Category Archives: Snacks

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola

This shop has been compensated by Vons. All opinions are mine alone. #AStockUpSale #Vons #CollectiveBias

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola 2--092915

Whenever I get stressed, I go on these epic grocery store raids. They wouldn’t really be a problem, either–I mean, who doesn’t need 15 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch sitting around, right?–…IF I had a car for transporting all of my crazy impulse buys back to my place.

As it turns out, I don’t have a car, and with the first week of school upon us (FINALLY) stress levels are at simmering somewhere around a pleasant 7 out of 10. Apart from spending way too much time trying to figure out enrollment issues and kick-start a regular study group schedule with my fellow grads, I’ve also been going to Disneyland and watching a sneak peek screening of The Martian two nights ago um, not been going to Disneyland and definitely not spending my time watching awesome movie screenings. Pffft. (You guys have to see this movie, though.)

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola 4--092915

Staying true to the spirit of stress shopping, I decided to take the afternoon off yesterday after class + 6 hours of extra office hours and make the 3-mile trek–yes, on my feet–down to Vons so that I could raid their aisles for some serious schooltime snack food.

Now, this is where things get silly. Have you ever walked into a grocery store with exactly two items on your shopping list…and come out carrying twenty instead? Oh, and here’s the real kicker: it’s only when you’re on the way home in your (hypothetical) car that you realize you’ve completely forgotten to buy the things for which you went to the store in the first place?

This happens to me all. The. Time.

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola 6--092915

Now, when you’re without a car (like me) and weak (like me) and seriously distracted (like me), impulse buying + forgetfulness is not a good combo.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Easy DIY Peanut Butter Honey Greek Yogurt Scoops

Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Scoops 2--090315

Have you ever heard that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?

Well, I’ve got a will–so can we pleeeeeease just have a few more weeks of summer? Please?

Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Scoops 4--090315

Not that I have any reason to complain: here in the southern locales, the sun is still beaming and the temperature these days ranges from a svelte high 80s to a sweat-bullet-projecting low 100s…

But then again, who ever needed a REAL reason to gripe anyway? If we all waited for legitimate concerns to crop up before we started moaning and groaning about them, I’d never get to embark on all of my crazy life rants about schoolwork and parents and professors and cookie drama and everything else that makes up 100% 70% of my discussions here, and let’s face it: nobody wants to spend all day reading about my picture perfect imaginary world record winning collection of stuffed animals…

(well, except maybe me)

Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Scoops 6--090315

The absurdly high end-of-summer temps is one of the big reasons why I’m still reluctant to go anywhere near my oven, even though it’s already the first week of September. My parents visited the other day and practically blew the lid of the place off in annoyance because I turned on the oven on the hottest evening of the week, so the whole place felt like the brimstone-and-flames inner core of Mount Doom…

So I’m sticking to no-bake snacks & bites for now. Which brings me to this awesome, creamy, protein-filled, no-bake, & Mount-Doom-free snack.

Haaaaave you met yogurt?

Peanut Butter Honey Yogurt Scoops gif

When the lovely folks at Chobani reached out to me about whipping up a summer celebration recipe with their iconic yogurt as part of their #MadeWithChobani series, I just had to say yes. I’m kind of a diehard fan of their Greek yogurt–

and by kind of, I mean the “kind of” that you say when your in-laws ask you if you love chocolate cake and you say “kind of” just so that you don’t seem like that person who’s going to eat them out of cake and home, but in reality you love chocolate cake so “kind of” is kind of a really big lie.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Snacks, Snacks, Vegetarian

Cheez-It Spicy Snack Mix

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MVCheezIt #CollectiveBias


I didn’t watch much of college anything until grad school. Never one to paint my face blue and gold on Game Day, I was about as exciting as the white petunias sitting in your neighbor’s drought-ridden window garden.

Then basketball season came one year and suddenly I began noticing things. No, not the cute guy wearing a school jersey. (Okay, maybe a little–who doesn’t look cuter dressed from head to foot in school spirit?). I was staring at the long line behind him, filled with hardcore fans and team gear and an excited babble that refused to die down. And that’s when I started to think…huh!

Throw in a bowl of homemade snack mix and you can count me in for the fun :)


Last week we were visiting Seattle and happened to arrive at the arena just as a bunch of fans congregated for the latest championship game. We didn’t end up buying last-minute tickets since we had a flight to catch (though trust me–he was sorely tempted!), but we did linger around watching all the buzz and excitement around the upcoming face-off, nibbling at our donuts and secretly wishing for a TV and bowl of snack mix to reward our vigilant abstention.


In fact, I am eternally grateful to basketball and all the snacky cravings it’s inspired in me this month, because that’s how this Cheez-It spicy snack mix was born. As of earlier this year, I became equally obsessed with the game and this perfect game day food.

If somebody told me that chucking my last bag of snack mix at our school mascot would guarantee a victory on the court, I’d have one heck of a time deciding which one I’d rather keep.… Read more


Filed under Snacks

Easy English Toffee

Spoiler: majorly embarrassing stories ahead……



Yesterday, over lunch, my friends and I were sharing our best embarrassing stories. You know, the ones that made you blush so hard you thought your face was actually going to combust into a bunch of fiery napalm and set ablaze everyone within 15 square yards of you. We’re not talking the kind of mild embarrassment that happens when you walk in late on the first day of class and get called out by the teacher.

We’re talking stress-dreams-of-getting-caught-stark-naked-in-a-Costco-parking-lot-on-a-Sunday-afternoon kind of embarrassment.

Unfortunately, I’m terrible at calling up examples while they are still relevant (i.e. during conversation), so I didn’t contribute much to our lunch sharing session. I did enjoy a very nice Afghani spinach flatbread, though.

But as it turns out, this is very lucky for you guys, since I’ve decided to spend this Friday sharing a few of my favorites with you! None of which involve unwanted nudity, thank goodness. So without further ado….



Quite a few years ago at Disneyland, I was waiting in line for the bathroom next to Adventureland. There I was, fiddling with my gray Tigger jacket sleeve, minding my own business, when I suddenly look up and notice an Asian man with short-cropped hair, spectacles, and a rather square jaw standing in front of me.

Of course, I immediately feel embarrassed for the poor man. Can he read English? His unfashionable red sweater and khaki pants tell me he might be a tourist (thank you, vast over-stereotyping), and as we get closer and closer to the front of the line, I start fidgeting. Finally, when I see the “Women’s Restroom” sign passing us by the restroom entrance, I decide I can’t let him go through the agonizing embarrassment of walking into the Women’s restroom by mistake. So I do the worst thing I could possibly do in such a situation: I tap him on the arm.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Snacks, Snacks

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies 2--020515

So apparently one of my students lives next door to me.

Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies 4--020515

Living next door to any of my students–as you can probably imagine–isn’t exactly my idea of a delightful development. I guess this means I’ll have to actually put on pants now when I open the windows.

Kidding. I’m totally kidding. (Except maybe on laundry day.)

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies 7--020515

Though this news has made me self-conscious enough to stop blasting Taylor Swift out the open window at odd hours of the day now, weirdly enough, my first reaction when s/he asked me if I lived in his/her building was to simply laugh.

Sometimes, in the midst of all this labeling and titling and instructing, we forget that our students are every bit as human as we are. We complain (rightly so) that our students think we live in our offices and have nothing to do but answer all their last-minute essay-related emails–but aren’t we teachers guilty of the same thing? I mean, it’s a bit unfair to assume that the only thing our students have going on in their lives is brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising their 8-page paper on Stuart Little.

(Okay, so maybe that keg of beer they consumed while they were actually supposed to be writing was a bad idea…but seriously, it’s college. When else are they going to get the chance? Certainly not when they “get their act together” and “grow up,” which is what the world always seems so keen on rushing them–and us all!–to do.)

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies 9--020515

At the end of the day, I’m actually a bit glad life decided to Punk me with this bizarre, slightly awkward development. It’s a smart reminder that we’re all sort of in the same boat together, even if we’re not exactly operating on the same level.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies, Snacks

Mini Peanut Butter Jelly Parfaits {+ My Bakers Box Giveaway!}

PBJ Mini Parfaits 1--121214

What is your resting face? Do you wear a worried frown or a mild smile or a cheeky grin or–dare I say it–the classic resting bitch face? (No offense meant–some people just have it! And if you’re one of them, it’s totally okay. Seriously.)

Baker's Box 7--121214

I ask because I like to play something called the Resting Face Game when I’m walking around the town, traveling, en route, etc. It’s the sort of zany social/mind game only somebody like me would play, but the goal is simple: break as many “resting faces” as possible. Is someone frowning? Make them smile! Is that passerby already smiling? Make them grin! Usually this involves making eye contact and doing something silly….like acknowledging the existence of a fellow human being. Sigh. I really am hopeless, aren’t I?

I was walking back home today and counted 4 cases of eye contact + smiles–but I also walked past 3 people who actively stared me down and glared at me, which seems a bit intense, even if it IS finals week (jeepers!). My friend and I compared notes a few weeks ago and we have an average success rate of about 1 in 35 people. What do you do when people pass you by?

As you might easily guess, my resting face is pretty chipper, though as the school year wears on and a bunch of random emotional stuff has come up, I find myself making an increasing effort to keep it up. So that’s the second game I play when I’m too tired to break resting faces (that sounds kind of violent, doesn’t it? Sorry). It’s called the Let’s Smile Because I’m Alive game, and you’d be surprised how many people need to be playing it right at this very moment. Do you?

Baker's Box 1--121214

PBJ Mini Parfaits 3--121214

If that’s the case, let me help give you a reason to smile!… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, GF, Vegan) for #gradstudentbloggers

Your grad/undergrad student bloggers are back this week! Our mission: creating awesome recipes for the On-the-Go Student!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Joining us this week: Bec from Daisy and the Fox, Nicole from PicNic, Shelley from Bacon Egg Cheese(cake), and Uru from Go Bake Yourself! (Zainab from Blahnik Baker is off doing crazy epic grad student things this week, but we’ve included her interview anyway.) Don’t forget to check out these lovely ladies’ blogs. (Want to learn more about these fabulous bloggers? Read Week 1’s interview here!)

But first, we asked our super multi-talented bloggers a few fun questions about how they deal with full-time school AND blogging! Here’s what they said:

Week 2 Interview Round-up

1. Describe your grad/undergrad student blogger life in three words:

Ala: You’re kidding…right?

Bec: Busy, fun, inspired

Nicole: Crazy, Chaotic, Fulfilling

Shelley: Procrastinating, fun, UGHHH

Uru: Party. Study. Sleepless.

Zainab: Need. More. Hours.

2. Tell us a fun, unique fact that not many people may know about you!

Ala: I just ran my first half-marathon at Disneyland at the end of last month in 2 hours and 9 minutes! I quite literally ate dessert every day (including a buttload of ice cream) in lieu of “training”: I would run about once every other week and did 13.1 miles cold turkey each time. Dumb luck, but I guess it worked!

Bec: I am completely and totally smitten for kittens dogs! The moment I see one on the street I literally pounce and smother them in sweet nothings and pats. I have a pinterest animal bored, and it is 100% bombarded with dog pictures, cause ya know… damn they’re so cute.

Nicole: People tell me that I should enter a cooking competition on TV – like MasterChef, but I am TERRIFED of ever being on TV for even 30 seconds!… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series, Snacks

Life Updates and a KIND Snacks Giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by KIND Snacks. I received a sample box for review purposes but was not financially compensated for this post. And as always, these opinions are 110% my own!

A billion and one things have been all kinds of crazy here lately. Can you tell?

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 3--081514

No, perhaps not–but it’s been all sorts of insanity! This is my utterly grateful recovery post. This month has been one green light to the next, racking up my traveling miles and teleporting from one zany distance to the next. At one point, I even coughed up a whopping $40 for an Uber trip that got me nothing but terrible traffic and one ballsy driver who asked me if I was single–and get this, he asked me in the first 15 minutes of our trip while I was sitting in the front seat. 

Moral of the story: never sit in the front seat while riding a taxi service, no matter how casual it seems.

Moral #2: 6 miles never feels longer than when you are awkwardly stuck in an enclosed vehicle with a stranger who wants to know your relationship status right off the bat.

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 2--081514

And that, my friends, is why I am so glad THESE came. I now dub thee “Sanity Keeper Bars,” a.k.a. KIND Snacks. Raise your hand if you love ‘em as much as I do!

KIND Snacks Review and Giveaway 10--081514

When the wonderful rep K got in touch with me about sampling, reviewing, and giving away KIND bars on my blog, I jumped three feet in the air and immediately tagged in. I’d consumed plenty of KIND bars before the sampler box, but mostly on campus where the vending machine selection is limited to Almond Cranberry (a very good choice–but by no means a gateway to the snackers’ haven that I was about to receive).… Read more


Filed under Giveaways, Snacks

Caramel ‘Could Be Crack’ Snack Mix

I am a home-grown, Converse-wearing caring-is-sharing gal, and I have never, ever ever used drugs except in my extra-special brownies. And yeah, you’re staring at the exception to that rule right now. Well, stare away, my lovelies, and let’s talk crack snack mix.

Caramel 'Could Be Crack' Snack Mix 2--111113

If you’ve been following my blog recently, you will know that I am totally digging the idea of photoseries–you know, turning ordinary food photography into fun-derful stories. This recipe deserves its own photoseries. Let me put it this way: this is the single most-requested potluck, party, zombie-apocalypse-you-name-it-event recipe I have ever madeSo will you want to print, Pin, and share this recipe on Facebook? You bet your bowling balls you will.

Caramel 'Could Be Crack' Snack Mix 5--111113

Let’s make one thing clear. Like most addictions, this snack mix is liable to ruin your lifeWillpower? Buh-bye. Your ex? Kow-towing at your doorstep. And diet what?

But it’s important to get all of these minor questions out of the way first, because then we can talk about why my friends are spamming my text inbox and Facebook wall with requests for this. Damn. Crack.

Caramel 'Could Be Crack' Snack Mix 8--111113

Nobody who has tasted it seems to know what goes into it. I have tested this recipe on 20+ unsuspecting victims wonderful friends and the very first question to leave all of their crack-coated lips never fails to be, “What the HECK did you put in this, Ala?” A brawl almost literally broke out over the remaining caramelly crumbs when I brought this to a party last weekend, which is always kind of a major ego boost. It’s a pity fights don’t break out over me like this.

But I’ll let you in on the secret. SHHHH.

Caramel 'Could Be Crack' Snack Mix 11--111113

Throw in some cereal. Whatever you have on hand works. I had those Chex Mix corn squares.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Snacks

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola (and Ala’s Breakfast Breakdown of People in Your Day-to-Day Life)

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 4--012713

I’ll confess. I’ve been reading Victorian novels lately.

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 2--012713

This got me thinking about angst muffins (who I’ll explain in a second–hold onto your corsets, lady-folks, and top hats, gentlemen), which got me in turn thinking about pastries. Food. Hunger. Uneaten dinner. Growl.

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 6--012713

A few years ago, I stumbled across Sarah’s Snack Theory, a brilliant synthesis of three male character types that you’re likely to like, hate, or just go outright epileptic over when you meet him in the literature of your choice. Then, as if I didn’t like the girl enough already, she goes on and likens them to different types of food:

angst muffins (your brooding woe-in-soul harborers),

sandwiches (reliable boy-next-door types), and

pastries (your variegated wild cards).

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 7--012713

Since that glorious moment of serendipitous blog surfing, various groups of my friends and I have entertained (mostly facetious) conversations about the cuisine archetypes we’re likely to meet in life. We frequently assign code categories to mutual acquaintances, thus if you heard:

“Oh my gosh, did you see how much of a meringue ____ was being today?”

–you’ll know I mean that this person is really nice to look at but is mostly just full of air, with very little substance and a lot fluffiness for brains.

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 5--012713


“I just woke up to the most AMAZING crepe this morning”

which could mean a LOT of things, including the possibility that you got lucky last night with somebody who’s the perfect balance of sweet and satisfying without being overbearing, and then you woke up and realized it wasn’t just a dream. And maybe he/she made you delicious crepes for breakfast, too. Who knows.

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola 1--012713

Are you loving this system as much as I am yet?

As a gentle segue into this beautiful gossip-monger’s paradise, and before I run out of words in this post, I’m going to introduce you to Ala’s Breakfast Breakdown of People in Your Day-to-Day Life.Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks