Strawberry Oat Bars

Having nutritious snack options is a must in my house. Though I personally am not a big snacker, my two growing boys ARE. And with the amount of food they can put away in a day, I need to make sure they are making the most of those snacking opportunities. No empty calories here!

This recipe is similar to the raspberry bars but are made slightly different. The addition of the banana in this recipe changes it quite a bit.

I am categorizing this one under snacks and breakfast because they can be either. A nutrient dense breakfast or a nutrient dense snack. With the addition of chia seeds (you can read about why chia seeds are so amazing in this post here), plus the highly antioxidant power of strawberries, fiber from the oatmeal, and no processed sugar these strawberry oat bars are sure to please.

Making the jam:

2 cups frozen strawberries

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

Making the bars:

2 cups oatmeal (divided)

1 tsp baking powder

2 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Make the jam first, because you need it cooled before baking the bars. In a medium sauce pan add the strawberries and maple syrup and heat until the strawberries break down and thicken. Keep stirring occasionally.
  2. Add in the chia seeds and vanilla and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. You could make this ahead of time, maybe the night before or in the morning before baking the bars in the afternoon/evening.
  4. To make the oat bars put 1 cup of the oats in a food processor and grind into a flour. Pour the oat flour and remaining 1 cup of oats in a mixing bowl and mix in the baking powder.
  5. Add the mashed bananas, syrup and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  6. Transfer 2/3 of the oat mixture into a baking dish and gently press down tightly and evenly. Spread the jam on top. Crumble the remaining oat mixture on top of the jam and press down gently.
  7. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. The top should be a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before cutting.

These taste great using blueberries, too! Just substitute the frozen strawberries for frozen blueberries when making the jam. Everything else stays the same. You could even use 2 cups of frozen mixed berries, too!

   

Superfood Trail Mix

I love a good trail mix. It’s the perfect snack when you combine the right mix of foods. The perfect trail mix must have a combination of nuts, dried fruits and a touch of sweetness.

“Superfood Trail Mix” has all of those things. But with SUPER foods. Not processed, sugary junk. It is a mix of nuts, dried cranberries, goji berries and chopped dark chocolate.

If you have never heard of the goji berry (also called wolfberry) then you are in for a treat! They are delicious and one of the most healthy foods you can eat. Goji berries have been used medicinally for thousands of years because of it being an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are a natural ally in dealing with persistent stress and fatigue because they work with regulating important hormones. Goji berries have been shown to prevent fatigue, calm the nervous system, nourish the blood, fight free radicals, boost the immune system, promote healthy eyes and skin, protect the liver and they are even a complete protein source.

So as you can see, it’s a pretty powerful little food. I, for one, think it is pretty amazing that you can eat a trail mix for a snack and be doing something incredibly good for your body, rather than damage and stress it out. I’ve said it before, I am on a mission to prove that you don’t have to deprive yourself (or your taste buds!) to live a vibrant healthy life. Healthy, delicious and, most importantly, nourishing food can’t be found at the bottom of a bag or package. It’s growing on Earth!

1/2 cup goji berries

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup cashews, unsalted

1/3 cup almonds, unsalted

1-2 bars dark chocolate, chopped (I never use less than at least 72% cacao)

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. That’s it! Store in an airtight container for up to a week, if it lasts that long!

Yogurt and Berries with Granola

Talk about hitting the spot and satisfying your sweet tooth! Here is a snack you can feel good about. Not only are your taste buds happy but you are fueling yourself with so many disease fighting, immune-building nutrients. This is the perfect afternoon snack. Or dessert!

6 oz. unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious brand)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 banana, sliced

Handful of various berries (I like using a couple each of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)

1/4 cup cinnamon crunch granola

  1. Add the yogurt to a bowl and stir in the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
  2. Mix in the fruit.
  3. Sprinkle the granola on top.

Oat Bars

I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted about these sooner. They have been a staple in our house for years. When I batch cook our snacks for the week, these are always one of the snacks I make.

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup raw local honey

3 cups quick oats

  1. Melt the peanut butter and honey in a saucepan.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the 3 cups of oats. Pour on the honey/PB mixture. Stir until combined.
  3. Press into an 8×8 square baking dish. But you don’t have to bake it! Just let it sit until cooled then cut into squares. You could speed along the cooling process by putting them in the refrigerator if you want. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Applesauce

I like to use apple sauce as a natural sweetener in a fair amount of my baked goods. Apples add a lot of sweet flavor and moisture without having to used processed sugars.

It is really easy to make your own applesauce and it makes your house smell really good while making it. 🙂

7 Apples (I like honeycrisp, fuji, or harralson), peeled and cored and chopped

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 drop Young Living lemon essential oil (or 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice)

  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot, set on low, and cook until soft. You won’t need to mash it, the apples will turn soft while cooking.

Energy Bar

When you look at all the energy bars in the packages at the grocery store they have a novel on the back to let you know what the ingredients are. Most of them are numerous and fancy ways to say SUGAR. And processed sugar at that.

Dates, on the other hand, are naturally sweet and are packed with vital minerals and vitamins. They are easily digested and your body can make full use of the nutrients provided within this little fruit. According to Dr. Mercola:

“Dietary fiber in dates helps to move waste smoothly through your colon and helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption by binding with substances containing cancer-causing chemicals. The iron content, a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, determines the balance of oxygen in the blood. Potassium, an electrolyte, helps control your heart rate and blood pressure. B-vitamins contained in dates, such as the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, absorb into the retina to maintain optimal light-filtering functions and protect against macular degeneration.

Want more? They contain vitamins A and K. Vitamin A protects the eyes, maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes, and even protects the lungs and mouth from developing cancer. Tannins, which are flavonoids as well as polyphenolic antioxidants, fight infection and inflammation and help prevent excessive bleeding (anti-hemorrhagic). Vitamin K is a blood coagulant that also helps metabolize your bones.

Copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin are also present in dates and provide their own unique preventive and healing functions.

Together, these cofactors help your body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Eating dates in moderation can contribute to many health benefits, such as protecting against damage to cells from free radicals, helping preventing a stroke, coronary heart disease and the development of colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.”

That’s pretty amazing for a little tasty snack, right? 🙂

8-10 pitted dates

1/2 cup cashews

handful of chocolate chips or cacao nibs (I use Enjoy Life brand when using chocolate chips because they are dairy/soy/nut free)**

  1. In a food processor add the dates and cashews and blend until a sticky dough forms.
  2. Put dough into a bowl and work in the chocolate chips.
  3. Press out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut bars with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Place each bar on a piece of wax paper because they are slightly sticky.
  4. I store mine in the fridge to help them hold their shape better.

** Chocolate chips are optional, as they are plenty sweet without them.

** Optional add-in ideas: coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, chia seeds

** You could easily substitute the cashews for either almonds or peanut

 

Pico de Gallo

Sometimes the most fun way to eat your veggies is to shovel them into your mouth with a chip! Of course you could also top your favorite tacos with pico de gallo.

My favorite part of this recipe is the cilantro. Cilantro is known for its ability to detoxify the body of heavy metals. Since it has such a definitive flavor (a little goes a long way) I love making sure I add it to any salsa or Mexican inspired dish I make. In addition to being a heavy metal detoxifyer, it is a good source if vitamins, A, C, K and even traces of B. There are even more benefits such as antifungal, antiseptic, aids in digestion….the list goes on! There is just no reason NOT to love cilantro!

6 Roma tomatoes

1 red onion

Cilantro

1 lime

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

1 jalapeno (optional)

  1. Dice the tomatoes and onion into small cubes and add to a large bowl.
  2. Using herb scissors (or using a knife and chopping small) cut cilantro  into bowl with tomatoes and onion. Use your discretion here, if you like a strong cilantro flavor add more. If you like just a hint of cilantro then a add just a little.
  3. Sprinkle the juice of 1 lime over all and give it a good stir. Add salt and stir.

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Salsa

You won’t want store-bought salsa again after you try this recipe for homemade salsa. It takes 10 minutes…that’s it!

The beauty of it is you can adjust the ingredients to your own taste. I tend to go heavier on the garlic and cumin. But if you love a lot of cilantro, go for it! You can make it spicy by adding jalapenos. My kids won’t eat it if it is spicy so I tend to leave them out. It is great served with chips or over tacos.

8-10 roma tomatoes, diced (or you could use 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained)

1/2 small onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

small handful of cilantro

juice of 1 lime

  1. Put everything into a blender or food processor and and pulse to combine for about 20-30 seconds. It really will depend on how thick or thin you like your salsa. (Another great reason to make it yourself, you can customize it to your liking.)

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Rice Crispy Treat

I am not the biggest fan of marshmallows. WAY too sweet for me. But I came across a recipe with an idea to use a nut butter and either honey, syrup or brown rice syrup as the sticky sweetener. I just had to give it a try. These turned out really good. We like to bring these when we go on long hikes as they are a good mix of quick energy with the sweetener and sustained energy with the protein and fat.

2 cups organic brown rice crispy cereal

1/2 cup nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew all work)

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (brown rice syrup is the most sticky, but you could use syrup or honey as well)

  1. Put the cereal in a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan melt the nut butter and syrup until smooth.
  3. Pour syrup mixture over cereal and mix to coat, then press into a greased (I use coconut oil) 8×8 baking dish.
  4. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.