Testing a Super Food

I don’t know about you but I’ve been hearing about chia seeds a lot over the past couple years.  They’re always on super food lists in magazines or in healthy food bloggers’ smoothies or oatmeal concoctions.  They are supposed to have numerous health benefits like all the other seeds and crazy whole grains that are popular among the Whole Foods crowd.

I’m always game to try a new health food as long as it’s not too crazy, and while my initial reaction to idea of chia seeds reverts to a particularly catchy commercial jingle, I figured that all of this hype had to be for a reason.  I have heard that they don’t really add much flavor beyond maybe a slight nuttiness when added food, so how bad could they be?

In my travels on the internet I found a no-bake granola bar recipe that seemed like the perfect venue to add some chia seeds.  I took the basic recipe made a few tweaks to make it a little more exciting.  Not only did the granola bars turn out great, since they were no-bake, it was also minimal effort!  Besides the miniscule black dots in the bars you don’t even notice the chia seeds.  They’re working for me so far, maybe I’ll throw the leftover seeds in my next protein shake…

No-Bake Granola Bars

Yields about 20 squares depending on size, Adapted quite a bit from Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3-3/4 cup honey (depending on if you need more binding liquid)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups instant oats (not old fashioned rolled)
  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
  • 1/3 cup black chia seeds
  • 3/4 dried cranberries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 10 oz bag white chocolate chips

Method

  1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment for easy removal.
  2. Melt butter, honey, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat (I started with 2/3 cup of honey and added a dash more later when I needed more liquid).  Let it bubble for about 2 minutes before removing it from the heat and adding the vanilla.
  3. Add rice cereal, oats, and chia seeds to the wet mixture.  Mix well to combine.
  4. Add dried cranberries, almonds, and half of the white chocolate.  The chocolate will melt so you want to save some to put on top of the bars in the pan.
  5. Once the mixture is uniform, press it into the lined pan and sprinkle on more white chocolate chips (I didn’t end up using the whole bag, but pretty close).
  6. Allow to cool, slice, and enjoy!

Workout Songs: Part 5

When I go to a group fitness class, the instructor always says that the cool down is the most important part of the workout.  Usually at that point I’m antsy to get out of the room and on with my day, so it takes all of my power to find patience and stretch with the group.  One thing that helps is good music.  There is a lot more freedom for cool down music because it does not have to have a certain cadence.  It adds a nice level of variety to the workout mix.  On principle I try to stick with positive, uplifting cool down songs, but every once in a while there’s an irresitable darker ballad that makes it on the list.  Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately.

Cool Down/Relaxing Music

  1. How Will I Know (Glee Version) by Glee Cast
  2. The Longest Time by Billy Joel
  3. Sunday Morning by Maroon 5
  4. Hero by Mariah Carey
  5. Heartless by Kris Allen
  6. Ave Maria by Beyonce
  7. Stickwitu by Pussycat Dolls
  8. Everything by Michael Buble
  9. Vultures by John Mayer
  10. The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
  11. Never Ever by Ciara
  12. Back at Your Door by Maroon 5
  13. Cry (Glee Version) by Lea Michele
  14. Fire and Rain by James Taylor
  15. Missing You by John Waite
  16. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  17. How Deep is Your Love by The Bird & the Bee
  18. It’s Growing by James Taylor
  19. Energy by Keri Hilson
  20. Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammar

In case you forgot, I already offered my recommendations for workout songs in the following categories: Old School, Top 40, Girl Power, and Hardcore/Motivational.  Check those posts out for more ideas.

What cool down songs do you like to listen to?

The Boardwalk

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to take a ride to Ocean City and take a stroll on the boardwalk. Because Ocean City is a dry town, it means that you have the chance to have some good old sober fun! Sadie and our good friend Karla had a blast.

We started the night with dinner at Clancy’s, which consisted of our choice of salad in order to save room for the boardwalk faire. Then we decided to hit up some of the rides. Below are some pics of our favorites. I must admit that I rediscovered that I am not a fan of ferris wheels. I will never be riding one again. The only exception I will ever make in my lifetime is for the London eye.

After the rides we grabbed a late night snack. I suggest getting a slice from Manco and Manco’s and then grabbing a cone from George’s. Although you can’t go wrong with salt water taffy from Shriver’s, caramel corn from Johnson’s, cheese fries from Curly’s or custard from Kohr Bros. Now that you’ve got the scoop, it’s time to head down to the Jersey Shore for the last two weeks of summer.

20120821-152150.jpg

20120821-152203.jpg

20120821-152211.jpg

20120821-152219.jpg