Baked Oatmeal Bars

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So, Dave (my husband !!!!! ???? !!!!!) totally called me out this weekend on my obsession with bars.  Not the fun kind of bar to be obsessed with… but the kind of bar you eat when you’re like me and are constantly on the go.  I just can’t help myself.  There are literally thousands of types and the flavor options are endless! Recently, I discovered a new favorite that happens to be pretty healthy too.  I absolutely have to tell you about them.  They’re called “Go Macro” bars and I’ve tried almost every flavor… for those of us who can handle foods that taste “healthy”, these are pretty darn good.  They aren’t super sweet so if you’re looking for a candy bar type meal replacement, this one’s not for you.

In an attempt to make my own bars this weekend, I tried out a modified version of the Baked Oatmeal recipe from Cooking Light.  They couldn’t be easier to whip up and bake on a football Sunday afternoon.  I cut these babies up into 8 triangle shaped bars and we have been enjoying the heck out of them this week!  I think next time, I’ll try with less sugar and to add some ground flax too?  The opportunities are endless. :) While I don’t think these bars can replace my love for on-the-go bars… they are so delicious!

Baked Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups Uncooked Old-Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Craisins (reduced sugar)
3 Tablespoons Chopped Walnuts
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 1/2 cups Skim Milk
1/2 cup All Natural No Sugar Added Apple Sauce
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
1 large Egg, beaten

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg in another bowl. Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well.
3.  Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Check on the bars after 20 minutes and if the top starts to brown, place a piece of foil ontop and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from:  Cooking Light

Makes 8 Servings

 

Looks good already...

Looks good already…

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Green Olive Pesto Pasta

Green Olive Pesto Pasta

I absolutely love PESTO.  I think the best thing about pesto is that there’s practically a million ways you can use it and even make it.  That’s the thing that gets me… there are so many different combinations to try, how will I ever feel like I’ve found the best?!  A few months ago, I was reading my cooking magazines and found this awesome guide for mixing and matching your own pesto.  I have to share it with you… it’s crazy how many different types you could try and also get super creative with it!  (Mix-Match Pesto!)

Let me break it down for you… here’s what you need to make your own perfect pesto:

1.  Nut or Seed (almonds in this case)

2.  Add your base (olives and parsley)

3.  Choose your seasoning(s) (garlic and pepper)

4.  Pick a cheese (Asiago!)

5.  Finish that pesto! (more cheese!!)

I can’t wait to try a few others… I have already made another one with this gorgeous heirloom tomato and fresh mozz pizza the other night… whoa!

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YUM!  I’m hungry for that again…

Okay but really I have to share this crazy pesto recipe with you.  It was so easy to make and it was creamy, delicious, and just all around awesome.  Enjoy!

Green Olive Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Campanelle Pasta (or other pretty shape!)
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 oz) Pitted Manzanilla Olives
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Raw Almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley Leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper 
  • 1 large Garlic Clove
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) Grated Asiago Cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.  Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  
  2. Put the olives, almonds, parsley, pepper, and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  With the processor on, add 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of vinegar through the chute, processing until the mixture is finely chopped.  
  3. Combine pasta, 1/4 cup olives, sliced almonds, flat-leaf parsley leaves, black pepper, and garlic in a food processor; pulse 3 times or until coarsely chopped. With processor on, add 2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon vinegar through the food chute, processing until mixture is finely chopped.
  4. Combine pasta, the reserved liquid, and the olive mixture in a large bowl and toss well.  Sprinkle with extra cheese and serve immediately.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light

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Greek Stuffed Tomatoes, SRC September

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

So.. excuse me but I’m a little busy getting MARRIED RIGHT NOW! Like, not even kidding, as this is posting at midnight on 9/1, my wedding will be just wrapping up (and the after party will be starting of course). Isn’t that crazy?!  I SOMEHOW still found time this week to not only cook a fun recipe but to blog about it for you for the Secret Recipe Club!  Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures on facebook and instagram this coming week :)

For those of you who are new to the blog (shoutout to the new work friends!), The Secret Recipe Club is an awesome program I’m in where every month, I’m assigned a new blogger in the program.  I get to visit their site and check out some new recipes.  Then, I have to make one of their recipes and blog about it!  We all do the same thing and post on the same day.  It is awesome to try new things and read about everyone else’s experiences!

This month, I was assigned to check out Francesca’s blog, Della Cucina Povera.  She is amazing!  I could not decide what to make because all of her recipes sounded so yummy and also her photography is GORGEOUS.  Francesca has such an interesting background which I’m sure attributes to her creative recipes… she is an Italian-Iranian-American living in Amsterdam.  WOW.  I’m also super jealous of all of her travels!  Due to my serious decision making issues… I also tried her Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese Pasta… holy cow it was so good!   I’m also making these Lamb Meatballs next… omg.

just AWESOME blue cheese pasta recipe.  So simple but so good.

just AWESOME caramelized onions & blue cheese pasta recipe. So simple but so good.

For now though, let me share with you these crazy good Greek Stuffed Tomatoes!

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4-6 Large Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon + 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, grated

bunch of Fresh Mint, chopped

1/2 cup Brown Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it ahead of time if you can!)

Salt & Pepper

a few Red Potatoes, chopped

1/2lb Ground Turkey (I would so use lamb but I didn’t have any!)

Directions:

1.  Rinse tomatoes and cut off the tops.  Using a spoon, take the insides out making sure not to scoop all the way to the skin.  Place the tomato pulp into a foodprocessor or blender and pulse.  Place hollowed-out tomatoes in a baking dish and surround with potatoes.

2.  Saute the grated onion in the first Tablespoon of EVOO.   Add the ground meat (whatever you use) and saute, chopping.  Continue until the meat is almost cooked through.  Add the tomato pulp, mint, and cooked rice to the pan.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until the meat is done. 

3.  Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.  Fill each tomato and replace the “lid”.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes and add salt and pepper to the potatoes.

4.  Bake for about 45 min – 60 min, or until the “lids” start to brown.

Recipe from:  Della Cucina Povera, Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffin' ingredients ready to do work!

Stuffin’ ingredients ready to do work!

Tom's surrounded by Po's... not too bad!

Tom’s surrounded by Po’s… not too bad!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola – SRC August

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Can you believe this is my second chocolate recipe in a row?!  This treat comes to you today as this month’s Secret Recipe Club pick.  The Secret Recipe Club is the awesome blogging group I’m in, let me tell you all about it!  Each month, a group of bloggers is assigned another blogger to try out one of their recipes.  We can pick whatever we want too!  On the same day, we all post about our recipes and get to see and try a ton of new things.

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with My Hobbie Lobbie, who is a wonderful blogger who bakes, cooks yummy food, and even does crafts.  I don’t know how she has time to do everything!  After going through a ton of her recipes, I found myself CRAVING her Nutty Chocolate Granola.  I just had to have it.  I changed it around to match what I already had in our pantry, and it was delish.  I can’t wait to share with my friends from my new job! (YES, I got a new job!!!  AHHHHH!  I am so super excited, had to throw that in there)

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, until completely combined.

2. Spread the mix onto a foil lined, cooking-spray coated baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring/flipping the granola every 15.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Adapted from:  Nutty Chocolate Granola

Ready to stir!

Ready to stir!

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Halfway done

Halfway done

The finished product... yum!

The finished product… yum!

This granola was a fabulous snack for after dinner, but it would be amazing as a topping to cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or berries and whipped cream!  I could not believe how easy it was to make my own granola, I am excited to do it again and try new varieties too.

Click below to see all of the other recipes that were made this month in the SRC!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

“light” Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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I am super excited to share this recipe with you- NOT just because it’s amazing and delicious and awesome.  But mostly because this is the first recipe that I was able to use my brand spankin’ new KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!  Can you believe I got it already?!  What an unbelievable gift from our wonderful family friend Cheryl.  I finally picked a first recipe for it, and it was awesome.  YAY!

Now, it’s time to share this super sweet but “light” zucchini bread recipe!  If you cut the bread into 16 slices, each slice should only cost you about 160 calories.  It’s delish!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Sugar 
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Unsweetened, All-Natural Apple Sauce
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Zucchini (about 1 medium) 
  • 1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Place the sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer on low until well blended.  Add applesauce and continue to stir on low until it is well combined.
  2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife.  In a separate bowl, combine the measured flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir well with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating just until moist.  With a rubber scraper or wooden spoon, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  
  3. Put the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to cool completely before slicing.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light, 2004

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You might also like some of these other quick breads I’ve made!  Check them out…

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

 

Crockpot Coconut Curry – SRC July

Crockpot Coconut Curry w/ Eggplant & Zucchini – for the SRC July

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I know that typically people whip out their good ol’ slow cookers in the dead of winter, but I am super happy I decided to try this out despite the fact that it’s (OMG… already?!?) July!  There’s absolutely something to be said about a recipe that takes zero effort to prepare and no time standing over a hot grill, oven, or stovetop.  And I just love having a “Meatless Monday” to start my week of right.

What I love so much about cooking -and blogging- is that I can find so many different recipes from different places.  This recipe happened because of a really awesome blogging club that I participate in, called The Secret Recipe Club.  Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the adorable vegetarian blogger, Amanda and her blog Dancing Veggies.  Despite being the opposite of a vegetarian, I totally fell in foodie-love with Amanda’s blog.  Her veggie dishes are super flavorful and complex, it was so hard to pick just one.  Amanda loves spicy food, like us, so this Crockpot Coconut Curry won out.  It was amazing!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – Eggplant & Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, large
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 2 Thai Chilies, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Marsala
  • 1lb Zucchini, cubed
  • 1lb Eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, bell pepper, and thai chilies into a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices and process until smooth. 
  2. Place the veggies and sauce into the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve over rice with delicious naan bread.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Slow Cooker Coconut Curry

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Veggies chopped... so good!

Veggies chopped… so good!

The finished product!  yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

The finished product! yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

Dave and I were just dying over this curry!  The veggies become completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the curry sauce is thick and packed with spice and flavor.  I served the curry over some brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and skipped the Naan this time.  This healthy dish should definitely make it into your weeknight repertoire!  ENJOY, and don’t forget to check out the other posts written below by the fabulous bloggers in the SRC!

Watermelon & Feta Salad, SRC June

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Hi friends!

I can’t wait to share today’s recipe with you- it’s delicious, healthy, and full of juicy summer flavor.  I just love a watermelon salad!

The recipe today comes from another talented blogger, “The Tasty Gardener“, my pairing for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined a little while back.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups Spring Mix Lettuce

1 cup Watermelon, chopped into small chunks

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, chopped or crumbled

2 slices Sweet Onion, chopped

1/4 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Mint Leaves

Cilantro Leaves

Olives, Sunflower Seeds, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Place lettuce in a bowl or tupperware container.  Add chopped ingredients and top with mint and cilantro.  Add with other salad toppings such as sunflower seeds and olives and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar and ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from:  The Tasty Gardener

The original recipe was more like a side salad, but I wanted to turn that recipe into a lunch appropriate salad with fresh lettuce and more veggies.  The flavors are just fantastic and the juicy watermelon is such a nice addition to my lunchtime salad.  It gives not only a sweetness but a crunchy texture bursting with flavor.  I loved it!

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Now take a moment to check out these other fab recipes from this month’s SRC Reveal: