almond butter + oat + chia protein bites

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there are often days when i am dragging like crazy in the afternoon. days when i did not get that second cup of coffee in the morning and by 2 pm all i want to do is go crawl back in bed and go to sleep. usually i try to snack on something packed with protein for a pick me up, whether it’s a hearty homemade granola with loads of chia and flaxseed (on a good day) or a huge spoonful of peanut butter with an apple (on a normal day).

for a few years now, i have been a huge fan of juice plus complete protein powder. it is a staple in our home and we go through it super fast. it’s one snack that i can get in my kids’ tummies that is easy AND good for them (how rare is that?! well with MY kids it is…). we make shakes daily and i add it to a lot of things, including smoothies and snack recipes, like this one. use your JP complete, or if your family uses a different brand of protein powder, you can sub it in this recipe (as long as it’s vanilla). the egg white is optional, if you want to make the bites vegan – but they add an extra punch of protein (and i like the glossy finish it gives the bites 🙂

almond butter + oat + chia protein bites
makes 12-14 balls

ingredients

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal (or we love guiltless superfoods’ new flour)

1 scoop (1/4 cup) juice plus vanilla complete powder

1/2 cup nut butter (almond or peanut butter are our favorites)

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 heaping tsp vanilla bean paste)

1 tbsp local honey

1 egg white (optional)

directions

  1. mix all ingredients well in a bowl with a spatula or your hands. roll into 1-inch diameter balls (packing them as you roll so they hold their shape). place on a small plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating so they can firm up. transfer to an airtight container – will keep for about a week in the fridge.
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spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter

spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter | via she likes to eat

for my family, fall is a big time of entertaining. there is a lot of football to be watched, and with the weather getting cooler, we have a tendency to often gather with friends to eat, play games outside, and then retire to the fire pit for s’mores. while i am cooking and guests are still arriving, i like to set out a little something for guests to snack on, and this is one of my favorites to put out. most people love nuts and this is a deliciously different way to serve them, instead of just plain ol’ poured-from-the-can-mixed-nuts. they are a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy. and the rosemary gives it an incredible flavor. if you and your guests don’t polish off the whole bowl in one night, they will keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.

spiced mixed nuts with brown sugar + rosemary butter
adapted from union square cafe’s bar nuts

ingredients

36 oz mixed nuts (i prefer a mixture of just pistachios, almonds, and cashews – or you can do a pre-mixed variety), lightly salted

4 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp cayenne (if there are no kids, and you like spicy, 1/2 tsp is recommended)

5 (level) tsp brown sugar

3 tbsp butter

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350.

2. spread out nuts in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. roast for about 8-10 minutes, stopping about halfway through to stir the nuts a bit.

3. while the nuts are roasting, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. once completely melted, add in chopped rosemary, cayenne, and brown sugar. whisk well to incorporate. turn off the heat.

4. when the nuts are done roasting, pour them into a large bowl. toss well with the butter mixture. serve while still warm or at room temperature.

enjoy!

salt & vinegar kale chips

salt & vinegar kale chips via she likes to eat

yeah, that’s right. KALE CHIPS. and i’m super excited about them.

it’s pretty apparent that i’m totally turning into my mother.
i mean, the lady frequently wears a t-shirt that she bought from, where else, whole foods that says in big uppercase letters “KALE”. you know, like YALE.. get it? pretty sure it’s her favorite shirt.
for those of you who don’t know my mom, aka YaYa, aka The Mahm, she is a total hippie, living in the hippie capital of the south (austin texas) and to top it off, she’s an artist (no, i did not get any of her gifts in this department). she’s all over the coconut oil (don’t get her started, she’ll go on for days;) for every need possible, and she’s a really healthy eater. so you can imagine when i start making things in my kitchen LIKE KALE CHIPS, i kind of rise above myself in an out-of-body experience and think,
what. is. happening. here?
i’m turning into my mother. and i am 100% ok with that. actually i’m proud so say it:)

disclaimer:
be careful with these babies. they’re serious business.
i may or may not have eaten an entire pan in one sitting the last time i made these.

salt & vinegar kale chips
adapted via gimme some oven

ingredients

about 5 cups kale leaf pieces, ribs removed, washed & dried

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

directions

1. preheat oven to 350. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. place the prepped kale in a large bowl. drizzle in the olive oil, vinegar, and 1/8 tsp salt. mix with a hand or tongs to soften and combine. place leaves on the baking sheet in one layer without overlapping, but fairly close together (they will shrink as they are baked). sprinkle over top the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.

3. bake for about 8-10 minutes. remove from oven and let cool. (about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, i turn all the leaves over to help them dry out a bit and crisp up.)

enjoy!

homemade chewy granola bars


the little she loves them.
i have been craving them like crazy (pregnancy does that to you, apparently).
but store bought granola bars have so much unwanted junk in them, i wanted to make my own version. and when it comes down to it, it is WAY more cost effective to home-make your own.

so of all the versions i entertained, this one was my favorite. you can make this recipe super simple & basic or you can have a little bit of fun with it. the vanilla & the cinnamon are both optional and the nuts can be replaced with more dried fruit. the options really are endless!

this recipe is from king arthur flour, via the smitten kitchen. (it is a super flexible recipe and if you go to her site, you can find a few more ideas on making it lots of different ways.) 



homemade chewy granola bars

ingredients
1 2/3 cups oats
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness like store bought bars, less for a mildly sweet bar.)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats processed until finely ground in food processor)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 – 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10-15 ounces; also, i ground the nuts a bit in the food processor, since kids would be eating them)
1/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp water

directions
1. preheat the oven to 350. line  a pan (one 8x8x2 or 2 bread loaf pans; i actually used a 9×13 rimmed cookie sheet – depends on how thick you want your bars) in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed part of the pan with butter or cooking spray.
2. stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruits & nuts. in a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, honey, and water. toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if using) until the mixture is evenly crumbly (see this “mixing with your hands” cooking tip). spread into prepared pan, pressing mixture in firmly to ensure they mold to the shape of the pan.
3. bake the bars for 20-35 minutes – depending on the thickness of your bars (mine, being pretty thin, took about 25 minutes) – until they are brown around the edges. don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops. they’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan, but don’t worry, they’ll set once completely cool.
4. cool the bars on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars from the pan and cool another 10-15 minutes in the parchment on the rack. transfer back to the pan or cookie sheet and put in the fridge to cool further, about 30 minutes. this will help the bars set completely and not be as crumbly. once cool, use a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares or rectangles. to store, wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge (they do best in the fridge instead of out on the counter).

suggestions for fruit & nut mixture:
dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots, raisins, pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut, pepitas, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, dried apples, rice krispies, wheat germ, chocolate or peanut butter chips.
enjoy!
(first photo via)

homemade cheese crackers




something i am beginning to realize about myself is that i get in baking mode as soon as i see snow on the ground. i just want to hole up all day long and bake.
bake bake bake.
and this week, on the day we got a little snow, i did just that. i made these amazingly addictive cheese crackers and homemade honey graham crackers. i love getting time to do this because i much prefer the little she eating these homemade snacks rather than the store-bought, preservative-packed alternatives.

my husband asked me what i’d decided to call them and i told him they will henceforth be called lindz-its. more exciting than cheese crackers, no?
but i will let y’all call them whatever you like once you have made them and become addicted too.

homemade cheese crackers

ingredients

8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
5 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup half-and-half (or 2% or whole milk)

directions

1. preheat the oven to 350. line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. put everything except the half & half or milk in a food processor. pulse until the dough is in coarse crumbs. add liquid and pulse several more times to incorporate.

3. turn the dough out on a floured surface and press into a ball. dust the top of the dough with flour. with a rolling pin, roll out until dough is about 1/4 inch thick. cut the dough into 2-inch squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. poke a hole in the center of each cracker with a toothpick.

4. place crackers about 1/4 inch apart (they don’t really spread) on baking sheets. bake for 13-14 minutes, until the edges are just starting to darken. cool on a rack and let the crackers cool completely. keep in an airtight container and store for up to 1 week.