Easy Peasy Granola Bars

Easy Peasy Granola Bars


These easy peasy homemade granola bars are one of my favorite recipes. The kind that you can remember easily and you really can't mess up!

Why homemade?

I never thought twice about buying granola bars at the grocery store until I became an avid label reader. It shocked me to discover how much junk was in products that I believed to be "healthy".
I was mad. I thought I had been doing the right things. Only to find many of the products that I had been buying and eating were full of extra sugars, corn syrups, and artificial dyes (and I wasn't buying the obviously unhealthy "chocolate covered, marshmallow bits, etc" ones!) Don't even get me started on the marketing towards children with this poison!
The more labels I looked at, the more I realized that the only way to get a product I would truly be happy with for myself and my family would be to make my own. Are they more work than buying off the shelf, sure. I've learned to double or triple this recipe and freeze some which saves me time...something that all of us momma's need more of! The peace of mind knowing that I'm feeding my family a better version of one of their favorites is well worth the extra 15 minutes it takes me to make them!

Easy Peasy Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients:
2 cups almond butter
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup protein powder of choice (I like to use this one)
2 cups oatmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried organic wolfberries
1/4 cacao nibs (or mini chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Optional add ins:
raisins
dried cranberries or other dried fruit
walnuts
pepitas
shredded coconut

Directions:
  1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: protein, oatmeal, flax seed, wheat germ, cinnamon, wolfberries, cacao nibs and almonds.
  2. In medium sauce pan, combine almond butter and honey over medium heat, stirring until mixed well.
  3. Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  4. Spread mixture into a 8x8 pan lined with wax paper, pressing mixture into pan. When cooled, cut into desired size bars.
There is really no right or wrong to these. Throw in whatever ingredients your family likes. Sub out items you don't have on hand or don't care for. Mine change often to shake things up a bit. Sometimes I'll add vanilla extract. Sometimes almond. Sometimes I'll add in a drop of cinnamon bark vitality essential oil to the honey mixture or add pumpkin pie spice for some variety. Make your own version to call your favorite!




DIY Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap

 DIY Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap
I get asked how to make my non-toxic dishwasher soap all of the time, so to save us all some time (because what mama doesn't need more time?!) I'm giving you the goods!

Why DIY?

I have been slowly swapping out hazardous household cleaners since just before I had my first baby. It all started when I watched a friend of mine's baby pretty much licked the floor she was crawling on (they all do it). It made me think about:

  1. How much cleaner I needed to start keeping my floors (when was the last time you got down on your belly and looked at your floor? Ew.) and
  2. What was I cleaning my floor with that my new baby would be potentially licking?
It wasn't long before I wondered the same about what I was using on my countertops, kitchen table, bathtub and yes, my dishes! Doing the dishes was the job I ALWAYS had to do growing up and hated (followed closely by dusting). Hand washing everything with hot water and vinegar (which also works awesome) is not a viable option for me on the daily. I started experimenting with making my own version. After several tries, this is the one that I've been super happy about and have stuck with!

The "natural" brand (it wasn't) that I was buying before this was more expensive. It was double per load compared what I pay to make this. This recipe will cost you approximately 0.21 per load which is less than $5 per month in my household!

Non-Toxic Dishwasher Soap (makes 44 loads)

What you need: 

1 cup Borax
1/2 cup citric acid
1/4 cup salt
(If you are wondering which products I specifically use I have linked them for you–simply hover over each ingredient and click)



What you do:
  1. In a glass bowl (I use a pyrex measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring), combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Transfer to a mason jar and add essential oil.
  3. Place lid on jar and shake well to disperse oil.
  4. Use 1 Tablespoon per dishwasher load
Your water can affect the recipe. You may need to play around with it to find your best fit. I have semi hard water and get reddish stains in my dishwasher depending on the soap I'm using (and how often not often I clean it). This combination leaves my dishes sparkly, my dishwasher much cleaner, AND its affordable. Triple win!

I'd love to hear your results!




4 Step Ginger-Garlic Chicken

4 Step Ginger-Garlic Chicken

This easy 4 step ginger-garlic chicken is a staple in our home. It is often requested by my husband. Staple recipes have three requirements: quick, easy and healthy. This definitely meets all 3!

I’ve been on a wellness journey for the past couple of years. I’ve been working on changing habits. My biggest challenge has been my sugar addiction. It’s no joke when people talk about sugar being more addictive than cocaine. One of my favorite cookbooks that I’ve come across in my journey is The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo. Her recipes are amazing and contain no sugar. My whole family approves! 

When we are good about intentionally eliminating sugar (It’s still a big challenge for me) we notice SO many benefits. I have more energy. I’m more alert. The brain fog clears. And yes, I drop a few pounds! I still have triggers than send me back to my old ways, but slowly and surely I’m learning how to stay on track for longer periods of time and when I do fall off the wagon, I’m much quicker to hop back on. That is progress that I’m good with for now.

Easy 4 Step Ginger-Garlic Chicken

This recipe is adapted from The 21 Day Sugar Detox. I simplified it a bit further and feel like it tastes just as good but saves me even more time as a busy mom with 3 littles.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter, ghee or coconut oil

6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts (we prefer thighs)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp garlic powder

1 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons while sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste (I sprinkle these on last, and only on half of the chicken as they are too hot for my kiddos)

1/3 cup coconut aminos (I like this one)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Using butter, ghee or coconut oil, grease the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish or large cast iron skillet.
  3. Place 6-8 chicken thighs in pan (not overlapping if you can). I’ve used both frozen or thawed, either is fine but you’ll have to adjust your cooking time accordingly. I’ve found they take a good 30-45 minutes longer when frozen.
  4. Combine onion, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, coconut aminos and red pepper flakes (unless you choose to only add to half of recipe as I do) in a small bowl. Pour mixture evenly over chicken thighs and bake for 30 minutes (if thawed) or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.

If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!




Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes

Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes
We have all heard time and time again, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without the hustle and bustle of getting everyone out the door for daycare and work, Saturday and Sunday allow me to finally get back in the kitchen and have some fun making breakfast for my family. I get up, get the coffee brewing, and bust out the whisk and fry pans.

In the past few years, I have definitely had to work to change my old eating habits. I grew up on convenient sugary cereals. I didn't know the first thing about nutrition or what a healthy, balanced meal should look like. Now we make the effort to not only cook at home the majority of the time, but to choose healthier foods. 

Along the way, I have found some yummy recipes that are not only easy, are tasty too. Here are a few of our family's favorite breakfast recipes:

Avocado and Eggs on sourdough Toast

So simple but so good! Anytime we can incorporate an avocado is a good day for us!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Thanks to one of our favorite resources and cookbooks - farmgirlfresh.com - Oatmeal Pancakes

Egg Bake

This one is great because you can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven. Also you can add any and pretty much as much veggies as you would like. Here is starter recipe provided by theseasonedmom.com: Farm Fresh Egg Bake Recipe

Sweet Potato and Egg Scramble

We substitute sweet potatoes for traditional fried russet/red potatoes and will add eggs, spinach or kale for some extra nutrients, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Adding turkey sausage adds extra protein and flavor.

Breakfast Pizza

We start with a gluten-free pizza crust and Kite Hill Cream Cheese Spread (made from almonds and dairy free). Then we add pre-cooked chicken sausage (use whatever kind you like), peppers, onions, spinach, avocado, and scrambled eggs. If your family consumes dairy, sprinkle with an organic mozzarella cheese and bake until crust is crispy.

Overnight chia breakfast bowls

Here are five starter recipes thanks to youngliving.com/blog: Overnight Chia Breakfast Bowl Recipes

Breakfast Burritos/Quesadillas

Breakfast burritos and quesadillas are a great way to incorporate a variety of veggies! After our trip to Miami, we are into serving breakfast with rice and beans, which pairs perfectly. Substitute egg whites, grain-free tortillas, and a splash of hot sauce (for mom and dad), and there is not much to complain about. Here is a link to some great breakfast burrito recipes: Breakfast Burrito Recipes

Cottage Cheese with Peaches and sourdough Toast

When we are out of fresh fruit, I will substitute a small amount of Non-GMO Spreadable Fruit.

Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

We like Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt or . We also love to include a granola - my personal favorite is Gary's True Grit Einkorn Granola! So yummy!

Eggs Benedict over savory waffles

Oh my goodness check out this recipe on againstallgrain.com! We still like the traditional english muffins, but will use a homemade option.


6 Habits That Will Change Your Life

6 Habits That Will Change Your Life
Sometimes I feel that my journey is SO big, and will take SO long that I convince myself that I shouldn’t even try. 

Freaking nonsense. 

If a friend told me that same statement, I’d kindly shake some sense into them and tell them they don’t need to conquer the world in one day…they just need to worry about today. Don’t get so worried about tomorrow, or the rest of the week. Just focus on today.

Make one small change, I’d tell my friend. What can you do today to be proud of yourself? To feel like you moved just a bit closer to your goal?? Try a plank. Make a new healthy recipe. Maybe you get 8 glasses of water in [Or maybe your like me and still trying to drink that cup of coffee your poured this morning that’s been cold for hours now]. Get your kiddos to join you on the floor and did some pushups or sit-ups…this may give you a surprise ab workout…my 4 and 8 year old are hilarious when trying to copy mom! If you do all of the above today, that’s great. But will you do it again tomorrow?

I've heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Here’s a thought. If you want lasting changes rather than a quick fix, how about forming some new habits? I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather it take me longer to hit my goal if when I hit it, I maintained it. I’m pretty over the ups and downs and yo-yo-ing. Anyone with me?

Here 6 habits that will change your life:

  1. Setting a bedtime for me [not just my kids!] and sticking to it. The struggle is real on this one. But when I do it [shocker] I feel SO much better! We know how important routine is for our kids…so why do we think that it doesn’t apply to us as adults?
  2. Read every. single. day. I love to read. I believe that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Previously, I was not great at making it a priority. There are 2 ways I now make this happen. Either A) while on the treadmill or B) as part of my “bedtime”, 15 minutes before the time that I set. Need a suggestion? This book will forever be one of my favorites and applies to EVERYONE.
  3. Use a planner. This felt super tedious when I first started. It felt like I was wasting valuable time filling it out. But here’s the thing…when I take the time to fill it out, I’m more organized and remember all of the things that I used to think I could keep straight in my head and therefore it is well worth the few minutes it takes me each day. This is the planner that I use, but a good friend of mine also likes this one.
  4. Date nights. I know this may sound silly. But if you’re like me, a parent with small children, this is SO easy to overlook. My hubby and I are kind of old-fashioned and would like to stay married. Crazy, I know. Relationships take work. So we got out our calendars and scheduled dates. All 12 for 2020 are set. While our kids are a big priority for us, so is our marriage and we know we need to still like each other after the kids are all grown up!
  5. Meal planning. This is probably the habit that I still struggle with the most. I LOVE how it simplifies my life, [and my grocery list!] saves me time, money and stress when I do it. Which should all be reasons to keep it going, right? My biggest struggle with this is that life gets in the way sometimes and my days don’t always go as planned. What I’ve done to combat this is to keep a few quick staple items on hand for when I can’t make the meal I had planned. Being able to roll with things helps me to stay on track.
  6. Learning proper self care. For years I’ve pushed myself to the point of exhaustion telling myself I can sleep when I’m dead. I’ve learned [the hard way, of course] that if I take better care of myself, then I can do SO much more and feel SO much better doing it! One of my favorite things for staying on track with my goals of exercising and watching portions can be found here.
Some of them may sound overly simple, but forming these simple habits really has been life changing.

Sometimes focusing hard on an end goal can be very overwhelming. I challenge you to shift your mindset a bit. Focus on today. Just today. Tell yourself to worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Do the best you can today. How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. One small change at a time, done consistently, will add up to big results.
I hope 2020 is your best year yet.

 
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