5 Ingredient Granola Bars

I’m a snacker. I always have been. Maybe it’s because I love food and I’m too impatient to wait until mealtime but whatever the reason, snacks are essential in this house. Back in my high school days, I pretend that granola bars were a “healthy” snack when they were really just a few oats crammed into a chocolate covered bar held together with high fructose corn syrup. Whoops. But now I know better and now I enjoy bars that are made with real, wholesome ingredients. There are plenty of great options out there on the market but the natural ones can be a little pricey so making your own is a nice way to keep your grocery costs down! I know almond meal can be a little expensive so if you don’t want to buy it, you can replace the almond meal with more oats. Now let’s get into the recipe for these 5 ingredient granola bars!

5 ingredient granola bars

5 Ingredient Granola Bars
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
  • ½ cup natural crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond meal (ground almonds)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 9x4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine the agave and peanut butter in a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the oats, almond meal, and sliced almonds until combined.
  5. Press into the bottom of the loaf plan.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. It might still be a little soft but the bars will firm up when cool.
  7. Make sure you let them cool completely before you slice.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

5 ingredient granola bars

I love the texture of these granola bars because they’re chewy and crunchy all at the same time! They also just happen to be gluten free & vegan. If you don’t have peanut butter, sub in almond butter. If you don’t have sliced almonds, sub in more oats. The great thing about these granola bars is you can really make them with whatever you have in your pantry.

<Need a healthy snack idea? Try these 5 ingredient granola bars! They're vegan and gluten free but they're packed with protein!

I’m thinking these would also be great with chocolate chips or coconut flakes!

chewy-granola-bars

What’s your favorite snack recipe?

15 Mouthwatering Waffle Recipes

Why are waffles so much better than pancakes? Is it the crispy exterior matched with the fluffy interior? Is it the perfectly proportioned pockets that scoop up syrup and toppings? I don’t know the answer but I do know that I love waffles. Whether you’re looking for a quick Monday morning breakfast or a fancy Saturday morning brunch, there’s a recipe for every waffle situation. Here are 15 mouthwatering waffle recipes you need to try:

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These fluffy caramel almond waffles from Home and Plate would be amazing on their own but topped with an apple cinnamon syrup, you might want to eat breakfast for every meal.

Pumpkin pie isn’t just for Thanksgiving dinner. These pumpkin pie waffles with cream cheese drizzle from Love, Pasta, Toolbelt would be perfect for breakfast or dessert.

Waffle-2

Speaking of pumpkin, how about a pumpkin cornbread waffle for a little sweet & savory twist? The Balanced Berry has you covered.

Need a holiday waffle idea? It doesn’t get more festive than this eggnog waffle casserole from Finding Zest.

Throw some veggies into your waffles with these overnight sweet potato Belgian waffles from Syrup and Biscuits!

If you really feel like getting in your veggies, try a batch of zucchini and carrot waffles from My Life Cookbook.

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These savory Mexican Waffles from My Kitchen Love are just screaming to be featured as breakfast for dinner.

A batch of savory cornmeal and chive waffles from The Gingered Whisk would be a welcomed addition to any brunch spread.

For the low-carb or paleo eaters, you can still participate in the waffle festivities with these flourless almond butter waffles from Wholesome Yum.

Or you can go low-carb and nut-free with these coconut flour waffles from Low Carb Yum.

avocado-tomato-paleo-waffle-mpk

Move over avocado toast, these avocado paleo waffles from My PCOS Kitchen are stealing the spotlight.

Skip the muffins and satisfy your lemon poppyseed desires with these lemon poppyseed waffles from Spabettie.

Breakfast? Dessert? I’m not sure but these dark chocolate waffles from The Worktop would be delicious for both occasions.

Speaking of dessert, these whole wheat gingerbread waffles from Living Lou would make an amazing holiday brunch dish or dessert!

Yogurt-Waffles-1

These whole wheat yogurt waffles from The Lean Green Bean are freezer friendly so you can have breakfast ready at any time!

Chocolate chips make anything better so these gluten free almond chocolate chip waffles from Nourished, the blog, might be at the top of my list!

Put your blender to work with these sweet potato waffles and blueberry sauce from Emilie Eats.

Hungry yet? Dig in!

sunday waffles

From easy breakfast ideas to creative brunch recipes, these waffle recipes are perfect for every occasion!

What’s your favorite waffle recipe? Share in the comments below!

Blackberry Ricotta Toast

I don’t know what kind of magic I stumbled into yesterday but I found fresh blackberries at the grocery store for $1 per 1/2 pint. WHAT. Obviously, I had to stock up and I found myself with heaps of blackberries in the kitchen. This is a lovely problem to have because I’m pretty sure I could eat a few pounds of blackberries on my own without a problem. But instead of just stuffing my cheeks full of berries, I decided to try a little twist on toast. Lately, I’ve been switching up my breakfast and deviating from my usual yogurt parfaits and smoothie bowls. So here’s what I made yesterday.

blacberry ricotta toast

It’s so simple you barely need a recipe but here you go!

4.8 from 5 reviews
Blackberry Ricotta Toast
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese (you can get away with part skim)
  • Handful of fresh blackberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Fresh basil or mint (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toast your bread until it's lightly browned (or however you prefer your toast)
  2. Then simply spread the ricotta, top with blackberries, drizzle with honey, and add a little basil or mint if you like.

blackberry ricotta toast

Breakfast is served!

Blackberries and ricotta are the perfect toast toppings! Tart, sweet, and creamy all in one healthy breakfast!

In the mood for more toast? Try this almond butter and peach combo!

peach toast

Next up on my list of things to do with these blackberries? Single serving cheesecake. Wish me luck!

What’s your favorite thing to do with blackberries?

Easy Vegetarian Taquitos (Only 5 Ingredients!)

These easy vegetarian taquitos are the perfect quick and easy dinner! You can whip up a single batch for your family or double the recipe and feed a crowd!

vegetarian taquitos

I’m still battling a cold but my appetite has finally started to return. It’s very weird to go from being someone who is pretty much obsessed with food to someone who doesn’t really want to eat anything. Last night, I had Mexican food on the brain so I decided to try a vegetarian taquitos recipe. It seemed like it would be quick and easy… and I was right!

taquitos wrapped

4.9 from 7 reviews
Easy Vegetarian Taquitos (Only 5 Ingredients!)
 
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This recipe makes 10 taquitos which would typically serve 3 people.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 can vegetarian refried black beans
  • 10 soft flour tortillas
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings: Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Combine the taco seasoning and refried beans.
  3. Scoop 2 tbsp of the seasoned refried beans into each tortilla.
  4. Top with corn and cheese.
  5. Tightly roll and place into a pan with the seam side facing down.
  6. It helps if you can keep them packed tightly in the pan.
  7. If you want them to get a little crispy, spray the rolled tortillas with olive oil or avocado oil before placing in the oven.
  8. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until they being to brown on the edges.
  9. Remove and serve immediately.

baked taquitos

I’m sure you could add chicken or beef to this if you didn’t want to keep it vegetarian but the beans are pretty filling on their own! If you are making this vegetarian, be sure you find vegetarian refried beans. The more traditional kind tend to use lard.

taquitos

I think these would also be delicious with some bell peppers and diced onions inside. Honestly, there are probably tons of ways to customize these!

Need an easy dinner recipe? These baked vegetarian taquitos are sure to please the whole family!

What would you put inside these taquitos?

New On The Go Meal Options

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyWayToVeg #CollectiveBias

As I mentioned last week, life has been a little crazy these past couple of weeks. Work has been busy, the bathroom renovation took twice as long as expected, and I’ve had a lingering cold that I just can’t seem to shake. When life is like this, there are three things I do to keep up:

  •    Prioritize the things that really need to get done and put everything else on the back burner.
  •    Utilize my treadmill desk so I can get in a workout and catch up on emails.
  •    Rely on easy, simple meal options rather than doing a lot of cooking.

So lately, I haven’t really been doing a lot of cooking and I’ve been relying on easier meal options. While I love picking up takeout, it’s not always the healthier or cheapest option, so I do like having some stand-by options in the freezer.

MorningStar Farms has been a favorite of mine since college. Their black bean burgers always have a space in my freezer and the burgers actually make great tacos! So when I heard about the new MorningStar Farms® Veggie Bowls I wanted to give them a try! I actually had to go to a few stores before I was able to find but I ended up finding both the Chik’n Pot Pie and the Italian Sausage Bake here in Richmond at Walmart. They have a few other kinds as well if you’re in different parts of the country.

freezer

It’s nestled there in the freezer aisle right next to my beloved black bean burgers and all the other vegetarian foods! I like that these meals have a lot of protein without a ton of calories. The Italian Sausage Bake was our favorite which clocks in at 240 calories and 14g of protein.

sausage bake

I was actually surprised at how many vegetables were in there! These veggie bowls are definitely a super convenient option whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to eat less meat. It’s always nice to have something you can grab when life gets busy and have ready to go in a few minutes.

italian sausage bake

With all the holiday craziness coming up, I’m making sure my freezer is stocked with options for the busy days ahead!

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What’s your favorite go-to meal?

3 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Balance

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about burning out. And while it I wrote it from the perspective of blogging, I think it actually applies to a lot of things.  Can't find your blogging mojo? Ready to give up on that marathon goal? Here are a few tips for avoid burn out in whatever passion you're pursuing!

And yet here I am, 6 months later, not listening to myself. Life is temporarily a little crazy. We haven’t had a bathroom at our house for the past week and a half which means we’ve been living out of a suitcase at my parent’s house. Their house is lovely but it’s not my house with my stuff and my bed. I haven’t gone grocery shopping for over a week because I haven’t had time to cook anything. We’ve been living off takeout and frozen pizzas.

Then on Tuesday evening I thought to myself, oh no, I haven’t written my blog post for tomorrow!

blogging

It’s the same feeling I get when I’m planning to go to the gym and life derails my workout.

It’s the same feeling I get when I’m planning to make a healthy dinner and then things come up and I’m digging through the freezer for another frozen pizza.

It’s the same feeling I get when I’m planning to finish painting the bathroom but then I realize it’s going to need two coats…

The point is, life happens. My goal for this little ol’ blog is to inspire people to live a healthier, happier life. Sometimes that means eating some kale and sometimes it just means cutting yourself some slack and not stressing out about the small things. I think stressing about missing a workout is more unhealthy than just happily skipping it because life gets in the way and sometimes a day off is exactly what I need. When I read this post from Georgie, it really hit home. Once I stopped drooling over those almond butter sandwich cookies, I took her message to heart.

“At the end of the day it’s ok to take breaks. Hustling your face off only works for so long. Some seasons you need to, but breaks, ones you take guilt free, are good. In fact, the more you take mini breaks the better you get at getting back to the groove, and the less taking time off throws you off.”- Georgie, of In it for the Long Run

She’s so right.

sangria

With that, I’ll give you my three tips for maintaining a healthy balance.

  1. Don’t give yourself false deadlines. In my head I think, I have to have that blog post done tonight. I have to go to that workout class in the morning. I have to finish that recipe tomorrow. But guess what? I generally don’t. These aren’t life altering circumstances and it’s not that big of a deal.
  2. Put things in perspective. What’s really going to happen if you miss that workout tomorrow? Your muscles won’t turn to jello in 24 hours. A slice of frozen pizza instead of a salad isn’t going to kill you.
  3. Cut yourself some slack. As Georgie put it, hustling your face off only works for so long. Sometimes you need to give yourself a little wiggle room in order to be your best self.

So all of this rambling is to say that my goal is to take a step back and evaluate. While the Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting schedule has worked well for the past six years, I think I’m ready to give myself a little more flexibility and that might mean a few breaks. Isn’t that what living a healthy life is about?

What are your tips for staying balanced?

A Healthy Life Gift Guide

The holidays are around the corner and I’ve already started my Christmas shopping. I wanted to share a few of my personal favorite things in case you need some ideas for the fitness fanatic in your life! Whether it’s more activity or better sleep, all of these gifts can help you live a healthy life!

I personally own all of these things so these aren’t sponsored products but some of the links are affiliate links! 

Healthy Life Gift Guide

  1. Alex’s family got me this America’s Test Kitchen cookbook for Christmas last year and I LOVE it. Honestly, I rarely use cookbooks (even though I love reading them) but this is the exception. I’ve made quite a few recipes from this book and they’ve all been awesome. I love the format of it and even if you’re not a vegetarian, I think you’d enjoy it!
  2. Do I really need to tell you how much I love my FitBit Alta? Since I wear my FitBit all day every day, I was excited to upgrade from the Charge HR to this slender design. It has the option to change out the band and Alex got me this gorgeous pink leather band which is my favorite so far. It’s a little more discrete than the one I had before and since I wear it every single day, I like having the more subtle option.
  3. These Koss headphones are my favorite for running. They come in various sizes so I have a pair that actually stays in my ears. Fellow tiny-ear-friends, rejoice. They’re flexible and comfy so you won’t constantly be adjusting your headphones when you’re running.
  4. I can never have enough cropped workout pants. If you’re looking for a bargain, I’ve been happy with the quality-for-the-price from Old Navy. Also, the Lululemon running crops that I bought 4 years ago still look brand new. So they’re not cheap but I do think that a pair of Lulu’s makes a great gift. (Just a heads up, the sizing does tend to run small so if you’re buying for a loved one, you might want to go a size up. They won’t be offended.)
  5. I bought a pair of these New Balance 515’s last year and they’re awesome. They’re so comfortable but they’re cute enough to wear outside of the gym. They’re definitely not running shoes but they’re the perfect pair to throw on for a long walk around town. This pattern is one of my favorites but it’s a hard one to find!
  6. My mother in law got my this Cuisinart set a couple of years ago and I’m still in love with it. I needed an immersion blender so it does that job well for that but it also converts into a mini food processor (great for small batches) and it has a whisk attachment. Seriously, is there anything it can’t do?
  7. This Philips Wake Up light isn’t cheap, but I do love it. You can set the time you want to wake up and it simulates a sunrise to help you gently wake up. If you’re not a morning person (but your life requires you to be one) then you should definitely look into one of these. They do make cheaper ones that would probably still do the trick. These are especially handy during the cold winter mornings when the sun never seems to come up.

What’s on your wishlist?

Vegan Beer Bread

This 6-ingredient beer bread recipe is so easy to make and it tastes amazing! You can have fresh bread in no time. 

This 6 ingredient beer bread is so easy! You'll have fresh bread in no time.

6 ingredient vegan beer bread

So we still don’t have a bathroom. This week’s home improvement project has taken a little longer than we expected, due to some unforeseen events. (We didn’t anticipate having to completely re-do the subfloor.) But Alex and my dad have been hard at work figuring out how to tackle it. Yesterday, for Thanksgiving, we took a day off. For whatever reason, I was craving some warm comfort food but I didn’t want to make anything complicated. I remembered this beer bread recipe that I made a few Christmases ago and decided to throw it together again. It was even better than I remembered!

vegan beer bread

Vegan Beer Bread
 
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Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 12oz beer (I used Stella Artois)
  • 2 tbsp earth balance margarine (or butter if you're not vegan)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Mix your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together, and then pour in the can of beer. Stir until just combined but do not over mix.
  3. There will be lumps of flour and that’s ok! Do not use an electric mixer. Just a plain old spoon will do.
  4. Lightly spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray, and pour in the batter. It will be lumpy and thick!
  5. Cut the margarine/butter on top of the batter, and bake for 45-55 minutes.
  6. The top will brown just a bit.
  7. Let cool, slice, and enjoy!

I may or may not have eaten half a loaf yesterday. Oops. What can I say, there’s nothing better than bread fresh from the oven!

6 ingredient beer bread

Ok, time to get back to tiling! Wish us luck!

How are you spending the weekend?

What I Ate Monday

This week has been a little crazy. Alex and my dad are remodeling our bathroom which means right now, we have no bathroom. As a result, we’ve been spending a couple of nights at my parent’s house. It’s almost like we’re visiting from out of town for Thanksgiving 😉 As a result of the house chaos, I haven’t really been cooking much.

After I left my parent’s house and got back home, I had a lot of work to do so I didn’t have time to make much of a breakfast. I just grabbed a quick bowl of cereal.

cereal

I had a lot of work stuff going on so I spent most of the morning on the phone. In between meetings I snacked on a few clementines.

clementines

I grabbed a bag of these over the weekend and I’ve been eating them like crazy. I was battling a mild cold over the weekend so I was using it as an excuse to snack on these.

All of the sudden I realized it was almost 2:00 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. I grabbed one of my go-to frozen meals.

trader joe's black bean corn

I actually really like these enchiladas. There not really anything special but they have a good flavor and a decent amount of protein.


Once Alex and my dad were done with the renovations, we packed up and headed back to my parent’s house for dinner. We had pizza from Leonardo’s which was really good. The veggie pizza was loaded with veggies.


While my mom and I hung out in the kitchen, she whipped up these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, which were delicious.

I will be in the kitchen today, prepping a dish for the Thanksgiving table! My wonderful sister in law is hosting and the menu sounds absolutely amazing. I’m just contributing this butternut squash and wild rice salad to the mix! I’m so excited to spend the day with family tomorrow!

What do you eat on busy days?

I’m linking up with Arman for What I Ate Wednesday!

3 Cideries to Visit near Charlottesville, Virginia

Fall is my favorite time of year in Virginia and I love that the weather stays pretty warm through November. (I realize that’s all relative but coming from Ohio, this weather feels warm!) There are also plenty of excuses to be outside since we’re close to a river and not too far from gorgeous mountains. There’s also an abundance of wineries, breweries, and cideries nearby! While wineries tend to be the destination spot in Charlottesville, there are actually quite a few great cideries to visit.

Here are 3 cideries you should visit near Charlottesville ,VA!

1. Castle Hill Cider

castle hill cider

Castle Hill Cider is in Keswick, VA roughly 30 minutes from Charlottesville, VA or just over an hour from Richmond. They have a large tasting room as well as a big patio with plenty of outdoor seating. The weather was gorgeous when we visited so it was nice being able to sip our cider outside. The full tasting is a little more expensive than most ($12 for a full tasting) but it was an extensive list. (I lost count but I think we tasted 9 different ciders. Maybe 10?) The staff was really nice and was able to accommodate our group of 10, which is no small feat!

creamy cider

My favorite: The Celestial Merret. It wasn’t too sweet, fermented (or I guess, “re-fermented” in the bottle) and it wasn’t too sweet. This one was really easy to drink and was perfectly refreshing!

2. Albemarle CiderWorks

albemarle cider works

Albemarle CiderWorks is in North Garden, VA, only about 20 minutes away from Charlottesville, VA. It has a large tasting room with plenty of space inside and out. We did a 6 flight sample of all of the ciders which nice. I think I generally prefer flights vs. tastings because you can get a really nice sample of each. I liked the cider at Albemarle, although their ciders weren’t as diverse as some of the other places. But if you really like a clear, crisp, dry cider, this is the place to be!

cider flight albemarle

My favorite: Jupiter’s Legacy. Tart, citrusy, and refreshing. This is their flagship cider so it’s a good one to start with!

3. Potter’s Craft

potter's flag

Full disclosure, Potter’s Craft Cider doesn’t always have tastings available on-site but they do pop-ups around the state so you might be able to catch them in a different spot! (Hint: follow #CiderStream on Instagram to see where they are!) We got lucky and managed to catch there pop up on site where they do the brewing. We piled into the air stream trailer to get out of the windy air and we tasted 4 of their ciders. Although we only tried 4, each one was really different, so it was fun hearing which ones people liked best.

potters craft

My Favorite: O’Tannenbaum. There were debates among our group about which one was the best. I liked the O’Tannenbaum because, as the name suggests, it sort of had a hint of a gin flavor. I thought it was delicious. Other’s preferred the Ryesap but that one had too much of a scotch taste for me! They really did have something for everyone, though.

castle hill cidery

Gorgeous fall colors at Castle Hill Cidery!

If you’re looking to try these ciders but can’t make the trip to Charlottesville, most of them can be found across Virginia. Here’s a link to find each of them around Virginia:

Have you ever been to a cidery?