Yesterday, the sweetest and most talented group of food blogger friends came together to create recipes for my virtual baby shower! I was totally surprised and touched by the sentiment and amazing recipes they created, and Leo and I feel so lucky and loved. Though Leo is confusing feeling loved right now with feeling an intense urge to knee me in the hip, so.. we still have a lot to teach the little man. Please check out their recipes and pay these fabulous bloggers a visit!
- Mojito Fruit Salad at Simply Whisked
- Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies at Culinary Couture
- Panini Bites at Heavenly Home Cooking
- Mini Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cakes at Bakerita
- Mini Cookies & Cream Pumpkin Cheesecakes at Flavor the Moments
- Baby Carrot and Apple Soup at Thistle Key Lane
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes at Jessica in the Kitchen
- Blueberry Lemon-Thyme Cornmeal Crisp at Vanilla and Bean
- Caramelized Fig Upside Down Cake at Broma Bakery
Speaking of pregnancy–because when am I ever not?–I dreamed up these granola bars when I was trying to come up with some preggo-friendly snacks when I went to the beach with my family and knew I’d otherwise rely on Cheez-its to see me through.. which.. I mean..
Anyway, I knew I needed something easy to grab that was full of protein and bonus! Full of dates. If you’re not preggers, then you can just.. skip right over the explanation that’s about to slap you right in the face. But if you are preggers, then listen up, sister! There’s a pretty infamous study (among the bump groups and all, of course) out there that shows that women who ate several dates late in pregnancy had easier, quicker births, and I’m all about those. Besides, even if the dates do nothing, they’re still damn delicious and an excellent natural sweetener, so you’ve got nada to lose.
My hefty date consumption aside, these are so simple to make and were a huge hit with the family, too. They’re naturally sweetened, which says, “hey, man, I care”, but that addition of chocolate chips is all like, “but I still like to live a little, brah”. You know what I mean?
I don’t. I have no idea what I mean. It’s late and I’m a million weeks pregnant and O is mad at me for telling him my water broke when he was at his draft night. But it was so impossible to resist, I mean amiright?
Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Granola Bars (Vegan, GF)
- 1 cup packed dates , pitted
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
- 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds , loosely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin <a href="http://amzn.to/1ijgDUO" target="_blank" data-mce-href="http://amzn.to/1ijgDUO"> (ideally collagen hydrolosate from Great Lakes)*</a>
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Optional: toast your oats in a 350º oven for about 15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.
Process dates in a food processor until only small bits remain (about 1 minute). The dates should form a "dough"-like consistency.
Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl - set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm maple syrup and peanut butter. Stir until smooth, then add gelatin powder and stir. Pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout. Make sure the dates are really thoroughly mixed, otherwise you might have trouble with the bars staying together!
Stir in mini chocolate chips, then transfer to an 8x8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so you can lift the bars out easily. Press the mixture down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days, or in the freezer for even longer!
*The gelatin is optional but is what gives these bars their extra protein oomph. Vegan protein powders might work, but I love collagen hydrolysate because it never changes the texture or taste of a recipe--in addition to its other amazing nutritional qualities.
Based on a recipe from the Minimalist Baker.