No Bake Blueberry Almond Energy Bites – Start your day right with these tasty blueberry almond energy bites that are jam packed with oatmeal, Post® Shredded Wheat, dried blueberries, and almonds. Delicious and healthy!
Welcome to 2017! With the new year in full swing, it’s time to start following through with all of our New Years resolutions! My resolutions were to eat healthier, to eat breakfast everyday, and to eat out less. I picked those resolutions because I want to make new healthy habits that with benefit my life for years to come. It can be so hard to follow through on our New Years goals sometimes, last year I made a list and then lost it until months later when I was cleaning. Whoops! To combat that, I grabbed my brand new planner for 2017 and put a list of my goals right now the first page so everyday when I open it, I remember what I am trying to do and the importance of these goals!
To start out on a good foot, I whipped up a batch of these No Bake Blueberry Almond Energy Bites and boy, were they good! Breakfast can be so forgettable and easy to just decide to skip so why not jazz it up and make it the most memorable meal of the day, something to get excited about and look forward to! I made sure these bites were packed with healthy ingredients from old-fashioned oats to Post® Shredded Wheat to raw almonds and they were so filling! These blueberry almond bites have whole grains, protein, and even antioxidants! Great, right? I’ve been a big fan of Post® Shredded Wheat cereal for a while and it was such a great addition to these energy bites! They give a bit of crunch and have such a great flavor. I love that they are a less processed cereal that I can feel good about eating!
No Bake Blueberry Almond Energy Bites
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup crushed Post® Shredded Wheat
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup almond butter (add more as needed if balls aren’t sticky enough)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Microwave almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl until runny, about 20 seconds.
- Pour Post® Shredded Wheat into a large ziploc bag and seal. Use a rolling pin to slightly crush cereal but do not pulverize. Leave some chunks.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large glass bowl and stir.
- Pour in almond butter, honey, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
- Roll balls or use a 1-2 inch cookie scoop, placing each ball on to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
- Place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before eating. Enjoy!
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Gingerbread Spice Marshmallows – Fluffy homemade marshmallows with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to give them the flavors of a gingerbread cookie!
I’m finally getting into the holiday spirit! After yet another semester ending, we did the 10 hour drive downstate for the holidays. Thankfully this time, break is almost a month! I was so excited to get down here and start making Christmas treats such as cookies but thus far, these marshmallows and fluffy gingerbread dip are the only things I’ve made! These would be amazing in a cup of hot chocolate or just to munch on which is what we’ve been doing over here! The addition of gingerbread spice makes the perfect for the holidays and it is just a fun twist on a classic treat! I don’t particularly like normal marshmallows from the store but I got this amazing gourmet marshmallow as a Christmas gift a few years ago and it was life changing! It turned me into a fan of fancy marshmallows! I can’t wait to try other flavors out after seeing how easy these were to make!
Gingerbread Spice Marshmallows
- 3 tbsp unflavored gelatin
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, dissolve sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water. Stir constantly until well combined.
- Add gelatin mixture into the saucepan and bring to a slight boil. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for a while.
- Spray 9×9 pan with cooking spray to keep marshmallows from sticking.
- Pour mixture into a stand mixer and add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
- Turn on mixer and have it whip the mixture on high until it is thick and slowly falls off the beater. It should take a few minutes.
- Quickly pour marshmallow mixture into the 9×9 pan and use a spreader to flatten the marshmallows.
- Let set for at least 2-3 hours before cutting and serving.
- (Optional) You can toss the marshmallows in the gingerbread spice topping but it isn’t necessary, they taste amazing without it too!
Vegan Banana Muffins – Warm muffins jam-packed with fresh bananas and perfect for breakfast or even a midday snack! Plus, they are vegan!
Well, I am officially snowed into my apartment for the first time this year! I was not able to get my car out to go get groceries so I had to improvise and make muffins for breakfast this morning and these muffins were the result! I am not vegan but I have this thing against using eggs in baking unless I really have and flat out refuse to eat omelettes and such so I tend to bake vegan foods and they are still always so delicious!
I actually was trying to make cranberry banana muffins since I have 1/2 a bag of cranberries in the freezer but these didn’t turn out very pretty as the color bled a bit into the muffin and they had been placed on top in a pattern but hey, they were tasty so feel free to try adding 1/2 cup to the batter! I might end up making another batch in a day or two with more cranberries because they were so good! And I love the fact that they are pretty healthy!
Vegan Banana Muffins
- 3 medium brown, very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (can sub for brown sugar)
- 2 flax eggs (can use normal eggs if not vegan)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- Coconut sugar
- Sliced banana (12 slices)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray 12 muffin tray with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Peel bananas and use fork to mash.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Pour muffin batter into muffin tray.
- Sprinkle the tops of muffins with coconut sugar and then place a slice of banana on top.
- Place tray in oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
- Take tray out and let cool before serving!
Adapted from Beaming Baker
Slow Cooker Pecan Pie Oatmeal – Your favorite pie in breakfast form! Fluffy maple cinnamon oatmeal topped with chopped pecans. Not only is it tasty, it’s vegan!
I always enjoy a good bowl of oatmeal. It is so simple to make, yet it can be so flavorful. I was amazed to find out that one of my friends had never actually had oatmeal before, I had assumed that it was something everyone has tried at least once! I tried to jazz this oatmeal up with pecans and brown sugar and it turned out amazing! The oatmeal itself was so flavorful from sitting in the slow cooker for hours, soaking up the maple and cinnamon and also, very creamy as I decided to use milk instead of a water and milk combo for the liquids in the oatmeal. Fair warning, this is incredibly filling!
Until recently, I had not actually tried a pecan pie before! Pecans are my favorite nut but most my family is not fans so we never have had one at the holidays. I finally picked up one of the tiny personal ones from Walmart last week which might not have been the world’s best pecan pie but I got the gist from it and it was so good! I am officially a pecan pie fan! I now know what I have been missing for the past nineteen years!
Slow Cooker Pecan Pie Oatmeal
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 4 cups almond milk (any other milk would work too)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (can sub for brown sugar)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Chopped pecans
- Coconut sugar (can sub for brown sugar)
- Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to low and let cook for 4 hours.
- Add toppings and serve
Maple Cinnamon Candied Walnuts – Walnuts with a sticky maple cinnamon coating that are the perfect sweet snack to munch on!
These walnuts are seriously addicting! I ate almost all of them as soon as I took these pictures, think I would just have one of two and then next thing I knew, I just had a sad little pile left. But boy, was it worth it! I don’t think I could share these!
Apart from these tasty nuts, it has been such a hectic week! It is the last week of classes and every class seemed to have something big due. The projects included everything from essays about rhetoric, to building a computer micro-architecture, to even recording a podcast. Quite a range of things! It will be so nice to have a few weeks off after this to finally get around to reading all the books I got about 10 pages into during the semester like American Gods which I started for a book club this year that I never once meant to a meeting for. Two years in a row I have gotten the book and never shown up. I have good intentions, it is Friday nights which is also has been pizza night for my friend and I for over a year and pizza trumps reading for me! In addition to reading, I will hopefully finish up Pokemon Moon…. So yeah, I got some big plans for my free time! I kept optimistically starting time consuming projects in hopes I would finish them and sadly, never really did.
Maple Cinnamon Candied Walnuts
- 2 cups shelled walnuts
- 1/4 pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Heat medium non-stick pan to medium heat.
- Combine all ingredients and continuously stir for 5 minutes.
- Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and transfer walnuts to sheet to cool.
- Let sit for at least two hours before storing in containers.
Fluffy Gingerbread Dip – Homemade whipped cream combined with cinnamon, ginger, and other delicious flavors. Perfect to dip your favorite cookies in!
I am so ready for gingerbread season. I put away my very few fall decorations and tossed out my goards the past week of so but moved in my Christmas decorations. Not that I have many Christmas decorations, just a plethora of hedgehog related holiday decor. It still makes me feel like the holidays are here though! Plus, we had the first major snowfall today and everything is covered in a light dusting of white which is just so lovely to look out my window and see. I wandered around for an hour taking pictures of snowy trees and such this afternoon because I was so excited.
But back to the dip, it is so good! I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! My contributions to the meal included apple cider cranberry sauce and this dip and I was so happy with how both ended up turning out!
Fluffy Gingerbread Dip
- 8-ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
- 1 1/2 cups of homemade whipped cream (cool whip would work too)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Homemade Whipped Cream:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- In a chilled metal mixing bowl, combine ingredients for homemade whipped cream. (Skip this step and the next if you opt to use cool whip)
- Use hand mixer on high and mix until it is light and fluffy.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients other than whipped cream and mix using hand mixer until combined.
- Add in the whipped cream and mix until combine.
- Store in fridge until you are ready to serve with your favorite cookie or graham crackers!
Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce – Sweet and tangy cranberry sauce with fresh apples and cider. Perfect for the holidays!
Cranberry sauce is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Although I love the bread rolls too, nothing tops cranberry sauce. Usually we just have the stuff straight out of the can but I decided to try making it myself this year and it turned out fantastic! The addition of apple cider and apples worked so well with the tart cranberries.
In addition to making this cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I made a wonderful gingerbread dip too. Coming to the blog soon!
It was great getting to get downstate for a few days for the holidays! On the way down we stopped for pastries and I went a tad bit crazy, getting not just one, but two donuts and dang, they were so good! A cinnamon roll and an apple fritter. Definitely was the perfect snack to break up a long, 10 hour drive across Michigan. Sadly, this drive was not quite as pretty as the last drive, all of the leaves had fallen off the trees and it just looked so drab and dreary. On the way back up, I finally started seeing patches of snow and it seems winter is here, and more than likely here to stay. Time to start getting out my winter gear!
Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce
- 4 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 cups of diced apples (I used gala but other types could work just as well)
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- Dash of allspice
- In a medium sized pot, combine all ingredients.
- Turn burner to medium heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the cranberries become soft, stirring occasionally.
- Take pot off burner and serve once cooled.
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Dip – Creamy peanut butter dip that is perfect to dip fresh apples in!
One of Humphrey’s favorite snacks (my hedgehog) is apple. I always have so many around for both of us so I’ve had to get creative with different ways to use them. Dipping apples in peanut butter is such a tasty snack but I finally decided to jazz it up and try making a dip for my apples that was pretty healthy and still had that delicious peanut butter flavor and ended up with this. I raided my fridge and ended up with the perfect combination of flavors! I’ve made this every Tuesday and Thursday for lunch for a few months now and it is so good!
With how busy the past few days of been, this snack has been perfect! With the semester finishing up, all my classes are throwing exams and final projects at me almost daily. I ended up with 3 exams and 3 projects all in one week. Yikes! But thankfully, Thanksgiving break starts this coming week so I finally get a few days off to hang out with some friends and family, eat some food, and maybe even read some books! To start off break, I have to drive 10 hours across Michigan to get home for a week which is fun because I get to visit some of my favorite restaurants along the way like a pastry shop in Ishpeming which I’ve had fantastic scones and apple fritters at! Everything there is so fresh and yummy. I think that the best part of traveling is definitely the food!
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Dip
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- In a small bowl, combine ingredients.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!
Easy Raspberry Chia Jam – Delicious and simple jam with fresh raspberries and chia seeds. Perfect for spreading on a slice of toast!
I absolutely adore jam. I will literally put it on anything from toast to in a big bowl of greek yogurt to even just eating a spoonful on it’s own but my favorite way to consume it is definitely in a peanut butter and jelly (well, jam in this case but peanut butter and jam sandwich just doesn’t have the same ring!) sandwich. I have gone on spurts where that is all I will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weeks on end because I just enjoy them so much. My favorite way to make them is taking two pieces of whole grain bread (the thick, grain-y stuff) and spreading creamy peanut butter on one slice and crunchy on the other, then going and plopping a bunch of jam on one slice before spreading it around and putting the slices of bread together. So delicious!
Anyway, this raspberry chia jam is so easy to make! It only takes 15 minutes and 3 ingredients! I intended to make this blueberry lemon chia jam but raspberries were on sale so I changed my direction a bit but I was really happy with the results. Raspberry jam is one of my favorite flavors! It is just so tasty!
Easy Raspberry Chia Jam
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- In a small pot on medium heat, combine raspberries and honey.
- Using a wooden spoon, mash raspberries until they are in small chunks and stir to combine with honey.
- Leave on medium heat for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Take off heat and stir in chia seeds.
- Let cool before putting in jar to refrigerate. Enjoy!
Driving down US-41 between Baraga and L’Anse in the UP (Michigan, USA), there is a strange sight. One one side of the road, a gorgeous bay off Lake Superior. On the other, a strange statue of what looks to be an angry man riding on octopus on top of a cliff. As it turns out, it is a statue of Bishop Fredric Baraga, a Slovenian Roman Catholic missionary born in 1797 who did work studying and publishing information of the Ojibway language along with trying to protect them from relocation movements at the time. He was referred to as the snowshoe priest due to the great distances he would trek using snowshoes during the harsh winters.
After you pass through the entrance, you pass over a set of railroad tracks before being able to check out the statue and light a candle or the visit the “Holy Store”. Yes, a “Holy Store”. Sadly, I have yet to visit and get a coffee from their coffee shop as it has been closed all three times that I have been there now but it has the cutest open and closed sign that is in the shape of a church.
The view the bishop statue has is phenomenal, over looking the bay with a small path you can walk on that loops back around to the statue.