Larabar

On a dark and dreary day in September, my little and I went on an adventure…to the grocery store. In all actuality I am unsure if the day was dark and dreary, however we did in fact go to the grocery store-in search, once again, of dairy-free snacks and foods to make our lives a little more convenient.

My little loves going and looking at the “protein bar” section, I realize that I should be grateful that he chooses this aisle over the candy aisle. Well on this dark and dreary day he chose a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar; I picked one up too, because you know, Momma has to try it too! Honestly, I was unsure if either of us would like them because the ingredients were extraordinarily healthy…cashews, dates, chocolate chips and sea salt…I mean come on, you can’t get much healthier.

 

Larabar

Well, we loved them! Now Larabar has become our go-to bar. I love finding convenient food that tastes good, and that I feel good about me and my family eating. Plus there is such a variety of yummy flavors, and chocolate! Chocolate is a must. So with our new-found love, I recently e-mailed Larabar to see if I could do a review of their products, and they happily sent me a care package with some samples.

I will admit, these did not last long at all. Thee days tops.

Larabar Side Angle

 

 

I was hoping to share with you my favorite flavor, but I honestly love them all. The Cherry Pie was tart, just like a cherry pie should be, the Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread made me feel like Christmas. There is one flavor that I surprisingly haven’t tried yet, and I say surprisingly because of my obvious love for coconut and chocolate, which is the Coconut Chocolate Chip bar! When I asked the littles what their favorite flavor was, they said the ones with chocolate, it doesn’t matter which one, just one with chocolate, oh and the Peanut Butter and Jelly…genius!

Peanut BUtter and Jelly Larabar

 

So if you dig healthy convenient food, I would definitely encourage you to try out a Larabar, or two or three. You can check them out on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Or order products, learn about the company and sign up for an eNewsletter on Larabar’s Website. Let me know how you like Larabar, and what your favorite flavor is!

Happy Eating 🙂

P.S. I was not paid for this review, all opinions are mine!

Chocolate, coconut and peanut butter! Does it get any better?

Wild Friends is a new[er] brand of nut butters on the market, and they have great flavors including Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter, which was my muse for these two recipes.

I have been trying to find a protein bar on the market that is not only is dairy-free but inexpensive, and it has become a trying task. So I decided to make my own. These bars are not only simple to make, but it makes a large batch and only used a fraction of the ingredients that I purchased.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Approx. 20 small bars

2 cups oats

1 cup puffed brown rice cereal

3/4 cup Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used Lundberg’s Organic Sweet Dreams)

2/3 cup brown rice protein powder (I used Growing Naturals Brand in Chocolate)

1 tsp vanilla

I combined the peanut butter and brown rice syrup and heated it in the microwave for a few seconds until it was slightly melted and easier to stir, you could also heat it on your stove top over low heat-this step made the process of mixing much easier. Add the additional ingredients and keep stirring until the mixture is uniformly combined.

I took my 16 cup (12.375″ L X 9.125″ W X 3.5″ H) Sterilite rectangle lidded container and lined it with parchment paper. I added the mixture and pressed it firmly and evenly. I snapped on the lid and stuck it in the refrigerator for about an hour or two (I lost track of time); once they were cooled, I removed the bars easily with the parchment paper and cut them into 20 small rectangular bars. Then I tossed them back into the container for storage. I recommend storing them in the refrigerator, however I did have one in my purse that I forgot about…it was in a Ziploc baggy for a day or so and it still maintained the shape and flavor.

I wanted to touch on brown rice syrup briefly. I have heard controversy over this item due to reports of arsenic in rice. For one, it is an ingredient in almost every organic, natural, vegan etc bar, and two I felt comfortable using this Lundberg brand because they are taking precautions and testing the levels of arsenic in their rice as part of their comprehensive food safety plan.

And now for this masterpiece…

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Pancakes

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Pancakes

Approx. 4-6 depending on size

2 eggs

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

2 tbsp chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life minis)

2 tbsp shredded coconut

Optional:

Coconut oil for cooking

A little extra coconut and chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (highly recommended)

Mash the banana, then add the eggs and mix well; add the remaining ingredients and mix until relatively smooth. I heated a pan on my stove top to medium-low and added a little coconut oil to keep the pancakes from sticking.  I put about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan; when they have formed bubbles on top that have burst they are ready to be flipped (just like normal pancakes). These don’t take long to cook!

When they are done, grab a plate and stack ’em up. I didn’t add any syrup or additional peanut butter, just a sprinkle of coconut and chocolate chips on top. I’m not even exaggerating, these were like heaven in my mouth. Next time around, I will be making a bigger batch!

Enjoy 🙂

P.S. This post was not sponsored by Wild Friends. All opinions and ideas are my own.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Granola Bars

I was at the grocery store the other day and I came across a bottle of Bee Free Honee, its texture is just the same as honey but it’s made with apples instead…pretty awesome right?

I knew I wanted to try it out on something other than a peanut butter and honee sandwich, so thus the granola bar was born!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Granola Bars (V, DF, GF)

No-Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Granola Bars
Yields: Approx. 10

Granola Bars:

2 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup brown rice cereal
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup bee free honee

Topping (optional):

1/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips
1/8 cup finely shredded coconut

Combine all of the ingredients, I used closer to 1/2 cup of coconut oil, just make sure that it is coated well and the coconut oil will help to hold the bars together when it returns to its solid state. Place it in an 8-inch square baking dish (larger if you want a thinner bar, and smaller if you’d like a thicker bar) that is lined with parchment paper. Firmly press the mixture into the dish.

Stick the baking dish in the freezer for 20 minutes. While the mixture is in the freezer take the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and melt them. Once you remove the dish from the freezer remove from the mixture by using the parchment paper.

I put the melted chocolate in a sandwich baggy and cut off a corner and created a zig-zag pattern on the top of the bars. Then I sprinkled on the 1/8 cup of coconut. Once the chocolate hardens, cut them into bar shapes.

Since coconut oil has a low melting point, it is best to store the bars in the refrigerator. Also, if you are packing them to go you may want to keep them someplace cool.

Enjoy!

P.S. I have been posting on my Instagram account, if you have Instagram be sure to follow me, but if you don’t you can click on the pictures that show up to the right and it will take you to my Instagram so you can still see what I’m up to 🙂

PB&J Smoothie

I made this PB&J smoothie for breakfast this morning, and it was a hit for me and the toddler! It was incredibly filling as well. I have been trying to find and make more recipes including PB2, because well…I love peanut butter, but it can be a little fattening eaten in mass quantities.

Yummy PB and J Smoothie

PB&J Smoothie

Makes: 24 ounces or 3 cups

1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries

1/2 Banana

2 Tbsp PB2

Optional:

1 Tbsp Agave or Honey

There is nothing too difficult about making this smoothie, just dump all of the ingredients into the blender and blend it up until you reach your desired consistency. I added a little bit of agave to give it some sweetness. Easy-peasy!

I break into song every time I talk about peanut butter and jelly, so here is a lovely video for your entertainment!

 🙂

Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Cups

Say no to Reese’s and make these decadent peanut butter cups instead! Reese’s actually used to be one of my favorite candies, because I love peanut butter,  but I can’t tolerate sweets like I used to…that’s probably a good thing though.

These peanut butter cups are insanely easy to make, and they satisfy your chocolate cravings immediately. Yummmm! My sister-in-law made me a dairy-free coconut oil fudge for Christmas that was so good, and I loved the combination of vanilla and almond together, so I thought it would add a nice flavor profile to this as well because I love the flavor of almond extract. I made a batch of these with out the extracts too and they were still amazing…so you decide 🙂

Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Cups. Did I mention they are vegan too

Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 10 peanut butter cups

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter + 3tbsp and 1tsp for filling
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave or honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
10 baking cups

Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan (minus the 3tbsp+1tsp peanut butter) and set your stove to the lowest setting. You just want the ingredients to get warm enough for the coconut oil to melt, this should only take a minute or so.

Once the ingredients are melty and magical, remove the sauce pan from the stove and turn it off. Set out your baking cups, and pour one tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into each of the cups. Then take a teaspoon size dollop of peanut butter and put it on top of the chocolate (there’s no need to spread it evenly). Then pour another tablespoon of the chocolate on top, if there’s any chocolate left I give you permission to eat it by the spoonful 😉

Place the peanut butter cups on some type of device to keep them flat and easy to transport and put them in the freezer, I left them in for an hour while I was cooking dinner but they may take less time; this step just helps them to harden faster.

When they feel hard, peel the baking cups off and you should be left with a Reese’s look-alike. Since these are made with coconut oil and can melt at room temperature it is best to store them in an air tight container in the fridge…if they even last that long!

Happy Munching 😉

What’s for Dinner? Stir-Fry

I make a basic stir-fry almost every other week, because it is inexpensive, easy and I make enough to last for several meals…not having to cook dinner is always a big bonus in my book. Besides all that, I just don’t seem to tire of stir-fry; plus this is the ONLY way my toddler will eat broccoli.

Every once in a while I will make a more elaborate stir-fry with extra veggies and eggs, but lately I have just been keeping it simple with just five ingredients that I almost always have on hand. I have this great stove top wok that my dad bought me for Christmas one year that I use to cook all this yummy-ness in.

I start off by heating up my wok and adding a little oil, I typically use olive oil, once the wok has heated I add approximately a pound of diced chicken and cook thoroughly. While the chicken is cooking I will steam my rice, I don’t have a fancy rice cooker and I don’t measure, but I dump almost half of a one pound bag of rice into the pot. Once the chicken is cooked I add a pound of broccoli to the wok, you can use fresh or frozen. Once the broccoli starts getting tender I will add in teriyaki sauce, and again, I don’t measure, I just add enough to coat the chicken and the broccoli.

Almost all of the teriyaki sauce at the market contained gluten, but I got lucky and found this gluten-free version made by Annie Chun’s, it has a much subtler flavor than your typical teriyaki sauce, but is worked perfectly in this dish. Once the rice is done cooking I add it into the wok and mix it with the other ingredients; at this point I do a little taste test to see if it needs additional teriyaki sauce or even soy sauce. I haven’t come across any soy sauce that contains dairy or gluten, but like always, be label conscious.

DairyFree GlutenFree StirFry

Stir-Fry

One pound of chicken breasts

One pound of broccoli

Half a pound of rice (approx)

Dairy/Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce

Oil, such as olive

Optional:

Dairy/Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

Happy Wok’ing 😉