How to Make Protein Bars

chocolate coconut protein bars

The season of packing school lunches is here again. The old classic PB&J is an easy fallback, but it’s important to embrace variety and mix up what goes into your children’s lunch boxes. This month’s Recipe Redux is full of ideas for “brown bag bars and bites.” Learning how to make protein bars is one of the best things you can do to keep the lunchtime meal varied and fun. Homemade protein bars are perfect for kids. They taste like dessert, but they can be filled with healthy ingredients to keep children satisfied and energized throughout the school day. They work at snack time as well as lunch. Sweetened by dates, these bars can also be shaped into small squares or balls to fit … [Read more...]

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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Homemade ice cream is one of my favorite summer treats. I do like going out for ice cream with my family on occasion, but there’s just something special about making it yourself. Unlike at an ice cream shop, the flavor possibilities are endless. You can make whatever kind you want and invent flavors that haven't been dreamed up before. It takes great patience as you wait for the ice cream to solidify in the freezer. It feels like an eternity. But then, it’s finally ready. And it’s so creamy, so good. I can’t imagine summer without homemade ice cream. This chocolate peanut butter ice cream is adapted from a recipe in the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. … [Read more...]

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

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This Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta is a delicious way to feature those little tomato gems that hit the markets in the middle of summer. This dish is simple and basic, but it tastes like a fancy restaurant meal. We returned from vacation a few weeks ago on the eve of my husband’s birthday. I had little energy for cooking a birthday dinner as I faced a nearly empty pantry and refrigerator. I did have a pretty pint of cherry tomatoes from the farm, though, which reminded me of a pasta recipe I used to make from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. That recipe inspired this dish, and my family loved it. One of these days, you really should try making your own ricotta. I know it sounds like a big … [Read more...]

Berry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

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Baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead breakfast that can be flavored all sorts of ways. I have a blueberry banana baked oatmeal recipe in my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. It’s one of my favorite recipes in the book. Not everyone loves bananas like I do, though. Without the banana in my baked oatmeal, a substitute is needed to boost the flavor. This month’s Recipe Redux challenge calls for recipes that use spirits and extracts, and vanilla extract is the perfect substitute here. Adding vanilla is a great way to flavor recipes without adding extra sugar. I like to make my own vanilla extract. The homemade version is a lot less expensive than the grocery store kind, and it makes a great … [Read more...]

Carrot Zucchini Bread

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  The volume of carrots and zucchini that I’ve been bringing home from my farm share is getting to be overwhelming. My kids are especially hesitant around zucchini, so when in doubt, I bake it into a snack. Chocolate zucchini muffins are a popular option. This carrot zucchini bread is another delicious snack recipe full of veggie goodness. The cinnamon adds a great flavor. I use a cup and a half of each grated vegetable, but you could easily add a little more zucchini, carrots, or a combination. This bread freezes well, so I put the cooled second loaf right in the freezer and save it for a week when I'm short on time. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:127]   Carrot … [Read more...]

Mango Salad Dressing

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Lettuce comes fast and furious from my farm share this time of year, so we eat a lot of salad. It’s great for me because a big, loaded salad is just about my favorite kind of meal. The kids, on the other hand. . . They’re pretty good about salad, but they were happier about it when I used to buy store-bought dressing. Ranch was their favorite, and they liked Italian too. After I started scrutinizing ingredient labels a few years ago, store-bought salad dressings were among the first things to go. Lengthy ingredient lists with thickeners and other additives don’t make the real food cut. I’ve worked hard to come up with homemade salad dressings that my children would like. There have … [Read more...]

Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins

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Have you heard? It’s all about chia seeds these days. They’re full of full of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. I love chia pudding, which is thickened by the reaction between the chia seeds and the liquid. I also like to throw a tablespoon of these seeds into my smoothies. Chia seeds can be added to baked goods, too. These Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins are a delicious snack. This recipe is a great example of how chia seeds add texture to baked goods. You’ll barely notice they’re there, but they add the slightest crunch to the muffins. This fruity snack freezes well, so put some away for a busy day and you’ll be so happy to find them waiting in your … [Read more...]

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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My new book, Conquering Your Kitchen, is now available on Amazon. I’m so excited to share this cookbook and guide with you. It walks you through everything you need to know to plan meals, shop, and cook real food with confidence. The book includes 80 easy, delicious recipes, and all of them take 30 minutes or less of hands-on preparation time. Who wants to spend more time than that in the kitchen? I know I don’t. :) This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite new recipes from the book. It brings together the flavors of a traditional Greek salad. Quinoa adds whole grain protein to the dish, so it can be served on its own for a light lunch or dinner. This salad is a great … [Read more...]

Strawberry Spinach Salad

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This simple strawberry spinach salad is a delicious way to eat your greens. We get a lot of spinach from our farm share, and it’s in season alongside strawberries. I try to wash my spinach right when I get home from the farm, then I store it to maximize its shelf life. My kids don’t always go for the healthy food I put on the table, but this salad is a hit with them. The strawberries and the sweet, creamy dressing distract them from the fact that they’re eating a mouthful of spinach. You can improvise with different add-ins like almonds, avocado, and scallions. This basic version is delicious on its own, though. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:121] Strawberry Spinach Salad Price Breakdown This … [Read more...]

Strawberry Granola Bar Recipe

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Granola bars are among the most convenient snack foods out there. Unfortunately, most packaged granola bars are full of added sugar, which makes them more of a dessert in my book. Snacks should give you energy and make you feel full until your next meal. Highly sweetened processed snacks just don’t do that. This strawberry granola bar recipe provides whole grains, protein, and fiber. It’s just sweet enough, and some of the sweetness comes from the natural sugars in the banana and the strawberries. This is a great recipe for a family that’s just starting to transition away from processed food. It doesn’t taste too different from the snacks you’d buy at the store, but it lacks the … [Read more...]