Recipe Review: Paleo Granola

I’m not normally a nut person or really a granola person for that matter.  However, in an attempt to start eating healthier I’ve been trying to add nuts to my diet and remove many kinds of grains.  I came across this recipe via Pinterest and decided to give it a whirl.

Paleo Granola
     Source

Paleo Granola

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (no shell)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup raisins (or your favorite dried fruit) (I used the raisins)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here 

THOUGHTS

  • This dish is delicious!  The sea salt is essential so make sure you don’t leave that part out (I probably used closer to a ½ teaspoon though).  My husband liked this dish so much that he’s actually hiding it from me somewhere in our house.
  • While the directions call for placing several kinds of your nuts in the food processor at once, I found that since almonds are harder than cashews, for example, they ended up not chopping up while the cashews were in itty bitty pieces.  The next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time) I’ll chop each type of nut individually.
  • This dish is so filling.  I didn’t realize such a small amount (less than a cup I’d say) could make me so full.  I was full for hours afterwards.
  • I served this with vanilla almond milk and I thought the vanilla almond milk made it too sweet.  Next time, I’m going to try it with plain almond milk instead.
  • This is crazy easy to make and really requires no skill as long as you own a food processor.
  • My huge thanks to Paleo Cupboard for sharing this recipe!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Remember, today is the 14th so it’s your day to practice a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary.  I’d love to hear what you do!  Please feel free to leave comments!  I will be posting my RAOK on the 16th.  See you then!

raok sandy hook

Book Review: Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

So I’ve read another book by Janet Evanovich before, it was called Metro Girl and while I don’t remember much of the story line I do remember laughing my ass off and recommending the book to pretty much everyone I came across.

I’ve seen this particular series (Stephanie Plum series) in stores for quite some time now but I’ve never picked up one of the books because I always feel like if I buy one book in a series, I have to buy them all… and there are 19 books in this series.  Who can realistically afford to buy 19 books at one time?  I realize that this is my craziness showing but still, that’s why I’ve never purchased them.

Anyway, it just so happens that I purchased this book with a group of books-in-a-box that I got at a garage sale a while back.  I put it in my back and started reading it on a Friday afternoon when I went after work to get a pedicure….

Ya’ll, I laughed so hard during the pedicure that the lady working on my toes was 1) yelling at me to quit moving my feet and 2) giggling at my hysterics.  In fact, pretty much every single person in the salon asked me what I was reading because I was making such a ruckus laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face.

I read 130 pages in the time it took for me to get a pedicure.  I’m a fast reader normally but that’s fast even for me.  The book flows so naturally that you practically speed read the thing.  It’s 300-someodd pages and I finished it in less than 24 hours… the only time I read was during my pedicure, about an hour before bed, and about an hour the next morning.  It was THAT good.

I highly recommend it and any of her other books.  She’s 2 for 2 as far as I’m concerned and I imagine that all the rest are just as good.  I might just have to go to Half Price this weekend and score the rest of the series.  J  (speaking of which… even though this book is #14 out of #19 I didn’t feel like I was coming in on the middle.  They can totally be read as individual novels or a series.)

Here’s a synopsis from her website:

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars

Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money and did the time. His family couldn’t be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi and Dom’s sister Loretta are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all American family.

The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux

Less than a week after Dom’s release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He’s getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

The Catastrophe: Moonman

Morelli hires Walter “Mooner” Dunphy, stoner and “inventor” turned crime-fighter to protect his house. Morelli can’t afford a lot on a cop’s salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum

Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection and driving each other nuts. She’s a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she’s involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis: A favor for Ranger

Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night-work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie’s evening activities.

The Conclusion: Only the fearless should read fourteen

Thrills, chills and possible incontinence may result.

Recipe Review: Martha Stewart’s One-Pot Pasta

So I was telling my husband last night that I didn’t feel like it was appropriate for people to give me kudos and praise when I make something tasty because 99.9% of the time I am following a recipe that someone else created.  I mean, doesn’t that mean that the creator of the recipe should get the credit and not me?  How hard is it to follow a recipe?  Well, when I made this dish from Martha Stewart it sort of drilled my point home… there’s no actual recipe.  It’s a list of ingredients (without quantities) and directions.  I wanted to love this dish, but we didn’t.  It was edible but that’s about the best I can say.  Does that make it a fail for me, for Martha, or both???

Martha Stewart's One-Pot Pasta

Martha Stewart’s One-Pot Pasta

Serves: 4 (the way I made it at least)

INGREDIENTS

  • Pasta of choice (we used one box of linguine, but the recipe calls for penne)
  • Broccoli (we used a package of frozen broccoli florets)
  • Olive oil (we just drizzled until desired consistency)
  • Garlic cloves (we used 6)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Lemon juice & zest (we used one small lemon)
  • Parmesan cheese (LOTS!)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil penne 6 minutes less than al dente; add broccoli florets, and cook until penne is al dente. Drain; return to the pot, and toss with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, some olive oil, the zest and juice of a lemon, salt and pepper, and plenty of Parmesan.

THOUGHTS

  • I think I’d try to make this again and see if I can get it to work out better.  I think I’d use half butter and half olive oil.
  • I also think we didn’t use enough salt or cheese so we’ll probably use more of both next time.
  • The nice thing is that we usually have all the ingredients for this dish on hand which means if I’m ever in need of a quick-fix meal, I can whip this up.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

So I whipped up a batch of these the other day for no particular reason and they were a huge hit.  My husband, who really isn’t much of a sweets person, ate three of these in one sitting.  This recipe is from Taste of Home.

Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

Glazed Apple Streusel Muffins

Serves: Makes 6 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (6-1/2 ounces) apple cinnamon muffin mix
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

GLAZE:

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions; fold in apple. Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, flour and butter; sprinkle over batter.
  2. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over warm muffins. Serve warm.

THOUGHTS

  • Everyone who ate these muffins said the same thing – the center is so moist!  People raved.
  • I used a nonstick muffin pan and did not grease the cups or use paper liners.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday – Wisteria (Accessories only)

Well I don’t know about you guys but after last week I can’t wait to see what else Wisteria has to offer.  I looooved their furniture.  Ready to check it out?

This weeks featured shop:  Wisteria (Accessories only)

You guys know me and my love of whimsy. I’d love to have these adorable mouse shakers!  (Update:  I got these cuties for Christmas as a gift from my mom!)

mouse shakers

This florist’s bud holder is so sweet.  What a great way to show off individual blooms!

florists best bud holder

There are several beautiful blue vases available but my favorite is the milk bottle pictured in the middle.

blue milk bottle vase

My oh my!  How nifty is this lamp?  Soooo cool!

Gilt Balustrade Lamp

These nautical rope lanterns would be great for outdoor get-togethers over the summer.

Nautical Rope Lantern

I love the bright colors in this doormat.  I wish this baby came in a full-size rug for my patio seating area!

Mediterranean Doormat

These painted paddles would add so much character to your outdoor space and there are a zillion ways you could display them.  Wish they could come live at my house!

Mariner's Paddles

Aaaahhhh!  I WANT!!!  He needs to come live with me!

Ahab's Mighty Moby

These rock ducks are so cute and right up my MIL’s alley.

Creek Rock Ducks

We have a smaaaaall obsession with turtles in our house and this sweet baby is available in both blue and pink.  {heart}

Blue Aquatic Life Pillow Cover

Ever just have one of THOSE days???

So this basically sums up my day Sunday…

crappy day

 

52 Tips to Make Life Easier

Lets face it – we could all use a few tricks up our sleeve to make things easier from time to time.  One of the blogs I subscribe to (DIY Home Sweet Home) compiled this list of 52 Tips to Make Life Easier and I think it’s worth reading.

You’re welcome!

52 tips to make life easier

Daily Mini-Cleanse Fruit Challenge

apple_logo_rainbow_fruit
     Source

I’m not much of a fruit eater.  I loooove veggies, and don’t get me wrong, I like fruit, but if I have my choice, I’ll choose the veggies every time.  I think this is because I’m more of a savory rather than sweet person.  I’d choose chips and queso over brownies any day of the week.  Anyhow, several years ago I read this book called The Raw Food Detox Diet  and while I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything she has to say, I really thought her section about eating fruit by itself in the morning was really interesting.  Here’s the basic idea of her book… above and beyond eating good-for-you foods (i.e. no processed foods) the key to staying skinny is optimizing your digestive tract.  What this means is that your body either needs to use it or lose it as quickly as possible.  Therefore, according to Rose (that’s the author of the book) the way you pair your foods matters.  And, when it comes to fruit, it should be eaten ALONE! and on an empty stomach.  Why you ask?  Because it takes your body only 30-45 minutes to process a piece of fruit (depending what kind it is) and if you pair that with something else that takes longer to digest (which is basically everything else) then the longer-digesting items will basically rot in your digestive tract because of the quick-digestion of the fruit.  Does that make any sense?  I’m not sure I explained that clearly but nonetheless, that’s the idea.  So, her rule of thumb is this… eat fruit every morning for breakfast with nothing else.  Then, wait 45 minutes before you eat something that isn’t a piece of fruit.

I’ve always struggeled with finding healthy breakfast options.  I don’t like most breakfast meats like bacon or sausage (granted, I’m not sure I’d call them ‘healthy’) or eggs.  I cannot stand the consistency of oatmeal (gag!).  Many times that left me with not-so-healthy options or nothing at all.  In high school, I ate a corndog and drank a SlimFast every morning.  No joke.  Well, that was one thing when I was in my teens and training in competitive swimming for hours every day but now that I’m nearly 30, not so much.  So, I decided to take on a fruit challenge.

The plan?  Eat at least 3 pieces of fruit for breakfast every day for 6 weeks (they say it takes 6 weeks to form a habit).

Well, it’s been 8 weeks and I’m happy to report that this challenge has been a success!  I now crave fruit every morning and it’s become second nature to purchase 21+ pieces of fruit each week at the grocery store.  I’m not going to lie, the first week sucked.  After four days I was like ‘if I never see another piece of fruit ever again I’ll be fine!’ So, on days 5-7 I didn’t eat my fruit and you know what?  I felt like crap!  I mean seriously, I felt bloated, heavy and awful.  So, on day 8 it was back to the fruit challenge and I’ve managed to keep it up… even through vacation and everything!  Whoo hoo!

A regular work day for me has me getting to my cubicle at 8:30am.  I set down my bags, turn on my computer, and head to the kitchen to cut up my fruit.  Then I come back with a plate looking like this…

photo-edited

Then, I proceed to nibble on it for about the next 2-3 hours.  Sometimes, it takes longer, sometimes shorter.  It really depends on the fruit choices of the day.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Without being gross let’s just say that when you change what goes in your body, it drastically changes what comes out of your body.  In my case, this has been a welcome change that I wasn’t eve really aware that I needed
  2. Because I graze for several hours, I’m not hungry for lunch until at least noon, sometimes much later.  Before, I was normally starving by about 10:30 or even earlier.
  3. I crave fruit!!!  This statement still sounds completely crazy to me but it’s true.  I want it.  I need it.  Fruit is my friend!
  4. The lack of thought that has to go in to my breakfast meal plan is a huge relief.  I know it’s going to be fruit.  I don’t have to stress when we go out of town to visit friends and family and wonder “what if they’re having bacon and eggs for breakfast???”  I can just bring a mixed bag of fruit with me and I’m good to go.
  5. I feel way less bloated than I did before.
  6. I drink less water but feel more hydrated.  I’m getting lots of natural fruit juice from the fruits so I’m not downing 4 bottles of water at work anymore (it’s closer to 2 now).
  7. My hypoglycemia has been under better control.  There’ve been less dips (and therefore shakes & gitters) than ever before.

I know there are some people out there freaking out about the sugar and carbohydrates in fruit but here’s my take on it:  3 pieces of fruit is lower in calories, carbs, and basically every bad thing than any other breakfast option I was eating before hand plus it’s DEFINITELY higher in antioxidants and probably fiber as well as various other vitamins.  (If you want more info on this particular topic, I like this article here.)

If you’re wondering, no I haven’t lost any weight by making this change.  I have gained any either though and my body feels soooo much better.

My fruit staples:

  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Jazz apples
  • Oranges
  • Clementines (Cuties)
  • Red Grapefruit
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries

So, am I going to continue doing fruit for breakfast?  Yep, I most certainly am!  Also, now that this challenge has been completed I’ve started a new one which I’ll tell you about soon!

Recipe Review: Chocolate Covered S’more Sandwiches

So I made these babies on Sunday to bring to work with me on Monday.  I put them in the kitchen around lunch time and they were loooong gone in less than an hour.  That means that several people at more than one, and these babies aren’t small.  If you’re looking to please a crowd, then these are a good choice!  Do note, however, that there are lots of crumbs that fall when people eat them.  Unless you want some cleanup on your hands, I’d suggest that these be served outside (they’d be great for a picnic).

I found the original idea for this here and I’m using her pictures because 1) they’re better than anything I’d take and 2) I suck at remembering to take pictures of the things I cook.  🙂

Chocolate Covered S'More Sandwiches 2
     Source

Chocolate Covered S’more Sandwiches

Serves:  20+

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1 bag jumbo marshmallows (I saw that there are some flat-ish rectangular shaped ones in the store now… if I were to make these again, I think I’d try those instead of the round marshmallows)
  • Dipping chocolate (I like to use chocolate made especially for fondue.  I find it has a creamier consistency and is easier to work with)
  • Hershey bars, chocolate chips, or any kind of plain chocolate for placing inside the s’more
  • Sprinkles, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Break your graham crackers in half so that you have two still attached two each other side by side and place them on a large baking sheet.
  3. Cover half of your graham crackers with a marshmallow and the other half with your “inside” chocolate.

Chocolate Covered S'More Sandwiches

     Source

  1. Place in oven and watch carefully!  The marshmallows will expand quickly.
  2. Once marshmallows have expanded and chocolate is melted pull baking sheet from oven and quickly sandwich one marshmallow piece with one chocolate piece (we found it was easier to take the marshmallow piece to the chocolate piece and place the marshmallow piece on top).
  3. Melt your dipping chocolate according to the manufacturers instructions.  Then, take your sandwiches and dip the bottom half in the chocolate – place on a wax paper lined baking sheet or cutting board.  Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.  Once your sheet/board is full you can place in the refrigerator for quicker set up if you’d like.  Otherwise, leave at room temperature and they should set up in 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container overnight.

THOUGHTS

  • As previously mentioned, these were a hit in my office.  They are a bit messy to eat so I’d serve in an outside environment if possible (like a picnic).  Our office floor was covered in graham cracker crumbs.  J
  • We did not use the sprinkles and we let everything set up at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator.
  • When our container of dipping chocolate was getting shallow we used a basting brush to brush the chocolate onto the bottom half of the s’more.  Painting with chocolate… gotta love it.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday – Wisteria (Furniture only)

Ready to do some shopping?  Let’s do this thing!

This weeks featured shop: Wisteria (furniture only)

I am truly, madly, deeply in love with this French Country Dining Table.  It comes with FIVE leaves and can be small enough for a family of four or extended out to encompass your extended family and then some!  We have a huge family and this table would be absolutely PERFECT!

French Country Dining Table with Leaves

This Colonial Column Side Table is so much fun.  I love the cheery teal color (although it comes in other colors if you’re not a fan).  This would be perfect in a bathroom or as a side table by a reading chair.

Colonial Column Side Table

How cute are these Nature Nesting Tables?  I love the texture that the wood adds to the room and the space they take up is minimal.  Great for a small spot!

Nature's Nesting Tables

This Mid-Century Modern Console Table has fabulous sleek lines.  I think this would look lovely in any entry way.

Mid-Century Modern Console Table - Black

Sexy.  That’s the word that comes to mind when I see this Spanish Travertine-Top Coffee Table.  I just adore the turned legs, the black and white color scheme, and the travertine top.  What a wonderfully thought out piece.

Spanish Travertine-Top Coffee Table

Have kids?  This Time Out Timer Stool might be just the thing you need.  I don’t have kids and I still think it’s funny.

Time Out Timer Stool

If you’ve got some dough and are really looking for a statement piece you’ll find it in this Moorish Bone Bench.  Talk about exquisite!

Moorish Bone Bench

Moorish Bone Bench Detail

The Kilim Bench in Anatole would add a fun pop of color and pattern to any room.

Kilim Bench - Anatole

This Versailles Chest of Drawers is so feminine and dainty.  I love the bowed legs and the white detailing.  So pretty!

Versailles Chest of Drawers

I love the classic look of this properly named Classical Bookcase.  It would be fantastic for showing off display pieces, storing china in your dining room, or actually working as a bookcase.

Classical Bookcase

Oh my.  My oh my!  This Reclaimed Pine Bookcase needs to come live in my kitchen.  What wonderful storage and display space wrapped up in such a fine package.

Reclaimed Pine Bookcase

If you like the more industrial look, this Handy Basket Shelf might be right up your alley.  Really snazzy.

Handy Basket Shelves

Thanks for shopping with me today!