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I love making homemade chex mix because you can make it with the exact amount of flavor you want and choose whatever kind of chex cereal and additional add ins you want to use. Because I am gluten free and don’t tolerate corn very well, I stick to the rice chex flavors, but there are still plenty of choices, so you can always mix it up. Rice chex comes in plain, cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla….mmmm 😛

Chex uses whole grains and simple ingredients so it is easy to turn your breakfast cereal into a healthy snack, as long as you make sure the rest of your ingredients are also good for you, or at least in moderation. Nuts, seeds, whole grains and dried fruit are all good choices for a healthy homemade chex mix, and the possibilities are endless! Just make sure you don’t add too much sugar and/or butter which could catapult your healthy intentions into a problem for your waistline.

Last weekend I was in the autumn spirit and wanted to make a chex mix that highlights fall flavors so I thought I would share my recipe. I used lots of cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg along with chex cereal, pecans and craisins to make my perfect seasonally appropriate chex mix.

Bowl of Harvest Chex Mix

Harvest Chex Mix

Ingredients
6 Cups Rice Chex
3 Cups Vanilla Rice Chex
2 Cups Pecan Halves
4 Tablespoons  “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light”
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons All Spice
2 Teaspoons Ginger
2 Teaspoons Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Craisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Add Chex and pecans to a large mixing bowl. Melt butter substitute in a small microwavable bowl or mug (put in microwave on 30 second intervals until melted) and mix in honey until dissolved. Pour mixture over Chex and pecans and mix until evenly coated. Add the spice mixture that was set aside earlier and continue mixing until evenly coated. Spread out on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake in oven for twenty minutes. Remove from oven, toss mixture and then bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Add to large serving bowl, mix in craisins and serve.
Harvest Chex Mix Ingredients
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gluten free healthy almond flour pumpkin cake
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Fall is technically here now so that means lots of warm autumn flavors and ingredients like pumpkin, apples and sweet potatoes. While it is still pretty warm here in south Florida, it is October and I am ready to get in the autumn spirit and make some fall recipes. First up, pumpkin cake!

 

Pumpkin has many nutritional benefits and adding pureed unsweetened pumpkin to baked goods not only adds a different flavor but also adds vitamin A and dietary fiber, both things that are often lacking in desserts. I am all about adding more nutrients to my food to help my body feel its best. 

 

A few years ago I made a gluten free pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving dessert and it was moist, pumpkiny and delicious (the recipe can be found here: Pumpkin Cake). However, I wanted to alter the ingredients slightly to my liking and put the batter in a muffin tin so I can have perfectly portioned mini cakes, instead of having to slice a cake. I did add some chocolate chips to make it more dessert like but if you prefer more of a muffin appropriate for breakfast, you can leave those out. They also make a good packed snack for traveling. 
 
 

Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Makes 12-15 cupcakes/muffins

 

Ingredients
1 Cup Unsweetened Canned Pure Pumpkin Puree
2 Cups Almond flour
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Unpacked Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Cooking Spray
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)

 

Directions
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add almond flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and spices to a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add eggs, pumpkin, honey, vanilla extract, and oil to a smaller mixing bowl and stir. Slowly add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until uniform. Add chocolate chips to batter and mix in if desired. Spray  muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup until almost full. Bake in oven for 20 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
 
 
Gluten Free healthy pumpkin cake

Nutrition Info (per muffin out of 12 muffin batch)

With Chocolate Chips

Calories: 230

Fat: 14g

Carbohydrates: 20g

Protein: 7g

Fiber: 3.3g

Without Chocolate Chips

Calories: 180

Fat: 11g

Carbohydrates: 14.5g

Protein: 6.5g

Fiber: 2.6g

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Risotto is traditionally made with Arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice. Unfortunately, it is not a whole grain so it contains less dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals than brown rice. Whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers as well as healthier body weights so I am always trying to sub in whole grains in recipes whenever possible.

I love risotto… so I had a goal to try and make it with brown rice. I scoured the internet for recipes for whole grain risotto and found very little so I tried making it the traditional way and just replaced the Arborio rice for short grain brown rice and used white wine and unsalted vegetable broth for the liquid. It took forever. I kept adding more and more and more vegetable broth and stirring and stirring and stirring and eventually after an hour gave up and ate it because I was starving and we had to be somewhere. I felt like I was on “Top Chef” with a recipe that was not working and running out of time. While the flavor wasn’t bad, my risotto tasted under cooked and was a little crunchy. It definitely was not worth the effort and I would have been eliminated had I been on “Top Chef.”.

So I thought about what I could do to make a whole grain risotto work. I thought that maybe if I cook the rice about half way first, it wouldn’t take as long and wouldn’t end up crunchy. I also decided to use some coconut almond milk instead of broth to help give it a little more creaminess and a different flavor. I’m so glad I tried to make a whole grain risotto a second time because it turned out great and I couldn’t even tell it was with brown rice when I was eating it!

Whole Grain Risotto with Butternut Squash

Ingredients
1 Cup Short Grain Brown Rice
1 Cup Water
1 Small Yellow Onion Chopped (~1 cup chopped)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk Blend ( I used Almond Breeze )
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tsp Ginger, Cumin and Coriander
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon, Allspice, Salt and Pepper
1/8 Tsp Cayenne (Optional)
2 Cups Bite Sized Chunks of Butternut Squash, Cooked

Directions
Add water and rice to medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low simmer and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed, ~15 minutes. After rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes, start heating olive oil to medium heat in a large saucepan with high sides. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add partially cooked rice and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Add dry white wine and stir until absorbed. Add ½ cup almond coconut milk and stir until absorbed. Keep adding almond coconut milk in ½ cup increments, stirring until absorbed after each addition until all the milk is used. After the last ½ cup of almond coconut milk is added and mostly absorbed, turn heat down to low. Add parmesan cheese and mix in. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in until evenly distributed. Add butternut squash and stir in gently. (If butternut squash is not warm, just heat in microwave until warm before adding.) Remove from heat and serve immediately. Pair with a fresh salad for a complete meal. 🙂

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