easy healthy snacks

Vegan Cheese Recipe by April Norris

Vegan Cheese Recipe by April Norris

Looking to make the most delicious non-dairy cheese?! You've found it right here in BennerFit with guest blogger April Norris.

Healthy Snacks For a Road Trip!

Healthy Snacks For a Road Trip!

Road Trip Snack Ideas!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

USANA 5day Cleanse Overview

I did it folks! 5 whole days of cleansing! I can't believe I actually made it through. I've got discipline but I didn't think I had 5 days of it!

I posted about my day one experience and I was pleasantly surprised. I usually go into new things with an open mind, but I must say the thought of cleansing for 5 whole days seemed slightly daunting.

Usana and April Norris (USANA Independent Associate) kept me in check through this entire journey. I would receive daily emails filled with inspiration which were very beneficial during this cleansing process. Lets face it there is food temptation everywhere! What I LOVED most about this cleanse is that you are literally eating or drinking every two hours. That is way more then I do currently. Eating this often speeds up your metabolism and gets that body back in check.

I can honestly say, I feel better! My personal goal was just to see if I could actually make it through five whole days of cleansing. April was very kind in letting me know that I could eat as many fruits and veggies as I needed. I am very active so I have to be aware of my caloric in take.

Moral of my cleanse story is that the USANA 5day RESET Cleanse is pretty darn wonderful! I really want to stress to all my Bennerfitters out there if you have wanted to cleanse, this is the one to do because it's totally doable! You don't feel hungry all the time since you are constantly eating or drinking. All of the smoothies taste delightful, the chocolate was my personal favorite! The Usana protein bars were both filling and delicious. And I love my fruits and veggies so the fact that I could eat them whole without putting them down a juicer was a big bonus!

If you are interested in this cleanse, the wonderful April Norris is your gal to contact, optimalvitality.usana@yahoo.com

Have a beautiful Tuesday! I'm feeling so energized I'm heading to the hills for a hike, thanks USANA and April! This cleanse rocks!

I'll leave you with Usana's motto...

USANA 5day RESET High Fiber Cleanse

USANA 5day RESET High Fiber Cleanse

USANA 5day RESET High Fiber Cleanse

Simple Snacking

Simple Snacking

The 30 day challenges keep coming at my workplace. This 30 days is all about eating better and cleansing the palette of all the unhealthiness we have become accustomed to. It's mostly focused on no desserts, potato chips or fried anythings but what I have really discovered is - that it is all about substitutions. I didn't want to go into the challenge by saying, "This dessert is sugar free so I will eat it." and end up consuming ten pounds of artificial sweeteners on the daily. For me and my goals - this isn't the plan. That's not to say that this can't be a part of yours but, personally, I'm attempting to remove as many unnatural products from my life as much as possible ( and I also highly recommend agave and honey).

I have found a few new simple and amazing replacements that will now forever be a part of my snacking laundry list.

Almond butter:

Ok we have even talked about almond butter here on the site and sometimes I would think, "Eh. It's ok. " but now I know its wonders. The grainy texture and light flavor has drawn me in and now I can't stop, won't stop. My new favorite breakfast/afternoon snack - dipping a banana into almond butter mixed with a squeeze of honey.

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins Are Yum In My Tum!

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins Are Yum In My Tum!

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins! SCRUMTIOUS!

Stuffed Strawberry Banana Creams Make Me Beam!

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This past weekend I hosted two of my dear college friends for a girls weekend. We all had the best time hanging out on the couch, catching up, going to the movies, and eating delicious food. We indulged in one too many treats and loved every minute of it! I was looking forward to cooking up a belated birthday dinner one of my best friends, Megan on Saturday night. Since I was hosting the whole weekend I knew I would have limited time to cook up lots of food. So when searching for menu ideas I knew I had to keep it simple. One of my favorite appetizers I made was actually just about the easiest of them all. STUFFED STRAWBERRY BANANA CREAMS (thank you fitsugar.com for the inspiration)

Anything with the word strawberries always catches my attention. Strawberries can stand alone or bring a lot of flavor to a recipe. These stuffed strawberries only require a total of four ingredients and the fourth being the strawberries themselves.

 

All you need are:

1) Bananas (half of one)

2) Vanilla Greek Yogurt (2 oz)

3) Sliced Almonds (you choose how much you want to put it)

And..

4) STRAWBERRIES (8 of them)

Directions:

Wash the strawberries and dry them. Then use a melon scooper if you have one, or a knife if not, to cut out the middle of the strawberry.

 

Cut the banana in half and mash it up with a fork.

 

Add in the Greek yogurt with the mashed banana.

 

Add in the almonds to the banana and yogurt mix.

 

Time to scoop the banana, yogurt, and almond mix into the hollow strawberries.

 

And just like that you have decadent and healthy stuffed strawberry banana creams. They look fabulous on an appetizer or dessert table and I guarantee you your guests will eat them up in a jiffy! We certainly did last weekend!

 

The Not So Green, Green Smoothie

 

I'm at a loss for words tonight. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because I'm blogging at 1 am. I'm trying my best to equate my delicious smoothie friend here to any aspect of my life right now. Here's an inside look at my brain:

A smoothie is tasty and cold.... It's cold outside. Ugh, gross. Terrible. It's like talking about the weather when you are trapped in the elevator with strangers. And anyone from anywhere in the world knows LA can't really be that cold and hates us for evening mentioning the slightest drop in temperature. {ahem, Golden Globers, ahem}

Ahem... hmmm....everyone is sick, smoothies are a tasty drink to have when you are sick. Are they? Have I ever had a smoothie when I'm sick? It would be lovely, I'm sure. I should totally have a smoothie next time I'm sick. I should totally have a smoothie right now...

::CRICKETS. CRICKETS. Eyes closing. Sleep is eminent:: I like smoothies when I sleep. I would watch a show called I Dream of Smoothies. ::Eyes fully closed, actually dreaming of smoothies. Smoothies start to attack me in my sleep.:: AGH! I'm up!

...I'm hungry. If I drink a smoothie at 1am and no one sees me or hears me, did I really drink a smoothie at all?

... uhhh

So... that's where I'm at. This isn't to say that this smoothie isn't amazingly scrumptious and refreshing in every way. Because, in fact - it is. I'm way into this smoothie. It just seems my moving van has rolled up on the block where all the writers never want to live. (Does that analogy make sense? I'll tell you what, this late at night it SURE DOES! But I have a feeling I might think differently when I wake up.)

Why don't we just cut to the delicious chase and get down to this thing.

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS: {for 2 large smoothies}

  • a hearty 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peach slices
  • 1 1/2 cups of pineapple, orange juice (I used Tangerine, Pineapple, Orange Juice by Cuties)
  • 2 cups spinach

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Throw your ingredients in a blender. Blend her on up until smoothie-tastic. Drink it up!

It's a great way to get some fruits and veggies into your day. Incredibly light with a tropical twist.

 

 

Farro, Kale and Coconut Craziness! A New Year's party in your mouth.

 

My sister Kristin was and has always been the cook in the family. She's pro. Like doesn't recoil when there is more than five ingredients pro. She makes her own bread, people...this makes her legit. So really the fact that I do any blogging about food creation is, I'm pretty sure, super weird to my family. I was the eater not the creator. I burned the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls every time. Every. time. That is fact. I couldn't cook a premade presliced cookie dough without somehow, something going terribly wrong. It took me years to perfect not scorching the popcorn in the microwave. (I hate to brag but I never burn popcorn now. Ever. Not since they invented the popcorn button...)

If I did not live 3,000 miles away from my sister I would probably be blogging from her place weekly, just letting her cook the amazingness that she makes while I mindlessly snap photos. But instead, I carry on - only imagining the disgrace in her eye from food frenzy chaos I create.

Since Kristin is so hip to the know with the world of food - she turned me on to food blogs and such gems as the Joy the Baker podcast ... which brings me to my point.

This Christmas we were back together again in Florida and she thought of the brilliant idea to make a meal for the family. And I wanted in (likely to her chagrin). Since there are so many fabulous creations on the Joy the Baker/Shutterbean blogs we decided to have a mini feast with a few of their recipes. (We also threw in one part PF Changs by making lettuce wraps which might be featured on here soon as well.)

My favorite course was the recipe that follows. Since my folks had never experienced kale and I had never had the chance to try farro she was determined to make us the crunchy kale and coconut bowl on the Joy the Baker blog inspired by Shutterbean and Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Every Day cookbook (So needless to say this recipe has gotten around. And with reason!)

Holy. Moly. Three days later I was back in LA on a mad hunt for farro because this deliciousness blew my mind. We didn't stray from the recipe at all so mad props on this amazing blend of flavors and textures. So here she is...in all of her kale glory.

 

INGREDIENTS: 

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sriracha

A little less than 1/3 cup olive oil

5 cups dino kale (ribless and torn into tiny bites) or a half a pound of bagged kale (making sure they are fairly stemless and pre-cut)

1 cup unsweetened large flake coconut

1 cup uncooked farro

DIRECTIONS:

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

The Sauce:

In a small bowl mix the sesame oil, siracha and soy sauce together. As you whisk these up, slowly drizzle that olive oil on in and make sure everything is emulsified.

The Farro:

Grab a medium pot and begin to boil several cups of water. Add your farro once boiling. Lower the heat and let the grain simmer for 17-20 minutes. If you were like me and perhaps never have had farro it will soften like rice but have a much chewier texture. So once it is softened drain this with a colander.

But while the farro simmers begin...

The Almighty Kale:

On a baking sheet covered in parchment paper spread the kale and coconut evenly. (You are basically making kale chips so keep the layer of kale thin so it can crisp.) pour half of the sauce you created over the kale and coconut and toss it all up to coat. Bake 12-18 minutes or until your blend has become crispy and brown.

 

Once the kale combo and farro are done cooking, divide both into bowls and top it off with the remaining dressing. Then get to eating!

(Sidebar: Does anyone have a blog called Emulsified? Someone needs to get on that. Stat.)

Enjoy Benner Fitters. It's a great way to start off your new year right. Happy 2013!