Healthfully Ever After

Cinnamon Sea Salt Energy Date Bars

Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment

You know what's scary sometimes? The back of your kitchen pantry or cupboard. Because we are still working on restoring the big, beautiful new kitchen in the house, I'm still cooking out of the smaller upstairs kitchen. (Side note: if you are complaining about your current kitchen that it's not big enough, bright enough,  or whatever-you can feel free to nip that in the bud any time. If I can make croissants from scratch or soufflé out of this tiny, outdated pink and brown kitchen sans dishwasher, you're fine.). Long story short: the cabinets are not organized the way I want them. They're super deep and that means I totally lose things in the back. Things like spices. 

What lies beneath in the clutter of your spice area is what this entire Recipe Redux challenge is about. I'm sure we all have spices we just don't know what to do with. But now you have dozens of recipes to peruse and see if your 'what the heck?' spice is in any of our recipes. Which is why today I'm working with saigon cinnamon to make a delicious, on the go energy bar you'll love. And may even make you buy more potent, sweet but hot ground saigon cinnamon. 

Cinnamon Sea Salt Energy Date Bars 
Cinnamon Sea Salt Energy Date Bars 

Cinnamon Date Energy Bars

Makes 1 small pan

/// Ingredients ///

  • 2 cups pitted mejool dates
  • 1 cup almonds 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground saigon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 T water

/// Directions /// In a food processor, add dates and almonds and water. Holding the lid down and pressing to stabilize on the counter, pulse the date mix. Keep pulsing until the ingredients become chopped and start to ball together. They should look large and grainy as they come together. Add spices and pulse again. Using a rubber spatula, turn mix out onto a pan with a Silpat or parchment paper. Pat into a square and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Cut into bars and store in a container in the freezer. 

Cinnamon Sea Salt Energy Date Bars 

I always keep a batch of these in the freezer for a quick, energy packed snack or for breakfast on the run! I've also experimented by adding powdered peanut butter and they are delicious.... and they're also awesome with my favorite coffee ice cream. 

Quick Lunch: Cranberry Pita Pockets

Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment

I hope the start of the week was awesome for you. Because I'm currently still in Atlanta for FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference Expo: the national dietitian annual conference) and speaking (Holy cow!!! Like RIGHT NOW as you're reading this) I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe inspiration with you. First of all, let's just reminisce upon the pita pocket. Growing up pita pockets were THE THING, but they've dropped off the radar. They are still awesome. Go buy pita pockets. Relive the 90's in it's glory with better fillings. Second, cranberries and other dried fruit is awesome in a salad. Be it over greens or mixed in with tofu or chicken, protein always needs a little 'extra'.  Not only is dried fruit easy to store and keep while traveling, but they pack a punch flavor wise in a tiny vessel.

There you go! Change up your sandwich style and add new tart fruit confetti to your life. Two fun food to-do's. 

Cranberry Pita Pockets

To get an easy recipe for chicken salad with cranberries check it out here courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee. 

Making Croissants from Scratch

Northern VA, Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment
Making Croissants from Scratch 

I learned how to make croissants this weekend. Like from scratch. And it was the most amazing thing ever. You all have heard me rave (I mean, really, I always talk about this) about the bread I make from a starter every week. We no longer buy bread at the store. I only make this olive oil foccocia and lovingly feed my bread starter. Well, the same amazing woman who taught me that bread recipe also offers a croissant class. CROISSANTS PEOPLE! Needless to say my friend Katie (also a dietitian- trust us, it's worth it) and I were all over that and we spent all of Sunday learning the art of from scratch croissants from Melinda at Knead and Know in Northern Virginia. 

I think it's also worth mentioning my philosophy on 'treat' foods again. I'm sure if you're a first time reader of the blog you're thinking 'Dietitian nutritionist + croissants? How does that equate?'. But my food reality is that I believe in quality and savoring. The bread I make is not whole wheat because that recipe will not function as a whole wheat recipe. The bread I make at home, from scratch uses a fermented starter. No junky  preservatives. No sugar or honey or whatever that's in a lot of store breads. And it's delicious. As far as croissants? I will take fresh croissants at the ready from my freezer once a month instead of mediocre doughnuts once a week. It's about making the treats count. They're a luxury for your health. Treat it like a luxury purchase. Hence, learning how to make croissants.

Making Croissants from Scratch 
Making Croissants from Scratch 

Let me start by saying croissants are definitely not easy. But they are doable. They just take time and luckily they need not be completed start to finish all at once. After making the dough which includes the same starter I use for my foccocia, the dough gets rolled out and butter is placed in the middle. You essentially fold it all up, roll it out, fold it up again, roll it out and create the flaky wonderful layers in croissants. 

And this dough isn't JUST for croissants. You can make little cinnamon rolls with raisins. You can make what basically amount to really sexy Hot Pockets filled with veggies or ham or cheese. And it all freezes beautifully so you can make it on demand. 

I can't say enough about this class, or any of the bread classes Melinda teaches. If you're trying to think of a gift for yourself or someone this holiday season, book a class at Knead and Know! Her classes fill up FAST, so jump on it!!!

© Healthfully Ever After & Carlene Thomas 2011-2014