Luna Bars Review: Gluten Free

Ok, I have some really fantastic news for all of my gluten-free on-the-go snackers…ALL Luna Bars are now gluten-free! YES, the cupcake one. YES, the brownie one. YES, the cookie one. 
(also: need I mention how happy it makes me that their new ‘gluten free’ symbol is PINK?!)
Have you tried Luna Bars? I like them because they are tasty, not too chewy, and have a well-rounded flavor profile. Granted, they have a bit of sugar, but I’m fine with it once in awhile. It’s better than grabbing a candy bar, which I am apt to do now and again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lara bars, my KIND bars, my Bumble bars, and others, but these are a part of my rotation, too. It’s easy to get burnt out on snack bars.
ClifBars sent me an assortment of the new line to try and give you my reviews. They sent me 7, but I like these and have tried some of the other flavors on my own, and I’m including those below. My absolute favorite one is Chocolate Cupcake. The runner-up is Blueberry Bliss. Here are the official reviews, in no particular order. 
Chocolate Cupcake: Absolutely delicious. Truly, it reminded me of a Little Debbie brownie from elementary school days. 
Blueberry Bliss: My second favorite. Beautifully decorated with a thick layer of blueberry jam and oatmeal flakes, this is reminiscent of a blueberry Pop Tart. 
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut: I took a box of these on a long road trip with me and they are still a favorite (that’s saying a lot after eating 6 in 2 days).

Caramel Nut Brownie: This was dry and hard. Not my fave…and it didn’t taste like caramel. 

Honey Salted Peanut: Tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios! Reminds me of the Milk and Cereal bars.
Iced Oatmeal Raisin: I had such high hopes for this one, but it was relatively flavorless.
Lemon Zest: A cheerful and easy one to keep handy no matter what flavor you’re in the mood for (sometimes you just don’t want chocolate in the middle of the day, believe it or not!).
Nutz Over Chocolate: A good granola-bar-esque flavor. Nothing to write home about.
Peanut Butter Cookie: Quite tasty indeed. I love peanut butter in mid-day snacks, and this fit the bill nicely. 
Tell me, do you grab Luna bars or another favorite when you’re on the run? 

Catch Up!

Time for a catch-up post! 
A day-late vlog: 
Featuring:
DaySpring (affiliate link)
 GroopDealz (affiliate link)
(my shirt from there, but no longer available)

I’ve been busy on the interwebs lately! New poems for Darling Magazine:

And I’ve been baking up some goodies around the web, too: 

Candy Cane Meringues that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

and, for a lighter, New Year’s dessert…Bruleed Grapefruit with Honey-Yogurt Sauce

Tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments!

Have a great week!

Lemon Bars with Almond Crust

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Gooooooooooood Monday morning! How are you on this beautiful, fresh start to a new week? How about some cheerful, bright-yellow, deliciously summery lemon bars to whet your palate? (Also, I am in love with this photo. It looks like a snowglobe and I could look at it for hours. And yes, they really ARE that yellow in real life, thanks to the technique of using a baked lemon curd on top of the crust…more about that in the link below!)

You can find my delicious recipe for gluten-free lemon bars with an almond crust over on Big Girls, Small Kitchen today. Don’t mind me while I eat one with my tea for breakfast-dessert #duh.

Sunshine-y gluten-free lemon bars with an almond crust for breakfast? Yes, please! —–> Tweet This!
Bonus? You can use the topping as a plain-old lemon curd to slather on muffins, scones, waffles, crepes, a spoon straight out of the jar…#justsayin.  

Reese’s Eggs on Big Girls Small Kitchen

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New recipe for Big Girls Small Kitchen (BGSK) today: Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! Anyone would be more than lucky to get these tucked into an Easter basket (and I definitely just ate one for breakfast, so there’s that). Click here for the recipe!

Unless you follow me on Facebook, I haven’t been sharing these amazing recipes with you, and for that, I offer my apologies. Here are a few of my favorite delicious (gluten-free!) recipes I’ve had the pleasure of creating for Cara over at the wonderful BGSK.

Here are some of my favorites!
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Starting from the top, going clockwise: 
Enjoy!
xo
Natalie

KIND Healthy Grains Bars Review

KIND so kindly (crack myself up) sent me a bunch of their brand-new Healthy Grains bars to review. We all know how much I love their regular bars (see my review of those here), so I was more than happy to try these out. They have 5 flavors: Oats & Honey, Dark Chocolate Chunk, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Blueberry, and Maple Pumpkin Seed. I love how creative the folks at KIND are with their flavors!

The Vanilla-Blueberry (one of my favorite flavors) was a great mid-morning snack when I was running errands, sending birthday mail and picking up presents. Such a filling snack and a cheerful burst of flavor to keep me going.

I also enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Chunk while writing out some notes. The Maple-Pumpkin Seed was my least favorite and, surprisingly, the “plain” Honey & Oats was actually my most favorite. 
I love KIND’s marketing and philosophy. KIND Healthy Grains Bars are all natural granola bars made from ingredients you can see and pronounce.” Well, this one does have amaranth and quinoa, so that might be a stretch for some of us, but you get the point. Real food here. Nourishing snacks. Something to fuel you not make you feel guilty. And don’t worry about that dark chocolate…I’ve done my research and it’s definitely good for us 😉 #seriouslythough
Overall, these are crunchier than the regular KIND bars, which is good and bad. Good if you like crunchy. Bad if you like to throw it in your purse and carry it around for 2 weeks before you eat it (like me), because they break into a million tiny pieces. Some were drier than others, and I’m not sure why, but I liked them when they weren’t toooooo dry. I would definitely pick up the Oats & Honey and the Vanilla Blueberry bars again. I’ll just be sure to keep them in a secure pocket so I don’t end up licking crumbs from the package. Don’t even try to pretend you’ve never done that 😉

Thanks so much to KIND for letting me try their new goodies! Pick a few up and let me know what you think in the comments! 
xo
Natalie

Weekend Adventuring

I ordered a Strand Books x Kate Spade surprise box as part of their 20 Things We Love series of partnering with unsung companies they love. I received a Kate Spade/Strand Books tote bag (love!), a Strand Books cosmetic case, a Strand Books diner mug, and a Kate Spade bookmark, all wrapped in darling hot pink tissue paper. So fun! 
Picked up a new hat I’m totally in love with and went antiquing… Also my new contacts finally came in, so I can ditch the glasses for awhile 🙂

Baked gluten-free pumpkin scones for tea (earl-gray lavender) on a gray Saturday.
Went to an Anthropologie for the first time EVER (can you believe it?!) to find the Fall issue of Darling Magazine with my poems in it. Score!! Also, the girls who worked at Antrho and J.Crew liked my outfit, which I take as a high compliment since they are all so stylish! Also had my first-ever Pinkberry (vanilla with Nutella). 
Hope you had a great weekend!
xo
Natalie 

My Favorite Grab at the Grocery Store Lunch

Grab at the Grocery Store Lunch

Grab at the Grocery Store Lunch 

These are some of my favorite things to grab at the grocery store for a quick, tasty, filling, and mostly-healthy lunch. Add an apple and you’re good to go!

Nile Black Bean Soup: Basic ingredients but a nice kick. Can be easily made at work with hot water from an electric kettle or microwave.
Lesser Evil Black Olive & Feta Chia Chips: They aren’t kidding when they say these are “super savory”–gluten-free and a hearty complement to the soup.
Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies: These are amazingly delicious.
Ayala’s Herbal Water: Any of these flavors are the perfect accompaniment to this lunch.

Happy Tuesday!
xo
Natalie

Is It Still a Party If I Don’t Wear A Dress?

Insanely gorgeous fall weather today. I didn’t even need my sweater most of the day!

This is the simple outfit I wore to a dear friend’s little girl’s birthday party. Had to keep things simple for chasing kids rolling down hills and such. But it made me wonder: is it still a party if I don’t wear a dress? I almost always wear dresses to parties!


               Obviously I DID bring a cake. So I think as long as I bring a cake and/or wear a dress, it’s                                                                                        definitely a  party. 


Leather leaf earrings: Go Fish // Tank w/ Zipper Up the Back: Banana Republic // Jeans: ON // Boots: Steve Madden// Eiffel Tower Necklace: ?? // Ring: Kohls // Jacket: F21
Oh! And a Friday vlog for you 🙂 
Oh here’s one more pic of that cake. Gluten-free, all-natural, vegetable-colored sprinkles for the win!

Happy Friday, dears!
xo
Natalie

Revitalize Part 2

{This week I’m giving you my tried & true, tested, specific ideas for getting out of a slump!}
Tuesday:
Overnight Oats//Solid Breakfast

{overnight oats with banana, sunflower nut butter, and chocolate-covered cacoa nibs for the win!}

A solid breakfast in the morning consistently really helps me when I’m feeling out of sorts. It takes a teeny tiny bit of effort, but the results are so worth it. I actually enjoy the routine of making my overnight oats at night and relishing the fact that I will have a refreshing, healthy breakfast to grab while I read my #HelloMornings. I wake up, start my tea water, and check in with HelloMornings. Then I top my oats, make my tea, and settle in to read scripture for awhile. Such a good way to bring light back to your heart. To get in the habit of making my oats, I made a fridge chart and made them every weekday for a week. Then I did it the next week. Now it’s second nature!
Overnight Oats

In a bowl combine: 
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if need be)
1/2 cup yogurt (I like banana or raspberry)
1/2 cup milk (I’ve been doing coconut milk or almond milk)
Glug of maple syrup
1 tsp. flax seeds
Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. It’s that easy, and it uses one measuring cup and one spoon. In the morning, top it up! I usually do banana, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and sunflower nut butter, but I switch it up sometimes. Try adding jam or dried fruit, fresh berries, or anything else you can come up with! I fiddle the first week with several overnight oats recipes with different ratios, and this was my personal favorite. But feel free to add more or less liquid as you please.
Enjoy!

xo

Natalie

Hey There

4th of July
{cami & tank w/ horse shoes: old navy//shorts: van heusen//shoes, sunnies & earrings: gofish}
{red, white, and blue manicure, of course!}

{sick of mopey weather outfit. sundress: target//button-up: vineyard vines//purse: vintage mark cross//wellies: hunter}
{paleo scones with chocolate & fresh cherries. recipe here}
Happy summer, friends. 
Lately I’ve been all about fresh lemonade, baking in this crazy heat, Sara Bareilles’ new CD, Relient K’s new CD, hiking, and staying up way too late/sleeping in {oops}.
What is the BEST THING you’ve done so far this summer?!