At Home Perfect Bar Recipe!

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know my love for Perfect Bar runs deep. These bars are not only made with good for you ingredients, but they’re also delicious. I personally think they’re worth their weight in gold, so the $2 price point doesn’t usually deter me from buying them, but being able to whip up a batch to have on hand at home is definitely more appealing than having to fight the circus that usually is Trader Joe’s when I need a restock!

I will warn you in saying they are very, very close to the real deal, so if you find yourself three bars deep before you even get them into the refrigerator, you knew what you were getting into! I will also say this: I have only tried them with this specific protein powder, and I really do think it’s part of the reason they taste so much like a real Perfect Bar. This specific protein helps bring out the vanilla flavor in the store bought Perfect Bar, and it isn’t grainy/dissolves really, really well. I’m sure you could sub the protein for another brand, I just can’t promise it’ll taste the same! This is THE closest I’ve gotten to the Perfect Bar flavor and texture, so if you want the best results, use everything I use!

Ingredients:
Procedure:
  • Microwave the peanut butter and honey for 1 minute, then mix thoroughly.
  • Whisk in the protein powder until combined.
  • Add vanilla extract and salt,
  • Pour into an 8×8 square baking dish, lined with saran wrap or parchment paper.
  • Spread the mixture evenly and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  • Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy!

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Creamy Chili Lime Chicken Stuffed Peppers

This is a super easy weeknight recipe that I’ve been loving lately! I don’t know why stuffed peppers intimidate me, but they always have! This was my first time trying them and they’ll definitely be in my dinner recipe rotation from now on. They’re so versatile and can be made with almost anything you like.

If you’re not a huge chicken fan, these could easily be done with ground turkey, shredded pork tenderloin, etc.

Ingredients:
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (I put 4 chicken breasts in a crockpot on low for 6 hours with 1 cup of chicken broth and it comes out perfect!)
  • 1 8oz. package fat free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili lime seasoning (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 1 dry ranch packet
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a large 9×13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Slice each pepper in half and remove the seeds. Set each half in the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese, cheese, jalapeno, cumin, chili lime seasoning, salt, salsa, and ranch packet.
  5. Fill each pepper half evenly with chicken mixture.
  6. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

San Francisco and Napa Valley Recap

San Francisco

This past weekend, Taylor and I spent a couple of days in San Francisco and Napa Valley. It was an amazing trip, and I’m so excited to write about it for those of you who have trips planned there/are planning to go soon!

Where we ate

The most important part right? San Francisco has SO many great food options. You could eat somewhere new every meal of the day for years and never try the same restaurant twice, I swear! I am so glad I already had in mind some places I wanted to knock out; I would have been so overwhelmed otherwise!

Breakfast:
  • Ferry Building Farmers Market
    • The Ferry Building is a MUST if you’re in town on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s a huge, indoor/outdoor farmers market with all local, fresh produce. There are also permanent restaurants inside the building that offer some amazing items as well. We quite literally ate our way through the farmers market and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
  • Golden Gate Meat Company
    • This is a restaurant inside the Ferry Building! Taylor and I shared a breakfast sandwich from here and it was excellent!
  • The Mill
    • This place is frequented by the locals, so you know it’s good! They serve specialty toast and it is to die for. Taylor and I shared a couple of different options including the almond butter and pumpkin butter toast, but the cinnamon sugar toast was one of our favorite things we ate on our trip! They also serve lattes, cold brew, etc. A must try for a quick breakfast!
Lunch:
  • Bourdin:
    • This is a chain located at Pier 39. Taylor got the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and said it was okay, but nothing to rave about. Just a good, cheap option for lunch if you’re at the pier around lunch time!
  • Super Duper Burgers:
    • This is located near Union Square, so if you’re out shopping and need something fairly quick, I highly recommend it! It’s similar to Smash Burger or Shake Shack; a fast casual place to grab a burger, veggie burger, salad or chicken sandwich. The garlic fries were phenomenal!
Dinner:
  • Oz Pizza
    • We ate at Oz after we got in super, super late on Thursday night. If you’re in need of some late night pizza, this is a great spot! Two pieces of pizza and a drink were less than $10 so if you need something super quick and cheap, this is your spot.
  • Original Joes North Beach
    • Original Joes was highly recommended to us, and we loved it! It was definitely more on the expensive side but it was well worth the money. It’s traditional Italian; we shared the spinach artichoke dip and pasta carbonarra and were super impressed. Be sure to share the entrees, they’re huge!
  • El Farolito
    • This is place is the number one reason I love asking locals for recommendations when it comes to food. It’s the definition of hole in the wall and we never would’ve stopped to look twice had we not heard about how great it was! It’s a family owned Mexican restaurant known for their gigantic portions of phenomenal Mexican food. Taylor got a burrito and I got a quesadilla and they are two of the best things we ate on our trip. It’s super cheap, and great for late night/post bar eats if you’re in need of something along those lines!
  • Tipsy Pig
    • This was our favorite restaurant of the entire trip. It’s a “Californian Gastropub”; even the locals rave about it, so you know its a hot spot. We split the mini burgers and Taylor and I agreed, they were the best burgers we’ve ever had. I can’t recommend this place enough. Their drinks were great too! We recommend both the Moscow Mule and the Mamacita Margarita!
Snacks:
  • Tiffanys Mini Donuts
    • If you’re at Pier 39, don’t leave without trying these mini donuts! They’re warm, cinnamon sugary pockets of heaven. They come in a pack of 6, or a mini bucket if you’re really hungry! They’re cute, different, and you won’t find them anywhere else!

Happy Hour
  • Palm House
    • This place is one of my favorite places we went! They’re known for their tiki/island style drinks, and you’ll feel like you’re at the cutest beach bar from the minute you walk in! I had the chipotle mango margarita, and Taylor had the lychee dark and stormy; we highly recommend both! Check out their happy hour if you can make it in time!
  • Corridor
    • We spent the afternoon drinking wine here on Saturday! The drinks aren’t super cheap but the ambiance is really cool and the service was fantastic. We had garlic monkey bread as we waited for our drinks and if you ask Taylor, he’d say it’s the best thing we ate the entire trip! Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
  • Anchor Steam Brewery
    • If you have a free afternoon, this place is a must. It’s an awesome brewery with a ton of beer options we loved. It’s also just a really fun place to sit and hang out. They had football games on and a big open outside seating area. We did a couple of flights, but the “Blood Orange Blonde” ended up being our favorite!
What We Did

We didn’t have a ton of time in San Francisco, but a couple of things we did that/we would recommend!

  • Ferry Building Farmers Market
    • This is a local farmers market and it’s HUGE! Like I said previously, if you’re in town on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a must! Be prepared to eat your way through the entire market!
  • Walk around Union Square
    • This is where the shopping is! High dollar shopping that is. I would describe it as New York City on a smaller scale. There are a couple of stores like Zara, Forever 21, and Nordstrom Rack, but the majority of the stores we didn’t even venture into. Louis Vuitton, YSL, Harry Winston, are just a few of the big names in this area.
  • Walk/bike the Golden Gate Bridge
    • If you’re up for the bike ride, we heard this is such a fun thing to do! I’m still not quite up for biking the 10ish mile trek, but we did walk along the beach to the Golden Gate and it was just as fun. There were tons of dogs along the beach (the park is actually called Chrissy Field) and it’s such a beautiful and scenic view, but definitely pack your tennis shoes!
  • Picnic in Delores Park
    • Delores park was only a 30 second walk from where we stayed and I can attest to the fact that it looks exactly like all the pictures! It’s a fun place to take a blanket, relax, enjoy a picnic, and partake in some pretty great people watching. This park doesn’t allow any alcohol, so make sure to leave the wine at home when packing your picnic!
  • Walk around Ghiradelli Square
    • Ghiradelli Square is a 5 minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a cute, newer area and there are a couple of really cute shops and places to eat. Ghiradelli is obviously there, but there’s a fun brewery, area to sit outside, and cheese/wine shop that are all worth checking out!
  • Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39
    • These are technically two separate places, but they’re super close together and extremely similar. There are tons of touristy shops, restaurants, and things to see. My favorite part of this area was watching the sea lions on the docks. They were the most entertaining thing we saw our whole trip. If you’re into clam chowder, there are about 10 different places in this area for you to get some here! Just a forewarning, this place is NUTS. It was the most highly concentrated with tourists of any place we went, so just be prepared!
Other Highly Recommended Options:
  • Take the ferry to Sausilito
  • Hike Muir Woods
  • Alcatraz Tour
  • Ride the cable car
  • Chinatown

Napa Valley

We only spent one day in Napa and I’m already actively planning trip #2 because I could’ve stayed at least two more days. I loved it SO much and I cannot wait to go back. If I were picking between San Francisco and Napa, I’d choose Napa in a heartbeat. It totally depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation, but Napa is so much more up my alley!

Note: I don’t have any food recommendations (besides V. Sattui; it’s the only one that served food of any kind) because we only spent about 8 hours there. We went on a guided winery tour so we didn’t have any say in regard to where we went!

Wineries:
  • Roberto Mondavi Winery
    • This winery was the most beautiful in my opinion. The landscape is seriously incredible and hard to even portray in pictures. We sat outside and could not get over how amazing the landscape was. You truly feel like you’re in a postcard. Highly recommend this one just to sit outside and soak in the view!
  • Castello De Amoroso Winery
    • This winery is most known for it’s architecture which is a castle! It’s really cool and unlike any other wineries we saw. It’s definitely pretty commercial and that’s the one thing I didn’t love about this one. The wine was really good, but the service was just okay, and there isn’t much to see once you’ve done your tasting.
  • V Sattui
    • This was by far our favorite winery we visited. The wine is not the most extravagant, however it ended up being our favorite. Not only that, but the service is incredible and I truly felt like the tasting was personalized just for us. The sommeliers are so friendly and truly make every tasting special. We tried multiple wines that were not a part of our tasting, but ones they knew we would love based on our feedback in regard to other wines we tasted. It’s a smaller winery, much less commercialized and this is so evident in the experience we had. I highly, highly recommend! This winery also has a market where you can buy sandwiches, cheese, oils, etc., and have a picnic in the beautiful outside area.

 

That’s a wrap on the recap! I hope you enjoyed reading about San Fran/Napa, and if you are heading out that way soon, please let me know if you try anything on this list! Also, don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any other specific questions! As always, thanks for reading!

XO, A

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m the world’s biggest proponent of a meal prepped breakfast. I know it’s not everyone’s jam, but it’s very much the deciding factor between eating breakfast and not when it comes to my busy weekday mornings. That being said, it’s vital that I prep something on Sunday that I can grab quickly and warm up during the week!

I fell in love with this recipe because I love oatmeal to begin with. The problem is that I don’t always have time to doctor it up and make it just how I like it when I’m trying to run out the door in the mornings. I also feel like it stays hot for FOREVER, which makes it hard even when I do have time to prep it. I can’t sit around and wait for it to cool all morning long!

Needless to say, this has combined my love of meal prep and oatmeal all in one! I can have my oatmeal and eat it too, so to speak! l will definitely be making this all the time this fall. I’m all about warm breakfasts in the colder months, so this is perfect for those chilly mornings! Not to mention, it tastes like a peanut butter brownie in oatmeal form. What’s not to love?

Slice it, warm it up, eat it cold, take it to go, whatever floats your boat! You’ll love it regardless!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup peanut/almond butter
  • 2 1/2 cup ripe mashed banana (just a quick note: make sure to use really brown/overripe bananas for the utmost sweetness!)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey (I can get away with 2Tbsp, but if you like your oatmeal sweeter, go with 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (if you like a less of a dark chocolate flavor, go with 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips for sprinkling on top
  • melted peanut butter for drizzling
  • sea salt for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until evenly combined.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Smooth into the baking pan, top with chocolate chips if desired.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off and let the pan sit in the turned-off oven for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Take it out, drizzle with peanut butter and sprinkle with sea salt!
  8. Garnish with additional peanut butter or maple syrup if desired, and serve hot or cold. This recipe can be enjoyed hot or cold!

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Sea Salt Caramel + Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Drop Cookies

I could’ve shortened the name of this recipe to “Pumpkin Drop Cookies” but come on, how much more amazing does it sound with all the extras? So much better!

A friend of ours brought over the best pumpkin cookies I’ve ever had this week. Hands down, no questions asked, the best pumpkin cookies ever. I’m linking the original recipe she used here, just in case you want it! But ever since, I’ve been trying to come up with a more healthy version, without sacrificing any of the goodness that I fell in love with in the first place. Alas, I think I’ve done it!

I had Taylor and his dad try them, and they both raved over them, so with their stamp of approval, I knew the recipe was a go! Taylor told me, I think this is the best cookie you’ve ever made … high praise coming from someone who doesn’t love healthy treats!

The recipe is posted below! I promise you will not be disappointed. This recipe is going to be a fall favorite for years to come, without a doubt! I hope you all love them as much as I do, and if you do, please be sure to let me know!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup Swerve granular sugar replacement (or 1 cup regular sugar if you don’t have Swerve)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups flour (I used gluten free baking flour, but any flour will work!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chunks
  • 1/3 cup sea salt caramel chips
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine canned pumpkin, Swerve/sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Mix until smooth.

  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir into the wet ingredients. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir until combined.

  4. Add chocolate chunks and sea salt caramel chips and stir until combined.

  5. Use a cookie dough scoop to drop cookies on parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Allow to cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

  6. Try not to eat all of them in the first 2 minutes that they cool.

Macros:

My recipe made 32 cookies, here are the macros for 1!

Fall Starbucks Favorites

Sometimes I think I should base my entire blog about what I’m currently ordering at Starbucks because that is hands down the number one question I get asked. I love that you ask me though! I decided I’d do a blog post with a run down of my three fall faves so that you have some options the next time you’re craving a cozy cup of joe, but want to make it just a little lighter.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Everyone’s favorite fall drink! This one is sans 45 grams of sugar, so I’ll take that any day! It’s my favorite dupe of them all, so give it a shot if you’re a PSL fan!

  • How to order: Almond milk misto + 1 pump pumpkin syrup + 2 pumps sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup + a splash of coconut/almond milk.
Sweet Cream Cold Brew w/ pumpkin

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that in the summer, sweet cream cold brew is my go-to. One of my followers told me she put a pumpkin spin on it and I am in LOVE with this version too! I’m not a fan of iced drinks in the fall per say, but this is definitely an exception!

  • How to order: Sweet cream cold brew with sugar free vanilla + 1 pump pumpkin syrup

Chai Tea Latte

I love a good chai latte, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve been tricked into thinking it’s somewhat healthy. I’m here to tell you that it’s not, not even close. The Starbucks chai lattes have 42 grams of sugar. That is nuts. I think this version is just as good, and has no sugar!

  • How to order: Brewed chai tea with almond/coconut milk + 2 pumps of sugar free vanilla syrup.

Pumpkin Spice Bites

Nothing says fall like the very first pumpkin recipe of the season, am I right? These are my take on a pumpkin spice “fat ball”. These little guys pack just the right amount of pumpkin and peanut butter, and they’re the easiest thing EVER to make!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter/almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp honey or 2-3 squirts liquid stevia
Instructions
  1. Mix together the peanut butter and pumpkin puree until thoroughly combined.
  2. Slowly add in pumpkin pie spice and coconut flour.
  3. Add honey/stevia last!
  4. Use a cookie dough scoop to evenly portion out 14 balls.
  5. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt if desired!
  6. Freeze until you’re ready to enjoy!

Creamy Cauli Chicken Bake

I have not been this excited to share a recipe with you guys in forever. My mom has been following the keto diet for awhile now, so she was actually the one that shared this with me! I am not a keto gal, and I adapted this recipe quite a bit, so it’s definitely a lighter version!

Do not let the cauliflower rice scare you, Taylor actually told me this was the best thing I’ve ever made and he HATES healthy food, so there you go. If you’ve ever made cheesy potato casserole at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you know, the one with the cornflakes on top, THIS is exactly what it tastes like! I hope you love it!

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups boiled/canned/crock pot shredded chicken
  • 2/3  cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 block fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I used cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice, steamed
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
  2. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch pan with olive oil spray and set aside.
  3. Steam cauliflower rice for 7 minutes in the microwave with 1/4 cup water. Make sure to drain the cauli rice if there’s excess water when it’s done so the mixture doesn’t get runny!
  4. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream, cream cheese, bacon bits, garlic powder, paprika, chicken stock and cauliflower rice. Pour into the prepared pan and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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Paleo Pancake Bake

School is back in session which means the days of lounging around, binge watching Southern Charm, and slowly sipping coffee until 11am are longgg gone. I’m back to the 5:45am grind for the next nine months! As relaxing as the last month at home as been, it’s been somewhat lonely and I have been craving routine like nobody’s business so I’m super excited to have some normalcy back in my life!

Because my mornings are back to a tight schedule, meal prepping my breakfasts is the only way I can stay sane when I’m rushing around. Rushing is a term that should be used loosely when on crutches, FYI.

This week I decided to try something new, a pancake bake! I am OBSESSED with this Birchbenders pancake mix, and as much as I wanted to spend my Sunday night at my stove flipping a million pancakes, hoping they all turned out perfectly, it was not in the cards this week. I decided to grease an 8×8 pan, throw some things together, and hope for the best. It turned out better than I imagined, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

This recipe is quick and easy, and can totally be modified to include whatever mix ins you like! I did mine with peanut butter chips, but I can think of 100 different things that would be amazing! Chopped fruit, chocolate chips, pumpkin puree, etc., anything would work, so get creative! I will warn you that it it definitely isn’t super sweet, it’s just a thicker, fluffier pancake! So feel free to top with my favorite, peanut butter and a drizzle of syrup or honey!

The recipe is below! If you make it, be sure to send me a picture or tag me on IG so I can see all of your pancake bakes! Happy hump day, yall!

Paleo Pancake Bake
Ingredients:
Procedure
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Thoroughly combine all ingredients
  • Pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan/dish
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes
  • Makes 6 servings

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Eggless + Easy Cookie Dough Bites

Cookie dough is my kryptonite; I truly believe it is my all time favorite food. I’m talkin’ straight up, raw cookie dough. Raw eggs, no eggs, day, night, chocolate chips, no chocolate chips, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat it. I know, I’m a “health blogger” and probably shouldn’t condone eating raw eggs, but some things in life are non negotiable. Cookie dough is one of them.

That being said, eating cookie dough every day probably isn’t the greatest idea for anyone. Alas, the reason I decided to come up with a healthier spin on my favorite food! This cookie dough calls for two versions of an artificial sweetener called Swerve: one is their brown sugar, and the other is their regular granulated sugar. Swerve is a line of all natural, zero calorie sweeteners. Do not get me started on the fake sugar debate. They’re okay in small amounts, just like anything in life. It won’t kill you, I promise. However, if you are 100% against using artificial sweeteners, this recipe would work just fine with real sugar and brown sugar.

You can click this link to find out where you can purchase Swerve products near you. If they’re not sold near you, click here and you can order from Amazon! The recipe is posted below! Let me know if you have questions. If you make them, be sure to take a picture and tag me on Instgram so I can see your beautiful cookie dough bites!

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