Spiralized Green Apple Butternut Squash Salad

I’m a salad eater year ‘round. In fact, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t enjoy some sort of salad and fall is full of hearty possibilities. My Spiralized Green Apple Butternut Squash Salad is super delicious and nourishing, incorporating some of the season’s yummiest picks from the produce department.Spiralized Green Apple Butternut Squash Salad

Read on to get all the details about this main or side-dish salad that gets you well on your way to eating fruits and veggies for the day. Continue reading

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples + 10 Best Baking Apples

Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed ApplesCooler, crisper days have arrived and I have a hankering for a more homey and comfy breakfast than my typical smoothie or on-the-go protein bar. But with the craziness of my morning routine (my personal running, tying up work loose ends and giving rides to school), I rarely have time for anything coming out of the oven. But my recipe for Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples can be quickly prepped and cooked in the microwave, so I’m winning before sun up. In fact, this is what I ate for breakfast the morning that I woke up really early to drive to Marble Falls, Texas and ended up winning the entire Hill Country Half MarathonSuper Oatmeal Stuffed Apples

My “super” oatmeal is far from the cement-like, sugar-laden and fake-flavored oatmeal packets found next to the Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts. Instead, this powered-up oatmeal stuffed in my apple has been fortified with extra taste, texture and nutrition thanks to the addition of uncooked quinoa, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices mixed together with my dry, quick-cooking oats.  I typically will make a big batch and then scoop out what I need in the morning for this apple recipe or just for a simple bowl of oatmeal.

On crazy weeks when I don’t have time to scoop and stir, I like to buy Super Oats Nuts & Seeds.

After pulling my stuffed apple out of the microwave, I drizzle it with Almond Vanilla Opadipity by Litehouse sweet Greek yogurt dip. I love this lightly sweet Greek yogurt dip as a healthy topping on all my family’s favorite breakfast foods including this oatmeal recipe, but also pancakes, waffles and granola parfaits.

Oatmeal Stuffed Apple Scoop 686 x 550I like to use a great big Honey Crisp apple as my vessel to hold my mix of “super” oatmeal, the center is just scooped out with a melon-baller to create the perfect edible bowl.

Now, not all apples are the bomb for baking – some varieties, like the ubiquitous Red Delicious, seem crisp and crunchy when plucked off the tree (or out of the produce bin) but can turn mushy and mealy in the oven. For treats like apple pie, tarts and muffins (and especially my recipe for Super Oatmeal Stuffed Baked Apples), I prefer my apples to remain a little al dente – and I think most would agree!  Here is a list of my favorite 10 apples with flesh that stands up to baking and offer a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors. Try using a variety of these apples for a more complex flavor and colorful presentation.

TheFitFork.com - Apples10 Best Apples for Baking

  1. Honey Crisp
  2. Golden Delicious
  3. Granny Smith
  4. Braeburn
  5. Jonathan
  6. Melrose
  7. Mutsu (Crispin)
  8. Pink Lady (Cripps Pink)
  9. Rome Beauty
  10. Winesap

If you are looking for more healthy apple recipes, check out this bumper crop collection from CookingLight.com.

Best Apple Recipes - Cooking Light


Are you an apple fan? What is your favorite variety to eat out of hand, or bake with? What is your favorite topping for oatmeal? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples
Super Oatmeal Stuffed Apples +10 Best Apples for Baking
Print Recipe
Stuff your morning breakfast with good things like this apple filled with nutritious oatmeal featuring nuts and seed and a cinnamon Greek yogurt topping.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings: servings
  1. Slice top off each apple approximately 1-inch down.
  2. Use melon scooper to scoop out apple flesh, leaving a ¼” to 1/3” thickness on apple.
  3. Pick out seeds and core of flesh and chop remaining apple flesh finely.
  4. In medium bowl, toss together oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and Stevia. Stir in chopped apple pieces.
  5. In microwave-safe measuring cup, boil water and stir in ONE CUP into the oatmeal until combined.
  6. Place apples in microwave-safe baking dish. Stuff mixture evenly into the two apple “bowls,” packing down and over stuffing, if necessary. Set “lid” apple pieces in the side of baking dish.
  7. Add ¼ cup water to bottom of baking dish. Cover with dish lid. Microwave for 3 minutes on high, and then in additional 1-minute increments until oatmeal is cooked through and apple is tender (microwave times will vary by appliance).
  8. To serve, top oatmeal stuffed apples with Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dip, extra pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon.
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Cinnamon Apple Ring Protein Pancake Possibilities #ProteinPantry

Nothing is Impossible. I'm Possible.

So much more possibility when fueled up from the #ProteinPantry at VitaminShoppe.com

I love how the Protein Pantry at VitaminShoppe.com helps me put more “flex” into my fall baking and recipe making. I can turn a puny breakfast or snack into a pumped-up powerhouse of nutrition that makes achieving my goals possible. So, what is #ProteinPantry ? Online and in nearly 700 stores nationwide, the Protein Pantry is a specially curated, fitness-focused assortment of 40 protein-packed foods such as pancake mixes, nut butters, powdered peanut butter and more! Stocked in this cupboard of kick-butt awesome yumminess are some of my favorite brands like Buff Bake and About Time along with some new products to fall in love with like D’s Naturals, Mancakes, P28 Foods, FlapJacked and more. Look at some of the goodies that came my way:

Vitamin Shoppe Protein Pantry

Ya’ll know how I feel about getting enough protein and love to create and share protein recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Adequate protein intake helps to build and repair muscle, supports weight management by satisfying appetite and boosting metabolism, lessens cravings and mindless snacking, can lower cholesterol and support heart health, and offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

I've been known to get a little excited about PROTEIN!

I’ve been known to get a little excited about PROTEIN!

Research shows that it’s best to spread out protein consumption evenly throughout the day, aiming for about 25g to 30g per eating opportunity – including refueling with a protein-rich snack within 30 minutes of an intense workout or long run.

While most Americans get enough protein, they tend to overdo consumption at dinner and skimp on breakfast. But, breakfast is covered thanks to all of the convenient and easy-to-make products in Vitamin Shoppe’s Protein Pantry, like the FlapJacked Mighty Muffins that cook in 35 seconds in their own container. No excuses!


Apple Ring Protein PancakesSince apples are everywhere this time of year (and also good for you), I’ve created an easy Apple Ring Cinnamon Protein Pancake recipe using a packet of Mancake Cinnamon Oat Protein Pancake Mix (feel free to swap for the protein pancake batter you prefer).Apple Ring Protein Pancakes

This easy breakfast recipe offers a full serving of both protein and fruit – the protein will keep you satisfied and skipping right over a mid-morning sugar crash while the apple offers lots of fiber and is a healthy source of complex carbs to fuel your body and brain.

Apple Ring Protein Pancakes


Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes - TheFitFork.comYou also might digging into the Tart Cherry Chocolate Protein Pancakes recipe I made a few months ago with the About Time Protein Pancake Mix. Time savings hint — make multiple batches and keep extra stored in single-serve portions in the freezer — on busy mornings, take out, reheat, enjoy!

What do you eat for protein in the morning? What is your favorite topping for pancakes? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Vitamin Shoppe. All opinions are mine.

Apple Ring Protein Pancakes
Cinnamon Apple Ring Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Pump up your morning with fruit and extra protein thanks to these Cinnamon Apple Ring Protein Pancakes - extra easy with mix from #ProteinPantry at the Vitamin Shoppe.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving (approx 6 rings) 3 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving (approx 6 rings) 3 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Apple Ring Protein Pancakes
Cinnamon Apple Ring Protein Pancakes
Print Recipe
Pump up your morning with fruit and extra protein thanks to these Cinnamon Apple Ring Protein Pancakes - extra easy with mix from #ProteinPantry at the Vitamin Shoppe.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving (approx 6 rings) 3 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving (approx 6 rings) 3 minutes
Cook Time
7 minutes
Servings: serving (approx 6 rings)
  1. In shallow bowl, mix together pancake mix and 1/4 cup water until combined.
  2. Chop up top and bottom apple rings and aside to make topping later.
  3. Heat skillet to med-high and heat coconut oil.
  4. Dip apple slices in batter and add to skillet, cooking for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown and apple has softened.
  5. Set apple ring pancakes aside on paper towel and add chopped reserved apple, remaining water, packet of stevia and dash of cinnamon to same skillet.
  6. Quickly sauté apples for about 2 minutes, until lightly softened.
  7. To serve pancakes, top with satued apples and optional warmed nut butter, syrup or Greek yogurt.
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Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup

Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar Free Apple Cider Syrup - TheFitFork.comThe kids have the whole week off school for Thanksgiving and they want pancakes for breakfast  . . . every day! My recipe for Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup wins for convenience and taste. It relies on boxed pancake mix (you can use whole wheat) and jarred applesauce.  I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods (they have the best apple cider), but later tweaked it for my own use by using a couple scoops of vanilla protein powder.  I just find that after eating pancakes, I get the “hangries” unless I’ve balanced it with a little more protein.  Oh, and the syrup doesn’t have any added sugar, a huge bonus considering the way my kids pour it on without discretion.  If you’d rather do the no protein powder version, get the recipe here.

Sugar Free Apple Cider Syrup for Pancakes -  thefitfork.com

Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider Syrup

For Pancakes:

  • 2 cups “complete” pancake mix (the “just add water” type)
  • 2 scoops (about 2/3 cup) vanilla or unflavored protein powder
  • 1cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup apple cider

For Syrup:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon liquid Stevia (or any sugar  substitute to achieve a ½ cup sugar equivalency) I used NuNaturals
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups  apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter

1. Heat electric griddle to 375 F degrees or skillet over medium high.

2. In bowl, combine pancake mix and protein powder with a whisk until blended. Stir in applesauce and apple cider until slightly smooth. If batter is too thick, stir in a scant amount of water or more apple cider to thin.

3. Pour batter onto hot griddle using 1/3 cup measure. Cook for approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes before flipping. Pancake is ready to flip when edges are pulling away and bubbles on top have slowed down.

4. Flip pancakes with spatula and cook for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Repeat for remaining pancake batter.

5. Meanwhile, prepare syrup by mixing cornstarch, sugar substitute and cinnamon together in a saucepan with heat off.

6. Gradually whisk in the cider and lemon juice and cook over medium heat stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until thickened

7. Remove syrup from heat and stir in butter. Serve warm over pancakes and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Serves 6 (2 pancakes each)

 More pancake recipes for hungry people:

Pancakes made with Core Power - TheFitfork.com

Pancakes made with Core Power – TheFitfork.com

 My little secret trick — just swap out Core Power for the milk or water in your pancake recipe.

Bit of Pumpkin Pecan Oat Pancake theftfork.comPumpkin Oat Pancake – Yum, these pancakes are pure fall goodness from the griddle — I like to use Love Grown Foods Super Oats to add a little extra nutrition with quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia.

Pre Race Paleo Pancake - The Fit ForkPre-Race Paleo Pancakes – This is my go-to super healthy pancake recipe from a CrossFit superstar friend, Stephanie from Missouri.





If you need to stock up:

Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos & The Running Revolution

caramel granola apple dessert

Looking for a delicious dessert that celebrates some of the fall season’s favorite flavors without making your clean-eating conscience scream in horror?  My recipe for Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos is an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat sweet treat that is perfect for a Halloween party, harvest hoedown or any autumn-themed entertaining. I’m planning on making this no-cook recipe again soon as a sensible snack for movie night – since it’s October, I’m planning a classic horror movie marathon with my three teenage boys.  With so many apple choices at the market this time of year, this recipe is the perfect time to try that new variety – use just one type of apple or as many kinds of apples as you like in this fruit recipe.

apples granola caramel chocolate

Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos Recipe

  • 4 large apples, any variety (about 2 pounds)
  • 8 oz. light caramel dip from produce section (I used Litehouse brand)
  • 1 cup favorite granola (with or without nuts)
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips


1. Cut apples crosswise into ¼” slices. Remove seeds and core from center with paring knife.

2. In microwave safe bowl, heat caramel until warmed and easier to drizzle, about 30 – 45 seconds from room temperature.

3. Layer half of apples on a plate and drizzle with 4 oz. of caramel dip. Sprinkle on ½ cup granola and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.

4. Layer remaining apple slices on top of caramel-granola-chocolate mixture and then add on remaining toppings.

running revolution text I also wanted to share with you a book that I’ve been reading – in fact, my running testimonial is featured! The just-published book is called The Running Revolution (How to Run Faster and Farther for Life) and is written by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, a two-time Olympic coach and world-renowned sports scientist known for the Pose Method.  When applied to running, the Pose Method® marries gravity, key body position (pose), body weight, support, and change of support into a comprehensive technique that maximizes natural body mechanics, increases performance and reduces risk for injury. I’ve blogged a bit before about what Pose Method has done for me in the last five years and I’m admittedly lucky to have Dr. Romanov’s coaching protégé, Valerie Hunt, as my long-time running partner.  I’d chomping at the bits to share more about foot strike, pulling not pushing, “falling” and more, but I also want you to check out the book and come to your own conclusions.

Paperback Version:

Kindle Version:

What is your favorite fall time dessert? 

Are you a heel-striker, mid-foot striker  or forefoot striker when it comes to running?


Six Fall Season Smoothie Recipes

smoothie recipes for autumn

I’m starting off another post with “It’s still in the upper ninety degrees, y’all!” The official start of fall is just a few days away, yet the Texas sun is still burning us up! It’s so hot, the asphalt is sticking to the bottom of my running shoes and the neighbor’s suburban hens are laying hard boiled eggs. Hotter than a stolen tamale, a fur coat in Corpus Christi, or rubbing your eyes in a pepper patch – okay, you get the idea!

That’s why I’m still drinking my daily smoothie – not just as a way to cool off but also nourish myself with lots of healthy ingredients. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite fall season smoothies, each uses either fruit, vegetables or spices that remind me of the awesomeness of autumn.  Even if the arctic air is blowing in your part of the world, just bundle up, these healthy smoothie recipes are too good to pass up – perfect as an on-the-go breakfast or healthy snack.  If I am drinking one of these as a meal replacement or after an intense workout or long run, I’ll add a scoop of protein powder or substitute the milk with a vanilla high protein shake like Core Power.

pear maple smoothie

Pear Maple Chia Chiller: MMM, a little maple syrup (the real stuff) give this pear smoothie the flavor of fall – throw in some chia seeds for some omega-3 goodness.

Pear Maple Chia Chiller Recipe

  • 8 ounces almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe peeled pear
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Add all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth, adding ice to achieve desired consistency. Serves 1.


carrot cake smoothie

Carrot Ginger Date Smoothie: This smoothie will have you in whole food heaven and will remind you of a nice slice of carrot cake without all of the cream cheese frosting guilt – get the recipe in my recent post.

 apple cider smoothie

Apple Cider Sipper: If I had an apple tree in my backyard, I’d be making apple creations in the kitchen every day – everything from strudels to cobblers and fritters. Thankfully, I can satisfy my lust for apple desserts with this healthy non-alcoholic cider based smoothie (love the Litehouse Food brand cider).

Directions: In blender blend together 6 ounces almond milk, 2 ounces apple cider, ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, ½ frozen banana and ½ teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg.  Add ice, as needed, to achieve desired consistency. Serves 1.

pumpkin pie smoothie thefitfork

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie: My grandma’s pumpkin pie sure brings back memories of family get-togethers in the fall. She always used a gingersnap crust and drizzled the top of her pumpkin pie with caramel. I’ve replicated this deliciousness in a healthier way in my recipe from last year – check it out!

spinach avocado smoothie

Autumn Greens & Avocado Smoothie: I love my lettuces and greens, but only have recently become accustomed to putting them in a smoothie – something about texture. This delicious smoothie is silky smooth and oh-so creamy thanks to a few slices of avocado. You’ll love this one!

Directions: In blender blend together 10 ounces unsweetened almond milk, ½ small avocado, a large handful of greens (like kale, chard, spinach or mixture).  Add ice and bit of honey or Stevia, as needed, to achieve desired consistency and sweetness. Sprinkle with hemp seeds. Serves 1

mango smoothie.

Chai-Spiced Mango Lassi: I love the exotic flavors of chai both served hot and cold. This healthy mango lassi gives you lots of protein and calcium thanks to the milk and yogurt base – keep those bones strong!

Directions: In a blender, blend together 1 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of plain unsweetened yogurt, 1 cup  cubed mango, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, pinch of cardamom, pinch of nutmeg and pinch of allspice. Add honey or stevia to taste.

If you are looking for more inspiration, Cooking Light has a yummy collection of creamy, dreamy smoothies to try! You must see (and slurp)!

“Me Time” with Pure Leaf Tea & Raspberry Chocolate Apple Rounds Recipe

raspberry apples tea

I love my family, but sometimes a little “ME” time is necessary mandatory. After go-go-going to support my family in every imaginable way including cooking, chauffeuring, homework helping, hugging, and bring home the bacon bits, I need a little escape from my reality. Whether it’s a few minutes stolen from laundry time to read a book (although sometimes have trouble getting through a magazine) or an entire hour “appointment” scheduled into my calendar for the gym or running through the trails, these “just-for-mom” moments help me to decompress so that I can power up to be a better person and parent – and that’s good thing!


Another good thing is nourishing myself with a healthy snack during my “ME” time. With three teenage boys in the house who inhale food faster than my Dyson collects the crumbs, I sometimes have to resort to labeling and nearly locking down my healthy snacks (yes, they’ll even devour the nutritious stuff). When I brought home a bottle of Pure Leaf Iced Tea to review, I knew the Raspberry flavor would be popular and I had to insist threaten “hands-off” until the photos were taken and “I” got the first taste!

Can you believe it? I did get the first taste as I poured a cool, crisp glass full as a rehydrating beverage after a run around the neighborhood while they were in school. The Raspberry Pure Leaf Tea sure got the attention of my taste buds with fresh-brewed tea leaves picked at their peak and all natural raspberry flavor.  I’ve never been able to make iced tea the way my mom did when I was growing up in Arizona, but this tea gives her secret family recipe a serious run for the title of Best Iced Tea Ever – actually I think Pure Leaf wins (sorry mom). It’s sweet without being too sugary and the raspberry flavor mingles nicely in the blend without overpowering like some sort of berry bully – meaning, the tea still tastes like tea, just better!   By the way Pure Leaf also has other fruit flavors (such as Peach and Lemon) as well as an unsweetened version.

pure leaf ice tea holding glass

I might joke around about “the stress” of juggling the duties of a job, parenting kids and being a wife, and keeping up an athlete’s training schedule,  but the straight up truth is that I have an amazingly blessed life. When I do take some time to sit back and put things in this perspective, Pure Leaf adds just a little extra “goodness” to the day.  Of course, I can only sip so much tea before I work up an appetite; my recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Apple Rounds makes the perfect accompaniment.

Healthy raspberry apple snack

Raspberry Chocolate Apple Rounds Recipe

  •  1 medium apple
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-flavored nut butter
  • 2 teaspoons almond slivers
  • Handful raspberries

Directions: Cut apple crosswise in approximate ¼” slices; carefully remove circle of seeds and core in center with paring knife. Spread chocolate nut butter over the top of each apple slice. Garnish with raspberries and almond slivers.  Serves 2.

Pure Leaf Logo AuthorPostsFrom the Brand: Pure Leaf is real brewed iced tea, which means it’s brewed from REAL tea leaves picked at their freshest, never from powder or concentrate. The result is a refreshing iced tea with perfectly balanced aroma, body, and flavor.



Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/pureleaf.

pure leaf tea popcorn and books

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pepsico via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pepsico.

Honey-Sweet Pecan Apple & Hemp Granola Recipe

hemp protein granola apples and pecans

I have more granola for you! You just need to run over and grab a handful before it’s long gone. Sprinkling a couple of crunchy tablespoons on my Greek yogurt in the morning is a must; however, my husband prefers to munch it straight out of the bag. To create a more satiating snack, I almost always add a couple scoops of whey power and some raw, shelled hemp seed to my granola recipes for an extra protein boost. By the way, check out my granola recipe round up post for some other healthy breakfast, dessert and snack ideas.

pecan apple hemp granola with honey

Honey-Sweet Pecan Apple Hemp Protein Granola Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (2 scoops) vanilla or plain protein powder
  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (Gluten-Free, if needed)
  • 1/3 cup shelled hemp seed
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup honey pecans, chopped*
  • 3/4 cup dehydrated apples, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Place the coconut oil, honey, applesauce, water and protein powder in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium-low and whisk until mixture is smooth, thick and creamy and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
  3. Pour oat, hemp and cinnamon into pot, stirring to combine and coat. Pour mixture out evenly on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. If granola still seems moist, keep baking in 5 minute increments until dry. Remove from oven and let cool completely on sheet. Crumble up in bowl and stir in chopped pecans and apples.
  5. Store cooled granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

*Sugared and honey-coated nuts tend to burn easily, so I add them after baking. However, if you substitute raw nuts, they may be added with the oats before cooking.

healthy ingredients coconut oil and honey

I love trying out new ingredients and brands in my recipes; it makes me feel like an experimenter of epicurean proportions! I was recently sent some new products to try out, and give a thumbs up to both. First, I was surprised to find that the LouAna brand made a coconut oil. This great southern company, in business since 1894, has been making nearly every type of cooking and salad oil imaginable.  LouAna Coconut Oil is ideal for baking, sautéing, stir-frying and more – the scent is enticing and there are no trans fats or cholesterol. You also get all the benefits of this heart-healthy “super fat” at a budget-friendly price – I’ve seen it at my local market for $6.00 per huge 30-oz. container.

I’ve used all types of sweeteners in my granola before including maple syrup, stevia and (gasp) real brown sugar. We have a couple honey-lovers in the house, so I decided to try Wholesome Sweetener’s Organic Honey. Here in Austin, Texas, it’s not hard to get my hands on some pretty delicious local honey – but, I must say, I did love my bottle from Wholesome Sweetener. It was a beautiful amber color and really did have the “butterscotch essence” as advertised! Aside from the superior taste, I feel confident using this product in recipes and letting my kids squirt it all over their biscuits, bacon and yogurt – that’s because this honey is fair trade-certified, non-GMO and organic.  One thing I did notice is that it’s important to reduce the baking temperature by 25 F degrees; honey tends to caramelize (and burn) fairly quickly.

I’ve been practicing these one-armed pull-ups so I can get my workout in AND much granola at the same time. Well, just kidding – it was a dare and I figured out a way to make it happen. Sorry the video is sideways, oops.