gluten free

Joyful Almond Bars

Oh how I love me some Almond Joy bars. I think it was sometimes around Halloween when the craving striked. Since then, a lot of my sweet cravings were chocolate and coconutty. So, naturally I decided to make my own more nutritious version: Joyful Almond Bars. Made with 4 simple ingredients. Check it out. 

Joyful Almond Bars

  • 4 cups shredded coconut

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

In a food processor blend together coconut, dates, vanilla, and coconut milk. Place in a 9x13x2 pan and spread evenly. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt dark chocolate chips (or chocolate sauce). Remove the coconut from the freezer. Pour and spread the chocolate sauce on top of the coconut. Top with almonds. Place tray in refrigerator until chocolate layer sets. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Fall Comfort Foods: Butternut Squash & Barley Bowl

Fall is upon us which means its time for hearty, warming comfort foods! I don't know about everyone on the west coast, but here in New England, when Fall roles around I go into full blown hibernation mode. I cook cozy dinners, live under my yellow blanket, and wear lots of scarves.

Here's a delicious dinner I came up with last week and it was just the heartiest, most satisfying fall meal. The best part? I made a HUGE batch and ate it for lunch throughout the week with a side of rotisserie chicken.

Butternut Squash & Barley Bowl

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 small butternut squash, halved length wise
  • 1 head purple kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, place squash cut side down.  Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil, add barley and simmer until all of the water is absorbed.  When the squash is finished, peel off the skin, scoop out the seeds, and roughly cube (tip: its MUCH easier to peel and scoop out the seeds of a cooked squash).  Stir in with cooked barley, kale, parsley, sage, olive oil, and feta. Top with pepitas and enjoy (tip: only add pepitas when ready to serve to preserve the crunchiness). Salt and pepper to taste.

What is your favorite fall comfort food?

Why Breakfast Is NOT the Most Important Meal of the Day

If I asked 10 people right now what the most important meal of the day is - I bet most, if not all of them would say BREAKFAST. In my opinion breakfast is the most delicious meal of the day - but not the most important.  Why? A few reasons.

1. Every meal and snack you eat is important. Your body is constantly burning calories to think and move throughout the day, so all meals and snacks are going to be equally important!

2. It's more important to be mindful of your hunger and fullness cues than to force feed yourself at breakfast. If you're not hungry in the morning, don't eat! Just make sure you have a well-balanced breakfast or snack with plenty of protein (~15-20 grams) ready for you when you are ready to eat something.

3. 24 hours is 24 hours. Yes, what you eat for breakfast can affect your hunger and energy levels later in the day, but so can what you have for dinner the night before.

Now - enjoy this typical breakfast recipe that can be eaten at any time of the day. This is one of the easiest pancake recipes ever, which is why I took a few extra minutes to make them even more fabulous by adding some coconut lemon cream. It’s so quick and filling that I even have time to make them fast in the morning before I run out the door to work. If the idea of that does not sit well with you – fear not. You can also cook up a large batch of these puppies and freeze them. Then, just pop them in the toaster oven to enjoy.

Banana Oat Pancakes (Makes 2)

  • 1 packet quick cooking oats (or ½ cup rolled oats, slightly chopped in food processor)
  • ½ ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T ground flax (optional)

Place banana, egg, baking powder, and flax in blender and blend until smooth. Add to quick cooking oats and stir until well combined.

Place pan over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray or spread a tiny bit of coconut oil on the pan. Pour batter to form 2 medium pancakes. Flip when slightly browned on one side. Plate and top with lemon cream and blueberries

Lemon Coconut Cream (Serves about 2)

  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut butter

Stir all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and enjoy!