Friday, April 12, 2013

No-Bake Energy Bites

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about a year and a half ago.  I have done a small amount of research as to what dietary changes I could make to help reduce joint inflammation.  Flax seed is said to have this property, so I have tried to incorporate it into my diet more.  I found this recipe online and really like it--it's like eating raw cookie dough/granola bar/protein/health food all in one!

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 c. dry oatmeal
1 c. toasted coconut flakes
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (butterscotch, dark, milk, etc.)
1/2 c. peanut butter (almost butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
1/2 c. ground flaxseed (or mix it with wheat germ)
1/3 c. honey (don't substitute w/ agave nectar--it won't hold the balls together)
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.
Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 min.
Once chilled, roll into balls about 1" diameter.
Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 balls.

**Feel free to substitute in your favorite ingredients (suggestions seen in paratheses)
**Could also add chopped dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cranberries, etc.), chopped almonds or pecans, etc.  Options are endless!

Mango Quinoa Salad

My sweet friend, Paige Jones, brought me this salad one morning...just because.  I had never had quinoa before, but it is now a new favorite (I just bought a big bag at Costco).  It is similar to couscous, but a bit grittier since it is a grain, and it's a good source of protein.  I have made this salad numerous times since and shared it with friends and family who love it, too!

Mango Quinoa Salad
(thanks to Our Best Bites!)

Apricot Bars

These have to be my new favorite (non-chocolate) dessert.  I love all things apricot (reminds me of childhood summers in California) and these are to-die-for!

Apricot Bars
(my neighbor, Suzanne Bartholomew)

4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. Crisco (butter flavored)
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. jar apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Mix remaining ingredients until creamy, then add the flour mixture a little at a time.
Divide the dough in half.
Pat 1/2 the dough into a 9x13 pan (go up the edges a little so it holds in the jam).
Spread the apricot jam on top.
Shred the rest of the dough on top (form ball out of dough and use cheese grater to shred dough over the top of jam--makes it light, fluffy, and even coverage).
Bake for 30 min.
Cool & cut.

(you could probably use you favorite jam flavor...raspberry, blackberry, etc.)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Ellery requested "raw cookie dough dipped in chocolate" for the treat she shared with her class on her birthday.  I found this recipe on

My only suggestion is to make the cookie dough balls small--because these are rich!

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars

I made these for February's "Cookie Friday"--just frosted them pink with red sprinkles.  The only change I would make is to spread the dough a bit thinner--the cookies were too thick for my liking--but they were moist and yummy!

1 c. butter, at room temperature
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg.
Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined.
Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (jellyroll pan).
(The dough will be just like cookie dough--heavy and sticky--so it's best to spray your hands with non-stick spray and use them to help mold the dough into the pan)
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
food coloring???

Combine all ingredients until well blended.
Spread on top of bars.
Top with sprinkles if you want!

Chicken Taco Casserole

Chicken Taco Casserole

Everyone has a similar recipe--you know, the generic taco casserole with chips and meat and cheese.  But for some reason, this one tasted different, and better!  My whole family loved it--that includes all 4 kids!

1 (10 oz. ) bag tortilla chips
2 cans cream of chicken soup (99% fat free)
1 1/2 c. sour cream (light)
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilis (RoTel)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning
3 c. chicken, cooked & shredded
2 c. cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease 9x 13 pan
In a large bowl, combined the chicken soup, sour cream, tomatoes, black beans, taco seasoning and chicken--set aside.
Crush chips (roughly with hands) and spread half of them on the bottom of pan.
Spread half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas.
Top with 1 c. cheese.
Repeat layers.
Bake for 30 min, until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown.