It’s fall which of course means pumpkin EVERYTHING. And I love it! Pumpkin has so many great uses in baking, especially when it comes to baking something HEALTHY. Sadly, I don’t have many healthy pumpkin recipes up to this point on my blog, but I do love this Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip and just made these Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies with PUMPKIN instead of the butternut squash and they were amazing!
So, I’m excited to add these Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites to the mix. These little gems are so tasty and so very good for you! I don’t mind giving these to my kids for breakfast one bit. They’ve got fiber, protein, good fats and some great nutrients! Oh and the best part…DARK CHOCOLATE. 😀
They only take a few minutes to whip up–give ’em a try!
I have so many recipes that I’ve done over the last year or so that were the healthy dessert and breakfast type I made for my family but never got around to blogging and I’m so excited to revisit and remake them in order to share with you all! I was OBSESSED with this granola recipe last fall and actually ended up giving out bags of it for Christmas with other homemade goodies such as handsoap, etc.
It was very well received and I plan on doing something similar this year for gifts! You can package it so pretty and this stuff lasts in an airtight container for a very long time! What I really love is how some of my favorite flavors combine in this…you’ve got fall with the cinnamon and nutmeg, a nice kick from the espresso powder and a hint of chocolate from the coffee beans! It’s just soooooo good! My kids LOVE it but for obvious reasons (hello, caffeine!) I limit their intake. 😀 It’s great over yogurt, with my Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip or just in a bowl with some nice cold, almond milk!
½ c. Wheat Germ (I use ground flaxseed if I don't have wheat germ)
1 c. Fruit Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries
1 c. Golden Raisins (or use another cup of dried cranberries)
½ c. Coconut Oil, melted
1 ½ c. Agave
3 T. Instant Espresso Powder (feel free to use more for more of the coffee flavor--I actually like about ⅓ cup!)
2 t. Cinnamon
½ t. Nutmeg
2 t. Sea Salt
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
1-2 c. Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans (I get grain sweetened ones) or Dark Chocolate Chunks (preferably stevia sweetened, etc)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two large baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, cranberries and golden raisins. Toss well.
In another medium bowl, combine melted coconut oil, agave, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Whisk together until well combined.
Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry oat mixture and stir to fully combine. I stir for at least 3-5 minutes to ensure everything is well coated.
Divide the granola between the two baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so the granola will get evenly toasted.
Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, spray the bottom of a flat 1 cup measuring cup or a flat bottomed glass with cooking spray. Press the granola into the pan using the bottom of the measure cup so that you have a flat slab of granola.
Let the granola sit for one hour to cool and harden.
After an hour break the granola up into clusters and stir in chocolate covered coffee beans or dark chocolate chunks.
In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!
So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!
So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.
All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!
1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
1½ t. Cinnamon
1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
I’ve been incorporating chickpea (garbanzo) flour into lots of things lately, mainly because it has a fairly neutral flavor once it’s been cooked and adds a good amount of protein and fiber to food. My favorite thing right now is to mix it into my kids oatmeal…they don’t even know it’s there! So when I saw these chia granola bars used it, I HAD to try them.
Aaaaaand…they turned out great! I was expecting a crunchier bar but mine remained soft which is ok because we still loved them. Looking back over the original recipe, I actually missed the step about pressing them down again after they have been baked so that might have been my problem with them not being crunchy!
They are slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty and quite yummy! Love the good fats, protein and fiber from the chickpea flour and chia seeds and the little crunch from the crispy rice cereal is perfect. Great for breakfast or a snack!
⅔ c. Chickpea Flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
3 T. Chia Seeds
1 t. Baking Soda
¾ t. Sea Salt
⅔ c. Agave
⅓ c. Melted Coconut Oil
¼ c. Sucanat
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk oats, rice cereal, chickpea flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together agave, coconut oil, sucanant and vanilla until blended,
Add agave mixture to oat mixture, stirring until completely coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Spray you hands with non-stick spray and press mixture down gently but firmly to compact into pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (I did 20) or until light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board (you can leave them sitting on top of the parchment paper). Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into bars. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Sometimes I think I like my healthy recipes better than my totally unhealthy ones…for instance, these No-Bake Energy Bars. One word-AMAZING. Easy and delicious, sweet but not too sweet, chewy and just yummy. Wholesome ingredients like oats and flaxseed and a little indulgence from the dark chocolate chips. Perfect pick me up in the afternoon when energy is at an all-time low. Now if I could only eat just one…
2 c. Dessicated Coconut Flakes (the unsweetened kind)
1 c. Ground Flaxseed (I used flaxseed meal)
⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
½ c. Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Line a 9x13 pan with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, agave and vanilla until smooth. Add oats, coconut flakes and ground flaxseed and combine thoroughly. Stir in coconut oil. Stir in dark chocolate chips. Press evenly into bottom of pan. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes until bars are firm. Invert onto a cutting board, peel away foil and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.
As of today I’ve been in Destin, Florida for five days. Surprise! Jealous? You should be, it’s awesome here. Sun, sand, emerald blue water and doing a whole lot of nothing. It’s been glorious. But of course I had to take a little time out of my day and tell you all about a little road trippin’ snack I made.
See Jeremy and I are actually pretty health conscious (despite what I blog about) and have been getting in shape for this vacation for awhile. Knowing that we would be in the car for 12+ hours, I wanted something healthy to snack on should hunger strike. And let’s face it, the healthy options at a 7-Eleven are pretty much limited to the bottled water. We had to be prepared!
So I thought a nice snack would be homemade granola. I’ve seen a few recipes but never attempted it myself, so after doing some research I found one that sounded like it had potential and was super versatile (because no way in heck was I NOT going to change the recipe!). I started with Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes.com. I modified it alot but the bones of the recipe were great…the granola turned out awesome! I could not keep my hands out of it and seriously didn’t know if there would be any left by the time we actually got on the road. And yes, this recipe is healthy. But healthy can taste really, really good. Like, “no way can this be healthy” good. Eat it by the handful or pour some milk over it and enjoy it for breakfast. And DO play with the recipe…experiment with flavors and ingredients!
½ c. 7-Grain Mix (If you can't find it at your local health food store, substitute Wheat Germ or Flax Seed)
2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (I like King Arthur)
1½ t. Salt
½ c. Sugar in the Raw
¼ c. Cocoa Powder
½ c. Chocolate Protein Powder (I like the All Natural Chocolate Muscle Milk)
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
¾ c. Honey
¼ c. Safflower Oil
¼ c. Peanut Oil
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ c. All-Natural Peanut Butter
½ c. All-Natural Dry-Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats and the next 7 ingredients.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the eggs and the next 5 ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly into the cookie sheet, pressing down with the back of a spoon or your hands. Sprinkle the dry-roasted peanuts on top and gently press into the mixture. Bake for 22 minutes and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, or until the granola is cool enough to handle.
Get another cookie sheet and break up the granola into small pieces (the peanuts will probably fall off but that's ok), dividing between the two cookie sheets. Bake both cookie sheets of granola for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight bag.
Today is National Pretzel Day! Yep, get excited. I know it’s a little late in the day but there is still time to make these super easy chocolate covered pretzels. I wanted to give this classic treat a little update so I used pretzel chips and through in some peanut butter. The pretzels even have their own little “handle”, making dipping a cinch. You can have them done in about 30 minutes! How great is that?
And yes, there is a food for every day. Check out this link that lists each month at the bottom of the page, click on the month and it will take you to a daily list. Ya know, just in case you were wondering when you should plan on celebrating raisins or escargot or something ummmm…equally delicious…
Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Chips
-Dark, Milk or White Chocolate Candy Discs
In a medium bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Spread a generous dollop of peanut butter on one side of the pretzel and dip in the melted chocolate. Place on foil and let dry completely. Decorate with a drizzle of white chocolate (if dipping in dark, or vice versa).