cranberry & nut granola bars

IMG_0555As a grad student, grab and go snacks are kind of my saving grace.  Instead of buying those $2.50 granola/protein bars in the student markets I try to pack snacks that will keep me feeling full and satisfied, as well as tackling my sweet tooth.  Carrot sticks and cucumber just doesn’t cut it sometimes!

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My new favorite go-to snack are these dense, yet soft granola bars that are filled with a ton of nuts and dried fruit.  The great thing about these bars, is that you can really adjust them to your liking! My other favorite part about these granola bars is that there is no added-sugar, no eggs, and no oil.  The way they get super sweet is with three bananas blended in a food processor/blender and then poured over the dry mix.  It binds them together really well and provides a banana bread like flavor.

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This is just a few examples of how you can mix it up with the dried fruit! I like dates, apricots, dried cherries, or cranberries.

These bars are on the softer side and I refrigerate them after baking and slicing.

cranberry&nut granola bars: (makes about 6 large bars)

Adapted from Eat Your Greens

- 1 cup of old fashioned oats

- 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

-1/2 cup sunflower seeds, shelled

-1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

-1/4 cup chopped almonds

-1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

-1/4 cup dried cranberries

-3 small ripe bananas

-1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using any salted nuts)

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray a baking dish with PAM.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, dried cranberries, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix everything well.

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ingredients

In a blender or food processor, blend the bananas until a creamy smoothie textured results.

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Mix the wet (banana) and dry ingredients together and combine thoroughly.  Spread into a 9×9 greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Slice once cooled and store in the refrigerator.

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These bars are really easy to make and can be stored for about a week!

Enjoy!

-K

whole wheat pizza {made on the grill}

Summer has officially come to an end as evident by the mass amount of pumpkin and fall goodies!

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No complaints here! I am very ready for fall! My bucket list includes:  apple picking, making chili, carving pumpkins, drinking pumpkin beer and cider, and good old fashioned family time.

Last week I headed back to LA for a special someone’s birthday! My Dad’s!

I started throwing ideas around of a fun meal and thought that pizza on the grill was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday and the end of summer!

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I love getting the whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s (along with everything else in my pantry :) ) The dough is only about $1.19 a bag and it is really convenient and tastes great! I was able to serve about five people with two bags of dough.

Rolling out the dough:

The trick with this dough is to really let it rest for the recommended 20 minutes before rolling it out.  I usually let it sit for closer to 30 minutes to ensure that the yeast had plenty of time to fluff up the dough.

Once it has rested, lightly flour a large cutting board and begin to stretch out the dough. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can easily use an old wine bottle and your fingers!

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Once the dough is completely rolled out, apply olive oil liberally to one side and place on the preheated barbecue.   I also applied some crushed garlic to the olive oiled side.  Place the olive oiled side down on the hot grill (make sure it is oiled thoroughly so that it doesn’t stick to the grill).  Cook one side thoroughly and have your desired toppings ready to put on once you flip it!

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You want to make sure the grill isn’t too hot otherwise the toppings won’t cook and the dough will burn! Slow and steady!

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Vegetable Greek Pizza: Put as much of the toppings as you would like!

-one bag of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough (found in the refrigerated section)

-marinated artichoke hearts

-mozzarella cheese

-feta cheese

-thinly sliced roma tomatoes

-thinly sliced orange bell pepper

I didn’t put any sauce on the Greek pizza because I thought that the garlic, olive oil, and the marinated artichokes as the base would be enough.  It definitely was tasty without the sauce, but you could add a marinara dipping sauce on the side!

Layer the marinated artichoke hearts on the dough and spread out the tomatoes and bell pepper.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and feta cheeses over the top.  Cook just until the cheese bubbles!

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Barbecue Chicken Pizza:

-one bag of whole wheat Trader Joe’s dough

-green onions, diced

-red onion, diced

-spinach

-pre-grilled chicken, shredded

-barbecue sauce for the base

-mozzarella cheese

On the cooked side, spread the barbecue sauce the completely cover the dough. Sprinkle the spinach, then shredded chicken, red and green onions.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese completely over the top.  Cook just until the cheese bubbles!

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Slice and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

-K

grilled chili+lime fish tacos with greek yogurt slaw

grilled fish

I can never turn down a good fish taco, especially when it’s loaded with avocado and some grilled veggies.  When I ran across this recipe on Ambitious Kitchen I knew I had to make it the following  Taco Tuesday.  I made these earlier this summer, when I had a lot more free time than I do now, but I’ll try to update more regularly as I have a special place in my heart for this lil ol blog!

These fish tacos are quite fantastic as the tilapia is marinated with this awesome blend of honey, chili powder, olive oil, garlic, cumin, lime juice, sea salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Once the fish is grilled it would also be great over a salad too! And you really do need to add the mango. Makes all the difference in the world!

This recipe serves about 4 people, but can easily be increased!

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marinated chili + lime tilapia:

1 pound of tilapia (or any other fish you prefer, tilapia is great because it is fairly mild and usually on the cheaper side)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons of honey

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Using a large ziploc bag, add the fish, lime juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Let the fish marinate for about 30 minutes and then place on a medium hot grill. You can also easily pan fry these if you don’t have a grill. Remove fish from marinade and place onto hot grill. Grill fish for 3-5 minutes each side, or until fish start to flake with a fork. Remove and keep warm.

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red cabbage, radish, and cilantro slaw:

1 1/2 cups  thinly sliced red cabbage

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

1/3 cup sliced radish

1/4 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

salt + pepper, to taste

Mix the cabbage, cilantro, radish, greek yogurt, fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl and place in the refrigerator.

slaw collage

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sauteed corn + zucchini:

2 ears of corn, with the kernals shaved off

1 small zucchini, diced into medium chunks

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

salt + pepper, to taste

After shaving off the corn kernals and dicing the zucchini, turn a pan onto medium heat and add the olive oil.  Once hot, place the veggies in the pan and sautee until tender. Set aside.

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All together now….

IMG_0194Grill the corn (or flour) tortillas for a few seconds on each side.  Divide the fish equally among the tortillas, add the slaw, sauteed veggies, chunks of mango, and slices of avocado. Top with cilantro and any hot sauce you desire!

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Enjoy!

-K

roasted cabbage “pasta” with ground turkey

There are definitely those nights where I’m craving a nice homey tasting pasta dish, but don’t want to have a super heavy meal. That’s where roasted cabbage comes in! I was so surprised the first time that I had this dish because it resembled pasta without being too heavy and tasted great! It’s a great low carb alternative to pasta if you’re not a fan of Shiritaki noodles or spaghetti squash.


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roasted cabbage:

-1/2 head of cabbage

-spray olive oil

-3 garlic cloves

-salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the cabbage into 1/4-1/2 inch slices, by starting at the top of the head so it forms circles inside the slices.

Spray the baking sheet with the olive oil and also spray each cabbage slice.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub with smashed garlic.

Place in the oven and roast for about 30-35 minutes until tender and almost crispy.  No need to flip halfway!

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ground turkey sauce:

-1/4 pound of 99% fat free ground turkey

-1 tsp cumin (hands down my favorite spice)

-1/3 cup diced yellow onion

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-marinara sauce (add as much as you’d like to make a thicker or thinner sauce)

-salt and pepper to taste

- olive oil

Optional Ad-ins:

-1/3 cup chopped mushrooms

-1/3 cup sliced grape tomatoes

Heat a skillet to medium heat and spray with olive oil (i love the one from trader joe’s).  Throw in the sliced garlic, and diced onion. Add any other Sautee until tender and soft.

Add the ground turkey, sprinkle with cumin and salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Put the roasted cabbage into the pan with the ground turkey and stir to combine. Top with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese!

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I know these pictures are less than appealing! I didn’t pull out my big bulky camera for this recipe and it definitely shows! Enjoy!

-K

eats as of late

I recently acquired an iphone and my picture taking has sky rocketed to an all time high. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

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{kensington cafe orange, peach mimosa} {kensington cafe apple cinnamon mimosa} {sautéed asparagus and bell peppers} {whole foods salad bar} {kensington cafe fruit, granola, and yogurt bowl} {taco tuesday tacos}

I heart food.

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two ingredient pancakes

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It’s been more than a while since I’ve written in this space, but I recently dusted off my camera and decided to snap a few photos!

These pancakes have been seen on mostly every healthy living blog, pinterest, and possibly in your own kitchen, but they are too easy, healthy, and tasty not to share once more. The two-ingredient pancake is simply eggs and banana, mashed together, and then poured into silver dollar shapes onto a skillet. I wasn’t kidding about the simplicity was I? You can also add anything into the “batter” once you’ve mashed the banana and egg together.

two ingredient pancakes:

-two eggs

-one medium sized banana (it’s better if it’s on the riper side)

-optional add-ins: blueberries (as pictured here), walnuts, cinnamon

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In a bowl, mash one whole banana until soft and creamy.  Crack two eggs into the same bowl and whisk until evenly combined.  Add in any additional ingredients, such as blueberries featured below.

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Pour 1/4 cup of “batter” into a skillet that has been heated on medium heat.  Brown each side of the pancake and flip.  You really don’t need any syrup as these pancakes are naturally very sweet from the banana.

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I served mine alongside one of the best peaches I have had this summer. I have a serious love for summer stone fruit apricotspeachesnectarines.

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Enjoy!

-K

cherry almond granola bars

I have a slight obsession with Trader Joe’s and anyone who knows me can definitely attest to that. Currently, I’ve been absolutely loving the Black Pitted Tart Montgomery Cherries. At almost five dollars a bag they are definitely one of my splurges, but I can easily consume a bag in a week and enjoy every single piece.

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I ran across a recipe for apricot almond granola bars, but was out of dried apricots (also usually purchased at TJ’s) and decided to swap with the dried cherries. Best idea ever.

Sooo without further ado, after my long blogging hiatus, I present you with a super easy, no bake, healthy recipe for cherry almond granola bars.

the bars:

1 1/2 cups whole raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup dried tart montgomery cherries
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

In a blender add 1 cup of raw almonds and 1/2 cup old fashioned oats. Blend until fine and pour into a separate bowl.

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Chop the remaining almonds into coarse pieces and add the remaining 1/2 cup of oats, sesame seeds, and cherries into a separate bowl.

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Stir together the honey, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and cinnamon in a small pan over low-medium heat. Whisk together until the mixture melts, then create a foamy consistency, and then continue cooking for about 10 seconds longer.

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Pour the warm honey and coconut oil over the nut blend and combine thoroughly to create a wet mixture.

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Wrap an 8×8 dish with saran wrap (feel free to spray with a little cooking spray) and press the nut and oat mixture firmly down into the pan. Make sure to leave saran hanging over the edges. Refrigerate, or freeze if your impatient like me, for a few hours.

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(Please note the lovely paper plate. I immediately took these over to a friends house after they had firmed up a bit)

Later that week I crumbled a bar over a bowl of yogurt with some fruit for breakfast and it was the perfect pre-workout fuel.

Enjoy!

-K

the wise words of wednesday

I’m currently blogging from a Starbucks with a pile of notes in front of me and a half empty nonfat latte. It’s the week before finals. A week and a half before Christmas break. A week and a half until I’ve completed my first semester of grad school. Life is good.

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Have a wonderful day!

-K

quinoa banana bread

It’s hard to believe that there are only three weeks left in the semester! I feel as though I just arrived in San Diego, but it already feels like home.

While I was in LA for Thanksgiving, this happened….

To say I was excited would be an understatement! I was also quite relieved to have the final confirmation that I did in fact graduate from college!

And now the recipe…

Quinoa is awesome. I eat it for breakfast with yogurt, berries, and a dash of cinnamon. I eat it for dinner on top of a salad with a drizzle of balsamic dressing and now I’m baking with it! Best source of grain-like protein!

This recipe incorporates cooked quinoa so it’s really easy to use any leftover from dinner!

quinoa banana bread
(makes one loaf)

  • 1 3/4 cup flour (1 cup white flour and 3/4 cup wheat)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • two ripe bananas
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted buter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt

 
Preheat the oven to 350. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, cooked quinoa, melted butter, egg, and greek yogurt.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet.

Pour into a greased loaf pan (I sprayed mine with PAM) and place into the oven.  Cook for about 55 minutes, but the amount of time could vary depending on your oven.  Check with a toothpick. The bread will be ready when the toothpick comes out clean when the toothpick is inserted into the middle of the loaf.

 

Enjoy!

-K