Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies

If you’ve read this blog before, you might know that I like to try to sneak healthy ingredients into my meals in unexpected ways.  I’m always happy throwing some spinach into a smoothie or having turmeric with breakfast.  Which is why I was thrilled to find Chocolate Covered Katie’s incredible recipe for Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies.

Instead of using flour, the batter is based in white beans…but you really couldn’t guess it based on the taste and texture.  In fact, I’m thinking we might want to change the name to “Dense, Gooey Pieces of Peanut Butter Heaven”.  Who’s with me?  And while you’re enjoying your decadent treat, you can feel smug about all the protein and fiber you’re eating.

Perfect for a Fourth of July picnic.  Or for my inevitable anxiety snacking as I begin my final term of nursing school with a night shift clinical rotation and impending licensure exam and job hunt.  What?  Oh I’m fine.  Just fine.  (Eats another blondie.)

Does anyone else have big plans on the horizon for the summer?

Peanut Butter White Bean Blondies
makes 1 8×8 pan
from Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe

Note: I didn’t really make any changes from the original recipe, but katie lists a few options for how to make these.  This is the version I used.  Check out her original recipe for substitution ideas!

Ingredients
– 1 1/2 cups white beans
– 3/4 tsp baking powder
– 1/8 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 3/4 cup coconut sugar
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
– 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Blend all ingredients except for chocolate chips in a food processor until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  Fold chocolate chips into batter and pour into an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy.

* I added this post to this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back FridayPennywise PlatterFull Plate Thursday, and Wellness Weekend.

Goji Berry Power Bars (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Now that I’m on a little break from school, I have the time to make healthy to-go snacks…the kind that would have been perfect to take with me to school.  Sigh.  I guess that’s life.  I really shouldn’t be complaining, though.  These little bars turned out wonderfully and they’re packed with healthy ingredients.

Here are just a few reasons for why they are so good:

Dates: Instead of using refined sugar, I used dates as the sweetener.  Dates  are full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and copper.  Yes, they contain quite a bit of fruit sugar, but I think it’s nice to get vitamins and minerals at the same time.

Hemp protein: Hemp protein is another fiber powerhouse and the protein gives these bars a bit more staying power.  And did I mention that hemp protein is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids?  Well, now I have.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds might be my favorite new-to-me food.  They really help bind other ingredients together and they are full of antioxidants, calcium, and omega-3’s.

Goji berries: Have you had these bright red little berries, yet?  If you haven’t, I urge you to give them a try.  They’re not incredibly sweet, but they have nice, complex flavor.  They have incredibly high antioxidant power, meaning they’ll save your cells from damaging free radicals and they’re just pretty to look at.  They can tend to be slightly hard when dried, which is why this recipe requires soaking them in hot water before use, but I still think they are a great addition to oatmeal and trail mixes.

I hope these bars can help sustain you through your busy weeks.  As for me, I’m on my way to enjoy a sunny barbecue at the park.  School’s out for…well, 2 weeks!

Goji Berry Power Bars
makes 8 bars

Ingredients
– 1 cup dates
– 1/4 cup cashews
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 3 Tbsp hemp protein
– 2 Tbsp chia seeds
– 1 cup oats
– 1/2 cup goji berries

Start by softening the goji berries.  Place them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow to sit in the water for 5-10 minutes.  Drain.

Place dates, cashews, coconut oil, hemp protein, and chia seeds in a food processor.  Process until dates have formed a paste and ingredients are completely mixed.  Add oats and goji berries.  Pulse the mixture until everything is well-distributed.

Press mixture into an 8×8 pan.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour (this will allow the coconut oil to harden so the bars will hold their shape).  Cut into 8 rectangles, remove from pan, and wrap in tin foil so they’re ready to pop into lunch bags.  Store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

* I shared this post with this week’s Gluten Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food WednesdayFat Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.

Superfood Larabars

If there is one thing I know, it’s that food bloggers love to write about making their own Larabars.  It makes sense, really.  Larabar ingredients are incredibly simple (usually just dates and nuts) and you can save a bundle by making your own.  My mom (who is not a food-blogger but who is a foodie) even sent me a few lovingly wrapped bars in a care package once.  I’ve seen recipes for homemade versions cropping up all over the place in the last year, but I have to say that until recently I didn’t really see the point.  Why drag out the food processor and make a mess in the kitchen when I could just eat a handful of nuts with a couple dates and call it a day?

I think that logic still has some merit, but during my last busy week of class and clinicals before spring break, I didn’t want a handful of dried fruit and nuts.  I wanted a bar.  And I realized that I was wasting a good deal of money by buying one at the coffee shop every day.  So I hauled out the food processor and set to work.

I couldn’t have asked for these to turn out better.  As I was pulling out ingredients for the basic bars, I kept noticing things in my pantry that begged to be included.  Raw cacao powder and dark chocolate chips, goji berries, and hemp protein all found their way in with the walnuts, almonds, and dates.  I realized that with the added ingredients, I had made a true superfood bar.  Oh, and they were delicious.

A quick note about my method: I used walnuts and almonds that had been soaked 8-12 hours and then dehydrated.  The reason I did this is because nuts contain compounds called phytates which can block absorption of important vitamins and minerals.  Soaking the nuts helps to neutralize the compounds and dehydrating them brings them back their original crunchy state.  If you don’t have the time or a dehydrator to do this, I think regular raw nuts would also work as long as you consume them in moderation.  Here is a helpful link for more information on how and why to soak nuts and seeds.

So now I’m a homemade Larabar convert and I’ll probably be making another batch during spring break to get me going once classes begin again.  My other spring break plans are to have some fun with my sister who is coming for a visit on Wednesday and to spend more time in the kitchen than my finals weeks allowed.

Superfood Bars
makes 5 bars

Ingredients
– 1 cup almonds (soaked and dehydrated, if possible)
– 1/2 cup walnuts (soaked and dehydrated, if possible)
– 3/4 cup dates, pitted
– 1/3 cup goji berries
– 1/4 cup hemp protein powder
– 2 Tbsp cacao powder
– 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
– 1 Tbsp water (for consistency, may need more or less)

Place all ingredients except water and chocolate chips into the food processor.  Pulse for about a minute, scraping down sides if needed, until mixture resembles a course sand.

Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix in.  Add about a Tbsp water and pulse until dough is sticky enough to form into bars.  Add a little extra water, if needed.

Wrap in plastic or tin foil and store in the refrigerator.

* I added this post to this week’s Fat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.