LARABAR CINNAMON NUT REVIEW

larabar cinnamon nutI am a cheater. There, it’s said. I’m what people refer as serial dater…with food. I could go for weeks eating eggs for breakfast, and then, all of the sudden, the love affair is forgotten, as a delicious mango and banana smoothie comes into play…for another few weeks. And then, it’s the gluten free oatmeal with chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter, made overnight. (Have you tried that??)

I was more than thrilled when LÄRABAR knocked on my awesome Twitter profile (click here!), and offered to send my way some delicious food to try out. I’m a sucker for new loves, so I said yes and a few days later, I was in granola heaven.

larabar cinnamon nutlarabar cinnamon nutFirst and foremost, they have a NEW product- RENOLA™.  LÄRABAR RENOLA is a grain-free granola that combines delicious, clean ingredients that can stand alone but are better together: nuts, fruits, seeds and spices.  It’s non-GMO, packed with flavor and is grain-free and of course, gluten-free.  It comes in three delicious flavors – Cinnamon Nut, Cocoa Coconut, and Berry.

larabar cinnamon nutPictured here, across from some stunning farmer’s market blueberries? The Cinnamon Nut Flavor. Add half a banana, a handful of blueberries, and some dates for a sugary punch (yet healthy), with half a cup of almond milk, and you are ready to roll and enjoy your day. What we loved was the original combination of flavors that satisfied us, and though we could have easily eaten a second little package, we felt we were full and happy. It was NOT boring to eat, it motivated me to get out bed on a Tuesday, and I’m thinking about mixing the Cocoa Coconut with home-made coconut milk ice cream for a ridiculous good and whole evening snack.

And speaking of LÄRABAR, as you know more and more companies are coming out with gluten-free on-the-go options, but are those options always better for you?  At LÄRABAR, less is more. The company prides itself on its better-for-you bars that feature a selection of high quality ingredients. Craving pie?  Try one LÄRABAR’s five pie flavors, from Apple Pie to Pecan Pie, LÄRABAR has it.

Though LÄRABAR hooked us up with some of their awesome product, this review is not paid. I had fun taking the pictures and eating it. 

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My Recipes Round Up: Gluten Free Week of June 16

We are in the middle of June and watching all these amazingly trim and fit soccer players running out in tropical weather makes me renew my vows to stay healthy and lose those last 5 pounds. If they can run straight for 90 minutes, under the judging stares of millions of fans across the globe, I can definitely get organized and put 5 dinner meal recipes for the week.

We are doing under 350 calories selections from My Recipes (which is free, super easy and…free). The recipes are rated, you can create menus, and even shopping lists at the click of a button. My favorite? Calories and nutritional information ready to go!

So, this is My Recipes Round Up: Gluten Free Week of June 16. (All pictures are from MYRECIPES.COM.)

Monday, June 16: Seared Scallops with Wilted Watercress and Bacon
Scallops are a little bit on the pricy side, and you have to double check they are DRY. Get a paper towel before they go into the hot pan and squeeze out as much water out of them – that will ensure you pan fry them versus boiling them. I would recommend you add more greens (as a filler), but other than that, I think this was my favorite recipe for the week! Plus, no carbs or bread to worry about.

Tuesday, June 17: Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
There was a lot of oven for this one, at a very high temperature, but totally worth it! The ricotta was an interesting addition and the veggies made the whole thing super healthy. For an easy, no yeast, and gluten free pizza dough, go one of my older posts (Amazing Paleo No-Yeast, No Grain Pizza Crust). I can’t wait to have it again!

Wednesday, June 18: Southwestern Cobb Salad
Another home-run! The dressing was amazing and super easy to make. For an easy way to crisp bacon without the annoying splatter and grease, set the oven at 350 degrees, stick the bacon set on a cookie sheet and wait till it’s cooked to perfection. Almost no cooking if you get the turkey at the deli! (I did.)

Thursday, June 19: Falafel with Avocado Spread
Our favorite part about this one was the spread. I used low-fat sour cream and blended it all in with a hand blender. The gluten free pita bread is hard to come by, but…I found a recipe that was super easy and really close to success. Click here to go to Gluten Free on a Shoe String.

Friday, June 20: Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts
If you have gluten free gnocchi available at your grocery store, go for it! If not, have fun and flour up your hands with this pretty good recipe. The key here is to squeeze out A LOT OF the water from the buttersquash. The gnocchi recipe was not fool proof, so yes, a better and easier option is to find the gluten free gnocchi! Good luck.

Happy cooking!

Salted Caramel Brownies

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I’m the first one to be a sucker for a good caramel, and I’m specially a double sucker when it is salted caramel, on a ridiculous rich brownie. And these are exactly what they are – ridiculously good, vegan and gluten free salted caramel brownies.

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The caramel is vegan as it is made from coconut cream – which is kind of fun if you are not too freaked out about a candy thermometer and burning the hell out of something amazing, such as it is coconut cream. To err on the easier side, buy caramel at a store, or venture into the Spanish section and try to find dulce de leche. I’ve done  it before. And it’s ok! However, if it is a rainy afternoon, I would totally go for the coconut cream caramel from scratch! The kitchen smells amazing and you just feel so proud of yourself you want to do a little high five to the dog or whoever is around to care! And it also fun to pour into one of the thin squeeze bottles and pretend you are a master chef. Fo more fun results, take a picture from the top and post to Instagram (Link to me! @glutenfreeskinny)

vegan salted caramel brownie 1.jpgGluten Free Vegan Salted Caramel Brownies can't get enough!

The recipe is the creation of a really great lady and blogger friend, so pay her a visit and tell her how awesome her brownies are. She’s The Fresh Direction and you can give her a page view right now by just clicking on this link!

You can also see her full recipe and all the fun notes and explanations.

I can’t caution you enough about dropping the coconut cream onto the sugar caramel, it spatters like a crazy one, so make sure you are keeping a distance and pay FULL ATTENTION to it.

The brownies are amazing. We ate some and froze the rest. And it’s all done with one bowl, more or less, minus the caramel. Which you can eat by the spoonful, once it cools down!

Love,

Andrea
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Coconut Cream Caramel Sauce

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I am from Argentina and a horrible fan of dulce de leche. I say horrible because I am used to eating it up with a spoon which adds up the calories very quickly. Imagine eating half a container of peanut butter by the spoonful! It is that good.

Dulce de leche is not as readily available in the United States, and that is a good thing. Dulce de leche is made of sweetened condensed mill, which is pure fat and sugar! (And yes, delicious too.)

A vegan coconut cream dulce de leche sauce is a really good alternative to my sweet addiction. Thought it is also packed with sugar, I want to believe the vegan in it makes it a little bit more forgiving.

Be extra careful when you mix the coconut cream with the boiling caramel – the bad boy splashes and bubbles like a mad turkey fryer!

Here it is the full recipe to the awesome coconut cream caramel sauce!

Gluten Free Snack Bar Recipe

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Gluten free snack bar recipes abound but nothing compares to the crunch and flavor of a KIND bar. I discovered KIND bars at a Starbucks – I was hungry and dreading whatever bad-for-you item I was going to run across… and yes, the “maybe I can eat gluten just this once” also crossed my mind!
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I didn’t know the bars were actually raw. They are held together by a delicious syrup made of honey and rice syrup. So, of course, I had to venture and try to replicate the amazing gluten free snack bars in my very own kitchen.
This post came to the rescue. I highly recommend you read it several times. In fact, I did and printed it and keep it very close to my go-to recipes. She patiently describes the steps by steps towards making this gluten free snack bar recipe a success. Plus, she posts great pictures and tips and tricks. I really like her blog!

The kind of like KIND bars featured here are the simplest ones, all almonds. I have added chocolate here and there to spice it up. I cut the bars a little bit less generously, in order to drop the number of calories significantly. A typical KIND bar will have between 170-210 calories. The Yummy Life recipe calls for 162 calories each, as long as you cut 20 bars with each batch. I am able to cut around 26 bars, for a total 125 calories per bar.

They are fairly simple to make, once you figure out the right temperature for the syrup, and you PAY EXTREME CLOSE ATTENTION. You can see the in the pictures below that it does get pretty bubbly once it hits the needed 260 degrees.
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I wrap the bars individually and keep then in the freezer for around 2 weeks. And they taste great! Can’t wait for you to try this recipe! Please let me know what you thought!
Best,
Andrea

For the recipe and really, really good pointers, go straight to The Yummy Life!