Granola Breakfast Cups

I am always looking for ideas for healthy meals and snacks for my family. Today I decided to experiment with these breakfast cups after a conversation with a fellow fitness professional. Theirs had a lot less ingredients, and I like to ‘spice’ mine up a little, so here’s my version of granola breakfast cups.

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 12 Servings)
2 1/2 Cups regular old fashioned oats
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tbs raw cacao nibs (I like to use the Spectrum brand mix which combines cacao, coconut and chia seeds)
1/4 Cup organic honey
2 Tbs peanut or almond butter
2 Tbs organic coconut oil
1 Organic ripe banana mashed
1 Tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, unsweetened shredded coconut, and raw cacao nibs in a bowl.

3. Place the peanut/almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the mixture is bubbling. Remove the mixture from the microwave.

4. Add the mashed banana, vanilla extract and coconut oil to the peanut butter/honey mixture. Mix well.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon until the oats are evenly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

6. Spray or grease a 12 cup muffin pan OR place 12 paper cupcake holders in a muffin pan. Remove the mix from the refrigerator and evenly divide the mixture into the muffin cups.

7. Press the oats into each cup so that it forms a shell. Make sure it’s even all the way around the sides, as these cups will crumble if not evenly spread.

8. Once you’ve spread the mixture evenly, place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it as they will start to burn after 15 minutes. Cook until golden brown.

9. Remove from the oven and place each cup on a cooling rack. If you used paper cups, gently peel the paper wrapper off each cup.

10. Store the breakfast cups in an airtight container or serve once cool, with plain or flavored Greek yogurt, topped with berries or toppings of your choice. You can fill these with some of your favorite smoothie leftovers or simply serve with fresh fruit.

My kiddos absolutely LOVE these and they make a great healthy breakfast or snack!


Zesty Green Smoothie

Today was a really fun but busy day. I woke up early to get my kiddos ready for a field trip which wasn’t local, made them breakfast and got out the door as fast as I could, in order to avoid the CRAZY traffic that heads down the I80 to San Francisco… I dislike traffic and I cannot stand being late!

This morning I didn’t have time for coffee or my regular protein packed breakfast, so by lunch time, I had a pounding headache… I had stopped to grab a coffee across the street from where we were meant to be, but once I parked and got out of my car, the coffee somehow ended up all over me before I could get a sip, and unfortunately, the caffeine wasn’t absorbed by my skin… Ha ha…

We got home around 3:30pm and I needed something that would energize me. That’s when I decided to experiment and make myself a green smoothie with ginger. I needed something with a little zest!

Here’s what I put in my Ninja (YES! It was absolutely DELISH!!!)

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 3 8oz Servings)
1 Cup organic rainbow chard
1 Small piece of fresh organic ginger
1 Cup organic pineapple juice
1/2 Fresh organic lemon
1 Organic pear
1 Cup ice

*I did not peel my lemon as I’ve read online about lemon peel being a cancer fighter but you can peel it if you prefer.

Wash your chard and pat dry. Place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend well. My Ninja is pre-set for smoothies, so use your judgement. You can add more ice if you prefer – I felt like 1 cup of ice was sufficient.

Organic chard, lemon, ginger and pears
Organic pineapple juice
Place ingredients in your blender and blend well
Delicious smoothie!

My kiddos LOVED this smoothie and it’s great for the digestive tract!

Tri-Tip & Veggies Crockpot Style

As a busy Mom of two, I don’t always have time to cook as much as I’d like to. I truly enjoy being in my kitchen and experimenting with different recipes, but I never seem to have the time I need. Life is busy and chaotic, especially now that it’s holiday season!

I had purchased two tri-tips (pre-marinated) from a local grocery store and cooked my first one in the oven for my hubby’s 50th birthday this past Monday. It came out ok, but it was a little dry (next time I know not to cook it too long and it was my first time cooking one), so I didn’t want to cook my second one in the oven again. I decided to experiment with my crockpot. Dinner needed to be ready by 6pm or close to that, but I got home from teaching classes at the gym that morning at noon, had to shower, make lunch, homeschool my kids, get ready, make dinner and leave by 5:45pm to teach again. A crockpot meal was my best solution for dinner that evening.

Grocery shopping usually happens mid week in our home, but we’ve had a lot going on, so I didn’t have much of a veggie selection. I grabbed what vegetables I had, chopped them up, and put them in the crockpot first.  After that, I took the marinated tri-tip out of it’s wrapper and placed it on top of the veggies, set the crockpot for 4 hours (high) and that was it. Dinner would be cooking while I was working with my kiddos.

Photography by Z Queen Bee

I walked in the door after classes on Wednesday evening and it smelled soooo good! Dinner was delicious, the kiddos loved it so much that they asked me to make it again today, and everyone was happy. Mission accomplished! I had shared my photo’s of meal prep on Facebook, and a few friends requested the recipe, so I’m posting it below. Let me know if you try it and share your photos too.

Bon appetit!

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings depending on size of tri-tip)
1 Pre-Marinated Tri-Tip
8 Small potatoes
Cauliflower florets
Carrots (baby carrots, chopped carrots or whatever you prefer)
1/2 Cup of broth (beef or chicken is fine)
Drizzle of olive oil
Italian seasoning
Parsley (fresh or dry)

*I would also have added mushrooms and chopped celery if I had them on hand.

Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. Peel and chop carrots and cauliflower if using full size veggies. Once you have chopped the veggies, place them in the crockpot. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil (about 1 Tbs) Add your spices and then mix so that the veggies are coated with oil and seasoning. Pour broth over the veggies. Place the tri-tip on top of the vegetables, close the lid and set for desired cooking time. I did 4 hours on high because I needed my meal cooked quickly.

Once it’s cooked, remove the tri-tip and slice as desired. Serve over vegetables.

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut & Walnuts

Have you ever heard of a Chia seed pudding? Apparently I’m a little behind on the times, and just discovered this deliciousness that can be enjoyed as a pudding or a breakfast!

Chia seeds are extremely rich in Omega-3, which is healthy for the heart, and great for the joints. They also contain antioxidants, fiber and protein. Chia seeds make a perfect breakfast, because they will fill your belly and satisfy your hunger. 

Once you’ve become a Chia expert, you can master your own recipes and tweak it to suit your tastes. Here’s how I made my first batch today…

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut & Walnuts

First, you will need some mason jars or storage containers…

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 1 Serving)
Mason Jars for your pudding
1/4 Cup chia seeds
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs Maple syrup (2 tbs if you want your pudding to be a little sweeter)
½ Tbs Cocoa powder (1 tbs if you don’t use the Spectrum mix)
½ Tbs Spectrum ground chia, flax, coconut and cocoa
1 Cup rice milk (you can use any milk you prefer)
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tbs Walnuts
Assorted berries for topping as desired

*All of my ingredients used are organic, but use whatever suits you best.

Combine the chia seeds, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cocoa powder, Spectrum mix, cinnamon, coconut flakes and walnuts in your mason jars.

Add your rice milk or milk of your choice and shake it up well. Place in the refrigerator overnight (preferably), or for a minimum of 6 hours before consuming.

Serve with berries of your choice. If you prefer your nuts to be a little more crunchy, consider adding them once your mix has set.

Photoraphy and recipe by Z Queen Bee