Gluten Free + No Bake Granola Bars.

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Finally getting around to posting this recipe! I am the queen of buying new cookbooks and scouting the internet for go to meals. I have been vegetarian for about 5 years now and I would say the biggest challenge is not getting stuck in the same routine of my favorite foods. I would be lying if I say I didn’t LOVE chocolate…..yes that is a LOVE. What woman doesn’t?  I don’t eat it everyday- and as my habits have changed so have my types of indulgences. I now usually only eat dark chocolate. Sometimes chocolate covered raisins or almonds found in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. The trick for me is: If I don’t buy it, I won’t eat it. If I do buy it, I only pick up a little bit to satisfy my craving. Practice makes perfect. Nevertheless this recipe is super easy and fast. I think it is a great alternative to the granola bars found at the store- especially that there are minimal ingredients. Just because they come in a white and green box labeled “great source of fiber” does NOT mean they are healthy. Check your labels- or simply make your own. This one was found on the blog With Style & Grace.

The recipe calls for peanut butter and I STRONGLY suggest using the freshly ground peanut or almond butter from whole foods. Since they are a no bake granola bar you need to have a good base so they can pack tight and not break. I made the recipe twice- once with regular peanut butter and once without. Also- you have the option of gluten free or regular oats. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free rice cereal or rice krispies (I used the 365 brand brown rice cereal from Whole Foods)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1/8 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips – or replace with dried fruit

Directions

Cut parchment paper to fit a 9×13 or 8″ pan. This will make it easier to remove the granola bars.

Combine oats, cereal, coconut and flaxseed in a bowl and mix together.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir until it comes to a slight boil.

Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated.

Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Let cool for about 20 minutes or so before mixing in the chocolate chips. Add mixture to the prepared pan and with a piece of parchment paper; press down to even out the surface. Place in a safe spot [out of reach from tiny hands or pets] and cover with a paper towel or cloth and let sit for a few hours to let everything set.

Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Makes about 12 bars

CSA. Learn it & Do it.

CSA

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is something you should definitely invest some money in and be a part of. It requires no extra cost than what you are probably spending at the grocery store already. Every week you can receive a box full of fresh produce including vegetables and fruits that are locally grown and in season.

When considering whether or not to join a CSA, there are a few questions that you might ask yourself. Be sure to answer for yourself and the people you live with since asking other people to change their eating habits is not a  small thing.

  • Do I like to cook and does my schedule allow me to make homemade meals most evenings?
  • Will it be fun to vegetables that are new to me?
  • How will I handle excess produce? (Do you have a neighbor who would like to get some if you get “behind”?) Feeling bad about wasting food is one of the top reasons former CSA members site for not renewing. If anything you can throw the extra veggies in your juicer or blender and get your daily intake of vitamins.

I know for me personally, throughout the week  I frequent Whole Foods daily. Mainly because I buy as I go, and it prevents a lot of waste since it’s only me. I don’t mind considering I love to cook, I love good food and it thrills me to know that I have access to amazing foods. For some people going to the grocery store is a dreadful process. I think in order to change this, you have to take a little time out of your day to look up some recipes and find things you love. If you know how to read, you can learn to cook! No excuses.

Do your research and find a CSA close to home. Why is this important? Because the more local the ingredients the faster it hits your dinner table after being picked. Nutrient value is at the highest value when your food is picked and served in a short amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always accessible, but since we live in a community where it is I recommend you take advantage of it!

Have a great weekend!

Here is a link to find a CSA in your area. Good Luck!

And That’s A Juicing Wrap!

We are finishing up our second week into the new year and it feels great. I hope that these last couple of posts have enlightened you a little bit about what juicing is and the important addition that it can really be to your health and wellness. I have received a couple of messages this week from a few people saying that they were inspired and went out and bought a juicer. Nothing makes me happier! Just because I am “healthy” doesn’t mean that I am into drinking gross drinks…and just because they are green doesn’t mean I want to pound them down either. The best is knowing what your drinking, enjoying it and reaping the benefits at the same time. Only a week into this juicing regimen and I am feeling great and full of energy. Let me know if you tried any of the recipes, or if you came up with any that you want to share.

No matter the color of the juice, I am glad you are drinking fresh ingredients that will add to the glow of your skin, aid in your digestion and provide more energy in your life. Happy Friday! 🙂

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

You Want Me To Juice Whaaaaaat??

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Do you think green juice is the only juice that is healthy? Well, it’s false. Although it is true that green veggies provide many nutrients we can also benefit from other fruits and veggies as well. If you are just getting started with juicing, or have picky eaters in your family- or children that won’t drink their vegetables, this may be a great place to start.

{Keep In Mind}

You can always add a green or two such as kale, chard, collards, or dark green lettuce and no one will even know it’s there. OR you can even add some spinach and parsley and people won’t taste a thing. Have fun with this….these are yummy!

Moraccan Beet

  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 1 dark lettuce leaf
  • 1 beet (boiled), with leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled if not organic
  • 1 lemon, peeled if not organic

(serves 1)

Hawaiian Breeze

  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled if not organic
  • 1/2 cup coconut water

(pour into glass and serve with ice, serves 1)

Lemon-Lime-Blueberry Refresher

  • 1 cucumber, peeled if not organic
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh preferred, if frozen-thaw)
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled if not organic
  • 1/2 lime, peeled if not organic

(served chilled, serves 1)

Pink Lemonade Sparkler

  • 2 apples (green preferred)
  • 1 lemon, peeled if not organic
  • 1/4 beet with leaves
  • 1 cup chilled sparkling water

(juice all ingredients and stir in sparkling water- pour into glass, served chilled. serves 1-2)

Razz and Spazz

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup rasberries, fresh or thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled if not organic
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

(start with raspberries then apple, cucumber & mint, served chilled, serves 1)

{Benefits of Fruit}

  1. Fruits are low in calories and fat and are a source of simple sugars, fiber, and vitamins, which are essential for optimizing our health.
  2. Fruits provide plenty of soluble dietary fiber, which helps to ward of cholesterol and fats from the body and to get relief from constipation as well.
  3. Fruits contain many anti-oxidants like poly-phenolic flavonoids, vitamin-C, and anthocyanins.These compounds, firstly, help human body protected from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers, andsecondly; help the body develop capacity to fight against these ailments by boosting our immunity level. Many fruits, when compared to vegetables and cereals, have very high anti-oxidant value, which is something measured by their “Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity” or (ORAC).
  4. Anthocyanins are flavonoid category of poly-phenolic compounds found in some “blue-fruits” like blue-black grapes, mulberries, acai berry, chokeberry, blueberries, blackberries, and in many vegetables featuring blue or deep purple color. Eating fruits rich in blue pigments offers many health benefits. These compounds have potent anti-oxidant properties, remove free radicals from the body, and thus offer protection against cancers, aging, infections, etc. These pigments tend to concentrate just underneath the skin.
  5. Fruit’s health benefiting properties are because of their richness in vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, anti-oxidants, which helps the body prevent or at least prolong the natural changes of aging by protecting and rejuvenating cells, tissues and organs. Their overall benefits are manifold! Fruit nutrition benefits are infinite! You are protecting yourself from minor ailments like wrinkling of skin, hair-fall, and memory loss to major ailments like age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) of the retina in the eyes, Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancers, weak bones (osteoporosis)…etc., and the list of fruit nutrition benefits never ends!

Important Note: You can add superfoods to ANY smoothie such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and spirulina.

While these juice blends might be tasty- remember fruits contain too much sugar. Try and add greens to every drink to get the most benefit!  80/20 Rule.  A juicing diet should consist of the 80/20 rule. This rule means 80% Alkalizing food and 20% Acidifying food. A normal pH should be between 7.35-7.45. A pH level below 7.0 indicates an acidic forming diet and above 7.0 is Alkaline. You can find a list of Acid/Alkalizing foods here

Back To The Basics Of Juicing.

If you’re anything like me you are wondering what all this juicing buzz is about. It seems like the latest and gratest attraction when it comes to losing weight, right? Wrong. Despite what you think, juicing is not at all a new thing and should not be considered a meal replacement, but rather an additional way to consume vitamins and minerals that we are lacking in our diet. I can remember when I was growing up that my mom would juice vegetables/fruits and I would just think she was crazy for drinking a yucky green drink- and now I am actually excited to dive in and spike my drink (not with vodka) but with kale, spinach and loads of other vitamins. Who knew? 🙂 Many of us consume a lot of calories with little nutritional value- this can help change that. I made my first drink last night (pictured above) and it had spinach, cucumber, lemon, carrot, and a red apple. NO LIE, it was soo good I forgot to take a picture before I drank most of it…oops!  (The glass was full.) On a side note, I have no idea where this juicer was purchased or what year for that matter. I posted a link to newer ones below.

Here’s a little Juicing 101.

1. Why juice?

We can consume far more vegetables and fruits through juicing than the time it takes to properly chew and digest in a days time. Also, if we actually ate vegetables there would be no need to juice, but we don’t. This allows a variety of foods you wouldn’t eat to be disguised while still recieving the benefits.

2? We can juice parts of the plants we wouldn’t normally eat such as stems, leaves and seeds.

(For example)

  • beat stems/leaves
  • celery leaves
  • lemon seeds
  • asparagus stems
  • broccoli stems
  • radish leaves
  • ribs of kale

3. Juice is broken down so it spares your digestion. The estimated time juice is put to work in the system is about 20 minutes after consumption. If your digestive tract is off- you will know by your transit time. Juicing will definitely aid in speeding this process up.

4. When we have ailments, juice is therapy for this reason. When the body has to work hard to break down veggies- it can spend alot of time on the digestive process. Juicing does the work for you. When you drink fresh juice, all the nutritents can go to work right away and heal your body to then disperse energy for rejuvination.

5. How long can juice be stored?

Ideally, you want to consume juice right after it is made. If this is not possible for the sake of time, it must be kept in an air tight jar or container and consumed no longer than 24 hours after. Say the juice turns brown- Don’t drink it. It has become oxidized and most of the nutrients has been depleted.

6. Will juicing cost a lot of $$$?

No. The cost of a glassof juice is less than a latte.

  •  3-4 carrots
  • 1/2 lemon
  • chunck  of ginger root
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 3-4 green leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber

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$2-3.50 depending on the time of year and where you purchase. 

*Warning: As a result you might experience the following:

  • more radiant skin
  • fresh breath
  • stronger hair/nails
  • less cellulite (ladies this should be an incentive)
  • improved digestion
  • vital nutrients
  • fewer cravings for unhealthy foods
  • more energy
  • less medicine

JUICING IS DIFFERENT THAN A GREEN SMOOTHIE. 

Vegetable juice is all you drink when juicing. In a smoothie, the whole vegetable/fruit is consumed. Both are ways to consume raw (uncooked foods) that are at their highest nutritional value.

What are “Raw Foods?”

Fruits, berries, root vegetables, vegetables, green leaves, nuts, seeds (both unsalted/processed), dried fruits, cold pressed oils, honey, seaweed, sprouts, and superfoods such as spirulina, chia seeds, flax etc. 

When juicing remember…

1. WASH all produce before juicing.

2. Always peel orange, tangerines, tangelos, grapefruit before juicing (contain oils that can cause stomachaches).

3. Remove pits, stones, hard seeds from fruits such as plums, apricots, cherries, mangoes, apples, grapes etc.

4. Stems and leaves of most produce can be juiced.

5. Cut fruits and veggies into sections or chunks to fit in juicer.

6. 80/20 Rule.  A juicing diet should consist of the 80/20 rule. This rule means 80% Alkalizing food and 20% Acidifying food. A normal pH should be between 7.35-7.45. A pH level below 7.0 indicates an acidic forming diet and above 7.0 is Alkaline. You can find a list of Acid/Alkalizing foods here.

6. Choose a good juicer. While this is an investment for your health, I don’t think you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a juicer- but don’t be cheap either. In between priced should be suitable. Here are some to check out on Amazon.

7. Juicing should NOT BE considered a meal replacement but rather an addition to the day. Remember, ADD, ADD, ADD to your diet.

8. You don’t need to have a specific recipe when juicing. Take a chance and experiment because what I like might not be what you like…Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and do not recommend stopping any medication w/o consultation from your doctor.

Small Health Habits That Make A Difference.

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1. Change Your Breakfast:

If you switch to an unsweetened breakfast of eggs (over easy with turkey bacon; scrambled with broccoli), you’ll eat five to six times less sugar than if you simply drink your coffee black (although you can do that, too). Bonus: The extra protein might make you feel fuller longer, eliminating your craving for a 10 a.m. bear claw.

2. Change Up Your Grains:

Try quinoa, barley, polenta, couscous and bulgur wheat, as well as that Indian recipe you stuck on your fridge months ago (aromatic rices like basmati and jasmine showed about half to one-eighth the level of arsenic as rice grown in the southern United States). When you do eat brown rice, be sure to treat it like pasta and rinse it in plenty of water

3. Eat Your Reds:

No one has to remind you of the importance of green, leafy vegetables, but what about red, round fruit—specifically, tomatoes? This star of Italian-American cuisine and a darling of home gardeners is off the charts in lycopene, an antioxidant compound that has been linked to a reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. Recently, a study published in the journal Neurology suggested that high levels of lycopene in the blood may offer protection against strokes. Finnish researchers followed more than 1,000 men ages 46 to 55 and found that those with the highest levels of lycopene were 55 percent less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest levels. Interestingly, it may be easier for the body to absorb lycopene from cooked tomato products (especially those with a small amount of oil or fat) than from raw tomatoes.

4. Force yourself to move around the office:

Chances are, the most remote corner of your office remains safe and dry no matter what’s going on outside, so adjust your computer settings to always send your documents to the printer there. If you’re trying to save trees (another commendable habit), skip the printing and journey to a faraway bathroom instead.

*I snagged this from the Small Health Habits That Make a Big Difference. Check out the full article!

Remember- small changes = BIG results! Operation “Tackle January” begins NOW!

Portobello Tacos

Mushroom

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These were so good and fast (not just saying that because I made them).

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh Portobello Mushroom (Whole- You clean/slice or Pre Sliced- I bought sliced)
  • Zucchini
  • Fresh jalapeno
  • Lettuce (Romaine preffered)
  • Tomato (Dice)
  • Lime (Flavor)
  • Parsley (Fresh), Garlic (minced), Sea Salt, Pepper, Fajita Seasoning (Purchased @ WF in spice section)
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Black Beans (Can buy refried or whole and refry yourself)
  • Corn Tortilla

Combine Mushroom, Chopped (fresh) parsley, salt, pepper, diced jalapeno, olive oil and fajita seasoning with mushroom on med heat. When mushroom looks near done (soft) you can add zucchini(or any vegetable you like) in with mushrooms. I cooked the tortillas in vegetable oil for 30 seconds while folding in half to get a crunchy taste (optional- you can heat up and eat soft as well). While these are cooking you can thrown beans in a pot and cook. WALA! Put your taco together however you like and enjoy!

*If using a whole mushroom you can also bake until soft- just make sure you clean it properly.

Fajita seasoning

{The Fajita Seasoning I used}

(Found at Whole Foods or here.

Sayonara 2012.

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Say Whatttt?? 3 days until the New Year! I feel like the older I get each year just speeds up faster and faster. What I wouldn’t do to be a kid again and have no concept of time OR I could just live my life now. I am not usually one to set NY resolutions because I think the entire year should be dedicated to kicking things off that bucket list. When I look back at 2012 I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Mid year I did in fact set some goals that were to be achieved by the end of the year (thanks to FNS). Some people hear goals and think it’s lame, but how are you supposed to remember everything you want to achieve in a day, month or year? I don’t know about you but I always tell myself I will remember and a day later I am stuck thinking, “what was that thing again??” Sound familiar? A couple of my goals were to start Newtritionsavvysarah (check), get 200 likes on my FB page (almost check…I am 8 away), stop spending so much money (check) and be consistent with my workouts (check). I can’t tell you how good it feels to set your mind to something and absorb all that comes as a result of putting the thought into the universe. It’s like buying a new car and then suddenly realizing everyone already has that car! Funny, right?? And SO true! 2012 has also brought many new people in my life. Some of these people provide encouragemt while others provide accountability and push me to be a better person for myself and this journey of inspiring others to live a better life. There are two specific things I have learned this year ( I knew it, but know I reallllly know it). First- that you can’t blame anyone else for where you are at in your life. If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. You’ll be surprised when you stop thinking that the world owes you anything. Second, if you want to preach to others you can talk all you want, but living the life you preach is what will teach more than anything. Accountability was my main focus for this year and I feel quite successful when I think of mine. I think of it as the domino effect. When you acknowledge and better one aspect of your life it is inevitable that other areas will not only surface but improve as well.

With the fast approach of 2013 take a second to think of the things you really enjoyed about the last year and also the “not so much”. Ask yourself how (not why) they happened and if there is any sort of pattern that can be changed. I know what I need to work on and recognizing is the first step. Enjoy this last weekend of the year! Happy Almost New Year!

*I do not own the rights to any of these photos.

A Glimpse Of Christmas

Food and family is the perfect way to spend Christmas. By the looks of it we only ate sugar with a little more sugar but I promise there was other things to snack on. I made delicious crostini’s (pictured above) with goat cheese, avocado, balsamic vinegar and arugula. It was a day of grazing and spending some much needed quality time with cousins, aunts and uncles. Talks of prospective trips are in the near future like Portland (to see my cousin) and Mexico for my other cousins birthday and much needed R & R. Can’t wait to start planning the vacations! I also can’t wait for NYE! Any big plans for the holiday?? Share, I would love to hear!

Tamale Time.

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{Fresh Coffee Cake…not newtritionsavvy} 😉

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{My beautiful Mama}

{My Sisters}

Friends! How was your Chritmas holiday?? We made it through! Mine was a two day filled family event. Christmas eve we spent the morning at my sisters for brunch and some quality time with my, mom, uncles, aunts, cousins and the friends we choose to call family. It was such a great day- the rain broke so we were able to enjoy the day without horrible weather. We celebrated with mimosas, an amazing vegetarian quiche (courtesy of my sister) and of course tamales (jalapeno and cheese for me) + rice and beans. What kind of Mexican holiday would it have been without that! They were sooooo yummy. It’s always a great time to spend with the family that lives so close and don’t see enough! I hope you are all enjoying the time off and preparation into the new year. Don’t forget, just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you get to be sluggish. Think ahead, you won’t have to work as hard come January 1. I’ll share more pictures from Christmas tomorrow….until then-  Happy Wednesday!