Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kale and Strawberry Salad with Creamy Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

I've been making this salad for a while now. It's my go-to lunch during the week. It's super filling and full of yummy goodies. Kale is all the trend these days, and I'm definitely jumping on board with this one. 
I just make a huge bowl of this salad and separate it into different tupperware containers for the week. If you decide to make this for lunch, be sure not to add the dressing until right before you eat it. 
The hearty kale is topped with sweet strawberries and crunchy almonds. I love the added crunch from the sunflower seeds too. The tangy goat cheese and creamy dressing is the perfect contrast of flavors. You can completely customize this recipe to suit your taste buds. Sometimes I substitute feta cheese for the goat cheese, dried cranberries for the fresh strawberries, and pecans for the almonds. It's totally up to you. 
The dressing is also super simple. I literally just put all of the ingredients into a jar and shake it all up. It only takes like 2 minutes to make! No more store bought dressing for me...this one is simple, light, refreshing and so much better for you. Enjoy! :)

Kale and Strawberry Salad with a Creamy Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4
For the salad:
3 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1 cup mixed greens
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, hulled
1/4 cup goat cheese

For the Creamy Citrus Balsamic Dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp non fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1. Put the kale and mixed greens in a large bowl.
2. Add the strawberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and goat cheese. Toss gently.
3. In a small mason jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Shake until mixed well.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Doggie Treats

Don't leave out your dog when you're celebrating Valentine's day! Our little pup is full of love...she always stays close, smiles for the camera, and loves to snuggle and cuddle with us on the couch. She’s such a good girl, so I thought it was about time I made something special just for her. 
Homemade dog treats are super simple to make and you can easily alter the recipe for your pet's diet. 

These treats have a strong peanut buttery taste, the texture is hearty and nourishing due to the rolled oats. I read that the parsley will give your dog fresh breath, while also helping with digestion. Parsley is also high in vitamins A and C. Your dog will be giving you extra slobbery kisses of love and appreciation!

If you think your dog might be allergic to peanut butter check with your vet before making these. I have read that you can substitute pumpkin puree or sweet potatoes for the peanut butter.

You can adjust the size of the treats depending on the size of your dog, baking them a few minutes less or a few minutes more, as needed.  Bailey is still a pup, but you can tell she's going to be a big girl!

The next time you’re in the baking mood, whip up a quick batch of healthy homemade dog treats for your pooch! They'll love you (even more) for it! :)

Homemade Peanut Butter Doggie Treats

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup vegetable broth (you could also use water or fat free milk)
1 large egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/3 cup quick cooking oats (you could use whole oats as well)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix the peanut butter, broth, and egg together with a whisk to until there are no lumps. Add the flour, parsley, and baking powder. Turn the dough out onto the counter and use your hands to work in the flour. Mix in the oats. The dough will be thick and heavy.
  3. Roll the dough out into 1/4" thickness. Cut into shapes using a cookie cutter. 
  4. Place on the baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven, and flip the treats to bake the other side for another 10 minutes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars

I've been making a lot of granola lately, and I mean A LOT. It's the perfect breakfast or snack on the go. I just love it. 

I found a recipe for homemade granola bars on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it. We've been buying these super delicious peanut butter and dark chocolate granola bars made by Nature Valley lately, and they are sooo good. After looking through a few different homemade granola recipes, I realized it was actually pretty easy. 

The best thing about granola is that you can literally add ANYTHING you want! Just look at this amazing  mix of oats, quinoa, almonds, sunflower seeds...

Don't like almonds? You could use walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or cashews. You can add in or leave out any ingredients to suit your taste buds. And of course, adding in some peanut butter would be amaaazing!

If you don't have all of the ingredients laying around...(maybe you don't hoard almonds, oats, quinoa, and chocolate chips like I do) could also just use a bag of your favorite trail mix and turn it into granola bars. SO EASY! :)

Homemade Granola Bars
Makes 12 bars
3 cups old fashioned oats 
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
5 ounces dark chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the oats, quinoa, almonds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet. Toast for about 15 minutes, stirring once. 
  • Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper or foil. Make sure you have a piece that is long enough to hang over the sides. It will make it easier to lift the bars out of the pan.
  • While the granola is toasting, heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Bring it to a simmer over medium heat and stir to make sure the brown sugar dissolves.
  • Put the toasted granola in a large bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the oats and stir to coat evenly. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Fold the parchment or foil over the top of the granola in the pan and press down to fill the corners and flatten. Keep pressing and smooth the granola out so that it is even.
  • Let the granola bars set up in a cool dry place for at least an hour. You could also let them set up in the refrigerator.
  • Life the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice down the middle and then cut each half into 6 bars. Lay the bars on a clean piece of parchment or foil. 
  • Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the sliced bars.