Even though it’s only the beginning of September, stores everywhere seem to be putting out Halloween decorations. Not only that, but the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice is among us. I’m not complaining!
Thanks to Whole Foods, I was able to pick up some Pumpkin Spice tea from The Republic of Tea. It. is. delicious! Easily will kick that Pumpkin Spice Latte to the curb. Add a little bit of coconut or soy milk, and you’re in business.
Not only does it taste better, but it’s also better for you. Guilt Free! 🙂
With tea like this, you can keep sipping and keep brewing without any artificial sweeteners or flavoring. The base of the Pumpkin Spice is black tea, which has a small amount of caffeine, but also is full of antioxidants.
Even though the black tea has caffeine in it, I find that it doesn’t give me those “coffee jitters” that haunt some people.
I am a huge fan of The Republic of Tea, so stay tuned for more flavors!
So, since I’ve been on a granola bar kick lately, I decided these would make a great addition to the recipe list. 🙂
Another accidental experimentation, these are one of the best bars yet! Filled with almond butter goodness, mixed with sweet dates and hearty oats, these granola bars are great for any time of the day. A dash of cinnamon makes them complete.
Almonds are a great nut! They are packed with vitamin E, healthy oils, and a decent amount of protein to keep hunger at bay. Unfortunately, people still shy away from nuts due to their high calorie count. However, I’ve read that at times the calorie count on the label for nuts is higher than what the body may actually use. This is due to the way that calories are measured. ( check it out here –> On Food Labels, Calorie Miscounts )
Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite seeds (if you haven’t noticed them in half of my recipes already). These little seeds are packed with zinc ( healthy skin! ) and add a little crunch to the bar.
The dates are what keep the granola bar together. Not only do they add a nice amount of sweetness, they are a great source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Ceylon cinnamon is one of my favorite “species” of cinnamon. It’s harder to find and a tad more expensive, but I personally think it tastes better. In the ways of health benefits- Ceylon has a lower amount of coumarin which is a blood thinner. “Regular cinnamon” such as the Saigon and Cassia tend to have higher amounts of coumarin which may be harder on the liver and kidneys if consumed highly in daily amounts.
Oats are always a favorite of mine. 100% whole grain, high in fiber, and a solid source of protein and carbohydrates. Oats the soluble fiber in oats can be a key player in lowering cholesterol. As well as keep you full and satisfied. 🙂
Maple Syrup is by far my favorite sweetener. Brewed from the almighty maple tree, this syrup contains vitamins and minerals that no other sweetener can boast about. It has even been shown that maple syrup does not spike blood sugar and insulin levels as much as regular table sugar.
So enough of me blabbing away, here’s the recipe!
Maple Almond Granola Bar
1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup dates
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup whole rolled oats ( gluten-free if you so choose)
1/4 cup Justin’s almond butter
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground vanilla
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
pinch of salt
Set oven to 350F. Spread oats evenly onto cookie sheet and toast for 5 minutes.
Combine dates and water in bowl and soak for 5-10 minutes. (Until soft)
Use coconut oil to grease a granola bar pan. If you do not have a granola bar pan, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Drain dates and press with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Put into blender or food processor. Grind until paste forms. Scrape down sides. Add almond butter. Mix until just combined. Add ground vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until combined. Scrape the rest out into a bowl.
In the bowl. Add the date and almond butter mixture with toasted oats. Combine with maple syrup and pumpkin seeds. *Add almonds.
*(optional) Break up almonds slightly with mortar and pestle.
Once everything is mixed, add to the granola bar pan. Or shape desired amount onto cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put into freezer for about 15 minutes until set.
Another snack bar creation, nothing short of delicious. 🙂 A yummy mix of only 4 ingredients: figs, cashews, vanilla, and a few dates come together in a yummy and unique flavor.
The figs are full of fiber and contain some calcium. In addition, they bring an excellent flavor to the bar.
Cashews are a fairly mild nut, so they add a creamy and soft note to this snack.
Then the ground vanilla is responsible for the wonderful flavor of these bars. Ground vanilla is stronger than vanilla extract. If you choose to use vanilla extract, I suggest doubling the amount and then to taste.
Fabulous Vanilla Fig Bars
1 tbsp coconut oil for pan preparation
3/4 cup dried figs
1/4 cup dried dates
1 cup water
1 cup cashews
1/2 tsp vanilla (more to taste)
Soak figs and dates in water for about 5 to 10 minutes. Prepare granola bar pan with coconut oil. If you do not have a granola bar pan, a cookie sheet and parchment paper will work. Put cashews and ground vanilla into blender and grind until finely chopped. Drain figs and dates, pat dry. Add to vanilla and cashew mixture in blender. Blend until paste forms. You may have to use a spoon or spatula to wipe the sides.
Remove mixture from blender and arrange on granola bar pan or parchment paper. Put into freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes to set.
Sometimes it can be hard to get out of a warm bed- especially before the sun comes up.
A few years ago, before I started running, it would have been impossible to drag me out of bed. The warm blankets kept me as one of their own. Around the time I started college, a lot of things changed in my life. Divorce, difficult roommates, a bigger workload then I had anticipated. The stress seemed to be piling up, I lived with three other people in one room. It was hard to have time to myself.
The only way I was able to be alone was to wake up early. I probably drove my roommates insane.
I’d bound out of bed around 6 a.m. and bolt out the door as quiet as I could. The campus would be almost silent. The stop lights still blinking yellow. I’d pick up the pace up so I’d be able to see the sunrise over Horsebarn Hill.
The silence was comforting, only me and the cool air.
Running became a valuable tool in stress relief. As I accomplished more miles, the stress seemed to be forgotten. As I would find the sunrises in the early morning, my days seemed to start off gracefully. Putting those two things together, and life became a lot more manageable.
I’m lucky enough to go to a school big enough to put in a decent run and have a beautiful view. Every morning is different-warm and muggy, or cold and windy- but every run is treasured.
For me, when I took out the competition of how fast and how far, it became more of a comforting challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly rewarding to find I can go farther and faster without feeling tired. But I also didn’t beat myself up if I wasn’t able to run as fast as the day before.
If you wish to start running (or any exercise really), begin with a positive attitude. You don’t need to go fast, or accomplish 3 miles -or even one mile- the first go. Look at it as an adventure. Treat yourself kindly and with hard work you will be happy that you started.
I apologize for being away for awhile. But here’s a new recipe! It’s adapted from Leite’s Culinaria . If you’ve ever had Larabars, then you will love this! They’re easily customizable, healthy, and perfect for on the go.
With only a few simple ingredients, you’ll be able to whip these up in no time.
They contain dates, almonds, walnuts, cacao powder (or coco powder), and your favorite chocolate chips.
I love dates for their sweetness and health benefits! They had nutrition while keeping this treat sweet! The almonds and walnuts add healthy fats and nutrients. Try your best to get raw nuts, and even better if they’re sprouted! I use cacao powder for this recipe because of the increased nutritional value and personal taste over coco powder. If you only have coco powder, that will work just fine. 🙂
This can easily be made into a dairy-free recipe depending on which chocolate chips you choose to use.
If you so choose, you can add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor, although I don’t think it is necessary.
Healthy Brownie Bars
1 cup packed dates
1 cup water
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
3 heaping Tbsp of cacao powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips
pinch of salt (optional)
Soak dates in water for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Meanwhile, process almonds and walnuts in a food processor, blender, or magic bullet. Drain water and add dates. You may have to manually mix ingredients in blender to make sure everything is fully mixed. Add the cacao powder, mix. Transfer into a bowl and mix in desired amount of chocolate chips. Add pinch of salt if desired.
If you do not have a granola bar pan, put parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. Organize brownie bar mixture into desired size and shape. Put into freezer to set for about 20 minutes.
Once you’ve had truly good coffee, anything less than is just hard to swallow.
So far, my favorite is the Illy brand dark roast. This coffee is so good you will forevermore say no to coffee creamer and dreaded cookie flavored sugar “shots.” This coffee and bold, bare, and beautiful.
Coffee itself has also been shown to contain a good amount of antioxidants and the caffeine has the potential to raise metabolism and (maybe) protect the brain. These studies are still ongoing, but the important thing is that these potential benefits are not outweighed by dumping artificial ingredients into your morning brew.
Sorry to say, but a lot of these flavored creamers and sugar “shots” that coffee chains use contain a high amount of artificial ingredients, and usually a huge dose of sugar. A good dose of sugar without any buffers like fiber can spike your blood sugar, later leaving to an even bigger crash and spiking your insulin ( fat storing hormone). Mix that with artificial ingredients and that leaves another problem. Most artificial ingredients our bodies don’t know how to process. So they are either excreted or stored in our fat cells. It also leaves the possibility of aggravating the body if you have an intolerance or your body doesn’t know how to process that substance.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Good coffee can help you ditch those added sugars and artificial ingredients.
Illy offers an array of roasts and grinds so you can find your favorite!
Recently I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Avocado toast is is a great breakfast. It’s filling, yummy, and healthy!
Made with whole grain toast (gluten-free if needed). avocado, poached egg, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and a little Udo’s oil.
The avocado makes it creamy and packs a punch of healthy omega’s and vitamins. The egg is a complete protein! What’s great about eggs, is that even though they have a high count of dietary cholesterol, they have been shown to not directly contribute to blood plasma cholesterol. So it’s ok to have more than one egg!
Pumpkin seeds are always a favorite. I love the flavor and they are a good contribution for skin health!
Hemp seeds are another good source of omega’s. The tiny seeds don’t have much flavor so it’s easy to add to meals.
Udo’s oil is an oil made from a variety of seeds. It’s an awesome source of omega 3, 6, and 9’s. A great contributor as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. 🙂
Amazing Avocado Toast
1 piece of whole grain toast ( gluten-free or sprouted if you choose)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tsp hemp seeds
drizzle of Udo’s Oil
salt and pepper to taste
To poach egg, warm a 12-inch non-stick skillet with about an inch of water. Bring to a simmer. Add apple cider vinegar. With a spatula swirl water in clockwise direction creating a small whirlpool. Crack egg in separate bowl. Carefully drop egg into middle of whirlpool. Turn off heat, put lid on skillet, and poach for 5 minutes. Remove with spatula.
Put bread in toaster. Slice avocado into desired pieces. Arrange avocado on toast. Add egg, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and Udo’s oil. Salt and Pepper to taste.
* To save avocado spritz lemon juice onto the flesh and put in a ziplock baggie. Put in refrigerator.
Granola bars are perfect for solving that on-the-go hunger. These Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars are super easy to make and are a lot less expensive than buying granola bars. AND they’re also nutritious!
What’s great is that they’re super customizable. I used Peanut Butter Co’s White Chocolate Wonder peanut butter for the first batch, and Whole Food’s freshly ground peanut butter for the second batch. Both are super tasty!
These granola bars are only comprised of a few ingredients. Dates, pumpkin seeds, almonds, oats, nut butter, and your choice of honey or maple syrup for sweetener.
Dates act as the base for the granola bar. Once you grind them into a paste, it’ll act as a binder for all the other ingredients. Nutritionally, they’re a great source of carbohydrates, iron and dietary fiber.
Almonds. I always try to eat my nuts raw! And even better, sprouted. A friend of mine worked on a study that found it’s possible that nuts can lose a good portion of their vital nutrients when they are roasted or cooked in some way! Don’t get me wrong, they’re still healthy for you either way, but you can unlock most of their nutritious power when they’re raw or sprouted. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and protein. They’re also a good source of “healthy fats.”
Pumpkin seeds are some of my favorite seeds! Tasty, a great source of zinc, magnesium, healthy fats. These little green seeds pack a nutritious punch.
Nut butter is taking the world of nutrition by storm. Every day you have a new nut butter, whether it’s a twist on the original peanut butter, to then creating a variety of almond butter, pecan, cashew, hazelnut butter. Then you have your butters. They’re all tasty and have a different array of nutrients. I personally like raw almond butter ( Trader Joe’s ! ) and different varieties of peanut butter. One of the most important things when picking out a nut butter, is to make sure that there are no partially-hydrogenated oils. These are trans fats. Trans fats lower your HDL (good cholesterol) and raise your LDL (bad cholesterol). Make sure you check your ingredient list! The peanut butters used in these bars are partially-hydrogenated oil-free. Peanut butter is a yummy source of protein and “healthy fats!”
Oats are a wonderful source of fiber. If you are gluten-free, make sure you get the gluten-free option! By nature oats do not contain gluten, but are often processed in factories that are contaminated with gluten, so you can’t know for sure unless it is certified gluten-free.
Honey and maple syrup are great sweeteners! Honey contains natural antibacterial properties. Maple syrup has shown to have a lower impact on your blood sugar than table sugar.
So, why not give this recipe a try!
Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars
1 cup dried dates
1/4 cup peanut butter ( more to taste depending on the taste of the nut butter)
1 1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup almonds
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (optional depending on if your nut butter is sweetened)
1/2 tsp ground vanilla (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
*Optional: toast oats in oven at 350F for 10 minutes.
Grind dates into a paste with a food processor or blender. Mix in nut butter. Sprinkle vanilla and cinnamon evenly over mixture. Mix. Add oats. Add honey or maple syrup for desired sweetness. Mix in pumpkin seeds and almonds.
So we all get those afternoon munchies. I like to combat that with a tasty parfait. 🙂
It’s fairly simple and quick. I toss in what ever fruit I have on hand. (In this case it’s organic strawberries, blueberries, and banana. ) Add some non-dairy yogurt (still has those probiotics and is lactose-intolerant friendly!). Then top it with some of my Homemade Cinnamon Maple Granola . Sometimes throw in some chia for kicks 😉 .
Chia seeds are the best. Not only are they filled with protein, iron, fiber, and healthy fats, they’re virtually tasteless. So you can add them to almost anything!
I’ve recently found that I like Nancy’s Organic Soy Yogurt. I’ve found the flavor to be better than other non-dairy yogurts I’ve tasted. So Delicious came out with a Greek yogurt.. It wasn’t bad.. not the same as regular greek yogurt, and has a lot of fiber (40% of your daily value). I found the taste wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
Although feel free to experiment with this parfait! It’s easily customizable, filling, and tasty. Not to mention has a good source of antioxidants, probiotics, and fiber !
*If you can eat dairy, I would suggest plain greek yogurt and adding a little maple syrup to sweeten. A lot of flavored yogurts are full of sugar and unnecessary additives- its best to just flavor your own!
Creating your own snack is so much better than that packaged vending machine nonsense 😉