Wheat Berry Salad with Spinach and Apricots

Wheat Berry Salad with Spinach and Apricots

The first time I tried to make wheat berries, I ended up with a hard, chewy mess.  I wasn’t sure if it was me or the wheat berries, but no matter how much I cooked them, I just couldn’t get them to soften.  I had cooked them long past the time allotted on the recipe I was following, but they were still hard.  Deciding that this just must be the texture of wheat berries, I proceeded with the recipe.  The end result tasted good, but it left my jaw sore from chewing half way through my lunch.

A few months later, my mom bought an electric pressure cooker. I was looking through the recipe booklet that came with it when I spotted a recipe for a wheat berry salad with zucchini.  It sounded delicious, so I decided to give wheat berries another try and followed the recipe’s directions for cooking the wheat berries.  I covered them with water and set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 50 minutes.

When they were done, I almost leaped for joy.  Finally!  Perfectly cooked wheat berries!  They were tender with just a bit of a bite – enough to give them texture, but not so much to dislocate your jaw eating a bowl.  I’ll never go back to another cooking method again.

Once you have the wheat berries cooked, this salad couldn’t be easier to make.  Essentially, all you have to do is toss everything together in a bowl.

Wheat Berry Salad with Spinach and Apricots

Wheat Berry Salad with Spinach and Apricots
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small pan, lightly toast the walnuts over medium heat until they are warmed through.
  2. Combine the wheat berries, spinach, apricots, toasted walnuts, and shallots in a large bowl.
  3. Right before serving, drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

 

Tropical Granola Bars

Tropical Granola Bars

Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a box of granola bars?  I did the other day, and found that most had sugar (in some form or another) listed as the first ingredient, followed by even more sugar a little further down the list.  After seeing this, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a box of granola bars.  So, I resolved to make my own.

However, I quickly found that most recipes for homemade granola bars don’t do much better in the sugar department.  Luckily, after a little experimentation, I found a winning combination of my own.  These homemade granola bars are easy to make and absolutely delicious.  Plus, they’re made with only ¼ cup of sweetener!

After trying a few different combinations, I’ve realized that granola bars are amazingly versatile.  The flavor possibilities are endless.  So, as an added bonus of making your own granola bars, you get a whole new realm of granola bar flavors not sold in your supermarket.  This particular blend of pineapple, mango, and coconut captures the flavors of the tropics in a bar.

Just close your eyes, take a bite, and picture yourself under a palm tree!

Tropical Granola Bars

Tropical Granola Bars
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • ⅔ cup chopped dried pineapple (unsweetened and unsulfured)
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried mango (unsweetened and unsulfured)
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (separated)
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal
  • ⅓ cup raw almond butter (no added salt or sugar)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, rice cereal, pineapple, mango, and ⅓ cup of coconut in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (flax seed meal through salt). Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well, until there are no dry pieces.
  3. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Pour the granola bar mixture into the pan and press it down, using the back of a measuring cup. Sprinkle the top with the additional tablespoon of shredded coconut and press down to adhere the coconut to the top of the bars.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting.
  5. Wrap each bar individually and store in the refrigerator.

Note: I made these bars in a 7 x 11 pan because the 9 x 13 pan I’d usually use was otherwise occupied.  As a result, I ended up cutting these bars a bit larger and getting eight (big) granola bars, rather than twelve.

Hi and Welcome!

Hi!

Welcome to Bite into Happiness.  My name is Lauren and I’m a twenty-something recent college graduate.  I have a degree in marketing, but after a year exploring a career in marketing, I’ve realized that I need to explore my passion for food.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved cooking and loved food.  I mean it.  I dream, sleep, breathe food.  I’m always thinking about new recipes I can try or browsing food blogs and the web for inspiration.  My TV is permanently tuned to the Food Network.  Look for me on a given evening, and you’ll probably find me reading recipes online with a cooking show on in the background.

I don’t just like to cook.  It’s a passion – a deep, driving need.  The kitchen is my happy place.  Cooking relaxes me when I’m stressed and can cheer me up if I’m feeling down.  It’s my creative outlet.  I love the feeling of pride and accomplishment when a new creation turns out to be delicious.

I know that there are literally thousands of other food blogs out there.  So what makes this blog different?  I believe in delicious, wholesome, healthy food. For me, there’s nothing better than home cooked food made from scratch.

I hope you stick around and enjoy the site.  New recipes are on the way!

Lauren