I’m an Optimist: Maple Almond Granola {NuNaturals GIVEAWAY with FOUR winners!}

by simplylife on May 5, 2012

I’m an optimist.  I have a tendency to always find the positive side of things.

I thinking finding the good in things helps to feel happier and more content.  When I was younger, I had an aunt that would say to me, “You’re smiling so big your cheeks are going to burst!”  It’s true even today.  After an evening with good friends, I usually spend the better part of my way home realizing that my cheeks are sore from smiling so much.  It’s the simple things that can make the biggest difference.

There are a few things I’ve found that help me keep that positive spirit:

1)  Having support.  My husband and I don’t live close to family and have moved around a lot.  This has meant constantly making new friends, starting new jobs, finding new communities, etc.  While this has been quite a challenge at times, all the investment we’ve made into meeting new people has always been worth it!  It also helps that my main source of support, my husband, could not be more positive.  Having someone I can’t wait to get home to every evening and pursues me as if we just went on our first date is a pretty great feeling. 🙂

2)  Being grateful.  I try to regularly take a few moments to stop and reflect on where I am in life and all that I’m grateful for.  A roof over my head.  Food when I’m hungry.  Heat when I’m cold.  A job.  Friends. And the list (thankfully) goes on.

3)  Being hopeful.  I think that hope is one of the most powerful tools we can arm ourselves with and goes hand-in-hand with optimism.

4)  Taking care of my physical health.  I see such a HUGE relationship between the effects of physical and mental health.  When I’m exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, I always feel better about myself and have a more positive outlook (and you don’t want to see me when I’m hungry 😉 ).

One of the ways I am able to take care of my physical health is by preparing healthy foods to have available when hunger-strikes.  Like this granola; made with oats, almonds and coconut oil, it will keep you full, give you something to satisfy your sweet tooth, and provide you with something you can feel good about eating!

Maple Almond Granola

by Simply Life

Keywords: bake breakfast brunch snack vegan vegetarian nuts oats cranberries


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix everything together except the dried cranberries. Spread over a baking pan.

2. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and lightly toasted, stirring after 10 minutes. Mix in cranberries, serve and enjoy!

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I made this granola using Vanilla Stevia from NuNaturals.  They recently sent me a package to review of the items pictured below, that include their new products: Lemon NuStevia Liquid and Orange NuStevia Liquid.

The Vanilla Stevia added the perfect amount of sweetness to the granola and I have been adding a few drops of the Cocoa Bean Extract to my morning oats; I love the added cocoa flavor it brings!

The great news is that they want YOU to have the chance to try their new products as well!  FOUR Simply Life readers will win one bottle of each of the Lemon & Orange Flavored Stevia Liquids!!!

To enter, do any/all of the following and let me know in the comments; giveaway will be open through May 9 (winner must have a US address; cannot be a PO Box):

1.  Like NuNaturals on Facebook.
2.  Tell me what you would use these products for.
3.  Retweet the following: @NuNaturals giveaway at @SimplyLifeBlog! http://www.simplylifeblog.com/?p=4829

~How do you keep a positive/optimistic attitude?

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  • Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet

    What a great outlook you have. It is so important to have such a good positive attitude. I have been making my grandmother’s granola for quite some time now. I just can’t buy pre-made, it never tasted as good as the granola I grew up eating. I will bookmark this one it looks good. I like using coconut oil, and the cranberries are perfect!

  • AnnaZed

    I would use the alcohol-free versions to flavor cakes and cookies.

    • AnnaZed

      I liked them on Facebook where I am ‘Margot Core’

  • http://twitter.com/LittleFamBlog Holly Marie

    I liked them on facebook! Holly Nace <3

  • http://twitter.com/LittleFamBlog Holly Marie

    I would love to use them for granola for gifts to my friends! I LOVE collecting Ball Jars and filling them with homemade goodness!

  • Belinda

    Wonderful – you’re definitely keeping life clear with the right focus!

  • Katie

    I make my own granola, but usually use maple syrup or honey. I’d love to try stevia instead!

  • http://www.bakebikeblog.com/ Bakebikeblog

    what a lovely reflective post 🙂 Choosing to approach things in a positive light can make the world of difference!

  • Gracie Johnson

    That’s a very good question.
    hmmm, and I don’t have an answer.

  • Janel

    I have never tried stevia, but I’m wondering how the lemon or orange would taste in iced tea or maybe the orange to sweeten lemonade.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh that’s a great idea!

  • http://www.singerskitchen.com/ Singerinkitchen

    Nice granola recipe! I have yet to try these products. Seeing that I have been sugar-free for 2 weeks I need to try this I believe it would be great in my oatmeal and smoothies.

  • http://www.singerskitchen.com/ Singerinkitchen

    I NuNaturals on FB!

  • http://www.singerskitchen.com/ Singerinkitchen
  • Gina (Candid RD)

    I think one of the most important things in life (and best ways to get through life) is to be an optimist. Thanks for the great reminders! And, thanks for the giveaway. I am not entering because I have these samples at home, but I posted on my FB page!

  • http://www.managedmacros.com/ teri@managedmacros

    I liked them on FB and the use? Humm… possibilities would be endless huh? I like the lemon for teas and water and the vanilla would be perfect in my cottage cheese or plain greek yogurt!

  • http://gowiththedough.wordpress.com/ Hillary

    My brother’s girlfriend was just raving about NuNaturals last night! I would definitely use it for my coffee every morning!

  • http://www.ofmusesandmeringues.blogspot.com/ Beth

    I think #2, gratitude, is the key to everything. I try to be grateful every day of my life.
    I don’t qualify for the contest as I’m Canadian, but good luck to everyone else!

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    Good for you! It’s easy to be grumpy but love your rosy outlook on life!

  • Jordan Dunne

    I like NuNaturals on facebook already

  • Jordan Dunne

    I’d try the lemon stevia to make some lemonade or lemon squares!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oooh, that’s a fun idea!

  • Renata

    I like NuNaturals on Facebook

  • Renata

    I would try these in Greek yogurt and fruit smoothies!

  • Renata

    Tweeted your giveaway link too – thanks so much!

  • Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    I think being grateful and living in the ‘now’ are the keys for me! I’m still learning how to do it, but I know when I do I am so much happier!

  • http://sensualappeal.wordpress.com/ Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

    I liked NuNaturals on Facebook!

  • http://sensualappeal.wordpress.com/ Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

    I would use these products in Smoothies, shakes, and yogurt

  • http://sensualappeal.wordpress.com/ Kammie @ Sensual Appeal


  • Justeen

    I liked NuNaturals on FB!

  • Justeen

    I would use NuNaturals Stevia products for baking!

  • http://bite-sized-thoughts.blogspot.com/ Kari

    I love your list – and agree with so many of your points. Being optimistic is something you work at I think – finding joy in the small things, being grateful, and hopeful, they make such a difference 🙂

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    I just love your blog 🙂 Fabulous granola recipe and an awesome giveaway too! I like NuNaturals on fb and tweeted the giveaway!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh you are too sweet- THANKS! 🙂

  • Jacquie

    i have never used these products so i’m not sure what i would use them in first – though your granola recipe sounds like it might be a good place.
    on another note …. i wonder if could ask you for suggestions on how to make a new “community”. as i’m finding due to some very trying circumstances (the end of a 20+ yr marriage) i’m finding myself w/ no support and a need to connect. thanks.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      I hope you’re are able to find plenty of support! Building community is not always easy- some of the ways I have found it recently have been through taking different classes at our local “community ed” school, joining a book club, signing up for runs, and through the blog!

  • http://www.blissfullydelicious.com/ Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious

    LOVE this granola recipe. I tweeted this giveaway and liked NuNaturals. But honestly, not sure what I would use them in. But I am sure I’d be able to find something tasty to use this in! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://merigoesround.com/ meri

    now I like them on facebook-

  • http://merigoesround.com/ meri

    I’ve bought nunaturals before and really really like them- I have wanted to try some of the other kinds though that they don’t carry around here. I would use them in pancakes, baking, oatmeal… who knows!

  • hotlyspiced

    You have a great outlook on life and having sore cheeks from smiling is so much better than a wrinkled brow from frowning! Lovely looking breakfast you have made yourself. I have a US postal address! So I would say I’d like to use them in baking recipes. I’ve just been given a recipe for cupcakes that use coconut oil so that would be my first recipe xx

  • Emily

    This is such a lovely post! I’m a huge fan of NuNaturals products. I use them for baking, to sweeten my coffee, to sweeten my oatmeal, etc. The possibilities are endless! <3

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Emily

    I liked NuNaturals on Facebook (:

  • http://fuelmyfamily.wordpress.com/ Lindsay @ Fuel My Family

    I liked them on facebook

  • http://fuelmyfamily.wordpress.com/ Lindsay @ Fuel My Family

    I have been wanting to try it in baking for a while

  • http://luxuryhaven.blogspot.com/ Blackswan

    A very heart-warming post, dear! Good luck to all participants!

  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Bee

    Making granola is on my to-do list for sure. It looks so easy!

  • Georgiana

    I like NuNaturals on FB

  • Georgiana

    I would like to try them in my ice tea and in baking muffins too!

  • Georgiana

    Shared your giveaway link too thanks so much!

  • Ray

    I like NuNaturals on Facebook now

  • Ray

    I like flavored water so I’d try this for a refreshing glass of water or make individual ice cubes with the added lemon & oranges flavors for refreshing summer drink.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oooh, what a great idea!!!

  • http://www.4seasonsoffood.com/ Ranjani

    Yum! I just ran out of my store-bought granola – time to make some at home!

  • bellab211

    Great giveaway – I would like to try this to sweeten my coffee and tea. I love your positive attitude, definitely something that I try to incorporate into my life every day, although some days are harder than others for sure!

  • http://www.coconutsandcardamom.com/ Andrea

    wow this looks so delicious. what is your favorite dried fruit to add to your granola’s?

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life


  • http://www.coconutsandcardamom.com/ Andrea

    Oh by the way, I am a big fan of stevia and use it to sweeten mostly smoothies, and plain greek yogurt. I think it is the best 0 calorie sweetner out there for a number for reasons- it’s actually healthy, it does not have a weird after taste, easy to use, takes very little to add sweetness
    I didn’t know it came in a liquid form. That’s awesome and I can’t wait to try them-the vanilla one especially!

  • http://jojoshouse.com/ JoJo

    I would use this for baking and possibly in teas 🙂
    The granola looks amazing!

  • renee

    I like nunaturals on FB

  • renee

    I would use the lemon for lemon bars

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oooh, what a great idea!

  • Junia Kim

    mmm i find hope in my prayer life! without it, i would be so lost. awww i love how your hubby pursues you every day! le sigh~!

  • http://twitter.com/OCFoodBlogger OCFoodBlogger

    A convenient snack that is healthy for you. Very nice!

  • Mom

    I love that you introduced me to making homemade granola. Now I need to do it. Great gift package and I can see by the many comments that so many people want to enjoy it as well.

  • Sarah

    I made this for a present last night. It’s SO delicious, I couldn’t believe it! Only the greatest self-control is stopping me from eating it all. Only change I made was cooking it a little longer coz I wanted it really crunchy.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh I’m SO glad you liked it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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