out on my own. And let me tell you this granola hits the spot! Most mornings I eat a little bit over some plain Greek yogurt with sliced banana, but if I’m feeling even lazier, I’ll just pour a small bowl and eat it with some kind of milk (usually almond or cow).

Granola is super forgiving (as long as you don’t burn it!). If you don’t like walnuts, swap in some extra almonds or cashews. Prefer ginger and nutmeg to cinnamon? Go for it! This recipe isn’t super sweet, so you can always add more sugar if you want, but I think it’s perfect just as it is.

One last thing–because this granola base is all nuts and seeds it will fill you up faster than you realize. Start with a small amount and go back for seconds if you need it.

Ingredients:
– 4 cups mixed nuts and seeds (I usually go for a combo of almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pepitas, but feel free to use your favorites)
– 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
– 2 Tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil*
– 3 teaspoons sugar**
– Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger to taste (I usually go for a Tablespoon of cinnamon and a quick grate of nutmeg)
– Pinch of salt
– 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl combine nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes. Add butter, sugar, spices, and salt. Stir till everything is combined and evenly coated.

Shake granola onto a cookie sheet making sure to spread everything out.

Bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola in the pan, then bake until golden brown (usually another 10-15 minutes). Watch the granola carefully as it goes from golden to burned very quickly!

Allow granola to cool to room temperature then add cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe notes:
* If I’m feeling really decadent, I’ll add a small amount of cocoa butter as I’m melting my butter. It adds a little hint of “What is that amazing flavor???” to the granola without making it too chocolatey.
** Any kind of sugar will do here–white, brown, coconut, maple syrup, honey. Go with whatever you have. Lately I’ve used either maple syrup or coconut sugar.

October 23rd: Weekly meal plan

I realize that I completely forgot to post last week’s meal plan. I set out every day with the best of intentions and they just fell flat. Among other things last week we eat: white chicken chile, Italian sausage rice bowl, and mushroom ragu. I had a beautiful butternut squash lasagna planned, but when it came right down to it, it felt like more work than I had energy for so I turned it into a skillet. At this point, that’s my go to–when in doubt, make it a skillet!

I promised myself I wouldn’t skip two meal plans in a row, so combined with the grocery list, here you go!

– Moroccan carrot soup, salad, and flatbread
– Pizza
– Garbage Stirfry from NomNom Paleo
– Roasted Brussels sprouts and pear salad
– Broccoli sausage casserole
– Huevos rancheros
-Hodge Podge!

Next week, I’m hoping to have 2 new recipes to share. And maybe a peek at my 2nd trimester eating habits.

What I ate: First trimester

Everyone knows that the first trimester of pregnancy can be tricky when it comes to food. Even though I didn’t feel great, I really feel like I got off pretty easy. I never threw up, and though I definitely didn’t always feel like eating, there were only a few times when my stomach got the better of me and Andy was forced to fend for himself for dinner.

My biggest issue with the first trimester was the heatwave that settled in over Portland for most of the summer. We don’t have air conditioning, and the house got pretty toasty. Thankfully, I wasn’t in my 3rd trimester like my poor neighbor. Again, I was lucky!

The most unexpected thing I experienced was waking up during the middle of the night absolutely starving. Like my stomach was eating my spine starving. I started keeping LaraBars on my nightstand so I could have a quick snack. It didn’t take long though for those LaraBars to just not be enough to fill me up, so I’d have to get up and grab something (usually cheese) from the fridge. Andy was particularly amused at this because he would wake up to me crunching loudly from the other side of the bed.

Here’s a general list of things that worked, and didn’t work my first 12 weeks or so:

Yea’s
– Cheese. I couldn’t always eat the same cheese from week to week, but I could usually find some kind of cheese that didn’t make me regret getting up in the morning.
– All-fruit popsicles. These were especially good when the weather was pushing 100 degrees.
– LaraBars. See above.
– Nuts. Occasionally.
– Ice cream. Sometimes. It wasn’t always my thing, but more often than not it worked!
– Fruit. Sometimes. Again, sometimes I wanted it, other times I didn’t.
– Rice cakes. I broke my no grains rule because I just needed something light to eat. These did the trick for a couple weeks. Now that I’m no longer queasy all the time, these have gone back on the no list.

Nay’s
– Eggs. Couldn’t even stand the smell of them cooking. This one took some time getting over. There are still times when eating them turns my stomach a little bit, but it is getting better.
– Most animal proteins. I just really didn’t want to eat meat, which is something my body probably could have used. Ask me sometime about the night of sausage and eggs…
– Salad. It was so hot that I never wanted to turn on the stove, so salad was oftentimes my go to for dinner. That being said, it just didn’t do it for my stomach, and a lot of times I’d pick out the things I could eat (namely the cheese) and call it good.

Mostly the first 12 weeks were spent trying to sort out what my body actually wanted. I would get all fired up about a particular food, run to the store and buy it, and by the time I got home didn’t even want to look at it. It certainly wasn’t an easy period of time, but Andy was endlessly patient and we pulled through together.

October 9th: Weekly meal plan

We’re heading into the final stretch! No, not that final stretch, we’re still quite a few months away from baby–I’m talking about the final 3 weeks of our busy season. 2015 has been go, go, go! Between ever so many family weddings, the pregnancy, and general household keeping up the year is flying by.

That being said, we’re not quite through, and I’ve been trying to make sure our dinners are super easy and high in protein. Apparently, babies need protein!

Check out the grocery list and have a great one!

– Broccoli, egg, cheese casserole
Sausage and peppers over cauliflower mash
– Cabbage casserole
– Huevos rancheros
Mushroom ragu over cauliflower mash
– Spaghetti squash bolognese
– Hodge Podge!

October 2nd: Weekly meal plan

Even though we’re a week + into fall, it’s still pretty warm in the Portland area. I know winter is coming and I’ll probably be wishing for sun sooner rather than later, but for now I’m just really craving warm and hearty fall dinners. So even though we’re looking at a couple of days in the 80s next week, you’re still going to see bolognese, casserole, and ragu on our menu. What can I say? Baby likes fall!

Here’s the grocery list–and here’s to a fantastic week!

– Spaghetti squash bolognese
– Broccoli, sausage, tomato casserole
– Chicken ragu with mashed cauliflower- Huevos rancheros
Kohlrabi pasta alla Foriana
– Cauliflower frittata
– Hodge Podge!