balance, brunch, easy, gluten free, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan, vegetarian

Tropical Oat Bars

img_3226

Sometimes, you want to eat seasonally, like enjoying ice cream in the summer to beat the heat, or cozy up with a hot bowl of soup in the winter to warm up. And sometimes, it just gets so damn cold that you decide to protest the weather and fantasize about a dreamy tropical getaway and have to make some snacks that help you do just that.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I almost always go refined sugar free in January as a body refresh and reset. I do pretty well at resisting the baked goods during the holidays but even I occasionally find myself indulging in more than my fair share of homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies. I am a firm believer in enjoying your food always and embracing the treats of the season are a part of enjoying time with family and remembering traditions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a break from it all come January.

Going refined sugar free works really well for me, I work well with boundaries and telling myself that I am not having something is often easier than I will eat less of something.

I love snacking on whole foods when I’m running between school, work or just heading to a workout, but many bars you find in stores are loaded with extra sugar or just weird ingredients. That, and I can make my own bars in about 15 minutes for a lot less.

Here are some tropical banana, oat, toasted coconut and almond bars that are naturally sweetened, full of healthy fat and fiber to help get you through these long, dark winter days. You could always add some dried pineapple or mango for an extra tropical feel, just make sure your dried fruit doesn’t have any added sugar.


 

Tropical Oat Bars

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Total Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups oats (I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free)

1 cup roasted and unsalted almonds

1/2 pepitas

1 cup banana chips

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions :

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and honey over heat on low until simmering.
  • Spread oats and coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (watch to make sure they don’t burn)
  • When oats and coconut flakes are done, mix in a  bowl with almonds, pepitas and banana chips and cover with oil and syrup mixture.

 

 

img_3230

  • Mix to combine and pour into 9X9 baking pan.
  • Place in refrigerator until solid, slice and enjoy. Store in refrigerator.

 

 

breakfast, easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Maple Pumpkin Granola (GF, Vegan)

img_3085

I have been ready for fall for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sunshine and warm weather as much as the next person, but not all the time. There is something so comforting about the changing leaves, a slight chill in the area and the coziness of drinking a cup of tea and baking on a Sunday afternoon when it’s grey out. I also think that pumpkin is an underrated squash that only really gets hype around Halloween and Thanksgiving and love using it in all my cooking, including both savory things and sweet.

I’ve been craving some hearty granola, but most of the stuff you buy in the store has a lot of sugar and is highly processed. I wanted some granola that had all of the flavors of fall I love so much, but without the refined sugar. My criteria also included something with healthy fat and lots of plant protein.

Enter my maple pumpkin granola. It’s sweetened with a little maple syrup and some apple juice, pecans and pumpkin seeds for crunch, raw pumpkin for some yummy pumpkin flavor, flax meal for heart healthy omega 3’s and coconut flakes for something a little different.

I am so happy with how this granola turned out, my kitchen smelled amazing  and I could hardly wait to sample this when it came out of the oven. Not only is it delicious but it far exceeded my nutritional criteria and contains vitamins A and C, healthy fat, lots of protein, fiber and iron. I hope you will love this just as much as me, this was so easy to throw together in a few minutes and enjoy all week as breakfast or just a tasty snack.


img_2378

Maple Pumpkin Granola

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Bake time : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

2 cups raw oats

2/3 cup raw pecans

2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (can also use raw)

1/3 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes

1/3 cup flax meal

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup apple juice unsweetened

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup raw pumpkin

Instructions :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

Combine apple juice, maple syrup and pumpkin in medium size bowl. Microwave coconut oil to melt and add to remaining wet ingredients.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to coat.

img_2384

Spread on a large cookie sheet to cover. Bake for 20 minutes and stir. Bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven and allow to sit and cool.

img_2387

Enjoy with almond milk or over yogurt or just by the handful which I ended up doing because it was too delicious to not snack on!

easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Easy Energy?!

What? It’s that simple? Well, sort of. Choosing to put good fuel into your body will keep you going and help you tackle those meetings, your workout, and anything else that comes your way. A little planning will help you continue to stay on track no matter how busy, and these bites are just the thing for that! Whether I’m running to school, work or just a workout when I want something slightly sweet but also nutritionally balanced, I reach for these. They take minutes to pull together and are the perfect balance of protein, heart healthy omegas and fiber to help you feel full between meals and feel satiated! Enjoy!

Date Almond Bites 

Prep Time : 1 hour | Cook time : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

1 cup oats

10 dates

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions :

1. Combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds and coconut flakes in your food processor. Pulse until oats have broken down and you get a meal that looks like this.

2. Add dates and almonds to your food processor and continue to pulse until mixture begins to come together.

3. Your mixture will begin to ball up in your food processor, when this happens, pause and scrape down the sides and continue to pulse until it resembles this.

thumb_img_0324_1024

4. When you get the mixture, dump out your food processor and roll into 1 inch size balls and store in the fridge. When you need a quick snack grab a few and take them with you. Hope you enjoy!

recipe, snacks

Powerhouse Protein Bars

IMG_5688

I’m not really a fan of super processed foods. A couple years back my friend and I decided to learn how to better make pie and we decided to dedicate a year to pie making, one a month.  It was super fun to get together each month and try new things and obviously eating pie together wasn’t so bad either.

After that we started making all sorts of stuff from scratch and working on perfecting our skills at making everything from cheese to lip balm. What I realized is that just about everything out there from body scrubs to protein bars can really be made from scratch. Sure, some are more intimidating than others and take more time, but really, there are very few things you can’t handle yourself. And the best part-you get to control what goes into it and make it exactly what you want, what’s better than that?

Since I don’t eat meat, and do a lot of running I have to find new ways to get enough protein to keep my muscles happy. The other night while puttering around in the kitchen, I started pulling out things I thought would work together and these protein bars were born. For a first iteration I have to say I’m really happy with them and hope you will be too. These bars are rich and chocolaty with no refined sugar, they give you energy and keep you full. What you get are gluten free vegan bars with a great mix of healthy fat, omegas, antioxidants and balanced protein, all with no crazy weird ingredients! Yay!

IMG_5698


Dame’s Powerhouse Protein Bars

Total Time : 15 minutes | Servings : 12 bars

Ingredients :

1 cup dry quinoa

1 cup oats

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 tablespoons flax meal

1 cup peanut butter (can also use almond)

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

1/4 cup rice protein (can omit)

4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons honey (optional)

Instructions :

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread rinsed and dried quinoa and oats on baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes to toast grains.

IMG_5689

2. When grains come out of oven, in a saucepan over medium low heat combine peanut butter, cocoa powder, protein powder, coconut oil and honey if you use it.

3. Pour dry oats and quinoa in bowl and add chia seeds and flax meal. When liquid mixture is combined pour on top of dry ingredients and combine.

IMG_5694

4. Pour mixture into a lined 8X8 pan and put into fridge to firm up. I have to admit I was tasting these before they were done 🙂

5. After about 30 minutes remove from fridge and slice into bars.

IMG_5697

IMG_5698

Give these a try, they are fantastic and super easy to pull together.  I kept these in the fridge but they are great to grab in the morning and take to work or keep in your gym bag to refuel after a hard run with.

Enjoy!