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!

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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.

Bananas, Nut Butters and Cinnamon.

Nut Butters and bananas have a bad rap among some, but they actually have great health benefits. They also make a perfect combination of yummy-ness that is amplified by cinnamon.

  1. Bananas are believed by some to be high in carbs, sugar and calories; however they really don’t have more of these things than other fruits. Bananas are actually low on the glycemic-index, which means they are great for diabetics because they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Plus, they are an excellent source of potassium.
  2. Nut butters are not only high in protein and low in carbohydrates, but they also provide heart healthy fats. I know that choosy moms choose Jif, but their regular peanut butter has quite a bit of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. There are a lot of different brands of peanut butter out there, so just be label conscious and find something that is best for you. Peanut butter isn’t the end-all be-all of nut butter though; almond butter is a great alternative. I also like Sunbutter, which isn’t technically a nut butter since it is made from sunflower seeds, but it still offers great benefits and it tastes wonderful.
  3. Cinnamon just makes everything taste better, well not everything, but a lot of things. It isn’t just a spice to use on cinnamon rolls, I sneak it into other dishes…I hate to give up my secret ingredient… but it adds a great flavor and depth to tomato based dishes. There are a surprising amount of benefits from using cinnamon. To name a few: regulates blood sugar, lowers LDL cholesterol, and it is anti-microbial/viral.

I’m going to share five easy-peasy recipes with you that are good for breakfasts, lunches and snacks…or dinner if you choose!

  • Quesadilla: Take tortillas and spread with peanut butter, sliced banana and sprinkle on some cinnamon. Then cook on a skillet with a dairy-free butter, coconut oil, or nothing.
  • Sandwich, cold or grilled: Take some bread and smear on some peanut butter, add sliced bananas and cinnamon and you are good to go. You could also grill it up like you would a grilled cheese.
  • Oatmeal: Cook oats, add in a tablespoon of nut butter (you can do more or less depending on your taste), slice up some bananas to put on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Smoothie: Blend together a frozen banana, a tablespoon of nut butter (or whatever amount you want), add in a cup (and again you can play with the amount of milk to get your desired consistency) of dairy free milk (almond, coconut, hemp, rice), and a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and blend together.
  • Banana bites: mix together a nut butter and cinnamon mixture and cut up a banana into half-inch slices. Spread the mixture onto one side of a banana slice and top that with another banana slice. You can eat them as is or stick them in the freezer for a nice cold treat that are easy to grab on the go.

quesadilla

quesadilla1

oatmeal

Do you have any ideas and/or recipes that have banana, nut butters and cinnamon? If so, please share 🙂