Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Today I was thinking of a response to a question my local gym, Rival Fitness, asked me: “What’s your purpose?”  I don’t know if there are many people who are able to answer this question on the fly, but it really made me stop and think.

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

The answer is supposed to target “my purpose” related to health/fitness.  They are asking some of the frequent-flyer members this question in order to update some of signage on the gym.  I know this should not have sparked a huge internal debate, but a) my purpose is pretty mind-boggling thought to reflect on b) this could potentially be posted on Rival’s exterior/website for Seattleites to see AND let’s be honest…I DO NOT have a common name.

Carrot Cake Energy BitesHere’s a little visual of what the nut/oat mixture should look like

Well today I had an “ah-ha” moment.  My purpose at Rival, work, in my relationship, with this blog, and in life is pretty consistent across the board.  My purpose is to challenge myself and my boundaries every. single. day.  My biggest fear in life is becoming comfortable.

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

This might be what fuels my competitive drive and why I am an internally-driven person.  No matter what “your purpose” in health, relationships, life is, it is important to stop, reflect, and appreciate what drives you.

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Ok what does this have to do with carrot cake energy bites???  Not much really, other than I love energy bites and am always challenging myself to re-create a not so healthy favorite recipe into a better-for-you alternative.  I also believe you are what you eat.  With a busy day, you should reward your body.  These little bites of joy will do just that :)

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: N/A
Servings: 15-18 bites

The Players: 

8-10 mejedool dates, pitted
1 C quick oats
1/2 C raw coconut flakes
1/2 C pecans (or nut of your choice)
1/4 C ground flaxseed
1 T ground cinnamon
1 C grated carrots (~ 2 medium carrots)
2 T coconut oil, melted

The Rules: 

  1. Place dates in a dish, submerge with warm water, and soak for 10 minutes.
  2. While the dates are soaking, combine the nuts, oatmeal, flaxseed, coconut, cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until the oats are ~ the size of uncooked quinoa.  Remove from the food processor and set aside.
  3. Drain your dates and pulse in food processor until finely chopped.
  4. Transfer grated carrots to the food processor.  Then slowly add nut/oat mixture and pulse to combine.  When the mixture appears dry add the melted coconut oil and pulse a few more times.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix with your hands until well-combined.
  5. Refrigerate the mixture for 15-30 minutes.  (Note: this will make it easier to form the balls)
  6. Remove from the refrigerator and form balls by rolling ~1 tbsp of the mixture between your palms.  (Note: if the batter gets sticky, then wet your hands to make it easier to form the bites) Set the energy bites in an airtight container and place parchment paper/wax paper between layers of the bites to prevent sticking.  Enjoy immediately or store refrigerated.

Skinny Carrot Cake Cookies

Skinny Carrot Cake Cookies

To appease all the cookie lovers out there that are staying true to their New Year’s resolutions I have the perfect, healthy alternative to carrot cake…enter skinny carrot cake cookies.

This recipe is dedicated to my friend Erica: fellow pharmer (that’s nerd for pharmacist), fitness fanatic, and carrot cake connoisseur.  I thought I loved carrot cake, but man this girl is what you might call obsessed with carrot cake.  Erica is also the most dedicated runner I know and will brave the Wisconsin winters to train for marathons outdoors.  She even qualified for the Boston Marathon this year…”You go Glen CoCo!”  (Yes, that was a Mean Girls reference)  I can guarantee that Erica will be enjoying a big slice of carrot cake post-marathon.  Who’s counting calories when you’re burning thousands?!?!

Skinny Carrot Cake Cookies

I will be honest and say that this recipe is not as decadent as the real deal.  I chose to exclude a cream cheese frosting, since I wanted to keep these on the light side.  Also, cookies sans frosting = minimal mess = happy me.  I can grab a cookie (or handful) for breakfast, as a snack, or as dessert when I am running from place to place.  But don’t you worry, these cookies are packed with flavor: fresh grated carrots, cinnamon, ginger, honey, apple sauce, and oats.  They also stay soft and chewy, which is a requirement in my cookie-making kitchen!

Skinny Carrot Cake Cookies

I decided to top the cookies with some organic coconut flakes to add a little extra flare and flavor, but you can always splurge and drizzle on some cream cheese frosting.  I promise I won’t tell anyone ;)

Skinny Carrot Cake Cookies

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Recipe slightly adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking’s Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 14-18 cookies

The Players: 

Wet Ingredients: 
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (~1 C grated carrot)
1/3 C unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 to 1/2 C organic honey (alternatively maple syrup or agave)
2 1/2 T coconut oil, melted

Dry Ingredients: 
1 T ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1 C quick oats
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/8 t salt

optional: organic coconut flakes for topping

The Rules: 

  1. Combine carrots, apple sauce, coconut oil, and honey in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, except the coconut flakes, in a small bowl.
  3. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredient.  Stir until well combined, but do not over mix the batter.  Refrigerate the batter for at least 15 minutes. (Note: this will allow the oatmeal to absorb some of the wet ingredient and will make the dough easier to work with)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F while your cookie batter is setting in the refrigerator.  Spray a cookie sheet with coconut cooking spray.
  5. Drop 1 tbsp of the cookie batter, shaped into rounds and slightly flattened, on cookie sheet.  Space the cookies at least an inch apart.
  6. Top each cookie with a sprinkle of coconut flakes and gently press the coconut onto the cookie surface so it sticks.   Bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Once the cookies are completely cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and store at room temperature.

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars

I love having fresh fruit on-hand as a snack.  There are two types of fruit I always have in the house: bananas and honey-crisp apples.  Unfortunately, sometimes I am not as efficient at snacking on the bananas and we all know what that leads to… the overly ripe banana…boo

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars

Have no fear.  I am always thinking of creative ways to put those brown, mushy, not-so-appetizing bananas to use.  Everyone makes the standard banana bread, but I have really fallen in love with bars lately.  I decided to recreate the traditional banana bread in breakfast bar form.  Oh yeah, things just got a little more interesting.

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars

Since I love oatmeal for breakfast (or any time of the day really), I knew I wanted the bars to have the taste and texture of oatmeal, but still have the consistency of bread.  Therefore, I decided to incorporate a mixture of whole wheat flour and oatmeal.  Cinnamon is a great spice to add to oatmeal, bananas, and chocolate.  I AM NOT afraid of leaning heavily on cinnamon when I bake.  I love the aroma and taste it provides.  Honestly, these bars are healthy, nutritious, and adapt well to whatever other ingredients you want to throw in (nuts, coconut, dried fruit).  They even taste like dessert.

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars

I had one after dinner last night and one for breakfast after today’s morning work out.  These Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars are a perfect treat any time of the day.

Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Bars

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Recipe heavily adapted from Ambitious Kitchen’s Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 16 bars

The Players:

Wet Ingredients 
4 ripe bananas
1/4 C sugar-free applesauce
1/4 C agave syrup or honey (I used a mixture of the two)
1 t vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1 1/4 C oatmeal (quick oats)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1/2 C chocolate chips (I used dark)

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a 9 x 9 -inch baking pan with cooking spray (I used coconut oil cooking spray).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, excluding chocolate chips, in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Place wet ingredients in standing mixer or combine using a hand-mixer, until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add dry ingredient mixture slowly and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and spread evenly with spatula.  Bake for 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then cut into 16 bars.  Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container for snacking.

Trail Mix Balls

Trail Mix Balls

I live in the Pacific Northwest also known as the PNW and like every newbie that moved out west I CANNOT get enough of the breathtaking hikes and views surrounding Seattle. Other than spending hours searching through recipe blogs, I spend hours on the Washington Trails Association website searching for the next adventure beckoning from my backyard. Seriously, I love my Midwest roots, but I have never been as in awe of the city I live in as I have felt every day since moving to Seattle. One key snack to bring on any hike, especially the 8(+) mile ones around here, is trail mix.

I LOVE trail mix, it combines nuts, chocolate, and fruit…and I don’t even need to justify why I am indulging in chocolate as I “work out”. Please, who doesn’t enjoy munching on their favorite crunchy, nutty mix while looking over the picturesque outdoors. Actually you don’t need a view to enjoy this snack inspired by trail mix. This is the perfect treat after a sweaty gym session, to take to work, as a healthier post-meal dessert, or just because a girl wants to indulge in some chocolatey, nutty, goodness!

Trail Mix Balls

These trail mix balls were dreamed up after I spotted the recipe for No-Bake Energy Bites from Cooking Classy with a Sprinkle of Fancy. I’ve adapted the recipe to suit my cozy, autumn mood and what’s great is that you can easily change the nuts, fruit, and chocolate to match the season or depending on what you scrounge up in the pantry J

Trail Mix Balls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

 

Note: When forming the balls, if the trail mix combination starts to stick to your hands, wash your hands and dry them well. Clean hands make it easier to shape the balls. Don’t worry you won’t lose too much batter!

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Makes ~18 balls

 The Players:

1 C old-fashioned quick oats
½ C ground flax seed
½ C almond butter (or any nut butter)
1/3 C honey (or agave syrup)
½ C chocolate chips (I mixed white and dark chocolate, you can also use mini-chips)
¼ C chopped dried cherries (or any dried fruit)
¼ C chopped raw pumpkin seeds (or any nut)

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium-mixing bowl.
  2. Using your hands combine the ingredients until well incorporated. The almond butter and honey should act as a binding agent.
  3. Roll the trail mix blend into 1-inch balls (the size of a golf ball) and set aside.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator so that balls firm up.