Thursday, January 22, 2015

Foodie Friday: Hungry Bars Recipe

Hello, beautiful people!
 
If you've been following the blog for a while, you might remember that for a short time I had an oat bar company called Hungry Bars! I absolutely loved every day that I made, packaged, and delivered those hearty treats to lovely people all over the city. It also allowed me to meet and form great relationships with some amazing folks at our local farmer's market where I sold the bulk of my bars. We sold out almost every weekend and I could not have been more grateful.


Well, trying to balance a full time job and a food business proved to be more than I could handle, so I decided to close shop last year. Since then, I have had countless requests for the recipe, so I am here to finally give it over so that you can still enjoy them! These are completely customizable and can also be made gluten-free by replacing the whole wheat flour with your favorite gluten-free flour. They also freeze great, so make a big batch, wrap them up, throw them in the freezer, and eat them at your own pace!
 
 
Happy Foodie Friday, sweet friends! I hope you have the BEST weekend and know how loved you are!


Hungry Bars
(makes 12 bars)
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups mix-ins of choice (nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, chia seeds, flax seeds...)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 melted organic coconut oil (canola or vegetable oil can be used, too)
  • 1/2 organic honey
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, flour, sugar, salt, and mix-ins.
  3. Add eggs, oil, and honey. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil and grease with cooking spray or butter.
  5. Pour oat mix into pan and press down firmly until packed and even.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  7. Cool completely, remove from pan, and cut into 12 bars.
*To make these into banana or pumpkin bars, add in 1 mashed banana or 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin with the eggs, oil, and honey.
 
ENJOY!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Workout Wednesday: Valentines Day Challenge

Hello, loves! 

I hope your Wednesday is off to a great start! Kenny-girl and I had to take the Mr. to work today, so we enjoyed a 7:30 AM chocolate-sprinkled donut date on the way. Probably my favorite way to start the day :)

OK, let's talk Valentine's Day, because it's coming up and I love it.

 I feel like there are two types of people in this world. Valentine's lovers and Valentine's not-so-muchers. I don't necessarily need a fancy date night to feel loved on Valentine's Day (even though that is always lovely!), but I AM a sucker for a cheesy heart-shaped box of chocolates and maybe a pizza and bottle of wine. 

Mmmhmmm.

To counter this inevitable intake of sugar, carbs, and other super healthy Valentine's Day treats, I put together a series of movements that we can do together to get us into fighting shape for this lovely holiday. I am calling this the Valentine's Day Challenge because you will do TWO rounds of FOURTEEN different exercises, FIFTEEN reps per exercise (2/14/15).

I know...I'm so clever I can hardly stand it.

The goal is to do this once a day until Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day Challenge (2 ROUNDS)

  1. 15 Jumping Jacks
  2. 15 High Knees*
  3. 15 Jump Squats
  4. 15 Jump Lunge*
  5. 15 Standing Mountain Climbers*
  6. 15 Froggies*
  7. 15 Burpees
  8. 15 Pushups
  9. 15 Floor Mountain Climbers*
  10. 1.5-Minute Plank
  11. 15 Sit-Ups
  12. 15 Bicycles*
  13. 15 Toe Touches
  14. 15 Tricep Dips

The (*) indicates that both sides counts as 1 movement, so for example on High Knees, bringing your left knee up, then your right knee up counts as 1 movement. On Froggies, bringing your legs in, then taking them out counts as 1 movement, etc. 

If you are not familiar with the workout, click on it and it will take you to a video on how to properly do it.

I did this in my bedroom yesterday and was pretty much dead by the end of it. It's a great mix of cardio and core work so we can get the best of both worlds. The idea is to go hard and only take breaks when necessary, but you will take breaks, so don't feel defeated. It's better to take breaks and do the movements accurately than push yourself and lose form.

Each workout can be done in your living room, bedroom, hotel room, wherever and requires zero equipment other than a pair of gym shoes. Let's get to it!

Happy Workout Wednesday, sweet friends! You are so very loved!


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Monday, January 19, 2015

Family Monday & Fixer Upper

Hello, beautiful people! 

It's Monday, a high of 70, and sunny sunny sunny! So thankful for this day!

It's always so fun to me when we have weekends that are booked solid with brunch, lunch, and dinner dates with sweet friends and family, but it sure does make it go by quickly! Brent and I both worked this past Friday, so after returning home, all we wanted to do was snuggle with the little and feast! We ordered an enormous amount of food from Olive Garden To-Go and proceeded to stuff ourselves silly after the little went to sleep. It was pretty fantastic.

Saturday was go go go, between a barre class, house chores, and preparing a dessert for a dinner party at my mom's house that night.

Sunday morning, we both woke up bright and early to the sweet chirping of our daughter on the monitor, then headed to Houston to meet up with lovely friends for brunch. I 100% did not marry a city-guy, but I DID marry a fantastic one who joyfully drives my city-girl heart out of the burbs and into downtown occasionally, so I can get my non-chain restaurant brunch fill :)


Actually, I say that, but I crave life on two very opposite ends of the spectrum. Either give me the city or give me nature. I feel VERY blessed to have a beautiful home in a safe, suburban community full of great school districts, Starbucks, and Chickfila's as far as the eye can see, but I think I've always desired to live in an area that is a little out of the norm. There is no doubt that a little house built in the 1950's just down the street from unique restaurants and cozy coffee shops would make my heart flutter with glee, but a part of me craves an environment that makes me feel like I am the only person for miles. Life at a slower pace, I guess you could say.

I feel that after having a baby, I am being more and more drawn to the idea of living on land. This has been my husband's dream since the very beginning, which I was never on board with until really this past year. The idea of walking out on my front porch and sipping my coffee while taking in creation rather than my neighbor's fenceline seems PRETTY appealing these days. Maybe one day. In the meantime, I want to be 100% grateful for what we currently have because we are SO blessed...but one can have dreams, right? :)


And speaking of dreamy things, have you jumped on the Fixer Upper train??? I coworker of mine introduced me to this show and the hubs and I both are ADDICTED. The fact that it is also set in Waco speaks to my Baylor grad heart. I am not a big "these are my shows" person, but I will probably be creeper-status on all things Fixer Upper until the day HGTV stops running it. LOVE.

It's a new day! Let's love each other, be grateful, and never stop dreaming! 

You are so loved, precious friends!

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Foodie Friday: Turkey Taco Quinoa Bowls & Coconut Oil Cookies

Hello, beautiful people! It's Friday, it's Friday! 

That means we are all about food today, which is always exciting to me, as I am a 100% food motivated person. If I know there are going to be cupcakes at your mom's friend's son's girlfriend's Bat Mitzvah, you bet I'll be there.

But besides the fact that I can put back an enormous amount of free cupcakes if given the opportunity, I do like to keep my diet pretty simple. Lots of protein, veggies, whole grains, and some type of sweet at every meal. 

I usually don't replace any type of dairy product with the coconut version or the gluten-full ingredient with a gluten-free one (unless I'm cooking for someone special like my sista) but I do keep my dairy consumption pretty low just because I feel less bloated that way. However, I do have an ongoing love affair with sour cream (and ice cream...) and it is essential for making the follow Turkey Taco Quinoa Bowls!


My uncle sends us a Greenberg Smoked Turkey for Christmas every year, which we usually freeze then proceed to demolish sometime mid-January. It is THE BEST turkey you will ever have and will make you question all other turkeys.

I decided to add it to these quinoa bowls because A) everything tastes better in a bowl and B) taco seasoning can turn any food from drab to fab.

The great thing about these bowls is that they are simple, cheap to make, and relatively healthy! All you need is the following:

Quinoa
Chicken Broth
Taco Seasoning (I like McCormicks brand)
Steamed Broccoli
Fresh Spinach Leaves
Shredded Turkey (or shredded chicken would work great!)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Toppings: Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream, Avocado, Cilantro

Just prepare the quinoa according to package directions, but use the chicken broth in place of the water and add in the taco seasoning for extra flavor. Place the prepared quinoa in a large bowl and add in the remaining ingredients (except for the toppings). Toss it all together, top with delicious toppings, and eat up!


Ok, now let's talk cookies, because every good meal ends with cookies.

I have almost completely converted to using coconut oil in cookies because it makes them stay softer longer and thicker, too! The fact that it's better for me is just a plus. 

My go-to cookie recipe these days and simple and foolproof! All you need is:

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups chips (dark, white, semisweet, milk, butterscotch....)

Mix together the oil, sugars, vanilla, and eggs, then add in the remaining ingredients. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350!

Happy Foodie Friday, loves! Have a fantastic weekend!


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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Workout Wednesday: Pure Barre

My workouts have been far and few between these past 7 months, but I have been able to get in a few runs, barre sessions, and Insanity DVDs which has kept me somewhat sane. And although I am definitely sleeping more now since the gal has only been getting up twice during the night (and no longer 3, 4, 5+ times...), finding the energy to go on long runs or mimic Shaun T seems near impossible. I have found that barre has been the perfect solution for me and something I can still get excited about after a broken night's sleep.

I recently purchased a 1-month unlimited class package at our local Pure Barre studio and it is without a doubt one of the hardest workouts I've ever experienced. I've done similar classes at other studios, which were certainly challenging, but Pure Barre is next level hard.

If you're not familiar with barre, it's basically a one hour long session that focuses on tiny, isometric movements with light weights that sculpt long, lean muscle. The movements are "beat-based" and paired with great music, which makes all the difference in the world. It is the best.

I came across this list of 100 Thoughts I Have During Pure Barre which is hilarious and SO stinking accurate.


Unfortunately all great things come at a cost. You can get your first unlimited month for $99, but after that it jumps to $199/month unless you commit to a 6 or 12 month contract, which lessens the cost. I know...yikes. Spending $200/month on a workout membership is definitely not in our budget right now, but I think it's great that they offer the $99 promo month because who knows, one day it might be in the budget. And when that day comes, I will absolutely be a member.


Pure Barre is a franchise and I can almost guarantee that there is a studio near you! If you are looking for a full body workout that doesn't require hours staring at a wall on the treadmill, you definitely need to check out Pure Barre. And if you are in the Woodlands area, I will be taking the afternoon class today if you want to come join in on the lift, tone, burn!

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Happy Workout Wednesday, loves!

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