Foods I Love (Lately)

Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (fancied up with raisin medley!)
Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal (fancied up with raisin medley!)

I think I have discovered the perfect day of easy, healthy food.  I typically get sick of eating the same thing two days in a row, let alone two meals in a row but I’m absolutely loving these next recipes.

I’m back to loving my Steel Cut Oats with Apples for breakfast.  I kind of got sick of them for a while, but I’m back.  It’s just so easy to make and there’s nothing better than waking up in the morning to that amazing smell and being able to scoop three bowls for the rest of the week and another to take to work, all within five minutes.  Plus just letting the crockpot sit in water during the workday to make clean-up that much easier?  It’s perfect.

Then my favorite lunch/dinner combination is courtesy of a recipe J found somewhere and emailed me that also uses the crockpot.  (Sidenote: If you don’t have a crockpot, it’s seriously the best $20 investment you could ever make.)  I make it for dinner and am able to get 3-4 bowls out of it.  Since J’s on a completely Vegan (and then some) diet right now, I don’t add any cheese to his and I add a little bit extra to mine.

Lentil Rice Casserole

Lentil Rice Casserole
Lentil Rice Casserole
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp each of oregano, thyme, garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup cheese

Basically you put everything but the cheese in the slow cooker and cook it on low for about 6 hours (until the liquid is absorped) and then add the cheese in for about 20 more minutes.  Of course, I eyeball everything so besides the liquid, lentils, and brown rice, everything else is just as I go.  I’ve made it with just onions once, but this time I added red and green peppers, plus celery.  It turned out great and it also reheats just fine.

My latest snack love is a recipe from a blog I’ve recently discovered and have visited every day since first finding it.  Soft & Chewy Sugar-Free Baked Granola Bars.  After my last granola bar recipe, I’ve been dying to find something I personally like.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people loved the last set of granola bars but they were far too sweet for me so this new batch seemed right up my alley and let me tell you — they are the best granola bars I have ever tasted, even better than anything store-bought and candylike.

These are the directions and ingredients straight from here website with my additions in italics.

Ingredients:

The BEST granola bars, hands down.
The BEST granola bars, hands down.
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour (I used my super cheap blender, it worked fine)
  • 1 cup water (I started with this with just the dates and ended up adding more when I added in my oats)
  • 3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (totally guessed on this and I had to pit my own dates, oops!)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (I chopped these because I don’t like huge seeds)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (also chopped these)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (eyeballed it, but definitely added a lot more than 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (totally eyeballed it)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (yep, eyeballed this too)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (you guessed it, complete eyeballin’)
  • a hand full of dried, unsweetend cherries, chopped up

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. (I used coconut oil to coat my glass instead of parchment paper, only because I didn’t have any and I’ve been dying to try the coconut oil.)
  2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl. (I actually reversed steps 2 and 3, it turned out fine, hehe.)
  3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.
  4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.
  6. Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
  7. I suggest freezing leftovers to preserve freshness.
$35 of seeds (and honey and cherries) from Trader Joes = totally worth it.
$35 of seeds (and honey and cherries) from Trader Joes = totally worth it.

These are seriously the best things I have ever tasted.  Yes, it cost me about $25 for the ingredients because I didn’t have any on hand besides water, rolled oats, cinnamon, and vanilla extract… but my seeds are all 1lb bags and 1/4 cup really doesn’t even put a dent in them.  Plus, when it comes down to it, depending on how often you might grab a bar as a pre or post workout snack and especially if you want it to be healthy, these will save you so much money.  A Larabar is about $1 per bar; these puppies are a fraction of that and are so simple to make!  I will certainly be making these at least once a week.  I’m still amazed that something this healthy can taste that good.

I have a feeling I’ll have another set of recipes to recommend shortly from Oh She Glows.  My grocery shopping list was based on a few recipes I want to try of hers and if they are even half as tasty as these granola bars, we are in fabulous shape!

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Brittany

Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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