Amazing Avocado Chicken Salad with a Vegan Option

chicken saladI often struggle to find good lunchtime ideas for myself. Eating gluten free (and not liking to spend $5 or more on a loaf of gluten free bread) means I don’t eat sandwiches much. Egg salad and chicken salad are a couple of my favorite options. They’re easy to make at home, too. And while I do enjoy a good salad, sometimes I just want a little more variety. So I’m always looking for new lunch ideas. Continue reading

Why Cold-Brewed Coffee is the Best

cold-brewed coffeeI’ve just learned to make cold-brewed coffee. I have to be honest here….I’m a coffee addict. I can’t start my day without it and I even occasionally enjoy a cup in the afternoon. I’ve even tried going decaf to see if caffeine was causing some of my health issues. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that caffeine doesn’t seem to affect me and I could go back to regular coffee!

As much as I love a cup of hot coffee when it’s cold outside, I don’t like it so much in the summer time. But I still need my caffeine fix. I used to drink a lot of iced coffee when the weather warmed up, but it always ended up tasting diluted. Then I discovered cold-brewed coffee and now it is my favorite method for making coffee. Read on to learn why I like it so much better and how to brew up your own batch. Continue reading

10 Gluten Free Pantry Essentials

I’ve been eating gluten free for about 4 years. I’m not celiac or allergic, but for me eating gluten free causes extreme fatigue and chronic joint pain. I’m talking sleeping all night, waking up exhausted and in so much pain I’m nauseous, barely staying awake until 1 in the afternoon, sleeping until 5 or 6, spending the evening groggy, and crashing out again by 9. I could barely function and had no life. Continue reading

Chickpea Recipe Roundup

chickpeasIn my attempt to eat more plant based meals, I’m discovering how versatile chickpeas are. I’ve always loved them in salads or pasta salads, and who doesn’t love hummus? But I’ve realized they are good for so much more. Plus they pack a protein punch! So today I’m sharing some of my favorite chickpea recipes from around the web. And as a bonus, most of them are vegan! Enjoy! Continue reading

High Protein Breakfast Ideas

I’m not much of a breakfast eater. The earlier I get up, the harder it is for me to choke breakfastsomething down. I usually end up drinking coffee until mid-morning and then have something to eat. I know that probably isn’t the healthiest way to start my day, so I’m working on it.

A high protein breakfast will keep me full longer. Anything I can prepare ahead of time is great, too-I love convenience, especially when I first wake up in the morning. (I get my coffee pot ready in the evenings so that all I have to do when I get out of bed is stumble into the kitchen and push the button.) Keep reading for easy, high protein breakfast ideas. Continue reading

Easy Jam and Jelly Roundup

jelly I love jam and jelly. It’s great with so many things, from PB&J to oatmeal, to peach-smothered pork chops(as a bonus I’m sharing that recipe at the bottom, too). I was surprised to learn that homemade jam is incredibly easy to make, and even better, you know exactly what’s going in it. About a year ago, I ended up with all kinds of fresh produce that was locally grown. I knew I’d never use it all before it went bad, so I started looking up recipes, and of course jelly recipes came up. Continue reading

Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup

veganYesterday I shared some of my favorite slow cooker recipes from around the web. You can check it out here. One of my readers asked for vegan recipes, so I’ve been scouring the web and I have picked out a few. I am not vegan and have not tried these recipes, but they sound fabulous and I look forward to trying them out. Click on the titles to see the original recipes. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup

slow cookerI love to spend time in the kitchen. My favorite hobbies include searching Google for new recipes, cooking new recipes, trying new kitchen gadgets, eating new foods, and just about anything else food related. I especially love making as much of a meal as possible from scratch. But I do not have unlimited time at my disposal and cooking from scratch takes time. So on busy days, my slow cooker is my best friend. Today I am sharing some of my favorite slow cooker recipes from around the web. Click on the titles to see the recipes and enjoy! Continue reading

Healthier Snack Choices

healthier snack choices healthier snack choicesIt’s hard to eat healthy, especially when it comes to snack time. Convenience foods are easily available and, well, convenient. But the added sodium, chemicals, preservatives, food dyes, and artificial sweeteners are anything but good for you. Not to mention that the super unhealthy foods are generally more expensive than healthier choices.

Another effect of eating junk food is that you start to crave it. I personally have an awful sweet tooth. So what healthier snacks should you reach for if you’re craving a specific type of junk food? Hopefully this list will help the next time you’re tempted to reach for something you know isn’t good for you.

When You Crave a Sweet Snack

What if you have a sweet tooth? Sugar cravings can be hard to beat. Instead of reaching for candy or cake, try these:

  • Fruit, fresh or frozenhealthier snack choices
  • Dark chocolate (in moderation, it has many health benefits, though you can still overdo it if you’re not careful)
  • Frozen bananas (even better if you mash them up in the food processor until they’re the consistency of ice cream)
  • A yogurt parfait made with Greek yogurt
  • Smoothie made from your favorite fresh fruit
  • Graham crackers or apples with peanut butter

When Your Favorite Snack is Something Salty

healthier snack choicesIf you lean towards chips or french fries at snack time, try these:

  • Mixed nuts
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Cheese
  • Trail mix
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Air-popped popcorn (minus the salt and butter)
  • Hummus and carrots
  • Avocado with cottage cheese
  • Sliced bell pepper

Snack on Something Chewy

What if you like something on the chewy side? Try these:

  • These amazing Loaded Breakfast Bars (they’re also a great breakfast on the go)healthier snack choices
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Beef jerky
  • Fruit leather (make your own or be sure it has no added sugar)

A couple more ideas to make sure your snacks are healthy:

  • Take snacks to work or school with you so you’re not tempted to hit up the vending machines.
  • If you prefer to make your own snacks, prepare them for a week in advance to save extra work during the week.
  • Mix it up so you don’t get bored with the same snack all the time.

What are your favorite snacks and how do you be sure to make healthier eating choices? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Loaded Breakfast Bars

loaded breakfast barsLooking for an easy, make-ahead, grab and go breakfast? These bars are easy to make and mostly healthy!

Loaded Breakfast Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp oil (we prefer coconut)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups cereal of choice (we like Honey Nut Cheerios)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (cranberries are our favorite)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, ground flaxseed, dried fruit, and salt.

  4. Pour peanut butter mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined. Transfer to baking dish and press firmly into dish. (I find that using a potato masher is the most effective way to do this.) 

  5. Allow to cool completely (they cool faster in the refrigerator). Cut into squares or bars.