Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Homemade Energy Bars

We are a big fan of the Be Kind bars around here.  I think they are the best bars out there to provide a perfect amount of energy, nutrients and sweetness when you are looking for the energy pick me up.  They are great to travel with, perfect for a snack or to satisfy that desire for something sweet.  

But with convenience comes cost.  Pre-packaged bars can me expensive.  Sure you are paying for what you get, quality ingredients and easily portable.  Since Be Kind bars have been a staple in our grocery store list for quite a while now I have set my mission out to make our own bars.  And mission accomplished!  I have a great recipe to share with you, easy to prepare and much cheaper than the $1.50-$2.00 per bar that we pay at the store.

Energy Bars Recipe

You need:

10 dates (pitted and chopped)
2/3 cup of peanut butter
2-4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup- 1 cup of mixed nuts ( I used almonds and pecans)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of shredded coconut
Raisins or other dried fruit (optional)

Here is what you do:

In small sauce pan heat the dates, peanut butter and water.  Stir often and keep an eye on it.  The peanut butter will get warm and melty.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.  You might need to add a bit more water if it is too thick.

Line a 9 X 9 pan with parchment paper.

Press the nut mixture into the pan.

Place in the fridge to set and chill for a couple of hours (I let ours set over night)

Remove from fridge, cut into bars.  I wrapped ours in plastic wrap and stored in a pyrex.  Store in the fridge to keep fresh.

Now you have homemade goodness to fuel your body at a fraction of the cost!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala recipe

I am so excited to share this awesome recipe with you. We love flavor, it keeps food exciting, fresh and  fun!  One of our favorite ethnic foods is savor is Indian food.  The combination of flavors and variety of simple ingredients make it a breeze to make and deliscious to enjoy.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and just had to share.

Chicken Tikka:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4-1 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

6-8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone-in)

Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer and it will be super easy to grate)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp tikka paste (could use mild curry paste instead, but then also add about a tbsp of lemon juice)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried coriander
1 cup cream
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Step 1: Marinade the chicken in the yogurt and spice blend.  (I did not do it overnight but let it sit for about 10 minutes while I prepared the onions and other ingredients.

Step 2: Line a pyrex or baking sheet with foil and place the chicken on it.  Place it in the oven on broil for 10 minutes each side.  I have never broiled chicken before and was a wee bit scared, but it worked out just fine, so have no fear!

Step 3:Brown the onions in a bit of olive oil and add the fresh garlic and ginger as well.  

Step 4: Place the cooked onions in the crockpot and add the remaining ingredients.  Diced tomatoes, tomato paste etc.

Step 5: Add the chicken and stir around.

Step 6: Set the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  

Step 7: Before you serve add the cream and fresh cilantro.  I did not add that much cream since we are not really "cream" people.  I probably added 1/4- 1/2 cup to the entire dish and seasoned with some salt.

Step 8: Serve with Rice or Whole wheat Naan.  

This dish was really delicious. For my Vegan friends out there I am sure you could substitute tofu for the chicken.  I am sure glad there are some leftovers for tonight :)


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monday's mission

"Do more than belong: participate. 
Do more than care: help.
 Do more than believe: practice.
 Do more than be fair: be kind. 
Do more than forgive: forget. 
Do more than dream: work. 
William Arthur Ward

Let's all create a life full of love, service and gratitude.  Here is to a great week!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Back into the swing of things

Ok, so it has been a while.......I apologize for the lack of creativity and information but I was spending time with some of my favorite people!!  Now that I am back I am motivated to share some recipes, thoughts, ideas and inspirations with you all.  Stay tuned..........


Monday, June 11, 2012

Mini Apple Pies

What something delicious and cute to take to your next potluck or family get together?  These mini apple pies are simple, cute and perfectly portioned, allowing you to satisfy your sweet tooth in a balance and healthy manner.

Here is what you need for 24 mini apple pies

2  cupcake pans 
Homemade or store bought pie dough
8 cups of peeled and diced apples
1 cup of organic raw sugar
10 tablespoons of whole wheat or white flour
A couple shakes of cinnamon
A pat of butter for each mini pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon together in a bowl

Using a round cookie cutter or glass to cut out the dough

Spray the cupcake pan with non-stick cooking spray

Place the dough in the cupcake pan, molding it to the side and letting it take the shape of the pan.  Repeat till all the cupcake pans are done

Scoop the apple mixture into each little pie crust.

I had some extra pie crust left over so I used a small heart cookie cutter and placed two hearts on on top of each cupcake for some extra cuteness ;)

Place a pat of butter on top

Place in the oven for 20 minutes

Remove once the crust is turning a light golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

Here is the hardest part, Let cool!

Serve with ice cream, cool whip.  They can also old their own just by themselves, they are delicious.

Happy baking!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ways to be selfless

Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me!”
Look what happens with a love like that,
it lights up the whole sky.
Selflessness is all about love.  It is  the sincere concern for the well being of others.  It’s about compassion, kindness and faith. It’s about making a difference in the world. 
Selflessness is one of the most beautiful traits that a person can offer to one another.  It need not be a grand gesture it can be simple, a smile, a thank you, a little extra tip in the tip jar.  Check out this list below and pick one that speaks to your heart and act on it today.  The world will thank you for your selflessness.
  1. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  2. Introduce yourself.  Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
  3. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.  Your old is someone else’s new.
  4. Write a positive Yelp review about a local business you like.
  5. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
  6. Donate blood.  One pint of blood can save up to three lives.  Locate your nearest blood drive.
  7. Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc.  Get outsideof yourself and help others.  Check out Volunteer Match.
  8. Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
  9. Inspire others online.
  10. Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.
  11. Check up on someone who looks lonely.
  12. Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
  13. Spread good news.
  14. Replace what you’ve used.  For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it or start a fresh batch of coffee.
  15. Give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.
  16. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  17. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  18. Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some alone time.
  19. Look for ways to save a few extra bucks a month and then donate it to a good cause or charity.
  20. Shop at your local charity thrift store.  The money you spend there helps others.
  21. Help someone get active.  There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand.  Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together.  Check out your local Activeactivities.
  22. Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
  23. If someone you love really likes something (a meal, a favor, etc.) give it to them when they least expect it.
  24. Make a difference in the life of a child. Give them your time and undivided attention.  Read Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference.
  25. If you shop online, make your purchase through Give Back America.
  26. Pay for the person in line behind you.
  27. Drop off your old eye glasses at your local LensCrafters as a donation to the OneSight program.
  28. Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  29. Redirect gifts.  Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  30. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.  Read How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist.
  31. Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.
  32. Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
  33. Come to the rescue.  If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, soup, etc.
  34. Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.
  35. Put some change in an expired parking meter (where its legal).
  36. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  37. Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
  38. Hug a friend.  Let them know how important they are.
  39. Think twice before you throw something away.  As Jack Johnson once said, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
  40. Help an entrepreneur with a Kiva donation.
  41. Bake cookies or brownies and share with a neighbor or colleagues.
  42. If you have a good book you’ve read that’s just sitting around on a book shelf, give it away to a friend.
  43. Become a member of Freecycle, and participate.
  44. Clean up litter in a park or open space nearby.
  45. Look into co-housing.
  46. Borrow and lend things in your neighborhood by using Share Some Sugar.
  47. Send a nice email or handwritten card to someone you know, unexpectedly.
  48. Leave encouraging post-it notes in library books and other random places.
  49. If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
  50. Setup a donation box at your school, work or place of worship and ask others to make canned/dried food contributions.  Then deliver the donations accordingly.
  51. Join efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
  52. Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter.  Call and ask what is needed.
  53. Compliment someone who deserves it.
  54. If there’s been an accident or a potentially hazardous situation presents itself on the road, report it to the local authorities.  Your phone call could save a life.
  55. Collect and donate prom dresses for underprivileged youth.  Check out thePrincess Project.
  56. When you’re getting fast food, buy an extra meal for a homeless person.
  57. Stand up for someone.  Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
  58. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
  59. Teach others how to make a difference in this world by setting a good example every day.  Read 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.
  60. When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Building a balanced smoothie

Have you been drinking your greens?  I hope you enjoyed the last recipe and have discovered that putting spinach and kale in your smoothies isn't all that bad, in fact you can't even taste it!

If you have loved the nice, refreshing smoothies and juices as much as I do I am here to share some more blended creations with you to help you get your daily does of greens and goodness.

Try combing these ingredients together, sip with a straw, and enjoy the refreshing nutritional and delicious nutrients..........

Kale, Spinach and Pineapple, handful of ice, splash of water, coconut water, or dairy free milk
           Tip: I like to use frozen pineapple so you you don't have to add as much ice

Avocado, almond milk, protein powder, greens, cinnamon

Tip:  Try finding a good vegan protein powder. These tend to have less processed ingredients and are easy on the body to absorb and digest.  Also adding the cinnamon will help your blood sugar stay balanced.  A key in keeping hunger and sugar crashes at bay.

Coconut water, avocado, berries, protein powder

Tip: Frozen berries work great!

The key to a balanced smoothie

You need all three to keep the drink balanced and satisfied.  Think outside the box when it comes to building a healthy smoothie.  Avoid to much fruit and dairy to help cut out a lot of sugar.  Stick to more greens, proteins and healthy fats (think avocado) to keep the sugar down and your hunger at bay.

Let me know if you have any other great concoctions to share!