Today I’m giving you a healthier breakfast recipe, because let’s be honest, we need to have some variety in the morning other than muffins and scones from time to time! And after watching my brother-in-law run his first marathon in LA this past weekend (he did amazingly well btw!) I’m feeling a bit inspired to fuel my body with more nourishing foods and just be a bit more mindful of what I eat! Don’t worry… we will go back to our regularly scheduled programming next week (aka there will be cake).

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were sharing our recent Trader Joe’s finds with each other and it was then that I learned about a new-to-me granola. Lately, I’ve been eating more and more Greek yogurt to get some more protein in and I had been eating it with an almond butter granola (also from Trader Joe’s of course). But my sister said that I just had to try this coconut one because it wasn’t that sweet and just had an amazing flavor. So, the next day I bought myself a package and after a bite or two (or 10), deemed it my new favorite granola.


My next thought was to make my own version of it at home, using “healthier” sweeteners and less unwanted ingredients than the Trader Joe’s version, and then share it on the blog. And I’m thrilled to report that the outcome was amazing, and that I successfully made a better version than the store bought.

Roughly following the guidelines to my other granola recipe, I wanted to make the granola as coconut-y as possible and achieved this by including 4 types of coconut: 1) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, 2) unsweetened coconut chips, 3) coconut sugar and 4) coconut oil. If you don’t like coconut, I think it’s safe to say that this recipe isn’t for you.

And because coconut is a tropical fruit, I chose a nut that reflects that sentiment: macadamia nuts. Whenever I think of macadamia nuts, my mind immediately goes to images of Hawaii and therefore I figured coconut would work so well with it. Luckily, I was right and the buttery nuts pair exceptionally well with the sweet coconut. I do want to add though that macadamia are fairly expensive - they’re actually the most expensive nuts in the world - so if this is out of your budget, I would swap in almonds (slivered or sliced).


One aspect of the coconut granola from Trader Joe’s that I added to mine was the addition of corn flakes. It was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed their version so much and it was an ingredient I would have never thought to add to granola. The corn flakes (not to be confused with sugary frosted flakes!) make the granola suuuuuper crunchy and also add a nice flavor. This addition is probably my favorite part to the granola.


Unlike my last granola, I wanted to make today’s much more chunky and cluster-like. This can be achieved by not touching the granola when it’s baking in the oven nor when it’s taken out. The trick is to wait until the granola is completely cooled; at that point, you'll be able to break up the granola into an assortment of shapes and sizes. If you try to break it up hot out of the oven, the granola will easily break up and you’ll lose any chance of clusters.

Please give this granola a chance! The smell alone is insane and the crunchiness and flavor makes it so addicting. If you’re not a coconut fan, maybe plan on making a batch and gifting it to a friend or family member… I’m actually making another batch of this tomorrow to bring to my sister this weekend


Coconut + Macadamia Nut Granola Clusters

Yields about 8 cups


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats

  • 2 cups cornflakes, crushed

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips

  • 1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, whole or roughly chopped

  • 2 tsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well using with a spoon or spatula.

  3. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through. The granola will be a deep golden brown color.

  4. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and allow the granola to cool completely (this can be hastened by placing the baking sheet in your fridge). Carefully break the granola into bite size clusters. Enjoy plain or with yogurt and fruit. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.



When it comes to food, I am definitely a creature of habit. I rarely stray from ordering the same menu item from my favorite restaurants for fear of being disappointed with my decision. There are actually some restaurants where I've been ordering the same thing since I was a kid, which could either mean I had a refined palette as a child or that I now have the same palette as an 11 year old (I'd probably go with the latter).

My stubbornness, for lack of a better word, doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. It just means that I know exactly what I like, and when I crave it, I get it! It's that simple. This mindset also is reflected in what I eat at home, especially for breakfast. 


For the past three years, I've been eating the same exact thing for breakfast for about 90% of those days (the other days include breakfast eaten out, being on vacation, or making something else). My breakfast is a piece of Ezekiel Bread, toasted, and slathered with natural peanut butter that has flax and chia seeds in it, with a side of mixed berries and homemade cold brew. I LOVE this meal so much so that I go to bed excited knowing I'll be enjoying it within 8 hours. It's the perfect amount of food because I work out about 45-60 minutes afterwards, and it's full of all the good things (fiber, protein) that my body needs.


Alex is pretty much like me when it comes to breakfast, with the only difference being that he rotates between a few different meals. A go-to breakfast of his is plain greek yogurt with store-bought granola (any variety from Trader Joe's works) with a drizzle of honey and fresh berries. Pretty healthy and delicious sounding, right? Well actually I think it's pretty common knowledge at this point that store-bought granola isn't always the best decision when trying to have a balanced breakfast. Last week, I took a look at the ingredients in the granola that Alex was eating that week and found four different kinds of sugar added and canola oil. Because I care about Alex and his well-being, I took it upon myself to make him a granola that not only is a healthier option, but one that he would prefer over the sugary, addicting varieties from the store. 


Enter Nekisia Davis' Olive Oil and Maple Granola - a recipe that I found within the cookbook Genius Recipes from Food52. I had actually made this granola years ago, following the recipe to a T, and I absolutely loved it. The olive oil made the granola have a more savory and interesting flavor, and the maple syrup and brown sugar added such a sweet and caramel-y flavor. But this time, I cut back on the maple syrup and instead of brown sugar, I used coconut sugar and only two tablespoons of it (as opposed to 1/2 cup of brown sugar). I added whichever nuts and seeds I knew Alex would like, added some dried fruit at the end, and the result was FANTASTIC. We've been snacking on the granola for the past two days, and I can happily say that it has replaced the store-bought granola for the foreseeable future. 


What's so fun about this recipe is how it's so customizable: you can use any nuts of your choosing (almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, etc.), change up the seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc). and if you're not too keen on olive oil, I'm sure coconut oil will work just fine as well. Same goes for the coconut sugar: if you are unfamiliar with this ingredient (you can find it at Trader Joe's in the baking section), feel free to stick to using brown sugar. Furthermore, I scaled back on the sugar in this recipe significantly, but I still think it has a nice sweet taste. If you want to add a couple more tablespoons of coconut or brown sugar, go right ahead. I set out to make a granola that was less sweet and breakfast-worthy, but if those aren't your goals, add all the sugar you want!

After the granola is finished baking, you then get to decide what to add to the mix. Dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, etc.) and bittersweet chocolate chips are excellent additions, but make sure the granola is fully cooled before adding the chocolate (or the chocolate will melt). 

So just have fun with this! Make it your own based on your preferences, and you can even change it up every time until you land on a flavor combination that may lead you to eating it every day for breakfast for years. This also makes for a very thoughtful gift for a friend, family member, or coworker. Much more meaningful than giving them yet another candle!


Olive Oil and Maple Granola

Makes about 7 cups


Adapted from Nekisia Davis via Genius Recipes


  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds (or you can use whole almonds, roughly chopped)

  • 1 1/4 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp. coarse salt

  • Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup dried cherries (just a suggestion!)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the add-ins, making sure every piece gets coated with the liquid components.

  3. Turn the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it evenly. Transfer to the oven, and stir the mixture every 10-15 minutes (carefully take the tray out of the oven each time). In total, the granola will take about 45 minutes to finish toasting.

  4. Once out of the oven, transfer the granola to a bowl and toss in your additions of choice. Enjoy!