Tag Archives: Tried & true

Super-Simple, Healthy, Chewy Granola Bars

I am always on the search for snack I can give my kids that are actually healthy. I love to be able to just hand them something that I won’t have to worry about having artificial junk and preservatives in. I am a huge fan of baby carrots, fresh fruit and applesauce, but I can only convince the kids to have them as a snack a few days a week. My kids especially love granola bars.

I stumbled upon this great way to replace our store bought granola bars with ones made with real ingredients. These do have some sugar in them (especially if  you add the chocolate chips 😉 ) so be aware of that, but for the most part these are healthy versions of the ones you buy in the store.

These granola bars are great for parents too. I have started grabbing half of a bar to curb the afternoon hunger.

The best part is these healthy, chewy granola bars are SUPER easy to make.

Gather your ingredients. We love 1/2 cashew butter and 1/2 almond butter, but feel free to cater to your own taste.

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Measure out your nut butter and maple syrup.

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Melt them in a microwave safe bowl and stir to combine.

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Add the oatmeal and stir again.

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Empty the ingredients into a lined pan.

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Press into place.

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Add any extras. We love chocolate chips and nuts or assorted dried fruit.

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Let cool and then cut into bars. These keep for about a week, longer if you don’t mind a crispier granola bar.

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Super-Simple, Healthy, Chewy Granola Bars

super-simple-healthy-chewy-granola-bars

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup nut butter (can use almond butter, cashew butter, sun butter or just plain peanut butter)
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • Additional add-ins like chocolate chips or dried fruit pieces
  1. Combine the syrup and nut butter and melt in the microwave. Stir until it is fully combined.
  2. Add in the oatmeal. Stir.
  3. Add in any additional toppings of your choice.
  4. Line a small bar pan with wax paper. Scoop mixture into pan.
  5. Use another small sheet of wax paper to press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Let cool, cut, and enjoy!

Fresh Take 5’s Friday Favorites 5.8.15

Here are my favorites for this week. Enjoy!
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Fresh Take 5’s Friday Favorites for 5.8.15:

I love the idea of potentially teaching your child yoga to deal with frustration and other overwhelming emotions.

Tried this chicken marinade over the weekend and loved it with a couple of modifications. I used a pinch of dried thyme instead of the fresh, skipped the fresh rosemary and went heavy on the pepper. I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to keep fresh herbs on hand for weeknight meals.

Oh parenthood. I’m feeling these tweets now that I’ve got two toddlers.

Are you a reader? How many of these books can you check off?

This new technology seems awesome. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Netflix Watch List: May 2015

 

netflix must watch

 

Here’s my recommendation of what to watch on Netflix for May 2015.

Netflix Watch List: May 2015

 The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

TV Series, Comedy

unbreakable kimmy schmidt

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a hilariously funny spoof on modern culture as seen through the eyes of a woman who is locked in a bunker for the last 15 years. It’s easy, light watching by creator Tina Fey. Also, be prepared to have the theme song in your head for days.

The Fall

TV Series, Crime Drama

the fall

 

The Fall is a Netflix original that will haunt you all the way through. In fact, I am still thinking about it. The show follows a serial killer and the detective who is trying to track him down. (If you like The Fall also check out Happy Valley.)

Red Road

TV Series, Drama

red road

The Red Road is an extremely suspenseful drama from the Sundance channel. I recommend it for viewing with your spouse because it has both drama and action making it riveting for both.

Fed Up

Documentary

Fed Up

 

Fed Up is an extremely interesting look at the obesity epidemic and how it affects our children. If you have kids I highly recommend viewing this to better understand our nutrition and how things have changed in this generation.

Incorrigible – Chris D’Elia

Stand Up Comedy

IncorrigibleOk save this one for when you are in the mood for some raunchy comedy. Chris D’Elia goes great with a beer and some good company.

 

Roasted Banana Leather

Roasted Banana Leather is the perfect fix for those bananas you have in the house that are overripe or about to be. It is also an easy way to create a healthy snack for you and your little ones. The pictures pretty much say it all.

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Roasted Banana Leather

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Slice bananas and place on a tin foil-lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  4. Allow bananas to cool.
  5. Enjoy!

Roasted Banana Leather

5 Easy Ways to be Environmentally Conscious for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day to everyone out there!

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would give you my top 5 easy ways to be environmentally conscious today and going forward.

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  1. Recycle at Home – I can’t say this one enough. We recycle everything we possibly can. I am weird about it, but if you’re not, start off small. Try to have your recycling bin contain more than your trash bin at the end of every week.
  2. Use refillable water bottle. This is easy with the kids since they tend to use sippy cups that you bring with you, but consider getting one for yourself too. If you need a recommendation, I love my CamelBak Stainless steel bottle. The stainless is awesome because it doesn’t hold flavors like plastic does and CamelBak warranties all their parts. I had the mouthpiece break a couple of years ago and they completely replaced it at no charge to me.
  3. Use reusable grocery bags. I am an Aldi shopper and so I pretty much have to do this, but its a great habit to pick up anyway.  You can find reusable grocery bags pretty much anywhere for inexpensive.
  4. Accept and give hand-me-downs. We have a solid rotation system down with friends and family for kids clothing. We only have to buy clothes for special occasions and wear hand me downs the rest of the time. I love this because not only is it environmentally conscious, it saves money. We also donate clothing when it no  longer fits.
  5. Garden. We love to have a small vegetable and herb garden in the summer. I love that it teaches the kiddos about the world and life cycles plus it provides great nutrition.

Looking for a fun Earth Day project to try with your littles? This one looks like a blast and way easy.

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#JadoreDessange Dessange VoxBox Review

I received the Dessange VoxBox to review as part of my account with Influenster.

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The Dessange VoxBox came with Dessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing ShampooDessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing Conditioner, and the Dessange Oleo Miracle Replenishing Oil.

My Review

First let me say, I HATE the scent. It is overly perfumed and is a really heavy, musky smell.
That aside, the shampoo and conditioner are amazing. My naturally dry and limp hair was softer and fuller with just one wash.
The oil was my favorite product. You know those flyaways you get after blow drying or straight ironing? Those were completely smoothed out with only one squirt of the replenishing oil  and it lasted all day.
Bottom line: I will definitely continue to use the products I have and would buy these products again in a different scent.
Dessange products are available at Target and are on Amazon.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Netflix Watch List March 2015: What We’re Watching Now

I am always seeking out new and interesting things to watch on Netflix. Sometimes it seems like their selection is so big it’s impossible to choose something you like so I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what we have watched recently and recommend to add to your Netflix watch list.

netflix must watch

Parenthood

TV Series, Drama

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I know I am super late to this game, but I started from the beginning and have been loving this series.

Peaky Blinders

TV Series, Historical Crime Drama

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This series is so good, but beware there are only two seasons so far. Also, you may have to turn on the subtitles during some points because the accent gets really thick.

In A World

Comedy Film

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Enjoyable comedy for both sexes. Great movie for a Friday night in.

Under the Electric Sky

Documentary

under the electric sky“The film chronicles the community and life of festival-goers during Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, the largest dance and music festival held in the US.”

I know, you’re skeptical, but you must try it.

The Gruffalo

Kids

Gruffalo

This is a really cool narration and animation of a children’s book. It is narrated with the most soothing voice ever and is great for talking about imagination. If you like it try The Gruffalo’s Child also.

What have you watched recently on Netflix that you would recommend? What is on your Netflix watch list?

Traveling with Toddlers: What to Pack

In March I will be traveling with my two toddlers. Alone. Enter my comprehensive list of what to pack in your carry-on when traveling with toddlers.

travel with toddlers what to pack in carry on - fresh take 5

1. Skip Hop Little Kid Backpack

Make them carry their own water and snacks. They will love it and it will free up some space in your carry-on.

Snacks

2. Munchkin Snack Catchers

At under $5 for a set of two, if you don’t have these already, buy them now and thank me later. They are awesome at home or on the go.

3. DumDums

These are great for toddlers who no longer nurse. The sucking motion helps their ears adjust to the altitude changes.

4. Camelbak Kids Bottle

We love these at our house. Each kid has one and they are perfect for travel because they don’t leak.

Entertainment

5. Drawing Essentials Keep N’ Carry Set

This little kit is so cute and way cheap (under $6). My daughter loves it and plays with all the time even at home.

6. AquaDoodle

The perfect coloring travel book that works by filling the pen with water. *Fill once you are through security if you are traveling by air.

7. LilGadgets Untangled Pro Kids Headphones

These bluetooth headphones are awesome and perfect for busybody kids who wiggle a lot.

8. PlayDoh

Keep their hands busy with PlayDoh. It’s cheap and takes up very little of your valuable travel space.

9. iPad

Yeah, what can I even say, iPads are awesome. Even better when the kids are entertained for a significant amount of time.

PopSugar Must Have February 2015 Review

PopSugar Must Have is a subscription box service that sends out a monthly curated box of luxuries. It is $39.95 a month, or less, if you subscribe for a longer period of time. They offer monthly, 3 month and 6 month subscriptions. The value of the box is usually 2-3 times what you pay for it.

This is on par for my favorite subscription box, rivaled only with Golden Tote. Here is the PopSugar Must Have February 2015 Review.

Fresh Take 5 - PopSugar Must Have Review

Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

Suggested Retail $26

I am not really a blush person so I’m debating if I should try this or just give it away.

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U.S. Apothecary Rose Water Bubble Bath

Suggested Retail $30

This is such beautiful packaging. I can’t wait to try it.

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ACME Party Box Company Bamboo Heart Cutting Board & Cheese Knife

Suggested Retail $32

Ehh, a person only need so many cheese plates, but the heart shape is cute for Valentine’s day.

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Bauble Bar Mini Arrow Pendant Necklace

Suggested Retail $32

This is by far my favorite item in the box. I have worn it constantly since getting it. It is so pretty and delicate.

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Figs & Rouge 100% Natural Balm

Suggested Retail $8

This little tin of lip balm is adorable and immediately went in my purse.

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Chuao Chocolatier Ravishing Rocky Road Bar

Suggested Retail $6

I am not a huge fan of marshmallows so Kyle claimed this bar and according to him it was just ok.

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Sally Beauty FingerPaints Nail Color

Suggested Retail $5.50

This went to use immediately for adorable Valentine’s Day nails for me and my daughter.

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If you are thinking of giving PopSugar Must Have a try, please use my referral link. Thank you!

Triple Sec Taste Test

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Triple Sec Taste Taste

In our last taste test post, we compared some different quality rums and additions to see how they affected a few different drink recipes. This time, we’ll keep it simpler.

I’ve always wondered how much the quality of a Triple Sec in a Margarita matters, especially given that it could easily be overcome by all the other ingredients. So we conducted a blind Triple Sec taste test to find out.

The Test

We made two different margaritas and blind taste tested both:

  • 1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
  • 0.75 oz Cheap Triple Sec (Dekuyper) in one, Cointreau in the other
  • 0.5 oz Lime Juice
  • No salt on the rim

Final 2

The Results

If I were trying to impress anyone, I’d say there was a huge difference. There isn’t.

That said, there was a subtle but definitely noticeable difference.  The version with the Cointreau had a strong fresh orange taste and smell upfront, with a cleaner finish. Cointreau has a higher alcohol content (40% versus 15%), so it made a stronger margarita, with a crisper finish.

On the other hand, my wife preferred the version with the cheap Triple Sec (Dekuyper), as it was sweeter and not as strong. I really didn’t mind this version either.

In all, at around triple the price, the Cointreau definitely added a subtle difference. For our admittedly unrefined palettes, it probably wasn’t worth it given the other majority ingredients in the drink. In a drink where it was the majority ingredient, it might be.