Gluten-Free Granola Bars

I had some leftover gluten-free oats to use after I recently made these gluten-free oatmeal fudge bars (rave reviews and gone in less than 24 hours, BTW).

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After researching some similar recipes, I decided to make my own gluten-free version of granola bars. I used my Vitamix blender, but honestly, a food processor would have been better since I needed to stop the blender and push everything down a few times.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate flavored almonds (I used these)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

Directions:

  • Spray an 8″ x 8″ pan with olive oil or coconut oil spray and set aside.
  • Briefly pulse the almonds to coarsely chop; set aside.
  • Add the oats to the blender or food processor and pulse for a few seconds to roughly break them up.
  • Combine almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl. Heat about 20-30 seconds to soften.
  • Add warmed almond butter and honey mixture to oats and pulse again until combined.
  • Add chopped almonds, chocolate chips and dried cherries. You may want to stir these in by hand if you don’t want them to be cut into smaller pieces.
  • Press into prepared pan and refrigerate. *These have to stay refrigerated for best outcome.*
  • Eat and enjoy! This makes about 10 bars.

Full disclosure: I wasn’t completely sold when I first finished these. I tasted the mixture as I was pressing it into the pan and thought it was ok, but I wasn’t convinced it was worth the sticky mess in my blender. After refrigerating though, they were great, especially with a glass of cold almond milk.

These were so much better than any other granola bars I’ve ever had.

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P.S. This cute appetizer plate is from CB2.

 

 

Weekend Links

Happy weekend! 

Here are a few mini obsessions from the week:

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Photo from Disney.com parent site

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  • I really want to try a dirty chai this weekend but am almost too embarrassed to order it…
  • But I am definitely making this recipe on Sunday. Roasted veggies and garbanzos with brown rice? It’s time for a Trader Joe’s run. 
  • I’m heading out for a medium long run at some point this weekend, and I really wish I’d be wearing these cool tights:

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Enjoy the weekend!

The Arc of a Stitch Fix Relationship

Dear Stitch Fix:

We’ve had our good times.

We’ve had our bad times.

But can we make this relationship work?

Doubtfully yours,

Fancy

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So, I’ve noticed a pattern in many Stitch Fix relationships, and mine is no exception.

  • Stage 1: Infatuation. After flirting with the idea, you order your first Fix. And when it arrives, it’s love at first sight. Your stylist *gets* you! You adore some of the pieces and convince yourself that the others are taking you out of your comfort zone in the best possible way. You keep the whole box, delighting in the buy-it-all 25% discount.
  • Stage 2: Understanding phase. You still get each other but tiny little flaws start to become apparent. You overlook the ill-fitting skirt for the keep-it-all discount.
  • Stage 3: Doubts. You receive yet another flowy printed sleeveless top. Which you absolutely don’t need.
  • Stage 4: Arguments and make-ups. WHY DID THEY SEND SKINNY JEANS WHEN YOU’VE EXPLICITLY MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES THAT YOU LOOK TERRIBLE IN SKINNY JEANS? The whole Fix is sent back. You bitterly stew over the lost styling fee. But then the most perfect lightweight sweater arrives in your next Fix and you’re back hoping that the relationship can be saved…
  • Stage 5: Decision time. Should you stay or should you go? 

I’m definitely in Stage 5. My friend P. recently divorced Stitch Fix, and believe me, I’m almost ready to figuratively lawyer up, too.

I’m also wondering if Stitch Fix jumped the shark, meaning that they’ve peaked and are heading downhill.

Did they get too big, too fast? For my last three Fixes I’ve had different stylists, leading me to wonder if they either have a lot of new, inexperienced stylists or major employee turnover.

I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend in other bloggers where they seem to be ordering Fixes solely to review them and then repeatedly send everything back, despite trying on all the clothes in multiple elaborately staged blog photos. Without naming names, I saw one blogger who purchased exactly one item over the course of nine months. Not cool, people. 

So what’s a girl to do? I can’t decide, but a notice from Stitch Fix tells me that Fix #9 is on its way.

We’ll see what happens.

The Only Two Pairs of Heels You Need

I recently decided that these two pairs of heels could get me through just about anything requiring a little height.

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This wonderful packing and travel website has really influenced my two recent trips to Ireland and Alaska, and there’s been spillover to my wardrobe in general.

This video and packing list for a ten day cruise in a foreign country really blew my mind. Everything you need fits into a duffel bag? Wow.

I tried to put these rules to the test during my recent Alaskan cruise. While I wasn’t perfect, I managed to bring just two pairs of heels.

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The left pair is from Sam Edelman. The one on the right is Michael Kors, which I got for a screaming deal on the sale rack at Macy’s. Originally $135, these were marked down to $55.

[Shopping tip on how I scored this sweet deal: they were in the size 9.5 section, which is a half size larger than what I normally buy, but it’s a rack that has a lot more leftover shoes on it than the more popular (smaller) sizes. Think big! With the ankle strap and the pointy toe, going up a half size makes these supportive and supremely comfortable. There is nothing worse than having pinched toes all day. Ouch. Note that I am actually about an 8.75, which is a shoe size that does not exist, but I will get to that later].

Our Alaskan cruise was my sixth Disney cruise, and normally I would bring about five dressy outfits for a seven night trip. Those five outfits often came with five pairs of shoes and at least two evening bags.

This time I brought just two dresses (the cornflower blue Hanna from M.M. LaFleur I mentioned earlier this week) and a plain LBD. I planned to wear each of them twice and then for the rest of the nights, I would wear a pair of black J. Crew pants with a leather tuxedo stripe detail on the side.

I snapped up these J. Crew pants about a year ago on clearance for $29. This is a similar style:

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The pants, in particular, are real chameleons. I paired them with a black and white striped peplum top, a sweater and a dressy poncho. I wore them about four times on the trip and could have even reduced my packing to just one dress. I’ll remember this for my next trip.

[And the evening bag: this on trend one from Banana Republic, but in black].

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And now back to the shoes.

My one-two combo of nude and black heels covered all the bases.

I saw other people with entire suitcases of shoes (really!) and felt like for once, I’d gotten it right.

One tiny miscalculation: the cool Alaskan temps made my feet a little smaller than usual. The Sam Edelman d’Orsay pair shown above were in a size 9, and my technically-size-8.75-feet kept slipping at the heels. I ended up wearing the nude pair twice, but I didn’t get the mileage out of them that I’d hoped.

When I got home, I managed to take the things that I loved about the black pair and mostly translate it into another nude pair: pointy toes, supportive straps, etc. The Sole Society pair at the very top were $69 at Nordstrom. For these I had to size down to an 8.5 (the only size they had left), but they fit perfectly and are comfortable enough for all day wear (work tested, work approved).

I’m going to try to keep these two pairs in reserve, saving them mostly for travel. I have this weird thing where I don’t like to take really worn-out things on a trip (especially shoes), but I think these will be more than enough for almost any dressy destination.

Now I just need to plan my next adventure…

P.S. The type of pair I would add if I had to bring dressy sandals:

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Yes, I am still obsessing over these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closet Update Fall 2015

I was serious when I previously mentioned here and here that I own too much stuff and need to edit, edit, edit.

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For fall, I haven’t purchased many casual clothes yet (exception being my Elizabeth & Clarke order), although I have my eye on this sweater and scarf from Banana Republic.

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Fisherman Sweater in Oatmeal

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Annabel Plaid Wool Scarf

Seriously, plaid scarves are still everywhere this season.

While I’ve been vigilantly deleting my email offers from Banana, J. Crew and all of my other favorite haunts, I did pony up for some new work duds.

The dress code at my workplace is described as “business formal.”

That means suits or dresses. Every day.

Like everyone who starts working at This World Famous Medical Center, I had to go on a suit shopping spree before I started there seven years ago.

Seven years ago.

That was after MGM but before Trixie, after one marathon but before eight, after 30 but before 40, etc. You get the idea.

A lot has happened in that interval but when I recently scanned my overstuffed closet, every one of those original suits was still there.

Granted, I’ve added many pieces in the interim and some of the old stuff hasn’t seen the light of day in a looooong time. Some of it fits. Much of it doesn’t.

Since Stitch Fix has been letting me down so much lately and never really had the building blocks I needed (they’re more fun pieces than work staples), I’ve been hitting M.M. LaFleur hard.

(See my first post here).

This fall I invested in a Toi dress, which I absolutely love.

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The fit is perfect and the quality is excellent. I tried to get it in a teal color, too, but was unsuccessful. The kind stylists at M.M. told me that it was coming out soon in two new shades, blackberry and rye, so I’m staying hopeful.

The Hanna dress in cornflower blue and black also made their way into my wardrobe. Although these both are fine for work, they feel more like party dresses to me. I took the blue one on our recent Alaska trip and wore it to formal night on the cruise.

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Since these dresses are sleeveless, I also needed a jacket to wear over them. I received a black Angelique jacket in my first order. It was very flattering, non-wrinkly, and the quality of the knit reminded me of St. John.

I also received the Sant Ambroeus in lavender in my second order and ended up liking the clean cut even better than the Angelique. I had to keep my eye on the website but eventually I was able to snap it up in black, too.

The last piece from my initial M.M. LaFleur spree was this cocoon sweater, which – alas! – is no longer available.

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This is a cozy layering piece, not a Jedi robe, which is what it looks like above.

And now, M.M. just launched a new collection called #PracticeMakes.

Since my recent habits got me into the V.I.P. Presale (ummm, yes, embarrassing), I had a chance to order before the collection went live last week.

There are several new versions of their staples and a few entirely new pieces. I felt like the Toi dress, the jackets and the cocoon sweater would tide me over for fall and winter, and the Hanna dresses would be sufficient for spring and any warm weather travel during the winter.

Except…

There was one more thing I had to make mine. This Graham sweater in Midnight Green really caught my attention from the #PracticeMakes collection.

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This looks like a great transitional layering piece in a color that is mostly absent from my wardrobe. I can’t wait to get it.