Mango-Macadamia Granola Bars

So it’s no secret that since I’ve started eating “healthy” – or whatever – I’ve become a breakfast eater.

My breakfast game was at its all time peak during my couple of months of unemployment late last year when I got to make breakfast at home every morning. Toast, eggs, cheese and salsa, yessssss #allthethings

HOWEVER, that’s unfortunately not the norm. I usually eat Greek yogurt and a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side. What that somethin’ somethin’ entails changes from week to week… I have made skinny muffins. I’ve made protein muffins. I love muesli…and I even made muesli bars.

For this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’m sharing what I’ve been eating for breakfast lately:

The past few weeks, I’ve been eating homemade granola bars!

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You’ll notice that, unlike my other breakfast muffins and bars, there is no “skinny” or “protein” in the title of this recipe.

That’s not to say they aren’t healthy! Made primarily of oats, uncooked quinoa, and flaxseed, they’re leaps and bounds better than any processed bar you’ll find in the supermarket. Plus they have a LOT less added sugar (only 3 tbsp of honey for the entire batch!).

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But they’ve also got a fair amount of nut butter…and chocolate.

The point of these granola bars isn’t that they’re low cal, or fat free. It’s that they are full of nutrient dense foods that are good for you, and some healthy fats that make them DELICIOUS.

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Plus, mango + macadamia nuts + coconut = tropical summer vacation. Am I right?

Mango-Macadamia Granola Bars
adapted from Cooking Light’s Cranberry-Pistachio Energy Bars
makes 9 bars

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 cup dried mango, chopped
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded or flaked
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (or just grind up flaxseed!)
1 oz chocolate (chips or chunks)
1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Note: This is an extremely flexible recipe. I’ve also made it with pepitas and dried cranberries. Use whatever kind of dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, or oil you want!

Preheat oven to 350* F. Arrange oats and uncooked quinoa on a baking sheet and bake until slightly toasted and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, combine mango, macadamia nuts, coconut, chocolate and flaxseed meal. Once cooled, add oats and quinoa.

In a stovepot, mix nut butter, honey, and coconut oil. Heat to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute and add to oat/nut/coconut mixture. Add to a greased 8×8 inch pan and bake at 350*F for 12 minutes, or until starting to brown.

Let cool before cutting into 9 squares. Eat at room temperature or cooled…the squares will keep for 1 week in the fridge!

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What is your breakfast go-to?

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What I Ate Wednesday – Lunch Lately

Wellcoooooome Wednesday!!!

Sorry. I’m just excited that it only feels like Tuesday, but it’s already Wednesday! Best Feeling Ever.

Since I started work again and put myself on a budget, I’ve been a little worried about what I’d be eating, whether it’d be healthy, and whether I’d be able to avoid eating out and spending too much money. {For the record, I have been keeping to my $30/week grocery budget! I’m still under my overall budget, but have been slipping in certain areas…I’ll be sure to give you all an update at the end of the month!}

Luckily, it was super easy to get back on the healthy workweek lunch wagon. I do miss the leisurely breakfasts and lunches I was enjoying at home, but my lunches haven’t been too shabby! So this week I’m linking up with What I Ate Wednesday to share my first week of work lunches.

As Jenn at Peas & Crayons puts it:
WIAW is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so. much. more. ❤
Be sure to check out Jenn’s post to see who else is linking up today.
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The first “Sunday food prep” meal I made for lunches last week was a curry quinoa. I sauteed kale, celery, ginger, garlic & onions in a bunch of Indian spices (curry powder, coriander, cumin seeds, & turmeric) then stirred in cooked quinoa. It made 3 servings – one I ate at home with a tortilla (see above) and the other two I brought in a tupperware to work!
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Didn’t think I could say bye to my breakfast for lunch meals forever, did you? I am super thankful that my new office is just around the corner from my old one, AKA only 8 blocks from my apartment! I have plenty of time to bike or walk home for lunch and cook up a quick simple, healthy, clean meal…like avocado & toast + eggs & salsa 🙂
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Pretty much the exact same meal, except I loaded my eggs up with goat cheese instead of salsa because I had run 5 miles that morning and wanted some extra protein! That bread is whole wheat flaxseed bread I found at the Farmers Market and it is AMAZING. Small slices so they’re only 70 calories a pop, and it’s got a great texture since it’s loaded with flaxseeds – hello protein and Omega-3s!
This week, I went super ultra cheap for my lunches. I use the Safeway Just For U app pretty regularly to find deals at the grocery store (it even gives you personalized deals based on the items you buy the most!) and this week, I noticed that they were offering a free bag of chopped salad with your purchase. I checked out the ingredient list and it actually didn’t seem too bad, so I picked up the Asian variety:
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The dressing isn’t exactly low fat, but I figured all the cabbage and carrots made up for it!
To bulk up the salad enough to make it stretch a few meals, I mixed in 3/4 cup (dry) of cooked quinoa right after it finished cooking. Raw cabbage is kind of rough on the digestive system, so I figured the hot quinoa would cook it and mellow it down a little.
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Winner winner quinoa dinner! It was super tasty!
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I had time to run home for lunch yesterday and enjoyed a bowl with the wonton strips that the salad came with. Today I am anticipating running errands at lunch, so I brought bowl #2 in a tupperware! I think I’ll add sriracha today too…it would go perfectly with the sesame dressing!
That’s it for week 1 of my workday eats!
Check out some other installments of Lunch Lately to see how I eat healthy during the workweek:
1 2 3 4
How often do you eat out?
Do you prep your breakfasts or lunches?

What I Ate Wednesday – Breakfast Edition

Happy Wednesday! We’re almost over the hump! Although these days the days and weeks are all starting to blend together for me, especially with last week’s holiday. Read on to find out why, and to find out how it inspired today’s What I Ate Wednesday post 🙂

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What I Ate Wednesday – New York edition!

Look at that, another WIAW post!

Hosted by Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, What I Ate Wednesday is an opportunity for wannabe-foodies-slash-voyeurs like me to see what other bloggers eat on a regular day. Such an awesome way to think of ideas to get you out of a food rut. However, there’s nothing regular about today’s edition – I’m just sharing all the food I ate on vacation 😉

My parents, brother and I got back late last night from New York after an amazing week with family and friends! Though we were there for a whole 7 days, I was actually only in New York City for the weekend + Monday. The rest of the time was spent all over Long Island (Smithtown, Ronkonkoma, Sayville, Amity Harbor, Lynbrook, Farmingdale…you name it, we went there!) visiting family and enjoying wedding festivities.

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First thing’s first – after arriving Wednesday morning on a red-eye, we went to my grandpa’s house in the evening and asked him where he wanted to go for dinner. He of course took us to his favorite New York pizza spot, Joe’s Pizza in Copiague/Amity Harbor. Those weird worm lookin’ things were actually sausage, and were also amazing and delicious.

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This was probably the one and only healthy breakfast I had the entire trip, haha. Most mornings I slept in till 10 or 11am (I tried to stay on West Coast time while we were there), so we’d just go straight to lunch. This was actually also the morning of the wedding, so it was definitely a good idea to get a good workout and a healthy breakfast in before drinking and eating the night away!

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After a super adorable ceremony at the church, we all went back to the hotel to get ready and piled into the party bus that took us to the reception. First was a Cocktail Hour, complete with 4 food stations just like this one and an open bar. Heaven!

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In the ballroom, a lovely little salad awaited us

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Followed by crab risotto topped with a couple’a shrimp!

{Please note that at least 15 minutes of dancing ensued in between each of these courses. So much dancing….}

My main course was chicken and a side of lasagna, but apparently I dug in too quickly to snap a photo. But I got the cake!

[photo courtesy of my cousin Sami]

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YUM. I’m not a huge fan of fondant, but I definitely liked that there was chocolate and vanilla!

The next day (Saturday) was spent relaxing at my aunt and uncle’s house (the mother and father of the bride) and avoiding hangovers…

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Nothing better than a little hair of the dog, right?

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Someone busted out this amazing PASTA PIZZA. That’s right. PASTA. On PIZZA. I was a little hesitant, but it was seriously amazing. Perfect use for leftover baked ziti! Carbs on carbs on carbs.

After that, it was off to the city for me:

I stayed with my close friends Joanna and Alex, and this is the view from their rooftop lounge in the financial district….. I KNOW.

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On Sunday, Alex humored me by letting me drag him to Rockefeller Center to take my picture at 30 Rock. As soon as I realized Bouchon Bakery was right next door, I HAD to go buy some overpriced macarons. I got the cheaper mini variety so I could sample a bunch: funfetti, caramel, pistachio, and vanilla. Loved the caramel flavor the best, but the macaron texture of the vanilla was so so so perfect!

Oh and then on our way from Rockefeller Center to the High Line, this happened:

Me: “Oh look, Alex! First Date! That’s the Broadway show Zachary Levi is in! He is like the epitome of what I find attractive. Seriously, when I think in my head of what a hot guy looks like…it’s him.”
Alex: “Uh, okay…”
*2 seconds later* *spots Zachary Levi standing 10 feet away*
Me: “OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD OMYGOD ”

— Sadly not an exaggeration.

After walking the High Line and making a lil trip to Whole Foods, Alex and I made some awesome “deep dish” pizza:

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Manhattan living…ain’t nobody got time for real baking sheets!

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The next morning I woke up to texts from Joanna asking what kind of bagel I wanted.. YUSSSSS. I went with a whole wheat everything bagel toasted with cream cheese, and it was amazing. New York bagels are seriously in their own league, SO good.

Then it was back to Long Island…

And more pizza from Joe’s! I didn’t get a picture of our second time there, but we got a Sicilian pizza like this one and I liked it even more.

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Fast forward to our last day –> we were headed to my mom’s college roommate Linda’s house and decided to bring Italian Cookies. AKA probably one of my favorite things about Long Island- they’re at all the Italian bakeries there and they are amazing. My favorite are the kinds dipped in chocolate, but my momma likes the ones that have jelly sandwiched between them.

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Little did we know Linda’s daughter had also made us all a yogurt/custard/fruit parfait! We feasted on bagels for breakfast, then sandwich wraps for lunch, and definitely had full bellies when we got back on the plane.

As you can see, we ate real well. Thanks to a couple of workouts, a ton of walking in the city, and a general tendency to not overeat, I think I came out of this vacation with only 1 pound gained! This is a first for me 😛 And now I’m trying to brainstorm ways to get back ASAP.

Have you ever been to New York? What did you eat?

What food is your region known for?

What I Ate Wednesday

Though I have been blogging for well over a year now, there’s one typical “healthy living blogger” blog post I’ve never done…until today!

What I Ate Wednesday.

I try to avoid posting pictures of every.single.thing I eat, unless what I’m eating is particularly good looking, great tasting, or if it’s a meal I’m really proud of making. Well, none of the things in this post are good looking or mind blowing recipes.. but I generally don’t eat anything that isn’t delicious 🙂 Thankfully, even if I don’t share it on the blog, I have friends who don’t mind me snapping pix of everything I eat to them on Snapchat (Hi Linda Li!)

I’ve also been known to post what I can actually eat/make with a cast, and this time around is no exception! Actually, I’ve found that eating might be even harder with this broken thumb than it was with my broken hand. Though I eat with my left hand, I require my right thumb to chop veggies and hold a spatula. Also, washing dishes is interesting:

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(wearing a rubber glove, Grocery Outlet bag, and a plastic produce bag)

Without further ado, here’s what I ate yesterday.

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My standard breakfast for, like, the last month is 2 slices of Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted toast + Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations cream cheese spread. I won 5 wheels of the stuff in a Twitter contest back when I was at Blend, and I am still working through them! Pictured is cinnamon (left, SO yummy) and strawberry.

I am also really loving Alvarado St. bread at the moment. You can find it at Trader Joe’s (I got their Essential Flax bread there), but my trusted Grocery Outlet discount store recently started stocking it for way cheap! I usually get the California-style complete protein bread, or sprouted whole wheat. They’re the perfect size, pack some protein, and are only 80-90 calories a slice!

And since we’re on the subject of breakfast…

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I was so stoked to be able to make my overnight oats in almost-empty nut butter jars TWICE in the past couple of weeks! Although that also means I’m out of peanut butter and almond butter 😦

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This morning, I had an epically fruity yogurt bowl. Banana cream pie yogurt, fresh pineapple, blueberries, and a dollop of my grandma’s apricot jam. The apricot jam and banana yogurt were actually a really yummy combo!

Since Friday, I have also been having either a calcium pill or multivitamin with breakfast 🙂

Snacks during the workday for the last 2 weeks have not changed:

SO ADDICTIVE!

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I only grab 3-4 at a time, but I always end up eating 2 servings (20 pretzels) worth in a day, haha. I have stopped trying to fight it, but I at least limit myself to one serving before lunch and one after 😛

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As is somewhat normal for me, I did a short workout at lunch. I lifted one small (5 lb) weight and, after realizing it was kind of painful, decided I probably shouldn’t risk injury. So, I’ve relegated myself to the sorority girl workout: elliptical and abs! I’ve made it my goal to have a 6 pack by the time my cast comes off in 4 weeks, haha. Yesterday, I did 20 mins on the elliptical, followed by a 1 min plank, 30 sec side planks, 2 sets of V-ups and Stability Ball sit-ups, and a little bit of work on my obliques.

Also, related note: be glad you’re not friends with me on Snapchat 😛

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Lunch was part 2 of the summer stew I prepped on Sunday: onion, garlic, zucchini, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, lentils, and bell peppers. Aaand a La Tortilla Factory 100-calorie tortilla. LOVE those. 100 calories, 8g of fiber, and they’re huge! I was kind of ravenous after my workout, so I also found an Oats n Honey granola bar to tide me over till dinner.

Last night was laundry night so I was at my parents’ house for dinner:

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BLT’s are probably my family’s most common summer meal, since my dad grows so many tomatoes! Mine was 2 slices of 12-grain bread, 3-4 slices of juicy garden tomatoes, 3 slices of bacon (the real kind, not turkey…my brother’s request) and lots of arugula. On the side was honey dijon Kettle chips, pineapple, and a Lagunitas IPA! Seriously, perfect summer meal.

After dinner, I folded laundry and watched Breaking Bad (I’ve been catching up for almost a year, and am finally on season 4!)

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…while snacking on peanuts and tasting some sangria my mom bought. Yum!

Do you take pictures of everything you eat?

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Any ab/core workouts to recommend?