Tag Archives: eat

Recipe: Nut & Seed Granola

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

I love me some granola.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

This batch is a powerhouse of flavor and nutrition with lots of nuts and seeds, coconut and coconut butter, tahini and sweetened only with honey. On top of that, it’s very easy to make, so you have no excuses not to be in the kitchen, right now, baking up a batch of pure delight. Except that you’re reading this right now.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

So I’m not gonna hold you captive here any more with lots of fluff. Let’s get to it.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

NUT & SEED GRANOLA

Makes approx. 7 cups (fits nicely on one standard size rimmed baking sheet)

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups flaked coconut, raw and unsweetened
2 cups mixed nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, etc.)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flaxseed, ground
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp vanilla, almond or coconut extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300F. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk wet ingredients until combined well.  Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until all dry ingredients are coated evenly.

Spread granola mixture onto a lined baking sheet (parchment or Silpat mat) into an even layer, avoiding direct contact with the sides of the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and toss, then return to oven to bake for another 20 minutes. Remove, toss and repeat process twice more, for a total baking time of 80 minutes, or until granola turns golden and toasted. Remove granola from oven and allow to cool completely as granola will harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

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Recipe: Coconut Caramel Bars (Grain Free/Vegan)

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

So if you haven’t noticed, it’s that Girl Scout cookie time of year. Since my husband insists on “supporting his co-workers’ kids”, (um, yeah babe, I’m sure that’s the reason) we have a few boxes in the freezer (yes, they’re better frozen). And as much as I enjoy them, since they’re delicious, I can’t get past all those pesky, unnecessary ingredients. The only way to resist my urge to eat an entire tray of Caramel Delites (they used to be called Samoas back when I was a GS), after of course eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints, is to make my own, healthier version.

Let me stop you there. I know what you’re thinking, “But Tiffany, these aren’t even cookies, they’re bars.” Trust me, you won’t miss the cookies. These bars are so rich and delectable, those cookies will get freezer burn and you won’t even care. Nope, nada, no caring here.

To make these bars so rich and delectable, they’ve got to be filled with some pretty awesome things. Dates are one of my favorite treats and make the caramel perfectly sweet. But they really needed a punch of something else too. What better way to deck out my homemade caramel coconut bars than to fill them to the brim with coconut? Don’t you agree? Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page. And no, I’m not joking about the coconut. It’s everywhere in these babies!  My only warning is this: they’re addicting and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself on the couch, watching a chick flick, fork in hand with an empty 8×8 dish. And for those of you watching your calories (which I don’t encourage), while they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these bars are most definitely not low calorie. Everything in moderation, right?

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Without further ado, I present:

COCONUT CARAMEL BARS (GRAIN FREE/VEGAN) 

Inspired by Girl Scout’s Caramel Delites

Slightly adapted from Detoxinista’s No-Bake Twix Bars

Makes an 8×8 Dish

Cookie Crust
1 cup raw coconut butter (make a extra to save some for later!)*
4 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Filling
2 cup Medjool dates (about 25-30 dates)
1/2 cup water or coconut water
4 tbsp raw coconut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Topping

1 cup toasted coconut, flaked or shredded (I use Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened)*

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp raw honey

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F and toast your coconut (in the same glass baking dish you’re going to make the bars in) by baking for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven, pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Make the cookie crust by mixing the wet ingredients in a medium bowl, then adding in the coconut flour and salt until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into an 8×8 glass baking dish greased with a little melted coconut oil then you’re going to pre-bake the crust (like you might for a pie) by baking for 8-10 minutes, until the top and edges just begin to brown. You don’t want to over bake here because it will go back in the oven with the filling (again, like a pie). After you take out the crust, turn the oven up to 375F to preheat while you make the filling.

For the caramel filling, blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender (I used my food processor since I made the filling in it after making coconut butter – no cleaning necessary!), until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. This should only take a minute or two. Pour filling over the cookie crust and bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes, until the filling firms up, then remove from oven and top with toasted coconut.

While the bars are baking, make the chocolate drizzle by whisking together the melted coconut oil and honey, then adding in the cocoa powder until well combined.  Drizzle chocolate sauce over coconut topping and resist the urge to stuff your face until they’ve cooled.

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Recipe: Lemon Spiced Nuts & Seeds

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

Nuts are a staple in our house. At any given time we’ll have large bags of almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews in the fridge. We use them for various things, a few of which are: eating raw or roasted as a quick snack, tossed in salads, add-ins for granola, and bases for grain free snacks (like these homemade larabars).

Since they’re filling, healthy and delicious, nuts also make great party treats. Just in time for all those Superbowl parties! One of my go-to party essentials is spiced and roasted mixed nuts. Not only are they tasty, they’re quick and easy to prepare, both sweet and savory.  Lucky for you, I’m sharing one of my recent and favorite additions to the growing roasted nuts list: lemon spice. They’ve got a zing from the lemon and deep earthy flavors from the spices. Yummy!

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

LEMON SPICED NUTS

Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Ingredients
5 cups mixed nuts/seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds)
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 teaspoons cumin, ground
4 teaspoons coriander, ground
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fennel, ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon allspice, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F.  In a medium bowl, mix spices until well combined, then stir in olive oil, lemon zest and juice until a loose paste forms. Add nuts and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Allow nuts to cool enough to handle before eating.

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Recipe: Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing (Vegan)

Cashew Salad Dressing | Tiffany Lane

This salad dressing is delectable! Sweet but savory, creamy and perfect.

I’m on my detox, as you know, and needed to bring a dish for a dinner get together that I could eat.  Since salads are quick and easy to throw together as well as detox friendly, a salad it was. I wanted a hearty and filling salad since I figured it may be the only thing there I could eat which obviously meant lots of avocado and nuts, but what about the dressing? For a twist on the traditional, I decided to go with a nut based dressing and came across this Creamy Cashew Dressing. Score!

What’s even better is that the recipe can be altered depending on what you want it for.  In thicker form, it almost has a hummus taste so I’m thinking of making it as a veggie dip by adding a little olive oil and fresh herbs. And when my detox is over, I plan to add a little coconut oil, coconut milk and a touch of honey as a fruit dip. Additionally, since cashews are a form of vegan “cheese”, by the way, this sauce makes a great alfredo for pasta; simply use less water.

Cashew Salad Dressing | Tiffany Lane

CREAMY CASHEW SALAD DRESSING

Adapted from Dr. Ben Kim

Ingredients
2 cups raw, organic cashews (optional: soak nuts overnight or a few hours)
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
water to desired consistency (substitution: coconut water)

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor, adding water, salt and pepper to taste.

READER FEEDBACK: In what unique/unconventional ways have you used cashews?

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Taco Tuesday

Let’s rock this Tuesday with some awesome tacos!  Here are a few recipes to get you started:

grilled corn mushroom tacos - how sweet it isGrilled Corn, Mushroom & Roasted Poblano Tacos via How Sweet It Is

sweet potato black bean tacos - how sweet it isSmoky Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos via How Sweet It Is

roasted veggie tacos - naturally ellaRoasted Veggie Tacos  via Naturally Ella

And don’t forget to make your own tortillas.  Trust me, they’re worth it!

corn tortillas - naturally ellaCorn Tortillas via Naturally Ella

whole wheat tortillas - tiffany laneWhole Wheat Tortillas by me

Though I do love these wholesome whole wheat flour tortillas, I’d take a corn tortilla over flour almost any day.  What about you?

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Health: The Diet Conundrum

strawberries - naturally ella Photo Courtesy of Naturally Ella

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of hearing about the latest and greatest diet.  It seems everyday someone has a newer, better, faster, cheaper version.  But what’s all the hype?

My diet is just that, my diet.  The term “diet” has this new connotation attached to it so hard (like super glue) that anytime I mention my diet, someone almost certainly asks me which one.  Huh?

The dictionary definition of diet is simply: “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats,” (Dictionary.com).  I habitually eat whole, unprocessed or minimally processed, mostly plant based foods.  All the research I have done (and continue to do) has helped me decide this is the healthy way I want to eat and live. Yes, it’s a lifestyle.

We’ve talked about processed foods here before (see Food + Recipes and Health), so I won’t regurgitate it all again, but a huge take away is that moderation is key (which should go for many aspects of life, not just eating).  I vary my diet between whole grains, nuts, beans/legumes, dairy, fruits and vegetables, with the very occasional seafood or meat addition.  Since I’ve been eating clean (as some call it), I feel better: more energy, healthy weight.

For the record, being healthy is not just about diet; hydration, exercise and rest are just as important.  It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.  The hardest parts for me are passing up sweets (which is why I make so many healthier sweets at home to satiate my sweet tooth); staying hydrated (since I forget to drink water – don’t ask me how or why), exercising as much as I know I should (since sometimes I am just tired and lazy), and getting enough rest (since my mind doesn’t always stop when my body does).

How do you live out your healthy lifestyle? What’s keeping you from fully experiencing a healthy lifestyle?

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Warming Winter Meals

It has been surprisingly cool this winter here in So Cal and all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a soft blanket and eat warm, satisfying meals.  Here are a few of my favorites.  I hope they keep you warm this cold winter too!

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese:

I usually just dip my grilled cheese into my soup, but this is a nice twist!

tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons - you are my fave

[Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons from Barefoot Contessa via You Are My Fave]

Vegetarian Chili with Roasted Potatoes:

I eat this as a play on chili fries, because every few months I crave them and I make a healthier, homemade version with white potatoes, but sweet potatoes sounds yummy too!

vegetarian chilli with roasted sweet potatoes - jamie oliver

[Vegetarian Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes via Jamie Oliver]

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna:

I came across this amazing recipe last year from a favorite food blogger, How Sweet It Is.  I seriously urge you to take a little time and make this lasagna, it’s so worth it!

roasted butternut squash and sweet potato lasagna - how sweet it is

[Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna via How Sweet It Is]

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