Homemade Breakfast Granola

Homemade Breakfast Granola

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my brother Jason mentioned he recently made granola. My mother also regularly makes granola, but for some reason the idea had never crossed my mind. Which is odd considering my pantry is stocked with these ingredients regularly. I found this recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a little to include the kind of oil and sweetener I wanted to use. I’m excited to build upon this recipe and experiment with different variations – coconut and chocolate would be an exciting combo to try!

I don’t imagine this batch sticking around for very long because Jordan has already been snatching little bites all day. So, if you have more than two people in your house that will eat granola, I would suggest doubling the recipe because it really is just that good! Also, this would be a lovely gift to give during this holiday season. Fill some cute jars, include the recipe on the gift tag, and you are good to go!

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Coconut Zucchini Cookies

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Fall is here ladies and gentlemen and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Summer may overflow with optimism, but fall brings layers, a cool breeze twirling through my windows, apple picking, pumpkin everything, football(!) and warm lattes are many of the reasons why fall has my heart. But most importantly, fall is also the season I fell in love with Jordan.

Summer weather doesn’t inhibit me from using my oven (despite the sweating that ensues), but baking in the fall is a more pleasant experience. My father’s mini orchard is in full swing and I have plans for the bowl of apples and pears in my kitchen, but my remaining zucchini’s were calling my name first. The apples and pears will have to wait until next week.

Over the weekend I spent a little time (ok, maybe more than a little) perusing Pinterest and found a Coconut Zucchini Cookies recipe that I wanted to try. I love cookies especially when they involve lots of different inclusions (this one has coconut, chocolate, oatmeal and zucchini!). My mother would generally add chocolate to everything (to appease all our different tastes): chocolate chip cookies were really oatmeal chocolate chip and banana cupcakes might have chocolate chips blended in or maybe chocolate icing. This recipe seemed like something she would have tried.

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These cookies are almost better as a snack than as dessert (they aren’t that sweet). I ate a few after playing tennis with Jordan and it was the perfect compliment to the smoothie I was drinking.

Hopefully you are as excited about fall as me and soak up this season for all it offers.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

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I have a sweet tooth, especially if the dessert involves dark chocolate. In fact, for almost every holiday/birthday I receive chocolate from either my mom or mother in law. This love of sweets led me to bake a lot growing up with my mother. Now if I feel a craving coming, instead of buying packaged cookies I simply bake them. Sadly, cookies aren’t a dark leafy green so moderation and quality of ingredients do become important. Over the last few months, as my staples have dwindled, I’ve been replacing them with their healthier or organic equilvalent, ie. whole wheat pasta instead of white. On my last trip to Whole Foods I decided to buy coconut oil. It’s mentioned as a potential healthier alternative oil, but I wasn’t exactly sure if I would use it more for cooking or as a beauty product.

A favorite combination of mine is chocolate and coconut. I was having a chocolate craving and remembered a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen and thought, why not make chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil! I found this recipe and adapted it slightly.

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) chocolate chip cookies

I  used one cup all purpose flour and one cup white whole wheat (I didn’t want to over kill the health factor the first time I made this recipe).

For the sugar, I didn’t fill the measuring cups fully, a little space below the rim was fine.

Jordan enjoys chocolate but not as much as me, so I never use the full amount of chocolate chips. 2/3 of a cup was closer to what I put into the dough. After mixing began, I decided to add actual coconut flakes to enhance the oil.

They turned out great! The white whole wheat added a nice nutty flavor and using less sugar didn’t affect it. The only thing I would have done differently was to buy unrefined coconut oil instead of refined. I didn’t realize there were two options and one has more of a coconut flavor than the other, ie. use the refined with vegetables but the unrefined with baking for a lingering coconut flavor. Sadly, there wasn’t the full coconut flavor I was hoping for, but they still were a decent chocolate chip cookie. I’m looking forward to trying this again with the unrefined oil.

If you try this recipe or have favorite ways to use coconut oil, please let me know!

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