Starting the Day on a Positive Note ~ Breakfast Parfaits with Cherry-Apple Compote and Grainless Granola

Breakfast. It's probably the most abused meal of the day, and yet, it shapes the way the day begins. Before the hectic, fast-paced lifestyle is thrust into high gear, I like to sit down to a healthy meal, break the fast, and take time to be thankful for the day. This is one of my ways to mentally prepare for the day that lies ahead of me, and start it on a positive note.

This can be very difficult to do though. Let's face it. There are some mornings when we just don't have time to invest in making an elaborate breakfast. I get that. So where do we turn when we need something quick and no more complicated than a bowl of cereal? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you these lovely yogurt parfaits. Not only is the grainless granola and cherry-apple compote extremely simple to make, but both of these toppings can be made ahead so that they are ready to rock and roll as soon as you are. That's what I call real fast food.

This time of year, we have an abundance of tart frozen cherries in our freezer, thanks to my family's diligent picking, pitting, and preserving accomplished over the summer. Although you simply cannot beat freshly picked, tree-ripened fruit, having these succulent little gems all through the winter helps to keep my eagerness for the next harvest at bay. I really love the sweet-tart punch they give when they burst in your mouth. It's enough to make your mouth water.

 As for the grain-less granola, there are some days when my body just wants a break from the typical over-abundance of grains at breakfast time. Although it may be better classified as a "crumble" rather than a granola, it is so simple and a snap to make. Whenever I buy a large quantity of raw nuts, I always soak them all day in salt water, and then dry them all night in a warm oven. This procedure not only makes any nut taste ten times better, but also removes any unnoticeable mold that is most likely lingering on the nuts, unbeknownst to you. Plus it makes the nuts more digestible. I highly recommend this practice, it's a win-win situation.

One last note about these toppings. In the unlikely event that you get tired of eating the compote and granola with yogurt, it is also splendidly delicious over pancakes, oatmeal, ice cream, and the list goes on. Be creative, be healthy, and take time to indulge in a healthy breakfast!

Cherry-Apple Compote
Makes approximately 1 pint

2 cups pitted tart cherries, thawed and rinsed if frozen
1 apple, washed and diced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
zest and juice from one clementine
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients together in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat until cherries are plump and liquid has reduced to a syrup-like consistency, about 20 minutes. Keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Grainless Granola
Makes approximately 2 cups

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
4-6 soft medjool dates
Optional add-ins - chia, flax, or hemp seeds, dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine nuts and coconut in a pan and toast in the oven until fragrant and golden, 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Combine nut mixture with dates in a food processor and pulse until a few large chunks remain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

For the Parfaits:

Simply layer the compote and granola with your favorite yogurt (my favorite is plain Greek yogurt with a hint of vanilla).

With Love,

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