Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars – I saw it on Pinterest

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I’ve been wanting to make these for a while now and finally mustered up the courage to try it.  I got this idea from Pinterest.  If you haven’t tried Pinterest, please do-it’s brilliant!  I have my own personal pile of recipes I want to try.  You can find me on Pinterest here.  I got this recipe from Fifteen Spatulas via her You tube video.  Of course I didn’t have all of the same ingredients she used, so I think mine turned out a little different (different isn’t bad).  Here is what I used:

4 Cups of Old Fashioned Oats

1/4 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup of Toasted, Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 tsp Salt (she added Kosher salt – I didn’t have any)

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Oil (she used grape seed oil – I didn’t have any)

1/2 Cup Honey

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Toss all the dry ingredients around until mixed.

Mix Oil, Honey and Vanilla to combine.

Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix together until combined.

Put onto pan with parchment paper (I had to use tin foil) and press with a flat spatula until it is about an inch thick.  Use the back of the spatula to square off the edges to make a rectangle (or something close).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Let cool completely before you cut them into bars with a sharp knife.

I put them in little snack bags for the kids to take to school.  One of the reasons I made these granola bars is because my kids go to a nut free school. I had to find a recipe without peanut butter in it.  I’m petrified of sending my kids to school with anything that might have peanut butter in it, so I will make my own peanut butter bars soon, but they will have to be out of reach so that the kids don’t end up sneaking one to school without my knowing.

This is the dry mixture.

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And the wet and dry mixed together.

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The finished product!

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And you might think they turned out perfect without this last picture (but then I’d be lying).  They were delicious, but we had a problem!  I may have cut them before they fully cooled (because I was way too excited), and I may have left them in a few minutes longer than I should have.  They were more crunchy than they should have been and they got stuck to the tin foil a bit.  I had to use tin foil because I didn’t have any parchment paper (no, I was not formerly a baker).  I am so proud of myself for trying this, even though they weren’t perfect.  My kids LOVED them and I didn’t waste a bit.  I actually saved all of the loose pieces and put them in some french vanilla yogurt – delicous!

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So there you have it….my very first attempt at granola bars.  Stayed tuned.  I AM going to be trying this until it works!

Dirtier than the Dirty Dozen: What Parents Need to Know about GMO

Had to repost this. This post is frightening. Of course I just bought a box of Cherrios and we love Goldfish. Boo! What can we eat?

Food and Planet

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image11269799

This article is intended for all moms and dads who have heard of GMO’s but just haven’t taken the time to figure out why they matter. It is for those of you whose children eat bread, crackers, or cereal that are not certified organic. It is for those of you who have never thought twice about what brand of corn chips you have in your kitchen. If this does not describe you, then stop reading now.

You may have heard of the “dirty dozen” list of most contaminated produce. You may buy your children organic strawberries and apples. But pesticide residues are rapidly becoming the least of my worries.

There is a category of toxic foods that has been creeping into our food supply since the mid 1990’s. The safety of these foods has never been proven. They are called GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms.

GMOs are made by forcing DNA…

View original post 687 more words

Leibster Award

Last week I was nominated for the Leibster Award by Healthy Living, Healthy Us . Thank you so much!

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What is Liebster Award?

Liebster Award highlights blogs that have less than 200 followers as a way to recognize new and upcoming blogs. I am so honored to be apart of this group of nominees.

After being nominated, each nominee must:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger that nominated you has created for you
  4. Nominate 11 new bloggers
  5. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer

Let all the bloggers know that they have been nominated; but you cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you.

Here are 11 Random Facts About ME:

1.  I have an obsession with chocolate.

2.  I would be happy reading a book all day.

3.  I have a cat named Poster.

4.  I feel guilty that I stopped cloth diapering.

5.  I have a Psychology Degree.

6.  I am a photographer.

7.  I love to sleep.

8.  I want to be more athletic.

9.  I long to be an organized, list person.  This is hard for me.

10.  I love Pinterest because it is so motivating to me.

11.  I still do not own an Iphone.

Questions from Healthy Living, Healthy Us:

1. What’s your favorite thing to wear?  Yoga pants.

2. What’s your favorite holiday?  Christmas.  Just love the season.

3. What’s your guilty pleasure?  Chocolate!

4. Veggies or fruits?  I love both.

5. If you could pack a suitcase to anywhere right now, what would you pack and where would you go?  Hawaii.  I’ve never been and it looks like heaven.

6. Have you ever lived in another country? Where and for how long?  No.  I stayed in St. Thomas for 6 weeks though.

7. What are your 5 must-have foods?  Spinach Salad, Pasta, Lasagna, Cereal, Chocolate

8. What is one of your biggest regrets?  Not keeping in touch with friends.  I am awful!

9. What do you want your legacy to be?  I just want to be remembered as a kind person who loves to share knowledge about living healthy.

10. What is your dream job?  Well my job is pretty cool as a photographer, but I’ve always wanted to be the person who keeps the infants company while in the nursery.  I LOVE babies.

11. Would you rather live on the beach or in the mountains?  Since I live pretty close to the beach and have all of my life, I’d pick mountains.

Here are the blogs I nominate:

1. http://raekayejay.blogspot.com

2. http://chaoswithacurve.blogspot.com

3. http://www.amylorimer.com

4.  http://cookeveryday1.wordpress.com

5.  http://www.thatorganicgirl.com

6.  http://lifeasathrifter.blogspot.com

7.  http://www.thehealthymaven.com

8. http://fromoverwhelmedtoorganized.blogspot.com

9. http://tanglewoodhome.blogspot.com/

10. http://frommrsmullen.com/

11. http://runninsrilankan.com

Questions to my nominations:

1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

2.  Where do you blog? (office, kitchen, couch, etc.)

3.  Coffee or Tea?

4.  What book are you reading right now?

5.  What was your first job?

6.  Ocean or Pond/Lake?

7.  Favorite place to shop for groceries?

8.  Do you have a budget?

9.  Do you use a meal plan?

10.  What is your favorite breakfast food?

11. Do you use a professional photographer?

Back to School – Saying Goodbye to Summer

The kids are in bed.  Tomorrow starts a new school year.  E  is starting first grade and B is starting Kindergarten.  These last two weeks have been filled with travel and preparations for the new school year.  We went to visit friends in Connecticut and just got home from New Hampshire where we visited our college friends.  There is nothing quite like catching up with old friends.  It’s amazing to see many of them as parents as well.  One minute we are partying together at college and the next we are watching our children play together while we try to chat about life. 

I have been trying to slow down and take it all in.  I think that just being in the moment is so important sometimes.  We are all so busy in our every day lives that we are constantly connected to our phones, computers, and televisions, Ipads and/or tablets.  Last weekend I just sat and watched butterflies with my kids.  I was just in awe at the beauty of these creatures.  I had never seen so many at one time.  Where we live in Massachusetts, I think I see one a week if we are lucky.  When we woke up at my friend’s new home and looked out the window to butterflies and hummingbirds having their breakfast, I was in utter disbelief.  It was incredible.  I also have a new camera, which I was so thankful I brought on my trip.  It’s the new Canon 5D Mark III.  I love it!  Aren’t these butterflies just beautiful?  My plan is to print a few on canvas for my friends as a housewarming present (along with a canvas of each of their kids).  I am so in love with these pictures that I think I may print a few for myself.ImageImageImageImage

So with the kids back at school, I plan to do lots more blogging.  I have been searching through new blogs looking for a few more to nominate for the Leibster Award, so please comment if you have less than 200 followers for your blog and I will check it out.  That post will be published soon.

Summer is gone and I’m so excited for Fall to arrive!

~Katey

Strawberry Spinach Salad – My Favorite Lunch

Fruit on a salad?  I used to crinkle my nose and say, “no thanks” while thinking, you mix fruits and veggies?  Gross!  That was me before I actually tried it.  Just like the time I finally tried sour cream in college and discovered that  I actually liked it.  Oops. I missed out on numerous years of not having sour cream with my nachos.  Bummer.  I feared what I didn’t know (and still do actually!).  So anyway, I tried a spinach salad with strawberries, almonds, blue cheese, and balsamic vinegerette.  I fell in love and have been eating it ever since.  This was at least 8 years ago and I’m still feeling the love.  In fact it is my favorite lunch and I promise I’m not just saying this.  I eat it whenever I have all the ingredients in the house (which I usually do).  It takes me minutes to make and I’ve gotten so I’m not picky about what I put in it.  I use whatever cheese is in the house.  It is usually sharp cheddar cut into little bit-size pieces, feta, or blue cheese.  I love cheese.  I’ve used pears, apples, and even grapes to top my salad.  I have discovered that grapes and strawberries are pretty tasty.

Here is my recipe:

Organic Baby Spinach

Strawberries (or another fruit)

Blue Cheese (or another kind)

Sliced Almonds ( my husband prefers toasted, but I don’t have the patience or time to do this daily).

Balsamic Vinaigrette (I have fallen in love with Simply Natural Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil that I buy at BJ’s Wholesale-so yummy).  I’ve also used Newman’s Own.

And that is it.  Very easy and so healthy for you too.  Don’t be scared, try it!

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Embracing Every Moment – My Kids are Growing Up

So, this blog was not supposed to be about my kids.  Oops.  Now it is.  I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot lately (because it’s brand new!).  I’ve decided that being a mom of three kids is pretty darn important and I think I’ve learned a thing or two about parenting in the past 6 1/2 years.  I also have an incredible amount of learning still to do.  I’ve decided that I’d like to share what I have learned and am learning about parenting with my readers.  These kids are a HUGE part of who I am and why I do the things I do.  They are why I want to change for the better.  I absolutely know that kids work best with schedules. Before I had kids, I used to be an ABA Therapist, working with children with Autism.  That is where I learned how much children thrive on schedules.  Not just children with disabilities, but ALL children.  I think that even I feel better when I have a schedule to follow.  It’s best to know what comes next.  My 5 year old son reminds me of this daily (or 50 times a day).  He asks me, “mom, what am I doing tomorrow/the day after tomorrow/in 1000 days?”.  I don’t always know how to answer these questions, but I try my best.  It makes him feel more secure when he knows what is to come.  He has summer preschool tomorrow, so when he wakes up he’ll already know what he has planned for the day (of course he’ll want to know what comes after school, when he come home).

School starts in two weeks (yay!).  B is going into Kindergarten this year.  He is super excited and  also very nervous about what is going to happen there.  As soon as I know his schedule, I will be making a calendar just for him so that he doesn’t have to ask me what he is doing the next day (although I think he still will-it’s a habit).  He will know he has Music/Art/Gym, etc. I will have a separate calendar for my first grader, E.  I am hoping this will ease some anxiety in the first few weeks (and it will help me to keep track of everything too).  In first grade, E will be having homework 3 days a week!  So that will be something special just for her calendar.  I’m so excited for both of them this year. I love back-to-school, always have and always will. Everything is so new and fresh.

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E and B are 18 months apart, so we had a very busy first few years.  I was definitely in Survival Mode for much of that time.  There was very little sleep.  I can still remember waking up to feed the baby, finally laying back down ready for sleep when the second “baby” would wake up crying with a night terror.  Whew.  Glad we made it through that!  Anyway, my third baby was a much better sleeper and has been sleeping through the night for at least a year now (you can’t get upset with me-I’ve been there too!).  I feel like this stage of my life is a turning point for my family.  We are done having babies.  We are sleeping.  We have energy.  We have two mostly self-sufficient children who dress themselves, feed themselves, use the bathroom themselves, get water for themselves, etc.  In a few weeks I will send my first two “babies” on the big bus to BIG SCHOOL (as B calls it).  Wow.  That’s huge.  It will be just little D and I all day long.

I am a proud Mama.  This morning I was smiling along-side my husband as we happily was watched our three beautiful children playing Legos together.  Well, not all together, but E and B were pretending together and little D was beside them playing his own pretend play.  All three playing quietly with the same toys.  No fighting, just peacefully together. It was one of those moments for me.  It has taken us a long time to get to this point (well if 6 1/2 years is a long time).  My kids are growing up and becoming their own little people.  For some reason it felt as if we’d always be making bottles, getting up in the middle of the night, and changing diaper after diaper.  Now I only have 1 in diapers!  Hooray!!!!!  I thought I would be sad (I only cried a few times) about leaving the “baby” phase.  I am a little sad, but I’m also really excited for this next chapter.  I have come to terms with it and I am embracing the change.  This feeling may change a little when I have to send my last “baby” off to BIG SCHOOL, but we’ll deal with that when it gets here.  For now, life is SO good.Image

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So there is it.  My life and my loves.

Do you ever just stop yourself and watch your kids in wonder?  Do you ever wonder how they grew up so fast?  Do you ever embrace these moments and welcome the changes?

I’m so glad I do.

~Katey (Ma, Mom, Mommy, or Mama)

5 Things I Am Changing For My Health (and my family’s health)

This post is re-posted from my old blog:

1.  I start every morning out with a green smoothie.  Well, actually I have a cup of coffee first.  Maybe someday that will change too, but for now it makes me very happy.  I used to drink at least 2 cups in the morning, now one does just fine.  I look forward to my smoothie every morning.  Most days it take the place of breakfast.  It makes me feel like I’ve started this day with the best food that I can have for my body.  It fills me up and keeps me going. 

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This is what was in my smoothie today:

1 handful fresh organic Kale

1 handful organic mixed greens (from a bag)

Almond milk

Plain Kefir

1 Banana

2 handfuls of frozen peaches, strawberries, and bananas

1 handful of frozen pineapple

1 teaspoon of Chia Protein Powder

Drizzle of honey to sweeten

 

Throw it all in together and blend until smooth.  I keep coming back to this one.  It’s my favorite!

2.  I am eating salad for lunch.  Most days I have a spinach salad with strawberries, pears, or apples (whatever is in my kitchen), cheese (again whatever I have-usually feta, blue cheese, or Colby Jack), almonds, and topped with balsamic vinaigrette.  Other days when I’m in the office and couldn’t find time to make lunch, I buy a delicious tuna salad with lettuce, cucumbers, onions, carrots and topped with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.  So yummy!

I find that eating this way doesn’t make me feel hungry.  I am satisfied and healthy!

3.  I am buying and cooking more vegetables for my family.  I’m trying to always have something on hand that is fresh.  I would like to change the portions that we are eating.  As Americans we tend to have meat as the biggest part of our meal, then starches and lastly (it seems) veggies.  So I am trying to make veggies cover more of our plates and less of everything else.  Luckily my kids love vegetables so this shouldn’t be so hard.  Getting my husband to eat more veggies might be tougher.  He could just eat the meat for dinner and be happy with it.

4. I am reading blogs and books on health.  Learning can be scary these days, but it only fuels my desire to keep us healthy.  Every day I learn something new that can help us feel better.  Today I learned that we won’t be eating hot dogs and lunch meat unless they are nitrate free.  Apparently this causes cancer and there have been bans dating back to the 70’s.  Finally there are enough studies for change.  I am also learning how to help my husband with his heart burn.  This may be a tough one!

5.  All of our household products are organic and green.  I am done with chemicals.  We have enough chemicals walking in on our shoes every day.  Our new policy is, “shoes off at the door”.  I’m hoping this helps minimize the chemicals in our home, improving our air quality and health.  It will hopefully help out with the sweeping and vacuuming too.  It is so hard to stay on the family when everyone is, “just coming in to get one thing”.  We will get there!

What things are you all doing to stay healthy or change your ways?  Changing is so hard!  I struggle daily with sweets.  I have to remember to take things slowly so that everything becomes routine.  My goal isn’t to give up sweets, but to eat them less frequently.  I want to live a happy life too.  Depriving isn’t happy to me!  Live healthy!