Manda Cooks: ALOHA Energy Bars


So far 2014 is filled with new obsessions — banana bites, potato pancakes, and now… Aloha – a green drink powder filled with amazing ingredients. Although I think it tastes great just mixed with water, I’m experimenting with incorporating it into some recipes. Tonight I made fruit and nut energy bars, with a packet of Aloha sprinkled in and they are delicious! Also extremely easy to make, and really easy to swap some ingredients to change up the flavor.


Here’s what you do: Combine 2 parts dried fruit, with 1 part nut in a food processor – I used prunes, dried cranberries and raw almonds. Pulse a few times, then grind until combined. Add Aloha, and a sprinkle of coconut flakes. Pulse again until combined. If the mixture seems too mealy, add some more dried fruit. Pour mixture into a dish lined with parchment paper, and flatten. Freeze for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for about an hour, until solidified. Use a large knife to cut into smaller pieces (I coated the knife in coconut oil first, so it wouldn’t stick). Layer the small pieces with parchment paper and refrigerate!



Manda Cooks: Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Kale Pancakes

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Apparently this is the month of potato pancakes, and I’m not complaining. I’ve recently become a regular reader of A House in the Hills and am constantly inspired by her food posts! These pancakes are a cross between the Potato and Kale Pancakes I made last week, and her Sweet Potato and Quinoa pancakes. They’re so easy, and so good!

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Here’s what you do: Poke two sweet potatoes with a fork, cover in foil, and place in the oven at 450F. Remove them once they are soft and cooked through – about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa – I used veggie stock instead of water for extra flavor, but whatever floats your boat. Dice an onion, and a few cloves of garlic and saute until soft – 5-10 minutes. Add chopped kale and cook until wilted. Peel sweet potatoes and mash in a large bowl. Add quinoa, onions and kale and mix until combined. Roll into balls, then flatten into patties and cook over medium heat, 3-5 minutes on each side. We served them with a bit of sour cream and scallions (sort of like a baked potato? ish?)

SP2*And yes, we ate these on the floor in front of the fireplace. Polar Vortex approved!*

Manda Cooks: Banana Bites

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So, speaking of my recent obsession with coconut oil… banana bites. Four ingredients – FOUR. (Five, if you count water, but whatever.) They are my new favorite treat! Depending on my mood, I might even reach for a banana bite over a chocolate chip cookie – and that’s saying something. They’re beyond easy to make, even easier to devour, and a much healthier use for ripe bananas than banana bread (not to discount the deliciousness of banana bread).


Here’s what you do: Smoosh three ripe bananas in a bowl, then add two cups of oats, and use food scissors to cut up a handful of apricots into small pieces. Add about 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and a splash of water. Mix everything together until combined, then let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the oats to soften. Roll into small balls, and bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until slightly brown on the outside. Eat one or two immediately, then allow the others to cool and store in the refrigerator.

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Happy Birthday Bretty!



Happy Happy Birthday to my most favorite human in the world!!

Love you so so so so SO much. To the moon and back, and then back to the moon again, and then back to earth again, etc.

Manda Cooks: Truffle Salted Potato and Kale Pancakes


Brett and I are a mini-New Year’s health kick, kinda sorta. We are making more appearances at the gym, and I’m making more of an effort to cook healthier. I saw this recipe on A House in the Hills and immediately moved it to the top of my to-make list, and I made them with my sister for dinner just after the new year. They were so good (and I mean SO good), that I made them again this week. The only edit I made to the recipe was omitting milk altogether – the batch I made with Dana wasn’t quite sticky enough and we ended up adding some flour, but without milk they were just right.


These little pancakes were my first introduction to coconut oil, and I’m hooked! Coconut oil has a lot of health benefits, and the slight coconutty flavor adds another dimension to food. I used it again last night in banana oatmeal bits, which I’ll share tomorrow.

My *New* Home, Sweet Home



Hi friends! Long time, no blog, right? Guilty as charged, yet again. I will try to be better! Really, really. Promise.

Happy 2014! Crazy that we already two weeks into the new year. Still working on my resolutions, but the best news of the year so far is that Brett and I are officially roomies! Yay!

We spent the last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of December moving my things over from my apartment into his. On Sunday it poured rain, and I mean poured. rain. The rain, coupled with my cold and congestion, made for pretty miserable moving conditions. Not to mention that Brett’s apartment is four flights up…but we persevered! We did another car load on Monday, and then had movers bring over one piece of furniture on Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, we were exhausted and the apartment looked like a tornado ran through it. Luckily we were able to spend the rest of the week unpacking, purging (we threw out/donated SO many things), and settling in. We still have a little bit of work to do, but it’s so nice to finally, officially, live together. I’m still working on referring to the apartment as “ours”, but I’ll get there eventually ; )