Super Easy Healthy Granola Bars

Super Easy Healthy Granola Bars

My sister, Julie, called me this morning and raved about a granola bar recipe she tried from Giada’s cookbook, Giada’s Feel Good Food. I had all of the ingredients on hand so I tweaked the recipe slightly and made these Super Easy Healthy Granola Bars, which came out awesome! I used liquid coconut oil instead of the safflower oil, added additional oats and vanilla, used golden raisins and added a combination pecans and walnuts instead of just walnuts. These are a fabulous gluten free healthy breakfast or mid or afternoon snack recipe. Since my daughter does not get a lunch break at school, this is the ideal blend of protein, fiber, carbohydrates to help her energized though her day. These also make a great travel snack, so try them now and thank me later!

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

yogurt parfait copy

For breakfast or an afternoon snack, this Fruit and Yogurt Parfait is our newest favorite! We have been also snacking on freeze dried fruit. So what exactly is freeze dried fruit?  Say hello to Fruttata freeze dried fruit.  In case you’re not familiar, the crisps are created via freeze drying , the process of removing moisture from food through a dryer at -40°F. Made from the freshest fruits, Fruttata is the ultimate, tasty ingredient to incorporate into your favorite recipes.  These also make wonderful snacks, but also work great in this Fruit and Yogurt Parfait recipe.

No-Bake Date Nut Energy Bars

I am always looking for new, healthy snack ideas for the kids, and if I can come up with a no-bake recipe idea, then even better. My two boys love dried dates, so I thought this combination of dates, nuts and flaxseed would make a great healthy snack, dessert or breakfast idea. You’ll love these too. No-Bake Date Energy Bars are not only “no-bake”, they are also gluten-free and perfect for all of my friends following the Paleo Diet. They also make a great pre or post workout snack so enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from “The Dramatic Pancake”.

Valentine’s Day Trail Mix

Valentines is almost here, and I thought I would share my latest healthy idea of what you can snack on at home, in the office or at your kids’ class parties. This Valentine Trail Mix is filled with healthy nuts, yogurt covered pretzels and raisins. Feel free to add your favorite nuts and dried fruits. Top it off with a small amount of regular or peanut M & M’s, and you’ll have a winning Valentine’s Day treat that is fairly healthy too.

Holiday Food Gift Idea: Simple Breakfast Granola

As the holidays are approaching, I have been trying to make recipes that my kids will love and hopefully ones that will be potential great homemade food gifts. I saw a variation of this recipe in a recent Paula Dean Magazine, and tweaked it using some of my favorite ingredients such as walnuts and flaxseed. It came out great, and it lasted at least up to 3 weeks in a tightly covered container. My kids ate it for breakfast and a snack, and I piled it on top of Greek Yogurt for a filling breakfast. For the dried fruit, I used Sun-Maid Fruit Bits. Start your holiday food gifts early, and try this Granola recipe.

Halloween Healthy Snack: Apricot-Almond Snack Mix

IMG_2379

I try to make new snack mixes for my kids, especially around holidays. I made this one up the other day, and my kids said it looked like Halloween. Feel free to add any of your favorite nuts or dried fruits. Beware though, once you starting eating it, you can’t stop.

Healthy Organic Trail Mix

img_1489

When I am on the go (which is all of the time), I like a quick healthy snack. This trail mix is perfect because it has the combination of a sweet and salty crunch made with some of my favorite ingredients. Today, I am taping 4 different cooking segments for a new local NBC show, “Daytime Alabama”. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to prepare for 4 different cooking shows (I thought 1 show was difficult). Don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun. I would like to give thanks to my friend Alacia who helped me prepare for these television segments. 

 

Organic Trail Mix

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield:  6 cups

Ingredients

21/2 cups Oatmeal Squares

2 cups granola

1 cup peanut-butter filled pretzels

2 (10-ounce) package Harvest blend trail mix (I used Back to Nature)

1 (5.2-ounce) dried strawberries

1 (5.2-ounce) dried blueberries

1 (8.3-ounce) yogurt covered raisins

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a airtight container and store at room temperature.

New Years Greens-Spinach with Dried Fruit and Goat Cheese

img_1125

While black-eyed peas are supposed to bring luck for the New Year, another superstition in the south is to serve greens such as cabbage, collards, greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach to bring money or prosperity in the New Year. As a Recipe Developer, I have created hundreds of spinach recipes for magazines and food companies, and I wasn’t sure which one to share with you for the New Year. I made this version two nights ago by just using what I had in my pantry and in the refrigerator, and it was an instant hit at our dinner table. It’s only 5 ingredients and is healthy, colorful and has a sweet and salty crunch along with the creaminess of goat cheese. Feel free to use what you have in your home. and I wish everyone much hope for a happy prosperous New Year!

 

Spinach with Dried Fruit, Nuts and Goat Cheese

Prep and cook: 3 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach

Kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons organic fruit and nut trail mix (I used “Good Sense Organic”)

2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh spinach to skillet, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with salt, trail mix and goat cheese. Serve spinach with slotted spoon or tongs.

Easy and Healthy Christmas and Holiday Gift Idea-Dried Fruit Mix

img_0848

Some of you may know that my background and love is really in healthy and light cooking, but I know with the holidays, it’s hard to focus on that. Even in my profession of being a Recipe Developer, I deviate from my healthy schedule, especially when working on holiday recipes. Usually, most magazines work six months in advance so I am preparing heavy holiday foods in the summer (during bathing suit season), and am grilling light summery food in the winter (luckily, I live in the south). As far as healthy gift ideas, I thought I would share one of my (and my kid’s) favorites-dried fruit mixed with a touch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. We went threw our jar in less than one day, so I hope this will be as popular as it was at our house.

 

Dried Fruit Mix

Prep: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried apples

3/4 cup pitted prunes

3/4 cup dried aprictots

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preparation

1. Layer all ingredients in a 1-quart jar in the order given; tightly seal. Makes 1 gift jar.