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Candied Almonds by @UpsideDownPear

There’re only so many times you can have plain almonds as a snack before they get boring. Please don’t show me another bag of unroasted plain almonds for a few months! Not unless I’m going to be making more of these delicious candied almonds. These have an explosion of cinnamon and a hint of cayenne to give it the slightest bit of heat.

Candied Almonds by @UpsideDownPear

You could leave out the cayenne, but it actually brings out the heat of the cinnamon rather than making the almonds spicy. If you wanted to give these a bit more heat, I’d double the amount of cayenne that I added. I may do that at a later time, but for now these are perfect.

Candied Almonds by @UpsideDownPear

The nice thing about these almonds is that you don’t have to roast them and it only takes one pot! You do have to watch the almonds and continuously stir them until all the liquid is gone. Instead of roasting, you just need to lay the almonds out on some wax paper to harden. It all takes roughly 30 minutes, and it’s perfect to make up the night before and grab a handful as a snack to go. These are so addicting that I might try it with other types of nuts to see how well they turn out!

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Date Granola by @UpsideDownPear

Why does granola taste amazing on everything!? I mean, you can sprinkle it over cereal, yogurt, and pancakes. Or just eat it straight out of the bag. I decided to make some granola and throw in some dates that I’ve had lying around the house. The Medjool dates are sweet like candy and the almonds give it a nice crunch. I also added hemp hearts for protein and other benefits. Hemp hearts are super healthy for you, and they’re starting to become easier to find. I got a huge bag of shelled hemp hearts from Costco.

Date Granola by @UpsideDownPear

I added a small bit of agave to the mix in order to get the nice big clumps of granola. That way, when you’re eating it over yogurt, every now and then you’ll come across a nice hearty piece of granola. I love getting the larger pieces. You could also add corn syrup instead of agave if you had it on hand. I actually had a tiny bit of corn syrup left from when I made granola bars a while back and actually used about half corn syrup and half agave making this batch.

Date Granola by @UpsideDownPear

In September, I’ll be beginning a yoga teacher training program. I’m so excited for this! We’ve gott a list of books and I need to start memorizing the full names of all the poses. In the beginning, we’re supposed to go on a cleanse, which is pretty much a vegan diet. It will definitely be interesting and a bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m interested in taking on this challenge and brining some of these recipes to you! This granola would definitely be approved in this cleanse, and I may start playing with recipes that will get me through the 21 days before I have to take the plunge.  If you’re interested in what type of diet we’ll be adhering to, it’s from the book The Quantum Wellness Cleanse by Kathy Freston. She has some interesting points about the quality of food we put into our bodies. I’m not sure how I’ll be at the end of the three weeks, but I’m definitely going to keep you guys updated!

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Goma-ae Spinach by @UpsideDownPear

You bet I’m back with another Asian side dish! This time it’s goma-ae spinach, which is basically boiled spinach with a sesame dressing. I know it sounds better in Japanese…boiled doesn’t really bring to mind tasty, but trust me on this one. It’s one of my favorite veggie side dishes that I get at restaurants, and I find a similar one at Korean restaurants as well.

Goma-ae Spinach by @UpsideDownPear

It’s super easy and you can basically use any vegetable you want. My favorite is spinach, but broccoli and green beans are other common finds. I could’ve taken the time to create my own sesame sauce, but between running errands, work, and a whole bunch of other things, I just really didn’t have the time. So I bought a seasoning packet and boiled my spinach. I hope you don’t think of it as cheating because it’s totally not.

Goma-ae Spinach by @UpsideDownPear

I found my season packets at the local Asian market. If you can’t find it there, you can always search Amazon. When I searched for it, I found a packet that was very similar to the one in the above picture. I’m sure this’ll become your new favorite side dish. It really does go perfect with just about everything.

Goma-ae Spinach by @UpsideDownPear

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Traditional Hummus by @UpsideDownPear

This past weekend I ran my first mile! Well my first mile of the summer that is. I think I ran a whole one last summer, but to be honest I don’t really remember.   When I talk about running, it’s usually for 5 minutes at a time. However, my mom has signed me up for a 5k in June, so now I really need to get my training butt in gear! I’ve never done a 5k before, so any advice that you have is greatly welcomed!!

Traditional Hummus by @UpsideDownPear

What did I want to snack on when I got home? Water (since I went out when it was 75 degrees and super hot…why didn’t I wait??) and then this hummus. This is a great snack, and perfect for after a session. I know there’s debate back and forth whether or not hummus is really a “diet friend or foe” but it’s got great ingredients so I’m not that worried about it. A little olive oil, a little lemon juice, and a lot of chickpeas make for an awesome dish!

Traditional Hummus by @UpsideDownPear

I even got Bren addicted to this one, and he’s not usually a big fan (which he keeps reminding me of). We also cut the pita chips into strips instead of wedges, but we baked them the same way as we did here. Now that I’ve fueled up on pita chips and hummus, I just need to get out there again and run another mile!

Traditional Hummus by @UpsideDownPear

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Spicy #Popcorn by @UpsideDownPear

Let’s switch modes for a bit and get away from the sweet snacks. I felt like making popcorn the other day. And I didn’t want any plain old popcorn. Of course not. So I decided to throw a bunch of spices on top and see how it turns outs. This combination gives it a nice spicy, savory flavor and kicks it up a notch from your old boring plain popcorn. Plus, I felt a bit less guilty when I thought of all the health benefits that you get from the spices.

Spicy #Popcorn by @UpsideDownPear

This is super easy to put together, stays good for up to a week, and makes for a great quick snack when you gotta have something now. All it takes is cooking the popcorn and shaking it all together in a baggie. That’s really all there easy. It’d be a great recipe to get kids involved if you really wanted to. So go ahead, make this, play with flavor combos, and have fun!

Spicy #Popcorn by @UpsideDownPear

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