Jumping Into Protein Bars

If there is one staple of healthy food bloggers, besides smoothie bowls, I would have to say it is protein bars. My Instagram feed is full of so many I’m not surprised when one shows up that I have never heard of. Last year I was super into Luna bars, but I also knew that they weren’t the healthiest of the bars and also expensive, so I let that obsession fall off.

One of my biggest weaknesses is snacks, like all the time, so I have been trying to figure out a healthier way to satisfy my constant snack cravings. Last week I made these pickled cucumbers , but they only lasted two days and they were almost too good. If my snack is a large bowl full of something it probably isn’t the best. Now these were definitely healthier than my go-to Doritos or chocolate, I knew I couldn’t sustain the cucumber love.

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I ate much more than this at once

So I decided to make my first trip to my local Whole Foods to peruse the protein bar aisle. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for, I was just winging it. I landed on trying three different kinds to see what I was in to — knowing that these are not my Chewy granola bars, I had a feeling this would take some trial and error. Here are my thoughts on all three:

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3. RX Bar-Coffee and Chocolate

This review warrants a disclaimer: I was hesitant to try this one because I haven’t been the biggest fan of date bars in the past, and this reaffirmed that feeling. I keep telling myself that I just need to get used to it, but I don’t know if that is possible. I could see where this would be appealing to people, but the texture and flavor was not working for me. The coffee and chocolate flavor seemed off as well, too bitter.

2. Square Bar-Chocolate Covered Coconut 

I decided to give this bar a go after seeing it all over In it 4 the Long Run’s Instagram. I was mostly not disappointed —its pretty hard to mess anything up that is completely covered in chocolate. The texture was a little off from anything I had had before, but it was doable. It reminded me a lot of an Almond Joy, which is never a bad thing. I will definitely be trying more of their flavors.

1. Pro Bar Meal-Peanut Butter

This was by far my favorite of three that I tried. It had that classic protein bar chewiness, but there were enough of the other ingredients, like sesame seeds, that I wasn’t focusing on that part of the texture. There was also little pieces of dried fruit, which were much welcomed sweetness. This one even had dates in it, but because it was not the main ingredient I was able to deal with it and like it. The peanut butter flavor also wasn’t too powerful compared to everything else going on in the bar, which was a lot. It may claim to be a meal bar, but I would definitely need to supplement it with some fruit or yogurt. This may be my new go-to snack. Does anyone have any flavor recommendations??

2 for 3 isn’t too bad for my first round!

Garlicky & Cheesy Carrots and Cauliflower Tots Review

A question I will never stop asking myself: why is meat so darn expensive? I grew up eating eat, I am accustomed to meat being a part of my meal and I like meat. We all know meat isn’t always the most healthy option, but I don’t think I would be able to cut it out of my diet completely. The cost however, does make me think twice about eating it and trying to find some alternative options.

Some days I try harder than others to make my life meatless, and when I do I generally try a new recipe. I am rather picky when it comes to veggies so I need something that isn’t too out there with foods that I am familiar with. Cue the cauliflower — super versatile, relatively flavorless and something I can stomach. I decided to go with this recipe for Garlicky & Cheesy Carrots and Cauliflower Tots. The results were less than stellar, mostly because of my own doing.

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As you can seem from my picture, I have some pretty big carrot chunks. The joys have not having a food processor. This recipe calls for one, I don’t have one, so I thought I would be able to smoosh the veggies enough to make it work. Unfortunately, the carrots weren’t soft enough after boiling them, and I ended up with this. I also wasn’t super impressed with the flavor profile, something was missing.

Next time I recipe calls for food processing I might think twice before trying it, instead of relying on the power of my hands.

Pizza Waffles Review

As a proud new owner of a waffle iron, I have been trying to find all sorts of recipes that I can try out that don’t actually involve making a waffle. While, I have definitely made my fair share of waffles so far, it was time for some experimenting. So I decided to try out this recipe from Spend with Pennies for pizza waffles.

They started out by looking like this …

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… definitely not the most appetizing think I have ever seen. But then came out nice and golden brown.

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I did have a little cheese leakage, but it was to be expected. I also don’t think I put enough ingredients in, but my dough didn’t seem strong enough to hold anything else. I stuffed mine with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and some sautéed sweet mini peppers. A great combo, just not enough. If I do decided to make them again I might try biscuit dough instead of crescent roll dough. Should be able to hold more of the good stuff.

What is your favorite way to use your waffle iron besides the typical breakfast waffle?

Soup for the Soul

NYC finally received its first snowfall of the season, which meant it was finally time for me to indulge in a soup recipe. It’s not often that I come across a soup recipe that I don’t want to make, so yesterday’s decision was a tough one. I didn’t want anything to complicated, but I also wanted something that was really going to pack a punch and remain a go-to. I ended up deciding on loaded baked potato soup, and it did not disappoint.

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Week 15: Day 5

That much closer to the end of the semester, and somehow I keep turning out some tasty meals. The weather has also finally started to warm up, so maybe that is helping to keep my spirits higher. Regardless, summer is almost here, which means even more opportunities to experiment with more recipes.

Dinner

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Last week I tried to make dumplings/potstickers and they turned out absolutely horrible. The vegetables didn’t cook, there was no flavor and they fell apart. I decided to give it another go with this recipe, and they came out beautifully. They ended up with a nice crispy bottom and pre-cooking the veggies mean the veggies were actually cooked. This were only stuffed with veggies — cabbage, onions, green pepper, carrots, scallions. The recipe called for mushrooms, but I substituted those with carrots. This will definitely be going on my list to make again.

Week 15: Day 4

I have officially attend my last class at Ithaca College. Craziness. I don’t think it has really set it and probably won’t until I am actually moving to NYC and starting my classes there. No more classes means no more cold weather, which means I am looking forward to being outside again. I hoping to incorporate some more spring/summer foods into my diet to make things a little more exciting. We will see how well that actually goes.

Dinner

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I think I have officially reached my quesadilla limit. This one didn’t have the enjoyment that my previous ones have had, maybe it was this ingredient combination. I have also yet to figure out a way to take an appealing picture of a cooked quesadilla, so this is the inside of mine pre-cooking. I included: spinach, cauliflower, scallions, cannellini beans and a Mexican blend cheese.

Week 15: Day 2

After a weekend filled with tasty brunch at Agava in Ithaca, New York and homemade black bean burgers, I have entered my final week of classes. Hallelujah! I just have to keep trucking through and the light of the end of the tunnel will finally be visible. I started this week off right with a tasty dinner. Hopefully time is in my favor and good cooking continues.

Dinner

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Now that is one beautiful looking pile of food. I started the week out easy with a vegetarian burrito, but easy does not mean skimping out on flavor. I piled my tortilla shell high with a brown rice/quinoa blend, black beans, salsa, roasted red peppers, jalapeños, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, corn and salsa. I may be forgetting something, but it all blended together to a scrumptious combination in my mouth. Side note: I think I have eaten more tortilla shells this semester alone than I did all of last year. Mexian can be easy and healthy — my two favorite things.

Week 14: Day 4

I’m still trucking along. The end of the semester is really kicking my butt, but I am making my way through. It’s hard to believe I only have one semester left and then I will be graduating. It seems like this semester just started and now it is coming to close. If only the weather would catch up to how I am feeling about Spring, we would be all set.

Dinner

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Like I mentioned before I am going slightly vegetarian, so this dinner was cauliflower nuggets, to replace chicken nuggets. Not that I have eaten chicken nuggets in a very long time, these were a nice replacement. It’s pretty amazing how how versatile cauliflower is and how it is pretty much thrown in everything. I followed this recipe, but instead of frying them I baked them to keep out the excess oil. About 10 minutes on each side at 400 degrees. Definitely something I will be making in the future.