In an effort to make this first (oh so important) post efficient let us jump right in…. So here is the skinny, I am insanely passionate about spreading the word that healthy food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard and grass mated and created your dinner. Good nutrient rich food can and should taste amazing. It should make your taste buds crave a hearty kale salad with homemade sweet miso dressing instead of a processed, salt infused, artery clogging #4 on the super value menu at the local drive thru.
Allow me to be the first to admit that I did not always eat as well as I should. There were definitely late nights in college where I drove through that local drive thru and devoured that #4, there were sad girl times where the only logical option was to consume the entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and yes there were dinners where pizza was the main course with soda to wash it down. Did any of that food make my body feel better? Stronger? Sexier? Healthier? Why no, no in fact it did not. Thank you, that was sweet of you to ask (<- I can be cheesy like this, you have been forewarned). Overall I have always been a healthy person I make time to exercise, I eat my veggies most of the time, but I knew that I wasn’t completely on top of my game.
My man-friend, which is what I like to call my boyfriend, had a brilliant idea for us to do a juice cleanse one week, and I jumped on the chance to reboot my system and learn about ways to improve my overall health. I studied different cleanses, scoured the web for recipes, and watched a handful of very eye-opening documentaries on the ol’ Netflix Instant Watch. That was the month where both my man-friend and I ate like healthy kings, juiced like healthy kings, never felt better, and we have never gone back to our old eating habits. This is when I learned that not only do I love to cook I am fantastic at it (sorry for the horn tooting) and people love to eat my food! Fast-forward to present day finds me here typing out this 'gorgeous' first blog post. Oh and in that time I quit my job working in an office, started up a small catering company, work with people to improve their eating habits, promote healthy eating choices via the social media, lost 10 pounds, and overall love the healthy energetic life I am living.
I want this blog to be a way for me to share over the top wonderfully delicious dishes so that should you feel so inclined you can make them in your own home, and prove to yourself and others that healthy eating isn’t cardboard and grass’s offspring. Eating better is always worth it you will feel better, look better, have way more energy, and improve your quality of life. That old saying “You are what you eat” was invented for a reason. Your quality of life is 100% related to the food you put into your body. If you fill up on crap you will eventually start to feel like crap, and that’s when things start to fall apart. If you eat well and take care of your body you will feel better in everything you do!
With that said lets make some bombtastic granola bars. I make these bad boys in the evening and let them set over night so that breakfast is guaranteed to be a tasty treat! I have made these for different photo shoots I have catered on and they are always the first thing to disappear off the table.
Yummy In Your Tummy Granola Bars (adapted from Sensitive Pantry)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Raisins
1/3 Cup Cacao Nibs
1/3 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
2 Cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 Cup Sliced Almonds (can substitute with walnuts or peacans)
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tablespoons Cacao Butter (I use Pacari Cacao Butter)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (can substitute with chocolate extract or almond extract)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax
To start preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together and set aside the dried cranberries, raisins, nibs and pumpkin seeds.
Next line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the oats, almonds (or nut of choice), sunflower seeds and coconut evenly over the sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Be sure to watch carefully so as to not burn the coconut. Once toasted remove the mixture from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300 degrees.
While you are waiting combine the maple syrup, cacao butter, brown sugar, vanilla (or other flavor), and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until everything has melted together. Let cool slightly, you will still want it to be warm.
Combine the toasted oat mixture with dried fruit and nibs from before. Slowly add the warm mixture to the bowl stirring until everything is covered. Lastly stir the chia seeds and the ground flax.
Place the mixed granola into a parchment lined baking dish (8x12 works best). Make sure everything is evenly spread out, and then place another piece of parchment paper over the granola. Use your hands to press down on the paper and really pack that granola in there nice and tight. Take the paper off once you have ensured the granola is set and bake for 25 minutes. When you remove the granola from the oven do not touch it! It has to completely cool before you can cut them into bars. I like to wait till the pan is completely cool and then place it in the refrigerator over night. Then in the morning all I have to do is cut up my bars and devour!