Mar 292016
 

After a friend’s bachelorette party in Austin (read: bbq and booze) and a few too many chocolate Easter Eggs (OK, it was a lot of eggs), my body was desperate for something green. And it doesn’t get much greener than these Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Scallions, Asparagus, and Edamame.
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This dish makes the perfect side dish or vegetarian main. I personally think it’s easier than traditional sesame noodles since there’s no cooking/noodle boiling involved. The sauce is creamy, spicy, garlicy, slightly sweet, and seriously addictive. You can add any vegetables and/or protein you want to this dish, but I kept it light, simple, and springy with raw asparagus, scallions, and edamame.
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Nutritional Highlights: By replacing noodles with spiralized cucumber, this dish has far less calories than the the traditional version. Plus, it’s gluten free (if you replace the soy with tamari) and vegan! The creamy nut butter sauce (tahini, peanut butter, or almond butter all work) has protein and healthy fat to keep you full, plus the additional edamame adds extra protein. And although cucumber is super low cal due to the fact that it’s mostly water, it’s not necessarily the most nutrient packed vegetable, so I added asparagus which is packed with vitamin K, folate, copper and tons of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that contribute to it’s antioxidant properties. If asparagus isn’t your thing, try some chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, snap peas, green beans, shaved brussel sprouts, diced avocado…really all vegetables are welcome here. Looking to bump up the protein? Serve with a piece of grilled salmon, tofu, a few grilled shrimp, or anything you like!
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Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Asparagus, Edamame, & Scallions
Serves 3-4 as a side, 2 as a meal
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What’s in it:
The sauce:
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini, creamy peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (I use a microplane)
1 teaspoons finely minced or grated garlic (I use a microplane)
1 tablespoon sriracha (less if you’re not into spicy)

For the “noodles”
2 large English cucumbers, spiralized into thin noodles
4 scallions, diced (set a few aside for garnish)
1 1/2 cup one inch asparagus pieces*
1/2 cup edamame
1 tablespoon white and/or black sesame seeds

*If your asparagus is thin, simply cut into 1 inch pieces. If it’s thick, cut them lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces since I used them raw. If you don’t like raw asparagus, substitute green beans, snap peas, grated carrots, small broccoli florets, or any other veggies.

How to make it:
1. In a bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini/peanut or almond butter, honey, ginger, garlic and sriracha. Set aside.
2. Prepare all your veggies by spiralizing your cucumbers and chopping the other veggies.
3. In a large bowl, toss the “noodles” and vegetables with the sesame sauce.
4. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and enjoy!
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This will put your greasy take-out noodles to shame!
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Feb 062016
 

Super bowl, meet super food. I know I know, the first thing that comes to mind on game day is not usually cruciferous veggies, but give it a chance. These buffalo cauliflower bites (which are gluten free and vegan I might add) may be my new favorite sports snack.
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Not only do these rival the the best wings out there, they are also super easy to make, with only about 5 ingredients and a half hour in the kitchen.
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You can use any color cauliflower, but when I saw an orange one at Trader Joe’s this week I knew it was fate. Check out this beaut.
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Nutritional highlights: We all know super bowl is typically a pretty epically bad day for our diets, and Americans consume even more calories than on Thanksgiving! Wings, which are on most super bowl spreads, are deep fried, covered in a buttery hot sauce, and you end up eating 1% meat and 99% greasy skin. This substitute is incredibly healthy, and showcases one of my all time favorite veggies. Cauliflower is packed with vitamins (C, K, folate, B5, and B6), fiber, and is is super low cal. This recipe has a very thin batter made of just water and chickpea flour, and then a light coating of hot sauce mixed with a *tiny* bit of butter or oil (because you have to live a little).
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The blue cheese dip I used was store bought, but you could easily make a greek yogurt based blue cheese dip to save even more calories. Serving along with the traditional carrot and celery garnish gets you even more veggie points. Everyone wins. Well, except the team that doesn’t. But who’s really watching the game anyway?
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Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
makes about 40 “bites”
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What’s in it:
1 medium head cauliflower, broken or chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour (or any flour you have)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon honey (optional, if you like a slightly sweet wing)
1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil if you want it to be vegan)
2/3 cup hot sauce

How to make them:
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, water, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and salt. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth.
3. Toss cauliflower pieces in the batter until each piece has a light, even coating. Spread the battered cauliflower on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray or oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
4. While they cauliflower is cooking, combine the hot sauce, butter, and optional honey and microwave for 30 seconds.
5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and dip each piece in the hot sauce mixture, and place back onto the baking sheet, flipping each piece in the process. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until cauliflower is browned and crispy.
6. Serve with blue cheese or yogurt dip, carrots, and celery.
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Enjoy!
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Jan 102016
 

Resolution season is upon us–the gym is more crowded and the produce section is more picked over. While I’m not usually a New Years resolution fan (why are we waiting for January 1st, people?), I can get on board with cleaning up our diets a little, especially after the eating spree that tends to occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas (guilty). If you’re going to make one resolution this year, make it to eat more food that looks like this: mostly plant-based and exploding with color (and not the kind you find in sour patch kids, sorry).
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The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about an hour to make and leaves you with 15 falafel, enough for 5 meals, so you lunches (or dinners) for the whole week are set. They may be cute and little but they have a HUGE amount of flavor and nutrition.
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Nutrition Highlights: This recipe is vegan and gluten free but still packed with protein and fiber and is seriously filling. Here are a few of the key players:
-Chickpeas: high in fiber and protein so they keep you full and keep things moving along (if you know what I mean).
– Butternut Squash: get it’s bright orange color from carotenoids which turns into vitamin A in the body and helps support vision, immunity, and controlling inflammation. It’s also very high in fiber which helps keep blood sugar in check.
– Oats: Instead of flour, this recipe uses whole grain rolled oats to bind everything together, which are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and may help with heart health and blood sugar control.
– Turmeric: SO hot right now. I’m not ready to jump on the crazy turmeric supplement train, but it does appear to have some pretty powerful anti-inflammatory effects (and thus may help with arthritis, IBD, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions), so I’m not against sprinkling a little bit more in our food.
– Hemp seeds: OK, it’s another trendy one, but for a reason! It’s super high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and several minerals. Plus they’re nutty and tasty and crunchy…all good things.
And although I could go on for days about the benefits of each nutrient in these foods, the best part is they’re all real foods with nothing processed. Go plants!
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Butternut Squash, Turmeric & Hemp Seed Falafel
makes about 15 falafel (5, 3 ball servings)
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What’s in it:
– 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried well (*you can also soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight)
– 2 cups cubed butternut squash
– 1/2 onion
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 cup fresh herbs, looseley packed and roughly chopped (I used half cilantro and half parsley)
– 3/4 cups rolled oats, divided
– 3 tablespoons hemp seed, plus extra for sprinkling
– 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (adjusted to you preference)

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Put the butternut squash in a microwave safe bowl and cover (allowing a slight opening of steam to escape) with a microwave safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to soften the squash. **Alternately you could use leftover roasted/mashed squash or frozen pureed butternut squash.
3. While the squash is cooking, put half the rolled oats into the food processor or blender and blend into flour. Pour back in with the rest of the non blended oats and set aside for now.
4. Put the onion and garlic into the blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas, butternut squash, and spices (turmeric, cumin, salt, red pepper) and blend until well combined. Add the herbs and pulse so they get chopped up but not totally blended so the falafel stays yellow rather than green (for aesthetic purposes only).
5. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and mix in the oats and hemp seeds. If the mixture is warm (from the squash), put in the freezer for a bit so it gets cold and is easier to form into balls.
6. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Form the falafel mixture into golf ball sized balls (about 15). Spray the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with a few hemp seeds, flip and repeat with the other side.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the falafel and bake for another 10 minutes or until they falafel are slightly browned.
8. Enjoy falafel in a big salad bowl with lots of veggies like this one (mine has beets, carrots, broccoli, cilantro, pita chips and a drizzle of tahini) or in whole wheat pita or just straight up. Really you can’t go wrong.
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I think this is what they meant by taste the rainbow, right?
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Aug 302015
 

Summer produce is at it’s absolute best right now. I think you would have to actually try hard to make something bad when you’re working with such great produce. This meal was the result of a trip to the farmers market, a random assortment of veggies that ended up in my kitchen, and then magically turned into something incredibly tasty. Not only were the zucchini/squash noodles, tomatoes, and corn insanely fresh, I would also happily bathe in this avocado pesto. It was actually shocking there was any left after all of the taste testing, I mean “quality control” I was doing while I made it.
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I was looking for an excuse to use my awesome new spiralizer and vitamix (I swear I didn’t get married just for the appliances…) and making veggie noodles and a sauce seemed like the perfect option. This sauce is sort of a mix, or should I say beautiful union, between pesto and guacamole, made with garlic, basil, lemon juice, jalapeno, and avocado. You could call it pestamole. Or maybe guacapesto. Whatever you call it, it was the perfect topping for raw summer squash noodles and plenty of fresh toppings.
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Nutrition Highlights: Summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash) make the perfect low cal low carb base (only about 20 cal per cup) for a veggie noodle bowl. No problem if you don’t have a fancy spiralizer, you can just use a vegetable peeler or box grater for a similar effect with a little more elbow grease. The sauce, which is vegan and gluten free, has healthy fat from avocado and vitamin/mineral packed basil (especially vitamin K which helps keep the blood clot properly). You can top this summer bowl with any thing you like, but I kept this version vegetarian, adding some leftover grilled corn for healthy carbs, chickpeas for fiber/protein, spicy sunflower seeds for protein/fat, and some heirloom tomatoes. Because it’s August and there should be heirloom tomatoes in EVERYTHING. You could top this bowl with some grilled chicken or shrimp, grated parmesan, or any other vegetables you have. The possibilities are endless!
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Summer “Noodle” Bowls with Spicy Avocado Pesto
makes 3-4 servings
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For the avocado pesto:
1 ripe avocado
Juice from 1-2 lemons
2 small or 1 large garlic clove
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water (more as needed to thin sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the noodle bowls:
3-4 summer squash (yellow squash or zucchini work well)
Toppings that I used: toasted sunflower seeds, chickpeas, heirloom tomatoes, grilled corn
Other topping ideas: grilled portobello mushrooms/eggplant/peppers, grilled shrimp or chicken, fresh mozzarella or shave parmesan, quinoa or farro, the list is endless!

How to make it:
1. To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin the sauce slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add extra lemon or garlic if it needs an extra punch!
2. Prepare your “noodles” by using your spiralizer or box grater to noodleize (yes, that’s the techinical term) the squash.
3. Prepare your toppings. I toasted my sunflower seeds in a small frying pan with a spray of olive oil, sprinkle of chili powder, and salt to add a little extra pizzaz but already toasted/salted seeds are fine too! This is the perfect “clean out your fridge dish”, so top the bowl with any leftovers you have. Grilled corn and tomatoes are a great sweet compliment to the spicy, herbal, smooth pesto.
4. Toss the noodles in the sauce and top with rows of toppings. Enjoy this bowl of summa goodness while it’s hot (outside, not in the bowl).
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I mean does it get any better than that?
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Jul 072015
 

This just in–trends are no longer just for clothes, shoes, and hair. Food trends are taking the world by storm. Kale, for example. I’m pretty sure kale existed in nature before 2013, but I sure hadn’t seen, tasted, or juiced it before. Now it’s everywhere all the time (and I’m not mad about it). Don’t get me started on “bone broth”. And if I see another instagram post of a big fluffy donut or ice cream sandwich…well let’s be honest, I’ll probably just like it. And finally, the trend I’m talking about today–toast. So simple, so versatile, so delicious. I’m jumping on the toast train with 2 simple toast recipes: Avocado, Lemon, Chili & Sesame and Blackberry-Nectarine Ricotta & Honey.
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Guess how long it took me to make not one but TWO awesome toast varieties you see below. Just GUESS. 10 minutes, that’s how long. The key to toast success is three fold. One, you need perfect toasted bread. None of that processed pre-sliced stuff here. My favorite is something sturdy and seedy like a multigrain loaf. Two, fresh, simple toppings. Here I used avocado brightened up by fresh lemon juice, and ricotta topped with seasonal fruit. Three, texture and color. Don’t underestimate the power of some black sesame seeds, chili flakes, and lemon zest or toasted pistachios and a drizzle of honey to make your toast that much more exciting.
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The real beauty of the toast trend is that it can be eaten for any meal of the day. It can be a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even an impressive appetizer when you have guests over. You can add a poached egg on top for extra protein, or some fresh greens to get in an extra serving of veggies. The possibilities are endless.
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Nutritional Highlights: Toast is an amazing vehicle to get a variety of macro and micro nutrients into one meal. Using a healthy whole grain bread provides fibers and healthy carbs. My avocado toast has tons of healthy fat (adding an egg would up the protein too). The ricotta version has healthy fat and protein from ricotta (which is pretty low calorie compared to other cheeses at 50 cal per 2 tablespoons) and pistachios, and tons of vitamins from the fruit. Skip the honey if you’re watching your sugar intake, but I love the touch of sweetness. The other great thing about toast is it’s essentially just an open faced sandwich (duh) so you’re only eating 1 slice of bread instead of 2 to manage carbs and portions. I’ll toast to that.
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Two Perfect Toast “Recipes”
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Avocado-Lemon Toast with Sesame & Chili

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 large avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each fresh lemon zest, chili flakes, and black sesame seeds, a few cilantro leaves

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 of the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slice the remaining 1/4 avocado thinly.
3. Spread the toast with the mashed avocado and then the sliced (note: using the mashed and sliced combo is for aesthetic purposes only…if you’re not serving this to guests feel free to just mash it all!)
4. Top with the chili flakes, lemon zest, black sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and additional salt as needed.

Ricotta, Nectarine, & Blackberry Toast with Pistachios and Honey

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
3 tablespoons ricotta
Fresh fruit: I used 1/2 nectarine and about 8 blackberries, but any berries/fruit would work!
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1 Tablespoon toasted pistachio (or other nut) and a drizzle of good honey.

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Top with the ricotta, arrange fruit, sprinkle nuts, and drizzle with honey.
3. Eat.
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Jul 012015
 

After spending two weeks in Thailand for my honeymoon, I wasn’t so sure I was ready to come back to America. The beaches were beautiful, the were people friendly, you could have an AMAZING massage for approximately $4, and you can eat pad thai daily with no shame (ps, recipes coming soon!). But, alas, here I am back in the US and I’ve gotta say it’s not so bad here either. Between the supreme court decision last week, the perfect NYC weather, and the 4th of July coming up this weekend, I’m feeling pretty patriotic. Here are two amazing recipe ideas to spice up (literally and figuratively) your summer BBQs!
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Making delicious food in the summer is easy because the produce is so freaking good. Too many people miss this amazing opportunity at have a 4th of July cookout with some sad hot dogs, stale doritos, and maybe a lone slice of watermelon if you’re lucky. Add color and flavor to your bbq using lots of fresh fruits and veggies, in these dishes that look way more advanced than they are.
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This salad is a mix of chopped kale, cooked quinoa, cubed mango and avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, and cilantro. The amazing charred jalapeno vinaigrette adds the perfect punch to bring it all together.
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These kebabs may look like your standard chicken skewers, but looks can be deceiving. These are actually swordfish skewers, which are perfect for grilling due to its sturdy texture. The marinade is a spicy mix of ginger, garlic, soy, and dijon and they can be skewered along with any of your favorite veggies.
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Nutrition highlights: Both of these recipes are incredibly healthy. The kebabs use swordfish which is low in calories (150 per 3 oz serving), and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids which is great for controlling inflammation in your body. A simple marinade and lots of veggies makes this a very healthy bbq option. The salad is great too, and on it’s own is completely gluten free and vegan. It’s high in protein from the quinoa and healthy fats from the avocado and sunflower seeds, and tons of vitamins (like C and A). It can stand alone as a meal or be the perfect side for your summer BBQ.
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Mango-Avocado Quinoa Salad with Charred Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Makes 3 servings as a main, 5-6 as a side
adapted from plated.com
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What’s in it:

For the salad-
3/4 cup quinoa
1 mango, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 large avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (note, don’t cut avocado until right before use)
1 bunch kale (can sub other greens if you prefer), big stems discarded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

For the dressing-
1 jalapeno
1 shallot, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

How to make it:
1. Cook your quinoa. Combine 3/4 cup quinoa with 1 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until water is evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
2. Heat a heavy skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over high heat. Half the jalapeno and carefully remove the seeds (don’t touch your eyes or you will pay). When pan is just starting to smoke, place the jalapeno cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, pressing down slightly so you get a nice char on the outside. If you are using raw sunflower seeds, you can toast them in this same pan for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. If you’re using already roasted/toasted sunflower seeds you can skip this step.
3. Make the dressing by finely mincing the jalapeno and then adding the vinegar, lime juice, minced shallot, and honey. Whisk to combine. Slowly add olive oil while whisking the dressing. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
4. Make the salad by combining the all of the cooled quinoa, thinly chopped kale, and 3/4 of the cilantro, avocado, mango, and sunflower seeds. Toss this with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Top the salad with the remaining cilantro, avocado, mango, and sunflower seeds for presentation. Enjoy!

Notes:
-You can make the vinaigrette and prepare the salad ingredients (except the avocado/mango) up to 2 days in advance. Just toss all of the ingredients before serving!
– If you’re making it for a main, feel free to add other ingredients like red bell peppers, black beans, or tomatoes. Be creative!
– Depending on how much heat you like, you can use more or less jalapeno in the dressing.
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Spicy Swordfish Skewers
Makes about 4 servings (6 smalls skewers or 4 large)
adapted from Ina Garten
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What’s in it:

3 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoon peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/4- 1 1/2 lb swordfish steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt, Pepper to taste
Vegetables for skewering: choose your favorites like zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, red onion, and mushrooms
6 bamboo skewers, soaked for 30 minutes in water

1. Make the marinade by combining the first 8 ingredients. Add the cubed swordfish and marinate in a plastic bag or sealed container for at least 1 hour (preferably 4-8).
2. Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into pieces as close as possible to size as the swordfish cubes.
3. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high.
4. Make the skewers by alternating veggies and swordfish cubes. Brush the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade and season with salt and pepper as desired.
5. Grill the kebabs for about 2-3 minutes per side, until swordfish is just cooked through and veggies and fish are browned. Serve immediately and enjoy!

May 282015
 

Long time no see! I’ve had quite the eventful few months, which is why I’ve been shamelessly neglecting tush cook. Between finishing the most intense semester of grad school yet, 2 jobs, and planning a wedding, my hands have been a little full. But, today I’m excited to share not only these amazing energy nut bars, but also the 1 week countdown to our wedding weekend. Woah.
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Let’s focus on the bars first (we’ll get to the wedding later). Do you ever secretly hate yourself when you spend $3 for a granola bar and think, I could probably make these myself? Well I have, so I did. To be honest the first time I made these they didn’t come out exactly as planned, they were a little sticky and didn’t hold together as well as I hoped. But I adjusted the recipe slightly and now they are PERFECTION. The best part about making these kind-of KIND bars yourself is not only the serious discount, but also that you can put in whatever you want or have lying around in the pantry. For me that meant dried blueberries + coconut + chia seeds + pistachios + cinnamon + lots of other nuts and seeds + some brown rice puff cereal. I have to say I’m pretty obsessed with how these turned out.
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The other awesome thing, is you can make a big batch of these, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and freeze them to make them last longer.
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Nutrition highlights: Let’s get this out of the way too before we talk wedding. Nut bars like this have gotten a little bit of a bad rep lately, since I’m not going to lie, they can be a little high in fat. But guess what? We all need fat, and nuts give us a healthy kind, and keep us fuller longer than any other type of nutrient. In moderation nuts are an incredible food to include in your diet. So eat your nuts (without going nuts). The other bonus to making your own bars is that you can cut them into whatever size works for you. I cut mine into smaller squares for a perfectly portioned snack, rather than the full sized bars.
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Blueberry, Pistachio, Coconut & Chia Kind-of-KIND Bars
(makes about 10-14 bars depending on the size)
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What’s in it:
¾ cup almonds, raw and unsalted
½ cup walnuts, raw and unsalted
½ cup pistachios, raw and unsalted
¼ sunflower seeds, raw and unsalted
1 T chia seeds
⅓ cup puffed rice cereal (or other puffed grain cereal)
⅓ cup dried blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon sea salt

How to make them:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°f. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray a large bowl and spatula with non-stick spray.
2. Spread the almonds, walnuts, and pistachios in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, shake the pan and add the sunflower seeds, and bake an additional 2 minutes, and then coconut for 1 minute, or until nuts are toasted and fragrant.
3. Coarsely chop the toasted nuts, and put them in the prepared bowl. Mix in the cereal, chia seeds, and dried blueberries.
4. Pour the honey and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan. If you’re really fancy, clip on a candy thermometer and heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches 260°f. If you’re like me and don’t even know what a candy thermometer looks like, just heat the mixture until it’s bubbling.
5. Turn off the heat and mix in the salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, then pour the mixture over the nut mixture and stir to combine.
6. Pour into the prepared baking pan and press the mixture so it is even (greasing the bottom of a measuring cup and pressing works well).
7. Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 1 hour (you can refrigerate it to speed up the process). Once the mixture has set, take it out of the pan and cut it into 10-14 bars.

A few extra recipe notes:
– For storage, wrap individually in plastic wrap so they don’t stick together. They are good for about a week at room temp or can be frozen.
– Feel free to swap any nuts, seeds, and dried fruit you like. Note that the bigger the nut, the longer it usually takes to toast, so you may need to toast them separately and watch the nuts closely so they all are properly toasted but not burnt (that’s what gives these such great flavor).
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And now the fun stuff! I’m getting married in just over 1 week (cue excitement, nervousness, all of the emotions, etc). I made this recipe originally to thank the hostesses of my AMAZING cooking theme bridal shower for “getting off their tush and showering me with love”. See below for vegetable vases, cookbooks photoshopped with my face, and of course chef’s hats for the #1 chef and taste tester. Lucky to be so loved and can’t wait for the celebrations to continue next weekend. Here’s to what will probably be my last blog post as a Lubin!
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