Overnight Apple Cider Quinoa Breakfast Cereal (Protein Packed!)

I soooo look forward to breakfast.

It’s my absolute favorite meal of.the.day.hands.down.

For as long as I can remember, every morning I would chow down 3-4 bowls of cereal. No problem.

Lucky charms were like eating AIR to me. And fruity pebbles?! Holy crap, you don’t even KNOW….

But then I grew up and realized a massive sugar crash and a 6th month pregnant looking bloated belly just wasn’t worth it, no matter how incredibly delicious dried marshmallows in milk taste.

Since saying goodbye to sugary cereals I’ve tried my fair share of favorite breakfast, such as Green Smoothies, Waffles, etc., but some days I really do miss cereal.

Especially since my husband makes me buy him Reeses Pieces Cereal on a weekly basis…And he eats it in front of me. And he weighs like 110 pounds. Don’t you hate him?

So I knew if I was going to create my own kind of ‘cereal’, it had to be easy, fast, flavorful, mom and kid approved! Not to mention, full of protein! Something that will keep you full, without giving you that 10 a.m. sugar crash.

The best thing about this cereal is that it can be made the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is add milk. Then have your kiddos add their favorite fruit/toppings and viola! You could also easily eat this as a parfait with maple sweetened greek yogurt! Or you could add dried marshmallows shaped like rainbows to it as well…

The possibilites are endless!


Protein Packed Overnight Apple Cider Quinoa Bowl/Cereal
Serves: 2
 
Need a quick ready made breakfast for the morning? Want something to look forward to when you wake up? This Breakfast Quinoa Bowl can either be dressed up in a cereal with cold almond milk, topped with your favorite toppings. OR you could warm it up with warm milk and toppings. OR you could mix it with greek yogurt sweetened with a little maple syrup!
Ingredients
  • ½ c. quinoa
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 1 TB. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • (Toppings)
  • Almond milk, greek yogurt, diced apples, diced fruit, slivered almonds/nuts, extra cinnamon, maple syrup, etc.
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan add quinoa, cider, milk, syrup, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, or when the quinoa is mostly cooked and there is still a little liquid left.There is more liquid to make it nice and creamy. (Note: Depending on the apple cider you use, you may have to add ¼-1/2 c. more liquid.)
  2. Add quinoa to a bowl, let cool a little bit, cover, and place in the fridge.
  3. Technically you don't have to let this sit in the fridge overnight, but it's nice to have a ready made breakfast for you waiting in the morning!
  4. In the morning top with cold milk, and your favorite toppings. OR you can heat up the quinoa with some added milk. OR you can mix it with maple sweetened greek yogurt! There are so many possibilities!

 

Maybe a drizzle of nut butter would even make this taste like…Reeses Pieces?

Maybe…just maybe…

My Husband’s Favorite Salad-Mexican Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad

Don’t let that incredibly bright and charming sexy smile fool you…

My husband is one of the pickiest eaters I know. But in HIS defense, he is picky in my standards and probably not real life standards. I will say that he’s really easy to please when it comes to what he likes to eat. The problem is his wife who likes to make it all that more difficult for him.

You know…Just fulfilling my wifely duties of making easy things hard.

He’s like, “Wife, just make me frozen tacquitos for dinner topped with melted cheese.”

And I’m like, “Are your frackin crazy?! I will definitely not make that! I’m just going to make tacquitos from scratch, but a vegan version, and we will top it with salsa…k?”

Don’t even get me started on picking a place to go out to eat.

Hubs is like, “Babe. Taco Tuesday at Del Taco. Right now. Sounds amazing!”

Wifey is like, ” Ha in your dreams lover boy, I don’t do drive throughs! Let’s go to that sit down place that serves expensive organic food and bring our two screaming children…k?”

We were definitely meant to be.

So besides being partially the worst wife ever, I do try and please my husband occasionally and feed him the food he loves. BUT in MY defense, he eats out for lunch every day. So you have to understand he gets his taco tuesday, hamburger wednesday, and chicken wings thursday…

So I don’t feel so bad when it’s, “Welcome home lover buns! Hope you like vegetables!!”

Printable Recipe for Chicken:Seasoned Grilled Chicken

Printable Recipe for Pico De Gallo:Pico De Gallo

Printable Recipe for Salad:Mexican Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad

Also, Check out our favorite salad dressing topping : Copycat Chili’s Salsa. Recipe from Chef in Training! Bonus, this is my hubs favorite restaurant. Bonus #2: He likes to mix a little with ranch for his salad dressing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in marriage…the main thing is to be selfless. And don’t you think it would be selfish of me if I didn’t share with my husband all my favorite foods?!

Good. I’m glad we are on the same page.

 

Green Goddess Honey Cilantro Stir Fry (With Quinoa)

I love a fancy dinner more than I love shopping for pants.

Whew! So glad I got that off my chest.

Honestly I’ve NEVER liked shopping for pants, so I would pretty much do ANYTHING to avoid seeing my bottom half in skinny jean after skinny jean.

And while we are on the subject of being truthful, our weekly dinners are rarely ever fancy. A lot of them require little effort and can be prepared by someone half asleep. (That last part IS a true statement…)

The picture above was taken last week. See, dinner time=total bore!

The only thing I try and strive more is high nutrition and little effort. Which is why my favorite dishes are the ones that involve throwing everything into one pot/bowl/ etc. And by everything I mean a ton of veggies,  a good source of protein, and lots of flavor.

Easy right?

So easy you could do it in your sleep!

Green Goddess Honey Cilantro Stir Fry (With Quinoa)

Ingredients:

Serves 4-8 (small-large servings)

2 c. dry quinoa

4 c. vegetable broth

1 large TB. coconut oil

1 large shallot

4 cloves garlic chopped

1 green pepper diced

1 zucchini diced

1 broccoli floret chopped

1 tsp. coconut oil

3 eggs

3 TB. soy sauce

4 TB. honey

1 bunch cilantro chopped

Optional toppings: green onions, avocado, pineapple, and almond slivers!

Directions:

1. Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and cook until done, about 15 minutes. (You can also do this on a pot over the stove.)

2. While the quinoa is cooking prepare your veggies. In a large skillet over the stove, add your coconut oil. Add your shallot and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Throw in your veggies and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

3. Turn heat to low. Make a hole in the center and add coconut oil. Crack your eggs in the center and whisk them until scrambled. Once quinoa is done, fold it into the stir fry. Add soy sauce and honey and toss to coat. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro. Serve and top with desired toppings. (If needed add salt and pepper, probably not necessary though!)

Want to know something terrible wrong with this whole dinner. I made enough for leftovers for lunch during the week and well…

After dinner I got sidetracked and the littles got my attention and I forgot to store it in the fridge and kept it out over night.

Somethings you just can’t remember when you are half asleep.

 

Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Before Sweet Pea came along and Boo was really young, her and I would spend our days reading and learning about things that little minds need and love to learn about.

I taught her the colors, she learned her numbers, and she sang the ABC’s 845 times a day.

She was an extremely fast learner and would pick up on practically any song, dance, letter, and/or number that we would teach her. I have to admit that she made me one proud mama, and I loved having her perform and repeat the things she learned to others.

Recently though, Boo’s ability to ‘pick up and learn things’ at an extremely fast rate has somewhat made me wonder if we are destined for trouble in the future. And more often than not, I would much rather she not repeat the things she’s learned..from whatever sources they have come from.

If your wondering what types of things Boo has been saying or doing, I can give you a brief synopsis…

I also must add that I’ve been told to knock it off several times a day…

I’m at a loss for words…

And on days when I ask Baby Boo what she wants for lunch and her response is simply, “Nobody Cares…”

Well then I make what I want and don’t consider whether or not she’s going to like it.

How Rude.

Black Bean Quinoa Cilantro Salad

Makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. veggie broth

1/2 c. dry quinoa

1 c. cooked corn

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 red bell pepper diced

1 large tomato diced

2 avocados diced

(For the dressing)

1/4 c. onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tomatillo

1 bunch cilantro

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. agave

1 TB. olive oil

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. salt/dash of pepper

Directions:

1. In a pot add veggie broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook quinoa until fully cooked for about 20 minutes. For better directions on how to cook quinoa, click HERE.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Process dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined, like so:

3. Once the quinoa is done and cooled down, add it to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and fold in the dressing. Top with crushed tortilla chips! :) Or use tortilla chips to scoop it out! :)

I was completely confused as to where Boo was learning these not so nice phrases until I sat down with a big bowl of this for lunch and turned on my recorded episode of Housewives.

One of the ladies shouted, “What the He!!”, and Boo quickly responded…

Ya. You get the picture.

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

I have this problem with saying no to buying things when they are on sale.

Whether it’s a good sale or bad, I will somehow find a way to convince myself that it’s worth buying because I’m saving money. (Although I’m not taking into consideration that I probably wouldn’t buy that item normally…)

That’s right. You can bet that I still have yet to find a place for that life sized green butterfly wall decor that I bought on the sale rack at Pier 1, or the ugly lamps that my neighbor was selling for a STEAL, and don’t forget to mention a grey chair sitting in our living room with an unquestionable wet stain right on it…

But the worst part of my problems happens when I buy food that’s on sale. Like when I saw a sign off the side of the road for a  huge box of tomatoes, let’s say maybe 30 to count the size of baseballs, for 6 dollars.

Let me remind you our household is only 2 1/2…and one of those persons passionately hates tomatoes. (Hubbers.)

So by the time those tomatoes are gone I’m either going to have one heck of a stomach ache, or turn red and round like a tomato…I’m hoping for the latter.

Unless of coarse you want to come over and pick up some tomatoes? I’ll do a free trade, maybe for a huge pillow? One that would most likely cover that stain…yuck.

But if whole tomatoes aren’t your thing, maybe dicing them up and throwing them in a salad is. And if that’s the case, consider your self lucky!

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

2 c. prepared quinoa

1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed

3 1/2 c. – 4c. diced tomatoes

2 c. spinach

1 c. packed basil

Dressing:

2 TB. balsamic vinegar

1 TB. olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic finely diced

zest of one small lemon

salt and pepper to taste

(parmesan cheese:optional)

Directions:

1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. 

2. In a food processor, finely chop basil leaves and spinach. Set aside

3. In a large bowl add quinoa, beans, tomatoes, chopped greens, and dressing. Mix until combined, and add more salt and pepper to taste.

4. Set in fridge until ready to serve.

If you want, feel free to add parmesan cheese on top.

This would be a great side dish, main dish, or a healthy snack! I had it for lunch, and ate it on top of pita chips:

Now I’ve got to work on my other ‘problem’, which is making excessive messes in the kitchen…

Either that, or I’ve got to some how find someone willing to buy that stained chair…

Some idiot will buy it, right?

Roasted Quinoa Bean Burger

I’m feeling extremely happy today!

Not because I found a $50 gift card to Target at the bottom of my diaper bag…

But because I am happy to say that I have kept up with my running goals.

I never thought I would pick up running again after having Baby Boo. After not working out for “nine months”…which turned into…a year…it is just so hard to pick back up.

Sure I walked, and did some spin classes here and there, but when your a mom 24/7 with no time for yourself…

It’s hard to fit it in.

And now I wonder…

How do people with more kids exercise?? Take time for yourself??

I guess this whole Mama thing is a work in progress, but I can attest that every day Baby Boo gets older, it’s easier to exercise. Now that she can entertain her self with teething biscuits and measuring spoons,

Mama can fit in a workout video here and there…

Or have more time in the kitchen to cook some delicious food. =]

Like a life changing…

OK I won’t go there again.

But i’ll just say…it’s pretty amazing.

Roasted Quinoa Bean Burger

Ingredients:

1/3 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup assorted roasted veggies

(sweet potato, zucchini, onion drizzled w/ EVOO & balsamic vinegar, S&P)

1/3 cup plain cooked Quinoa

Salt&Pepper

*A reader said these stick together really well when you add 1 chia egg to the recipe!*

Directions:

1. Start with your veggies. I used 1 sweet potato, 1 zucchini, and 1/2 of onion.(What I had on hand. Would def suggest the sweet potato & onion!) Chop and spread on baking sheet. Drizzle w/ EVOO and Balsamic vinegar, Salt and pepper. If you don’t want extra veggies to save for later uses in the week, divide veggies in half. (I.E. 1/2 sweet potato, 1/2 zucchini..etc..)


2. Cook in oven to 350 for 30 minutes.


3. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture, and if you have extra veggies, save the rest in a sealed container in fridge to use through out the week. On salads, in sandwhiches, in quesadillas, etc..

4. In a food processor add veggies and black beans.


5. Blend until a little chunky.


6. Then add quinoa and process until blended. Leave a little chunky, you don’t want it too creamy.


7. Add a little spices if you would like such as cumin or paprika. Then add Salt and Pepper to taste.

8. Form into balls, 2-3, and flatten out to patties.

9. In a preheated 400 degree oven, bake patties for 30 minutes. 15 minutes on both sides.

10. Once they are done, you can add a little coconut oil in a skillet and fry both sides for a crispy outer edge. (optional)


11. Place patty in a tortilla, or hamburger buns, and load with your favorite toppings.

12. Enjoy!


Unfortunately I was out of toppings since I was Low on groceries.

So I used some cilantro dressing and mustard…

Whatever works =]

This “burger” has amazing stats as far as nutrition goes. I don’t like to count calories, but these are pretty amazing =]

Nutrition Facts  

 

User Entered Recipe
3 Servings  
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182.3
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 14.5 mg
Potassium 337.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 35.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.5 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 6.7 g


Ok, are you ready for a challenge question??

What the heck does a sweet potato look like?

Are they orange, like sweet potato fries, or are they white like a regular potato..??

I’m so confused.

Apple Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Parfait

Enough said…

Baby Boo is still sick. She still isn’t sleeping, and now she sounds like a truck on the highway every time she breaths. Good news is, she is doing better on perfecting the crawl..

She has now upgraded from plank to downward facing dog.

Baby steps…

 

Last week when I went grocery shopping I picked up some things that I normally don’t purchase.

You might think it’s odd that I don’t buy apples, but I usually forget about them because I rarely eat them. In fact, I used to think that apples only tasted good doused in peanut butter.

I was so wrong…

There are many other ways apples can taste delicious.

Like covered in caramel… =]

I also picked up some Quinoa.(pronounced KEENWAAA)

Quinoa is super good for you! It is an AMAZING source of protien, and has a fabulous amount of fiber. It also has a great amount of calcium, and is low is saturated fat and cholesterol. It contains  a great source of magnesium, which is a great antioxidant.You can add it into basically anything. Throw it into a sandwhich, salad, soup, borrito…ANYTHING! And for those whoe are gluten intolerant, you can use Quinoa flour for baking.

At the beginning of the week I made some and left it in the fridge to use through out the week. It’s super easy to make.

Just take 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts water, and soak the Quinoa a pot of water for 15 minutes.

Once soaked, boil the Quinoa in the water, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. After, let sit covered for 5 minutes.

The result should be light and fluffy =]

Ok so why am I talking about quinoa and apples?!?

Because I made a delicious breakfast out of them of coarse! =]

Apple Maple Cinnamon Quinoa Parfait

Ingredients:

(For apples)

1 Chopped Apple (I used Gala)

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 TB 100% Pure maple syrup

(For Quinoa)

1/2 cup cooked Quinoa

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 nutmeg

1/2 tsp. 100% maple syrup

(For yogurt)

1/2 cup plain(or vanilla) greek yogurt

1 tsp. 100% pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1. In a heated saucepan, stir in apple and spices (not syrup).


2. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes, or until apples begin to soften.


3. Then drizzle in your maple syrup.


4. Stir for about 5 minutes until apples are caramelized and soft.


5. Then remove from heat, and get another saucepan (or use the same one) and add quinoa, spices, and syrup. Heat and stir for about 5 minutes.


6. While quinoa is cooking, in a separate bowl, mix your yogurt ingredients together.


7. Once everything is prepared, layer your parfait.

Quinoa, Apples, and Yogurt.


8. Repeat till you reach the top =]


This is a protein packed breakfast, so it’s a great after workout meal!

I can definitely see adding maple almonds to this as well.

Now how do you like them apples?

Homemade Bread

Let me share a story with you about breadsticks…

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We were young, thin, and energetic, and we went to dinner at Olive Garden. That’s where you go when you live in Rexburg, Idaho. That or Wingers. Or Jack in the Crack.

I remember being so nervous and thinking, “Ok I’ll only eat one breadstick, because if I eat more than one he’s going to thing I’m this out of control pig right?…” We sat down to order, and of coarse I asked for the soup and salad like a lady. Then, came my husband (BF). He ordered this seafood Alfredo pasta with a side of alfredo sauce and extra breadsticks.

First thought…

No making out tonight.

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Our meal was brought out to us, and we casually began to eat, flirt, and eat. I remember sitting there watching him pound bread stick after bread stick, as he dipped each bite into a bowl of warm alfredo sauce.  “Another basket sir?”, said the waiter. “Why yes, thank you!”, said the boyfriend.

SIX baskets later, he was done.

Six baskets of bread, three extra servings of alfredo sauce, one seafood alfredo, and the most garlicky sea food breath one could ever imagine.

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Want to know the worst part of the whole story…He weighs like 140 pounds. Feel free to shout at the screen, because IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!

To this day, he is still the same way. Anything he loves food wise, he goes crazy. I have to buy it or make it in bulk, because quickly it will be gone. Especially homemade bread. I usually reserve a loaf just for him, because late at night I’ll hear, “Babe? Will you toast me some bread with butter and honey? Oh, and could you get me a glass of chocolate milk too?”

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So far, I’ve been making THIS homemade bread from I Heart Nap Time, and it’s worked perfectly every time! Our family loves it! Obviously this is a healthy lifestyle blog, and the recipe calls for butter, white flour, and a little sugar, which might contradict someone’s idea of “healthy.” But I’ve always felt that making something from scratch in your own kitchen is always better than buying it at a grocery store, so I’m perfectly fine with making the bread with the ingredients that the recipe calls for.

BUT, I love a challenge, and I decided to see if I could up the nutrients a little and make it a little more “wholesome.”

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I was worried that the ingredients I added would completely mess up the bread, but it came out beautifully! I know that baking bread is a scary thing, but i’ve learned that practice makes perfect. I’ve finally learned how to proof yeast after years of failing. Honestly it was all trial and error, and sadly lots of errors. Play around with water temperatures, and make sure that the water is warm enough to wear you can stick your finger in it for a few seconds without it being too hot.

As for the bread rising, I’ve learned that the place it rises is crucial.

Since it’s 110 where I live, (Jealous?), I open the window and place the bread/yeast on a chair next to the door. It worked perfectly! (I just leave the door open long enough until my husband notices I’m letting out  all of the cool air…)

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And besides, who doesn’t love to bake bread in a hot oven when it’s 110 outside?!

Am I right, or what?!

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Homemade Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 2½ tsp. yeast
  • ½ TB. sugar
  • ¼ c. melted coconut oil
  • 1 TB. salt
  • ¼ c. coconut sugar-or organic sugar
  • ⅓ c. evaporated milk
  • 5-7 c. bread flour
  • 4 TB. ground flax seeds
  • 3 TB. chia seeds
  • 4 TB. quinoa flour
  • 4 TB. oat flour
  • 1 TB. melted coconut oil
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together yeast and sugar. Add warm water over the top and whisk for a couple of seconds Set aside for 15-20 minutes until the yeast rises and become bubbly and frothy. (Place this mixture next to a warm area, such as by a window with sunlight.)
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with a stand mixer, add the oil, salt, sugar, and milk. Whisk together. Then add the yeast mixture and whisk together.
  3. Attach the bread hook to the stand mixer. Slowly add in 3 cups of the bread flour, kneading until incorporated.
  4. Next add in the flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa flour, and oat flour. Knead, until incorporated.
  5. Then, using ½ c. measurements, slowly add in flour until the dough is somewhat sticky, but doesn't stick to your fingers.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead a little if needed. Form dough into a bowl, coat with the 1 TB. melted coconut oil.
  7. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with a light towel, and place in a warm area.
  8. Allow the dough to double in size, about an hour and a half.
  9. Punch the dough down after its doubled.
  10. Knead the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half.
  11. Rough each dough into a rectangle, then roll it up into a loaf.
  12. Spray a bread pan with cooking oil, place the loaf into the pan, cover with a light towel, and let the dough rise until it's come about the top of the pan.
  13. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  14. Top with coconut oil.
  15. Enjoy!

 

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I also made little rolls out of the loaf, and they turned out great for lunch sandwiches!

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So now that my husband turned 30 this year, I told him all of those breadsticks and other food he loves is going to eventually catch up to him…And then he will come running to me saying, “Oh babe! You were so right! Please help me to eat healthier! I love you I love you I love you!! “…

Any day now…Any day…

Favorite Costco Finds

While most 25 year olds spend their money on clothes, makeup, and pedicures I rack up my grocery shopping bill.

I have a hard time saying no to food, like all the time. Most likely if a creeper in a broken down van opened his door to me and said he had a bag of chocolate chips…I’d probably get in the van.

(Note: Don’t really do that.)

Costco is one of those places that I visit weekly, and a lot of times I am emailed about things to buy to stock a healthy pantry. Now, for those that don’t know, Costco sells food and other items in bulk. Like you don’t buy 1 bottle of ketchup, you buy 7. But there are things that I get weekly there because we plow through food in our house so often, that I have to go there to save money. (Yes husband, I said ‘Save Money’).

Here is a list of some of the things I think are worth getting at Costco. Every Costco is different, so you might not find what’s on this list at your local store. I’m sure in a few months I’ll do a part two because Costco likes to sell my favorite things for a little bit, and then all of the sudden..stop.

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Produce:

Living in Las Vegas, produce isn’t as fresh or as cheap as it was in California. And since we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, I tend to buy majority of my produce from Costco. It’s the most cost effective for our family since my girls can eat a whole container of blueberries in two days! Often you can find Organic produce for not much of a price difference for non organic too!

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Frozen Fruit:

We love our smoothies in our house, so frozen fruit is a must! Right now I have a huge bag or Organic dark sweet cherries! I usually buy one bag, and use that up until it’s done and then I’ll switch to another fruit. Again, this has just been the most cost effective for our family too since we use it so much!

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Sabra Single Serving Packets

I’m almost positive these aren’t going to last at Costco because I love them so much! They used to see a HUGE tub of Sabra hummus for $5, and now it’s gone! But it’s ok, because now they switched to these single serving packets! It’s perfect for out families hummus obsession, because I can take one out and eat it as a snack without eating the whole tub. I also put this in my daughters lunch for school!

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Mama Chia Packets

These are so amazing! It’s basically a sweet chia gel in a packet that you can suck right out when you need a little something. Perfect for me or the girls, we both love them!

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Chobani

The girls favorite yogurt, especially the strawberry. Usually this is the most cost effective for us since we eat a lot of it!

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Fruit/Veggie Packets

My one year old is obsessed with the apple sauce packets, so when Costco has them I always buy them because they don’t last long! And most often, they are more expensive in other grocery stores!

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Pure Maple Syrup

This is the syrup I use when cooking, baking, pancake making, etc. It’s 100% pure! Maple syrup is SO expensive, but I’ve noticed I get more for my money at Costco!

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Almond Butter

Almond butter is delicious, especially when you add a little honey and cinnamon to it. This is a great find at costco, especially since it’s all natural with no added sugars! And again, more for your money!

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Almond Butter Packets

These are perfect for lunches or quick snacks! I’m always looking for things like this to make life easier!

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Coach’s Oats

Great brand of oats, and you get a lot for your money!

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Quinoa

I just barely finished my bag  of quinoa from costco that I got MONTHS ago! I keep it in the fridge/freezer so it last long!

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Coconut Oil

$20 for a HUGE thing of coconut oil. If you use it as often as I do, then definitely look into this!

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Quinoa & Brown Rice:

Microwaveable rice that’s perfect and healthy for quick dinners and lunches!

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Chia Seeds

This is similar with the quinoa in that this last forever and I keep it in the fridge until it’s all gone!

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Hemp Seeds

Along the same lines as the Chia seeds! Last forever and more for the money!

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Dairy

I usually  buy my non dairy milks at costco, they have coconut, soy, and almond. (I use a lot during the week.) I also buy eggs there because of the great price!

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Salsa

If costco gets rid of this salsa, I swear I will break up with them! This is the BEST salsa, and it’s gone within the week. I put this crap on everything!

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Fage Greek Yogurt

My favorite favorite yogurt! It’s so thick and creamy, it’s the perfect sub for sour cream and perfect for baking! You get a HUGE tub for like $5!

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7 Superfoods Salad

This salad has kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, pumpkin seeds, etc. I LOVE THIS SALAD! I have this often for lunch with a leftover protein from dinner! It’s seriously the best, even my girls love it! (And my husband!)

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Evolution Apple Juice

Liquid gold my friends. Everybody loves juice, but I’m kind of a snob towards juice that isn’t fresh. It taste SO much better, and this is an example! We fight over this juice in our house, that’s a fact.

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Honey Chia Bread

This is a new find for me, but they give a lot of samples of it with warm melted butter. I’m now addicted! It’s the perfect toast/breakfast bread with a little almond butter, honey, cinnamon, or coconut oil!

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See what I mean…

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Now I will say this…Don’t buy all of this at once. Unless you want to spend $600 at Costco.

What are your favorite things to get at Costco? Did I miss any fun finds? Also, my children were cuddling while I shopped and took pictures for this post. My three year old was tickling my one year old and singing to her…

Costco may be what heaven is like…

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Diva Adventures: True Food Kitchen

I always love reading about healthy places others go to eat, especially since restaurants like these are hard to come by!

So I knew this week when I was visiting my family in California, I had to share with everyone a natural foods restaurant we ate at! Just in case you are ever in the neighborhood… :)

True Food Cafe, where do I begin! My mom and dad ate here a few months ago and right away my mom told me she wanted to take me there! It’s located in the heart of Orange County at Fashion Island Mall, if you’ve ever been there it’s well…it’s a little heaven on earth!

The restaurant’s atmosphere was fantastic and so fun and inviting. Everything was so bright, fresh, and natural!

One of my things when judging on whether a restaurant is good or bad is how full it is during ‘meal times’, and trust me…There were a lot of people waiting to get in!

The first thing we did when we sat down was look at their Natural Refreshments they had to offer, and this is where the excitement really started to kick in! I LOVE restaurants that offer fresh juices and drinks, but as many of you know this isn’t something you find often..If ever!

Our drinks were:

Hangover Rx: Coconut Water, Pineapple & Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (Pictured Left)

Ruby Moon: Ruby Grapefruit, Yuzu, Agave, & Soda (Pictured Right)

Kale Aid: Kale, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, & Ginger

Usually for Boo I always order water, but I really really wanted to try their Honey Lemonade :)! Unfortunately the little gal was being quite possessive over it, so I had to sneak little drinks here and there when she wasn’t looking!

The menu was beyond…how do I put this…beautiful! :) Everything was full of nutrients, veggies, handmade, fresh, and totally Diva-Approved! I have to add that my husband would totally try most items on the menu, which is saying a lot. They had a selection of meaty sandwiches, pizzas and burgers, which any husband would love!

Our second order was the appetizer, and shocker…we chose the hummus :)! It was one of the BEST hummus plates I’ve ever had, and that says a lot coming from a hummus whore like myself. It was topped with a greek salad of olives, feta cheese, cucumber, and seasonings. If you want the recipe, check out the Cookbook, which features tons of other recipes from the restaurant!

For the main coarse, I wanted to try everything on the menu. (At this point having a table with 20 friends would have been ideal, that way I could try everyones food!) My mom and I both ordered salads, but now I wish I would have ordered something different so I could have tried it!

Mediterranean Chopped: Cucumber, Olive, Cherry Tomato, Quinoa, Feta, Marcona Almond & Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette (Topped with Salmon)

I have to take a second to talk about the Kids menu…

Hands down, one of my favorite parts of this meal! It was SO relieving to read a kids menu that didn’t include Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, or frozen chicken nuggets! Every item on the menu was fresh, kid friendly, and something that I would be extremely happy to feed my child!

Almond Butter, Apple & Banana Sandwich with Grain Nut Bread and Carrot Sticks (Wish the BEST homemade Dill Ranch!) (Pictured Left)

Spaghetti Squash Casserole: Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Tomato & Zucchini (Pictured Right) My sister in law ordered this and it was one of my favorite dishes! It was so comforting and full of veggies,which is a plus!

Harvest Chopped Salad: Squash, Apple, Pomegranate, Walnuts, Goat Cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette (Topped with Chicken)

So would I ever go to True Food Kitchen again if I had the chance?

That’s like asking if I would like a piece of chocolate cake…Yes!Yes!Yes!

And it’s right next to a large selection of shopping, which well, makes it the perfect stop for anybody! :)