chocolate-cherry energy bites

If you’re like me, when time is limited and you’re hungry, the snacks you tend to reach for may not be the most nourishing.  Though I try to stay away from my 3 year old’s Goldfish crackers, sometimes they’re the easiest to grab and who doesn’t love Goldfish crackers??

However, five handfuls later, I’m still hungry and just ate waaaay more crackers than I should have.  So now I’m really trying to make healthy treats to snack on that will satiate those hunger pangs throughout the day.  Enter these cute, little energy bites.

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I think of these as homemade Larabars because they both contain real ingredients and are a cinch to make.  Dates are the only sweetener and do their job of holding everything together.  Using dates and whatever nuts you have on hand as the base, you can completely customize the flavor of these little bites.  So here I had cherries and chocolate (cacao powder), which is always a winning combo.

Then you just blend everything in a food processor, roll the mixture into little balls, and refrigerate.  Boom.  Now you’ve got healthy snacks on the go!

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chocolate-cherry energy bites

These snackable, poppable energy bites are are great to have on hand when hunger pangs strike.  I love these because they’re so customizable, though the cherry and chocolate combo are my favorite.  Just think of these as homemade Larabars!

 

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • ∼½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup raw cashews (roasted is fine too, though I would stay away from salted nuts)
  • 3 tbs cashew butter
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • pinch of fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 tbs cacao (or cocoa) powder

Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes if they are dry or hard.

Place dates in a food processor and blend until they are in small pieces.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until everything is combined and has a finely ground consistency.

Using a 2 tbs cookie scoop, scoop mixture into balls and refrigerate in an airtight container.

 

(adapted from Urban Apron)

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Nut-Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (with Crisp Brown Rice)

My husband is raving about these cookies.  Yes, they’re tasty and crunchy but simply the best cookie I’ve made thus far?  I didn’t think so, but he says otherwise and I’ll take that from my harshest (only) food critic.  I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

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These are nut-butter cookies because they’re made with a combination of almond and cashew butters, though I’m sure substitutions (all almond butter, peanut butter, etc) would work just fine.  Cashews are a bit more mellow in flavor than almonds (in my opinion) so using cashew butter really balanced the strong almond flavor of these cookies.  Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice (or Rice Crispies) and you’ve got a cookie with lots of flavor and tons of texture.  Top with flaked sea salt for good measure.

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They’re chewy, crispy and chocolaty…you should totally do it.  Happy weekending!


nut-butter chocolate chunk cookies (with crisp brown rice)

These come together in a snap and substitutions are welcome.  If you don’t have cashew butter, 1 cup of almond butter can be used instead.  Or peanut butter. Or any nut butter, really.  Don’t skip the crisp brown rice.

  • ½ cup cashew butter (raw or roasted)
  • ½ cup roasted almond butter
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup crisp brown rice
  • ½ cup  chopped dark chocolate (I prefer at least 70% cocoa)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine nut butters with both types of sugars in a large bowl until everything is combined.  Add in the egg and stir until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt.

Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice.  Stir to combine.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I then rolled each cookie dough ball between my hands to make sure they were all uniform in size and would spread evenly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.  Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet before removing them.  Store in an airtight container and they should keep for about a week.

 

Almond Flour Bread with Goat Cheese & Pickled Strawberry Preserves

I’m giving you two recipes today- a fabulous gluten-free, grain-free almond flour bread and an unexpected strawberry jam!

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The almond flour bread is a wonderful option whether or not you follow a gluten-free diet so I’m sure I’ll be making it quite often from here on out.  This bread is simple, customizable and completely satisfying.  A couple slices are a perfect snack and should keep hunger at bay all the way until lunch. Next, I’m thinking a savory option…some sun-dried tomatoes and herbs, maybe?  Be aware, this bread is quite dense and doesn’t taste like your traditional wheat bread.  But that’s ok…it’s fun to experiment right?

Recently, I have been making quite a few recipes from Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons cookbook and her pickled strawberry jam immediately caught my attention.  The flavor is superb and with the addition of spices like coriander, bay leaves and black peppercorns, it’s not quite like any jam I’ve tasted before. With strawberry season in full swing, I couldn’t wait to use the ones I had just picked up from the farmers’ market for this recipe.

Lightly toast the almond bread then layer the goat cheese and strawberry preserves and…that’s it!  And don’t forget the coffee!

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