Three Things Making Me Happy This Week

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Creamy Carrot Farrotto topped with an arugula-carrot salad and parmesan. Recipe courtesy of The Skinnytaste Cookbook. Easy to make and delicious!

I don’t know about you, but this week has felt a little off. Perhaps it was the surprise firing of the FBI Director, which I cannot stop reading or listening about. Or maybe it’s that Seattle still cannot figure out whether it’s winter or spring. Or it could be that we were out-of-town last weekend for a friend’s wedding in Cincinnati, which was loads of fun but always throws things out-of-rhythm.

Despite the topsy-turviness of this week, these three little things are making me happy. Nothing revolutionary, but I like to share a good thing when I see/cook/read/watch it!

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Healthy Almond Date Granola Bars Recipe

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Dates, honey, oats, almond butter, and almonds. That’s it! 

In case you couldn’t tell, I have a thing for granola bars and almonds. I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy, satisfying granola bar that combines a sweet chewy texture and the satisfying crunch of almonds. Folks, I’m happy to report I found the recipe that fits the bill.

These bars are a perfect concoction of sweet dates and honey mixed with oats, almond butter, and almonds. That’s only five ingredients. Compared to store bought granola bars that contain 20-plus ingredients that I can’t pronounce the names of, I’ll take these any day! Plus, these bars are no-bake so no oven is required. They’re a great breakfast or snack on-the-go, or even a healthy dessert treat. You’ll love them!

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Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (Gluten-Free)

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Meet your new favorite cookie!

Say that name five times fast. I know, the cookie name is a doozy but when you taste this trifecta of ingredients you’ll understand why it’s essential to include all three in the title. The rich almond meal base is highlighted by sweet chocolate chips and hearty coconut flakes, with coconut oil bringing all the ingredients together. (Excuse me while I eat another cookie after writing that sentence.)

Did I mention these cookies are 100 percent gluten-free? I do not eat a gluten-free diet personally, but I do have some friends with celiac disease and these cookies have become my go-to recipe for them. But don’t just dismiss this recipe for just for gluten-free eaters, as gluten eaters love these cookies just the same. I made a batch for my parents while they were in town last week and they were devoured in one sitting.

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Honey Nut Granola Recipe

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Crunchy almonds and pecans, meet sweet honey and oats.

Did you know making your own granola is actually pretty easy? There is a myth that granola is difficult to make (“It’s so expensive to buy, it must be hard to bake!”). Whatever the reason, I’m busting this myth right here, right now.  I’ve made this granola for family and friends over the years, many of them borrowing my recipe to make their own variation with great success. I promise you can too!

The base of this granola is oats, almonds, and pecans, stirred with a healthy dose of honey, a dash of cinnamon and vanilla, and olive oil. Yes, olive oil! I try to use healthy substitutes whenever possible in recipes. While this granola is definitely not a low-calorie recipe, it does provide healthy fats and oils. I’m from the healthy eating camp that believes in eating food that is fresh, unprocessed, and contains healthy nutrients. All good things in moderation, right?

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No-Bake Almond Bars Recipe

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The leaning tower of no-bake almond bars. Stack at your own risk!

I love almonds and anything almond-flavored. Almond croissants, slivered almonds in salad, marzipan – you name it, I’ll eat it. So it’s no surprise when I ran across these no-bake almond bars I knew we were destined to be.

Almond bars are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up (and may I add, healthy too!). Just whip up the ingredients, set in the fridge, cut into bars, and you are ready to go! No oven required.

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