Lately….we have been trying our hand at some new and fun healthy snacks and “desserts” – some more activities to make us forget about the brutal heat out there. Just about all of these have been a success with every member of our family (with one exception – Ashtyn who informed me today that my home-made crackers made her head throb, now that’s a new one!) Enjoy!
Healthy Banana Cranberry Oat Bars
I tried my hand at decorating these a little for possible Christmas gifts this year and like the way they turned out.
Breakfast or afternoon powersnack, these bars are healthy, not too sweet, and pack a wonderful banana flavor. They are easy to whip up and make a great healthy option for holiday travel!
Yield: 8-10 bars.
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or other)
- 1/2 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or other light tasting oil), melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 medium very ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup cranberries or raisins
- 1.5 cups regular oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or other flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8th tsp kosher salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 inch square pan with parchment.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, ground flax seeds, soymilk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk together.
Cut the bananas into chunks and stir into the wet mixture. Grab a fork or potato masher and mash the banana into the wet mixture. It is ok if some small chunks remain. Stir in the cranberries or raisins. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Scoop the granola batter into the pan. Smooth out with a spoon or hands and press it down firmly.
Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until the edges begin to golden and it is slightly firm to touch. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and cooling completely. Slice into 8-10 bars.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
Oh my! These are a winner – even amongst the kids and it really tastes like raw cookie dough but so much healthier! We keep them in the freezer and dive in for a treat or a healthy mid-afternoon snack…
- 2/3 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp regular oats
- 3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour (or other flour)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 pitted medjool dates, chopped (can also use figs)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3-5 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste
- 3-4 tbsp dark chocolate , chopped
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate, melted, for dipping
Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non stick mat. In a food processor, process the cashews and oats until a fine crumble (see picture below). Now add in the flour, kosher salt, and roughly chopped pitted medjool dates. Process until fine.
Add in the vanilla and pure maple syrup and process until the mixture comes together in a ball.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the 3-4 tbsp of chopped dark chocolate. Roll into balls and stick with toothpicks.
In a double boiler or carefully in the microwave, melt 1/3 cup of dark chocolate in a small bowl. Be careful not to burn. Now roll each ball into the chocolate and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Freeze for 1 hour to set. Serve immediately.
Yield: Approx. 25 balls.
Easy “Cheezy” Crackers
These are fun to do with the kids and make different shapes etc. and we also picked some fresh rosemary and basil from our container garden and broke into small pieces and rolled into some of the dough to try some fresh herbed crackers. Turned out great!
Yield: About 20-30 sm/med crackers
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole grain spelt flour
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Stir in oil and water and mix until dough is combined.
3. Roll dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, or roll it between two Silpat mats, until it is 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut cracker shapes with cookie cutters or with a knife or pizza slicer. Using a spatula, gently remove each cracker and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until dough is used up.
4. Sprinkle crackers with kosher salt, poke with fork, and bake in the oven at 350F for 18-22 minutes (depending on thickness), watching closely so you don’t burn them. I baked mine for about 20 minutes, but next time I would bake them up crispier.
5. Place on a rack to cool. Store in a container at room temperature. Crackers also freeze well.
We made these for lunch the other day and the kids loved them as well! They are also good with almond butter.
Slice and core apple, top with peanut butter, granola, honey and chocolate chips!
Banana Whip (soft serve “ice-cream”)
We have been eating this almost daily during the hot weather – such a fabulous alternative for ice-cream, which we could very well eat every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some ice-cream but this is a bit more nutritious and it is seriously delicious! We don’t do the graham crackers though I’m sure it’s good too! And for “family size”, at least the size of our family, you will need to triple this recipe. *note – the chia seeds are a great addition but aren’t necessary to make this recipe work.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/3 cup Almond Milk (or your choice of milk)
- 1 T chia seeds (thickens it)
- Cacao nibs /dark choc. chips as topping
- Graham crackers (optional)