Catching Up + Maple-Almond Crunch (A Gluten-Free Granola Recipe)

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve written! I apologize for leaving without an explanation, but this last year has been so exciting and so very busy with new things. For starters, last August Matt and I got engaged while camping up in the mountains at my favorite lake. It was one of my favorite moments of all time.

Engagement Picture

From there it was a whirlwind of wedding planning. If you follow me on Instagram, you know all the things we accomplished in our short 7-month engagement. I know, 7 months. We’re crazy, but we’re crazy in love and somehow, we pulled it off. In March of this year, we gathered together in Paso Robles, CA with our family and friends where we officially tied the knot. It was the most perfect day – so full of love, laughter, and excitement. We couldn’t have asked for more.

I had to be realistic with my time constraints while we moved in and started our life together. Because life happens and I wanted to enjoy each and every moment with my new husband. Once I decided I was ready to jump back into blogging again, I took a little time to re-evaluate and compare the food choices I was making in real life vs. what I had been presenting here on the blog … and I realized I wasn’t being completely honest. Truth is, I’m not eating 100% Paleo anymore, and I haven’t been for some time now.

Here’s the real deal – although Cave Girl Culture started out as a way to share my Paleo culinary adventures, my actual food choices have transitioned from a strict Paleo diet to a diet that simply consists of real food. 5 years of a mostly strict Paleo diet taught me how to listen to my own body, to be able to identify which foods I need to avoid to feel my absolute best and to make more conscious food choices. It was exactly what I needed for a certain period in my life, and now I’m letting some foods back on my plate like small amounts of legumes, some grains, and dairy. All in all, I can tell when a certain food or food group is giving me issues and can alter my food choices as needed.

So going forward, you might see some recipes that aren’t strictly Paleo and you can skip those if you aren’t into them. But I don’t think you’ll see a huge difference in the type of recipes I put out, it’ll just a wider variety of all natural ingredients. So I hope you stick around, friends!

Now, where were we? Oh yeah. Marriage and stuff.

Matt and I are in the new house and we’re learning how to grocery shop/food prep for two people with different needs and tastes. This has really made me step out of my comfort zone lately and think of how to ensure the both of us are not only eating foods that are healthy for us but also eating foods we both enjoy. It’s been challenging at times – not because Matt doesn’t eat healthy foods (he does) – but it’s because we have different intake needs. For example, Matt eats a higher carb diet than I do – he feels his best when he’s eating stuff like whole grains and potatoes. He also eats way more than I do because duh, he’s bigger than I am, and has a way faster metabolism than I do (ugh, jealous). I need about half as much food as he does, and I feel so much better on a lower carb diet. But let’s be honest, Matt’s carby foods are delicious and sometimes I want to eat them when they’re in the house. Hi, I’m only human.

This brings me to the food item of discussion for the day – good ‘ol granola.

Matt’s favorite snack is a bowl of yogurt with this chocolate protein granola from Nature’s Valley. Although this granola is super tasting and addicting, it has stuff like soy and canola oil in it and I try to stay away from those things. But we are still buying two bags a week for Matt and I found myself snacking on it despite the bad ingredients.

Long story short, I kept complaining to Matt that we couldn’t have it in the house anymore and Matt started hiding it in a cabinet above the fridge where I couldn’t see or reach it. LOL, marriage. Being the problem solver that I am, I just went ahead and made a granola that I felt good about, without all ingredients I didn’t care for. Matt doesn’t have to worry about me dipping into his granola stash and I still get to snack on granola every now and then. Everybody wins! And they say this whole marriage thing is hard, pfffft.

Maple-Almond Crunch Granola (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • (2) cups rolled oats (I used gluten-free rolled oats from Trader Joe’s)
  • (1) cup almonds, unsalted
  • (1) cup pecans, unsalted
  • (2) tbsp. honey
  • (2) tbsp. maple syrup
  • (1) tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • (2) tbsp. coconut sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt

Other Tools Needed

  • (1) large mixing bowl
  • Food processor
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200° degrees (F). Put the dry ingredients into the food processor and set the food processor on the pulse setting. Pulse the mixture until the nuts have been broken down into little chunks. Transfer the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients until the oats and nuts are well coated with the wet ingredients. Easy, right?

Next, pour the mixture out on the parchment covered baking sheet and bake for about 2-3 hours until the granola is golden-brown, but be careful not to burn it. Let it cool overnight (covered), and then transfer to an airtight container. Your granola can be stored in the pantry, or if you’re my husband, above the fridge where your wife can’t reach it. Thanks, babe.

But real talk, in addition to eating it straight out of the container, you should probably use this as a topping on something, anything – like yogurt or ice cream, or even oatmeal. You can even incorporate this into a summer cobbler or fruit crisp, which sounds super delicious!

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That’s all for today. Stay tuned for more recipes coming up in the next few months.

It feels so good to be back!

StephanieSignature1

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