Monday, September 29, 2014

Granola-Crusted French Toast + Homemade Applesauce

I don't know about you, but french toast is one of my favorite indulgent weekend breakfasts!! I sort of like granola too. :) So when I found out that I could combine the two, I was ready to get to cooking! Granola-crusted french toast, ladies and gentleman. Your taste buds are already dancing, I know it! 

There are a dozen different breads out there that you can use for a delectable french toast. The best in the world, however, can be found at most Great Harvest Bread Companies. It is their Cinnamon Chip. It's seriously the best in the world. I used to work there as a Sweets Baker and people would come in, still in their pajamas, on Saturday mornings to get a few loaves for french toast! So go ahead and search for a GHBC near you! If you can't find one, a good challah or french loaf will do!

I'm not one to follow the norm. So while maple syrup is great, there are so many other delicious toppings for french toast or any typical eat-syrup-on-top-of-me breakfasts. Like apple sauce! So I made a super easy + yummy homemade applesauce to go on top. You can also use peanut butter or any nut butter, fresh berries, greek yogurt, or honey! They're all great options! I like to combine a few. I topped this french toast with some applesauce + maple syrup.

Granola Crusted French Toast + Homemade Applesauce
(makes 4-5 servings)

Grab it!
1 large apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 tbsp organic brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
2-5 tbsp + 1/4 cup water

french toast
1 loaf of bread (I used Cinnamon Chip from Great Harvest Bread Company - best french toast EVER. Challah, French bread, or any other hearty bread great for french toast will do!)
6 eggs
1 cup milk of choice (I use almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg + allspice
1/2 cup Nothin' but Nola granola (for every 2-3 slices of bread)

Make it! 
1. Dice apple. Add to small pot along with brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.
2. Cover with a lid and heat over medium heat until apples begin releasing their juices!! The juices will begin to simmer in the bottom of the pan. Leave for about 10-15 minutes or until the apples have softened. If the juices evaporate and it gets dry, add 1-2 tbsp of water.
3. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes to cool.
4. Transfer to a food processor and process until a smooth + chunky applesauce consistency (I like mine chunkier! But you can process until it's as smooth or chunky as you desire!). Add 1-3 tbsp water if too thick.
5. Transfer back to pot and add 1/4 cup water. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until thickened. Enjoy on top of your french toast or as a healthy + yummy snack!
french toast 
1. Slice bread into nice thick slices (about 1").
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
3. Using a food processor (or blender), process granola until it's crushed into smaller pieces (not quite a flour). Pour onto a plate to dip bread in.
*You need to do this or otherwise the granola pieces are too big and won't allow the bread to cook. The outer granola crust will just burn with an egg-coated, uncooked piece of bread! Not appetizing!
3. One at a time, dip bread slice in egg+milk mixture and then dip both sides in granola. Re-dip in egg mixture.
4. Cook over skillet 300-350 degrees until browned on both sides.
5. Enjoy topped with your homemade applesauce and some maple syrup!

You can buy our fresh + healthy, organic-based granola here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Healthier Apple Pie + Granola Pie Crust

Apple pie is such a classic. If you were to ask me to name the post popular, well-known pie that ever has been, I wouldn't hesitate a second -- apple! During the beautiful fall months when apples are plenty and the apple orchards are overflowing, there's nothing better than whipping up a baked-from-scratch apple pie. And there's nothing better than a big heaping slice right out of the oven! Oh man, I may need to make another! 

One of my main goals when creating recipes for you guys is to make them healthier than they were before. So I try to increase the nutritional density and toss in some heart-healthy benefits. I try to minimize the amount of sugar, as well. So I really did my research and have created what I believe to be an amazing apple pie that is a healthier alternative to most others out there. But you wouldn't know if from the taste - it tastes amazing!!! We're trading in half of our usual white flour for whole wheat. I have only added 2/3 cup+2tsp of sugar to the entire pie. And I cut the butter in half! Also - most homemade pie crusts call for shortening. Not this bad boy! We're using butter, sunflower oil, and water!

So no, you shouldn't eat an apple pie every week, but it is OK to indulge yourself every now and then. And when you do, choose a healthier version like this apple pie so you can feel even better about your indulgence! Go ahead and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now that's what I call a winner! :) 

Did I mention there is granola in this pie?! You know I don't make a recipe that doesn't have some good ol' Nothin' but Nola granola in it!! Yes, there's granola in this apple pie. I ground it up and added it to the crust and I also added some to the sweet, apple filling. So thanks to our nut-filled granola, I've taken the traditional crust and added some wonderful flavor and a healthy dose of nutrients. This pie crust recipe could be used for any pie! 

A Healthier Apple Pie + Granola Pie Crust
(makes 1- 9" pie)

Grab it! 
pie crust
1/2 cup Goin' Nuts granola
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, diced
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2-3 tablespoons ice water

8 Granny Smith Apples
Juice of 2 lemons
2/3 cup organic light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Goin' Nuts Granola
1 egg, lightly beaten 

Make it!
1. Add granola and 2 tsp flour to food processor. Blend until it becomes a flour-like consistency. 
2. Combine granola with the all purpose and whole wheat flours. Add sugar and salt. Whisk together (whisking will help break up any clumps).
3. Cut butter in tablespoon-sized pieces. Now here's the fun part! Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until it's completely worked in and there aren't any large chunks of butter left.
4. Add oil and toss with a fork until evenly moist. Add water and, again, toss with a fork until evenly moist.
5. Move dough to a clean surface and knead into a small ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
6. Now on to the filling! You can start this as soon as your dough goes on the fridge because this will take about one hour. Peel and slice apples very thinly. Toss with lemon juice in a big bowl as you are cutting (this will keep the apples from turning brown).
7. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt to the apples. Toss until evenly coated.
8. In a large skillet, heat apples over medium-low heat until the apples soften and release most of their juices. As the juices are released, they will simmer in the bottom of the skillet. Cover with a lid and let cook until the apples are soft - about 10 minutes.
9. Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all of the juice. Return the juices to the skillet and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 5-10 minutes. Pour over apples and stir in. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
11. Remove your dough from the fridge and let sit on the counter for about 5 minutes to warm slightly.
12. Form dough into a circle and set on top of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Now roll into a disc about 10-12 inches wide (while it's still on the paper or plastic wrap). Now you can pick up the paper/wrap and invert it over the pie dish. Pull away the paper/wrap and your dough is now in your dish. Use your fingers to gently press it in and form the edges.
13. Form the second half of your dough into another 10-12inch disc and set aside.
14. Add 1/4 cup of granola to your apple mixture. Pour into pie pan creating a slight mound in the center.
15. Take your second piece of dough and using the plastic wrap/paper, invert it over the pie, laying it on top. Pinch the edges together to seal. Crimp the edges (here are several ways to crimp - I used the classic scalloped crimp).
16. Brush with egg and sprinkle with brown sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking. Go on and make a pretty shape!
17. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.
18. Share and enjoy, mi amore!

You can buy our Goin' Nuts granola or our new An Apple a Day flavor here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Apple Pancakes + Granola

Weekends are perfect for making big breakfasts!! I love waking up late, starting my day with a cup of tea and making a late breakfast to enjoy with my love. We love making banana pancakes so I was pretty excited to try my hand at making some apple pancakes! I was so thrilled with how these turned out. We had some friends in time this weekend so it was so nice getting to make a fun breakfast for them, too. And it's always nice having several taste testers! They all loved these pancakes, so I hope you will, as well!

Top these pancakes, or any pancakes, with some of our granola for a beautiful final touch and a lovely crunch! Of course, the other favorite pancake toppings are butter and syrup! I love topping my pancakes with peanut butter for a kick of protein to start my day! And if you want to steer clear of syrup, try applesauce!

Grab it!
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
2 eggs
2 c milk of choice (I used almond milk, original unsweetened)
1/4 cup oil (or melted butter)*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-3/4 cup grated apples
1/2 cup Goin' Nuts or An Apple a Day Granola

*I use sunflower oil!

Cook it!
1. Heat griddle to 375 degrees. 
2. Combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and allspice. 
3. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
4. Add grated apples.
5. Spoon batter onto griddle. Wait for bubbles. Then flip! Cook until both sides are golden brown.
6. To serve, stack 3 pancakes and top with a spoonful of granola and syrup (butter, if you desire). Gobble up!!

You can buy our Goin' Nuts granola or our new An Apple a Day flavor here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Peanut Butter + Granola Apple Slices

I can't tell you how many afternoons I struggle with the afternoon-hunger-attack!! But, there's just not enough time to make a healthy, nutritious snack. And I sure didn't have time in the morning. Or what about a healthy, nutritious snack for the kiddos after school .. that they actually like? Today, we've got you covered! This is is the easiest snack ever plus it's healthy + sweet (gold!).

These are a kid + adult favorite! They're great for all ages! These are super easy to make and are great for on-the-go snacking, as well! As long as you toss your apples in some lemon juice and keep them refrigerated, they won't brown and they'll be good all day! This is great addition to your packed lunch. Or sneak them in your kiddos lunchbox for a nice surprise. :)

You can even use your favorite nut butter - peanut, almond, or cashew. Take your pick! To jazz these up for a fun dessert, you can drizzle melted chocolate or caramel over the slices, as well! 

Peanut Butter + Granola Apple Slices
(makes 2 servings, 4 slices per serving)

Grab it!
1 apple (your favorite variety)
4 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup Goin' Nuts granola

Make it!
1. Cut apple into 8 slices. Squeeze juice from half of a lemon over apples slices so they don't brown!! The apple will brown within minutes if you don't!
2. Top each slice with peanut butter (use as much as you'd like!!).
3. Dip in granola
4. Eat up, my love!!

You can buy our Goin' Nuts granola or our new An Apple a Day flavor here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple + Granola Cookies

Cookies are the classic sweet treat!! You can literally throw anything into a cookie from chocolate to nuts to dried fruit to cereal! And there are hundreds of different varieties. So why not apples? These are a fun, fall recipe and are a hit with the kids! Trust me, these are kid-tasted and kid-approved. They were asking for more!! And when you throw in our Goin' Nuts granola, you're going to fill these cookies with oats, nuts, and all kinds of nutritious, granola-y goodness!! So feel good about stuffing your mouth and feeding these to the fam!

I love cooking and baking and experimenting with new recipes (if that isn't obvious!). The downside is that I'm left with way too much sweet and tasty goodness. Not necessarily a bad thing, except that if it's in the house I will eat it!! And if I'm being honest, I don't need to eat two dozen cookies! So if you're left in a similar predicament, surprise your neighbors or co-workers with cookies! You'll be the new favorite and they're sure to love you forever!

These cookies are pretty darn tasty without the icing, which is how I prefer them! But if you like a little extra sweet, the icing is super easy to make and adds a beautiful touch! 

Apple + Granola Cookies

Grab it!
1/4 cup organic brown sugar + 1 tbsp
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat, you can use All Purpose too)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped apples
3/4 cup Goin' Nuts granola

icing (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp water (or lemon juice)

Bake it!
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine brown sugar and softened butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add milk and egg. Combine until mixed well.
3. Add flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.
4. Fold in apples and granola.
5. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Let cool and devour OR drizzle with icing and then eat your heart out!!  To make icing, combine powdered sugar and water. Super easy!

You can buy our Goin' Nuts granola or our new An Apple a Day flavor here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple + Zucchini + Granola Muffins

Oh my lanta, happy #nbnappleweek, y'all!! I am so stinking excited that it's finally here! We've been planning and ordering and baking our hearts out for the past month to create an amazing launch week for our new granola flavor, An Apple a Day! I have created five stellar apple+granola recipes that I'm going to share with you this week. A new recipe every day!! So let's get things started with one of my favorites (I've already made this recipe twice!)!!

These are the perfect sweet breakfast addition or quick + easy snack! They're packed with beautiful greens from fresh-grated zucchini to diced granny smith apples. I also used whole wheat flour. So throw out your heavily refined and processed white flour and give whole wheat a try! Or at least try substituting half of the white flour for whole wheat - it's a great start! When baking with whole wheat, you can expect a heavier, denser final product. With these muffins, though, that's not the case! I was pleasantly surprised!

Now that it's apple season, use fresh-picked apples from a nearby orchard! Apples grow in most every state so do a quick google search to find an apple orchard near you. It would make for a fun day with the family!! While granny smith apples are wonderful in this recipe, you can truly use any variety! So go ahead and use your favorite! Let me know how it turns out :)

Granola in my muffins? Really? Yes, really! You won't be disappointed! Our granola is packed with heart-healthy oats, nuts, and sunflower seeds. The oats add a beautiful texture and the nuts add tons of flavor and a dose of healthy nutrients! This is a sweet, wholesome, filling muffin (or loaf!) that is sure to please all!

Zucchini + Granola Muffins (or Bread!)
(makes 14-15 muffins OR 12 muffins + 1 small loaf of bread)

Grab it!
1 egg
1/2 cup sunflower oil*
2 tsp vanilla extract*
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon*
1 cup diced granny smith apples
1 cup Goin' Nuts granola

*I use organic ingredients whenever possible. For this recipe, I used the following organic ingredients: sunflower oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, ground cinnamon. 

Bake it!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan (or bread loaf) or use liners.
2. Combine all dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Sift to prevent clumps from baking soda/powder (no one wants a big ol' bite of baking soda in their muffin!).
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, oil, vanilla extract, white sugar, and brown sugar to combine. Then add zucchini. Set aside.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir gently to combine.
5. Toss diced apples in a little flour. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins!
6. Add apples and granola to muffin mixture and stir just until combined.
7. Divide evenly into muffin tins or loaf pan. Top with some extra granola if you'd like! It adds a beautiful touch! :)
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick/knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

You can buy our Goin' Nuts granola or our new An Apple a Day flavor here

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Friday, September 19, 2014

Our NEW! Apple Flavor

We've been talking about our new fall apple flavor for weeks! Those of you who visit us at our markets have had the chance to taste it for yourselves! And y'all it's good! It's real good! We've heard nothing but great things from those of you who have had a chance to taste it! So we are giddy with excitement because Monday is the day!! On Monday, you will finally be able to buy An Apple a Day from our online store!! If you're waiting for it at the markets, we'll have it at both of our markets Friday and Saturday 9/26-9/27.

So in oh-my-we're-so-excited celebratory fashion, we're giving you all of the juicy details about this new flavor today - along with a sneak peak at the new labels and some really core-ny apple jokes (and a giveaway)!!!

You know that was funny! Come on y'all, embrace your inner child and let the laughter roll! It's good for the soul! Wait, wait, I've got another one for you ... 

How does a ghost eat an apple? 
By goblin it. 

Now on to the preview of our new labels!! We're so excited about these. We went through lots of colors but in the end we decided on this beautiful green - doesn't it make your mouth pucker like after biting into a Granny Smith apple? It's just so perfect! We want you to know exactly what's going into the granola you're eating. Just look below! Every ingredient is listed on the nutrition panel, along with the nutrition facts. Check them out. Ask questions. That's what we're here for! Just comment below!

4oz Snack Bag Label Preview

12oz Snack Bag Label Preview

Over the past few months, we received quite a few requests for a NON-GMO oil in our granola. So here it is, ladies! An organic sunflower oil, sure to please! Would you like to see this in our original flavor, as well? If so, comment below and let us know! When you ask, we listen!!


We hope you're as excited as we are! We've worked long and hard to make an amazing second flavor and we think we've made the best! Starting Monday, we're going to celebrate all week long (#nbnappleweek) so be sure you're following us on Facebook and Instagram for all kinds of awesome apple celebrations!

Now on to today's giveaway! We're giving away one 12oz grab bag of An Apple a Day to one lucky person! To enter, comment below and tell us your favorite way to eat granola! The contest closes Monday 9/22 at 7p EST. The winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday 9/23. 

xoxo Lauren

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Granola Muffins + a Vegan Alternative

Making food to share with the people you love makes life so sweet! I love cooking! I love cooking for others even more! I think it's one of my favorite ways to show people that I care. It's one of my tokens of love I give to others. :) I first made these bad boys about a month ago, surrounded by family and celebrating the life of a very special grandpa. Life is so sweet. Everyone loved the muffins, so I knew I had to make these again to share with you! 
This time, I made several tweaks and twerks to the recipe, though! You can find the original recipe here. I created two variations to this recipe. The first one is a no-egg recipe. I created this one, quite honestly, because I was out of eggs!! So if you have eggs and would like to use them, use 2 eggs rather than the mashed banana substitute! If you don't have any eggs on hand, well then you're in luck!

The second recipe is a vegan recipe - no egg, no butter (there is honey in our granola, however). I wanted to create this recipe because there is a growing number of people who are looking for vegan alternatives or dairy-free/meat-free options. So here's to all of you- an egg-free, dairy-free muffin that is out of this world! 

I've read before about great egg substitutes when baking. So I knew that bananas were perfect and that was just great since I was making banana muffins! I just did a little research to find out the amount to substitute per egg. Several other great egg substitutes are applesauce and flax seeds! Now butter substitutes were a new arena for me! So I did a little more research and found out that avocados are a great alternative to butter - they lower the calorie content and create a softer, chewier baked good (although it made the muffins a tad green). Good thing I had an avocado sitting in the fridge! 
((If you look at the photo below, you'll notice that the two muffins on the left have a slight green tint. These are the ones with avocado.))
As for the taste comparison, here goes: the vegan muffins have a creamier, buttery flavor and are very moist - all due to the avocado I'm sure! The regular muffins are sweeter with a nutty flavor, but they're not quite as moist. They're both amazingly delicious, so give them both a shot and see what you think! You can always cut the recipes in half and make 6 muffins rather than a dozen!
When baking, don't feel trapped by the recipe! If you don't do dairy, google can be your best friend. Search for alternatives. If you don't have a specific ingredient on hand, don't freak and run to the store! Search for alternatives. It's amazing what you'll find. Plus it always feels great to get a little creative when baking/cooking - it's like creating your own little artistic masterpiece .. that you can eat!
Whole Wheat Banana Granola Muffins (with egg substitute)
(makes 12 muffins)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 banana (1/2 cup), mashed (this is your 2 egg substitute)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Goin' Nuts granola

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffins tins or use muffin liners.
2.Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add melted butter, syrup, and 1 mashed banana. Mix until just combined.
3. Fold in the remaining 2 bananas and the granola.
4. Distribute evenly into 12 muffin cups.
5. Top with a sprinkle of granola, if you desire!
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Whole Wheat Banana Granola Muffins (vegan)
(makes 12 muffins)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mashed avocado- half of an avocado (this is your butter substitute)
1 banana (1/2 cup), mashed (this is your 2 egg substitute)
4 tbsp organic maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Goin' Nuts granola

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffins tins or use muffin liners.
2.Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add mashed avocado, syrup, and 1 mashed banana. Mix until just combined.
3. Fold in the remaining 2 bananas and the granola.
4. Distribute evenly into 12 muffin cups.
5. Top with a sprinkle of granola, if you desire!
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Do you love bananas just as much as I do? Check out our Banana Nut Chocolate Oatmeal or our Strawberry Banana Smoothie

For more: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Eat Granola

We all have favorite foods that we can't go one day without! For most you (if you're reading this), it's granola!! 

"I eat it every morning!!" 

is what I hear over and over and over again! (I love hearing this, by the way!) So I have to ask, 

"How exactly do you like eating our granola?" 

and most of you say on yogurt or as cereal. Those are two of my favorite ways to enjoy our granola, too!

But the creative rebel inside of me likes using foods in creative, exciting, different ways! The more ways to use your favorite foods, the better!! And for most of you who buy our granola on a weekly basis, there are so many great ways to enjoy our granola during your week! So today I want to share with you the 10 best ways to enjoy our granola!

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Nothin' but Nola Granola

1. On top of your morning yogurt (Greek is great!).
2. For cereal. Just add milk.
3. Straight out of the bag. It makes the perfect snack!
4. Cobbler - it would make any fruit cobbler heavenly! We've tried it with Peach Cobbler.
5. Add it to a smoothie for nice a crunchy sweetness.
6. Served with fresh fruit for a healthy breakfast or snack.
7. Top a scoop of vanilla ice cream or any ice cream sundae!
8. Chocolate Chip Cookies are a classic. Mix in 1 cup of our granola for a twist!
9. A kid favorite - Banana Bars! Roll a banana in peanut butter Then roll in granola. Add toasted coconut or raisins for an added touch of sweetness.
10. If you haven't tried this Carrot Pineapple Granola Bread, you should!

We would love to hear from you! What's your favorite way to enjoy our granola? Comment below!

For more: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

xoxo Lauren

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Banana Bars: a kid favorite!

I love, love, love creating super simple snacks that I can feel good about eating! Kid-friendly and fun-filled makes those treats all the better! So this one is for all of you snack-ers out there! I snack all day long. I tend to eat a little bit every two hours or so to keep me going! So easy and healthy snack options that taste good and fill me up are a must. Or else I tend to turn turn to chocolate or sugar-filled anything to fill the void!

This is also for all of you busy mamas out there that are looking for fun, healthy snacks for your little ones! This is a snack you can feel good about feeding your kiddos! Plus, it comes with a side of entertainment and cooking! It's always great to get your kids in the kitchen early, to teach them about cooking and healthy eating -- lifelong habits form early!

It's great to grab a spoon and let the kiddos use that (or their fingers) to cover their banana in peanut butter. Then pour some granola into a bowl and let them have fun "decorating" their banana with some NBN! It makes a great afternoon or after-school snack! 

 Nothin' but Nola Banana Bars
(1 serving)

1 banana
2-3 tbsp peanut butter
small handful of granola

These are super easy! Cover your banana in peanut butter and press the granola on so that it sticks, or roll your banana in a plate of granola. Just cover it real good! 

Optional: add dried coconut, cranberries, or raisins

xoxo, Lauren
For More: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Friday, September 5, 2014

Getting to Know The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

I don't know about you, but I waste so much food every single day. That bread that didn't get eaten and now has mold on it. Those leftovers that weren't eaten quickly enough. The yogurt that I only had once -- the rest ended up in the trash. It's absurd. It's ridiculous. It's as if there is way too much food so it just gets wasted. But wait... Over 100,000 children in our local community do not know where their next meal is going to come from. In the 18 counties spanning from Boone to Burlington, NC, The Second Harvest Food Bank services 300,000 people, 100,000 of those being children. For those of you who live in Forsyth County, 1 in 6 people are "food insecure" -- meaning they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Yet here I am throwing out food like it's the new "in" thing to do. I'll be honest, I didn't know just how many of our neighbors are hungry. So the numbers were quite shocking. And heart-breaking. I am so thankful we've been able to partner with The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Thanks to this partnership, you are able to donate one meal to a person in need for every bag of our granola you buy. It's really that easy. We can all make a difference!

Last week, I had the opportunity to head over to Second Harvest to volunteer. It was amazing, to say the least. We write a check to Second Harvest every quarter for our one bag, one meal donation, but there's nothing quite like getting your hands dirty and spending time in the warehouse, sorting the food that's going to feed over 300,000 hungry people.

After a quick tour of the place, I spent my morning in the salvage room. Second Harvest receives all of their food donations in one of two ways:
1) Food Drives
2) Food Salvage: big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Food Lion, etc. give food (close to expiration, slightly damaged, out-of-season-after-holiday type stuff, etc.) to the food bank.

In the salvage room, we inspect every food product by hand. We check expiration and best buy dates to ensure the food is still "good". ((The cool thing about expiration or "best by" dates is that a lot of the food is good for much longer than those dates!)) We inspect the packaging to make sure there are no openings (cuts, tears, holes, etc.) allowing outside contaminants in. If all looks good, then the food gets boxed and ready to head out to the floor. If not, the food gets tossed.

It really is great seeing so much food that would otherwise get tossed and wasted by the retailers, not get wasted -- and going to people who truly need it. But there was still so much that we had to toss because it was out-of-date or the packaging had been destroyed at some point during transit. I hate to see any food going to waste, especially when so many people are in need of that food. I believe that there really, truly is enough food to go around -- it just gets thrown out. I'm so grateful for places like Second Harvest who help eliminate part of that waste and in turn give it to those in need.

How does Second Harvest get the food to the people who need it?
As a food bank, Second Harvest stores all of the food in their warehouse. They partner with outside agencies and food assistance programs like Crisis Control, Samaritan Ministries, and many others! Those agencies are the ones who work directly with the people in need. So the agencies come to Second Harvest, get the food that stocks their pantries, and then give it directly to those in need -- 25 tons of food goes out daily!

Aside from buying our granola, how else can you help? 
The Second Harvest Food Bank is always in need of food and your help! Some months are more difficult than others, but they always need more food! Food drives are huge! So organize a food drive at your children's school or your local church or community center. If you're a local business, ask your customers to join you in giving back -- make it a weekend event! And volunteer!

How do they do it all? Who helps organize the food? You. Me. Us. People who volunteer their time to help create change. Take a few hours out of your week, once a month, or whenever you have time. Give back. We are all blessed with so much. Let's help bless those who need it most.

If you're interested in the numbers and want to learn more, the 2014 Hunger in America Study was just released by Feeding America. 

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Granola: the Best Cereal!

Simple + easy + healthy are the requirements for any great breakfast, at least for busy weekday mornings! I believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I do not (I repeat, do not) ever miss it. Trust me, that's a good thing. You wouldn't want to be around Lauren-who-hasn't-eaten-breakfast-at-10-am! I'm happiest with a fully belly (aren't we all?!)!!!

So, on those mornings when I'm running late or need something quick + easy, granola it is! Granola makes the very best cereal (ours specifically, but I'm partial!)! It's even better topped with fresh berries, like blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries! You can even add some sliced banana for a sweet YUM! 

For all of you moms out there, this is also a great breakfast for the kiddos! So don't stress now that school is back in session and you're running late every morning! Our granola is healthy, delicious, and kid-approved :)

Enjoy, lovelies!

xoxo Lauren

P.S. If you're looking for more easy, healthy breakfast ideas, try this fruit smoothie or our banana nut oatmeal!

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