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Healthy Recipes

Back to School Brain Food Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

School is back in session and it’s in person this year. Let’s be honest, it is exhausting peopling these days, even for kids (especially those old enough to know better). My girls are back in school after the longest 17 months in the history of their world; pandemic problems even in the first world suck. They come home hungry and in need of a pick-me-up. I want to give them comfort and listen over a healthy snack. One of my girls’ favorites is my back to school brain food homemade granola bar recipe.

I’ve been making this recipe for almost as long as my girls have been alive. They’ve requested it more times than I can count and I’m not mad at them about it. I love them too. This granola bar recipe is quick, easy and 100% customizable and goes great in breakfast parfaits too.

There is something reassuring and organic about making food with love for your children and knowing what’s in it, no preservatives.  In fact, I just made a big batch earlier this week for their first week back to school! It’s Gabi’s first week in high school so I needed to give her all the comfort I could.

I used to make this recipe with the girls and we’d have a blast making it together and enjoying it as a snack with a huge glass of organic milk (wouldn’t do the hormones for my girls..but that is an entirely different post about precocious puberty). These granola bars also make a super awesome topping on French Vanilla yogurt.

Back to School Brain Food Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cut shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or raisins or other dried fruit of your choice!

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Back to School Brain Food Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Line 9×13 pan with foil and spread mixture.

Granola Bars Goodness

Back to School Brain Food Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, let cool a bit and then cut into squares.

Back to School Brain Food Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Wrap in cling wrap and eat within about a week. They are still good after a week, but dry out a bit and become crumbly.

The best part is that it’s so customizable to your family’s taste by simply switching the nuts, dried fruits or adding peanut butter ( or whatever chips you’d prefer) into these delicious granola bars. I promise your kids will be begging you to make this back-to-school brain food homemade granola bar recipe. Eat it alone, with milk, in a parfait or with some fruit as part of a bowl; perfect for breakfast, on the go or an after-school or late-night snack.

What is your favorite back to school brain food recipe?

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air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Are you looking for a way to improve your health? Was one of your New Year’s resolutions a new you? Want to lose weight but don’t want to give up some of your favorite foods? Ever considered buying an air fryer? Then wonder to yourself, how does an air fryer work? What’s the best air fryer? Looking for all the best air fryer recipes? Well, you are not alone sister.

I’d been on the fence about getting one for a long time. I had no idea how it worked or which one was the best? BTW, how the heck do you fry with air? Is that even possible? More importantly, why would you want to? What kind of witchery is an air fryer?

Then one day on a complete impulse buy between drop off and pick up at ballet, I found myself looking squarely in the direction of an air fryer and something compelled me to buy the dang thing. With no idea what to do with it and absolutely void of any Pinterest research on air fryer recipes, I did it. I bought the damn thing.

In my gut, I assumed it would end up in the back cabinet with all my other expensive cooking impulse buys; the pasta maker, the ice cream makers and the panini press keeping the Belgian waffle maker company. But, we all know how much I love French fries. For me the worst part about fried foods (aside from the health risks) is the guilt so why not go the healthy route, especially if the air fryer recipes make the food tastes as good as their fried counterpart and, as hard to believe as it is, they do!

READ ALSO: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

An air fryer is a game changer! For most of my adult life I’ve been teetering between baking everything and totally chucking my diet and eating all the McDonald’s French fries. But then we got the air fryer and we’ve made things like French fries, onion rings, fish fillets, chicken tenders and French toast sticks and it tastes great, crispy and has that crunch that I’ve been missing in my life all these years. Hard to believe, right?

Why Invest in an Air Fryer?

Well, you know the difference between frozen waffles and homemade ones or a cold cut sandwich and one on the panini press? That’s the difference. Who would believe that such a subtle difference can have such a flavorful impact? Who’d think that something as simple as a golden brown crunch can make all the difference?

Compared with deep-frying, air frying significantly reduces calorie intake. It can help reduce caloric intake by up to 70-80 percent.

Air fryers are time-efficient. You can actually bake a chicken breast faster in an air fryer than you can in the oven. Just imagine crispy fried chicken without all the grease. If you have picky eaters, you can make crispy veggies as snacks.

READ ALSO: Simple, Easy and Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

One perk for me, because I hate the smell of fried foods in my house, air frying eliminates that odor.

Just because you are not using oil, you can still burn your food. The air fryer heats up really fast and it’s easy to burn yourself and char your food, so pay attention to time, as charred food is carcinogenic.

Bonus: Easy Clean Up

How does an Air Fryer work?

It uses hot-air circulation. The air fryer cooks your ingredients from all angles- with no oil needed. Compared to deep-frying, using an air fryer can reduce the amount of fat, calories and potentially harmful compounds in your food

air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings via Karenskitchenstories.com

Best Air Fryer Recipes?

Any foods that are good when fried like potatoes and chicken cook amazingly in the air fryer. Sweet potato fries are a favorite of ours. Also, fish and chips come out lovely and delicious in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp and Apricot Sauce

Avocado Fries

Copy Cat Chik Fil A Sandwich

Mexican Street Corn/ Elote

 Air Fryer Donuts

 Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings

 Air Fryer Fried Nashville Chicken

Easy Air Fryer Crispy French Fries

The possibilities are endless. Are you considering buying one now? Understand how the air fryer works? Have you tried a few of the best AF recipes out there?

I’m addicted to our Air Fryer and everything I can make with it.

I’m doing this new year, new me thing slowly. This is one of my favorite things to help make healthier foods crispier. This is NOT a paid campaign. I am just really addicted to my air fryer and moms of little kids or kids on the go who need snacks after school, chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, even crispy Brussels sprouts, and grilled cheese sandwiches can be made deliciously and with less fat in a matter of minutes.

I’m looking for new things to cook in my air fryer. What’s your favorite air fryer recipe? Please share a link in the comments.


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Nido1+, Nestle, Protein shake for kids, protein shake, sponsored, cooking with kids

My girls are very busy these days. They attend school all day and on most afternoons they have dance or violin practice and most days they have homework to complete before dinner. In those few minutes we have between getting home from school and moving along to the next activity, I like to give them a healthy snack; sometimes it’s fresh fruit cut up with peanut butter, a granola bar or fresh veggies but their favorite after school snack is fun, healthy shakes.

Who doesn’t love shakes? I know I do but there are so many calories and they are usually made with ice cream and loads of other things that may taste good but aren’t so good for us. Believe me it saddens me too but maybe we can have the best of both worlds for our children with healthy shakes.

Here is a recipe I use sometimes for a quick pick me up before homework or other after school activities.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Protein Shake


  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Cocoa Powder
  • 4 tablespoons of NIDO1+
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • 1 Cup Ice


  1. Mix 4 tablespoons of Nido1+ with 8 ounces of warm water to dissolve powder and mix completely.
  2. Break banana pieces into blender.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
  4. Add blended Nido1+ mixture and blend for a few seconds.
  5. Add 1 cup of ice and blend all ingredients together for 30 seconds.
  6. Serve with a smile and watch your children be happy and ready to do homework.

I used to think powdered milk was something long gone, used back during the depression when life was too hard and people were too broke to procure fresh milk. Of course, I’ve since realized that powdered milk is not just for my Grandma’s generation but that it is a fabulous and cost effective alternative to fresh milk.  One canister of 56.3-ounce can of Nido 1+ equals 3 gallons of fresh milk and it lasts longer than 2 weeks before expiring. Nido1+ is made specifically to meet the nutritional needs of children ages 1-3 but my girls are older and still love it.

Nido1+, Nestle, Protein shake for kids, protein shake


Fresh milk provides children with many of the nutrients they need for development, and Nido1+ milk drink also has minerals, vitamins and prebiotics to further support your child’s healthy growth, development and immune system. It’s also awesome for shakes and baking with milk.

Have you ever used powdered milk for your children or in your home?

What ways do you think you could use Nido1+ in place of traditional milk?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to all residents of the United States and Canada, must be over eighteen to enter. Giveaway ends October 2nd at midnight.

I’m working with Nestlé NIDO1+, a powdered milk specially formulated with all the goodness of milk, in addition to a variety of vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Folic Acid and Zinc.

This is a compensated post but all opinions and thoughts on Nestle Nido1+ are my own.


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citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman


Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Kikkoman and Latina Bloggers Connect to create a recipe or re-work one a favorite dish. I had so much fun experimenting and it was compensated! I’ll give you a hint, Kikkoman is more versatile than you can imagine. Think outside of the Asian inspired box. I did. Kikkoman can actually be used in lieu of salt in every type of cuisine. In fact, to reduce the sodium content of your dish by 1000 mg swap ½ teaspoon of Kikkoman Soy Sauce in place of ½ a teaspoon of salt.

Anyways, if you are like me, the minute you hear the name Kikkoman, you instantly think of soy sauce for your sushi but Kikkoman is so much more than just soy sauce, they make Teriyaki sauce, Ponzu and many more products than I ever knew about. After all you can’t get much more perfect than Kikkoman soy sauce when cooking because 19 generations and 300 years of living by the family philosophy of it’s founder, “Isogaba Maware” (Make Haste Slowly; Advance and grow with tremendous thought and care) can’t be wrong. All this means is that Kikkoman takes it’s 6-month natural brewing process seriously and has since the seventeenth century.  We should all advance and grow with such thought and care. True haste without thought will surely make waste in everything from food ingredient choices to life choices.

I actually adapted two recipes for dinner last night using Kikkoman soy sauce.

I chose Citrus Honey Grilled BBQ Chicken and paired it with a nice, refreshing summer watermelon and feta salad.

Here is the recipe for the Citrus Honey Grilled BBQ Chicken


6 Large Chicken Breasts


1 ½ cup of Orange Juice

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of La Preferida hot sauce

½ cup of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of grated orange zest

2 tablespoons of Kikkoman soy sauce

½ cup of honey

Dash of Paprika



1 stick of unsalted butter

½ cup of honey

½ cup of orange juice

¼ cup of brown sugar

½ cup of honey BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons of grated orange zest

Between ¼- ½ cup of Dijon mustard (to taste)

3 tablespoons of Kikkoman soy Sauce


Whisk together orange juice, olive oil, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, Kikkoman soy sauce, orange zest, honey and paprika together in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and toss to combine and cover chicken breasts. Cover bowl with lid or saran wrap and let marinate overnight or at least 1 hour, but for best results marinate over night in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, pull chicken out of fridge and let it come to room temperature before you grill. Room temperature meats cook more evenly and don’t lose as much moisture. Prepare the grill and set to medium and direct heat.

Drain your chicken breasts from the marinade and pat dry. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, then turn heat down to medium-low, close the grill lid and continue cooking for 25 minutes.

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman

While the chicken breasts are on the grill for those 25 minutes, start making the glaze.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat or on grill burner. Whisk in honey, orange juice, brown sugar, honey bbq sauce, orange zest, Dijon mustard and Kikkoman soy sauce. When it’s time to glaze the chicken breasts, reserve some of the glaze in a separate container to serve with the meal, in case someone wants more sauce on their chicken. I, personally, love my food saucy but some others don’t so reserve some. Stir occasionally. Check that poultry is cooked to 160 degrees before serving.


citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman


Then brush chicken breast with glaze, flip glaze side down, glaze other side and then continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Glaze once more, flip over, glaze top, cook for 3 minutes more. Then take chicken off the grill, loosely tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes, so the juices will reabsorb into the meat.

The interval when my chicken was on the grill for 25 minutes was when I started my side dish Watermelon Feta Salad. It’s quick and easy but you need 20 minutes to let it refrigerate it so you can totally make this ahead of time.

This recipe for  Watermelon Feta salad serves about 6 people, generously.

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman, watermelon, feta, cucumber, salad

Ingredients for salad:

4 cups of cooked quinoa (cooked and cooled)

4 cups of fresh watermelon (cut into bite sized cubes)

2 tablespoons of Kikkoman Soy Sauce

12 ounces of Feta cheese (crumbled)

2 cucumbers (cubed)

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman, watermelon, feta, cucumber, salad

Ingredients for dressing:

3/4-cup fresh organic basil {packed}
Fresh squeezed juice from 2 large lemons
1/2 cup olive oil

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman, watermelon, feta, cucumber, salad

Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of Kikkoman soy sauce on the watermelon as a flavor enhancer.

Then combine the quinoa, watermelon, feta cheese and cucumbers in the bowl.

Using a food processor, process basil, lemon juice and olive oil together until well combined then gingerly toss sauce with quinoa/watermelon/feta combination. Cover and chill for 20 minutes in refrigerator to allow flavors to combine appropriately.

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman, watermelon, feta, cucumber, salad

Serve as a side to the Citrus Honey BBQ grilled chicken. It is absolutely delicious; light, filling and mostly guilt-free. My girls and husband gobbled it right up. The dinner table was quiet and that is always a good sign.

So were you surprised with how I used my Kikkoman soy sauce? My husband even used it in his recipe for sausage gravy and biscuits. It was one of his best batches and none of us knew it had soy sauce in it until he told us and think of how much better it was for our health with less sodium.

citrus honey bbq, grilled chicken, recipe, Latina, Kikkoman

How could you use Kikkoman in your favorite recipes?

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