Anna Maria Locke

recipe

Homemade Nutty Crunch Granola

2017Anna Locke

Hello friends, and happy September!

Oh my gosh this has been a whirlwind summer. I’m currently sitting on the deck listening to the mariachi radio coming from the apartment building across the alley (seriously), soaking in the last bit of humid summer-y weather here in Chicago where it lasts. I’m more than ready for some fresh crisp fall air but NEVER ready for winter here...so trying to stay present and enjoy the moment!

It’s been a while since I blogged regularly, and I miss it so much. I’m not sure why I haven’t been writing, other than the usual perfectionitis and being distracted with everything happening in life and biz lately. You know, excuses ;)

I owe you a big juicy life update letter and will send it soon I promise! If we aren’t already virtual penpals you can subscribe to my semi-regular newsletter here.

This weekend I was inspired to bake, and decided to make granola. Homemade granola used to be a staple in my kitchen back in my grad school days, and it’s so freaking good and easy to throw together. The only trick is to NOT over-bake, and don’t add dried fruit or chocolate chips to the mix before you bake it. Just don’t. 

The fun part is that you can mix in whatever ingredients you have on hand and make your favorite flavor combos using this basic recipe.

This granola is healthy, but it’s not low calorie...and it’s incredibly addicting. So proceed with caution !

Homemade Nutty Crunch Granola

Inspired by Health magazine

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ c old fashioned oats
  • 3 c mixed nuts and seeds (I used sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and millet. Coconut would also be delicious. This is perfect if you have a lot of nearly empty bags of random baking nuts in your pantry!)
  • 1 ½ T cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3 T melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300*F.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, whisk wet ingredients until combined

Stir wet into dry until the granola is evenly coated with the syrup/oil mixture.

Spread mixture evenly in 2 large baking sheets and bake 30-40 minutes, stirring and rotating pans every 15 minutes.

Take granola out of the oven and let it cool before transferring into large jars or bowls for storage. It will get crispy and toasty as it cools, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem “done” when you take it out of the oven!

OPTIONAL: once cool, stir in dried fruit or chocolate chips!

IMG_9498.jpg

Serve with yogurt, top your smoothie bowl, eat by the handful. I've been loving it on top of a pumpkin spice smoothie bowl, or with frozen cherries and Greek yogurt. NOM!

There are so many flavor combos you could try.

  • Almond and dried cherries
  • Walnuts and banana chips or apple chips (I'd add the fruit chips after baking)
  • Coconut chocolate chip
  • Pumpkin spice (instead of cinnamon) and pumpkin seeds

I can't wait to keep experimenting!

MORE GRANOLA RECIPES

Basic Homemade Granola
Apricot Nutty Crunch Granola
 

xo Anna
 

Epic Baked Oatmeal

August 2016, 2016, Recipe - BreakfastAnna Locke

Oh my goodness, summer is slipping away way too fast! This is Ben’s last week of break before he goes back to school (WHAT!) so we’re trying to cram in the last of our summer bucket list activities, plus watching about 5 hours/day of Olympics, of course. 

Last week we took an incredible trip to Tennessee and North Carolina for my second annual Beachbody Coach Summit in Nashville, and then to visit Ben's mom. We visited Asheville (ADORABLE), hiked the Appalachian Trail, ate tons of delicious food, and had a wonderful trip.

I love traveling but it always throws me out of my routine, so this week has been a little busy getting back to work! I have so many projects and ideas I want to put into place this summer and fall now that I've officially graduated from my life coaching course!

Last Saturday I hosted a brunch and vision board workshop for the Chicago area coaches on my team Inspire Joy, and I made a delicious baked oatmeal casserole to share. It was so good, I decided to make another one to eat this week.

This recipe is PERFECT for those weeks you're super busy and want to have a yummy healthy breakfast all ready to go in the morning. It would be great to pack up and take to work too, with way less mess than cooking traditional oatmeal!

It makes around six servings and stores well in the fridge for a few days. You can either re-heat it in the microwave or eat it cold, it's great both ways. You'll feel like you're eating cake for breakfast!

Epic Baked Oatmeal

Inspired by Cookie and Kate
Serves 6
21 Day Fix containers: 1 yellow, ½ purple per serving

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c old fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T pure maple syrup (optional -- add more or less depending on your sweetness preference!)

Fruit

  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 c frozen or fresh berries (I used blueberries and strawberries, no need to defrost)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375* F. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. I used a 9-in round Pyrex, you could also use an 8x8 in glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of mixed fruit (about half the fruit, or 1.5 cups) in the bottom of the dish. Layer the dry ingredients over the fruit, and pour the wet ingredients on top. Gently press the top of the dry ingredients with the back of a spoon and tilt the dish back and forth to make sure everything is saturated with the egg and milk mixture.

Layer the remaining fruit on top, pop it in the oven, and bake for 45-55 degrees, until the edges look brown and everything is solid!

Serve warm or cool, great with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. This will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days!

You can have fun and mix it up with any fruit that's in season, or add chopped nuts!

Some possible suggestions:

+ Banana Walnut
+ Pear Almond
+ Strawberry Rhubarb (add extra maple syrup for sweetness)

I'm already thinking about a pumpkin spice version this fall ...

Let me know if you try this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think! 

xo Anna

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

June 2016, 2016, Recipe - SaladAnna Locke
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

Back in January I had one of the biggest "OMG PINCH ME" moments in life and was interviewed by one of my favorite mentors Jess Lively for her podcast The Lively Show. It was a huge honor to share my story and be featured on the show that has inspired me so much over the past 3 years, but the best part of that experience that I couldn't have predicted has been the fall-out!

I've been able to connect with so many inspiring women who are also fangirls of Jess' "life with intention" message, and some of them have even become friends over the past few months. One of those friends, Alex, also lives in Chicago, and a couple weeks ago we met up in person for a lunch date at Thrive360, a new healthy food fast-casual restaurant downtown. I'm obsessed with all the fast-casual places popping up around the city, because giant salads and epic veggie bowls actually bring me joy (yup I'm a healthy freak and I shall wave my flag proudly!)

It took us probably a solid 15 minutes to absorb the extensive menu at Thrive360 (anyone else struggle with menu decisions??) and one of the super friendly staff members gave us samples of their roasted sweet potato salad while we were making up our minds.

I'm not a huge potato salad fan, but I looooove sweet potatoes, and this version was SO GOOD I immediately decided to recreate it at home.

roast sweet potato salad with tahini dressing

Here's my version -- it turned out delicious! The mint is a surprisingly delicious addition, and tahini is good on anything. You can find it in the middle eastern or Mediterannean section of most grocery stores.

This recipe is perfect to bring to a summer potluck, 4th of July party, or serve alongside anything grilled. It would also be tasty dish as we move into fall or winter! I'm definitely putting it into my rotation.

Roast Sweet Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

inspired by Thrive360
Serves 6-8
[1 yellow, 1 tsp on the 21 Day Fix]

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 c fresh mint

Directions

Preheat oven to 400*F. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into bite size chunks, spray with cooking oil, and bake for 45 minutes, flipping once or twice. 

While the potatoes are baking, chop the red onion into tiny pieces and chop the mint.

Let the potatoes cool, then combine with the onion and mint in a big bowl, and gently toss with the tahini dressing. Serve at room temperature.

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine tahini and vinegar in a jar or shaker bottle, and shake or whisk to combine. Add water (1T at a time) until the consistency is pourable, a little thinner than a typical ranch dressing. If you add too much water, just stir in another T of tahini to thicken it back up. Making dressing is more of an art than science! Season with salt and pepper to taste.

sweet potato salad with tahini dressing

Let me know if you give this a try this! I topped it with some dill to make it prettier for the pictures ... and that was a tasty addition too. Any summer herbs would be good!

xo Anna