My Summer Crave: Honey Walnut Granola Clusters

Sorry for my long absence. I do apologize; but other than the fact that I haven’t been on here because I’ve been so busy working (which thankfully is almost over), I also haven’t really had the time to cook.
I literally have been totally and fully reliant on my more than amazing Husband to cook, go grocery shopping, and all the household stuff….well besides cleaning I’ve still managed atleast that; and he has done an amazing job. Thanks babe, I really appreciate it!

Other than that he’s been tired too (I’m not the only one who works) and my guilt occasionally creeps in, so to try to give him a break we’ve been doing cereal Monday night pretty much every week. We have fresh strawberries, raspberries, bananas, really whatever we like; Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit…you name it. It’s been fantastic and we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s too hot to cook so we’ve relied on this meal. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! Ciao

Ingredients:

Lightly Adapted from OhsheGlows

1 cup Walnut Halves

1 cup mixed Nuts

3 tbsp. Honey

¾ cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Coconut, Shredded and unsweetened

½ tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven at 275°F (130°C)

Place Walnuts and nuts in a bowl with the honey and make sure to incorporate completely.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients and add to the nuts and honey.
Mix well and then place on a baking sheet.

Place in oven and allow baking for 15 minutes, rotating pan and continuing to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then place in a container.

Honey Walnut Clusters

Healthy Eating Habits That Can Also Help you Lose Weight

Healthy eating habits are about making smart food choices that you can incorporate into your daily life and live with forever. I don’t personally believe in making a change in your routine that you don’t see yourself doing in the long-term or converting into a habit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can’t switch up what you eat or do different things in your daily diet. I am talking about getting rid of unhealthy food choices and replacing them with healthy choices.
Let’s say that you are somebody that loves to snack on Potato Chips, you know that that should not be your go to snack not only because it’s going to make you pack on pounds but also because it’s not a healthy snack choice. You could have a fruit, handful of nuts, a vegetable, yogurt, maybe some whole grain crackers/bread/pretzels with a nut butter of your choice, a few slices of turkey meat with lettuce or vegetable of your choice, some cheese (I like Parmigiano Reggiano), or anything that is going to nurture and benefit your body and you don’t have to eat the whole bag and still feel unsatisfied and hungry.

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It’s all about the choices we make. I used to be 18 and what I would drink and snack on would be chips, snickers bars or what we have her in Italy would be Tronky/Hanuta/Duplo/ Kinder or a Luik (which is a type of Lemon Ice Cream on a Liquorice stick), and then possibly accompanied by a soda Fanta, Coke or Lipton Iced tea.
Oh my, so not nutritious, Packed with sugar, additives and whatnot. I wasn’t fat or anything of the sort but I did look older and I know that I was unhealthy. I decided that I would do a master cleanse at age 20 (oh did I mention I smoked from ages 19-20ish about 2 packs a day, gross) the reason for the master cleanse was a personal challenge and I thought that if other people could do it then so could I.
I did the whole 21 days (I never in my life up until that point skipped a meal, or a snack…NEVER).
I got off the cleanse and felt like I had won the lottery, I felt energized, I felt light, I felt younger, and most of all I was healthy. I never touched a soda again, I am 28 and only drink water I mean it doesn’t even cross my mind to grab anything other than a bottle of water or a tea (hot and no sugar) when I am thirsty. It’s amazing. Just that right there is a healthy choice and this is what I mean by letting your choices become a habit, a lifestyle if you may. To me it became a habit because now it would probably taste nasty to me, but also because I look at it as not worth it. It’s not worth it because it has absolutely no good effect on what my body needs and so I don’t want it. I have friends that live off this stuff, like many of you out there that sit in front of me, offer it to me and it doesn’t even phase me. I mean now that I am talking about it, it does but generally it’s a subconscious reaction to reject it.
I have had the occasional chip, keyword ‘occasional’, not habitual snack. They are yummy especially now they have the baked, the Adzuki, the Sweet Potato, the Rice, etc….but they are chips non the less and not the best snack, maybe small occasional indulgence.

Ok, so to follow are a few life changing Healthy Eating Habits, let’s get healthy together.

Drink Plenty of Water:
Water helps you feel full throughout your day. Water also provides innumerable health benefits to your skin and your digestive and circulatory systems.

Eat Slowly:
Your food isn’t going anywhere, so sit down enjoy every bite and put your fork down in-between bites. It takes your body about 20 minutes to register that you’re eating and to turn off the hunger signal.

Eat Vegetables as the Main Course at every Meal:
Vegetables should be the star of your meal they are packed with fiber and few calories. They fill you up and you end up eating less of the high-caloric food on your plate. If you have to pick what to finish always opt for the vegetable.

Evaluate your Eating Habits:
Are you nibbling while cooking, are you finishing the food off your husband’s or kid’s plate, are you eating in bed? Think about it and try to not eat until you finished cooking, or leave the food on your husband’s plate, (he left it why should you eat it?!) See what you can change.

Shop on a full Stomach:
Make a list so you keep impulse buying at bay. When you shop hungry it’s a recipe for disaster in your refrigerator and in your wallet. You have to buy healthy food and when your ravenous it makes that nearly impossible because of everything you see and smell.

Switch to Healthy Snacks:
The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat. Like nut butter on apple slices, they will make you feel full longer.

Eat regular meals. Figure out the frequency of your meals that works best in your life and stick to it. Regular meals help prevent bingeing.

Keep a Food Diary:
This way you can see what you’ve eaten throughout the day and help balance out your next meals/snacks. It makes you more conscious about what is going in your mouth.

Watch your Portions:
Piling food onto your plate can make you feel pressured to eat it all. Serve yourself a small portion when you’re done wait 10 minutes and if your still hungry serve yourself a little more. Keep in mind that your stomach will grumble early on, until it has shrunk to adapt to the smaller meals you’re now eating.

Healthy does not occur overnight, despite what you may think it takes sometime. Listen to your body and try to make little changes eliminate fried and have baked, replace white sugar with raw sugar, replace sweet iced tea, with hot green tea and no sugar, eventually it will become a part of your lifestyle.

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Yogurt Muffins with Lemon Zest and Almond topping

Sometimes a Muffin is just what you need. I made these for my brother, he was at the hospital for a few days and although the food they serve at hospitals here in Italy is delicious (strangely), the breakfast was not, it was the typical breakfast cookie or fette biscottate, which is a very common thing here in Italy to eat for breakfast, they are kind of like a mix of a toast and a cracker. However, not such a good breakfast option.
I decided that I would go home and bake him something delicious and mostly healthy so that he wouldn’t have to skip breakfast.

We are not a breakfast family really, besides the coffee, milk or tea; my Mother never really cared for breakfast, and barely any of my siblings care for breakfast either. We do eat something but not as soon as out of bed 1 or 2 hours may pass before we decide to eat something. So, of course with the stuff that they were serving at the hospital he would’ve skipped breakfast so in order for that not to happen I decided to bake muffins, that and also I thought that instead of bringing flowers, muffins would be a better option for a male. HA! I gave 2 to my Husband and the rest to my Brother and they both seemed to really enjoy them, so here I am posting them so that you can enjoy them as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Makes 6 large muffins or 12 small muffins (you pick)

1 1/2 cups of flour

2 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup non-fat Yogurt

1 cup sugar + 1 tbsp sugar

3 eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat your oven at 350°. Grease and flour whatever size muffin pan you decided to use.

Mix together 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In a larger bowl mix together yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, eggs and the oil. Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly on top of each one your sliced almonds and sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cooking times may vary from oven to oven so make sure to check on it.

Cool and Enjoy!