Maple Almond Granola Bar

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!

IMG_20150820_084322

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.

Enjoy 🙂

Amazing Avocado Toast

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. 🙂

IMG_20150724_091848

Amazing Avocado Toast

  • 1 piece of whole grain toast ( gluten-free or sprouted if you choose)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 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.

Enjoy 🙂

Peanut Butter Goodness Granola Bars

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!

IMG_20150724_081624

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.

Press into 8×8 pan. I used the William Sonoma Snack Pan to make uniform bars.

Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy 🙂

Happy-Tummy Parfait

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 😉

IMG_20150721_154705

Happy Tummy Parfait

  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 banana (thinly sliced)
  • 1/8 cup Homemade Cinnamon Maple Granola
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup Nancy’s Organic Soy Yogurt

Add yogurt to a bowl. Slice the banana and strawberries. Combine blueberries, banana, strawberries, and granola. Add to the bowl. Top with chia seeds.

Enjoy! 🙂

Super-Green Swiss Chard Salad

High quantity, high quality, and absolutely nourishing!

Packed with antioxidants, this salad is a good way to pack in your greens. Leafy greens such as swiss chard are awesome because they are so low in calorie and high in antioxidants. You can truly eat as much as you want! I also added some beet greens as well. More often than not, people toss the green and just use the beet. But the beet greens are absolutely edible!

Along with the greens, I added some raw beet. It adds a great taste, crunch and color! Along with adding taste to the salad, it’s full of betalains (a great antioxidant). Betalains may help protect against certain oxidative stressors in the body (anti-aging).

I always love carrots in my salad, great for vitamin A and C!

Avocado adds great taste and texture, along with some healthy fats to give your skin and hair a healthy glow!

Pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch as well as some nourishing zinc and a little protein.

I topped off the salad with a mixture of balsamic vinaigrette, Udo’s oil, and a little bit of apple cider vinegar. As well as some salt and pepper.

( I love Udo’s Oil because it is such a great mixture of healthy omega-3,6, and 9;s! )

* As a side note, check out the ANDI Guide –> ANDI Guide

Its a pretty straight forward guide that “rates” produce based on its nutrient density.

IMG_20150721_123620

Super-Green Swiss Chard Salad

  • 3 1-foot long swiss chard leaves
  • 3 beet-green stems (with leaves)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 small beet
  • 1/4 avocado

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp Udo’s Oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette reduction (balsamic vinaigrette would work too)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Chop the swiss chard leaves into bite sized pieces. Break the leaves off of the beet-green stems. Add to bowl. Chop carrot into 1/4 inch slices. Julianne the beet, or slice into small slivers. Slice avocado into 1/4 inch pieces. Add carrot, beet, and avocado into bowl. Add dressing. Cut with fork and knife until all components are well incorporated. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy! 🙂

Power-Up Pumpkin and Goji Oatmeal

I love breakfast! Being one of the most important meals of the day, there is no excuse to skimp. This oatmeal is tasty and can be made fairly quickly for those without a lot of morning time.

Tasty and nourishing is what is key.

I made mine with a blend of gluten-free rolled oats and steel cut oat groats. Full of nourishing fiber to keep you fuller longer!.

Sweetened with a tad maple syrup, full of antioxidants compared to regular sugar and is a low-glycemic sweetener ! Mixed with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk to give a little extra flavor.

I spiced it up with cinnamon, which is good for the metabolism, and tasty nutmeg. Topped with pumpkin seeds which are full of nourishing zinc (great for the skin!), and goji berries-teeming with antioxidants, and a few hemp seeds, which are an awesome source of omega-3’s.

IMG_20150715_093305

Pumpkin and Goji Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oat groats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (plus more for cooling the oatmeal)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds

Mix rolled oats and steel cut oat groats together. Add vanilla almond milk. Microwave for 3 minutes. Make sure to watch to microwave to make sure the oatmeal doesn’t over flow.

Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until combined. Add extra almond milk until desired consistency.

Slice banana into small “banana coins” and add to oatmeal. Add pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and hemp seeds.

Enjoy!