All American Granola Bars (V)

Regardless if keeping a healthy diet or not, we all like a good bar. But the purpose of the handheld treat differs greatly: A snickers bar to appease a sweet tooth, a protein bar post workout, or a breakfast bar when running out the door in the morning.  Most bars, however, are pumped full of artificial sweeteners and other harmful additives that sacrifice nutritional value for convenience. That’s why it’s always best to make your own!

strawberries and blueberries
Ingredients: 2 cups rolled oats, 2 tablespoons of flax seeds, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, handful of strawberries, handful of blueberries, 1 scoop of vegan protein powder, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add honey/agave to taste. 

Directions: Soak flax seeds in 4 1/2 tablespoons of water for 5 minutes. Mix oats, protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, and flax mixture. Cut strawberries and blueberries in half. Add to mixture. Make sure to mix thoroughly so protein powder is fully dissolved. 

granola mixture
Once mixed, form bars onto greased tin foil on pan (recipe makes 6). Bake for 15 mins. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

Granola Bars preoven
You can see that we chose our berries with America in mind. Happy (belated) Independence Day to all our American followers!

While the honey or agave will give it additional sweetness, the berries and protein give plenty of natural sugar so it’s not necessary. These are great in the morning, post workout, or when you just need something sweet. Hey, looks like we fulfilled all three!

Steak Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera
Not all pasta is created equally. Well, actually it is, but then it’s processed, stripped of the majority of its nutritional value and has a pound of cream dumped  on top it and is then called cuisine. **cough** Olive Garden.

Whole wheat pasta has much more vitamins and fiber than its lighter component. Also, it has a much lighter taste and doesn’t give you that heavy gut feeling when you’re done eating. 

whole wheat pasta
Ingredients: Whole wheat shells (any whole wheat pasta will work), .87 lb of round steak, bunch of asparagus, bunch of carrot sticks, 1/4 onion, sliced mushrooms, 1 clove of garlic, Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions: Boil water, add pasta and sliced carrots. Taste to check if soft.

Steak with Veggies
Slice veggies. Cut up raw meat separately. Add garlic, mushrooms and onion to heated pan. Once browned, add meat. Once sufficiently cooked, add asparagus and tomatoes. 

Once pasta is in colander and dryer, add garlic powder, salt and pepper. In large bowl, combine pasta, meat, and veggies. Once mixed together, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Add a bit of Parmesan cheese to taste. 

Steak Pasta Primavera
Pasta tends to get a bad reputation for its heavy carb content. But it can be indulged in as long as it’s portion controlled. This recipe perfectly shows how to balance out good carbs with plenty of protein and veggies.  

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders

We all can agree that we miss fried food. The savory flavor, the crunchy shell it’s encased in, and the lack of silverware needed to consume it all make up the magic that is fried food. But the carbs and oil needed to make that magic happen come with a catch (kinda like a Disney movie). So getting creative is necessary when plain old grilled chicken has gotten old (which it will. After about the first week). 

Almond mix
Ingredients: chicken tenderloins, 1 bag of almonds, clove of garlic, 2 eggs

Directions: Process the full bag of almonds and the clove of garlic. Add whatever spices desired (just pepper and salt were used here). Crack eggs in separate bowl and mix thoroughly. 

egg and almond
Dip each chicken in the egg and then mix rigorously in the almond mix until completely covered. Place on baking sheet. Once all chicken has been coated, bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes for added crunch. 

Almond Chicken  oven
These were served with sweet potato wedges (recipe below) and salad. Thinking about pitching this to McDonald’s to replace the Happy Meal. Or maybe an Adult Happy Meal. The Amicable Meal :). 

Sweet Potato Wedges

Sweet Potato Wedges: Cut the sweet potatoes into wedge shapes. Toss with olive oil, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 mins on 350.

Caulibrown Brunch

Happy Father’s Day to all the healthy dads out there! Brunch always caters best to the Sunday holidays so here’s a lighter option when the table is already covered with bagels and pastries.

Cauliflower
Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, 1 quarter white (or yellow) onion, 1 clove garlic, 2 eggs (or 4 tablespoons of chia seeds)

Directions: Dice and microwave cauliflower for about 6 minutes. Once cooled, process cauliflower with garlic and onion (and seasonings of your choice) until puréed. As described in the caulirice recipe, the garlic and onion give the caulirice some much needed flavor. 

Once processed, transfer to bowl. Mix eggs separately and add to cauliflower mixture. Mix throughly. Shape into ovals.  

Caulibrown
These were cooked on a flat top but can also be prepared in a pan. Cook for about 5 mins on each side. 

#Leftoverremix Quinoa Meatless Balls

There’s nothing more satisfying than using every last bit of produce in your refrigerator. Interestingly, the mini sweet peppers were originally purchased for the portobello pizzas, which lead to the stuffed mini peppers, and left the refrigerator with excess bean mixture and quinoa. The circle of meals. While the bean mixture isn’t bad over quinoa, but we have something more creative in mind. 

Beans and Quinoa
Ingredients: Leftover bean mixture (Lima beans, kidney beans, red onion, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar), quinoa (about 1/2 of a cup was leftover), flax seed

Directions: Soak 1 tablespoon of flax seed in about 2 tablespoons of water and let sit for 10 mins. Combine quinoa, bean mixture and flax once soaked. A little bit of whole wheat flour was thrown in to absorb some moisture. 

Quinoa Balls Preoven
Make into small balls on cooking sheet. Cheese was added to these, but it’s not required for structure. The flax seed acts well as a binding agent. Bake for only about 10 mins or so. Afterall, there’s no meat that you need to worry about cooking thoroughly.

Cooked Quinoa Balls
These came out great and required very little time to prepare. And their taste will convince even the heartiest of meat eaters. 

Vegetarian Mini Stuffed Peppers

You gotta love a finger food. Quick, easy, and gone in a second. Problem is, most of them are starchy, fat laden and have spent way too much time in someone’s freezer. But these mini stuffed peppers are nutrient rich and pack the protein, even with being veggie based.

Mini Sweet Peppers
Ingredients: Bag of mini sweet peppers, 1 can of kidney beans, half can of Lima beans (combination of any beans will work), 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, quarter of diced red onion, balsamic vinegar, shredded mozzarella cheese (if desired).

Directions: Slice tops off of mini peppers. Bake at 350 for only about 10 mins. Let cool afterward.

Vegan Bean Mixture
In a bowl, mix together all beans, onion, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, and any seasonings desired (onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper, and salt were used here). Taste the mixture and make sure to balance the amount of vinegar to tomato paste neutralize the sweetness of the tomato paste. Now, this recipe is vegan (it’s good to give your body a break from digesting animal proteins every now and again), but ground beef or chicken will work also.

Stuffed Peppers
Pack a bit of the bean mixture into each pepper. Top off with the mozzarella cheese if not keeping vegan.

These are excellent as an appetizer if entertaining healthy guests or can be a meal with rice or quinoa. 

Portobello Pizza

Pizza is the end all cheat meal. It’s carbs, dairy, grease, and fat all rolled into a delicious, handheld treat. While many feel like it’s the hardest thing to give up while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there’s variations that deliver the taste without the trash. 
portobello caps
Ingredients: Portobello mushrooms, tomato paste (preferably organic), chicken tenderloins, low fat shredded mozzarella cheese, peppers, onion, kale to garnish

Directions: Scoop out inside of portobello caps (a melon baller was used here), saving the extracted mushroom. Make sure to be CAREFUL while still insuring that a large amount of the inside has been removed. No one wants a holey pizza! Lightly sprinkle with salt to absorb moisture. Bake on 350 for about 15 mins. 

saute chicken and veggies
Slice peppers and onions. Slice chicken to fit size of portobello cap and lightly season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Sauté the removed mushrooms and sliced veggies first. Once browned, add chicken. Cook for about 10-15 mins. 

Once portobello caps have cooked, remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, spread a layer of the tomato paste on for your sauce. Then add chicken and cooked veggies. Finish with mozzarella. 

cheese portobellos

Bake for about 10 mins and broil for 2-5 minutes. Watch carefully!

Portobello Pizzas
It’s important to remember that all bad food is based off of good, nutritional ingredients (like a bad movie derived from a good book)😜. Don’t think about what you’re giving up, but what you can spin into making healthy!