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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Butterfly Snacks for Children (and children at heart!)

I made these for my students (they're pre-kindergarten age) last month and thought they were too cute (and tasty!) not to share on the blog.

These kid friendly treats are super easy to make: You just decorate a clothes pin however you like (I drew a smiley face with an extra fine sharpie and then used glitter glue to add a little sparkle to the body). Fill a snack baggie (sandwich baggies work too)  with healthy goodies, twist the snack baggie in the center and pin into the clothes pin. For antennae I used a pipe cleaner cut in half, shaped it into a "V" and added a little twist on the ends. 


I even put one in my hubby's lunch. He absolutely loves animal crackers as much as I do so I don't think he was too embarrassed. 

If you don't want to use animal crackers there are plenty of snack ideas that work well with this such as grapes, berries, crackers, nuts, raisins and other dried fruits, trail mix, and dry cereal to name a few. 

Is it just me or are animal crackers so addicting? 
Nom....nom...nom...

And no, you're never too old to have animal crackers or butterfly bags in your lunch. 

Do you have other fun ideas for kid-friendly snacks? I'm already on the search for a cute (and hopefully relatively healthy) snack/treat to give my class for Valentine's Day. If you have an idea leave me a comment and let me know! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Clean Eating

Remember my New Year's resolution to eat more clean
I'm certainly far from the perfect eater, but I do like to eat healthy because I know the positive difference it makes- I just feel better when I don't eat junk. 
Here's a little look at how we've been incorporating more clean eating into our diet...

Breakfast began with a banana. I'll admit I like them fairly ripe, like brown speckles. I know, I know...a lot of people think it's gross. But to me, it's sweeter tasting than bright yellow bananas.  I just can't do that greenish yellow banana thing. 


I made us both our favorite morning protein shake: vanilla almond milk, vanilla soy milk, vanilla whey protein powder, dark chocolate almond milk (so good, must try!), and strawberry Kefir. It tastes like dessert. In fact, I would be perfectly happy to have this shake for dessert any day. 

I have stomach problems so it's important for me to have probiotics and Kefir is a great source of them. 


Lunch was leftover baked potatoes. And I've got to ask...does anyone else think baked potatoes taste so much better the next day? My hubby and I always think they taste better the next day and I've been wondering if we're the only ones?
We used a sprinkle of salt and garlic, a little ICBINB spray butter, shredded sharp cheese, and a touch of light sour cream. 
My favorite sweet spinach salad (spinach leaves, red grapes, dried cranberries, and raw almonds with spritzes of raspberry vinaigrette) rounded out our yummy leftover lunch. I have a sweet spinach salad almost everyday. I crave them. And I figure, why have just lettuce when you can have a superfood like spinach? 






For dinner we ate my current favorite food love...Greek sandwiches: whole wheat pita pockets stuffed with homemade falafel, fresh spinach leaves, tzatziki sauce, and garlic hummus. We also enjoyed a side of grapes and a side of pita chips. Should I post the recipe for homemade falafel soon? 






And for dessert healthy chocolate chip cookie bars, oh my stars! This is a most delicious dessert...how on earth can it be this healthy? I like to eat a slice that's been slightly warmed in the microwave so the chocolate is melty and the cookie bar is somewhat gooey. Cool-whip is a great light topping too. The recipe is so easy and the ingredients are very inexpensive.








I'd love to try new food products and recipes, so let me know...What's on your plate?








Thursday, January 12, 2012

{Healthy} Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Healthy desserts so often seem like a cliche. I mean dessert isn't healthy...if it was healthy it wouldn't be dessert right? 
Wrong.


Enter my new favorite food love...chocolate chip cookie bars. They're vegan and gluten free, full of fiber and protein, low in fat, inexpensive to make and super easy. They're practically the perfect cookie bar. I based them off this vegan cookie pie recipe from my favorite vegan dessert blog. I cut the recipe in half, made a couple small changes, and made them into cookie bars instead. Since you're probably already wondering what ingredients could possibly concoct a healthy dessert I'll jump right to the recipe...



Ingredients:
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup quick oats
-  2 tablespoons Very Vanilla Soymilk (or other vanilla flavored milk substitute)
- 1.5 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- scant 3/4 cups brown sugar
- scant 1/2 cup chocolate chunks


Directions:
- Blend all ingredients except chocolate chunks in a food processor until well mixed. 
Spray a baking dish (I used a small glass casserole dish) with cooking spray and pour mixture (including chocolate chunks) into dish. Bake on 350 for around 18 minutes. 

Tip: I think theses treats are best when they're warm and the chocolate is melted so I microwave them for a few seconds every time I enjoy them. 


What are your favorite traditional treats turned healthy? 












Friday, January 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

With the holidays over I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite healthy treats. These little powerhouses are full of good for you ingredients like oats, flaxseed, and all natural peanut butter. With protein, fiber, and healthy fats these little energy balls are the perfect all natural on the go-snack (just throw a couple in a snack baggie). Now that excuse of not having healthy non-processed foods for on-the-go snacks is no more. Hello successful New Year's Resolutions! 




Recipe:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/6 cup honey
1/8 cup flaxseed (you can use ground flaxseed for a smoother texture if you like. I generally prefer using ground flaxseed meal, it's also absorbed more readily into the body for better health benefits)
1/8 cup chocolate chunks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla soy milk 


I use local honey from the Farmer's Market (always a good price) because it's suppose to be a natural way to help alleviate allergies if you consume small amounts of it year round. 


Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well mixed. Taking golf ball size amounts of batter roll them into ball shapes and place in a tupperware. Allow to chill in fridge for at least an hour. Enjoy and I dare you to just try to stop at one! 



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Look Back at the Year That Was {in photos}...

College friends bid goodbye at Class Day. 




Bald Head Island for 4th of July weekend.  

Shoal's Club on a summer afternoon.

Our favorite summer dessert, yogurt pie

Saturday mornings spent sipping vanilla truffle black tea and catching up on favorite blogs. 

Discovering the unique vibe of the Downtown Durham Farmer's Market. Buying potatoes and carrots and baking pot pies. 

Dates night out. Our favorites included a special anniversary trip to Vivace's at North Hills, frozen yogurt at TCBY on warm summer nights, and Nantucket Grille where Greek inspired gyros were our entree of choice. 

My best friend's wedding, Matron of Honor. My first friend to wed. One of the best experiences and memories of the year. Standing by her side...an honor. 

I began shooting portrait photography when the opportunities arose and discovered a new passion. 

Thanksgiving with my husband's relatives in the Chicago suburbs.


Trip to South Carolina to visit cousins and enjoy the sights of downtown Greenville. 

In 2012 I'm looking forward to lots more photo worthy memories with this guy...