Toasted Oat Granola Bars

Indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they'd just had the courage to leap - Doe Zantamada
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Some big changes have happened in the last few months and I am LIVING for them! Between traveling, work, this beautifully hot summer, going back to school (whaattt?!!), and just life in general, this girl has been oh so busy but just oh so happy! What’s with these changes? Well I decided to stop being so. damn. indecisive. The meditation quote at the top is honestly something that hit me so hard, something that truly resonated with me, and I’m not going to forget it!

Sooo let’s just get into a quick recap, and then why you’re all really here, for those drop dead gorgeous granola bars, which I cannot stop eating, but guess who doesn’t feel bad about it? ME!

Family trip to Costa Rica in July? AMAZING. I believe this was my first “guilt free” trip, aka I was okay that I didn’t work out everyday, I was fine eating all of the tacos and drinking all of the piña coladas, and I was loving floating in the ocean for a week! Boom. That’s growth right there ladies and gents. And now it’s hot AF in Atlanta, but who’s surprised there, pushing me to embrace the sports bra and shorts running life, which I’m also truly enjoying! Never in a million years would I have even dreamed of doing that, but look at me go! …in all honesty, it’s less laundry to wash that way, so maybe it’s just a life hack for you!

Onto my training. I’ve been in race training mode since the spring of 2017. That’s over a year of nonstop training, which helps busy my mind and keep me on a tight schedule, which I’m all about. Between June 2017-July 2018, I ran a 10k, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon, and a shit ton of miles, which may not seem like anything crazy to runners, but between working 2 jobs, trying to sleep, actually see my husband and have a social life, it was a LOT. I never gave myself more than a week of a “break,” and as of now, it’s been 3 weekssince the 10k on July 4th(oh heyyyy best race everrrr!) and I’m okay with it! I love a schedule, I mean come check out my daily to-do planner, but running whatever miles my body is in the mood for – whether it’s 2 or 10 – has been beautiful. Am I itching to sign up for a fall/winter half? Abso-freaking-lutely. Will I? …probably! But hey, loving this moment I’m in right now!

Okay, so also, KICKBOXING – what is UP. Just started, and shout out to Vesta Movement for kicking my behind. I’m obsessed. Like to the point where I just want to be hella strong like the women at this gym, want to get a bag for our house and practice all. day. long. Watch out running, you have huge competition here! Runner’s high is something unreal, but the power you feel after an hour of kickboxing and strength training is insane! Try it. Seriously!

And lastly, school. After over a year+ of going back and forth,errr being indecisive,I’ll be going back to school in the fall for my Master’s in Human Nutrition!  I tried it once in college, and partying took priority then, but now that I’m slightly more mature and focused, I’m doin’ it! Ohhh the dream, back to school at 28! But the day that I am a nutritionist that bakes kick ass healthy pastries, girl, I’ll be living! Just wait, my friends ;)

AND NOW! This recipe. I’ve been trying to create this for soooo dang long! A no bake, simple ingredient, tasty AF, healthy, filling bar. I’ve been so pleased with my last few recipes, and this isn’t any different! It’s such a killer snack, and I mean, your girl is the #queenofsnacking. My recent food sensitivities have really screwed with me, so having to get a touch creative while sticking to my simple ingredients has been a ride! Nut allergy? Try sunflower butter!It’s also GF, (almost) raw, packed with protein and so insanely good that I have made these bars once/week. Yeah, my husband and I are in love … with each other, but mainly with these granola bars. YUM. It’ll take you a total of 5 minutes to make once the oats are toasted, and then let them chill for ~1 hour and then snack time! Crumbling them up a bit and putting on top of my smoothies has been a dream—and after an hour long session of punching and kicking a bag, doing burpees, lunges, and even a nice hilly run, these satisfy every craving you’ll have! They also give you a bit of energy with the maca powder (optional!), refuel with that protein and any sweet cravings you’re having, the dates + raisins + coconut sugar are there for you.

If you read all of this, THANK YOU! Life has been a beautiful thing recently, just took me realizing how my indecisiveness, lack of chill and overall worrying about everything contribute to the crazy anxiety in my life! But hey, y’all got a bomb ass recipe out of this, so you’re welcome, and enjoy it, babes!!

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ingredients

Rolled Oats, toasted—10.5 oz, or 3 cups

Dates, seeded and rough chopped—6 oz, or 1 cup

Raisins—4 oz, or 1 cup

Sunflower Seeds—2 oz, or ½ cup

Flax Seeds—2 TBL

Maca Powder—2 tsp

Collagen Powder—2 scoops

Peanut Butter—11.25 oz, or 1 ¼ cup

Honey—5 oz, or ½ cup

Coconut Sugar—1.25 oz, or 3 TBL

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Almond Extract—1 tsp

 

process

Preheat your oven to 350˚F and toast your oats on a baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes. You should be able to smell them when they are finished!

Combine chopped dates, raisins, seeds, maca and collagen into a large bowl.

Once oats have cooled a bit, add to this bowl as well.

In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut sugar. Place over medium heat to melt and combine.

Once all melted, take off of the heat and add in your extracts.

Stir.

Pour over the oat mixture.

Stir (best with your hands!) to coat.

Press onto a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper.

Put in either fridge or freezer for at least an hour.

Remove, cut and eat!

Stores best in either a plastic zip bag or container in the fridge.

 

Bon Appétit!

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Healthy Granola Bars

Have I mentioned that I am the ultimate snacker? While I try to make the better decisions like carrots and nuts, if a chocolate chip gets in my line of sight, I can’t help myself and just go for it!

With winter upon us and Storm Jonas covering our little city of Charleston in about 18” of snow, the most physical activity that we’ll be getting anytime soon is shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling, meaning that choosing healthy and filling snacks is a must. Do I wish that I had a little bit more self-control and focused more on meals and less on snacks? Absolutely! But then I wouldn’t be able to eat these insanely good granola bars, or these Whole Wheat Muffins packed with protein, so maybe snacking is the way to go!

On Thursday when I headed to the supermarket the day before the big storm hit, I stocked up on the must haves—fruits, veggies, lots of milk, coconut flour, chips and salsa…

I got home, and was like yes, chips and salsa are fabulous, but if we want something hearty, healthy and filling when it’s time to find our cars under the snow, we need a little something else. Roberto and I really love a good granola bar, but sometimes they can be full of ingredients that no one has ever heard of, and that’s just a no go in this house!

Cue in these granola bars.

The base had to be oaty and nutty for me, always! From there, you can really add anything—spices, seeds, fruit, chocolate! The option of a nut flour is definitely there, but coconut flour adds a slight sweetness, so you can add little to no sugar in the rest of the bar. I love all types of dried fruit, and the dried cranberries can be swapped for something else. The crucial points in this bar? Oats, coconut flour, honey and peanut butter. It is best to use honey over agave or maple syrup because it has more of a viscous texture compared to the others and therefore will hold the bar together better. Almond flour and butter instead of coconut flour and peanut butter? Certainly—you can change that!

If I haven’t won you over so far, get ready for this. This recipe makes 8 bars. Each bar comes in at a delicious 225 calories, 13g of fat and 5g of protein! Tell me you aren’t grabbing your mixing bowl right now!

These granola bars are super healthy, full of great quality ingredients and will fuel all activities—from shoveling to stacking wood to all of your winter storm fun!

ingredients

Oats—1.5 oz, or ½ C

Coconut Flour—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Pecans, chopped—2 oz, or ½ C

Dried Cranberries—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Cayenne Pepper—¼ tsp

Cinnamon—½ tsp

Chia Seeds—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Salt—¼ tsp

Honey—2.5 oz, or ¼ C

Peanut Butter—3.25 oz, or 1/3C

Vanilla Extract—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Chocolate Chips—3 oz, or ¼ C + 1 TBL


process

Preheat your oven to 300˚ F.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, pecans, cranberries, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chia seeds and salt. Mix.

In a heat proof bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter.

Heat in the microwave, or it can be over the stove in a pot, until the peanut butter is nice a melted. *I like to use crunchy peanut butter for this recipe, it gives the bars an added crunch factor—but creamy is fine too!*

Once melted, add in the vanilla extract, and pour all into the dry ingredients mixture.

Using either your hands or a spatula, mix until combined. Your granola mixture will feel slightly stiff, but that’s what you want!

Fold in the chocolate chips.

*You may add the chocolate chips in with the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with the melted peanut butter and honey. The end result in taste is the same, but the chips will melt, making your bars more a chocolate color!*

To bake, I use a square 8”x8” pan, line it with parchment and press the bars evenly into the pan.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, until the oats just start to brown.

*You could also freeze the bars instead of baking to hold their shape, but I love the crispy oat texture and taste!*

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Cut into bars—you will get 8 out of this pan, and they are only 225 calories each!


Bon Appétit!