Homemade Granola

I LOVE GRANOLA.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten the excitement out of the way, let’s chat about being functional.
I’m a huge fan of pre-buying healthy items to help save some steps but I’ve bene noticing that when I reach for some store-bought granola the sugars are super high and it may not have all the flavors I want. I decided to buy a few things to start making it myself at home because not only is it healthier and I can make smaller batches to change up flavors, but it’s also way cheaper in the long run and it helps me to be more aware of what I’m eating. Another huge bonus – your house will smell amazing after cooking this!!

How I’ve been using granola lately:
+ Strawberries + Granola + A Little Honey
+ Yogurt + Granola
+ Apple + Peanut/almond butter + Granola
+ Add Granola To Oatmeal


INGREDIENTS

Rolled Oats (I did 2 cups)
Nuts (any kind, I used macadamia nuts & sliced almonds)
Seeds (I used chia & flax – you could also add pumpkin and sunflower!)
Coconut Oil
Cinnamon – lots! (5+ tablespoons)
Salt (literally 1 teaspoon, it’s just to add a little flavor)
Honey*
Coconut Flakes**
*You don’t have to add honey because it is added sugar, but it helps with the flavor to be a smidge sweeter!
**Do NOT add the coconut flakes to the granola until after it’s cooked and cooled off otherwise it will burn (same with chocolate/dried fruit/etc)!

Feel free to add extra things to spice it up: like other nuts, dried fruits, etc

DIRECTIONS

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Mix everything together (*minus coconut flakes / dried fruit)
Spread out on a pan and throw into the oven
Cook for 15 minutes – If everything looks good (aka no burn) cook for another 5 minutes!
Let cool
Add in extras that didn’t go into the oven (coconut flakes, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc)
Store in Air-Tight Container (I often re-use old glass pickle/peanut butter jars before buying new jars)

Healthy Food Choices On The Go

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC®, The Coca-Cola Company, and Conagra Brands but all my opinions are my own. #PowerfullySmart #CollectiveBias

This week has already turned out to be super busy.
I was working on a blog assignment yesterday when I got called to some free studio space an hour away for some photography work. I jumped on the chance and organized all the things I needed to take and was spontaneously gone for about 5 hours. When I got back home I was starving, exhausted, and still had so much work to do before falling asleep. Today is about the same (minus spontaneous photoshoots unless they come my way!!) with a to-do list a mile long for house stuff, a TON of blog work to catch up on, photography emails, workout classes, meal prepping…OOPHHF.

Y’all while I love having a crazy busy schedule I don’t love feeling like I’m not putting forth good judgement with those last minute food options (especially when paying for a gym membership). I’m a lover of cooking and most mornings/nights I am able to actually cook a full meal and enjoy it – but then days like yesterday pop up and I’m left too exhausted or too rushed to cook something when I get home OR before I run out the door. For that reason I always keep a few frozen meals on hand that I know will help fuel/re-fuel me. The more I educate myself the more I appreciate when companies actually put forth real effort into making those frozen meal choices healthier and more satisfying! The Healthy Choice® Power Bowls are made with an intentional combination of bold flavors and simple ingredients; they are balanced full of vegetables, proteins, and whole grains so all bases are covered. I also just found out that they now intentionally create their meals with antibiotic free chicken and all natural USDA choice beef – hallelujah hands all around.

Speaking of crazy busy schedules; do you know what I have been intentionally trying to focus on the last few weeks?
HYDRATION. I posted about it a while back with how I’m drinking a big glass of water in the morning – but what about when I’m on the run?! I always have a water bottle with me – but I feel like I plow through those and don’t always focus on how much I’m actually drinking. Enter smartwater; vapor-distilled for purity, inspired by the clouds (hello beautiful clouds!) and my favorite part, full of electrolytes for a uniquely clean taste. No only will the water help hydrate but with those electrolytes it helps me to keep wanting to drink the water because they can make you a little more thirsty = MORE HYDRATION!

What are some of your go-to quick meals when you’re feeling the time crunch?
Also, how are you doing on your hydration game, seriously??

Pssst…. Earn .75 cash back when you purchase Healthy Choice® Power Bowls at Walmart (any variety – any size)!!!!


I grab my Healthy Choice Power Bowls & smartwater when I hit up Walmart on the weekend for other essentials.
What are some of your favorite grabs from Walmart??

Healthy Living With Essential Oils

This post contains affiliate links. You can see full my disclosure here

This past week I posted some of my new roller balls on instagram and got a few questions about where I got the rollers and what types of oils I use. So today is the day I share with y’all the nitty gritty of my journey with essential oils.

For the longest time I have always tried to find a holistic approach to whatever problem I’m having first before turning to western medicine. Whether I’m having a really bad headache or menstrual cramps; If I’m exhausted but can’t sleep or feeling incredibly overwhelmed and stressed – I try to look for stretches, foods to eat, pressure points, and essential oils to help. A few years back one of my good friends was telling me about how she used essential oils to help combat her anxiety and I was intrigued. Thinking back to all of the early medicines our ancestors used to use, and even that peppermint water you would drink in the nurses office when you had a tummy ache – it got me thinking; could these little liquid drops really do anything?

I must tell you, I was incredibly skeptical.
I didn’t start with doing a lot of the research myself (because I didn’t know what to research) but instead trusted good friends who I knew did their research. (ha!) I started off with the ‘essential’ oils everyone says that you should start with: peppermint, lavender, and lemon. Peppermint helps with stomach aches, sore joints, muscle pain, antibacterial, fever, focus, nausea, vertigo, headaches, etc. Lavender is great for acne, depression, stress, migraines, insect bites, burns, muddler pain, etc. Lemon is excellent for it’s antibacterial properties, canker sores, closed, sore throats, mental alertness, headaches, fevers, etc. You can see why they are great choices to start with oils if you’re looking but not ready to make a financial investment. I bought a diffuser because I wasn’t sure about topical treatments (applying oil to your body) and spent a few weeks just using the diffuser. I honestly slept better, felt more alert, and wasn’t as “down” as I had been. When it came to that time of the month I got desperate and started to rub the peppermint on my abdomen and y’all, it was a game changer. It helped SO MUCH with my cramps I was able to rely less on medication and more on essential oils, heating pads, and staying hydrated.

I then branched out into using essential oils for sickness prevention and treatment.
When everyone around me was getting colds, the flu, and feeling overall sluggish – I found that I was fairing better. Did I still get sick? Yes sometimes I did, but it never lasted long or as severe as it used to. I started learning more about what oils to apply and where to apply them…it became really fun for me honestly.

So here I am today – still on my oil journey and constantly looking at my resources for “what oil does this” or “what can this oil do” so that I really am learning and getting the most out of the items I buy. I’m researching different (and new!) brands of oils to try out and blends to use and it’s all really interesting for me.

My Essential Oil Necessities:

+ Essential Oils Natural Remedies – This book is the best one I’ve found so far. I found it to be the best because not only does it give you an introduction to essential oils, how to apply and store them, where to buy them, etc; it also gives you natural remedies for common ailments (acne, bloating, headache, nausea, etc) but it also has a directory of essential oils (not all of them, but a lot of the most used) and it gives a brief description of the oil, application methods, what it blends with, precautions, and medicinal uses.

+ Diffuser – We currently have 3 (yes!) in our house; these guys are troopers and I use them for hours on end each and every day and I have yet to have any issues with them. I don’t really use the light feature but they would be great to use at night for a nightlight.

+ Wooden Oil Organizer – This isn’t the exact one that I have (I can’t find it!) but I LOVE having a wooden box for most of my oils! My box doesn’t fit the oils larger than 15ml but I just keep those in a separate area.

+ Travel Bag – This bag has been a lifesaver! Every time I go on a trip I take my pre-made (or bought) roller balls or small bottles of pure essential oils. I don’t have to worry about them getting lost or busted. Sometimes I shove some tissue paper in there to give a little extra cushion, but I haven’t had any problems! ((I just found this one and may be ordering it too! I like that its as a hard shell on the outside))

+ Amber Roller Balls with Gold Lids – These are the ones from the picture up top; I love these because they are functional roller balls but also so dang gorgeous.

+ Bottle Openers – These are great for when you want to re-fill your roller bottles!

+ Bottle Decals – I recently got these from Jenny Highsmith and I legit love them! You can also create custom labels!

Some of the Essential Oil Companies I Use:

+ Edens Garden – I love this company and their prices. Not only are they quality (you can read more about their oils here) but they give 10% of their profits back to faith-based ministries; which makes my heart so happy! Edens Garden is great for diffusing and I also use them topically.

+ Rocky Mountain Oils – This oil company is truly one of the best ones for medicinal purposes. I LOVE their defend capsules, feminine aid, and true blue.

+ Plant Therapy – This 6 oil starter pack is a great one! Eddied ordered it off of amazon when we were engaged so I could have oils when I visited.

+ Now Essential Oils – These are easily purchased at most health food stores. Sometimes if I forgot an oil or forgot my rollers while on vacation I run into a store and grab one of these. They also have pre-blended oils and my current favorite is “mental focus” – I diffuse it a lot while working.

+ Saje – I stumbled across this Canadian brand on instagram and have been so impressed with their quality. Their marketing is just phenomenal – their website is SO HELPFUL – and they are actually in a lot pocket pharmacy of stores as well las having their own stores (I would love to visit one) I purchased their and have used it almost every single day; the peppermint halo is a game changer.

I personally do not own any Young Living or Doterra oils (I do own these Doterra On Guard Capsules that I take if I’m feeling especially sickly and I got them off of amazon). I think they are amazing oils, some of the highest quality, but they are also highly priced and I’m a cheapskate so I often try to find just as amazing oils (if not higher quality) and go with that. I will 100% admit that I will probably be buying Young Living’s Thieves laundry soap as well as their hand soap because I used it at a friends house and loved it! I could make my own (and probably will), but man, their branding gets me every time.

Some of my favorite blends to diffuse / put in rollers:

+ FALL: Orange, Patchouli, Clove

+ SLEEP: Lavender, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang,

+ FOCUS: Lime, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange

+ IMMUNITY (Thieves Oil): 10 drops Clove, 9 drops Lemon, 5 drops Cinnamon Bark, 4 drops Eucalyptus, 3 drops Rosemary

+ STRESS: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Bergamot

+ I also diffuse A LOT of Lemon + Eucalyptus; it smells so fresh.

Favorite Oils / Blends / Rollers:

+ Spearmint

+ Solace (roller)

+ Digest Ease

+ Peppermint Halo (roller)

+ Fighting Five (roller)

+ Love

If you’re applying topically you definitely need to look into essential oil to carrier oil ratios.
Some oils ‘burn’ so you must dilute them before putting them on your skin unless you want to feel like your skin is on fire hah (I learned this the hard way with Oregano). Also there are differing opinions on ingesting oils and if it’s safe for you to do and the ratios in which you ingest. Personally I have only ingested peppermint when I was REALLY sick (put a drop or two in a huge glass of water), and the doterra capsules I mentioned above. I’m still cautious of ingesting the oils, even though yes, your body obviously absorbs oils as you apply it topically and breath it in.

Whew, that was a lot of information thrown y’alls way.
If you’re an essential oil user I would love to hear more about your journey with them and what blends/companies/etc you use.
If you’re not an EO user have you ever been curious?
OOOOOO tell me all the things please!

Morning Toast

Breakfast.
It is seriously one of my FAVORITE meals of the day.
Ok, if we are being real – all food is my favorite meal of the day; I just really love eating.
Which is my problem, the girl likes to to eat.
A long time ago I realized I had a really bad relationship with food, an addiction really.
Learning how to look at food as fuel instead of happiness or any other emotion filler is a struggle. Reminding myself that just because I’m bored doesn’t mean I have to snack, or that hey I literally just ate 30 minutes ago, so no I am NOT hungry – girl just drink that  glass of water is not the easiest thing to do.
Food is fuel.
It won’t make me happy, it won’t calm my fears, it won’t keep me company.
It can fuel me to move more, to strive for better, and to enjoy the life the Lord has given me – or it can hinder me and hold me back and make me feel insecure. I don’t want to give something as needed as food that much power over my emotions. So I have been working on having a healthier relationship with it.

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been sporadically picking days where I instagram story my food intake for the day – it really helps me with accountability. You may have also noticed that this toast has truly been on the docket all the time (this and smoothies). It’s super simple to make – and really requires zero instructions but here is a run down of how I make my breakfast toast:

+ Pull toast out of freezer and put into toaster
+ Make my scrambled eggs adding in my current favorite spices
+ Slather on some guac – because it makes everything betteR
+ Top it with a crack or two of pepper and himalayan pink sea salt
+ Eat that sucker
+ ….maybe make more for lunch

What are some of your favorite healthy meals you love to make?