On The Shelf.

As part of the “On the Shelf” series, I’ll be featuring different products that I find at the grocery store.  Products that sound interesting (and HEALTHY)…but are they really?  And are they worth the cost?  Most importantly, how do they taste?

All product reviews will be my own thoughts.  I’m not being endorsed by any company and I will let you know ahead of time if I receive any sort of promotional item versus paying for it myself.  If you have questions on any products that YOU have seen on the grocery shelf recently, let me know and maybe I’ll feature it in the series. 

Chobani with Oats

Chobani? Love!

Oats? Love!

So how about chobani and oats together??

Chobani has been coming out with all kinds of new products lately.  I’ve been a fan of their yogurts, but Fage Yogurt has been making more of an appearance in my fridge lately.

I was pretty excited to try this new product.  I like that there’s a boost of fiber (3 grams versus <1gram in most yogurts) and I would probably choose this yogurt if it was part of my breakfast on the go.  I would also choose it if I was at a hotel and needed a quick, all-in-one kind of snack or breakfast.

That being said, I wasn’t crazy for the taste of the yogurt.  This one was a little…gritty.  The chew from the oats was FUN but I wanted the yogurt to be smoother and completely creamy.

Overall?

I liked it but will stick to my 2% pineapple chobani and 2% plain Fage yogurt!

QUESTION: Have you tried this product?  Yay or Nay?

Granola Girl.

I find there are two recurrent food items that I am always making and/or blogging about.

(1) Muffins.

and

(2) Granola.

That about sums up my life in the kitchen these days.  Because even when things get busy, there is always time to make a batch of granola.  And, if there isn’t, then life’s priorities need to be reevaluated.

Granola is easy.  And it’s delicious.  And it makes me happy.  In other words, it’s worth taking 30 minutes out of the day to make a batch.

(This is my go-to granola recipe: Simply Granola)

I followed it to the letter today, except I doubled up on the maple syrup (I wanted a SWEET batch made with my cousin’s own maple syrup!!) and I subbed in wheat germ for the flax seed because that’s what I had on hand.  I also added in walnuts and pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.

This was one of my favorite batches yet.

Crunchy.

Sweet ‘n’ salty.

Totally addicting.

I paired it with some non-fat plain yogurt and an orange for a fun afternoon snack.

Yessiree, Bob.  Granola sure does me make me happy.

(P.S…

Don’t be afraid to tweak ingredients!  If you think cocoa would be good, add a scoop!  If you like fruity granola, add a handful of raisins or cranberries during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  Or use honey or agave in place of the maple syrup.  Have fun!)

QUESTION: What is your favorite flavor for granola??  I like mine plain and simple for the most part.  Sweet and salty with plenty of crunch.  I don’t really like fruit in my granola and tend to keep them out.  But occasionally I’ll add in some dried cranberries to the mix. 😀

Snack-On-The-Run @ Panera

This past weekend, I found myself on-the-go and starving.  This doesn’t usually happen for a multitude of reasons (one of which, my purse is always, always, always full of snacks...just not this time!)

I was literally at my breaking point as to what I could snag to curb my hunger.

Look what I found!

I plopped the accompanying strawberries and pecans on top of Panera’s steel cut oats for extra fats and fiber, and then I nixed the cinnamon sugar (who needs it when strawberries taste this good?)

The result was a 250 calorie, 8g fiber, 6g protein snack/mini-meal that held me over until dinner time.  The oatmeal is available any time of the day too, which is awesome, and it comes in just the right (healthy AND satisfying!) portion size.

Ah, yes.  That lovely feeling when a serious crisis is averted. 😉

Happy Monday, friends!

Almond Flour Muffins

It was Friday afternoon.

I was out of work by early afternoon.

It was raining.  Humphrey (my silly tuxedo cat) was sleeping up high on his cat tree.

There was a bag of almond flour sitting patiently in my fridge.

Sigh.  Life sure is good.

Almond flour is a lot of fun to work with.  Even funner to eat.  It’s slightly sweet, nutty, and very soft in texture.  It makes for a fabulous crumb topping on any sort of berry crisp and it’s absolutely wonderful in cookies.

Today’s experiment confirmed that almond flour is also delicious in muffins.

These muffins are easily transportable, which makes them great for early morning breakfasts and afternoon snacks.

They’re also easily tweakable.  Add in some dark chocolate chips and mashed banana.  Or grate in some carrots and add some raisins.  How about apples?

Go with your gut on this one and just have fun with it.

Almond Flour Muffins (makes 8 muffins), (Gluten Free)

This delightful recipe was adapted from an original recipe seen at Elena’s Pantry.

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. 100% maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, maple syrup and vinegar.
  3. Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until combined.
  4. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter at a time into muffin pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until slightly browned around the edges.  Cool for about 5 minutes; run a butter knife around the rim of the muffin to release from pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon as desired and serve!

Cheese Quesadillas

In my purse, you will always find (a) wallet, (b) cell phone (c) a few pens (d) a notebook for keeping track of my budget (e) gum or mints and (f) a snack.

That (f) snack is usually a simple baggie of almonds.  Maybe a trail mix of sorts.  Or some Mary’s Gone Crackers for when the munchies hit.  My body feels at its best when I can eat every 3-4 hours, and I like to stay prepared for those times when lunch comes late or when I’m at work longer than anticipated.

So, yes.  You could say that my snacks stay pretty consistent.

Except fort when I’m home.  That’s when I like to mix things up a little…

I found these brown rice tortillas at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago and have fallen in love with them.

Why?

They make for an awesome cheese quesadilla. 😉

These wraps are decently low in sodium (160mg per wrap) and have 2g protein and 2g fiber per wrap as well.  I like to amp up that protein/fiber level by adding cheese and tomatoes.

Now that all those fresh veggies are popping up at farmer’s markets (and perhaps your own backyard!), feel free to go all crazy with the amount of vegetables you add.  Sauteed kale or spinach would also be a nice addition.

In addition to falling in love with these brown rice tortillas, I’ve also fallen in love with chives.

Chives are ridiculously easy to grow and spread like wild fire (i.e., find some people who will take a few plants off your hands in the next couple of years after planting them!)  Chopped up into a million and one little pieces, chives add such pizzazz to any savory dish or snack.

Cheese Quesadilla (Gluten Free, Low FODMAP)

(Serves 1)

Serve with a dab of plain greek yogurt, salsa and/or guacamole if desired.  Although I enjoy this for a snack, it also makes a nice side for a bowl of soup or a freshly tossed salad.  Enjoy!

  • 1 Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Tortilla (or whole wheat alternative)
  • 1 Slice of Swiss Cheese
  • 4-6 thin slices of tomato, dabbed with a paper towel to remove extra liquid
  • chives
  • cooking spray
  1. Coat a nonstick frying pan with cooking spray.  Heat to medium.
  2. Slice the cheese in half and place each half on one side of the tortilla.  Top with tomato slices so that tomatoes cover the entire half of a tortilla.  Fold tortilla in half and place on pre-heated frying pan.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Flip.  Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes or until golden browned and cheese has melted.  Top with chives and enjoy!

QUESTION: What are your favorite snacks “to-go”?  How about when you’re home?

A Healthier Banana Bread

It feels like a very good day to share one of my most favorite banana bread recipes.

Being my favorite because it tastes absolutely sinful.  Dreadfully indulgent.

Like you should save it only for those special occasions.

Thankfully, however, this bread is far from sinful.

Why?

(1) The white flour has been replaced with whole wheat flour, which provides you with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, along with a healthy dose of fiber.  Fiber keeps you feeling full longer, which is helpful if you’re watching your weight.  It also helps in lowering your cholesterol.

(2) The sugar has been reduced to a measly 1/4 cup (the bananas are the main sweetener here.)

(3) A healthy oil is used, but not in excessive amounts.

(4) Dark chocolate is added, which (yes) is high in calories in fat but (yes) also offers you heart protective benefits.

The result is a banana bread worthy of being called dessert while also being virtuous enough to be called breakfast.

Savor.

And simply enjoy.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

You can tweak any of your favorite bread/muffin recipes to make them healthier versions of themselves.  I’ve had success cutting out half the sugar and half the oil in most recipes.  If you’re watching sodium, you can also cut back on half the salt, as I did here.

  • 1 c. mashed very ripe banana (about 2-1/2 medium)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup good quality dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir just until moist (do not overmix).  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into an 8×4 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, remove from pan.  Cool completely on rack.  Enjoy!