Empty Kitchen + Mariano’s = Happy Tummy

It is no secret that the grocery store is my happy place!  Perhaps I should have added ‘shopping at new grocery store’ to this morning’s AWESOME list

Awesome Monday Continues…

I weightlifted with the TRAINER this morning.  She always works me hard and it was especially challenging since I have been focusing on running and not strength over the last few months.  Afterwards, I headed over to Mariano’s Fresh Market in Arlington Hts.  This newish grocery store has been open for around a year and I’m surprised that it took me this long to get there.  Everyone raves about the produce and meat and they always have samples.  Recently, they even built a Mariano’s in the city that has wine tastings.  So after hitting the weights for an hour, I made my way over to the market.



The outside was decorated with pumpkins and assorted squash…at great prices!

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The store was surprisingly busy for a Monday at 11:30AM.  It is well-lit, super clean, and the moment you walk in, you are surrounded by a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables.


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The variety was unbelievable!  Look at all of these pears and apples.



And the prices were fantastic!



I got soo into my shopping that I didn’t take any more pictures.  Plus, the store was busy and I think people were starting to look at me funny.  AND, I bumped into an old friend.  I swear, this is the forth time this week that has happened and every time it has been a person from my past who I haven’t kept in touch with but truly enjoyed getting to catch up with!  Mariano’s is huge, and I took my time wondering the aisles.  This is partially because I didn’t know where to find anything.  They have a huge bakery section with some adorable cakes.  There is a salad bar and many prepared food options, along with a variety of typical grocery store items.  Since I am probably the last one to visit the store, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.  I left with 4 full bags of groceries and spent less than I usually do.



And now my fruit basket is full again!

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And the kitchen is stocked with food…hooray…time to get started!  First step, making wheatberries and quinoa for this week’s recipes.  I defer to the Clean Foods book for how to cook my grains and they continue to turn out perfectly.

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Remember when I visited with Jessica of CHEW a few weeks ago.  She gave me some good advice and recipes.  One of my questions for her was how to fuel myself through my long work days…particularly in the late afternoons.  She gave me a recipe for Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies made with peanut butter, oats, and quinoa.  I didn’t have any PB or AB (the only negative of my trip to the new grocery store, no fresh nut butters), so I threw some raw almonds into the food processor and made my own.  Then collected the other ingredients.

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I combined my ingredients with a few changes shown below.  I couldn’t find cacao nibs, but I stirred in 2.5 Tbsp of Cacoa powder instead.

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I used wax paper over an 8×8 inch pan to turn the cookies into ‘End of the Day’ bars.  I baked them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.  I was worried that the bars should get dry, so I didn’t want to over bake them.





The texture turned out just right.  I was able to cut it into 8 bars.  I plan to wrap them individually and freeze a few.


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Made with real foods, I am hoping these easy to eat protein and carb rich bars will help me through my afternoon slump!



I came across a new breakfast recipe for my leftover quinoa, but you’ll have to wait for it. 

Here’s a clue…it involves pumpkin!

I had just enough time to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy before heading back into the kitchen to make dinner. I’m attempting my first curry. Yum! Below is the original recipe from Jessica and my modifications in orange.


Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies aka End of the Day’ Energy Bars

This recipe will make about 2-dozen cookies, one is never enough.


1/2 Cup natural peanut butter (or Almond Butter)

1/3 Cup Raw Agave Nectar 2 Tbsp Light Agave

2 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed  3 Tbsp Flax

2 Cups cooked Quinoa, completely cooled  1 cup cooked quinoa

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup Dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut  2 Tbsp coconut

1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs/Chips  2.5 Tbsp Cacoa Powder

1 Tsp Sea Salt


Preheat the oven on its lowest setting.

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, seal salt and ground flax seeds.  Mix in the quinoa, oats, and coconut.  Fold in the cacao nibs.  This mixture should be pretty clumpy

Mold into mini patties, place on non-stick cookie sheet and throw into oven for 1 hour-ish.

Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.

Store in fridge and consume within a week.

7 thoughts on “Empty Kitchen + Mariano’s = Happy Tummy

  1. You finally went to Mariano’s. Wasn’t it the best place you have ever been?!?! Now don’t you see why I drive all the way to the suburbs to go there 😉

  2. What happens if you don’t refrigerate these? I made them and they were delicious, but I didnt think to refrigerate them, then went back and looked at the recipe…

    • Not a problem to leave them out. When I am eating a whole pan by myself, it takes me over a week, so I like to freeze them to keep them fresh. But there is nothing in here that will go bad on you. So glad to hear that you enjoyed the bars!

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