Date Smoothie

Date Smoothie

Okay it may sound weird at first. Dates in a smoothie? Yes, it is true… Combine milk, pitted dates, almond butter, and cacao powder with ice, and you’ll have a breakfast or dessert smoothie that is so filing and good! Dates are sometimes overlooked but they provide energy and are great when you’re craving something sweet. They do have calories but also fiber so they are good to help regulate digestion and contain vitamins such as B 6 and niacin. Paired with milk, almond butter and cacao powder, this recipe can be a healthy breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert. If you’re not familiar with cacao powder, you can find it at specialty grocery stores. It’s healthy alternative to chocolate with great flavor but without sugar and any processing. It’s also raw, vegan and a source of antioxidants, iron and fiber. This only takes 5 minutes to prepare, so blend and enjoy!

Moonbeam Bars and Energy Bar Cookbook Givewaway

Sales of energy bars have sky rocketed from moms on the go, home chefs, casual or endurance athletes, teens, and just about everyone. I  am so excited about the new book, Power Hungry, The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook, by Camilla V. Saulsbury as she challenges store-bought snacks with 150 fabulous homemade bar recipes. Her recipes are 100% soy free and highly adaptable for gluten free, vegan and even Paleo diets. In this recipe for Moonbeam Bars, the brown crisp rice base renders the bars light and crisp, while the additions of oats and protein power lend enough substance to stave off hunger for hours. Nut (or seed) butter adds depth and subtle natural sweetness, and of course a thin schmear of white chocolate, dark chocolate, or Greek yogurt coating tops things off in the most delicious way (you could leave it off…but why?).

I am giving away 3 copies! YES 3!! To win a copy of this cookbook, tell me your favorite healthy go-to snack. A winner will be drawn randomly on October 30th at 8 a.m.

For more chances to win do the following and leave a comment letting me know you did:

1. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

CAMILLA’S BAR TIPS

  • I mean it when I say firmly compact the bars. Press, press, press, and then press again! Thirty seconds of effort will pay off with bars that hold together every time.
  • If you don’t want to use protein powder, you don’t have to; simply increase the total amount of oats by 2 tablespoons. Alternatively, you can add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal or 3 tablespoons of nonfat instant milk powder.

BAR KEEPING

Tightly wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap.

ROOM TEMP: 2 days
REFRIGERATOR: 2 weeks
FREEZER: 3 months in airtight container; thaw 1/2 hour

 

BAR VARIATIONS

ZESTY LEMON OR LIME BARS

Prepare as directed but omit the cranberries; use any flavor nut or seed butter except peanut. Use 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or lime zest in place of the orange zest. Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice along with the salt. Use the White Chocolate Bar Coating (see below).

JOY OF ALMOND BARS

Use almond butter for the nut butter and omit the cranberries and orange zest. Reduce the total amount of crisp rice cereal to 2 cups and to it add 1/2 cup unsweetened flake or shredded coconut, chopped. Add 3/4 teaspoon almond extract along with the salt. Use the Chocolate Bar Coating (see below).

CHOCOLATE-COVERED CANDY
CANE BARS

Use any flavor nut or seed butter except peanut. Omit the cranberries and orange zest and add 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract along with the salt. Use either the Chocolate Bar Coating or White Chocolate Bar Coating (see below).

WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA BARS

Use any flavor nut or seed butter except peanut and omit the cranberries and orange zest. Reduce the total amount of crisp rice cereal to 2 cups and to it add 1/4 cup roasted macadamia nuts, chopped. Add 1 teaspoon pure maple extract along with the salt. Use the White Chocolate Bar Coating (see below).

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BARS

Prepare as directed, but omit the cranberries and orange zest. Use an equal amount of lightly packed all-natural, sweetened chocolate protein powder in place of vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon natural, unsweetened cocoa powder along with the salt. Use the Chocolate or White Chocolate Bar Coating (see below).

CHOCOLATE OR
 WHITE CHOCOLATE COATING

MELT 1/3 cup semisweet, bittersweet, or natural white chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler according to the package directions.

WHISK in 2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil until blended

SPREAD or drizzle over cooled, uncut bars. Alternatively, dunk the ends of cut bars and place on an unlined cookie sheet.

REFRIGERATE for 30 minutes until the coating has hardened.

MAKES enough to coat one 8- to 9-inch pan of bars (double the recipe for a 9 by 13-inch pan)

 

No-Bake Dog Treats: For People Too

When Birmingham Magazine asked me for some dog treats for my monthly food column, I wasn’t sure what to do. Honestly, this is not my area of expertise. I contacted our wonderful veterinarian, Andy, and I asked him to name a couple of ingredients which I could use to develop a cookie that would be good for dogs. I created these No-Bake Dog Treats which are great for people too. These came out fabulous, and my dog, Latte, loved every one of them. Note: For overweight dogs, these should be a “splurge” snack.

No-Bake Paleo and Gluten-Free Cookies

These No-Bake Paleo Cookies were introduced to me by my friend, Tanya, who has been having success with the Paleo Diet. What I love about these cookies is that they are gluten free, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and best of all, taste great. This recipe is great if you’re on a gluten-free diet, trying to eat low carbohydrates or following the the Paleo Diet, which is based around eating quality sources of protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafoods, fats high in omega-3 and low-glycemic carbohydrates. This is a low-carb diet which omits refined sugars and grains, dairy, trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods. For more information see The Paleo Diet. Best of all, these cookies are no bake!

Almond Butter-Flaxseed Pancakes

Since I have been obsessed with almond butter for quite some time, I thought I would try my hand at making these Almond Butter Flaxseed Pancakes. You combine almond butter with your favorite homemade or store-bought pancake mix, flaxseed meal (which can be found at most local groceries), banana and even nonfat Greek yogurt. My kids went nuts over these, and I felt great serving them such an incredibly healthy breakfast. They called them, “Banana-Nut Pancakes” which was a great name. These pancakes taste great reheated, and they make a great healthy afternoon snack. Enjoy anytime of the year, but they are perfect for a healthy Christmas break, New Year’s or weekend breakfast.

Four Ingredient Brownie: Easy Almond Butter-Topped Brownies

IMG_2398

Since I have been getting many requests for a quick brownie recipes, I thought I would give you a semi-homemade idea: Almond-Butter Topped Brownies. Start with your favorite brownie recipe or brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines) and top with almond butter, nuts and chocolate. These also work great with your favorite peanut butter or Nutella. These make a quick party dessert, bake sale item or Halloween treat.