The Perfect Perfect Bar Dupe

We’ve probably talked about this before, but I am a protein bar junkie. I’m always down to try new brands and flavors, but I definitely have my favorites. One of which is Perfect Bar. They’re just so good, and they are incredibly filling! They’re packed with lots of nutritious stuff too, but I’m no expert on that. My only issues are that they aren’t available at every store yet, and they’re also pretty pricey. When I find a sale, I stock up big time! But I’ve been wondering if I could replicate them at home. I spent some time in the kitchen yesterday, and these are pretty dang close! The flavor and texture is spot on, but how do I cram all that kale and alfalfa in there?!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 cup Natural Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Agave Nectar (You can also use honey.)

2 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Arbonne.)

1/8 cup Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

• Stir together peanut butter and agave.

• Heat in microwave for 1 minute.

• Stir in protein powder until fully combined. This will make a dough-like consistency.

• Spread into a 8×8 baking dish. (I prefer to use a silicone baking dish.)

• Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

• Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

• After at least 1 hour, remove from refrigerator and cut into your desired size. (I like to make bites instead of bars.)

• Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Kansas City Restaurant Week 2020

Quite possibly my favorite week of the year in Crown Town–Kansas City Restaurant Week.  When Chad and I first moved to Kansas City, we determined that it was our mission to eat our way through our new city.  We moved to KC in January, so it was perfect timing to kick off our exploration through this annual event.  And we’ve been enjoying it every year since!

Kansas City Restaurant Week is a 10-day event (This year is January 10-19.) where you can dine at hundreds of local restaurants.  This is the perfect way to try new places, visit those spots you’ve been dying to try, or to visit your favorites.  No matter what you decide, you’re sure to have a great time, at a discounted price.

Each participating restaurant offers a special multicourse menu, all of either $15 for lunch or $35 for dinner.  And often times, they will feature dishes that you can only get during this week, and some offer drink specials as well.

In addition, restaurants pledge to donate 10 percent of sales from each meal to benefit an annual charity partner and two founding beneficiaries.  The 2020 charity partner is The Don Bosco Centers.

This year, I was fortunate enough to attend a preview event at Parkway Social on the Country Club Plaza.  A few local bloggers and influencers got the opportunity to sample the menu, taste some wines from Platinum sponsor Robert Mondavi, and host a giveaway giving locals a chance to win a gift card to use for their own visit to Parkway.  It was a great way to kick off the week, learn a little bit more about how the event impacts our community, and the eat lots of yummy food.

So now to my plans for the 2020 event…Chad and I have a rule to use this week to try restaurants that we’ve never visited.  This year, I made three reservations at new-to-me spots.

First up was a girls night at Plate in Brookside.  We met at 5:30 on a snowy Saturday night, and everything was perfect from the second we walked in the door to the careful walk to our cars on the frozen sidewalks.  Plate was also offering their happy hour during this time, so we took advantage of their wine specials.  All of us decided to order from the Restaurant Week menu (of course), and we each ordered different items.  For my first course, I ordered the Italian salad.  My second course, the main entrée was a faro dish.  The menu had four main courses listed, all of which contained meat.  I asked for one to be modified, and they came back with the offer to create a vegetarian dish, which was such a generous and lasting experience.  I’m so glad I took them up on the offer, because it was exceptional!  And finally, my dessert was the Trio, which was an incredible chocolate and caramel concoction that tasted like a creamy chocolate crusted Werther’s.  Incredible.

Next was a Friday lunch date at Grand Street with a girlfriend. We were both had to return to work, so there were no cocktails or lingering conversations, but we enjoyed a quick and delicious visit. At most restaurants, the lunch menu is a two-course offering, as was the case here. I landed on the Arugula Salad and the Butternut Squash Ravioli, which was the perfect choice for a cold KC day. The ability to still enjoy a beautiful lunch when you’re in a rush on a workday is one of the best things about KC Restaurant Week.

My third and final visit was a date night at Lazia at the Crossroads hotel. The Crossroads Hotel is certainly a hot spot in our city. With its swanky, yet historic setting, it’s the place to be on any night of the week. We were seated at a table right by one of the two vaults in the building that belonged to Tom Pendergast, and this bank nerd was thrilled. We started with cocktails–a glass of Malbec for me and a Dual Intersect for Chad, which is the Crossroads collaboration beer with Double Shift Brewing. Although we were in for a filling meal, we took our server’s suggestion to start with an order of their arancini, and we were so glad we did. Between that and the complementary house-made focaccia, we were worried we might be too full to continue. But we didn’t worry for too long, because it was time to get started on our courses. For our first course, we ordered a Caesar Salad and House Salad and shared both. We had our respective favorite but agreed that both were fantastic. The second course was the entree, and we ordered the Artic Char and the Pomodoro and shared. Both were so flavorful, and we ate every single bite! And the final course–dessert, my favorite. We ordered both the Buttermilk Panna Cotta and the Tiramisu. And yes, we shared, but Chad always lets me have significantly more. These were so fabulous, but the tiramisu definitely stole the show for me. They make it in house, and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. We finished our visit with craft cocktails at the XR Bar in the lobby. Everything from start to finish was exceptional!

So here are a few things you need to know about Kansas City Restaurant Week:

  • You need reservations!  These restaurants book up early and fast, so plan ahead and grab a spot.
  • Use the KCRW app.  It has all of the restaurants listed, you can add favorites, you can view the menus, and you can make reservations at most of the restaurants.  One central location for everything you need to plan your week.
  • Sometimes the menus online/on the app do not match the menu when you get to the restaurant.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that, because it is so popular, they run out of things and have to modify.  Be patient, grant grace, and move on to another option.
  • Follow KCRW on social media.  They post updates, feature restaurants, and offer giveaways for many of the restaurants.

Did you get out and about for KC Restaurant Week this year? Where did you go?

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Best Oklahoma (Not Texas) Caviar

Growing up in my house, lucky black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day were a mandatory practice. There was no way my mom was letting you go to bed that night without at least one bite. And even as an adult, I got a phone call (and later text) to confirm that I had my beans. Here’s the thing—I hate black eyed peas. When I was little, I would literally gag when made to take my bite. (Maybe a little dramatic, but not my favorite nonetheless.) So when I was at a cookout one time and I was going full savage on a dip only to realize that it contained black-eyed peas, I was shocked. I immediately asked for that recipe, and I’ve made my own variation every New Year’s Day since. I serve with tortilla chips, but you can put it on top of burgers, on top of nachos, or even as a side dish with your protein. I know you’ll love it!

Ingredients:

2 (15 oz.) cans black eyed peas, drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) corn
1 can Rotel (15 oz.)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons lime juice

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour, or up to 24 hours. (Best if chilled overnight.)

Enjoy!

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Easiest Bell Pepper Nachos

Nachos might be the most perfect bar food ever created. I’ve literally never heard a soul say, “Nah, I don’t’ like nachos.” I mean tortilla chips for one thing. And then whatever you want to add to the top…the possibilities are endless. (And delicious.)

One of my favorite nacho toppings is guacamole. I love guac and will find any excuse to eat it—extra or not. One day, I was dipping some mini bell peppers into guacamole, and it hit me—Bell Pepper Nachos. Tons of flavor and extra veggies—Win, Win!

Here is my super easy recipe that everyone in our family (including my PB&J-loving toddler) loves!

 

Ingredients:

12 sweet mini bell peppers

Topping Suggestions:

  • 8 oz. protein of choice (taco meat, chicken, veggie crumbles, etc.)
  • sliced black olives
  • black beans
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • scallions
  • guacamole

 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Slice off and discard the stem end of each pepper. Remove and discard seeds. Slice each pepper in half lengthwise, and lay them on the baking sheet, cut sides down.
  • Bake for 5 minutes. Flip pepper halves. Bake until soft, about 5 more minutes.
  • Arrange them in the center of the cooking sheet. Top with protein, beans, and cheese.
  • Bake until cheese has melted, about 3 minutes.
  • Top with salsa, sour cream, scallions, guacamole, whatever you choose.

 

I hope you enjoy, and I can’t wait to see what you create!

XOXO,

Molly B.

My Top 10 Favorite Products of 2019

2019 was such a fun year! But shockingly, I actually didn’t do a ton of shopping. However, I did make a few purchases that top my list. Here is a roundup of my top ten favorite products from the year.

1. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

2. Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler

3. Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick

4. Stella & Dot Black Quilted Crush It Backpack

5. Tan-Luxe Self-Tan Drops

6. J. Crew Factory Long Puffer Jacket

7. e.l.f. Complete Skin Care Regimen

8. Rubbermaid Refill Reuse Water Bottles

9. Function of Beauty

10. Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray

What were some of your favorite finds in 2019?

XOXO,

Molly B.