Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Happy Friday!

I am so excited to share with you all about the awesome Foodie PenPal package I recieved from Lora at Crazy Running Girl! Foodie Pen Pals is a program run by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean in which foodies (both bloggers and readers) get matched up to share $15 worth of treats with their pen pal for the month. March was my first month participating, and I have really enjoyed it! If you are interested in participating for April, check out this link.

I was excited to receive a package-it doesn't happen very often

Lora's note to me

The goods 🙂

Lora treated me to:

Laurie’s Buffalo Gourmet corn chips-super crunchy and delicious especially when dipped in salsa by The Brooklyn Salsa Company

Starburst jellybeans- I am not a huge fan of Jelly Belly beans, but these were amazing.

Craisins- which inspired me to make this granola. Also cranberries are my favorite fruit, which is kind of sad because they are one of the few fruits that are extremely seasonal and not all tasty raw, but I love them all the same

Luna bars-all in chocolate free flavors, so I would not be tempted to break my Lenten fast from chocolate. Toasted nuts and cranberries was my favorite-obviously 😉

Thanks Lora!

______

Also, random side note: I am thinking about getting new camera (DSLR). Right now I have a Canon Powershot SD 750 which I love, but I would like to take higher quality photos especially in low lighting.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Quinoa Granola

This is one of my new all time favorite granola recipes! I love it on greek yogurt, in almond milk, or straight out of the bag. The quinoa and puffed wheat combine for a crunchy but light texture, and it clumps easily. The maple syrup adds a warm flavor and perfect sweetness for me. I also love that the quinoa adds a bit of protein to the granola.

Quinoa Granola

Inspired by Hungry Hungry Hippie’s Quinoa Granola

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups rolled oats

2 cups puffed wheat

½ cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup coconut oil (canola would work too)

½ cup maple syrup

½  Tbsp vanilla

1  cup cranberries

Directions: Preheat oven to 225. Mix together the first six ingredients (oats to cinnamon). Microwave the coconut oil until the oil is liquid and mix with maple syrup and vanilla. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and gently combine. Spread mixture over two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 60 minutes and enjoy the amazing aromas that will pervade your kitchen. Take it out and let the granola cool. Break apart the sheets of granola goodness by lifting up the sides of the parchment paper. Mix in the cranberries. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks (but really, who doesn’t eat 6 cups of granola in a week?…hopefully I’m not alone in this ;))

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

So yesterday I made the decision to start Julie’s book club choice of the month, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. I had been putting off reading the book for a while because of my school workload, but since I did not have class until 5pm I decided yesterday would be a great day to read!

And read I did.

For basically the entire day.

I did manage to put it down and go to class, although I still hadn’t showered (priorities, people!). After I finished around 8pm, I completed a flurry of work and went to the gym.

In my defense, it was an awesome book and the plot sucked me into the drama, suspense, romance, and heartbreak of the characters lives. So while everything was still fresh in my mind, I decided to write and publish my review a little early.

Review: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

source

As I mentioned above, this book was difficult to put down. So I just caved and read it in one day (yay for having a life in which I can literally just ignore all other responsibilities for 8 hours). After completing it, I tried to distinguish what exactly spurred me to keep reading, and I came to the conclusion that the suspense and character development kept me turning the page(s). The intriguing beginning left me waiting the whole book for something terrible to happen, and I came to appreciate or at least learn more about the dynamic characters.

I appreciated that Chamberlain was able to cover 25ish years in the book without causing me to feel left out of certain aspects of a character’s growth. She made it easy to sympathize with CeeCee, and fully explored the depth of emotions that CeeCee experienced when making difficult life decisions. I thought all of the characters were very well developed; however, I was not fully convinced of Corinne’s development of numerous phobias. I felt they were that their inception could have been better explained through anecdotes during her childhood. Another than that, I thought the characters were well rounded and I sympathized with all of them in their various difficult circumstances.

The fact that some of the scenes took place in Chapel Hill and on Franklin St. added to the appeal for me. I loved being able to picture exactly where CeeCee and Tim met during the beginning of the book. In my head, she worked at Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe, I don’t really know why but that’s just the restaurant I thought of from the book’s description.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I felt like it has a broad appeal and touched on so many issues of relationships and family dynamics that I could relate to even without being a mother.

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And now back to real life.

This morning I enjoyed a banana breakfast bowl with oats, cooked quinoa, sliced banana, and a spoonful of peanut butter.

 

 

I have a great granola recipe for you all tomorrow with a secret ingredient: quinoa (ok, not so secret anymore).

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Return of the Smoothies

After a little hiatus my crazy smoothie recipes have returned!

Previous favorites include: sweet potato, tropical green, and PB & J. It’s my hope that these recipes bring a little fun variety to your smoothies in contrast to the more mainstream banana, berry, and chocolate smoothies. I love trying new flavor combinations, and smoothies are a great way to experiment without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Today’s recipe was inspired by a conversation with one of best friends, Anika/twin. We danced together all through middle and high school, and loved taking random photos of everything. At the studio, we were famous for saying “can you take a picture of me and my Twin?.” She graduated from UNC a couple years before me, but we have maintained in contact through regular skype dates.

Photo collage of our unabashed silliness through the years:

Anyway, my twin has a gift for combining color, style, and flavors that make an impact. Last week I was discussing my desire to use ginger in a smoothie, and she suggested carrot juice. The idea took some mulling over, but I liked the idea of putting another vegetable in a smoothie. The result is a subtly sweet, smooth, creamy drink with a bite of ginger. Perfect for a spring day!

Carrot Ginger Smoothie

1 cup pure carrot juice

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 frozen banana

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Add all of the ingredients to your blender for a 30 second whirl and enjoy!

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I really enjoyed mine 🙂 Saturday was a whole day of birthday celebration activities for Kathleen. The whole group went to see the Hunger Games in the afternoon. I read all the books a couple years ago, so I had forgotten a lot of the plot specifics but I thought on the whole, the movie was really well done. I did cry like four times, but that is to be expected lol.

After the movie, we all ate sushi at Sushi Nine. I ordered the Red Moon roll and the Crunchy Tuna roll, both were great but I think that Shiki Sushi is still my favorite.

For Kathleen’s birthday, I was excited to make a dessert from some of my many favorite healthy living blogs. The biggest hurdle in finding a recipe was that I needed an oat free treat since Kath gave up oatmeal for Lent. Unfortunately/not surprisingly most recipes involved oats or oat flour.  I was excited to find these simple no-bake peanut butter cookies on Nutrition Nut, because I also did not want to have to hunt around Whole Foods for obscure ingredients!

You can check out the recipe here. These no bake cookies were so easy to make and delicious. They are pretty healthy…as far as delicious cookies go. I loved that they didn’t taste healthy. In eating multiple pinches of the dough, I felt like I was indulging more than I actually was, which is a mark of a great healthy recipe!

Ingredients ready to be mixed

The dough is incredibly tasty-I might have eaten several cookies worth in pinches 😉

It took all my willpower not to eat the final product drizzled with dark chocolate. Only two more weeks until chocolate overload!

Again, here’s the link for the recipe.

Let me know if you make these, or any other easy somewhat healthy dessert to feature on Recimplicity!

Happy Birthday Default!

Today I wanted to take a moment to wish Kathleen a happy birthday 🙂

When we first met freshman year, we both knew we would be friends. But since all of our other friends are so loud and chatty, I don’t think we managed to talk to each other the first four or five times we were together. Nonetheless we bonded over eye contact and making faces while everyone else was talking.

Since then she has been my roommate, apartment mate, study buddy, church friend, career counselor, fellow foodie, and the only person who doesn’t look at me weird when I talk about kombucha, kale, and 27 different recipes in which bananas and oats are the main ingredients.

Of our group, she is the main party planner, and always makes sure that everyone else’s birthdays are fabulous.

She is my go-to person if I am going to try and be crafty-which usually ends up with her making all of my ideas look waayy better than anything I could have ever accomplished by myself.

She is always willing to discuss/dream about/shop for Old Navy, LOFT, Banana Republic, Target, and J Crew’s newest styles; and also serve as the other half of my closet on days in which I just don’t like anything I have, or have been eyeing one of her cute cardigans.

Us in front of Lush Cosmetics-love their stuff!

She is always ready to play win any game. Ever

Thanks for being one of my best friends, Kath!

I love you so so much!

Tomorrow I am going to share the oat-free dessert I made her!

Three Ingredient Crepes

Hello, old friend. It's been a while

I have not made a smoothie in ages! Which means that I also have not seen my Magic Bullet for a while. I decided to pull him out and try Allie’s Three Ingredient Crepe recipe.

It seemed like a perfect fit for Recimplicity: only three ingredients and minimal prep time. The only item I was a little apprehensive about was the oat flour, but grinding the oats turned out to be a very simple process in the Bullet.

I did have to tilt the Bullet in order to achieve an even blend

The three ingredients

Into the pan

I didn't get too creative with fillings, just almond butter and bananas-but Allie has some tasty ideas in her recipe.

The crepes turned out light and perfectly thin! I just wished I saved some for breakfast this morning.