Tag Archives: Almonds

Beef and Lamb

Picadillo Tacos with Ground Beef and Almonds

Picadillo Tacos just in time for Taco Tuesday!

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Okay, I’ll admit it, when I saw the initial recipe for these tacos in Food and Wine, I was a bit confused.

Almonds and raisins in tacos? Aren’t tacos supposed to be spicy and savory? But anyone who knows me, knows that I prefer sweet over savory, so I decided to give the recipe a try (putting my own spin on it, of course).

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Travis and I were both amazed by how well the almonds and raisins worked in this recipe. The almonds add a delicious crunch and the raisins provided a yummy sweet contrast to the heat of the red pepper flakes.

Vegans and vegetarians, you can make these, too! I’ve also made these Picadillo Tacos with Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and the recipe turned out really well! Just substitute an equal amount of Beyond Beef plant-based protein for the ground beef and you’re good to go!

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

I’ll leave the toppings up to you, but I served these with sliced avocado, shredded cheese and fresh chopped cilantro. And they were deeeeeelish!

Maybe Taco Tuesdays should become a regular thing in our house.

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

 

Picadillo Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used 93/7 sirloin)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Corn tortillas (for serving)
  • Shredded cheese (for serving)
  • Sliced avocado (for serving)
  • Shredded lettuce (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add the almonds and toast for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. You should be able to smell them once they are toasted. Remove almonds from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the large skillet heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Next add the spices (cinnamon through red pepper flakes) and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until browned, breaking up large pieces with a spatula or spoon. Add the tomatoes and raisins to the pan, and simmer for 7 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Remove from heat and add a squeeze of lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir in the sliced almonds.
  4. Serve on corn tortillas with toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, sliced avocado, beans, lettuce, etc.)
 

Picadillo Tacos l Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free l l www.littlechefbigappetite

Snacks Vegan

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars

Where did June go!? Is it me, or did it just fly by? We were so busy all month with our trip to Chicago, friends’ events and a recent visit to New Jersey. I feel like I’ve hardly had any time to pop-in and say hi to you guys.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

I thoroughly enjoyed being home for three days over 4th of July weekend. June’s schedule left me very little time for recipe development, so I was excited to have a few extra hours to spend in the kitchen. I have a backlog of recipes I’ve been meaning to try this summer.

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars Recipe

On Sunday we had exactly zero plans (yay!), so I spent the afternoon trying three new recipes. These No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars were one of them. I am usually wary of no-bake recipes because the texture can often be pretty funky. But, these bars were GREAT! All you have to do is press the mixture into a baking dish, place the dish into the freezer for a couple hours, slice, and enjoy! Easy peasy. Freezing is key – otherwise if you try to slice them, they’ll just fall apart into a crumbly mess.

These No Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars couldn't be easier! They're the perfect portable snack or breakfast when you're on the go! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I absolutely loved the flavor of these granola bars. They’re packed with fiber (oats and dried fruit!) and healthy fats (nuts and chia seeds!), making them a healthy and delicious mid-day snack. Plus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined-sugar free! So you can definitely make them for your friend who has ALL the food allergies…you know who I am talking about ;-)!

These No Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars couldn't be easier! They're the perfect portable snack or breakfast when you're on the go! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The recipe makes 10-12 bars. If you’re only making them for yourself, you can cut the recipe in half OR place half the sliced bars in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

 

No-Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates
  • ¾ cup almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x11 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, soak the dates in water for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the almonds and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about 15 seconds. Make sure not to process the nuts too fine - you still want chunks. Combine the almonds and pecans in a large bowl with the oats, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Drain the dates, reserving a few Tablespoons of the water. Place the dates in the food processor with the almond butter and vanilla. Process until smooth, adding one Tablespoon of reserved water as needed. Add the date mixture to the nut and oat mixture. Stir well - you may need to use your hands to thoroughly combine.
  5. Spread the mixture into the greased baking dish, using the back of a rubber spatula to press the mixture completely flat. Cover and place the dish in the freezer for 1.5-2 hours until hard. Remove from the freezer and using a sharp knife, slice into 10-12 bars. Wrap individual bars in saran wrap. Store in fridge or freezer until ready to eat.
 

These No Bake Nut and Oat Granola Bars couldn't be easier! They're the perfect portable snack or breakfast when you're on the go! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Fitness Tips and Tricks

Four Easy Ways to be Healthier for Summer

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was recently invited to become a Blue Diamond Tastemaker, and as a longtime customer, I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity. As always, all opinions are my own and I truly appreciate your support!

 

Summer is SO CLOSE. Can’t you feel it? It’s right about this time every year that you start seeing hundreds of articles about how to slim down and get that perfect bikini body. While many of these tips are good, sometimes they can be unrealistic. We’re busy! We work, we have social lives, there are going to be times when we want to treat ourselves, and we should. A healthy lifestyle is all about balance.

So today, I want to share with you four easy ways to be healthier for summer. No calorie counting, crazy diet tricks, or anything of the sort. Just REAL tips that YOU can do to be healthier.

 

1. Schedule your workouts.

4 Easy Ways to be Healthier for Summer

Do you try to wake up early to workout, but end up pressing snooze over and over again? Or do you try to go after work, but end up telling yourself you’re just too tired? If you start thinking of your workouts like you do your work meetings, you will stop skipping them.

You wouldn’t tell your boss, “Sorry, I just wasn’t feeling up to that 2PM meeting,” so you shouldn’t let you tell YOURSELF that either. When setting your schedule for the week, or even just the next day, figure out when you can squeeze in a workout. For me, I always prefer morning workouts because I get it out of the way and it is a really positive way to start the day! You can read my tips to help you workout in the morning.

 

2. Pack Healthy Snacks

In my job, I am constantly on the go. Since I spend a good amount of time in the car, I always make sure to have healthy options to munch on. That way, I am never tempted to reach for the first unhealthy thing I can find. Also, when you let yourself go hungry for too long, you’re more lucky to overeat later on.

Read this post to see some of my favorite healthy work snacks. Recently, I always have almonds, a healthy protein bar, or fresh fruit like apples and bananas with me in the car or at my desk.

4 Easy Ways to be Healthier for Summer

I’ve always been a loyal Blue Diamond customer, so when their team sent me their new Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds to review, I was PUMPED. If you’re a cinnamon-sugar fan like me, you’re going to love these almonds. They taste indulgent, but they’re actually not loaded in sugar. From a nutrition standpoint, they are everything I want in a snack: packed with protein, healthy fats, and SUPER delicious. The only problem is that they are incredibly addicting, so I have to be careful about how many I eat in one sitting, which leads me to my next tip…

 

3. Portion Control

Portion control is something I am actively working on. It is so easy to sit in front of the TV or computer and mindlessly munch on a bag of chips or popcorn.

I’ve have had these bowls from Sur La Table for a few years now. They come in a set of five and I love them for cooking and baking because there are measurement markers on the inside of each bowl.

4 Easy Ways to be Healthier for Summer

I’ve recently started using these bowls for snacking, as well, because I can measure out a proper serving of almonds, popcorn, cereal, etc. rather than just guessing. If I left it up to my eyes, I would probably eat a double portion (or more!) of everything.

I am certainly not telling you to count calories, but try measuring out a proper serving of a snack you tend to “binge” on. Portion control is a key component to weight loss and healthy living.

 

4. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

4 Easy Ways to be Healthier for Summer

I can’t stress this one enough. Often times, when we feel hungry, our bodies actually just need water. Over the next few weeks, practice carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go.

I love my Bobble, especially for travel. It contains a water filter, so I have no qualms filling it up in the airport sink because I am confident that that my water will be filtered, just like from my Brita at home.

If you struggle to drink enough water, try adding sliced fresh fruit like strawberries or oranges. I am considering getting one of these infuser water bottles.

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts: what other easy ways can we be healthier? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a certified nutritionist. These are simply tips that work for me and help me to create a healthier lifestyle.

 

 

 

Appetizer Gluten-Free Snacks Vegan

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites

As promised, I am sharing a DELICIOUS snack recipe with you guys today. Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

I whipped up these Bites last week and devoured them all within just a few days. Whoops!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

They are super easy to make and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Even if you don’t, no worries! This recipe is extremely customizable. Feel free to substitute dried cranberries for raisins, change up the variety of nuts, sub semi-sweet chocolate for dark, make it your own! This recipe is gluten-free and if you want to make it vegan, just use maple syrup instead of honey.

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Make sure you follow the ratios in the recipe, though, or else your bites won’t hold together. You need the correct amounts of wet and dry ingredients or else you’ll end up with Peanut Butter Trail Mix mush, and nobody wants that!

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe

Hope you love these trail mix bites as much as I do! Peanut Butter lovers, this one has your name ALLLLLL over it!

 

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bites Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 14-16 bites
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cups unsalted almonds*
  • ⅓ cup unsalted cashews*
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup dates, chopped
  • ⅛ cups raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter*, melted
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor grind the almonds, cashews, and flax seeds for about 15 seconds or until there are still some chunks of nuts. DO NOT grind to sand-like texture. Remove the nuts from the food processor and place in a large bowl with the oats, dates, raisins, dark chocolate, and stevia. Stir well.
  2. In a small bowl combine the honey (start with 2T and adjust to desired sweetness), vanilla, and peanut butter. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the nut and oat mixture and stir well. Taste mixture and add a pinch of salt if desired. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 14-16 balls, slightly smaller than the size of a golf ball. Make sure to pack the mixture tightly. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for at least one hour to harden, then enjoy.
  3. Trail Mix Bites should last in the fridge for 10 days.
Notes
*If using salted nuts and/or peanut butter, I do not recommend adding salt at the end.
 

Breakfast Tips and Tricks

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins

Holy Moly, I just made the best darn granola.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

Basically every day at work I snack on Greek Yogurt. Usually I just add some berries with a pinch of stevia and cinnamon to sweeten, but recently I’ve been craving some crunch.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

After scouring the web for new granola recipes, I wasn’t finding anything that suited my needs. I wanted to keep this version low-sugar, but not lose a lot of sweetness and flavor.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

In one recipe, I spotted cardamom on the ingredient list and thought that was very unique. Most granola recipes stick to the usuals: maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I love cardamom, but I find it stays in my spice cabinet more often than it should, so I decided to pull it out for this batch of granola.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

I like my granola chunky, and I recently learned a great tip from America’s Test Kitchen to help keep it that way.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

Don’t stir the granola! Every granola recipe I see says to stir the mixture once or twice throughout the baking time. ATK says for chunkier granola clusters, don’t stir the mixture and just wait to break it up once it is completely done baking.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

ATK, you’re a genius…again! My granola turned out chunky – just the way I like it. Now I get spoonfuls of delicious granola clusters with every bite, which is a great contrast against the smooth Greek Yogurt.

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins Recipe

It is also packed with spice from the cardamom and cinnamon, so I don’t find myself missing the added sugars that you see in typical packaged granola.

I hope you try this granola. It could quite possibly be the best I’ve ever tasted.

 

Cardamom Granola with Almonds, Pistachios, and Raisins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup raw, unsalted almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted pistachios
  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt*
  • ¼ cup real honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. In a small microwavable bowl add the honey and heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Add the olive oil and vanilla to the honey and stir to combine. Pour the honey mixture over the oat and nut mixture. Stir so that honey coats the oat mixture.
  3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then add the raisins. Carefully stir the granola a few times to break it into desired sized chunks. Allow to cool completely and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
*If you only can find salted nuts, omit the salt from the recipe.
 

Snacks

Honey Sesame Almonds

People often ask me about the name “Little Chef Big Appetite.”  How little are you really? And if you’re so little, how much do you really eat?

Well guys, it isn’t just a cutesy blog name. I am 5 feet tall (not an inch more or less), and I am quite “small-boned,” I guess you could say. I can totally still shop in the kids section, but in order to look like a proper 23-year-old I try to avoid this at all costs. (Except when it comes to things like Hunter rain boots and adorable Crew Cuts ballet flats — these things are adorable AND half the price in mini-size).

Travis Winkler and Rachel Pattison

My appetite, on the other hand, does not match my stature. I am constantly hungry. Travis likes to tell me there is a fat kid stuck inside of me, and well, he isn’t too far off from the truth.

Rachel Pattison

I just get so stinkin’ hungry all the time. To prevent this (and the inevitable crankiness that could ensue otherwise) I eat about 5-6 small meals and snacks a day. That standard 3 meals a day just does not cut it for this girl.

I am constantly on the lookout for healthy snacks I can add into my rotation, especially ones I can easily bring to work.

Honey Sesame Almonds

Currently, my snacks consist of fruit with nut butters, Greek yogurt, nuts, and homemade granola bars/protein bars.

Honey Sesame Almonds

I grow tired eating the same things all the time, so I like to change it up whenever I can.

I get a lot of inspiration for homemade snacks from the Trader Joe’s packaged nuts and trail mixes. Have you been down that incredible aisle with trail mixes galore? Oh man, that stuff is yuuuuuummy.

Honey Sesame Almonds

I especially love their Honey Sesame Almonds — so addicting.

So, I set out to recreate them at home, but this time make them a bit healthier.

Honey Sesame Almonds

For this recipe, I wanted to use a heck of a lot less sugar and no butter or oil.

I based these almonds off of my Spiced Roasted Almonds (have you tried those yet? That recipe is a real winner).

This time I just kept it really simple. This recipe calls for FOUR ingredients. FOUR – you got that!?

Honey Sesame Almonds

A homemade nut mix you can make yourself in a matter of 15 minutes. It doesn’t get easier than this, guys.

Let’s snack healthy, deliciously, and often. We’ll all be happier that way.

Honey Sesame Almonds Recipe

 

Honey Sesame Almonds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds (not salted)
  • ⅛ cup raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ cup sesame seeds (more or less to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on the baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, until the almonds begin to smell toasty. Remove right away because they can burn quickly at this point.
  2. While the almonds are roasting in the oven heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir constantly for about 1 minute. The mixture should become thinner. Pour the honey mixture over the almonds while the almonds are still on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a spoon to stir the almonds around so they are coated on all sides with the honey.
  3. You can coat with the sesame seeds in one of two ways. Either pour the seeds over the almonds directly on the baking sheet and stir the almonds around to coat. Or, put the sesame seeds in a bowl and in small batches pour the almonds in the bowl and toss around to coat.
  4. When the almonds are coated with the seeds, return them to the oven to roast for another 7 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the almonds to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Gluten-Free Snacks

Spiced Roasted Almonds

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

I hate how quickly retailers try to make us forget summer. The stores were filled with Halloween decorations weeks ago and soon they will be shoving those out to make room for the holiday decorations. Before we know it, all we will see is red and pink for Valentine’s Day. Can we SLOW IT DOWN PEOPLE?

Here in LA it is still summer weather (well, that’s nothing new) and I would like to hold onto that for a little while longer.

That being said, I will make no arguments about starting to incorporate fall flavors back into my diet. It is times like this that I DO wish I was back on the East coast. What I would do for a freshly baked cider doughnut from Honey Pot Farms right now. Mmmmmhmmmmm.

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

One of my favorite holiday treats are spiced nuts. The truth is, however, that most of the ones you’ll buy in the store or the amazing ones from street vendors (you know are LOADED with sugar. This isn’t really a terrible thing. I mean, hey, they taste delicious, right?

But….they could be healthier.

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

So, I bring you my version.

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

There is no butter or oil added here. I am really tryin’ to help you out people, but trust me, you won’t even taste the difference.

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

These suckers will have you hooked. They are a great snack if you’re on the go. I have a baggie filled with them in my desk drawer at work.

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I also think they would be a great homemade gift for the holidays. The recipe can easily be doubled to make a big batch to share (or keep them all to yourself…I won’t tell).

Spiced Roasted Almonds Recipe

The end result is a slightly sweet, spiced and toasty almond. Now be careful not to eat them all in one go…

 

Spiced Roasted Almonds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1.5 - 2 cups raw almonds (do not use salted)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey (agave may be okay here)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • scant ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Spread the almonds on the baking sheet. Toast in the upper rack of the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. While the almonds are in the oven mix together the nutmeg through the pepper in a small bowl. When the almonds are done toasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven and pour the honey over the almonds (do this right on the baking sheet). Use a spoon or spatula to coat the almonds well on all sides. Then sprinkle the spice mixture over the almonds and mix again to thoroughly coat. Take a big pinch of sea salt and sprinkle over the almonds.
  3. Return the almonds to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and right away use a spatula to remove the almonds from the parchment paper to a plate or container to cool (or else your almonds will be glued to the parchment paper - you've been warned). You will notice that a lot of the honey and spice mixture will be stuck to your spatula and on the parchment paper - this is fine. There is plenty on the almonds already, I assure you.
  4. Let cool for 20 minutes and then store in air tight jars or plastic bags.
 

Main Meal Salads Vegetarian Meals

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella

I’m back.

Sorry, I know it’s been awhile. Stuff got busy you see. A lot of things have happened since I’ve been gone.

I got a job (woo!), I graduated from college (MAJOR milestone there), packed up everything in my college apartment, moved back home, unpacked everything, and now I am starting to pack up all my stuff AGAIN to move across the country. Yeah, big things.

Over the course of all that, my time in the kitchen decreased more than I would have liked, so it is great to be home. Now I have all the time in the world to experiment with the massive pile of recipes I have been meaning to get to.

This is one of them:

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella Recipe

As much as I consider myself a carnivore, I have been loving certain vegetarian dishes recently. This is my favorite so far. I could have eaten the entire bowl of this salad if I wasn’t forced to share.

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella Recipe

If you have never used farro, you have to try it. It is similar to brown rice, but the grains are larger and it is slightly nuttier. Oh, and it cooks in half the time. Yeah, thought you’d like that.

It also packs in a lot of protein and fiber. Healthy stuff, people.

You can use any apples of your choice. I used a granny smith and a pink lady as a mixture.

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella Recipe

All of the flavors come together so nicely in this dish.  It can be eaten as a main meal or as a yummy side dish.

This would be PERFECT to bring to a summer BBQ. Trust me, you don’t want to be the fifteenth person bringing chips and dip, do you?

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella Recipe

You’ll love this farro salad, I swear.

 

Farro Salad with Apples, Almonds and Smoked Mozzarella
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup toasted almonds, chopped*
  • 2 apples (any will do)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup craisins (or raisins if you prefer)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 6 oz smoked mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes (regular mozzarella will be fine if you can’t find smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the farro, salt and six cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 25 minutes, until tender. Drain the farro in a colander and let dry on a paper-towel lined plate or tray
  2. Cut the apples into ½ inch cubes. Toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice and enough water to cover the apples.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl.
  4. Combine the cooked farro, almonds, craisins, parsley, mozzarella and dill weed. Drain the apples and add them as well. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over the mixture. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
* You can easily toast almonds by putting them in a medium skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, making sure to shake the skillet often. The almonds are done when they are slightly browned and smell toasted.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
 

Breakfast Snacks

Homemade Healthy Granola Bars

Last week was a tough week in the kitchen.

Things just didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

For example, I tried to make Chicken Ropa Vieja for Travis…major fail. Soggy, watery, flavorless, chewy chicken mess. I wouldn’t eat it. You wouldn’t have either.

(Travis did. He’s a sport. We like Travis.)

And my beautiful coffee cake, the weekend before? Oh, it LOOKED good. Mmmhmmm. But how would YOU feel feel after biting into a good ‘ol piece of dense, dry coffee cake that you worked so hard on?

Super? Yeah. Not really.

(We’re going to blame it on my super finicky oven. We were battling that day).

So I guess you could say I was kinda bummed out.

But then something happened…

I think I should have called these “Miracle Granola Bars”

Wouldyaa look at that? Girls got her groove back. Hhellllllllll yaaa.

Here’s the thing: you’re going to need to make these immediately.

And I literally mean right now.

Yes, stop.

Stop, what you’re doing and get to the kitchen. C’mon get up.

No. It’s not too late.

The Modern Family episode you Tivo’d can wait.

(P.S. I totally just used Tivo as a verb. We agreed that was fine. Thanks)

Okay, so now that you’re in your kitchen (go with me here, people), it’s time to get a little bit crazy.

I’m giving you the basis of these bars (flour, oats, salt, egg, oil, etc) but you get to call the shots with the rest.

I’m talkin’ get WILD. Throw in some spices. Chop up some nuts. You like M ‘n M’s? Get ‘em in there! You want low fat? Sub some apple sauce in for the oil. What’s that? You want peanut butter granola bars? You’re a GENIUS. Mail me some.

I’m super excited about the possibilities here. Can you tell?

These babies are chewy, flavorful and pretty frickin’ awesome.

Healthy Granola Bars. Made From Scratch. From my kitchen to yours.

Make it happen.

 

Homemade Healthy Granola Bars
 
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped (I used a little bit more because I wanted the added fiber)
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil (for a lower fat version sub half the oil for unsweetened apple sauce)
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (or honey if that is what you have on hand)
  • ½ egg, beaten (or one egg white)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or maple syrup (optional for sweeter bars)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries or raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.  Grease and 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Then, line it with parchment paper, so that the ends of the paper stick out of the pan (this will help you lift the bars out of the pan when they are done baking).
  2. In a large bowl mix the first six ingredients (oats through almonds). In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, honey, egg, and vanilla.
  3. Make a well at the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the center of the flour mixture. Stir until combined.  Then add the dried cranberries or raisins and stir until they are mixed throughout.
  4. Press the mixture into a square at the bottom the baking dish, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. (Do not overbake)
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Then, using the edges of the parchment paper, lift the square of bars up and out of the pan and onto another flat surface. While they are still warm, cut the bars into 8-10 pieces. Store in a cool place or wrap individually to grab and go!