Coconut Cream Homemade Lara Bars

The medicine I was given yesterday really has helped me feel better.  Plus the 11 hours of sleep I got last night has really helped me.  I’m still not at 100% but I’m at least at 70%.  Much better than I was feeling 3 days ago.

My father-in-law had diabetes and blood pressure issues.  For a few years at Christmas time, I would buy him treats he could enjoy.  These treats contained low sugar and low sodium.  He also couldn’t swallow almonds all that well and I would buy him lots of almonds.  He kindly told me not to any more.  Plus he hated coconut.  So what did I get him?   I would go to Trader’s Joe and get him various nuts but not almonds with no salt, pumpkin butter, and Larabars.

I thought Larabars looked interesting but did not try them for the longest time because I didn’t know what the dates would taste like.  I know, I know I’m such a chicken.  Then when I did I was hooked.  They are so good.

This Christmas I had planned to make him some homemade ones.  In fact, I bought the dates the Friday before his death.  It took a month or so after his death to make the homemade ones for myself.  I ended up making coconut cream ones which I know he would have hated.

Let me tell you, they are delicious!!!!!  I would take one of those and a cheese stick and would be set for breakfast.  Yummo!

(Sorry I don’t have a picture of one.  I forgot to take one but will post one as soon as I make another batch.)

Coconut Cream Homemade Lara Bars

Stars of the recipe:

  • 15 Medjool dates or 20 dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 c. almonds
  • 1/2 c. cashews
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Steps:

  1. Mix the almonds, coconut, cashews in the food processor until fine. (Turn it off and on so you don’t blow the motor.)
  2. Add dates, oil, and water. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  3. Line an 8 by 8 pan with either parchment paper or foil. Make sure there is extra on the sides, so you can lift the paper or foil and bars.
  4. Press the dough down so it’s packed down.
  5. Place in the fridge for an hour or so.
  6. When it’s set up, lift it out of the pan. Slice into bars.
  7. Enjoy! (It will last in the fridge for about 2 weeks.)

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Almond Joy Granola

One of my favorite candy bars is Almond Joy.  This is a good thing on Halloween because the  boys won’t touch them with a 10 foot pole or if the Imaginative One is being his snarky self a 9 and 3/4 inch pole.  I get their Almond Joy candy bars on Halloween.  The combination of chocolate and coconut is pure heaven!!  🙂

My other favorite treat is granola either plain or with plain Greek yogurt.  So the combination of the taste of Almond Joy candy bars with yogurt is the best flavor combination at least it is to me.

Almond Joy Granola

Kiss My Broccoli

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (I heated mine up in the microwave for a minute.  Then it smelled like paradise.)
  • 1/3 c. honey (Spray down your measuring cup with cooking spray first.)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 c. shredded coconut (I used sweetened.)
  • 1/2 c. almonds – 1/2 whole, 1/2 slivers

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil after it’s heated up, honey, sugar, and almond extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Mix until combined.
  5. Spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes, stir, and then bake for another 8 minutes.
  7. Take out of oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Then add almonds and coconut.
  8. Store in an air tight container for 2 weeks.
  9. Enjoy by itself or over yogurt!

Printable Recipe

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

For a long time, I had wanted to try Larabars but was afraid because I didn’t know how they would like it because of the dates.  Once I finally tried one of the bars, I decided it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

This past weekend, I picked my first container of dates with the intention of making some energy balls to eat as a snack and for breakfast.  At first I was going to make regular no bake energy balls but then found a recipe for pumpkin no bake energy balls.  I decided to make them instead.  Oh my goodness, they are delicious!!!!!!!  :)’

The best things about this recipe is you don’t need to bake them.  I also like all the different textures and flavors within one little ball.

 

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 packed cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds (I used chia seeds.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked) (I used quick oats.  Those worked great.)
  • 1 c. toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 c. pumpkin seeds

Steps:

  1. Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia or flax seeds, and spices in a food processor. Pulse until it’s smooth and combined.
  2. Put the mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  4. Once it’s cool, using a spoon or cookie scoop to shape into desired size of energy balls.
  5. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  (When they are stored in the refrigerator, it helps the energy balls hold their shape.)
  6. Enjoy – Savor the textures and flavor as you are eating them.

Printable Recipe

6 Easy Breakfast Foods

In January, I made a resolution to eat breakfast on a daily basis.  I’ve been faithful towards that resolution except for one time.  That one time was killer on my body.  My blood sugar was not stable so that made the likelihood of me making bad food choices increase.

As the school year starts, I decided to compile a list of good breakfast foods that are easy especially with a little prep.

1. Yogurt Parfaits

This is my favorite breakfast.  In fact, when we were at the beach, I ate this for breakfast several times.

In a bowl, I place Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit.  (My favorite Greek yogurt is Greek Gods Nonfat Plain.) You can dress it up anyway you want – nuts, Chia Seeds, coconut, different types of Granola, and different fruits.

Here are some granola recipes:

White Chocolate granola

Pumpkin Granola

Apple Crisp Granola

2.  Oatmeal

All it takes is some quick oats and milk/almond milk/water.  Place in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.  You can add a nut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, chopped up nuts, coconut, and/or fruit.  Place the fruit on the oatmeal before microwaving for a whole different flavor experience.

Here is an oatmeal recipe:

Instant Oatmeal Mix

3.  Breakfast Sandwich

This can be done in a million different ways.  Okay, maybe not that many different ways but you can change it up depending on your mood.

Here is the basic formula:

  1. eggs or egg whites
  2. some sort of protein (turkey bacon, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon) cooked
  3. cheese or no cheese (Switch the kinds of cheese – Colby, Cheddar, Swiss, Feta, etc . . .)
  4. veggies – spinach, onions, etc. . .
  5. bread product – whole wheat bread toasted, English muffin, tortilla, Bagel thin

Here’s an easy way to cook the eggs or egg whites:  Spray a round glass bowl (1 cup size) or a coffee mug with cooking spray.  Place the egg scrambled or whole.  Place in microwave for about a 1 min and a half to 2 mins.  If it’s not cooked to your liking, continue cooking it at 30 second intervals.  (If you want to, you can cook the veggies in with the eggs.)

After you cook the eggs, assemble your sandwich and then enjoy!

4.  Muffins

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Depending on what flour and the ingredients in your muffins, they can be a semi-healthy choice for breakfast.  Whole wheat flour is the best flour to use when making muffins.  Lots of fats (oil) and sugar will make your muffin become unhealthy.  Replace your oil in your recipe with unsweetened applesauce (1 to 1 ratio) to make it healthier.

You can make the muffins ahead of time and then freeze them.  Pull a muffin out of the freezer and warm it in the microwave.

I usually pair them with a cheese stick and fruit for a more balanced meal.

Here are some muffin recipes:

Snickerdoodle muffins

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

All Star Muffin mix

Young’s Dairy Pumpkin Muffins/Bread

French Toast Mini Muffins (My sons’ favorite muffins)

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins– Has avocado in it

5.  Smoothies

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This is another favorite of mine.

Easy peasy is the name of the game when it comes to smoothies.  Throw in some fruit, greens, veggies, Chia seeds, flax seeds, ice, liquid (water, milk, juice, or almond milk), yogurt, and/or nut butter in a blender jar.  Blend it together, place in a cup, and enjoy!  (Don’t worry I don’t put all of those ingredients in at the same time.  Those are just some ingredients you can use in your smoothie.)

I pair this up with either a cheese stick or a hard boiled egg.

Here are some smoothie recipes:

Fruit Smoothie (the Imaginative One’s favorite smoothie)

“Tropical Smoothie” Smoothie

Carrot Tropical Smoothie

Key Lime Smoothie

Apple Jack Smoothie

St. Patty’s Day Smoothie

Power Up Green Smoothie

6.  Pancakes/ Waffles

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This one can be easy if you make the pancakes or waffles during the weekend and then freeze them.  Pop them in the microwave or toaster for a quick breakfast.  You can use the pancakes and waffles for your breakfast sandwich.  You can also top the pancakes or waffles with a nut butter.  Pair it with some fruit for a balanced breakfast.

Here are some pancake/waffle recipes:

Waffle House Waffles

Homemade Baking Mix and Pancakes

What is your favorite easy breakfast?

White chocolate granola

I’ve mentioned how much I like a local Farmer’s Market called Second Street Market. One of the vendors has a delicious granola called Triple Treat Granola. It contains walnuts, cranberries, and melted white chocolate. I sent a container to my May and one to my June foodie pen pals. Both of them loved the granola:).

I’ve decided to recreate the granola and add another flavor element – coconut. It turned out delicious.

White Chocolate Granola
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Adapted from Finding Joy in my Kitchen

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. Water
  • 3/4 c. Brown sugar
  • 5 c. Old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (add more or less depending on your likes or leave it out)
  • 1/4 c. Chopped walnuts
  • 1 and 1/2 c. White chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. Dried sweetened coconut

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a big saucepan, combine water, olive oil, and brown sugar. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the oatmeal and cinnamon.
  4. Slowly add the oatmeal mixture to the saucepan. Stir each time you add some of the oatmeal. Make sure the water, olive oil, and brown sugar is evenly coated on the oatmeal.  Take it off the heat.
  5. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Place in preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes.
  7. Take out of oven and stir.
  8. Add walnuts to the granola. Place back in oven.
  9. Bake for 5 more minutes.
  10. Take out of oven and sprinkle with a cup of the white chocolate chips.
  11. Put back in oven for a minutes.
  12. Take out of oven and stir the granola so the melted white chocolate gets all over the granola.
  13. Allow to cool and then add the remaining white chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut.
  14. Store in an air tight container.
  15. Enjoy over yogurt, froyo, or by itself.

Printable Recipe