Alright, so it’s not officially Spring yet, but the gorgeous sunshine and clear blue skies that we have been experiencing in Vancouver have me seriously believing (and wishing) that it could be spring! I can feel it coming (insert happy dance here!) I am seriously ready for Spring weather, and I am also seriously ready for the days to keep getting longer and longer! I got super excited when I left for work at 5:45 yesterday because it was actually still light outside!! I know – It’s the simple things that make me happy… 🙂
Anyways, all this gorgeous sunshine has been motivating me to work out more and making me crave super healthy foods, which hey – I’m not complaining! I mean let’s face it people, if Spring is coming, that means Summer is coming too and I think we all know what that means… That’s right – it means that it’s time to start seriously thinking about bikinis and getting our butts in gear about working off those lingering winter pounds. I personally like to place the blame for my little winterly increase in pounds on Starbucks and their delicious holiday drinks – Damn those Caramel Brulee Latte’s, why do they have to be so delicious?!
Ahhh yess, the time has come to get into beach body mode, and I would be totally lying if I said I am not super pumped about it! Believe it or not, I actually love working out – Have I began to irritate you yet with my enthusiasm for working out and eating healthy? Hopefully I haven’t – I really don’t mean to be annoying, but I strongly believe that exercising regularly makes a huge difference to the quality of your life and can be super enjoyable as long as you find fitness activities that are actually enjoyable to you.
So here is a recipe to help get you excited about getting your beach body diet on! These homemade granola bars are all-natural, and vegan! They are the perfect pre/post work out snack not only because they are chock full of healthy, protein rich ingredients, but also because they taste AMAZING and will definitely satisfy your post work out hunger post haste!
Still don’t believe me that something this healthy / vegan could also be delicious… well what if I told you that these granola bars have peanut butter AND chocolate in them… seriously need I say more? Still not convinced? Well then just give them a try and I guarantee you will be officially addicted!
All Natural Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Makes: 9 Granola bar squares
Prep Time: 5 minutes
(plus additional 20 minutes for bars to set)
Things you need…
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
(can substitute certified GF oats if you are GF)
1 heaping cup dates
1/2 cup roasted almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used organic)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
How to make…
Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined. Set aside.
Place the dates, almonds, and peanuts in a food processor and process until seed sized chunks remain and the mixture is slightly sticky. Add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds to the food processor and process until ground and combined. Add ground date & nut mixture to the peanut butter and maple syrup bowl and stir in oats. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Mixture should be a bit sticky.
Using a spatula, spoon mixture into the prepared baking pan and use the spatula to press the mixture into the pan firmly, being sure to press into the corners. Make sure you press the mixture down nice and firmly as this will ensure that your granola bars are not crumbly. A great tip on how to do this is to place a piece of parchment over the top of the mixture and use the bottom of a glass to press down. (This is what I usually do and it works great!)
Place the pan in the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that the bars can set. Once they have set, remove the bars from the baking pan, and cut into 9 equal sized granola bars.
Now give one a try and just try to tell me that they are not absolutely delicious! 😉
I swear, fitness / eating healthy and these Chocolatey Granola Bars are the perfect example for this argument! Not only are these beauties incredibly healthy, but they are also utterly irresistible! Seriously, while taking the photos for this post, I managed to consume two, because I just couldn’t stop nibbling on my subjects.
These granola bars are loaded with healthy, protein and fiber rich ingredients, is super tasty and that you can have whipped up in literally five minutes! Honestly, what more could you ask for? These are such a great snack not only for those of you wanting to find tasty and delicious snacks to help you shed those last few winter pounds, but they also make such a great snack for you to pack along on your next Spring picnic or with your kids in their school lunch boxes – I’m telling you, they won’t even know that they are secretly eating s ridiculously healthy snack 😉
I hope you enjoy this little recipe! Let me know if you tried any variations and how they turned out!