Homemade Protein Bars

Last week I weighed myself…I am currently 179. I have a goal to be 177 this week, we will see. I have been eating good and diligently going to spin class, the gym at 5:30am and running. It is the food I am struggling with. I just love to eat. My boost, my brain food, and my favorite go-to snack would be the coconut bites. They are my splurge and my treat. I have been eating a lot of hummus, as well.  At spin class, I always aim to have the bike that is not super close to anyone, so I don’t offend them with the immense amount of garlic I consume in a day, poor Sean. He will sometimes ask, garlic? Ok, are you in need of a quick snack on the go?  Perhaps you are a mom like me, or a busy guy like Sean, either way, this snack is a filler. It does take a bit of preparation, but it is a good bit of fun when you have a free night.  Especially on those nice nights when the kitchen window can be open, breathing in the beautiful fresh spring air and listening your favorite beats.  I love to cook and bake with  Babbu Mann.  He is super fun.  I found this protein bar from the Slice cookbook.  Like most of my snacks, I put these in the freezer and grab one when I am short on time and heading out the door.  The kids love them too, but they are considered a once in a while treat, because as selfish as this may sound, they are mine!

Chocolate Coconut Powerbars

(from Slice)
1/2 cup almond butter

1/3 cup unpasteurized honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups nutmeal, leftover from making Nourishing Nut Milk (see below)

1 cup oat flakes or flakes of your choice, I also like Barley

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup whey protein isolate, unflavored, or Vega French Vanilla

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly grease a 9×12 inch dish. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine almond butter, honey, oil, tahini, and vanilla for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth. In a bowl, combine nutmeal, oats, cocoa powder, whey protein, coconut and cinnamon. Stir almond butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Press mixture into prepared baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Store refrigerated for up to 7 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to one month. * I bake these no longer than 18 minutes, because I prefer them to be under baked than over baked.

Nourishing Nut Milk

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup hazelnuts, skins removed

1/4 cup sesame seeds

4 cups filtered water

2 dates, pitted, or 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract

How To Play:
Place nuts and seeds in a glass bowl. Cover with filtered water and soak for at least 4 hours, or over night. Drain and rinse nut mixture. In a blender, combine 1 cup of water, soaked nuts, dates and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Set blender to low, and slowly add 3 cups of water. Strain mixture through a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 7 days. The remaining nutmeal can be saved and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Not just spilled milk…

The way our house is situated, our dinner table has carpet under it. Light gray carpet. When we purchased our home 5 years ago, I remember pausing in the dining room, exiting the time in space I currently was in and returning back to our childhood home I lived in during the early 1980’s. My memory was this…playing under the table on a chocolate shag carpet trying to pick hard rice caked into it. Oh man, I thought, when realizing we,too, were going to be having to deal with rice or any other food for that matter. For some reason I forgot about milk. Why is it that no matter how hard I scrub the carpet, a day or two later the spoiled area is crunchy? This is why I barely walk around the house without socks, birkenstocks or any other type of shoe I own on. Carpet, meh. Sean’s sister is flying in on Wednesday night with her man. It is tradition for us to have our carpets cleaned before honored guests arrive, because they can become so filthy, especially when there are 3 kids in the mix at different ages. This year the carpet has had its fair share of abuse. Everywhere from spilled milk, vomit, chocolate and pee. Gross. I know. Apple Carpet Cleaners came in on Friday and did the best job, ever. I have used other companies as well, but this has been the best.  The gentleman told me that if there ever comes I time I need advice he gives free advice, to just call. I had hoped I wouldn’t have to, but that is not always the case for a mom.  Yesterday the kids were in the back yard and I didn’t realize that 2 ran in the house to get his bathing suit on, but failed to remove the boots he had worn while jumping in the thick mud he called mud poo.  Eh.  Best advice for this situation all, is this, let the mud dry then vacuum it up with just the nozzle. It worked.  Thanks Apple man, you rock!

Red Quinoa Corn Salad

Can I just say I love salads, especially salads with a lemon and lime tang to them?  It is a bonus when the weather is nice as well, for it brings about a kind of holiday feel to dinner.  This spring has been an interesting one for the west coast.  It seems a bit chillier and rainier. I swear yesterday it hailed for 2 minutes and then the sun came out, which was spectacular. See, when the sun is out, it changes everything from clothes to cravings.  I have always enjoyed dedicating Wednesdays to Mexican Wednesdays, so it was ideal this was for dinner last night along with seasoned chicken on the side and tortilla chips.  Easy peasy.  With the leftover salad, I put it in a bowl with a spoon as an appy for our homegroup, however the cake from Goldilocks won favor over the salad.  I tried.

Red Quinoa Corn Salad

(Inspired by Rebar)

1 cup red quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups corn, fresh, or frozen
1 small red onion, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 red pepper or orange pepper, finely diced
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro
3 scallions, minced
2 tbsp finely minced chives
1 tsp sea salt
2 avocados, peeled and cut in cubes
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste

How To Play:
Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly with cold, running water. Bring water to boil in a small pot, add the quinoa and salt and bring to a boil again. Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes. Strain off any excess liquid and spread the quinoa out to cool on a tray while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Steam or lightly saute corn(I sauteed it with a tbsp of butter) until just tender and cool to room temperature. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. Season with additional salt, pepper or hot sauce to taste. Serve with fresh lime wedges.


Yes, I’m new…

I have a good friend who will often say, “What are you, new?”  She has never said that to me, thankfully, but you know how it goes with drivers driving ridiculous.  I thought of her at this moment for I am trying new things out with my blog.  I am bringing order to my posts, so therefore, you can check out the categories on the right hand side of the blog and hopefully find what you are looking for more efficiently.  I appreciate all the comments, likes and support.  Thanks for being patient with me, because yeah, I’m new.

Classic Blueberry Crumb Cake

Last week I had made this, but it was also the week that 3 swallowed the sticker, so it never got posted.  I often times parouse Martha Stewart’s website and found this recipe.   Every Tuesday I have a mom’s group I go to and thought this would be an opportune time to make it.  I unfortunately never had a chance to have a piece, but, it is scrumptious!  My sister thought it might even taste good with chocolate chips instead of blueberries, hey, why not?  Chocolate chips are great!

Classic Blueberry Crumb Cake

By Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3 cups blueberries
Blueberry Crumb Topping
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add vanilla, and beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture and the sour cream, and beat just until well combined. Fold in 2 cups blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Toss remaining cup blueberries with the crumb topping. Sprinkle crumb topping over cake. Bake until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Dust with confectioners’

Blueberry Crumb Topping 

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

How To Play:
In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, salt, sugar, and flour. Cut in the butter using your hands, two knives, or a pastry blender until well combined and crumbly.


Portabello Fettucine

I made this a couple of nights ago.  You know how those nights when you are completely bored of making the same thing over and over again?  Well, this recipe spiced up the week with a flavor of intensity and revitalization.  Sean doesn’t like mushrooms, so I used 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts instead.  I marinated them as if they were mushrooms, then cooked them in the marinade in a small skillet until they were no longer pink in the center.  A bonus was the kids enjoyed this, too.  The next day I made home-made pizza and used the arugula pesto for one half of the crust and it was a nice touch.  This meal has many steps, but it is well worth it, especially when you are in a bit of a cooking funk.  This is not a quick dish, so please don’t try to make it when you have company coming over in 40 minutes or less…it might be just a bit impossible.

Portabello Fettucini

(From Rebar)

1 lb fettucine
4 portabello mushrooms, marinated and roasted (see below)
2 each red and yellow peppers, roasted and peeled (see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, julienned
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup arugula pesto (see below)
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (or Asiago)
4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

How To Play:
Heat a large pot of water to cook the pasta. Slice the portabello mushrooms and roasted peppers into long, thin strips and set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion until translucent. Add the mushrooms, peppers, and cherry tomato halves, toss to heat through and keep warm over low heat. Meanwhile, cook the fettucine. Strain the pasta and toss with enough pesto to liberally coat the noodles. Add the vegetables and basil and toss to combine. Divide among four pasta bowls, sprinkle with Romano cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Marinated Portabello Mushrooms:
4 portabello mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest

Pre-heat grill or oven. Clean mushrooms and lay gill side up in a shallow pan. Whisk together the marinade ingredients, pour over the mushrooms, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Roasted Peppers:
4 sweet peppers

There are 3 ways to roast peppers, depending on your equipment- a barbecue, gas stove or regular oven. On the flame of a barbecue or gas stove, roast the peppers whole until the skins are charred and blistered, using a set of tongs to turn the peppers over to expose all surfaces. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Remove wrap, cool slightly and peel away the seared skin. To oven roast, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Halve and seed the peppers. Place them cut-side down on an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the skins puff up and blister (about 15 minutes). Proceed as with flame-roasted peppers.

Arugula Pesto:
2 cups arugula leaves, packed
1/2 cup pine nuts (or 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/4 cup almonds)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
6 cloves roasted garlic (see below)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chile flakes
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse all ingredients, except oil, to form a course paste. Add oil and pulse to blend. Keep refrigerated. Leftover pesto can be used in sandwiches, on pizza, stirred into tomato sauce, or spread onto a baguette with vine ripe tomatoes.

Roasted Garlic:
2 garlic bulbs
2 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of cracked pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice the top off the garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the garlic flesh. Center each bulb on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the bulbs securely and pop them into the oven. After 45 minutes you should start to smell the sweet roasting aroma, but depending on the size of your bulb, it may need a bit more time. Test by slipping the sharp point of a sparing knife into one of the cloves. If it slides in effortlessly, or the bulbs are starting to poke out of their skins, then the garlic is ready to serve.


He is Healed!

It is indeed a good Friday. After a shopping trip with my friend Lizzie, Sean told us we wouldn’t believe what 3 spat up…I don’t like the word barf or puke, but is there any other word to describe it? It had been since Tuesday morning 3 had stopped eating solid foods, showed signs of irritability with nursing, breathing and swallowing. I had taken him to emergency, then to the family Dr. and it was thought perhaps he had a viral infection, which gave me a bit of relief that it wasn’t a lung issue. This, however, did not make sense to me how he changed so dramatically in a 20 minute time span. From being happy and normal to drooling excessively, gagging, and breathing heavier than normal. He choked again this afternoon on a piece of a Camille blossom. Sean was able to get it out of his mouth, but shortly after, he barfed up breast milk and a sticker. The sticker I thought since Tuesday he may have swallowed. After the sticker was out, Sean fed him a whole jar of baby food. Since this time, he has had nearly 3 more jars of food. The little guy is healed and back to normal. Stickers. Above is a photo of the sticker, the piece of Camille and a quarter to get an idea of its size.

My Happy Meal

I had no intentions on writing tonight, for it has been an extremely draining day.  I had planned to finish a book I have been reading, but I cannot find it anywhere.  I was reading before 4pm and somewhere between 4 and 6 it has disappeared.  I looked in every place possible, including the pantry and the fridge. Like I said, it has been a draining day.  I rode in an ambulance for the first time in my life this morning.  3 had put something in his mouth and began to gag then scream.  The gagging and choking scared me, so I phoned 911 for help and prayed.  They attendants were amazing and Lizzie, too, for taking 1 and 2 to her house, but it was the 5 hour wait in emergency that aged me by a couple of decades.  So, since my book is missing and my baby is sleeping in the room next to me, I thought I would share a refreshing meal for a drainer day.  I made this in a blur this evening, but the taste nonetheless brought life to my taste-buds.  I am sure everyone, besides McDonald’s has a happy meal they can go to or make, well, this is mine.  I could eat red radish tabbouleh everyday, especially this one.

Red Radish Tabbouleh and Goddess Delight Chicken Thighs

(Tabbouleh, Inspired by the Kind Diet)
8-10 Chicken Thighs
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing (or any marinade)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup bulgur wheat
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

How To Play:
Turn oven up to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a casserole dish. Pour dressing over top. Cover and cook for 45-50 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, uncover and  let the chicken brown a tiny bit more for about 5-10 minutes.. While the chicken is cooking, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a saucepan. Place the bulgur wheat and boiling salted water in a heatproof bowl. Stir once, then cover the bowl with a plate and set aside until the grain has absorbed all the water, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, parsley, scallions, and radishes and mix well. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.


Sunday’s Get Your Greek On…

I love Greek food.  It is one of my favorites.  The zesty power of lemons and oregano not only have a multitude of health benefits, but they also bring forth an awesome amount of flavor.  Sundays are busy for us.  We had a great day at church, followed by fun outside with the neighborhood kids, but in the midst of all this action, time doesn’t rest for a minute.  I had to get-get and whip up a dinner! This colorful and tasty dinner is guaranteed to be a family favorite.  Just ask 1 and 2.  They both asked for seconds.  The sun was out today.  It felt good.  It felt like summer.  There was no other option, but getting our Greek on.

Greek Chicken Dinner with Martha Stewart’s Lemon Roasted Potatoes

12 chicken thighs
1/2 cup Kraft Greek Feta and Oregano Dressing
4 large russet baking potatoes (8 medium), peeled and quartered (I used yellow flesh potatoes, unpeeled)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Greek oregano, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped (optional)
1 roma tomato, chopped (optional)

How To Play:
First prepare potatoes by heating oven to 500 degrees. Place potatoes in a metal roasting pan large enough to fit potatoes in a single layer. Add 1 cup water, olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss potatoes until well coated.
Bake, uncovered, until fork-tender and brown on the edges, about 50 minutes. Turn potatoes halfway through for even browning; add water if all the liquid has been absorbed, before they have fully browned. If desired, garnish with oregano.
Place chicken thighs in a casserole dish and pour Kraft dressing over top and flip chicken until well coated. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or on a grill top (BBQ) and cook until no longer pink. While chicken is cooking, prepare salad by chopping peppers, onion, tomato, and cucumber and placing them in a medium bowl. Crumble feta over top and stir in salad dressing until salad is well coated. Reheat potatoes, and serve with Tzaziki or Hummus.  Timing is everything with this meal.  I cook the potatoes first, set them on the stove top when cooked, and place them back in the oven when the chicken is almost done cooking.  I like all the food to be equally heated through.  It just tastes super.