Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cranberry Cashew Oat Bars

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you all have a fabulous day spending time with those you love. 

I had the chance to dye some eggs with a few kids at work on Thursday and we had a ton of fun. I seemed to have forgotten that simple activities like dyeing eggs can make a child so happy.


I know you're probably loaded up with fun Easter candy and delicious food, but when you're ready to escape the sugar high you're bound to experience, give this tasty and wholesome snack a try!

I mentioned before that I'm trying to buy less of the store-bought processed snacks and snack bars to fuel my everyday life and workouts. It's sometimes tough finding a tasty, nutritious, and portable snack to take with me to work. These Cranberry Cashew Oat Bars are perfect for nutrition on-the-go. These bars are completely customizable: swap out your favorite dried fruit for the cranberries and your favorite nut for the cashews. Also, if your family likes a sweeter snack, add your favorite sweetener and make this bar as an afternoon treat! The possibilities are endless. 


Cranberry Cashew Oat Bars

Makes 8 generous bars, or 12 smaller bars

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a 9" x 9" baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges.

*The only sweetener in these bars is the berries. Feel free to add 1/4-1/3 cup of your family's favorite sweetener.

Recipe inspired by Katheats.com



And if you're looking for more healthy snacks, check out these:

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffins




Friday, April 18, 2014

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Cakes

Hooray, it's the weekend! Does anyone else have today off from work? I'm so excited to have a long weekend... I've got a lot of catching up to do around the house.

I love sweet potatoes. They I mostly eat them as "fries" baked in the oven for a side dish, but sometimes I want something a little more filling and satisfying. This sweet potato cake is full of good stuff: black beans, oats, and sweet potato. You don't need to be a vegan to love these!


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Cakes

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, boiled until the skin easily comes off
3/4 cup black beans, if using canned beans drain and rinse them
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup oats
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a a small mixing bowl, mash the sweet potato. Add the beans and combine. In a separate bowl, combine the oats and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Add the oat mixture to the sweet potato mixture. Mix well. Divide the mixture into 5 black bean and sweet potato cakes and place them on the baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn them over and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Switch your oven setting to broil for the last few minutes, if desired.

Serve these Black Bean and Sweet Potato Cakes as-is, serve on a bun, or eat it in a lettuce wrap.


Wishing you all a wonderful Easter  and beautiful spring weather... whether it's really beautiful out there or if it's just tropical in your mind :) 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easy Spring Wreath

I hope you all are having an amazing week so far. Today, I'm sharing a fun spring wreath I recently made. It was so easy to make and it's so simple, yet lovely. Perfect for the whole spring season!


This wreath starts with a wreath form (available at craft stores) and burlap ribbon (I got mine at Wal-Mart for less than $3). Begin by wrapping the wreath form with the burlap ribbon. Wrap the burlap tight enough so that it doesn't come loose.


Once you have completely covered the wreath form, cut the excess burlap off and secure the end of the burlap with a few dabs of craft glue or hot glue.


Next is the fun part! Add whatever fun spring embellishments you wish to add: Easter eggs, flowers, etc. I added little birds nests with faux robin eggs-- so perfect for spring. You can find similar nests here and here. Finally, attach a big ribbon for hanging and you're good to go!


Are you ready for Easter?
I'm still finalizing our menu, but other than that, we're good to go!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Jelly Bean Infused Vodka

Hello, hello. Easter is just around the corner! For the last month, I've been seeing tons of Easter recipes and crafts and I thought it was time for a grown-up Easter treat. 

Gather up the jelly beans because I'm going to tell you how to make Jelly Bean Infused Vodka! A fun take on your evening or weekend cocktail, this infused vodka takes on the flavor of jelly beans and tastes even more delicious than it looks.


Jelly Bean Infused Vodka

Ingredients:

1/4 cup jelly beans (single flavor works best, but feel free to experiment)
1/2 cup vodka

Directions:

Place the jelly beans and vodka into a glass container with a lid. Shake the jar and let it sit for at least 2-3 days. Shake the jar a few times each day. Strain the vodka (coffee filters work great) and discard the jelly beans. Chill and serve! You can drink the vodka as-is or mix it with your favorite champagne. 



What's your favorite jelly bean flavor?
I'm all about orange.