Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It's the holiday season and hopefully everyone is able to be with friends and family at this time of year. Most people are running around today and tomorrow finishing up last minute preparations for Christmas. Especially after this weekends ice storm! Not sure about you, but we weren't able to leave the house yesterday so last minute shopping and groceries had to happen today. Amongst all of your preparations, remember to take a moment for yourself and eat! When you're on the go it can be easy to forget to eat. But if you want to keep your energy levels up over the holidays, you still have to eat nourishing foods. Especially, because you are going to eat so many treats and big heavy meals. So throughout the day, take a moment to make yourself some healthy food.

My Dad and I were out and about this morning. When we got back, we were STARVING! So I whipped up a quick toasted sandwich. It's easy to make and you can use whatever ingredients you have in your fridge. I grilled a slice of whole grain bread with cheddar cheese and the other slice plain. Once the cheese was melted I added arugula and tomato and placed the plain slice on top and voila! Easy, quick and cheap. It's a good way to add in those veggies when you are surrounded by treats.

Speaking of treats, I have to post a yummy sweet recipe! Every year, for years, I have made chocolate covered pretzels. I love the sweet and salty combination. But since I've started cooking so much this year, I really wanted to actually make something. So I found caramel chocolate pretzel bark, or as my aunt calls it "Christmas crack." It's so addictive! It's pretty easy to make and doesn't take long at all. The time consuming part it letting it cool. But you can just leave it in the fridge until you are ready to break it up. And no, there is nothing healthy about this recipe.

1 cup of butter (I used margarine)
half bag of pretzel twists
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag of chocolate chips (I used milk but dark would be delicious too!)

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small pot on medium heat, melt the butter. In the meantime, on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover it with a layer of pretzels. Once the butter is melted, stir in sugar. Allow to simmer and bubble slightly but NOT boil. Stirring frequently, the browning process should take about 3 minutes. Pour quickly over the pretzels (it will harden quickly!). Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle chocolate chips and set for about 30 seconds. Once the chips are melted use a spatula to spread evenly. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden. Break it up into desired sized pieces when you are ready!

It's SOOOO yummy!!! And makes great gifts too.

This is the original recipe but as per usual, I changed things up a bit.

Merry Christmas to all!!! If you're without power, please stay safe and stay together. Don't let your kids play outside. I just witnessed half a tree falling into a driveway and young kids live next-door. Thank goodness they weren't outside today!



Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snack Time!

I was just cooking up a storm and it inspired a new blog entry! Although I wasn't making granola bars, I thought it was time to post this recipe :)

When you're on the go a lot, it's hard to eat complete meals all the time. In result, snacks happen frequently throughout the day. It's not easy to find snacks in the grocery store that aren't highly processed like crackers, granola bars, vegetable dips, etc. I also enjoy snacks in general but I want to put good things into my body and not things extremely high in sugar and salt. That's why I make my own granola bars. I know exactly what's in them and, for the most part, they're actually good for you.

I make mine with peanut butter but you could totally make them with almond butter. I know peanut butter is not the best for you, but it's one of those things I just haven't been able to give up. I love my peanut butter!
I find these are best to make before going to bed because then they can sit and harden over night and then you can wake up to homemade granola bars!

Here is the recipe:

1 ¾ cups oats
1 ¾ cups rice krispies
½ cup shredded coconut
1/8 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
½ cup peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 handful chopped nuts
2 handfuls chopped dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc.)

Place parchment in bottom of 9x9 pan.

Combine oats, cereal, coconut, almonds, fruit and flaxseed in a large bowl.

In small saucepan, over medium heat, mix honey, brown sugar, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.

Pour warm mixture into dry mixture and mix until well combined.

Place in pan and press down to even out the surface. Let sit, covered with cloth, for a few hours until hardened.

Cut and serve!

To add more goodness into them, I like to add sesame seeds and sunflower seeds as well. You can totally add what you, just make sure not to skimp on the 'glue' (honey, sugar and PB) or they won't stick together very well. A little extra won't hurt either!



Remember, a healthy mind and body equals a happy and healthy dancer.