Easy Protein Bars

Whew what a whirlwind year it has been so far!  SO many life changes and I got away from my passion for cooking – well I am back!!  Always striving for new ideas to have healthy snacks at hand instead of store-bought convenience!  These simple to make protein bars fit the bill nicely!  Nice easy grab and go energy!  I experimented with a few different combinations and this one was my first go.  I have changed the nut combinations and seed combinations too.  This is where it gets really fun!  Be Creative!  Try new combos!   This one goes out especially to my friend Tammy – these bars are GLUTEN FREE!   XO

Ingredients:

•    1/3 cup raw whole almonds
•    1/2 cup raw whole cashews
•    1/8 cup golden raisins
•    1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
•    1/4 cup cooked quinoa
•    1 tbsp raw hemp seeds
•    1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
•    1 tbsp raw agave nectar
•    1 tsp raw cacao powder
•    1 tbsp ground flaxseed
•    1 tbsp water
•    3 tbsp almond flour

Instructions:

Soak flaxseed in water.

Combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Pour mixture along with soaked flaxseed into a food processor and pulse until mixture combines but is still slightly chunky.

Form mixture into small rectangles (or squares if you prefer) and place in a coated baking dish.

Preheat oven to  170° F and bake bars for one hour.  Turn bars over after 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Shrimp and Black Bean Soup

So here it is February 12th already….  Where has the year go to so far!!!  A great sunny day today but really cold…only in the 20’s….brrr..  Time for another soup recipe.  I wanted to use black beans so here is shrimp and black bean soup.  Another easy recipe and great with a nice hearty bread or a simple side salad.  A nice way to warm up after a brisk walk around the lake or just around the block.

Ingredients:Shrimp and Black Bean Soup

•    olive oil cooking spray
•    2 medium onions, chopped
•    2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
•    4 cloves garlic, minced
•    6 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
•    1/2 cup water
•    30 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
•    1 tsp ground cumin
•    1 tsp dried oregano
•    8 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp (I use large)
•    Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
•    Finely chopped cilantro (optional)
Instructions:

Spray stockpot with cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high heat until hot.   Sauté onions and garlic celery until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove onions and garlic and place in food processor.  Add tomatoes and  2 cups of stock and blend until smooth; return mixture to stockpot.  Add remaining 4 cups of stock, water, black beans and spices to stockpot and heat to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, adding shrimp after 5 minutes.  Season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Garnish with finely chopped cilantro if desired.

Enjoy!

Seared Scallops with Arugula and Caramelized Onions

Striving to keep up with my goal of more posts this year here is another one!  I am also trying to get back to my routine of cooking several dishes on the weekend to make week days meals so much easier.  I really do enjoy creating several meals for the week!  All it takes is a little planning but once it is under way…..watch me go!Seared Scallops with Arugula and Caramelized Onions

A really simple and quick recipe!

Ingredients:

•    2 small yellow onions, diced
•    4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
•    2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•    3 ounces baby arugula
•    1/2 lb large sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
•    1/2 ounce crumbled feta cheese
•    Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until golden, stirring often, 15 – 20 minutes.  Deglaze skillet with balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste with black pepper.  Remove from heat and fold in arugula.

In another skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over high heat.  Add scallops and sear 1 -2 minutes per side.

Place arugula in the center on the plate and form a mound.  Place scallops on top and add feta.

Enjoy!

Classic Green Split Pea Soup

So here is my first recipe for 2012!   I am hoping to get more recipes posted this year maybe one per month!  Here is a classic recipe for green split pea soup!  I love it however I know some who just can’t get past the green color.  Definitely a great way to warm you up after a nice hike or some outdoor activity!  So grateful it is 2012 and the weather has been exceptionally mild!  A balmy 45 today!!!  So I dedicate this first recipe to my Mom!  After serving a wonderful spiral ham for Christmas my Mom called telling me she saved the ham bone for me if I wanted to make pea soup…lol  My Mom doesn’t even like pea soup but my Dad does so I made a batch and brought it over to him.  Of course I kept some for myself to have!  A great easy meal to eat for the nights I just don’t want to cook!Green Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

•    2 cups split green peas
•    1 small onion, finely chopped
•    1 ham bone
•    2 quarts water
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1/3 tsp thyme
•    Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Rinse and sort peas.  Add peas and water to stockpot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour.  Add ham bone, onion, garlic and thyme to stockpot and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 2 1/2 hours covered (or until peas are soft).  Remove ham bone and slice off meat and add back to soup (if desired).  Season to taste with black pepper.

Enjoy!

Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:Chicken Vegetable Stew

•    1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
•    2 tbsp spelt flour
•    1 tsp ground black pepper
•    1/2 tsp dried parsley
•    1/4 tsp thyme
•    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•    3 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 medium onion, chopped
•    2 stalks celery, diced
•    1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
•    1/2 cup pineapple juice
•    1 cup carrots, chopped
•    1 12 oz can Great Northern beans (or any white beans), drained and rinsed
•    2 cups baby spinach, chopped
•    1 parsnip, cubed
•    2 bay leaves

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, pepper, parsley and thyme; dredge chicken cubes in mixture.

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and chicken and sauté for 4 – 5  minutes or until cooked through.  Lower heat to medium and pour in broth and pineapple juice.  Toss in carrots, beans, parsnip and bay leaves and stir to combine.  Cover and simmer on medium until carrots and parsnips are soft about 20 minutes.  Uncover and add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

Enjoy!

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