Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut Cherry Muesli

Coconut cherry muesli is super easy and budget friendly to make! Made with oats tossed with dried cherries, shredded coconut, almonds, and cashews with oats. Enjoy it by itself with milk, or mixed with yogurt and topped with berries and honey for easy overnight oats. Packed with fiber for a filling breakfast!

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Savory Curry Coconut Granola with Chile Spiced Mango

Switch up your granola game with this savory curry coconut granola with chile spiced dried mango!

Happy Friday! As you're reading this, Scott and I are either in Atlanta or in transit for the wedding of two of our dearest friends. The bride is one of my best friends from college and the groom is one of Scott's best friends from middle school. They actually first met at our housewarming party and then more officially at our wedding. I'd share the full story, but it's much too embarrassing (for my brother, of all people, not them). Also I've told it about 3,347 times in real life because I've realized I'm one of those people who tells the same story over and over again, the result of an autosomal dominant gene on my paternal side.

Being on a road trip, you know we'll have plenty of travel snacks. I'm probably driving with fellow dietitian and one of my other best friends from college, Barb (of homemade yogurt fame). We've had many a road trip in our almost 15 years of friendship, but gone are the days of stopping at McDonalds. Now we do things like pack baggies of sprouted lentils, go to the drive thru for hot tea and lattes, and drive 30 minutes out of the way for artisan chocolate drinks. 

We are so old.

Granola is another one of my favorite travel snacks. It's filling, portable and tasty! But for snacks, I tend to prefer savory over sweet. I've had this idea for savory granola ever since last years trip with California Almonds. One of our activities was a snack contest featuring almonds and my group came up with a savory curry and chili spiced granola bar. While I think our bar tasted the best (purely speculative as I did not taste any of the other entries), it lost on based on the fact that we couldn't get it to stick together in bar form. Sigh...unrecognized genius.

Feel free to use any mix of nuts and grains you like. I really like using uncooked quinoa in granola for extra crunch. I had half a bag of puffed millet on hand leftover from making these marshmallow free crispy treats, but you could also use puffed brown rice or quinoa flakes. Or just keep it simple with all oats.

Don't make the same mistake I always make and add the dried fruit before baking. It makes it chewy and gives it a little bit of a burnt flavor. Stir it in after baking and cooling. You can find chili spiced mango, which is an addictive blend of sweet and spicy, at Trader Joes, or order it online. If you can find it, swap plain dried mango, dried pineapple or apricots and maybe add a teaspoon of chili powder with the curry.

Savory Curry Coconut Granola with Chile Mango

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chili spiced dried mango, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, puffed millet, nuts and seeds, and coconut. In another bowl, whisk together honey, coconut oil, curry powder and salt. Pour wet mixture over granola and stir to combine.
  3. Pour granola mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake 40 minutes, stirring lightly halfway. Remove from oven, set aside to cool then store covered at room temperature.

More snack mixes for road trips:

Easy Asian Snack Mix
Easy Asian Snack Mix
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola
Low Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Granola
PB&J Granola
PB&J Granola

Flourless Sticky Chocolate Plum Cake

This gluten free and vegan flourless sticky chocolate plum cake is naturally sweetened with California dried plums. Perfect for dessert or snacking alongside a cup of coffee.

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Before this recipe contest, I hadn't had a dried plum since I was, oh, 5 years old maybe. In my mind, I remembered them tasting...well, not that great. But, we all know taste buds change so I when a pack of dried plums arrived on my doorstep, I was curious to see what they actually tasted like. Seriously, I can't believe I was missing out for so long. Hands down, favorite dried fruit and maybe even snack food in general. Since creating this recipe, we've already gone through two bags. I think I may need an intervention....

I'd heard dried plums could be used in place of butter and sugar in baked goods, but it always seemed a bit retro to me. Like something you'd see in a 1970s issue of Good Housekeeping alongside jello salad. No thanks.

But after trying my first dried plum in 25 odd years, I got it. The fruity and slightly tart flavor would pair perfectly with chocolate. The sticky texture seemed just right for a dense, flourless cake. Plus, I've been baking with other dried fruit pastes for awhile now, so it didn't seem that weird anymore.

When it comes to cake, I'm kind of a snob. I pass on anything described as light and fluffy. I much prefer cakes that are rich, dense and could be accurately described with that 'm-word' we all hate so much. That's exactly what this cake is. Especially the m-word.

Before we get to the recipe, lets talk dried plums, or as I like to call them, the artist formerly known as prunes.

May is National Osteoporosis Month, so it seems a good time to highlight dried plums role in supporting bone health. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and porous, causing them to break more easily. Although it mainly affects elderly women, especially those on the thinner side, men (even larger men) are susceptible, especially with our modern American diet that's low in bone building nutrients. It's also very serious. You might not think of a broken bone as being that big of a deal, but as you get older, it can seriously impact your quality of life and ability to do the things you love.

When you think bone health, you probably think calcium, vitamin D and of course, dairy. However, there are many other bone building nutrients, and research is even beginning to show dairy may not play as big of a role in bone health as we once thought. Other nutrients, like vitamin K, phosphorus, boron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, are just as important as calcium and vitamin D. And guess what? Dried plums are a great source of these nutrients! Dried plums are actually the best fruit source of vitamin K, a vitamin which increases bone mineral density. In fact, studies have found that 1-2 servings of dried plums a day increases bone mineral density and markers of bone formation, even in people who already have osteoporosis.

Other health benefits:

DIGESTIVE HEALTH // Dried plums are not only high in fiber, but also in naturally occurring sorbitol. This sugar alcohol isn't fully digested, so it pulls fluids into the gut, helping to promote regularity.

HEART HEALTH // Animal studies on prunes have found they may be effective in both lowering cholesterol and reducing atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels.

ANTIOXIDANTS // Dried plums are a rich source of antioxidants, mainly phenols, which seem to be especially beneficial for heart health. Dried plums are also a good source of vitamin C, another antioxidant vitamin.

Now, back to the recipe. I've never been into the whole cup of coffee and a baked good thing, but if I were, I imagine this would be exactly what I'd want next to my cup o' Joe. It's not too sweet, so if you prefer it more dessert-like, feel free to increase the honey to 3 or 4 tablespoons. The rich cake would also be delicious served with whipped coconut cream. Because it's so dense and sticky, the old stick a knife in the center of the cake thing doesn't work here. Just eyeball it, you'll begin to see when it's beginning to puff around the edges. It's pretty forgiving, so no worries if you over or undercook it a bit.

Sticky Chocolate Plum Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chia seds
  • 6 tablespoons almond milk
  • 3/4 cup California dried plums
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds and almond milk. Let sit to gel for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a food processor, blend dried plums into a puree. Add chia gel, honey, almond butter, and vanilla and blend again until combined. Add almond meal and cocoa powder to the food processor and blend again until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper with some hanging over the sides then cover generously with oil. This makes it easier to remove. Scrape in batter and spread even with a spatula. Bake for 35 minutes, sprinkling with coconut halfway through cooking.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool in the pan. When ready to serve, lift out by pulling on the foil or parchement paper and cut into thin slices before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.