Trail Mix Cereal Bars

15 weeks as of yesterday. Only 25 weeks to go, but who is counting? ME! 

I know some ladies love being pregnant (why? I will never, EVER understand), I am not a fan. Never was during Mason and am not this time around. I guess the nerves of being the soul provider for a baby really get to me. This is especially because after having several miscarriages I am a nervous wreck and constantly think, “Oh my goodness what if I lose the baby today.” I know, I know that is a horrible thing to say, but when you have faced loss it is hard to block these feelings. Debbie Downer, yes! 

Aside from me being a worry wort, I also do not like to feel like a Goodyear Blimp for 40 weeks. I know part of being pregnant is gaining weight to support the growth of the baby, but being bloated, growing out of your clothes and being endlessly gassy or constipated just flat out SUCKS. I am high endurance athlete who loves to run and all of these things make doing my favorite stress reliever extremely difficult. Yes, I still ran into 37 weeks with Mason, but 30 to 37 I really had to struggle to run 4 minutes per mile behind my normal pace. SNIFF, SNIFF…..it is hard to do my favorite hobby half-assed and more like quarter-assed for 9 months! Actually with after birth recovery it is really closer to 11 months.

Okay, I had to get out my feelings :) Thanks for letting me vent.

Aside from my depressive, I hate being pregnant rant….I did make some really tasty trail mix cereal bars this week. I made these two days ago and the pan is already over half gone. Mostly because my husband took some with him for his boy’s date night with neighbors. Although I do have to say that Mason and I put a pretty big dent into them too.

My main reason for making these was I wanted rice crispy bars, but didn’t want to use corn syrup or marshmallows. So, I replaced the nasty and unhealthy sweeteners with a combo of honey, maple syrup and can sugar. THEY ARE YUMMY FOLKS!  

Trail Mix Cereal Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 C Brown Rice Cereal
  2. 1 C Sunbutter
  3. 1/3 C Honey
  4. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  5. 3 tbsp Evaporate Cane Sugar
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla
  7. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Peanuts
  9. 1/3 C Raisins
  10. 1/3 C Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Coated Candies
  11. 1/3 C Yogurt Covered Raisins
  12. 1/3 C Dried Cranberries
Instructions
  1. Heat sunbutter, vanilla, evaporated cane sugar, honey and maple syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Stir occasionally to prevent the sunbutter mixture from burning.
  2. Add in the brown rice cereal and mix together until the cereal is evenly coated with the syrup.
  3. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Press down in a 13 X 9 cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Wait 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
  5. Store at room temperature for up to five days (if they last that long).
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal

Yesterday was sort of a pooh, pooh day. Okay it was good for the most part, but I got a little down thinking about how our family doesn’t eat normal. When I say normal I mean I cannot just grab a jar of pasta sauce and noodles and whip together spaghetti for dinner.

A, because tomatoes flare up Luke’s arthritis and B, because he can’t have any grains on his diet right now (not even rice because he had a slight flare up of inflammation after eating it). Nor after working 10 hours a day can I call Dominos to deliver a pizza. Again because it has pasta sauce and grains.

It is extremely difficult to coordinate meals around my husbands’ diet because I can’t use eggs, corn, rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, wheat (Mason and I are gluten free so that doesn’t really matter), tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, dairy, soy, peppers (bell, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, chili powder), cumin/seed based spices, etc. It is by far one of the biggest challenges I have faced and lately I have been short on ideas!

So, I actually drummed up an idea for dinner….FINALLY! It is going to be stuffed artichoke and spinach chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with an egg-free/grain free flat bread. Stay tuned for this yummy goodness and sorry about my ranting. All I want to do is make food for my husband to feel better and it is a challenge that exhausts me many days, so I wanted to garner up some support :)

All right, now I predominantly eat Paleo (e.g. no grains). However, when training for a marathon I have found that I need grains to fuel this high endurance activity. I know, I know you could run marathons on a Paleo diet, but it doesn’t get me to my maximum performance. Trust me I have tried Paleo approved high carb goodies before runs and they do not work as well as a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free cereal!

The hard part is finding a good gluten-free cereal that is loaded with protein, dried fruit and solid mix of grains. I seriously stared at the grocery aisle for 15 minutes trying to find the perfect multi-grain one. Finally I gave up! I bought almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried cherries, dried raisins, oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax cereal, and Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes and made my own amazing protein packed multi-grain cereal. It came out as a cross between granola and cereal, but it is oh so delicious.

Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Unsweetened Coconut
  2. 2 C Oats, Gluten Free Certified
  3. 1 C Dried Cherries, unsweetened
  4. 1/2 C Raisins, unsweetened
  5. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  6. 2 C Mixed Nuts, chopped
  7. 3/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla
  10. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  11. 2/3 C Almond Butter
  12. 1 box Enjoy Life Flax Crunch Cereal
  13. 1 box Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Cereal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt together almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds.
  3. Add oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit (cereal will be added after roasting the oats and nuts in the oven) to a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted almond butter mixture over the oat/nut/dried fruit mixture and stir until even coated.
  4. Evenly space the almond butter and oat/dried fruit mixture onto a large cookie sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before stirring in the cereal.
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for 3-4 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy with your favorite non-dairy milk or yogurt.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cranberry Quinoa Salad

I have been on a quinoa salad kick lately! My last two salads have been centered around this delicious little seed :) Why not when it tastes delicious right? I love this one because of the cranberries, apples and brussel sprouts. I am a crunchy salad kind of girl so this one was right up my alley! 

Aside from salads, I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays. We were blessed to have a wonderful Christmas in Alexandria! My dad bought $96 worth of king crab and boy did it hit the spot. I love, love Alaskan king crab. It reminds of me of living in Alaska and one of my favorite TV shows, Deadliest Catch. Yummy!

We also spent some time swimming with Mason at the hotel pool. They had a kiddie pool and boy did the little guy get brave at the end. He kept running, losing his balance and then doing a nose dive head first into the water. Obviously we were there to catch him every time, but his face was classic when he came out of the water! 

Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Instructions
Cranberry Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 C Quinoa
  2. 2 C Water
  3. 3/4 C Cranberries
  4. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  5. 2 C Brussels Sprouts, shaved
  6. 2 Small Apples, chopped
Apple Cider Dressing
  1. 1/3 C Olive Oil
  2. 3-4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. 1/4 C Apple Juice
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 Tbsp Honey
  6. 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
  7. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Instructions
Cranberry Quinoa Salad
  1. Add two cups of water to medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Add quinoa and turn down heat to simmer (low). Cook for 12-15 minutes until water is absorbed. Set aside and allow to completely cool before adding other salad ingredients.
  2. Chop up the apples and shave the brussel sprouts either with a mandolin or food processor. Put all of the salad ingredients into a medium size bowl. Add quinoa once it has come to room temperature.
Apple Cider Dressing
  1. Add dressing ingredients to a quart sized mason jar or a food storage container. Add lid and shake until completely combined.
  2. Toss the dressing into the salad when ready to serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Asian Quinoa Salad

I made this yesterday and cannot wait to eat it up again for lunch! Yummy! I must say that Quinoa is one of my favorite super foods and is technically a seed (not a grain, making it Paleo friendly…you be the judge). The main reasons I love it are (source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html):

  1. Protein Rich – Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
  2. High Fiber Content – Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.
  3. High in Iron – Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.
  4. Contains Lysine – Essential for tissue growth and repair.
  5. Rich in Magnesium – Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  6. High in Riboflavin (B2) – Improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

Quinoa pretty much rocks it from a nutritional perspective and I got inspired by my cousin’s wife because she brought a Quinoa salad with a peanut dressing to our holiday party last Saturday.

Knowing many are allergic/sensitive to peanuts, I created this salad with a dressing that is nut free (and then completely negated my efforts by tossing in cashews) :) Cashews are easy to sub for some sunflower seeds though. 

Asian Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
Asian Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 C Quinoa
  2. 2 C Water
  3. 2 C Chicken Breast, cooked
  4. 1 C Snap Peas, cut in half
  5. 2 C Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  6. 1 C Cashews, chopped (use sunflower seeds if allergic to cashews)
  7. 1 C Carrots, shredded or sliced thinly
  8. 1/2 English Cucumber, chopped
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  2. 3 tbsp Sesame Oil
  3. 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 tsp Salt
  7. 1 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 tsp Chipotle Seasoning
  9. 4 tbsp Hemp Seeds
  10. 1 tbsp Mustard
Asian Quinoa Salad
  1. Bring water to boil. Add quinoa, turn down heat to low & simmer until fully cooked. Takes roughly 20 minutes or until liquid fully absorbed. Let quinoa cool for 20 minutes before adding dressing and chopped veggies.
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. Mix together olive oil, mustard, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup and basil.
  2. Toss dressing with cooked quinoa, vegetables, chicken and cashews until combined.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Banana Bread Bites

What a great weekend. On Saturday we had our first Christmas party at my Aunt Marie’s house. They live on a farm and have a beautiful old farmhouse. It was fun seeing family and participating in the white elephant gift exchange. Luke got the game Stratego, which is actually a cool gift and I got a head scratching gadget that looked like a whisk from outer space. Oh, what to do with more junk? Anyway, Mason had a blast playing with his cousins and some new toys! I also loved seeing my cousins. We were a close knit bunch growing up so it is great to catch up considering we do not see each other as much anymore. I have been socially isolated myself for a while (reasons why are a whole different topic and why I started participating in Beach Body challenges and became a Beach Body Coach….will get into more of this detail in my 21 Day Fix challenge starting on January 5th), so it was nice to come out of my shell. Thanks again to Marie and Dale for hosting another great party!

After my aunt and uncles’ house we went to Eagle Bend to have Christmas with my Dad (Byron) and his wife Denise (my stepmom). Mason had a ball trying to destroy their gingerbread house and the winter Christmas village. Our dog also decided that it would be a good time to throw up on the bathroom rug and on the carpet in my brother’s old room. We also went out for dinner at the Pizza Ranch for some gluten free pizza (poor Luke couldn’t have any because of the AIP diet). Mason could, but he had two bites of pizza dipped in his ice water. Guess he is trying to be a trend setter! I didn’t follow suit! The thing he devoured was two small cups of ice cream….go figure! Normally, I do not allow him to have dessert if he didn’t eat well, but it was Christmas and grandpa and grandma are allowed to break the rules! 

On an another fun note, as I mentioned above I joined my friend’s Beach Body Coaching team last Friday. Whoop, whoop, so now I am going to start officially running challenges, which are based off of these amazing products: Beach Body Challenge packs and Shakeology. Honestly, I personally haven’t tried any of the Beach Body challenges yet, but have tried Shakeology (YUM to the MAX) and am planning to start the 21 Day Fix on January 5th with Jackie and her group. My husband is going to do the P90x Challenge. There is also a less intensive program called the 3 day Refresh for those who just want to get their feet wet a little before diving in head first. If you want to join let us know so you can be added to the group. I have read numerous success stories of people losing weight, having more energy and just feeling better overall.

I should mention that you DON’T have to buy any of the challenge packs or shakeology to participate in one of our groups! I just have the products listed as a suggestion if you want to try them :) As I test them out I will give you more information and then you can be the judge if you want to invest in them. But I can say is Shakeology tastes amazing (best tasting protein/superfood shake EVER) and it is loaded with superfoods! Check out this ingredient summary to see why I choose to use Shakeology as a protein shake :) Also, I have seen numerous people achieve weight loss goals with their challenge packs! I am not doing it for weight but rather to be at maximum performance for Boston Marathon training. 

Anyway, in preparation for the 21 Day Challenge my brain is brewing up different snacks that I could make. Knowing that I have a sweet tooth and would be craving some healthy goodies during the challenge, I came up with these Banana Bread Bites. They are loaded with protein from the Gluten Free Oats, sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter. The banana chips and spice mix make them UBER DUBER tasty and remind me of banana oat cookies or banana bread (hence the name)! Obviously the texture is different, but you guys get my drift. At any rate, they just need to get in my belly!

Banana Bread Bites
Serves 18
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Banana Chips
  2. 1/4-1/3 C Agave Nectar
  3. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 6 Medjool Dates
  5. 1 C Sunbutter
  6. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  7. 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  8. 1/4 tsp Cloves
  9. 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  11. 1 tsp Vanilla
  12. 3/4 C Oats (certified gluten free)
Instructions
  1. Add banana chips, dates and sunflower seeds to a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are chopped into small pieces.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and continue to pulse together until a thick dough forms.
  3. Roll into golf ball sized bites.
  4. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for three months.
Notes
  1. Start with a 1/4 cup of agave nectar. If the mixture is too dry then another tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to come together.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Peanut Coconut Bars

I just hired my first employee this week. Boy am I excited to get another research analyst on my team to work on the backlog that has been building up!

Aside from my new hire, I have been craving Reese’s because it is getting close to Halloween. After researching the harmful ingredients (see my coconut peanut butter cup recipe for more detail) in Reese’s I have been trying to make my own healthier alternatives.

My little guy loves breakfast bars with chocolate on them. In fact, this morning he woke up saying, “Mommy, I hungry. Beckfast baas peez.” Code for Mason lingo that means, “Can I have some breakfast bars please.” So, I whipped up these babies for him! Win, win because I totally wanted them too! 

Have to toot, toot my own horn, but Mason loved them and I thought they were pretty darn good too.   

I know chocolate bars are probably not the best way to start out little Mase-Man’s day, but I used dark chocolate and I think these bars are much better than giving him PopTarts, sugary cereals or donuts. So, no judging peeps :) 

Peanut Coconut Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 2 C 70% Cacao Chocolate Chips
  3. 1 C Unsweetened Coconut, shredded or flakes
  4. 3 tbsp Butter or Ghee, melted
  5. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  6. 2 tbsp Flax Seeds or Meal
  7. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  8. 1 tsp Vanilla
  9. 2 C Gluten Free Cereal Flakes
  10. 6 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  11. 2 tbsp Lucuma Powder
  12. 1/4 C Maple Syrup or Honey
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor except for the chocolate chips. Mix until all of the coconut, cereal flakes and dates have been broken down into tiny pieces. You may need to stop and stir the ingredients a few times during the process.
  2. Press down the peanut butter mixture evenly into a 8X8 cake pan.
  3. Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and melt on high for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each 30 second increment. Repeat this process up to three times or until chocolate is completely melted. Do not over do it or heat up the chocolate all at once or you will have a chunky mess. Trust me I know from experience.
  4. Spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and cool in the refrigerator for one hour before serving.
Notes
  1. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pomegranate Citrus Salad

Rise and shine! Seriously is my coffee done brewing yet? I can’t wait for it to get in my belly! Okay, coffee is being consumed and I am now a HAPPY CAMPER! All right, on to some business . . . 

I saw a picture for a pomegranate orange salad on Pinterest and thought, “OMG, I need to make something similar for my blog.” So, without even looking at the ingredients of the other salad I came up with this rendition. The whole time I was assembling this salad I kept thinking, “Wow, this looks wicked pretty, almost too pretty to eat.” It took all my effort when taking pictures to not eat the entire thing. I must admit I did end up gobbling up the entire thing for lunch. 

Speaking of gooble, gooble, this would totally be the perfect side dish for a Thanksgiving day meal because it has all of the fall colors! Plus, it would look so pretty sitting next to an oven roasted turkey. 

Pomegranate Citrus Salad
Serves 2
This is a wonderful fall time salad with a sunny citrus dressing and lots of crunch from the kale, pomegranate seeds and sunflower seeds. Enjoy this tasty salad for lunch or use it as a complementary dish to my cranberry pork roast.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
Pomegranate Citrus Salad
  1. 4 C Kale, chopped
  2. 2 Tangerines, thinly sliced
  3. 2 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  4. 2 tbsp Pomegranate Seeds
Sunny Citrus Dressing
  1. 1 Meyer Lemon, juice
  2. 3 Tangerines, juice
  3. 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  4. 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  5. 1/4 tsp Salt
  6. Pinch of Pepper
  7. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
Directions
Pomegranate Citrus Salad
  1. Mix together salad ingredients into a bowl or shallow dish like shown in the picture.
Sunny Citrus Dressing
  1. Combine salad dressing ingredients and drizzle over the top of salad when ready to serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Chard Lemongrass Smoothie

OMG, I am tired to the MAX. It started out with me getting four hours of sleep two days ago (sick baby). Then I was so restless last night that I only managed to get another five hours. Doesn’t help that the dog wanted to go to the bathroom at 3:15 AM. Normally I am up then, but when you fall asleep three hours later than normal, getting up at 3:15 AM is not ideal at all. Anyway, sleep deprivation is the story of my life and has only become worse lately. The good news is you guys benefit because in order for me to make it through the day I need to power myself up with some good nutrition! This smoothie is one item that falls into the GOOD NUTRITION CAMP! Oh and the lemongrass makes it heavenly! I am nut who loves lemon though, so I totally get that you would pass-a-roo on this smoothie if you are not a lemon lover like me. And for you lemon lovers, pucker up because this smoothie has some LEMONY GOODNESS!  

All right, enough of my sleep deprived rambling! In spirit of my other posts, I have drafted up some health benefits of lemon grass and wanted to share it with you all!

For starters, lemongrass is beneficial for many medical condition since it contains anti-septic compounds that work to eliminate harmful micro-organisms, such as bacteria, yeast, fungal and parasites from the digestive tract. For convenience here are some other key health benefits of lemongrass (please refer to this site www.juicingforhealth.com for a more comprehensive list): 

1.Anemia:  Lemongrass is beneficial for sufferers of iron deficiency due to its high iron content. Iron synthesizes of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen cells throughout the body.

2.Anti-cancer:  Lemongrass contains citral, an anti-cancer fighter that helps remove cancer cells, while preserving healthy tissues.

3. Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and detoxifying:  Lemongrass is beneficial for arthritis sufferers due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. The anti-septic properties help eliminate unwanted micro-organisms and cleanse/purify the circulatory system & organs (e.g. liver, kidney, bladder, pancreas, etc.), while helping to reduce the incidence of bacterial and fungal infections.

4. Digestive health:  Lemongrass regulates intestinal function due to anti-microbial properties removing bad bacteria and parasites, while allowing good bacteria to enter the colon and improve digestive-related conditions (e.g. indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, etc.).

Chard Lemongrass Smoothie
Serves 2
Add a burst of citrus to your smoothies by adding fresh lemongrass. This smoothie is rich in nutrients with the swiss chard, pomegranate and tropical fruits. Very healthy way to start out your day!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Papaya, frozen
  2. 1 C Mango, frozen
  3. 2 C Pineapple, frozen
  4. 2 Lemons, juice
  5. 1 C Carrot Juice
  6. 1 C Pomegranate Juice
  7. 1 C Water
  8. 2 C Swiss Chard
  9. 1/4 C Lemongrass, finely chopped
  10. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to blender and mix until smooth.
  2. If the smoothie is too thick, add an additional tablespoon of water or juice until desired consistency. If too thin, add an additional 1/2 cup of frozen fruit.
Notes
  1. This smoothie was created as a meal replacement (makes 2 - 32 ounce servings). If you are looking for a smaller portion cut the ingredients in half.
  2. This recipe requires a high-powered blender or it will not completely break down the lemongrass. If you do not have a high-powered blender you can either juice the lemongrass or strain the smoothie through a mesh strainer prior to consuming.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Cranberry Energy Bars

Ever tried a Larabar? They are delicious and typically only have five ingredients. Instead of spending a dollar per bar I decided to make some at home to save some money.

My son loves these bars. He wakes up in the morning asking for a, “beckfast ba, momma.” He can eat two big ones in one sitting, which I love since it is hard to get him to eat other sources of protein.  I also love having them around the house for a snack or even a pre-workout pick me up.

Cranberry Energy Bars
Serves 16
These bars are gluten free, dairy free and free of processed sugars. They make for a perfect breakfast for toddlers or for a pre-race snack for high endurance athletes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Mixed Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, etc.)
  2. 1 C Sunflower Seeds
  3. 2 C Dried Cranberries, no sugar added
  4. 3/4 C Dried Plums, no sugar added
  5. 1 C Sunbutter
  6. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1 C Oatmeal
  8. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  9. 1/2 C Mini Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Put nuts, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and dried fruit into a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  2. Add in sunbutter, maple syrup and sea salt. Combine until a sticky batter forms.
  3. Press into an 8 x 8 pan and refrigerate for one hour before serving.
  4. Slice into squares and enjoy!
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Berry Almond Salad

This day has been beautiful and a day of growth for me. It started out with nine holes of golf with my husband. After a four year hiatus from my clubs, I am happy to say that I ended up parring one hole! Maybe a four year hiatus is not right, because really it is more like a 16 year hiatus with a few rounds tossed in here and there. 

So, getting back out on the golf course and enjoying it was a huge step for me. Golf was something I did with my birth father and when we had a falling out my sophomore year of high school, my heart was broken and my favorite sport only reminded me of our relationship because golfing with him is how I got started in the first place. I even ran him over with a golf cart on accident (don’t fret I was five and am a much better driver now).

All joking aside, as more holidays and birthdays passed without talking to my dad and brother, I started to fall apart (both on and off the golf course). The hardest part was I was really good at golf. However, I lost focus in practice and starting to do poorly at tournaments. It got so bad that my golf coach finally took me out of practice and drove me to the driving range. He could tell something was bothering me. Anyway, he asked me to hit three balls. For you golfers out there, it was duff, duff, duff (e.g. all terrible shots). Right after the third shot, he looked me square in the eyes and said “What is going on? Your swing is beautiful, but you are lazy with your follow through and are not looking at the ball.”  I explained the loss of my father and brother was affecting me in more ways that I could cope with anymore and I told him, “Sorry coach but I can’t be on the team anymore.” And just like that I said my goodbyes and never looked back.

So, fast forwarding to 2014, I think gross, you big pansy, you are much stronger than that weakling. And I am, but I think I am stronger because I started to rebuild my relationship with my brother in 2009 and my birth father in 2013. With these relationships still getting stronger, I decided to address my fears on the course. Sounds dumb, but it felt great and I can’t even begin describe how awesome it is to finally overcome this trepidation and hit well for that matter. Probably too much information, but I know someone out there can relate or find strength in this story!

Okay, moving back to what this blog is really about….FOOD. I made this vibrant salad for lunch. The combination of the berries, dried cherries, almond and hemp seed nut butter dressing is AMAZING! It was the perfect on a hot summer day!  Not to mention my husband said that he could just eat the dressing with a spoon. This is ironic because I thought the exact same thing when I used a variation of this dressing for my Napa Sesame Salad.

Berry Almond Salad
Serves 2
A blend of berries, dried cherries and strawberries on top of a kale/arugula blend create a beautiful and delicious salad. I served this with a hemp seed sunbutter dressing, but you could also use a raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
Berry Almond Salad
  1. 2 C Arugula
  2. 2 C Baby Kale
  3. 1 C Strawberries, thinly sliced
  4. 1 C Blueberries
  5. 1/2 C Dried Cherries
  6. 1/2 C Raw Almonds, chopped
  7. 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  8. 1/2 C Red Onion, thinly sliced
Hemp Seed Sunbutter Dressing
  1. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  2. 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  3. 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 tsp Salt
  7. 1 tsp Pepper
  8. 4 tbsp Hemp Seeds
Directions
Berry Almond Salad
  1. Add greens to a large bowl and top with fruit, cheese, nuts and onions.
Hemp Seed Sunflower Dressing
  1. Add salad dressing ingredients to a food processor and mix until combined.
  2. If serving immediately, go ahead and toss the dressing with the salad. Otherwise, I recommend storing the salad dressing separately or you will have a wilted mess. Just add the dressing right before you plan to eat it.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Napa Sesame Salad

In our crop share agreement (CSA) from Driftless Organics, we received a head of Napa Cabbage. I have never worked with this green before, but I was being adventurous and decided to attempt an Asian inspired salad.

YUMMERS …. this salad was delicious to the max! I will even say that, this is salad is now one of my all-time favorites. The star of the dish is the dressing. Since I am a nut and peanut butter girl, I seriously could have ate it by the spoonful.

Napa Cabbage Sesame Salad
Serves 2
This salad is light, crispy and absolutely delicious. The napa cabbage and sesame sunbutter dressing are a delicious combination of flavors.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
Napa Cabbage Salad
  1. 5 C Napa Cabbage, thinly chopped
  2. 1 Apple, thinly sliced
  3. 1 C Snap Peas
  4. 1 Garlic Scapes, chopped
  5. 2 Green Onions, chopped
  6. 2 tbsp Fennel Bulb, chopped
  7. 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. 1/4 C Sunbutter
  2. 3 tbsp Sesame Oil
  3. 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 1 Lemon, juice
  5. 3 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 tsp Salt
  7. 1 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 tsp Chipotle Seasoning
  9. 4 tbsp Hemp Seeds
  10. 1 tbsp Mustard
Directions
Napa Cabbage Salad
  1. Chop vegetables and add to a large bowl.
Sesame Sunflower Dressing
  1. Add salad dressing ingredients to a food processor and mix until combined.
  2. Toss the dressing with the napa cabbage salad.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. If you cannot find garlic scapes, don't fret. They can be left out of the salad.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Peanut Butter Granola

We had family in town last weekend and my mother-in-law loved my homemade granola. Of course I didn’t write down the recipe, but I promised to make more to be able to share it here. You would think I would learn to use measuring cups and spoons, but I never do. I just throw stuff together until I get the right consistency or taste. It is fun never measuring because then I get a new recipe every time.

I tried my best to recreate the granola Sherry liked. I didn’t have the exact same ingredients, so this one turned out different (equally delicious though). Mason loved it if his opinion matters. It does in my world :)

Feel free to experiment with other nuts, dried fruit and nut butters.

Peanut Butter Granola
Serves 12
Crunchy peanut butter granola for yogurt parfaits, cereal or just snacking!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Apricots, unsweetened
  2. 1 C Medjool Dates
  3. 1 C Almonds
  4. 1 C Sunflower Seeds
  5. 1/4 C Coconut Oil
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla
  7. 1 C Peanut Butter
  8. 1/2 C Honey
  9. 3 C Oats, certified gluten free
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place almonds, dates, apricots, coconut oil and sunflower seeds in food processor. Mix until every thing is minced.
  3. Heat peanut butter and honey in large microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla, oats and nut mixture.
  4. Pour granola on to cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes (stir midway through baking time to cook evenly).
  5. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Sunbutter Oatmeal Cups

For Mother’s Day, my hubby and son gave me a gift card to a fabulous spa/salon. Well, I used it for a massage and my first facial. Nothing surprised me with the massage except for the therapist saying my neck was out of alignment. Looks like a visit to the chiropractor is in order. Oh and I was critiqued for never stretching before a run. Yah, yah…I will try.

For the facial, I had no idea what to expect and was overwhelmed by the information. My day-to-day routine is put sunscreen on prior to my run, but nothing else. Looks like I need to up the anti if I want to keep my skin looking younger and to protect against all of the elements. I do not think this was the girl trying to sell products either because I told her straight out that I make my own sunscreen/lotion and take an organic/holistic approach to taking care of my body. She actually recommended checking out Whole Foods face care products and made no mention of any of the products used in the salon, which I thought was fantastic! Don’t see that very often. Anyway, the whole experience was great. I highly recommend treating yourself! Wish I had the bank roll to do it monthly. Motivation to get the little dude out of diapers!

Now, back to the Sunbutter Oatmeal Cups. I made a similar version of these with peanut butter, but really you could use any nut butter and they taste great. Anyway, since I am training for a duathlon I need a little extra fuel on the days I do run/bike combos. Most store ready granola bars have too much sugar, soy or flat out do not taste very great, so I made these cups to grab one on my way out the door. They are the perfect amount to get me through a 12-16 mile bike and 5 mile run. Not to mention that my son loves them. I am more than happy to have Mason eat them as a snack considering it is Sunbutter, maple syrup, oatmeal, dried fruit and nuts versus the ingredients that I cannot pronounce in a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.

The one tip I have is to break down the oats, nuts and dried fruit before adding the sunbutter and maple syrup or your food processor will struggle to break down the chunks.

Sunbutter Oatmeal Cups
Serves 12
These no-bake Sunbutter oatmeal cups are the perfect pre-workout snack!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Cashews
  2. 1 C Sunbutter
  3. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1 C Cranberries, unsweetened
  5. 1 C Sunflower Seeds
  6. 2 C Oatmeal, certified gluten free
  7. 1 bag, Mini Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life)
Instructions
  1. Put nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit in food processor and process until broken down into fine pieces (2-3 minutes). Add Sunbutter and maple syrup and process until combined.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper cups. Press down Sunbutter mixture into cups about 3/4 of the way up. Make sure to firmly press into cups before adding chocolate.
  3. Pour chips in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Repeat 3-4 times until chocolate is melted. Do not over do it or chocolate will become lumpy.
  4. Pour a thin layer of chocolate into each cup. I use a large soup spoon and then push it out to the edges. After cups are filled, you can smooth out the chocolate more by tapping the muffin tin lightly on the counter a couple of times.
  5. Place muffin pan in refrigerator to cool for an hour before serving.
Notes
  1. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Blueberry Crunch Parfait

I tried a bite of leftover ribs and it was not hitting the spot for lunch. In my quest of something else I whipped together this parfait. This healthy dessert consists of a blueberry spinach smoothie layer and a peanut butter crunch layer.

This was the perfect post work out lunch, but would also be great for breakfast! My husband had this too and said it was very good!

Blueberry Crunch Parfait
Serves 3
This healthy dessert has a blueberry spinach smoothie layer and a peanut butter granola crunch layer. It also works great for a yummy breakfast or lunch!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie Layer
  1. 1 C Spinach
  2. 1 C Green Leaf Lettuce
  3. 1 C Almond Milk
  4. 3 C Blueberries, frozen
  5. 1 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 C Greek Yogurt, plain
Peanut Butter Crunch Layer
  1. 1/3 C Almonds
  2. 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  3. 2 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  4. 1/2 C Mangoes, dried
  5. 1/4 C Raisins
  6. 5-6 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  7. 1/2 C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Directions
Peanut Butter Crunch Layer
  1. Add ingredients to food processor and pulse 8-10 times until the ingredients are mixed together. Will form a crumbly mixture (make sure mango, raisins and almonds are broken down into small pieces).
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie Layer
  1. Place spinach, lettuce, Greek Yogurt and almond milk into blender. Mix until a smooth juice forms (e.g. break down the greens into very small pieces).
  2. Add in the blueberries and honey until smooth. Will take 1-2 minutes depending on blender.
  3. Layer the peanut butter crunch and blueberry spinach smoothie into a parfait.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Currant Almond Bars

Day three of my wisdom teeth extraction and even though I cannot eat solid foods, I still wanted to make a breakfast bar for my husband and little guy. These could also be used as a healthy snack too!

​I typically buy a dried fruit crispy bar from our local health food store. However they are $3.95 a piece, so I thought why not try to save some money and make them myself. After looking at the ingredients on their package and substituting several items and this what I came up with! Don’t tell them that I think my bars are better!

Currant Almond Bars
Serves 10
A blend of sesame seeds, almonds, currants and nut butter make this a perfect pre-workout snack! This can also work as an on-the-go breakfast bar!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Brown Rice Crispies
  2. 1 C Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  3. 1 C Silvered Almonds, raw
  4. 1 C Currants, dried
  5. 1/4 C Sesame Seeds
  6. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla
  8. 1 C Sunbutter
  9. 1 C Brown Rice Syrup
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce, mix sunbutter, vanilla and maple syrup over medium heat until a creamy mixture has formed. Will take roughly 5 minutes & is ready when a light boil occurs.
  2. Remove from heat and stir remaining ingredients into the saucepan.
  3. Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper to make bars easier to remove.
  4. Pour mixture into pan. Press down tightly with additional parchment paper.
  5. Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Millet Apricot Porridge

Who likes oatmeal? I do, but I can see how the blandness and mushy consistency can be a major turn off! The majority of us probably eat it because doctors say it is good for your heart, but I am willing to bet you are gagging after every bite :)

If you are in the “I only eat oatmeal because someone is telling me it is good for me” camp, then try my Millet Apricot Porridge. Sounds like Goldylocks & the Three Bears, right? Okay, before you turn your nose up I have to say this is the best breakfast porridge I have ever had! Oatmeal has nothing on it & I mean nothing! Try it, it is HOT DAMN tasty! 

Oh, you can also use quinoa or steel cut oats in place of millet, but I just love the flavor and consistency of millet over quinoa for breakfast cereal. Oats can be harder to digest & it is hard to find Gluten Free certified oats, so try to stick with millet or quinoa if oats do not sit well with you.

Millet Apricot Porridge
Serves 4
Hearty and delicious porridge that hits the spot on a cold winter's day.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Millet
  2. 3 C Almond Milk, vanilla flavored
  3. 1 tsp Almond Extract
  4. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 C Dried Apricots
  6. 1/2 C Almonds, raw
  7. 1/2 C Cranberries, dried
  8. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  9. 1/2 C Golden Raisens
  10. 2 tbsp Almond Butter
  11. 1 tsp Cinnamon
  12. 1/2-3 C Almond Milk (garnish for porridge, depends on number of servings)
  13. Salt
Instructions
  1. Cook millet, almond milk, vanilla and maple syrup in large saucepan over medium high heat until milk comes to a light boil.
  2. Turn heat down to low, cover & let simmer for 25-30 minutes until liquid is completely absorbed.
  3. Pulse together dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon and almond butter until it is finely chopped. Add cooked millet (while still warm) & pulse until combined.
  4. Transfer a cup of the porridge to a bowl. Top with 1/2 C almond milk, additional dried/fruit nut mixture (if desired) & a dash of salt (optional).
  5. Store the rest in the refrigerator & reheat for another morning. Just add another 1/2 C of almond milk with each serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Vegetable Chop Salad

For whatever reason I have been craving hard core vegetables lately! This is an oddity because normally I want every baked good under the sun. So, I experimented with my frequent salad creations & went with a grapefruit vinagrette. I am hit or miss with grapefruits most days, but they are super healthy for & the dressing turned out totally awesome! One of these days I also need to share my homemade sesame ginger dressing because it is the BOMB!

Vegetable Chopped Salad
Serves 2
Chopped salad that is loaded with veggies, eggs & sunflower seeds and topped with a grapefruit vinaigrette.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
Chopped Salad
  1. 1/4 C Broccoli Spears, rough chop
  2. 1/4 Cucumber, peeled & chopped
  3. 1/4 C Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
  4. 1/4 Bell Peppers, (I used red, yellow and orange)
  5. 6-8 Baby Carrots, sliced
  6. 2 Hard Boiled Eggs (Free Range), chopped
  7. 1/4 C Sugar Snap Peas, cut in half
  8. 2 C Spinach,
  9. 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
Grapefruit Vinaigrette
  1. 1/2 Grapefruit
  2. 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  3. 1/8 C Olive Oil
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt
  5. 1/8 tsp Pepper
  6. 1 tbsp Honey
  7. 1 tsp Hemp Seeds
  8. 1/4 tsp Celery Seeds
Directions
Salad
  1. Cut up veggies and eggs. Add all salad ingredients to a medium sized bowl.
Vinaigrette
  1. Squeeze grapefruit juice into bowl (make sure to take out the seeds).
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together until everything is combined.
  3. Toss with salad ingredients.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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