Or try my chocolate peanut butter snack bars.
Welcome to snack bar 7.0
What are your goals for this year? Besides improving work/life balance, two of my goals include reading more and being more conscious about my nighttime snacking. And successfully baking croissants without ripping my hair out. That’s a whole other (ugly) story.
I try to eat relatively healthy at all my meals, but what is it about 9pm that encourages a giant bowl of those popcorners chips?? (The white cheddar flavor, preferably and always.) Even though I think to myself as I pour myself a bowl: an apple with almond butter is definitely a smarter choice right now. But I never crave AN APPLE. Fruit, unless it’s strawberry ice cream, is not satisfying at 9pm.
I used to keep a batch of snack bars in the refrigerator most weeks. I rotated flavors– and now there’s 7! I’d have one after dinner, but always went back to my 9pm salt fest. I don’t want to completely kick my 9pm bowl-of-salt habit because that’s completely irrational for me (addicted to you popcorners♥), but I’d like to cut back.
To kick things off, I made a batch of salty sweet CRUNCHY chocolate-y snack bars this week. Even though they’re super simple and indefinitely wholesome, they manage to satisfy that craving. And, more importantly, make me really happy. As healthier habits are on a lot of minds this time of year, I think you’re going to appreciate them too.
Everything is mixed together in 1 bowl. That includes:
- uncooked quinoa
- oats (use certified GF if needed!)
- nuts (your favorite)
- nut butter
- chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds
Hitting major superfoods here! And there’s plenty of room for customization, too. I used almonds, honey, and almond butter. If chia seeds aren’t your thing, you can leave them out. You can also switch the nuts for sunflower seeds and use sunflower seed butter, making the bars completely nut-free. But my favorite favorite favorite part of all is the quinoa. It’s so crunchy, which is a deliciously awesome contrast to the softer dates, oats, and chocolate on top.
Make sure you pulse the dates in a food processor so they turn into a thick paste. Otherwise the bars tend to fall apart.
I’d like to apologize for how much this next photo resembles bird food.
I promise you’ll love them!
I have 6 more flavors of snack bars: vanilla almond snack bars | chocolate peanut butter snack bars | berry cashew snack bars | chocolate cherry almond snack bars | cashew coconut snack bars | spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars
PS: Do you have any book suggestions? I want to warn you that as much as I WANT to read to relax, I can never make it through a book. I become bored! Or, more often than not, simply find myself constantly checking social media on my phone. Any novels that pull you right in?
Quinoa Crunch Snack Bars
- 5 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup (80g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 3/4 cup (130g) uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup (70g) coarsely chopped Diamond of California almonds
- 1/2 cup (70g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 cup (125g) almond butter
- 1/3 cup (114g) honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- Pulse the dates in a food processor until they form a chunky paste. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl (except for the chocolate). Stir everything together until evenly combined. This will take some arm muscle!
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You want it packed in as tight as possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This firms up the bars which helps them stay together.
- Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. You can drizzle with chocolate before or after cutting.
- Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Make ahead tip: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
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