I was approached by a representative of Nuts.com to enter their healthy summer snack contest! Woo! People are finding my blog and I get an excuse to play with cool ingredients and make a healthy snack.
I knew I wanted to do some kind of bar, but I am not enough of a baker to create a recipe on my own, so I turned to the best baker I know - Melissa from Smells like Brownies. Together, we came up with a granola bar recipe that included cacao butter, cacao nibs, dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut, almond flour, chia seeds, and oats. Sweetened only with honey, these bars are a powerhouse of energy (they also have great texture and flavor).
To get the most flavor, roast the hazelnuts at 350 for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan at 10 and 15 minutes to ensure that they roast evenly. You can then rub most of the skins off with a towel. If you really want to get rid of all of the skins, you will have to blanch them and the skins before roasting.
You will need a food processor for this recipe, but it comes together very easily. Then you just press into a pan and bake. The bars are a little crumbly, so if you aren't a fan of that - try soaking the chia seeds in a bit of water before adding them.
The real MVP of this recipe is the cacao butter. My goodness, does it smell and taste delicious. It's like vegetable oil (or more like coconut oil in terms of healthiness and uses) that tastes like chocolate - I might be a little obsessed now. You can wrap these individually to travel or to freeze. You can also sub in whatever nuts you like, add more dried fruit - whatever you want!
Oh, yeah - if you make sure to use GF oats, this is totally Gluten Free! And if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup, it's also vegan! Enjoy!
So I love muesli - real muesli like this, not the kind you find in a cereal box - but it takes a lot of work to put together. When I started seeing overnight oats pop up on Pinterest, I thought it sounded pretty similar - raw oats soaked in yogurt with fruit - but with less work and made in mason jars. Everything is cooler with mason jars, so I decided to check it out. The recipe also involves chia seeds, which are uber-trendy right now, and with good reason! They are similar to flax seeds, but don't have to be ground to be eaten, plus they do this super cool gel thing when soaked.
The base of the recipe is oats, chia seeds, yogurt and milk - places in a jar and shaken. Then you add in whatever flavors and sweeteners you want and let it set up in the fridge overnight (hence the name). For vegans or lactose-intolerant, simply substitute your favorite products here. Coconut milk would be especially delicious, I think. Of course, you don't have to use a mason jar to do this, but it's super cute and easy to transport!
The first flavor I tried was Vanilla Raspberry - made with vanilla extract, raspberry jam, and fresh raspberries. Yum!
Next I tried Mango Almond, with fresh mango, almond extract, and a little agave. This wasn't quite as awesome, mostly because of the almond extract, but still good.
I've also made Pina Colada with coconut extract and pineapple jam. The options are pretty endless. Even if you don't like fruit, you could do peanut butter, nutella, chocolate, or coffee flavors.
Packed with fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals - this is a super healthy breakfast or post-workout snack. It is really filling, too. Try it out and tell me what your favorite flavor combo is!
1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp dried chia seeds