Tag Archives: real food

Cinnamon Granola a.k.a. Best Granola of Your Life

We love cereal in this house.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

But I am faced… EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ MONTH making the same choices everyone else makes: spend less on food and eat ingredients that aren’t as beneficial, or spend more on food and sacrifice something else.  Sometimes, I don’t have a choice. Medical bills from ongoing issues (story here), car repairs you don’t expect, the vacuum cleaner breaks. You know, life. And then it means we have to eat cheap because if I don’t have the money, I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY.

And you all know what I’m talkin’ about.

Now, I have my methods around this. First off, Aldi’s, y’all. ALDI’S. This store saves me. In the perfect world I would be a perfect locavore. But… when it feels like everything breaks in your home at the same time and the family still has to eat… Aldi’s. I’ve told you all before how this store makes up for my imperfect life.

So back to my cereal… the ingredient lists are mostly disheartening.  And if the ingredient list is not disheartening, then the price tag is… I can guarantee it. Do I sacrifice ingredients or my money?

My work around: granola.

Oats are CHEAP. I throw in nuts when I have them (a.k.a. can afford them) but you can easily sub in more oats instead. Run out of milk already? Sub in more water. I use coconut oil (back to finding something awesome at Aldi’s!) but you can put in whatever oil/butter you have on hand.  You can make this what you want and as expensive OR cheap as you desire.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real


  • 10 Cups of Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup of Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup of Melted Coconut Oil
  • 4 Cups of Warm Water (just not ice cold…. does funky stuff to that oil)
  • 1 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Whole Milk
  • 1.5 Cups of Sweetener of Choice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbl Cinnamon (or Pumpkin Pie Spice is great, too!)
  • Good Dash of Salt


  • Large Bowl for Mix, one that you can seal up for several hours (cling wrap is fine)
  • Dehydrator OR You can use the oven (see instructions further down on this)


Okay, so are you ready for this: MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS THOROUGHLY.  Let it sit on your counter at room temperature for about 7-8 hours. (You can let it sit for longer if you need to!)


You read that right.  That’s all you gotta do before the cooking.

I recommend covering it… but really just to ward of bugs and hands who want to taste it early.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real

Now onto the cooking part:  You’ll need to cook this one of two ways:  either a dehydrator on its highest setting or an oven.   I’ve made it both ways, my preference is a dehydrator.  I own this dehydrator and L-O-V-E it.  You can buy it new, you can also buy it used. I mean… I am talking about saving money here. I asked for one for Christmas a few years ago and my dear, sweet husband who knows his wife’s heart found a used one, in good condition, on ebay.  You do what you gotta do.

1) You can leave it in a dehydrator for days and it won’t go bad.  Don’t have time to deal with it right then? It’s fine.  Leave it (you’ll just keep using electricity).
2) It doesn’t burn.
3) No stirring required or watching.
4) It takes about 6 hours at the highest temperature on the dehydrator.

If you use an oven, preheat to 350* and spread it as thin as you can across at least two cookie sheets. You have to watch it, take it out and stir frequently. (And taste frequently!) This method will work, it’s just more time intensive.  You can’t put it in and walk away like you can with the dehydrator… you need to stir it about every 15 minutes until it’s just starting to crunch when you taste-test it.  In my experience this can take an about an hour, but will depend on how thin you spread your granola across baking sheets.

You can store your in an airtight container… for a couple of weeks.

Here’s how I usually do it: I start the granola in the morning sometime.  In the evening, I put it on the dehydrator.  The next morning… viola. Breakfast ready.

No yucky ingredients.  I mean, you know exactly what’s in it.  You’ve got around 12 cups of crunchy goodness for breakfast. Depending on appetites and family size, this can carry you for quite some time!

We eat it like cereal… but is great with the traditional yogurt, too. Enjoy your money-saving treat as we do.  My girls say it’s the best granola of their life.

Cinnamon Granola - Foodies Gone Real





DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$. 

Cajun Beans + Rice, and Fish If Ya Want It

In this house, we do SPICE.


Sometimes, we enjoy a good tongue-burning experience, and I ain’t lying.

We do flavor.  This is not a surprise if you’ve followed for awhile… chilisloppy joesBBQ saucechicken wings… even pumpkin pie oatmeal.  All of this oozes flavor.

This is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite “I need something quick and easy” meals.  It’s quick and easy because beans are already cooked, rice takes so little time to prep, and fish cooks QUICKLY. You don’t have to add the fish to make it enjoyable, but it helps us move towards the “one meal in one pan” kind of thing.  (It’s not an entire meal in one skillet though. Eat your veggies!  You could always saute some green peppers and onions to throw in!)

I do cook a large pot of beans regularly, and then freeze it into smaller portions.  This is WAY WAY WAY cheaper than canned beans, and healthier too.  When you soak and cook them, you reduce the phytic acid (which prevents you from absorbing nutrition), and consequently you are less gassy. :)  (You’re welcome!)

I do this in a crockpot.  If you’d like more information on my process, you can read about it here in this post from Deep Roots at Home.  (Or just google it.  There’s LOTS of info out there on soaking beans.)


Personally, it’s better to do it in large amounts, which is why I go with the crockpot.  It’s not labor intensive, just takes time (as does all good/real food!).

My finished beans:


Here are the basic ingredients:

Fish filet (This pictures 4 small Cod filet)
butter for frying (go grass-fed! it’s the healthy butter!)
1 cup prepared rice
1/2 cup prepared beans (pictured are kidney beans)
1/2 to 1 tbl favorite cajun spice blend (depending on your favored level of spice! we do 1 tbl and it’s pretty hot)

Fry up your fish in the butter.


Throw in your rice and beans.


Mix them together (the fish will likely fall apart, but that’s ok!), and sprinkle your spice mix, and mix until well combined.

You may have to add more butter as you go to prevent sticking.  I definitely had to as I was using stainless steel, not cast iron.


And voila! Yes, it’s that easy.

We served ours with some of my much loved roasted tomatoes with cheese. (And I really wish I had thought of green peppers and onions before writing this post! That would be a phenomenal add!)

Do you do spice? Flavor?  What’s your favorite flavor explosion?


Meal Plan: 5/8 – 5/14

I should be cautious when I say this, but I think this might actually be a normal week for us.  (BAHAHAHAHA!  Now that I’ve said it, we all know Murphy’s Law will go into full-force, and it will be anything but normal!)

I had some great success with newer recipes today (Saturday 5/7)… some of which will be posted to the blog soon (potatoes! health(ier) biscuits!).  I also tried a new homemade bread recipe that was SO.MUCH.EASIER.  Not to mention, I sliced the bread… and no crumbling.  If you’ve been making bread by hand for any length of time, you know that this can be quite a feat.

Anyway, without much further ado…

Breakfast:  cereal, eggs, bananas
Lunch: not sure yet.  We may come home and have our traditional pasta, but with it being Mother’s Day I don’t really know the plan.
Dinner: guacamole grilled cheese (or just by the spoonful for me!)
Snacks, Other: make blueberry muffins… probably this recipe from Holistic Squid
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: PBJ, cucumber slices, yogurt, applesauce

Breakfast: leftover biscuits (from this recipe from The Elliott Homestead), cottage bacon, pineapple beet carrot juice (homemade)
Lunch: salads with extra bacon or pan-fried chicken breast, applesauce, yogurt
Dinner: chicken broccoli alfredo 
Snacks, Other: homemade granola (recipe soon!)
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: homemade lunchable, carrots + peanut butter, home-canned pears

Breakfast: leftover blueberry pancakes from Ditch The Wheat (I added blueberries), homemade breakfast sausage (I use this recipe from Prairie Homestead… make a batch, freeze smaller portions in baggies), applesauce
Lunch: quesadillas with grilled chicken, carrot sticks
Dinner: grilled salmon, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts + bacon
Snacks, Other: Overnight chocolate oatmeal (for tomorrow morning!)
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: leftover quesadillas, cucumbers, apple slices, blueberry muffin

Breakfast: Overnight chocolate oatmeal, salmon+scrambled eggs+cream cheese+chives (leftover salmon from last night!)
Lunch: ham + cheese rollups, salads
Dinner: Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots
Snacks, Other: make homemade yogurt (I use this method from the Prairie Homestead, but use a dehydrator to maintain temperature instead)
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: PB & J, Apple +spinach squeezy pack, yogurt

Breakfast: blueberry muffins, bacon, bananas
Lunch: leftover chicken and carrots
Dinner: Italian sausage in red sauce and zucchini (pasta for those inclined)
Snacks, Other: smoky roasted almonds (recipe soon!)
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: leftover spaghetti, peaches, slices of cheese, muffin

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, leftover oatmeal, apple slices
Lunch: peaches, leftovers from the fridge!
Dinner: cabbage stir fry, Korean beef from The Elliott Homestead
Snacks, Other: start bread with this recipe from Nourished Kitchen

Breakfast: einkorn waffles, bacon, fresh fruit
Lunch: homemade coleslaw, homemade bread (I tried this new method and loved it!), hotdogs
Dinner: bacon + green beans, homemade stuffing, paleo coconut chicken (new recipe I’m trying!)
Snacks, Other: prep breakfast for tomorrow morning!

Meal Plan 5/1 – 5/7

This month I’m trying something new.  I am trying to make more of my “cheap” meals right form the get-go.

I love to cook, and try new things, but sometimes this gets the best of me (and my budget) when creating that meal plan for the first full week of a month.  In other words… I hate that I’ve used up most of my budget so early and then have the STRETCH later.  So, I’m trying to STRETCH now, so maybe buying some funky ingredients later, or treating the girls to a not-so-cheap-but-healthier-than-conventional snack later in the month.

Also, check out the links – some of them are mine, many are links to recipes for other bloggers.  You should know that NOTHING I have planned for this week is new, I have made it ALL before and enjoyed it enough to do it again.

Breakfast: cinnamon toast, bacon, applesauce
Lunch: ham sandwiches with this grain-free wrap
Dinner: ravioli (except for me!), chicken thighs cooked in red sauce
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: peanut butter jelly sandwich, strawberries, cucumber, slices of cheese

Breakfast: leftover oatmeal (for family), greek omelette (eggs, spinach, oregano, feta), pineapple + beet + carrot juice
Lunch: quesadillas made with this this grain-free wrap, side salads with bacon
Dinner: homemade pizzas (GF crusts)
Snacks, Other: soak flour for biscuits tomorrow morning,
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: leftover pizza, fresh fruit, yogurt, carrots

Breakfast: homemade biscuits, fried eggs, fresh fruit of choice
Lunch: salads with broiled chicken breasts
Dinner:  sloppy joes, sweet potatoes, green beans
Snacks, Other: make this apple spice bread
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: leftover quesadillas, apples and carrots + PB

Breakfast:  leftover apple spice bread, bacon, almonds
Lunch:  leftover sloppy joes, cucumbers
Dinner:  scrambled eggs, apple slices (we have a busy night!), popcorn for snacking
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: homemade lunchable, cucumbers, pears

Breakfast:  leftover waffles, scrambled eggs, fruit
Lunch: salads – probably this cobb salad
Dinner: chicken thighs cooked in red sauce with zucchini, pasta for those inclined :) (soak kidney beans for cooking tomorrow)
Packed for Daughter’s lunch tomorrow: leftover pasta, fresh fruit, yogurt

Breakfast:  start cooking kidney beans, leftover biscuits (biscuit egg sandwiches), mangos
Lunch:   leftovers – clean out the fridge :)
Dinner: beer braised beef (over potatoes for those who want it), broccoli, macaroni cheese
Snacks, Other: soak flour for bread tomorrow

Breakfast: pumpkin spice oatmeal, bacon (Extra for tomorrow morning), fresh fruit
Lunch:  fresh bread, cucumbers, fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs
Dinner: rice + beans (cajun style), tilapia, roasted carrots

Meal Plan: 4/24 – 4/30

First of all… MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF RELIEF.  Dear daughter #1 is out of school on Spring Break and 1) I have a break from prepping lunches 2) I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.
I kind of feel that my meal plan this week is a little more than I’d usually do.  However, I’m out of grocery money this money, which means I have to cook from scratch, pull out of the freezer, etc. for whatever we want to eat.
Which is REALLY not a bad thing.  Holding yourself to a budget on food really holds to using up what you have instead of letting it rot or go to waste.


Breakfast: cereal, eggs, fresh fruit, almonds
Lunch: ravioli, red sauce, chicken cooked in sauce. (THIS IS NOT A HEALTH FOOD! My ravioli comes straight out of the freezer section at the store. I’m in an Italian family that will not foresake their Sunday lunch tradition. :) )
Dinner:  sausage, white bean, kale soup.  Zucchini bread


Breakfast: waffles + bacon, carrot + beet + pineapple juice (homemade)  (I make a big batch of waffles then freeze them off into gallon baggies to pull out)
Lunch: lunchmeat sandwiches (I just roll up the meat with lettuce and skip the bread), carrot sticks, pears
Dinner: italian sausages, pasta in olive oil/garlic, sun dried tomatoes, side roasted red peppers … soak and prep white beans for tomorrow


Breakfast:  leftover zucchini bread, eggs, fresh fruit,
Lunch: leftovers from last night’s dinner, cucumber slices, apple sauce
Dinner:  BBQ chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrot sticks, brownies


Breakfast: toast, cottage bacon, pears
Lunch: leftover chicken/grilled cheese sandwiches, vanilla shakeology + spinach and berries
Dinner:  homemade pizza – using http://www.mommypotamus.com/grain-free-pizza-recipe/ this time :)


Breakfast: granola, yogurt, frozen berries
Lunch:  beet, carrot, pineapple juice + leftover pizza (if none leftover, will make macaroni cheese)
Dinner:  steaks, potatoes, carrots, green beans + bacon


Breakfast: overnight pumpkin oatmeal, bacon, fresh fruit
Lunch:  chili (I make a big batch then freeze into smaller containers to pull out when I need a filler!)
Dinner:  chicken wings, stuffed peppers (stuffed with rice), broccoli. Prepping flour for bread tomorrow


Breakfast: waffles , scrambled eggs
Lunch: pig dogs (from Ithaca’s The Piggery), fresh bread, cucumbers
Dinner: chicken cordon bleu, french potatoes, green beans
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