Crisp Crunch.

I’ve got a little vice.

Well, I don’t know if it’s an actual vice, more of an obsession.

With crispy foods.

Me and burnt toast…we’ve been friends for quite some time.

I made my first roast chicken the other day and let me tell you something…crispy chicken skin is ahhhhmazing.

I’m sure professional chefs would gasp open mouthed about my burnt toast confession.

Not to mention that fact that I just made my first whole roasted chicken.

Shall we even mention crispy, little fried, donut holes?

That will just segway into funnel cakes.

Uh, let’s talk healthy crispy things.

Like these crunchy granola bars.


They are chock full of good for you ingredients.


Ummmmm two types of seeds, coconut, dried cranberries, and sweetened w/ maple syrup.


Plus, they are grain free and nut-free making them allergy free and hello…vegan.


I mean, just look at that…no preservatives!


Yes, this is real life.


These babies are going to rock your crunchy world.


Get on it.




Seeded Cranberry Crunch Bars
Recipe type: snack, granola bars
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Crispy grain-free granola bars chock full of seeds and sweet, tart, dried cranberries. The perfect snack. Gluten-free, paleo, nut-free, vegan.
  • 1¼ c. pepita seeds
  • 1 c. sunflower seeds
  • ¾ c. dried cranberries
  • 1¼ c. unsweetened, coconut flakes
  • ½ c. maple syrup
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ t. sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until evenly distributed.
  3. Line a 9x13 in. baking dish with parchment paper.
  4. Using a silicone spatula, transfer the nut mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread it evenly.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bars are lightly golden brown in color.
  6. Remove from the dish and allow to cool.
  7. Slice into 12 even bars and refrigerate until cold.




Let me tell you what happened last Friday.

Well, all week I had been baking/cooking when I got home in the afternoons and trying* to brush up on my photography skills but seriously…I just ended up on the floor, spatula in one hand, camera in the other, basically having an anxiety attack.

So, I took a deep breath and said, next week…next week I will write posts and chat it up with y’all.

Oh, and then last Friday happened where I lost my mind and forgot that it was my 4-year BLOG ANNIVERSARY!

I can’t believe it’s been 4 years!


If you don’t know my story, my baby seester and I had moved in together while we were both at college.

My seester studied abroad one summer in Belgium and came back sick as a dog.

Living off of a diet of belgium waffles, nutella, and whipped cream didn’t seem to rock her world in the stomach department if you know what I’m saying.

After rounds of testing, she was diagnosed with celiac disease.

Our reaction was pretty much “what the? is celiac disease?”

Growing up in an Italian family where bread and pasta are religious artifacts, we knew this was not going to be a walk in the park.

So, I got in the kitchen and started to learn about gluten-free cooking and baking.

Being busy college students, it was tough to always have time to cook and bake, especially when you are buried under term papers.

So, I started this blog, to chronicle my journey with my seester as we cooked/baked gluten-free.

At the same time, I learned more about myself than I remotely anticipated.

Mangia has truly become a place where I have developed a voice, a self-confident one at that.

It is my home.

It is where I come to share my recipes, thoughts, ramblings, mental breakdowns, pet peeves, and all of the above with all of you, my beautiful, awesome, internet friends.

My goal is that Mangia will continue to be a where you feel at home, a warm, friendly, environment, where you can come to drink a cup of coffee, chat with me, and leave with a delicious recipe.

The more people I can reach, the better.

Let’s have breakfast together this morning.

It’s all about the seeds today.


Because today, we are making paleo granola.


With coconut too!


I’m straight up tossing this with tahini and melted coconut butter.


Oh, and maple syrup.




this stuff is legit!


Crispy seeds, toasted coconut flakes, a pinch of salt, and oh the tahini, coconut butter, maple syrup smash-bang…


it’s pretty much out of this world.


Plus, these babies like to clump together after cooling, making little clusters of crunchy heaven.


This recipe creates baller status.


Believe me…

that is a title you want and need. 😉

5.0 from 2 reviews
Seeded Coconut Tahini Clusters
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
4 types of seeds + coconut flakes, tossed with tahini, coconut butter, and maple syrup for the perfect crunchy granola clusters, without oats! Gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, paleo, vegan. Eat as a snack or with breakfast over yogurt, fruit, or your favorite dairy-free milk.
  • ½ c. raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ c. raw pepita seeds
  • ½ c. raw sesame seeds
  • ¼ c. chia seeds
  • 1 c. unsweetened, coconut flakes
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T. melted coconut butter
  • 1 T. tahini
  • ¼ c. pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Spread the mixture out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing the mixture every 5 minutes, to avoid burning.
  6. Cool the granola completely before removing.
  7. Store in a glass or airtight container/jar.




What a weekend.

I love the 4th of July.

Sun and fun, family, grilling, meatballs/sauce & pasta (yes, us Italian American’s always celebrate any holiday with meatballs…true Merican’s), fireworks, & anything with the word pie or crisp in it.

It was pouring on Friday night, so I didn’t get to watch fireworks, however; I actually enjoyed the quiet, watching movies, and just hanging out.

I am feeling like I have a post-weekend food baby from all the food I ate.

I didn’t go overboard, I just felt that there was A TON of eating…good eating.

Let’s start new this week.

I always feel like I need to re-charge in the best way possible after a food filled weekend.

This usually involves making food for performance and energy reasons.

My job is physically demanding, so anything snack-able is always advised 🙂

We are making some raw snacks today.


Sweet banana + date + coconut butter + raw sunflower seed butter


+ coconut


+ raw protein powder + extra coconut butter on top…


it doesn’t get any more wholesome or healthier than that.


Plus, this recipe is super quick.

Raw Banana Bread Protein Bites for the win!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Raw Banana Bread Protein Bites
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
A chewy, "cookie" bite made with a base of dates, coconut, sunflower seed & coconut butter, and a bit of raw protein powder. Topped w/ coconut butter for the perfect pre or post-workout snack. Gluten-free, vegan, raw, paleo, nut-free.
  • For the base:
  • 1 large, very ripe banana
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1.5 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 T. slightly melted coconut butter
  • 1 T. raw sunflower seed butter
  • 2 T. raw protein powder, optional
  • For the topping:
  • 2 T. slightly melted coconut butter
  1. For the base, place all of the ingredients into a large food processor and process on high until a huge ball begins to form. The mixture should be slightly sticky, but not so sticky that your fingers are coated with the mixture.
  2. Spread the mixture into a small square baking pan.
  3. Pour the topping mixture over the base mixture.
  4. Freeze for about 30 minutes to set.
  5. Cut into small squares and serve.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for best results.



I’m pretty sure I have an allergy to almonds.

I figured this out when I gave up peanut butter for lent and started eating almond butter like I was a starved child.

Not so clever now are ya, Chels?

Anyway, the stuff gives me an itchy throat, leaves me bloated, and swollen in my stomach and legs.

What gives?

So, I took myself off of it and switched to sunflower seed butter.


Every time I think of sunflower seeds, one person comes to mind, my uncle/godfather.


The man is a sunflower seed addict.


I’m talking sunflower seed kernels on the floor board of his car.


Don’t judge him.


Being the frugal person that I am, I decided to make my own.


Because obviously there is gold inside a $12 jar of sunflower seed butter.


Oh, and I added my own “chocolate” concoction.


Only because I’m pretty awesome like that.




Oh, and because these sunflower seed butter companies need to get on my level.


Y’all…insanely creamy.


That’s all.

Chocolate Sunflower Butter
Recipe type: Snack, Spread, Seed Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
Toasted sunflower seeds get pulverized to form a creamy seed butter, swirled w/ a chocolate cacao mixture, and a hint of sea salt. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free, nut-free.
  • 2 c. raw, unsalted sunflower seeds, unshelled
  • 1 t. melted coconut oil
  • 1 t. cacao powder
  • ¼ t. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the sunflower seeds evenly out on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, tossing the seeds halfway through the baking process.
  4. Let the seeds cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Place the seeds in a large food processor and process on high until the seeds begin to break down and form a creamy butter.
  6. This takes about 5-8 minutes, and you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the melted coconut oil & cacao powder, mixing until smooth.
  8. Stir the cacao mixture and sea salt into the sunflower butter mixture and mix until combined.
  9. Serve spread on a piece of toast, muffin, or drizzled over fresh fruit and yogurt.