A rundown of my favorite finds
Expo West – the land of free food samples, overeating, socializing, and high anxiety levels. For those of you who don’t know, “Expo West” is the Natural Products Expo that is held twice a year: once in the West (Anaheim, CA) and once in the East (Baltimore, MD). It is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event and pulls over 85,000 attendees from around the world. These four days are jam-packed as attendees try to see as many booths as possible in the extremely overcrowded trade show floors. While I’ve now been to Expo East twice, this was my first West experience. Sweet Jesus, this thing is massive. Three years ago, I vividly remember constantly refreshing my IG feed to stay up-to-date with all of the posts that food bloggers were sharing from their trip and feeling extreme jealousy that I wasn’t able to be there due to my current job. As my first self-employed March rolled around, I knew it was the year I’d finally get my butt to California.
Dare I say better than the bagged options?
This weekend I found myself in a very unfamiliar situation: without any granola in the apartment. As someone who loves to add some type of crunch to all of my yogurt parfaits and needs that extra fuel, granola is something I rely on heavily. (That being said, I am especially pick about which ones I purchase and consume). Surprisingly enough, I have never attempted at making my own. Sure, I’ve heard it’s easy, and I know it’s delicious based on some of my friend’s creations that I’ve tried, but I’ve never been the one mixing the ingredients for a fresh new parfait topping. That is, until this past Sunday morning. Opening my fridge to tons of tasty yogurts and beautiful fruits and realizing I had nothing to top it with, I decided to get creative. Considering I always have a stocked pantry, it wasn’t too hard to whip up a combination I loved. I’ll still be purchasing a few of my favorite brands going forward, but, this one will definitely be added in to my rotation!
A Healthy Take on a Foolproof Classic
When playoff football season comes around, I am always looking for comforting, rib warming, and tailgate style food. Unfortunately, most of the food we normally turn to in these types of environments are not ones that agree with my stomach too well. So, I take this time to put a healthy spin on some foolproof classics to not only fill that craving, but satisfy the hungry men that fill our apartment for Eagles games. A lot of people ask how to get their significant other or children to like healthier foods; here is a great starting point. They won’t even know!
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The Outcome of my Obsession with British Bake Off
So, I have something to admit… I am absolutely 110% obsessed with the Great British Bake-Off show. I mean, obsessed. I cannot and will not be stopped. As someone who doesn’t consider themselves a baker (way to scientific for me, I prefer the “art” of cooking aka I cannot follow instructions), I was surprised at how much I loved this show. But between the British accents, the un-American way the participants actually help each other during the competition, and the incredible cakes, pies, breads, cookies, etc. that are created, I am in awe. I recently was watching an episode where they were baking biscotti and it made me realize that it had been far too long since I had one of my favorite treats. Ever since adapting this gluten free diet, my love affair with biscotti had been but on the side burner. So, feeling ever so adventurous and strapped with the misbelief that I too was a “star baker” (British bake-off joke, if you don’t get it then I suggest you watch), I set out to create my own recipe. Shockingly, they turned out pretty freaking delicious. Maybe I have a third career!? Kidding. I know very well I do not. Back to the TV I go!
To beat that afternoon hanger
Looking for a quick and easy snack to grab on the go while still eating something healthy and delicious? Aren’t we all! Energy balls are one of my favorite things to make in mass and then store in my freezer for afternoons when that hanger strikes (we’ve all been there). This version includes a ton of protein packed ingredients and a nice sweetness from the cacao powder and the coconut; not only are they a great snack option but they also can be a perfect 2-bite dessert. The best part about them though? When you make these on your own they cost you about 1/10th of the price you see in those fancy coffee shops. Anyone else have a moral dilemma paying $4 for a small ball made of majority peanut butter and oats!? No way I’m alone in that.
A delicious breakfast on the go!
You all know by now that banana and almond butter is one of my all-time favorite combinations; something I am constantly looking to include in recipes as a vehicle for this delicious flavor bomb. As someone who also loves baked goods, but hates dealing with the “are these gluten free?” question and time spent trying to figure out what sugars have been added into them, I’ve pretty much cut them out of my breakfast routine. Instead of deciphering whether or not the local coffee shop is serving basically cake and calling it a breakfast muffin, I decided to get to my kitchen and make my own. These babies are gluten and dairy free and are only sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. They also can be made vegan by using a flax egg (don’t hate on this method til you try it!). My favorite way to enjoy them: nice and warm, cut in half, and filled with a layer of almond butter and some extra banana. BAM!
When it comes to snacking on Whole30, there are mixed opinions. Some believe the whole purpose of Whole30 is to break some of the unnecessary eating habits you have. However, if I’m hungry, I’m going to eat. This does not mean I’m snacking throughout the day, but by no means am I going to starve myself for a food plan (refuse to call it a diet) that I’ve decided to follow. That said, it is extremely difficult to find compliant Whole30 snacks other than fruits and vegetables. So as part of my Sunday meal prep, you better believe I’m also making some grab and go foods for the moments in between meals.