Author Archive | Nicole

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

On a whim I decided to make some homemade granola bars.  I was very particular about my ingredients, and did not want something with too much sugar, and not enough taste.  I did a little research and found an old recipe from the New York Times.  All the ingredients were exactly what I wanted.  Low in sugar, great taste (I was assuming before I even made them), and fairly easy.  They turned out fantastic!  I added the Omega 3 Trail mix from Trader Joe’s, which has cranberries, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, almonds and pinenuts, in one little package. You can add anything you want and play around with the recipe.

Granola Bars

3 tbs.canola oil
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Oil a 9×9 baking pan.
Add oil to saucepan. Add the oats. Stir over medium heat until the oats are lightly toasted, taking care not to let them burn. Stir until they are beginning to smell toasty and have slightly darkened, six to seven minutes.  Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl. Add the flaxseed, cinnamon and the salt.
Combine the honey, vanilla and brown sugar in the pan in which you toasted the oats. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes. Pour over the oat mixture, and stir until it is evenly distributed over the mixture. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in chocolate chips and anything else you may choose to add.
Pour into baking pan, and spread evenly. Place in oven for 18 minutes. Do not allow to brown or the bars will be hard instead of chewy. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool. Cut into small squares.
Makes 15-20 bars.

Enjoy!

 
 

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Filed under: Food

Trend Alert: Maxi Skirt

The long boho-chic skirt has been around for some time, made popular by style setters in the 70’s. Something about it seemed so easy, breezy, cool, so laissez-faire. The maxi skirt is headed straight for the “new classics” territory. They have the potential to supplant your favorite pair of boyfriend jeans to be the piece you grab in your closet when you’re stumped about what to wear. They work for date night, errands, brunch, and even summer cocktail parties. Grab a basic version in black or grey.


Every women of any shape and size can wear a maxi. It makes every woman look leaner and a petite woman look taller. Try pairing your maxi with a fitted blazer and a pair of flat sandals. Wear some fun jewelry and a basic tee and you’re good to go. I found some great, inexpensive ones at Old Navy and Marshalls. You can also access ShopBop, through our website on goodnewssantabarbara.com, and get free shipping for a really fun maxi.


Be creative and make it fun!



 
 
 

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Filed under: Fashion

Infused Water

Have you ever wondered why people put lemon, cucumber or any other random garnish in their water? There are actually health benefits to adding fruits, herbs and vegetables to your aqua. I am definitely one of those random people. I love naturally flavored water. The following are three examples of easy-to-grab things from the store, to put in your water;


   Lemon: Putting a slice of lemon into a glass of water isn’t just an old restaurant trick. This habit offers your body key nutrients and disease fighting benefits. Lemon strengthens veins and fights high blood pressure, stimulates liver function and helps flush out poisons from your body. Also, lemon is high in potassium.


Drink a glass of water, with lemon, at room temperature, in the morning to clear you digestive track for the day.
Cucumber: Putting cucumber in your water will give you anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits. Cucumbers contain three lignans (estrogen-like compounds), which have been proven to fight breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Also, cucumber provides vitamin C and potassium.


      Mint: Adding mint to your water brings nutrition and digestive health. Drinking water with mint, has been a long-standing remedy for digestive problems. Modern research has confirmed that this natural diuretic can help stop colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Mint water is rich in vitamin A, C and B12, with traces of iron, potassium, selenium and zinc.


There you have it!
Start adding your fruits, veggies and herbs to your water, and I can almost guarantee you will start to feeling better.


Trader Joe’s has a great herb plant right now, that is perfect for a small indoor herb garden.


Buy Persian cucumbers (the small ones), if you have a choice. They always have the best flavored skin, and you want to keep the skin on because that is where all the nutrients are.


Costco offers the best bag of lemons in town. Their large and have lots of flavor. Farmers Market is also a good source.

 
 


Adding cucumber with your mint or lemon, is very refreshing.

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Filed under: Food, Health

Earth Day 2012


“Mobilize” was the theme of this years Earth Day. This year marks the 42nd year Santa Barbara has held an Earth Day festival.


Santa Barbara created one of the first Earth Day festivals in the nation, back in 1970. This year’s festival was divided into seven earth-friendly sections: featuring a kid’s corner, an eco marketplace, and even a beer and wine garden. Another section was the bike zone, where bikers had a place to park their bikes. The green car show, which featured 50 of the latest earth-friendly cars. The last section was a learning section for being more energy-efficient. Using reuseable bags, getting LED light bulbs or even using a water filtration system instead of water bottles.


My husband and I went on Saturday and cruised around, enjoyed some music and bought a couple of items to support the locals. I decided to go back on Sunday with our friends. The vibe is so great at festivals, especially Earth Day, that I wanted to soak up as much time at the park that I could. I posted some pictures below of the super-earthy day.


Enjoy!!!


 
 

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Filed under: Inspiring, Local

Bars, Yay or Nay?

I was talking to my girlfriend the other day, and she mentioned that she really needs to start getting her 3 year old to eat better.  “He only wants to eat corn dogs”, she says to me.  I told her to start giving him a Power Crunch or Kind bar, for a snack, he will think it’s a sweet treat, but really it is quite good for him.  So this starts the controversy, are bars good for you or not?After a pretty thorough research, I have come up with Power Crunch bars and Kind bars, being two of the better ones out there.
Power Crunch Bars
Power Crunch bars have 13 grams of protein.  It’s the best balanced bar.  It has way less fat and sugar than other bars.  It’s amazing how much fat they pack into protein bars.  Some have more than 10 grams of saturated fat in one bar, and upwards of 25 grams of sugar.  Power Crunch taste great (wafer cookie-like with peanut butter and chocolate), and only have 5 grams of sugar in each bar.  Also low in carbohydrates.  One bar has 195 calories, which is great!
Our favorite Power Crunch bar is Peanut Butter Fudge

Kind Bars
This is the one bar I can actually pronounce every single ingredient.  The Kind bar has 150 calories, and they have a good source of fiber and protein.  They have no refined sugar, they are gluten free, wheat free, non-Gmo, and free of sulphur dioxide (poisonous gas often found in food).
Our favorite Kind bar is Almond & Coconut

Bars can be found at Trader Joe’s.

 


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Filed under: Food, Health

Plantify Your Home

My husband and I decided to detoxify our home.  After reading nonstop, about all of the possible dangerous chemicals in our home, we decided to go buy plants for starters. 
If you can believe it, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air.  Between cleaning products, aerosols, air fresheners, paints, carpet and disinfectants, they all cause harm.  Children and adults spend 90% of their time indoors, which means improving indoor quality should be top priority.  A great way to combat this problem is to cleanse your air with indoor plants. 
All plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and some actually remove chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
The following is a list of plants that are known to function as efficient air detoxifiers and remove toxins from the air, as well as producing essential oxygen.  By the way all of these plants are low maintenance and high efficiency.

Peace Lily
Chinese Evergreen
Snake Plant
Daisies
Spider Plant
Dracaena
Ficus
Philodendrons
Aloe Vera
English Ivy
Boston Fern

If you live in Santa Barbara we recommend:
 7 Day Nursery: 3301 State Street
805-687-8036
We bought Dracaena, Boston Fern and Snake Plants.


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Filed under: Health, Home, Local

Berrylicious


Living in Santa Barbara you can get berries year round. Whether they are cranberries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries you can always count on the farmers market for having berries. My husband and I began to buy so many, because they always looked so good, that I had to put them to use other than just eating them plain. We came up with a rather tasty and healthy cupcake/muffin recipe.


Enjoy!


Berry Cupcakes


2 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries


2 cups whole wheat flour


1/2 cup packed brown sugar (Trader Joes organic)


1 tbsp. baking powder


4 tbsp. olive oil


2 lightly beaten eggs


For the topping (optional): mixed berry jam (Farmers Market)



Preheat oven to 350F. Place 12 baking cups in muffin pan. In a food processor, puree 1 1/2 cups of the berries until smooth. In a small bowl, lightly crush the reserved berries with a fork. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat oil and eggs. Add the pureed berries and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Fold in crushed berries.


Spoon batter into the baking cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Add topping if desired.






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Filed under: Food, Health

Color Gone Wild


I’m loving the trend of colored denim!  Color brightens up everything.  It’s a wonderful way to spice up the ole blue jean. Some may think they are too mature for this look, but guess what, you’re not.  The best way to add a mature element to a potentially adolescent look is by using a blazer.  Blazers add structure and just enough polish to allow you to still be taken seriously while wearing your fuchsia jeans.  If you thought colored denim was child’s play, think again.

ALL AGES WELCOME





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Filed under: Fashion

Guilt Free Cookies

We all like a good cookie, what we don’t like are the exuberant amount of calories within the cookie.  Here you have it, a cookie with no sugar and only 60 calories. Julian Bakery cookies.  Gluten free, no digestible carbs, no starch, no sugar, not sweetened with maltitol, xylitol or sorbitol.  Made with heart healthy fiber, good for digestion and helps satisfy hunger cravings
.
1 Cookie
60 Calorie
0g Sugars
4.5g Total fat
2g Protein
4% Iron

Julian Bakery Cookies can be purchased at Whole Foods and Lazy Acres.  For all of our Omaha peeps, Hy-Vee Market carries them.

Go indulge guilt free!




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Filed under: Food, Health

Eco-Clean

Cleaning happens to be one of my favorite things to do.  I’m probably one of the rare few who can say that, but, regardless we have to clean.  Next time you go to the grocery store be careful of the cleaning products you pick out.  The chemicals found in today’s products can be very harmful to you and your family.  Choosing Mrs. Meyer’s will save you future harm to your bodies.  Mrs. Meyer’s products are not tested on animals, nor are their products made with animal-derived ingredients.  Products are made from coconut, palm, soy, corn or olive.  Products do not contain ammonia, chlorine, glycol solvents, parabens, phthalates or formaldehyde.  Packaging is recyclable and they use 25% post consumer plastic in their bottles.
Mrs. Meyer’s has the following scents: Lavender, Lemon, Verbena, Basil, Geranium
You can purchase the products from Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, Tri-County and World Market.
PS I LOVE the basil scent.


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Filed under: Health, Home