Vegan Nutty Oat Bars

I love to socialize–love spending time with friends in our home; cooking for them, nourishing their bodies and souls, along with mine.  I love sharing time with people who inspire and challenge me, make me think, share their lives and their children’s lives and appreciate a good meal!

And I love coming up with desserts that don’t blow our ideas of eating healthy.  I like coming up with things that delight our kiddos and then winking to the other moms, saying, “And it’s good for them!”  And then sharing recipes!

Tonight, I was out of time when our company arrived for a small Memorial Day BBQ.  We’d marinaded flank steak and chicken, grilled veggies, washed and chopped greens from the garden for salads, and prepped all the other tasty foods, placed onto a countertop that looked like it could feed 30 people.  (I got the Greek “feed an army” gene from my Dad for sure!)  And then I realized that i’d done nothing for a dessert!  And with seven kids running around outside, working off 100’s of calories playing, I knew we’d be in trouble if I had nothing for them, beyond dinner.

I did a quick search online and found a great recipe for Oat Bars from this site:

http://morselsminus.com/2011/03/15/vegan-oatmeal-bars/

I give full credit to the creator (actually, it looks as if he gives credit elsewhere as well… it’s a well-travelled recipe!)  One thing I love about this is that there’s only two TBS of sweetener–such as maple syrup–in the whole batch!

We didn’t do seeds (due to allergies) and were a little desperate for some dark chocolate.  So I altered a bit here and there and Voila’!  Here’s the version I came up with:

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp True Ceylon Cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp baking powder (I think I would cut this down to 1/2 tsp next time–they were a little on the “puffy” side for my taste).

3/4 cup water (I’m curious about what would happen if, instead of water, I used all soy–or almond–milk)

3/4 cup soy or almond milk

3 tbsp of agave nectar or maple syrup (I used pure, Grade A maple syrup.  I’d also like to try honey).

1/2 cup organic applesauce

egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg (Ener-G Brand)

1 tsp pure Madagascar Vanilla

3/4 cup Vegan Chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped, organic nuts–a blend of pecans, almonds and cashews works wonderfully!  (I think a nut-butter, such as Justin’s Almond Butter, would also add some great flavor and texture.)

(I would personally love to add organic, unsweetened coconut but my son is allergic.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9″x 11″ baking dish with a couple teaspoons of vegetable shortening, such as Earth Balance

2. Place the dry ingredients (except for the chocolate chips and nuts) in a large bowl and stir until mixed.

3. In a second bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

5. Add the chocolate chips and nuts.

6. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

7. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

8. Serve with a small scoop of Chocolate Almond Dream (can you tell we were on a chocolate kick tonight?) and Enjoy!

Chocolate Full Strength Panna Cotta “The Perfect Strength Snack”

I’ve been reading a lot on the benefits of gelatin lately and since I’m a big fan of the old “knox blox” from when I was a kid, have been making lots of different kind of gelatin treats for the family.  I’ve come to add a variety of healthy ingredients, such as vegetable juices, Acai and cherry concentrates, aloe vera, etc…  and have even made some vegan panna cotta style chocolate/gelatin desserts for Nathaniel to enjoy (as he has a life-threatening allergy to all dairy products).

Then I got to thinking about Full Strength and have been trying to create a dessert out of it, including gelatin…  and I think I’ve done it!  I’m at least close.

Give this a try when you need a little chocolate (but super healthy and low-fat/cal) snack at night!  Let me know how it works for you and if you have any other suggestions for improving it.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup + 1/8 cup chocolate rice milk (I believe skim milk + 1 TB Dutch cocoa could be substituted)

2 tsp gelatin

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, preferably Greek-strained style (try Fage’)

1 packet Chocolate Full Strength Premium Nutrition Shake (FS)

Directions

Pour yogurt into a medium-sized bowl and slowly add FS.  If you add a couple TB at a time, and slowly mix it in, you should be able to add the whole packet and end up with a “frosting-like” consistency.

Put 1/8 C milk into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top.  Allow to set up for 5-10 minutes.  While this is setting up, put remaining 1 cup milk (with cocoa if using skim milk) into a sauce pan over med-high heat on the stove.  Bring to simmer and then slowly add to gelatin mix, stirring until all gelatin is dissolved.

Add mix to yogurt/FS mix slowly and pour into four dessert dishes distributing equally.

Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.

Enjoy!