Chocolate Mint Granola (Holy Cacao!)

‘Tis the season for chocolate peppermint everything– including granola.  The sweet and minty breakfast/ 
snack is all organic, vegan and loaded with the superfood powers of raw cacao and coconut oil.  Enjoy!

1. 2 cups of rolled oats (For this version, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free oats but you can use any that aren’t quick cook)
2. 1/2 cup of organic, virgin unrefined coconut oil
3. 1/2 cup of maple syrup
4. 1/4 cup of raw cacao
5. Organic peppermint extract – a couple of capfuls (go light – a little goes a long way w/ extract!)
6. 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
7. Sea salt
8. Optional: raw cacao nibs

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Places the oats in a baking pan
3. In a small saucepan heat ingredients #2-5 and stir until you get a delicious liquidy, minty hot chocolate sauce.  Once all the coconut and cacao is well melted and mixed, pour the chocolate sauce over the oats and stir to coat the oats evenly in the decadent chocolate sauce.
4. Add the coconut sugar, stir again and top w/ some sea salt sprinkles to give it that delicious sweet/ salty taste.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes and at the halfway point toss around.
6. Let cool and options to top include raw cacao nibs and/or coconut chips.

Fuyu Persimmon & Honey Oatmeal

Here’s an easy, healthy fall inspired breakfast that spotlights one of my favorite fruits– the Fuyu persimmon. When cooked into the oatmeal, the persimmon takes on a sweet, warm, almost melted consistency that really lights up the oatmeal.  

Ingredients (for one serving – multiply as needed for more):
1. 1 cup of water
2. pinch of salt
3. 1/2 cup of rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick whole grain)
4. 1/2 Fuyu persimmon, chopped into small pieces
5. Cinnamon sprinkles
6. 1 heaping tablespoon of honey
7. Optional: Diced bananas, walnuts, or whatever extra toppings you like

1. Boil water with salt
2. Once boiling, add the oats and persimmon, and bring to a lower boil for about 15 minutes or until fully cooked
3.Add the honey and cinnamon sprinkles.  Stir well. 
4. Add whatever additional toppings you like.Enjoy! 

Blackberry Mint Cacao Super Smoothie

In honor of the sun gloriously greeting us in San Francisco today, I decided to make smoothies with some of the blackberry bounty we picked up this weekend at our local Alemany Farmers Market ($5 for 3 boxes!!).  If you find yourself in SF on a Saturday morning (8 am -2pm), it’s definitely worth checking out the sprawling, affordable, mural-feast-for-they-eyes Alemany farmer’s market, which I just learned was the first farmer’s market founded in all of California (see here).   Anyways here is the Alemany farmer’s market inspired smoothie: I used some of the blackberries and souped it up with raw cacao superfood (which adds a yummy crunchy texture), mint from our garden, and lightly sweetened with agave.

Ingredients (for 1 smoothie, multiply proportionally if you are making a few at a time):
1. 1 cup of soy milk (My favorite is Organic Vanilla Silk, which you can get at Costco or other natural food stores)
2. 1/8 cup blackberries
3. 1/8 cup frozen berries (I used these instead of ice so it doesn’t get watered down, but if you don’t have on hand you can replace with a couple ice cubes)
4. 1 tbsp agave
5. 2-3 mint sprigs
6. 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs (I use Divine Organics but you can use any)

Directions:  Put all ingredients in a blender until everything is well mixed.  Note the cacao nibs will likely stay a little chunky, which gives the smoothie a nice contrasting crunchy texture.  Enjoy, ideally on a hammock or any sun spot you can carve out :).

Tropical Hawaiian Vegan Shake

Blessed to be in Kauai celebrating my one year anniversary with my love Marcus.  On our second day here we stumbled upon a pretty sweet farmer’s market in Hanalei (Saturday morning 9 am-noon) chalk full of all kinds of tropical fruit.  All this tropical bounty begs for a smoothie so I created this avocado, banana, macadamia nut, vanilla soy smoothie sweetened with local honey from a road side organic stop off called Banana Joes.  Only takes a few minutes to prepare and leads to organic, creamy, rich deliciousness – great way to start your day or a great afternoon treat too!

1. 1 cup vanilla soymilk (I’ve tried almost every brand and think Silk is the tastiest)
2. 1/4 avocado
3. 1 small banana or 1/2 large bana
4. 3-4 macadamia nuts
5. Optional: A few slices of fresh coconut meat if you can find some- otherwise you can leave this out or substitute with 1 tbsp of dried shredded coconut
6. Honey- drizzle amount to your liking: I do about 1 tbsp
7. 2 ice cubes

Directions: Blend everything together and enjoy – share with your love!

Banana walnut coco oil granola

I tried dehydrating bananas for the first time last night, and they came out pretty yummy.  I sprinkled them with some cinnamon and coconut sugar and dehydrated them for about 6 hours. They turned out a little chewier than the crunchy banana chips you would buy, but still really tasty. I decided to throw them into a coconut oil- maple syrup based granola and it turned out pretty yummy.

1. 2 cups rolled oats
2. 1/2 cup maple syrup
3. 2 tbsp coconut oil
4. vanilla extract
5. cinnamon – sprinkle as much as you like
6. 1/2 cup of walnuts
7. 2 tbsp chia seeds
8. 1/2 cup coconut shreds
9. Sea salt
10. Banana

Dehydrating Bananas:
1. Dice up bananas, and if you like sprinkle with cinnamon and/or brown sugar / coconut sugar and dehydrate for ~6-7 hours or until you get to desired consistency.
1. Preheat oven to 300
2. In a bowl, mix all the wet ingredients (#2-4); spread over oats.
4. Sprinkle with dry ingredients (#5-8) and lovingly toss the wet and dry seasonings together (with hands or spoon — I prefer hands).  Top with a few sprinkles of sea salt.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes and then add the dehydrated bananas.

Store in airtight container and enjoy!

Choco-coco granola

There is no hiding that I have a sweet tooth.  It probably developed when I was a little girl and I was spoiled by my paternal grandparents who owned a bakery in Inglewood called Mr. Pastry.  They would always bring over tasty, sugary desserts in pink boxes and some of their famous treats included apple strudle, cheese danishes, and cookies the size of my face.  Anyways, I try to put a healthy twist on sweets, and I think this vegan chocolate granola delivers an indulgent breakfast treat or snack packed with lots of nutritious ingredients including coconut oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and cacao nibs.

1. 2 cups of rolled oats
2. 1/2 cups of walnuts – I have a lot of fun cracking fresh ones, but use whatever you have around
3. 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chocolate pieces from a bar (I use vegan, but use whatever you like)
4. 1/4 cup chia seeds
5. 1/2 cup maple syrup
6. 2 tbsp coconut oil
7. 1.5 tbsp cacao powder
8. sea salt
9. vanilla extract – a couple drops
10. cinnamon
11. 1/4 cup of cacao nibs (usually found in raw food section of health food stores)

1. Preheat over to 300 degrees.
2. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil
3. In a bowl, mix the following dry ingredients: rolled oat + walnuts + chocolate chips or pieces
4. In a small saucepan,heat coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extra, sea salt until melted.
5. Pour hot mixture over dry ingredients and mix until well coated.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and a little more sea salt.
6. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes
7. Once done, add chia seeds and cacao nibs
8. Store in airtight container or eat it immediately after it cools

Mango Maca Granola

I picked up some organic maca root while at my favorite health store at Harbin Hot Springs and was inspired to try to infuse it in granola.  It definitely worked and added a nice caramel taste! Disclaimer: I didn’t measure anything so measurements are all approximate 🙂

Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: ~40 min

1. 2 cups rolled oats
2. 1/2 cup maple syrup
3. 1.5 tbsp grapeseed oil
4. vanilla extract
5. cinnamon – sprinkle as much as you like
6. cardamom (optional) – sprinkle as much as you like
7. maca powder (can be found in organic/ raw food section of health stores: read more about this delicious powerful root here)
8. Sea salt – sprinkle to taste
9. Dried mango- take a few strips and dice up into small pieces
10. Slivered almond – 1/2 cup

1. Preheat oven to 325
2. On nonstick baking sheet, spread out the oats.
3. In a bowl, mix all the wet ingredients (#2-4) and then spread over oats.
4. Sprinkle with dry ingredients (#5-8) and lovingly toss the wet and dry seasonings together (with hands or spoon — I prefer hands).
5. Bake for 20 minutes and then add diced mango and almonds.  Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Store in airtight container and enjoy!