Chia, Quinoa & Banana Granola Bars

For as long as I can remember I have needed, yes, needed, an afternoon snack.  And since the second trimester, I’ve needed a morning snack, too.  Rumor has it that breastfeeding requires snacks.  So in attempt to make my life a wee-bit easier, I made some granola bars to store in the freezer.

These bars are loaded with good-for-you-stuff like chia seeds, quinoa and oats.  (p.s. oats are also really good for breastfeeding mamas.)  Bananas along with a little maple syrup and dried fruit (I used golden raisins) add sweetness and you get even more crunch from the chopped almonds and pecans.  Peanut butter (or any nut butter) is the glue that holds all these yummy ingredients together.

The bars come together super fast and are then baked for about 25 minutes.  Let them cool completely before cutting into bars.  I wrapped mine individually so that they’re easy to grab for snacks.


Of course I couldn’t freeze them all without trying one.  Yesterday after my morning sweat sesh, I chowed down on one of the bars and let me tell you, they are delicious.  They’re crunchy yet chewy.  Sweet but not too sweet.  And incredibly filling.

I might need to make a second batch…


Banana Bread Granola

Hi friends!  We had an awesome long weekend celebrating my youngest brother’s wedding this past weekend.  The Bell family just keeps growing! The wedding took place at Trump National on Lake Normal and the venue couldn’t have been more beautiful.  Welcome to the fam, Sara!

On Monday I had the urge to dirty up the kitchen a little bit and I am more than happy with the banana bread granola that I made.  The ingredient list is short and your kitchen will smell AMAZING as you bake the crunchy goodness.  The granola is perfect for snacking by the handful (yes, please), on top of yogurt, or with a little milk in a bowl.

The base of the granola is oats along with walnuts and pecans for the nuttiness that we all love in banana bread.  For sweetness, maple syrup and a little raw sugar.  I love coconut in banana bread and this recipe calls for coconut oil to help it “clump” and become granola. Everything is spiced with a little cinnamon and salt and a mashed banana lends it’s flavor to really give it that banana bread flavor.



A little sweet.

Super crunchy.


And tastes just like Momma Bell’s banana bread.

Slow Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Some days are busier than others.  And those days are when I’m glad I decided to let my slow cooker do all most of the work.  The hardest part about a slow cooker dinner – smelling it

While there are some slow cooker recipes that require you to sear or saute before adding it to the slow cooker, this is not one of them.

That’s right – you simply mix, add all the ingredients to the base of the slow cooker and let it roll.

The end result is melt-in-your-mouth chicken with tender potatoes and the most mellow, delectable garlic ever. The platter is finished with a squeeze of lemon for brightness and some parsley for a pop of freshness.


The only changes I made to the recipe was not using white wine (instead I used 1/4 cup more of chicken stock), I used brown rice flower instead of all-purpose, and I used baby potatoes instead of red potatoes.

Don’t let the 40 cloves of garlic scare you.  Unless you try to peel 40 cloves.  Use the pre-peeled garlic and trust me when I say they mellow.  After 8 hours in the slow-cooker, the pungent flavor is replaced with the most delicate, butter flavor.

But seriously, don’t peel 40 cloves.  You’ll smell like garlic for 40 days.

Pasta with Spinach-Avocado Sauce

I am still thinking about this bowl of pasta.

It was that good.

Not only that but it seriously took less than 20 minutes to prepare.  Letting the water come to a boil took the most time.  So if you can boil water, you can make pasta with spinach-avocado sauce.  Oh, and it’s a gorgeous dinner that simply perfect for the start of Spring.


I seriously just had a moment of silence while looking at the picture of deliciousness.

I used {gluten-free} rigatoni instead of spaghetti because it’s what I had in the pantry.  But I really loved how the nooks and crannies in the pasta held on to the pasta sauce.  But I honestly think any noodle would work.

For the sauce, simple throw all the ingredients in a food processor and let it whirl.  See, I told you it was easy.  The sauce includes spinach, white beans, EVOO, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, garlic, an avocado plus a little pasta water.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss it with the sauce and then top with chopped tomato, nuts (I used pistachios) and a few more baby basil leaves.

Almost too pretty to eat.


Because we had no problem digging in.  And we were more than impressed with each and every bite.


Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

You guys!  This weather is AMAZING.  After work yesterday I decided to take a stack of cookbooks outside and just browse while letting the sunshine warm my back.  I’ve missed the sun and 70+ degree days.

Last night’s dinner was pretty amazing, too.

Chicken + Rice + Broccolini is the base of this dinner in a bowl and the sauce is where all the flavor is at.

Start cooking your rice first – this is what takes the most time.  I decided to cook our rice in beef broth (I had some in the fridge and it adds SO much flavor).  I also added the juice from half a lemon right before plating the rice.

Go ahead and put on a pot of water so that it can come to a boil so you can cook your broccolini.  The broccolini only needs about 3 minutes to cook but dangggg, it takes water a long time to boil.

The sauce is a mix of soy sauce (or tamari) with a cornstarch to thicken everything up.  To that mixture, brown sugar, mirin, and lemon juice.  Allow this to come to a boil and then cook for a minute or two until it thickens.

Now for the chicken – simply season with S&P and sear on the stovetop for about 4-6 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken).  Flip, top with a little bit of the sauce and then place in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.  Let rest and then slice.

In the bowl – rice on the bottom, a little broccolini, sliced chicken, and the full-of-flavor sauce.  I also topped it all with some sliced green onions.  Why let them go to waste?


So many flavors – so many textures.  And so much light!


Basil, Feta, and Quinoa Stuffed Chicken with Carrot “Tabbouleh”

This has to be one of the most flavorful weeknight dinners that I’ve had in a while.  In fact, I’m still thinking about how all the ingredients played a crucial part in the flavor profile of both the chicken and the “tabbouleh.”

The chicken is stuffed with a mixture of feta cheese (feta makes it betta’), a little bit of cream cheese, basil, sweet piquanté red peppers and cooked quinoa.  The peppers are an ingredient I just recently starting cooking with and they add the perfect tang and sweetness.  You can find the peppers jarred with pickles or near the cheese with olives.  I was able to find some fresh ones and I simply adore them.  Don’t leave them out – they are not spicy.

The chicken is seared in a little EVOO in a hot skillet and then finished in the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your no-cook gluten-free “tabbouleh” salad.  And I dare say this is one of my favorite preparations of carrots.  Ever.

Thanks to Big Guy’s green thumb, I was able to use our homegrown carrots in this salad.  Simply peel the carrots, chop and add to the food processor.  Pulse until they are coarsely chopped.  I went ahead and added in the red onion at this point – hey, one less thing to chop!  Walnuts are added into the food processor and then the carrot mixture is added to a bowl.  The rest of the ingredients include parsley and mint (traditional tabbouleh ingredients) along with sweet golden raisins, cumin, and a dressing of EVOO, white wine vinegar and salt.


Yes, yes, yes.

I am obsessed with the carrot “tabbouleh” and might have even contemplated having it for breakfast.  It’s THAT good.

Weeknight dinners rarely make me this happy – but seriously, this one deserved a glass of wine!

Cinnamon Roll Toast

There are more recipes on my radar than I’ll ever be able to actually make and try.  It’s actually quite sad.  And stressful.  Our most difficult decisions these days involve “what are we going to make?”

But sometimes there is a recipe that I can’t get off my mind – and sometimes it’s not really even a recipe.

When I posted cinnamon roll toast on Friday Favorites last month, I knew it had to happen.

It’s so, so simple and would be perfect for breakfast or a snack.  But I can’t lie – I had it for dinner.  With some scrambled eggs to round out the plate.


Here’s the 2-minute recipe:

– Toast up a couple slices of bread.  (I went with a gluten-free bread I had stashed in the freezer.)

– Slather on a little coconut butter.  (this mimics the icing on a cinnamon roll)

– Sprinkle with cinnamon.

– Dot with a few raisins.

Ta-da!  Cinnamon Roll Toast.

And it seriously tasted like a cinnamon roll.