Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Healthy(ish) Coconut Oat Fudge Bars

there's something you need to know about me
i usually try to make good food choices
but sometimes, i just go with what i love,
and throw health to the wind
(hey, I'm only human!)
perfect example: starbucks' oat fudge bar

oh em gee - these things are amazing!
but they're also amazingly full of calories and sugar and who knows what else
they definitely fall into the guilty pleasure category
(which means I might have one once, maybe twice a year)
so it's no surprise that one day i thought to myself, 
"hmmm...i wonder if i could make a healthier version?"
and thus began the search

now, before i go any further, 
i'll dash your hopes right from the get go
and tell you that these turned out nothing like the real deal
which left me kind of disheartened, 
but once i shifted my perspective 
and just looked at them as a healthy oat-y chocolate-y bar,
they were suddenly pretty good,
even good enough to share with all of you!
(it helps that the girlies loved them, 
and i'm always on the hunt for / eager to share good toddler snacks!) 
Healthy Coconut Oat Fudge Bars
(adapted from this recipe)

1 medium banana

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted to liquid form

1 egg

2 tablespoons agave nectar / syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt 

2 cups rolled porridge oat mix
(porridge oats = rolled oats that have been rolled to the point of being crumbly, the package I bought (Rogers brand) came with oat bran, wheat bran and flax seed - hence the "mix" part.  If you can't find the mix, just use 1.5 cups rolled or porridge oats then add 1/2 a cup of oat or wheat bran)

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

chocolate center:

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/3 cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped up 

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

topping (optional):

a handful of extra oat mix

a handful of shredded, unsweetened coconut


- preheat oven to 350*
- combine oat mix, flour and flax seeds in a bowl and set aside
- mash your banana up in another, larger bowl
- add the coconut oil, egg, agave and salt to the mashed banana and mix until well combined
- add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, about 1/4 cup at a time   then set batter aside
- in a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk on medium/high
- once the milk has warmed through, stir the chocolate in and turn the heat down to medium or medium low
- continue stirring until the all the chocolate has melted into the warm milk
- in a small bowl or cup, mix cornstarch with a little bit of water then add it to the saucepan
- remove the saucepan from heat and stir until it has thickened up a bit, then set aside
- grease a 9x13 pan, then press about 1/2 the batter into the bottom of it 
- spread about 2/3 of the chocolate "sauce" on top of the batter
- add the remaining batter (be careful not to burn yourself if your sauce is still hot - mine wasn't, since i kept having to walk away and deal with the kiddos)
- top with the rest of the chocolate then sprinkle on optional topping (oat mixture and coconut)
- bake for 10-15 minutes
- once cooled, cut into squares and serve

Monday, April 15, 2013

15 on the 15th

these two littles are 15 months old today!
it's hard to believe how much can change over that amount of time
how they grow
how they learn
how they develop their own little personalities
how our lives have been changed
and how we don't even remember what it was like without them
we celebrated with bubbles,
(which you will notice, they both love)
if you ever find yourself wondering "what is a cheap, easy and fun activity for my 15 month old?"
the answer is bubbles
if pictures could play sound
you would hear squeals of delight and uncontrollable laughter
as you scroll through the next few!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

so i'm a little behind...

i was supposed to post this on monday, 
but that didn't happen (obviously)
so let's just pretend it's monday (or at least that it's not already wednesday), deal?  

i wanted to share a bit of our weekend with you all
i was expecting it to be pretty low-key,
since the girlies and i are fighting another cold
but the sun came out and we couldn't help but head outside and enjoy it despite our sniffles

and we didn't need to go any further than the back yard for the adventures to begin!
little bare feet running around in the grass, 
little hands picking flowers for the very first time,
little tastebuds tasting said flowers (insert first time mama freak out moment here),
...we had a blast!

the girlies practiced their walking skills 
and their walking daddy skills
all the while exploring to their little hearts' delight

they had a great time and so did we 
i can't believe it never occurred to me to let them run around the back yard before!

Friday, April 5, 2013

how is it already friday / thank heavens it's friday!

have you ever hand one of those weeks (or days, or months...)
that both flew by and dragged on at the same time?
well, this was one of those weeks

nothing particularly bad happened
just the girlies and i are sick again
which makes for sad babies / long nights / a tired mama / no downtime
...and three girls who are extremely thankful for friday, 
when daddy comes home early(ish) 
and can take care of us / snuggle with us

you know what else i'm thankful for today? 
leftovers that recycle beautifully into a quick and healthy breakfast
to get me started on the right foot for the {potentially} long day ahead!

it all started when we had tacos for dinner the other night
but since i'm not a huge fan of ground beef, 
i cooked up some red quinoa to substitute for most of the beef on my plate  
(side note: it's pronounced keen-wa, if anyone's wondering...i know i did for a while!), 
then added a tiny bit of beef to get that taco flavor and vwalla - all the yumminess + protein, 
with barely any ground beef!
(yes, i admittedly feel very clever about my solution)

anyway, all that to say, I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge that needed using up
so this morning, i made "quinoa porridge" with it, and it actually turned out really good!
...not to mention, it may just be the easiest breakfast you'll ever make *double bonus*

if you're strapped for time, or have some cooked quinoa that needs recycling / reinventing, 
(or even if you have the time to make quinoa especially for this)
you should definitely give it a try
keep in mind, these measurements are guesstimates and can easily be adjusted to your tastes!

leftover quinoa porridge

1 cup cooked quinoa 
(i used a splash of 2% mixed with some organic unsweetened brown rice milk - use just enough to cover the quinoa)
a handful of dried fruit 
(i used craisins infused with pomegranate juice, but whatever you've got on hand works - raisins, currants, blueberries, apricots, anything really!) 
a swirl of honey
a dash or two of cinnamon  

- put quinoa in a microwave safe bowl and add milk until it is just level with the quinoa then zap for 30 seconds or until it is warm enough for your liking 
(if you cooked quinoa up especially for this breakfast, skip the zapping and just stir the milk in once the quinoa's cooked)

- top with remaining ingredients

- enjoy your delicious, healthy and super easy breakfast!

can it get any easier?  didn't think so.

Monday, April 1, 2013

easter wrap up

happy Easter Monday, everyone!

i wanted to share a few pictures of the girlies from our Easter weekend
they got all dressed up for church,
but before i got a chance to snap some pictures of them in their Easter dresses
lunch happened

which means their hands, faces, dresses, everything
was covered in food
so we changed into some bright, cheery t-shirts and headed out to enjoy the sun!
hope y'all had an awesome long weekend!
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