Faux KIND bars

I have a love/hate relationship with granola bars. They are delicious and easy to eat on the go, but they are loaded with calories, sugar and usually have little protein. I just don’t feel like they have a lot of bang for my buck, calorie wise. But they are sooo tasty.

And a lot of them are loaded with crap and additives, that is why I really like KIND brand granola bars. Unfortunately, they are a little pricey. So, I was ecstatic when I saw Minimalist Baker posted a recipe that looked like a KIND bar. MB kept it simple, using only five ingredients. I added a few more ingredients for fun.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted( I used medjool)
  • 1/4 cup honey( or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup natural nut butter of choice(I used almond)
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats(not instant or quick oats)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut(toasted preferably)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt(optional)

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain.

Spread almonds, oats and coconut on a baking sheet. You might need two baking sheets. Toast in the oven for about 15 minutes until slightly golden brown and the almonds are giving off a nutty flavor. This step is optional but really enhances the flavor of your granola bars.

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Place oats, almonds, coconut, dates, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix to combine.

Warm honey, vanilla and almond butter for 20 seconds at a time until it can be stirred and combined.

Pour mixture over oat mixture and mix.

Once thoroughly combined, transfer to a parchment lined 9×13 baking dish. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes to harden.

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Remove bars form pan and cut into bars(mine made 12 bars). Sore in an airtight container for a few days. I individually wrapped mine and stored them in the freezer and they stayed fresh for about a month.

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Doing a taste test at work with the almond coconut KIND bar and a homemade faux KIND bar, the faux KIND bar won the contest. Oh, and its way cheaper to make these yourself than to buy them already packaged, but I’m sure you could have guessed that!

Whipped coconut body butter

I’ve made a huge effort over the past year to put less chemicals on my skin and use more natural products or less product.

I’ve always been known to wash my hair a lot. Sometimes twice a day because I felt like it would look greasy. That’s a lot of shampoo and conditioner over the year. After reading about the no poo method, I started cutting back on the washing, initially on the weekends to train my scalp to produce less oil. I am now down to shampooing my hair 1-2 times per week. That is a significant reduction in the amount of chemicals that I am putting on my head and washing down the drain into our water sources. I’m spending less money on shampoo and conditioner(that stuff isn’t cheap) and adding less garbage to the landfill.

Next, I knew I had to face my love of my inexpensive, chemical and synthetic laden moisturizer from the drug store and make a change. I initially tried to use straight coconut oil to moisturize. That didn’t work so well. In the summer it was liquid and messy. In the winter, it was hard as a rock and impossible to chisel out of the container. So, I went back to using my trusty pump bottle of lotion. Last week, I ran across a recipe for homemade whipped coconut body butter. By adding Vitamin E oil, many of the plain coconut oil issues resolved. It doesn’t get as hard and doesn’t really liquefy the same as straight coconut oil.

So I headed to Whole Foods to buy some Vitamin E oil. They has several options. I bought some Jason brand oil in the lowest concentration available(per the nice workers recommendation). I also bought some organic sweet orange oil to give it a light scent.

This is the recipe I used: Homemade Whipped Coconut Body Butter

My hard coconut oil, Vitamin E oil, sweet orange essential oil and a few drops of vanilla:

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Turn your mixer on high and let it whip for 6-7 minutes:

coconut2I stopped the mixer 2 times to scrape down the sides. At the end, my body butter looked like this:

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I transferred it into a glass container that I has previously used for a homemade body scrub:

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Put a lid on it and placed it in the bathroom:

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This stuff is seriously amazing. I may have been converted from a lotion lover to a coconut oil body butter believer. My skin is so soft. It takes a minute to fully soak in after applying, so you may need to wait a minute to get dressed, but the wait it so worth it. Super inexpensive to make, too. And the scent: delightful.

 

Coconut banana bread

Hello spring.

Spring always makes me want to bake. Baking makes me want to eat lots of tasty treats. However, tasty treats don’t really go with the plan of being healthy and whittling my waist. Fortunately, I made this bread a while ago, but waited to post on it because I felt it was more suited for a spring post. It’s absolutely delicious. Looking at it makes me want to make it again, but I won’t, because I have a long run scheduled for tomorrow. I really don’t need to spend the entire run working off the most delicious bread that I couldn’t stop eating.

This is the most moist bread that I have ever eaten. And slightly healthier than your average “dessert” bread. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I found this recipe so I can’t give proper credit where credit is definitely due.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Chobani vanilla yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut toasted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut for topping loaf

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, mash bananas. Stir in toasted coconut to the banana mixture.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt.

Combine.

Add in the banana and coconut mixture.

Mix until just combined.

Slowly combine your dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing the entire time.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. Top with more coconut, if you’d like…and why wouldn’t you?

Bake 50-60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Eat and dream of laying on the beach. So, so, so good.