A Weekend in Seattle

Get ready for a picture-heavy trip through Seattle! 

I would share details of THIS weekend, but I was moving and it was over 100 degrees F outside…so it wasn’t pretty AT ALL. But, we got into our house (our first house!) got almost all the way unpacked (no joke, I unpacked boxes for 14 hours straight on Sunday), and illegally dumped most of our boxes into the construction site dumpster down the road. Point: us.

Instead, I wanted to share with you the amazing weekend my husband and I spent in Seattle the weekend before! [a lot of these pictures are from my Instagram, so sorryimnotsorry if you've already seen a few of them]

It was an incredibly quick weekend, so we didn’t get to see a fraction of the things we wished to, but we will definitely be going back. I had never been, but my husband has taken business trips there every month for the last 2 years, so he knew the area well. I was blown away by just how beautiful the area was, and I never wanted our weekend to end.

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Thursday morning we caught a 6am flight (ummmm, I know) and got to Seattle early in the afternoon. I spent the plane flight listening to a playlist of all of the songs we danced to at our wedding. I’m a sentimental sucker.

We drove out to Mount Rainier, and stayed with one of Steve’s friends in the area. They lived near the mountain, in a beautiful estate covered in every fruit tree you could have imagined! Fig (FIG!), peach, apple, pear, blackberry brambles, golden plum, and a vineyard to boot.

These people had hospitality DOWN. Seriously, we arrived and there was a platter of gluten-free blueberry banana muffins waiting for us on the counter, a frittata placed in our fridge later for the next morning’s breakfast, and a garden-fresh “snack” of stuffed zucchinis and tomato-feta salad waiting on the table.  I die.

We drove around the Mountain for the afternoon and hopped out to hike around and take pictures of the beautiful waterfalls. It was rainy and foggy (go figure) so I didn’t actually see the Mountain, but what we did see was beautiful!

For dinner, there was a big grilled dinner of plank salmon, steaks, asparagus and garlic roasted potatoes, and grilled pineapple. Dessert was a blackberry-pear oat crumble (fruit picked right from the yard).

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I woke up early and got some yoga in outside, enjoying the view (ok ok, I actually did yoga, scarfed breakfast and coffee, then foraged their yard).

Steve and I hit the road and went straight to the Pike Market!

It was…busy! Y’all probably know all about it, so I’ll spare you, but I did have some killer tacos there, the meat being pork braised in banana leaves with pickled onions (El Buracho).

We stayed with some of Steve’s family closer to the city, so we all went out for sushi that night at Ohana and then Steve and I went for gelato. Go figure.

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We woke up and went to Portage Bay for breakfast. The menu is farm-to-table and there are SO many gluten free options, I was in heaven. I went with the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries! Annnnddd then I hit the fruit bar and piled on the berries.

I grabbed a rice milk latte at Fremont Coffee (we are in Seattle, coffee is mandatory) then we went and saw the Locks. Watching the boats and the waterways was really interesting, and because it was breezy out, it was a perfect way to wrap up the morning.

We drove from there to Lake Sandwich. Cough cough. I mean, Lake Sammamish.

We hiked Snoqualmie Falls! I can’t believe I got my husband up it after we took the steep trail down. The map says it’s like hiking up a 30 story building…so  you can imagine how killer it is. The falls were BEAUTIFUL though. Worth it.

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We rested the afternoon away, then headed to dinner at E Pu Lo.

Steve knows the owner of the restaurant, so we were treated to one of the most amazing dinners I’ve had in my entire life.

We started with house-made burrata and a charcuterie platter. Next was seared scallops with fresh corn polenta (me) and port braised short ribs with garlic mash and arugula (him). We finished it with the most rich, decadent Theo’s chocolate torte, all while drowning in some wine. I’m pretty sure I got drunk off of the torte alone. I ate it so slowly that I practically go dizzy! Let me tell you, this place is the place to go when you’re in the Seattle area. You HAVE to.  So fresh, so decadent. And now I’m spoiled for life and can never settle for scallops anywhere else, because these were fresh off the boat and cooked so perfectly. I die. Again.

Seattle-Trip collage

And, then we caught another 6am flight home.

Best birthday trip ever. I’m so lucky. 

Homemade Oatmeal Packets with Chex Oatmeal

Homemade Oatmeal Packets with Chex’s new gluten free oatmeal is a fun, easy back-to-school project for you and your kids! You’ll save money and know you have a nutritious breakfast ready to go every morning. 

Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Chex and their new Gluten Free Oats/Oatmeal. Although this is a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsored posts that allow Treats With a Twist to happen.

  Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

Back to school! Can you smell the new Lisa Frank folders and freshly sharpened pencils?! I can! But that’s probably also because I’m a child of the 90’s, when you still bought pencils that could be sharpened.

I always love/hate back to school time. I don’t want summer to be over (ever!), but I love buying new school supplies (I’m sure I’ll need the glitter crayons sometime soon!) and I love seeing kids actually excited about school and seeing their friends. This is all, of course, before being in school hits them and they start whining everyday about how they never want to go back.

I’m one of those super plan-ahead organized people, so when it comes to school, packing lunches isn’t the only important meal to plan for! It all starts with breakfast!

The kiddos I nanny for during the week are starting pre-school, and as much as it breaks my heart to part with them for the afternoons, I love having new projects to work on, like making sure they have easy, quick breakfasts. This is why I was SO excited to team up with Chex! They have new gluten-free oatmeal!

Not only do they have packets of oatmeal, just like you grew up eating (my husband loves the Maple Brown Sugar, and I honestly thought he hated oatmeal up until now!), but they’re gluten-free, only contain 5 ingredients at most, and aren’t any more expensive than other oatmeal packets in the grocery store, but they ALSO have giant bags of their plain gluten free oats too! So now you can either bake with or eat gluten free oatmeal without paying a fortune! Huge plus for me.

With their bags of gluten free oats, I love to let the kids make their own oatmeal packets!

When you have picky kids, this is the perfect solution for breakfasts. Kids who “make” their own food are more likely to eat it. And when kids feel like they have a choice and they chose what is in front of them, they’ll actually want it. So, you basically set up a “no wrong answers” array of choices, let them make their own oatmeal mix, and when you cook it for them in the mornings, you can remind them that they “made” their own breakfast!

Like, I said, there are no wrong answers here. So here are my tips and tricks to making your own customizable gluten free oatmeal packets with Chex Oatmeal:

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

  • Set up a table with add-ins your kids love and some that they’ve never tried before or may say they don’t like (I’ve heard that it can take a kid trying something up to 20 times before they like it! So just keep making the options available). My kiddos love nuts and seeds, but some they haven’t had before, and I know they don’t usually like dried fruit, so I made some of each available.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

  • I label everything, just to add another learning experience into the mix. They love to ask me what things say and love to pretend like they’re reading, so this is a great chance for an educational experience.
  • Have a large bowl ready with your base in it, which they’ll add their choice add-ins to. For each day, you’ll want 1/3 cup of dry oats per child. For a full school week (5 days), you’ll want 1 and 2/3 cup of oats per child. So, because I’m prepping breakfasts for 2 children, in my bowl there is 3 and 1/3 cup of oats.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

  • Also have plastic baggies or reusable Tupperware available, one for each day of the week, so you can divide out your oats. Label these too with the days of the week. (If you have picky kids that will each want a different flavor mix, then have extra baggies/containers. Because the kids I nanny eat pretty much the same things, I just made each portion a double-portion). 
  • Encourage your kids to try each item! If they don’t want to touch something, that’s fine too, but encourage them to sample each of the available options.
  • Let them choose as many nuts, seeds, and berries as they’d like! You’ll want 1-2 Tbs of add-ins per portion, so for a full school week you’ll want to aim for around 1/3-1/2 cup of add-ins. Don’t be too finicky here. It won’t make or break your bowl of oats if there is more or less. This is supposed to be fun, not fussy.
  • Make sure nuts are chopped into small pieces before adding them to the bowl.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

  • Once your kids are done choosing (G man here chose cashews and pepitas!), you can add more of the choices they made if you want to, and put the other ones away so they know you didn’t add anything to their breakfast that they didn’t choose. If your kids love cinnamon, add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon to your mixing bowl. Mix it all together (this is a fun part for the kids too).

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

  • Use your 1/3 cup measuring cup to add a heaping scoop of your mixture to each labeled baggie (I was prepping for 2 kids, so I put 2 scoops in each baggie). And you’re done! You just prepped breakfasts for the whole week that your kid is actually excited about! Go you!

In the mornings, you’ll want to add 2/3 cup of liquid per portion (I have to double that because I did 2 portions in each baggie) to your bowl with a baggie of your oat mixture. Heat in the microwave for 1 min 30 seconds until done (or cook on the stovetop). Add fresh fruit and honey or brown sugar if your kid loves those things!

  Homemade Oatmeal Packets (treatswithatwist.com)

Making your own oatmeal packets from Chex Gluten Free Oats allows you to be on top of things for the week, and know that your kids had a great breakfast to fuel their day! This is such a fun project to do on a Sunday to get your kids excited about the week…or at least get them excited for breakfast!

Have a good school year! 

Follow along with the gluten free goodness of Chex on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad

Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad makes an amazing picnic side or dessert! This sweet yet subtle mix of rice, carrot, coconut, spices and honey will have you looking at rice in a sweeter way. 

Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad (treatswithatwist.com)

This is my last post before I load my entire life into a truck, drive 35 minutes down the road, into a completely different state, then dump it all into a new set of walls.

But not just any walls, a house. A new house. That has our name on the papers. We bought a house!

I can’t believe it. I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have found a partner that works so damn hard to make our dreams come true. We definitely have paid our dues, and this won’t be easy, but we’re making the dream happen. Lucky me.

I was recently asked to manifest a dream. But I couldn’t think of one in particular. I have a lot of dream blobs. Unformed wants and hopes, but I know that they’ll become clear sooner or later, and then I’ll chase them down. But, buying a house was my current dream, and worth mentioning (even though it wasn’t a new dream in that very moment).

But, I’m sure if you approach me sometime on Saturday afternoon, when it’s a record-breaking hot as hell day, I’m not going to be sporting this positivity. In fact, you’ll probably want to just keep driving. Or stop and help…yeah that’s a better idea.

Wild Rice Salad (treatswithatwist.com)

Wild Rice Salad (treatswithatwist.com)

Wild Rice Salad (treatswithatwist.com)

Ok, now onto the recipe! Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad! I love love love this. It really doesn’t have an overpowering taste, so it works perfectly as a side in a big, grilled meal. OR as a dessert! I love adding a splash of almond milk to it and eating it like a cold porridge. So good. Enjoy!

Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad
Sweet Coconut Date Wild Rice Salad makes an amazing picnic side or dessert! This sweet yet subtle mix of rice, carrot, coconut, spices and honey will have you looking at rice in a sweeter way. (makes 4-6 servings)
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  1. 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
  2. 1 ¾ cups water
  3. 1 Tbs. coconut oil
  4. 1 large carrot, shredded
  5. zest and juice of 1 lemon
  6. 1 Tbs. unsweetened shredded coconut
  7. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  8. ¼ tsp. cardamom
  9. ¼ cup raisins (or golden raisins)
  10. ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  11. pinch of sea salt
  12. 3-5 dates
  13. 2 Tbs. large coconut flakes (or more unsweetened shredded coconut)
  14. 2 Tbs. raw honey
  1. ~In a sauce pan, cook the rice, water and coconut oil. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer, place the lid on, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
  2. ~Once the rice is finished, fluff it with a fork, then stir in the shredded carrot, lemon juice and zest, shredded coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, raisins and nuts. Add a pinch of sea salt.
  3. ~Refrigerate the mixture until cool. Plate it up, then top it with the dates (slice them up), coconut flakes, and honey.
  1. Try it as a porridge for dessert! Splash almond milk and more honey over the top!
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Acai Bowl

An Acai Bowl is the perfect way to enjoy an antioxidant-packed smoothie! It’s thick, slightly sweet and topped with lots of fun toppings! What a perfect summer treat!

Acai Bowl (treatswithatwist.com)

I had an AHmazing trip to Seattle this last weekend! I can’t wait to share with you everything I did. I don’t think I’ve been so happy since my Honeymoon!

We saw so many beautiful, natural sites and ate SO much good food, I had a stupid silly grin on the entire time.

Driving home from the airport was a bit of a terror, since we had to drive 5 hours (we fly in and out of St. Louis so my parents can dog-sit, which means we wake up at 3am and take the 6am flight) and a torrential downpour hit us with 70 (NO JOKE) miles-per-hour winds! It came down so rough and in sheets that you could NOT see through, that we had to come to a stop on the highway just to wait to see the lines on the road. Doesn’t take much more than that to wake you up!

Anyways! You may have noticed a little challenge I’ve been partaking in on Instagram. Thanks for not calling me a loser and unfollowing me, because I’m really a super cheesy person and it becomes SUPER obvious when I do challenges and have to explain my brain…which is why I tend to stick to artsy photos of things I love when I’m on Instagram. But, this one has been really making me focus on bettering myself. I love that it is very positive and about adding healthy habits into your life and making you feel more positive in general.

I resolved, after this crazy amazing birthday week, to cut down on sugar and do a sugar detox. I usually don’t have a problem, because a small treat here and there is usually plenty for me. Well, after all of the cake and treats from my birthday week and realizing that I tend to mindlessly chomp on anything chocolate-covered, I decided to make a conscious decision to scale back. I finished this last weekend feeling sick to my stomach, sluggish, grumpy, sick, worse skin than usual, and I’m pretty sure I have an ulcer (for serious). So, for the next few weeks, only deliberately planned treats, like wedding cake at an upcoming wedding or a special dessert date between my husband and me, are ok, which gives me balance and things to look forward to.

Acai Bowl (treatswithatwist.com)

Acai Bowl (treatswithatwist.com)
That being said, I’m replacing sugar (and honey drizzles and maple downfalls) with natural fruit for treats. So, my Acai smoothie Bowl really hits the spot for me. Hopefully this will keep the sugar withdrawls at bay.

An Acai Bowl is so packed with antioxidants and nutrients, with so many possibilities to add even more, that you’ll feel glowing, happy and bright afterwards. Acai isn’t a very flavor-rich or sweet superfood, so adding the toppings is the fun part! I love adding slivered almonds, fresh blueberries or bananas, some hemp seeds for protein, and coconut flakes along with a bit of crunchy granola. Really the possibilities are endless. I would normally add a good drizzle of local raw honey, but you can do that on yours and I’ll take mine without for awhile.

Acai Bowl (treatswithatwist.com)
Enjoy! And wish me luck on this crazy idea to sugar-detox! You can follow me on Instagram and see the other crazy things I’m getting myself into (like doing yoga poses in public, because in my head I am much more graceful than I actually am). 

Acai Bowl
Acai Bowls are antioxidant-packed smoothie bowls filled with the superfood Acai. The toppings are the best part, so don't skimp on those! Enjoy this summer treat all year long and you'll be glowing. (makes 1 bowl)
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  1. 1 packet of frozen Acai (Sambazon)*
  2. ½ banana, frozen
  3. ¼ cup almond milk
  4. Toppings: homemade or store-bought granola (no dried fruit**), hemp seeds, almonds, fresh fruit, unsweetened coconut
  5. Optional add-ins: spinach, spirulina, frozen berries, a scoop of natural protein powder (like Vega)
  1. Blend the smoothie ingredients together until smooth. Push down the sides in your blender so it all comes together. You want it "spoonable" thick.
  2. Add toppings! Enjoy immediately!
  1. Notes: you’ll want this to be super thick, so just keep scraping down your blender until it’s all blended together.
  2. *If you don’t have frozen acai packets and want to use dehydrated acai powder, add 1 Tbs of the powder to your blender, along with ½ cup of frozen blueberries and the rest of the smoothie ingredients.
  3. **dried fruit will only turn rock-solid on top of this smoothie bowl, so it’s best to stick with fresh fruit and granola made of just oats and sees/nuts
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/

The Green Thing Smoothie

The Green Thing Smoothie is the most nutrient-dense, veggie-packed blended treat you can enjoy for snacks or meals, getting your veggies in without even trying! Be brave and customize it to make something all your own!

The Green Thing Smoothie (treatswithatwist.com)

First of all, thank you all SO much for the lovely, warm wishes you left for me Monday. I feel so loved. Between my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and right here, I felt surrounded by happiness on my birthday, and that was perfection.

Moving forward.

I’ve gotten really into smoothie making. I think it’s because I love my Vitamix blender so much. I get separation anxiety when I leave town and have to leave it on the counter (don’t worry, I think it’s coming with me on future trips…). I just love it.

Anyways, I’m getting more and more green with my smoothies. And I love being able to get a majority of my veggie servings down before lunch! Score. Point, me.

So, this is it.

The Green Thing Smoothie (treatswithatwist.com)

It’s The Green Thing.

I honestly call it The Green Thang…but I know that Thing is a bit more sensible for an official title. But, you say “thing,” I say “thang.” Just know that while you’re making your Green Thing, I’m making my Green Thang.

No biggie.

The Green Thing Smoothie (treatswithatwist.com)

It’s SO many veggies in one glass, you won’t even have to worry if you don’t see another vegetable for the whole day! 

The Green Thing Smoothie (treatswithatwist.com)

Here’s the best part! You can dramatically change the flavor with little tweaks, and not lose any of the valuable nutrients of the smoothie. You can drink it straight if you love it (woohoo), but if it’s too “green” for you, add a handful or two of honeydew melon, pineapple, banana, or berries! Just choose one, you can’t lose! You could even add 2 Tbs of cocoa powder!

What I love about making smoothies, is that they’re stress-free! You seriously just start adding what you know you love, and in the end you have an amazingly nutritious snack or meal. I like that the portion is so big, I can pour it into two jars and for snacks (and I usually add a little something extra to my snack time if I’m only drinking half), or I can add a scoop of protein (I prefer Vega or a plant-based protein) and enjoy it for a meal. Can’t beat that!

The Green Thing Smoothie (treatswithatwist.com)

Enjoy! And let me know what you love to add to your Green Thing! [Thang]

The Green Thing Smoothie
The Green Thing Smoothie is a nutrient-dense smoothie filled with so many veggies, you won't have to feel guilty if you don't see another vegetable for the rest of the day! Customize it with the optional add-ins and change the flavor into a more fruity treat! (makes one large smoothie meal or can be divided into 2 snack portions)
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  1. ½ large cucumber
  2. 1 large carrot
  3. 2 celery stalks
  4. 1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
  5. 2 handfuls of spinach
  6. ¼ avocado
  7. ½ apple (I like red, but a green one would be bright and fab too)
  8. ½ frozen banana
  9. 1 Tbs. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  10. 1 Tbs. flaxseeds
  11. 1 tsp. spirulina (optional if you can’t find it)
  12. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  13. ice, if desired
  14. Optional add-ins: ½-1 cup of honeydew melon, pineapple, or berries; 1-2 Tbs. cocoa powder; scoop of Vega protein powder (or your favorite plant-based protein)
  1. Chop any large veggies into larger chunks.
  2. Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add more almond milk if you like a thinner smoothie, add ice if you like it thicker and icier.
  1. It's easier to blend a smoothie like this with a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix or Blendtec. I've never used a Blendtec, but I've heard great things about them. I love my Vitamix and highly recommend it. If you don't have a powerful blender, try blending the almond milk and spinach together first, then add the other veggies and smoothie ingredients to blend until smooth.
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/