Aussie Bites

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Mmmm Aussie Bites! I must confess these little bites are addicting. I make them in a mini muffin tin and I could easily gobble up 4 at a time, but I try to practice self discipline and limit myself to just 2 at a time. But, ya know, stuff happens and 2 ends up as 4 sometimes. I tell myself that these are healthy and it’s okay. #yolo right?!

So, here is a look at most of the ingredients. It seems like a lot, but these come together pretty fast.

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First thing you should know is that you need oat flour for this. But fear not! Oat flour is super easy to make with some oats and a food processor. It only takes a minute to process the oats into a flour. See, easy peasy oat flour in 1 minute flat.

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Now, for my Aussie Bites I kept some of the oat whole for texture purposes. I think it gives them an extra chew. It’s personal preference, feel free to blend all of the oats into a flour if you desire less chew from the oats.

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These are great for breakfast, or a snack, or dessert. Anytime really. I grab 2 on my way to work. Quick, easy and delish! This recipe will make about 18-24 mini muffins depending on how much batter per muffin you fill.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 Cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 Cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 Cup raisins
  • 1/4 Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 Cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24 count mini muffin tin.
  2. Pour 1 Cup of oats into a food processor and process until you have a flour.
  3. Add in the coconut sugar, apricots, raisins, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, quinoa, chia seeds and baking powder. Pulse in the food processor until well combined and the fruit is diced up into tiny bits.
  4. Add in the honey, melted butter, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla extract and remaining 3/4 cup of oats. Pulse again until everything is well combined.
  5. Spoon out the batter into your lined mini muffin tin and pack down batter into tin gently with back of spoon.
  6. Baked in pre-heated oven for 12mins or until golden.
  7. Once baked, place pan on a cooling rack and let cool. Enjoy!

Creamy Raspberry Mango Ice Pops

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How many people love a cold, creamy dessert? These ice pops are an awesome summer treat. You’ve got a creamy coconut layer and then a raspberry-mango layer. What’s not to love?! 🙂

Growing up I remember eating my fair share of Popsicle’s. However, looking back I think they were mostly brightly colored, frozen sugar ice. I loved them as a kid and my kids will eat pretty much any frozen treat that comes their way. But I’m not fond of the standard ingredients you will find in a box of Popsicle’s.

You will usually find this trio: High fructose corn syrup, sugar and corn syrup. Why? So many sugars crammed into one ice pop! So, I decided one day I would make my own. Surely it would be easy, right? I remember freezing juice in little paper cups as a kid with a wooden stick shoved into them and it worked! I had my very own miniature ice pop. 9yr old me was super proud of this moment even though it was just frozen apple juice or grape juice.

Adult me me realized there was more to it than just freezing some juice. The flavor combos are endless and it’s super fun to make your own ice pops. Plus, they’re healthy with no refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup!

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To get a cool layered ice pop you first pour the coconut milk base into your molds and freeze for about 10-15mins and then proceed with the fruit layer. Above are the molds I use. They have worked great over the last couple of years that I’ve had them. Also, they’re BPA free!

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While the coconut milk base sets you can move onto the fruit base. I used a mixture of frozen mango and raspberries. I add in some honey to sweetened it up a bit, but this is optional. You can also use agave or maple syrup if you prefer.

Also, if you hadn’t noticed already… here is some wise, old advice. Make sure you put your blender blade in the blender BEFORE you add your ingredients (face palm). I had to scrape all of my honey drenched fruit out into another bowl. Put my blender blade in the blender and then scrape all the fruit back into my blender. Having to dirty up an extra bowl because I forgot the blade was not cool. No one needs an extra dirty dish in their sink!

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Now, when you go to blend up your frozen fruit you will probably need a little bit of liquid to smooth it out. A couple of spoonfuls of the coconut milk base would work, but will result in a slightly lighter color. Apple juice is usually my go to, but I was out. So, I grabbed what I had on hand. Which was Voss lime mint sparkling water. I know, totally weird, but it worked! The ever so slight lime mint flavor from the water complimented the raspberry-mango very well. Here is a picture of the Voss sparkling water for reference:

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You totally do not have to use this. My youngest kid just happened to have downed the last of the apple juice before I had time to notice. Sometimes you just have to improvise 😉

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After you spoon in your fruit layer on top of the coconut milk, let freeze for at least 4hrs. To loosen the ice pops from the molds either let sit at room temperature for about 15mins or run lukewarm water around the molds to help loosen them up quickly. Ta-da you have just made delicious, yet healthy ice pops you can feel good about. Did you try them out? Let me know how you liked them 🙂

Ingredients

Coconut Milk Base:

  • 1 (15oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 Cup honey*, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry-Mango Base:

  • 1.5 Cup of frozen mango chunks and raspberries
  • 2T honey*
  • 1/4 Cup Voss sparkling lime mint water (or apple juice)**

Directions

  1. Shake can of coconut milk well and pour into a small bowl. Add in 1/4 cup of honey minus 2T (these 2T of honey will be used for the fruit base later). Add in the vanilla and mix well.
  2. Fill ice pop molds about half to 2/3rds of the way full with the coconut milk base. Place in freezer for about 10-15mins.
  3. Place frozen fruit and honey into a blender and blend well. Scrape down sides and add 1T at a time of the Voss sparkling lime mint water (or apple juice) and blend after each addition of water or juice. Add only enough liquid to get a spoonable smoothie like texture.
  4. Take your ice pop molds from the freezer and spoon in the fruit base on top of the coconut milk base. Once all molds have been filled place a wooden stick in each mold and place molds in the freezer. Freeze for at least 4hrs or until solid.
  5. To remove from molds let sit at room temperature for about 15mins or run lukewarm water around mold to quickly release them.

*Agave or maple syrup can be used in place of the honey for a vegan friendly option.

**Only add in the liquid 1T at a time until you get a spoonable smoothie like texture.

The Best Protein Bars

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Well, the 4th of July is over. Time to get back to decent eating habits again, right?! I might have had my share of BBQ, potato laden sides and bread… and ice cream… and whatever else that was there! Now I feel bloated and sluggish, but I had a good time with family so it was worth it.

Now that it’s back to work and the hectic schedule I like to have grab and go breakfasts and snacks. Something I can easily toss into my purse and eat in the car or quickly on a break. My preferences for this is something that does not need to be refrigerated or heated up. Something quick and easy to eat that will also satisfy my hunger.

Enter homemade protein bars! I used to buy protein bars out of convenience, but I was usually dismayed by either the ingredients, the taste, the price or all of the above. A lot of times they would taste chalky or chemical-y and I usually didn’t like the ingredient list.  Then one day I had this ah-ha moment! I concluded that surely I could make my own protein bars with ingredients I am comfortable with AND that taste good. These are chewy, chocolate-y and filling. Yesss!!

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So what about the protein powder? I personally use 2 polar opposite types: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder in the Vanilla Bean flavor. It’s organic, non-GMO, vegan and derived from pea protein. The vanilla bean flavor makes for a good neutral base. The other protein powder I use that is my all time favorite is Redcon1 MRE Lite Protein Powder It is a whole food based protein powder that is whey/lactose free and is low carb (not vegetarian friendly). They have multiple flavors, but for these protein bars I typically use their Banana Nut Bread flavor. I vary between the 2 brands depending on if I am sharing with others or not. Due to having some vegetarian/vegan friends I will use the Orgain protein powder if sharing. If it is just myself I will use the Redcon1 protein powder.

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These protein bars are super versatile and can be tailored to your diet preferences. Dairy free? Use almond milk, oat milk or whatever “milk” you would like to use. Nut allergy? Use sunflower butter instead of a nut butter. Don’t want to use honey? Use pure maple syrup. I have tried many variations and they all turned out awesome! Also, the flavor of protein powder plays a big role. Vanilla is always a good base to start with. Trying other protein flavors (such as the banana nut bread) makes it fun and brings variety.

You can see in the pictures there are lighter looking bars and darker bars. The lighter bars I used the Orgain vanilla bean protein powder and vegetarian ingredients. The pictures of the darker bars I used the Redcon1 banana nut bread protein powder and the ingredients listed below in my recipe. Both versions are equally delicious!

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Below I will share the recipe on my favorite version of these protein bars.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare an 8×8 pyrex dish by spraying it with cooking spray or greasing it well with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until fully combined. Pour the peanut butter mix into dry oat mix and stir until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into prepared pyrex dish. Use parchment paper to cover mixture and press down evenly and firmly into dish. (This saves your hands from sticking to the mixture).
  5. Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until edges begin to turn light golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool in the pyrex dish for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 9 squares.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

*Use Orgain protein powder is vegan/vegetarian

**Use nut butter of choice or sunflower butter if you have a nut allergy

***Use pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup if vegan/vegetarian

****Use any non-dairy milk of choice if lactose intolerant or vegan/vegetarian

*****Use dairy free chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life brand if vegan/vegetarian

Please let me know if you try these lovely protein bars out. They are the perfect grab and go breakfast or snack. I would love to hear other peoples variations too!