Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LizzieBars: the Homemade Alternative to LaraBars :)

Happy Tuesday! Today is totally confusing me. We had yesterday off of work, so all day long I kept thinking it was Monday. Short weeks always feel weird. Our weekend was busy! We celebrated my dad's retirement this weekend in Greenville, SC. It was lots of fun to be with family. We even did a little bowling on Saturday!


On Sunday, we headed home to do some painting at the house!

(Family shot on the front porch)
We were very lucky that our house was move-in-ready. There wasn't anything we HAD to do before living there. However, there were a few projects we needed to do ASAP. One of the bedrooms was decorated for a little boy- or a paleontologist. :)

As attractive as these dinosaurs are...they are kind of scary for a guest room, right?

If you are wondering how many coats of paint it takes to cover dinosaurs... The answer would be 5: 3 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint. Here's a (sort-of) after shot. We still need to apply a second coat- hence the taped outlets.


We were also painting this bedroom over the weekend:

This bedroom has an interesting wall-decor-technique. Those are wooden slats nailed to the wall. That made this paint job pretty tedious. We had to paint the wall color first and then go back and paint all the slats. The husband was ready to call a professional within the first hour, but we finally finished it last night!


I still want to add a little color to this room. But I like the way the blue and white is kind of calm and peaceful.


So... on to the food. (I know that's why you stopped by!) Do you have a favorite energy or snack bar? I feel like I have tried them all. I've become really picky about energy/protein/health/snack bars. I've started looking at ingredients and most of them are full of...well...crap. Lots of sugar, lots of preservatives, lots of not-so-good-for-you ingredients. But then I came across LaraBars. Larabars are great.

Their ingredient list is short, they are made from real food, and most of them don't even have added sugar. My favorite flavors are Banana Bread, Cherry Pie, and Apple Pie.

My only complaint about Larabars is the fact that they tend to be a little on the expensive side. I decided to try making my own, just to see if I could.

Introducing... LizzieBars!

I decided to try a different flavor so that I wouldn't be comparing it directly to Larabars: Honey Cranberry Almond. I started by throwing some dried cranberries, dates, and into the food processor. I pulsed the mixture until the items were slightly chopped. Then I added about 1/2 teaspoon of honey and a few drops of vanilla, just to boost the flavor. (I know adding honey means adding sweetener, but if think the health benefits of honey outweigh this tiny bit I used.) I continued to blend the items until they were more finely chopped and the mixture started to stick together.

Next, I pressed the mixture into a glass baking dish lined with waxed paper. I put the dish into the fridge for a while to help the bars to "set" and then cut them into bar shapes and bagged them into snack-sized baggies.

I really liked the Honey Cranberry Almond Mixture. I do want to try and attempt a banana bread flavor and maybe a cinnamon apple flavor.

Larabars OR LizzieBars are great for a pre-workout snack or a post-workout snack. They also are great for afternoons when you eat lunch really early and work late and need something to get you through the day. Because these are made with dried ingredients, I would think they would keep at least a week or two in the fridge- but I can't say for sure.

Let me know if you try making your own!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Local Restaurant Review: Five and Dine (Rock Hill, SC)

I bet you thought I was never coming back. I actually started to wonder if I was ever coming back. The husband even asked me the other day, “When’s the last time you blogged?”

So I decided to give myself a kick in the pants. I’ve been thinking about the blog a lot, and what I want it to be like in 2014. I have some ideas I am toying with. One thing I know that ISN’T going to change is the fact that I will keep bringing you recipes, food and gadget finds, and restaurant reviews.

Today I want to share a local restaurant with you: Five and Dine in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Confession: I’ve actually been sitting on these pictures and content since December. *Hides face in shame.*. Hence, the Christmas tree.

If you are local, maybe you remember the Old Town Bistro that we had in Old Town Rock Hill. Old Town Bistro was a great local spot with lots of history. It was actually the location of the Friendship Nine Sit-In during the Civil Rights Movement. My husband and I loved to go there for breakfast because the food was always good and it just felt really neat to be eating right where history happened. So you can imagine how sad we were when it closed down last year. BUT, I was super excited to hear that a new restaurant was opening there in October!

The Five and Dine is located on Main Street, on the same block as the Children’s Museum.

One thing I love is the way the tables are all covered with white paper, and you get a little cup of crayons to entertain yourself.

The menu is full of all kinds of unique items, like a Nutella and Banana Sandwich, Chicken Cordon Bleu Chowder, and more. Over my past three visits, I have tried out some different items, like salads, soups, and on this particular evening… meatloaf!

The meatloaf did not disappoint! The portions are pretty big— enough for two meals. (Next day’s lunch, anyone?) The mashed potatoes and collards are delicious also- and y'all know I am picky about my collards!

I mentioned I have visited the Five and Dine three times and each time I have had great food and great service. So far, my very favorite thing at Five and Dine is the Tomato Basil soup and Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich. I don’t have a picture of these, but please trust me when I tell you it is the best tomato soup I have ever tasted. Seriously. Best ever.

***Update: I visited the Five and Dine again and snapped a pic of that delish soup and grilled pimento cheese! The husband and kiddo (who both don't even like Tomato soup) BOTH agree that it is delicious!

So if you are in the area and are looking for a great lunch or dinner spot, stop by the Five and Dine. You won’t regret it! There is something on the menu for everyone. Click here to view the menu!


I wanted to take a quick moment and also let everyone know that we are FINALLY moved into our new house! It was a little sad to say goodbye to our first house that we bought right before we got married, but we are so happy in the new house. It feels like home already! We feel so lucky to be able to start 2014 in a new place, literally!

Home sweet home. :)