Almond Butter Granola + WIAW #30

 Good morning!

Soooo the countdown is on…  9 days to go!!  I’m hoping our little girl decides to arrive on the earlier side since 38+ weeks pregnant feels like a long enough time to me.   I know everyone says to enjoy my last few days of peace and quiet (which I am) but I still really just want to meet her. :)  Thankfully I have my weekly doctor’s appointment this morning so we’ll see what they say!

And in the meantime, let’s talk about food…

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Here’s this weeks ‘What I Ate Wednesday Last Saturday‘:

Breakfast 

Peach greek yogurt + sliced banana topped with a fresh batch of super easy/healthy home-made Almond Butter Granola.  I really need to start making granola on a regular basis!  It takes just minutes to prepare and it’s so much healthier than the store-bought granola.  I also had a cup of 1/2 decaf, 1/2 hazelnut coffee with coconut milk.

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Almond Butter Granola 

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup creamy almond butter

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons chia seeds

a few pinches of sea salt

Optional toppings: craisins, coconut flakes, almond slivers, chopped walnuts, etc.

Directions

1. – Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. – Add almond butter and honey to a small bowl and microwave until creamy (about 30 seconds).

3. – In a large bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla extract, sea salt and almond butter/honey mixture.  Stir until everything is evenly coated.

4. – Spread mixture on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

5. – Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Add the optional toppings to the mix and enjoy!  (I added craisins and coconut flakes to this batch of granola)

See…  super easy, right? :)

Lunch

A sandwich with home-made chicken salad (btw I never buy prepared chicken salad since it’s basically loaded with fatty mayo), cucumber slices (for the ‘crunch’ factor) and a slice of cheese.  I also had fruit salad and water.

Afternoon Snack 

Too many triscuits to count….

Dinner + Dessert 

 Mike was away so I just picked up a salad with grilled salmon at a nearby cafe.  The salad was pretty simple and included spinach, craisins, goat cheese + cucumbers with a light raspberry dressing on top.  And the salmon had an herb seasoning on it.  Yummm!

Since I can’t end the day without something chocolate-y, I had a tasty peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie (I forgot to take a pic’ but it looked similar to this cookie…)

and a chocolate frozen greek yogurt bar.

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Do you make granola?  What do you include with yours?

What’s on the menu for today?

On a separate note, does anyone know how to get rid of shin splints?!  PLEASE SHARE :)

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As always, thanks Jenn for hosting this weekly WIAW party!

Wild-Salmon with Avocado Mango Salsa

I love, love wild-salmon.  Not only is it such an easy dish to prepare but it also has tons of health benefits including:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • High Quality Protein
  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E

In the past, Mike and I usually ate salmon a couple of times a month but since I’ve been pregnant we’ve really made an effort to have it at least once a week.  Salmon is loaded with DHA which is a fabulous fat for boosting the babies brain power.  Heck yeah!  

And I know it may be tempting to buy the farm-raised salmon since it’s so much cheaper (like $10 per lb cheaper!) but as I’ve mentioned in other posts, it’s really not worth it.  On the days we’re having salmon, I usually look online to see if any local grocery stores (Shaws, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods…) have salmon on-sale.  If they don’t, then I just remind myself of all the health benefits we’re gaining by eating the fresh, wild fish instead of the gross farm-raised fish.

Alright, and now on to the simple, quick, delicious, and so flavorful recipe…  

avocado mango salsa

Wild-Salmon with Avocado Mango Salsa

(2 large serving sizes)

Ingredients for the salsa:

  • 1 medium diced avocado
  • 1 ripe diced mango
  • 1/4 cup diced orange bell pepper (or any bell pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons diced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

Ingredients for the salmon:

  • 1 lb wild-caught salmon
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sea salt

Directions:

1) Combine the ingredients for the salsa (avocado, mango, orange bell pepper, onions, fresh cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt + pepper) in a medium bowl.  Lightly stir and crush with a fork to mix up the juices then set aside.

2) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easier clean-up) and place the salmon on the foil.  Drizzle the olive oil on the salmon and add salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.

3) Serve the salmon with the salsa spread on top and enjoy!

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By the way, want to know how to buy a ripe mango?

I was at the grocery store yesterday staring at the mix of red and green mangoes and realized I had no idea how to figure out which ones were ripe…  Somehow I’m 31 years old and I’ve never bought a mango before?  So I pulled out my cell phone, googled ‘ripe mango’ and here’s what I learned:

  • Don’t focus on color. It is not the best indicator of ripeness.
  • Squeeze the mango gently. A ripe mango will give slightly (similar to an avocado).

I also wasn’t exactly sure how to cut-up the mango so I quickly checked out this site for easy step-by-step directions. :)

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Do you enjoy salmon?  

How do you usually prepare it?

A Healthy, Delicious 4 Ingredient Cookie!

Happy Friday!

As you know, I’ve had a crazy sweet tooth during this pregnancy and eating a lot more candy/cookies/chocolate/cadbury eggs than I’d like.  So in an effort to cut back on the crap, I decided to make some cookies which are not only good for you (yep, you heard that right!) but they’re also incredibly easy to make and they taste amazzzzinggg.  I followed the Tone It Up’s ‘3 Ingredient Cookie’ recipe and also added dark chocolate chips to the mix since obviously chocolate makes everything better.

I’m so excited that I have a healthy, chocolate-y, easy treat to bake whenever a craving takes over!

4 Ingredient Cookies 

(from the awesome Tone It Up! blog)

Ingredients

2 medium ripe bananas
1 cup oatmeal
1 scoop Perfect Fit Protein Powder (or you could use any protein powder)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
(Optional ingredients: crushed walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, coconut flakes, almond slivers, etc.)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Mash the bananas in a medium size bowl with a fork.  Add the protein powder and depending on how ripe the bananas are, you may need to add a few drops of almond milk or water to make the right consistency.  Lastly, mix in the oats and dark chocolate chips.

3. Drop the cookie dough onto a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

And that’s it!  So simple, right? 

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And here are 6 more delicious, healthy(ish) desserts that should definitely be included on our to-do-lists this weekend:

1. – Spring Rainbow Yogurt Tartlets, 2. – Skinny Peanut Butter Granola Bites, 3. – Carrot Cake Cookies

4. – Chia Seed Peanut Butter Cookies, 5. – Honey Yogurt Berry Pops, 6.  Healthy Samoas Girl Scout Cookies

 

Lucky Link-Up: Mint Choc. Chip Cookies

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Hope you’re enjoying a tasty, cold Guinness or green beer while reading this post. ;) 

Last week I took part in a St. Patty’s Day recipe swap in which I contributed my Chocolate Mint Brownie recipe in exchange for another blogger’s recipe. 

I was more than excited when I found out I had matched up with Meghan’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Not only did her recipe look extremely easy but I’m also a BIG fan of the chocolate mint combo. And since I had dinner plans on Saturday night, I figured these cookies would be the perfect dessert to bring along.  I followed the directions to the T and had festive green cookies ready to go in no time at all.

And the verdict?  So good….  everyone loved them!  

Here’s the recipe from The Adventure Starts Here blog:

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
1/4-1/2 tsp mint extract
6-8 drops green food color
1 cup Andes mints (broke into pieces) (<– YUM!!!)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir together all the ingredients.  Using medium cookie scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Enjoy!

**Wanna check out more recipes from the St. Patty’s Day Link-Up??  Just head over to this blog!

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

How am I 31 years old and just realized I can make my own jam instead of buying the sugary crap at the store?!  Sometimes I don’t know what goes on in my head.  I mean, I pack a PB & J sandwich a few times a week for work and every time I question why I’m eating such a sugary sandwich.  It’s basically a dessert when you add up all the sugar.  

So last night I whipped up my first batch of strawberry jam and not only was it super delicious but it was also insanely easy to prepare and healthy too!  Annnnd on top of all that goodness, chia seeds are da bomb.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this site for the ‘Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds’.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients
(3-4 servings)

2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons chia seeds 
2 tablespoons water
A small amount of honey, sugar, stevia or any other sweetener

Directions

 1. If using frozen strawberries, let them thaw out or microwave them until defrosted.  I  measured out the frozen strawberries and let them thaw in a small bowl for about 2 hours.

2. Lightly crush the strawberries with a fork and/or masher.  Add the water, chia seeds and raw honey (and/or any other sweetener) and mix it all together.  Note: if you want the jam to have a thicker texture, don’t over mash the strawberries.

 3. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours (this allows the chia seeds to expand and thicken) and enjoy.

You can store the jam in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or so.

I can’t wait to spread the jam on toasted sourdough bread, add it to my plain greek yogurt and even mix a spoonful in with my morning oatmeal. There’s just so many options with home-made jam!  And I didn’t even get into all the types of fruit you can make into jams: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, mixed berries, apricots, peaches…  the possibilities are endless. :)