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Holiday Granola {vegan, gf, nut-free} + Morning Gratitude

Granola is easy to make. It’s also one of the better things for breakfast during the holiday season. Granola is my go-to indulgence whenever I’m craving sweets, like holiday cakes and cookies, even if they are vegan. It can be challenging to stay on a vegan diet of fresh fruits and veggies when there’s lots of tempting desserts, and I do love cake and cookies! This coconutty granola is a light and delicious treat that just so happens to be naturally sweet (maple syrup please) and totally good for you. It may even save you from eating a stacked plate of cake or cookies (maybe). 

Granola recipes can vary depending on what you like. I love coconut anything, and we have a lot of coconut to work with in this recipe. (I really should’ve called this coconut granola.) I’ll give you the granola basics and you can improvise the rest with whatever you want to add. In this recipe, it’s coconut oil/maple syrup/coconut sugar/cacao butter/vanilla with rolled oats/coconut flakes as the base granola ingredients. You can add things like dried cherries or top with fresh berries. Once you make you own batch of granola, you’ll feel less inclined to grab for the store-bought granola ever again. Here I am going totally hippie dippie on you, saying you need to eat fruits, veggies and granola… but granola can also make delicious cookies, so there’s another idea.

December is a busy month for many. As much as I’d like to think I’ve finally got a handle on being prepared for the holidays, I’m very much a last minute holiday shopper. What helped me stay focused on the positives and not get stressed out or caught up in any past negative behaviors, was practicing morning gratitude affirmations. 

While making granola for breakfast, I repeat aloud a series of gratitude affirmations that I’ve written down. Also, I listen to healing frequency music while stating my affirmations, which may help you practice your own gratitude as well. I’ve found that the kitchen is the best place to practice my gratitude while listening to healing frequency music, otherwise known as Solfeggio tones, scientifically attuned sound vibrations that create healing energy. There are many ways to listen to these healing frequency tones. I’ve found sources on YouTube and listen to a variety of meditative music depending– while I’m sleeping I like to listen to the 528hz frequency music, called the “miracle tone” which helps repair DNA on a deeper level. It’s very relaxing spa music created in healing tones– some of the best tracks have water sounds and binaural beats.

I’m a true believer in cooking and preparing food while in a loving state of mind. Practicing gratitude affirmations first thing is the best way I’ve found to shift my mood from a lower state to a higher level of calm positivity. It’s a quick switcheroo of perspective that resets your mind from the negative chatter to focusing upon the present moment. You know the saying: today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.

And none of us are perfect. We all have phases of negative behavior. Perhaps you’ve listened to those self-sabotaging phrases in your head lately. Maybe you focus on the negatives out of habit. It’s possible you learned how to do that from someone while you were young, and it’s so engrained in you that you don’t even notice. I’ve noticed how much complaining I’ve done throughout my life, and have forgiven myself for it. Complaining isn’t constructive, and honestly I feel that it can totally undermine your focus upon being grateful and aware. Your consciousness needs all the support it can get! When you find yourself complaining, take a deep breath and say to yourself, or your partner, children, whomever is witness: “Oh, I’m complaining. I’ll stop now. I’m grateful for my life.” Then remember all of the reasons to be grateful. Pull out your gratitude list. Read it through and say it aloud again. Keep reminding your brain that it’s time to shift gears and pretty soon, with much practice, you’ll find that everything works itself out. 

The holidays bring up a lot of emotions for people. Expectations are high. If you have kids, like I do, they remind you every single day about how many days are left until Christmas. Then they list off all the things they want. The pressure to buy them all of those things, combined with holiday parties, family visiting, or dysfunctional family patterns that loop you into worn out roles, or missing family that recently died (in my case I’m missing my dad and my grandma this year), it’s all happening in full swing. Many would agree that holiday cocktails were invented for a reason.

Going last minute Christmas shopping was sort of fun, yet searching for parking spots at the busy mall took up most of my precious shopping time. I spent a lot on groceries too. And, as per the usual Christmas holiday events, my partner and I had our annual holiday argument. Oh lovely. 

This time, I took a deep breath and realized that he was ranting and yelling because he was under a lot of stress. I didn’t take it to heart, even though I was really ruffled by it all. Later, it was amusing to me– and hopefully to him– when I gave him an actual lump of coal. (Okay, it was a charcoal briquette.) The next day I gave him a big bowl of holiday granola served with homemade almond milk, and all was peaceful in the house. See what a good bowl of granola can do?

Holiday Granola

This granola is not only completely vegan but also gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar free. I use maple syrup and coconut sugar. 

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 45 minutes/1 hour
Makes one large jar of granola

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup  pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

1 cup coconut oil

1 cup maple syrup

2 tbl vanilla extract

2 tbl cacao butter*

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tbl cinnamon or pumpkin spice blend

*if you cannot find any cacao butter, it’s just fine to leave it out. Cacao butter can be found in most health food supermarkets or online

Preheat the oven to 200F.

In a large bowl, add in the dry ingredients: rolled oats, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds. 

On a low heat in a saucepan, combine the coconut oil, cacao butter, coconut sugar and maple syrup, stirring continuously until melted.

Remove from heat. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. 

Pour over the dry mix. Stir and fold until everything is combined, making sure all of the oats and seeds are coated well.

Spread the granola evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 200F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until crispy and golden. Be careful not to burn. 

Once ready, remove from the oven and let the granola cool. Add dried cherries if you like, or fresh berries, and have with coconut yogurt or homemade nut milk. 





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