Tag Archive | oats

No-Bake Pretzel & Peanut butter fudge bars…OMG

I have to admit, I haven’t baked much since moving to Australia. I didn’t plan on this at all, especially since it is one of my favorite hobbies (second to shopping, of course). However, I attribute my lack of baking mostly to the fact that it is just so darn expensive to buy ingredients here. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit that having a tray of desserts readily available for a household of two people is VERY dangerous. The mortifying realization of ‘where did all the cookie bars go? Oh wait…we live alone, I ate them’ has happened to me too many times to count. So when we have guests, I find it to be the perfect time to bake.
keep-calm-and-love-baking-6
Source

Brandon’s Dad is a diabetic, so I was on the search of a low-sugar dessert that we could all enjoy. Did you think this was going to be a low-sugar recipe based on the title of this post? Probably not, but it really is! I found this recipe on Pinterest, and after I read the words ‘Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Pretzel Candy Bars’ and saw the pictures, I figured it would likely be a winner. Pretzels, peanut butter, and fudge in one low-sugar recipe? SOLD. This recipe looks and sounds fantastic as-is, but I can say that adapting it to fit the ingredients I had on-hand proved to be pretty successful, too! I substituted chocolate protein powder for the vanilla, left out the butter extract, and opted to leave out the caramel swirl in favor of a sprinkle of sea salt on the top instead. Other than that, I followed the original closely.

I found these to be the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Oats & Pretzels on the bottom with peanut butter and chocolate on the top made each bite extra-special. Plus, these fulfilled my constant sweet and salty craving too, which seems to be a constant of mine this year. Seriously, a bag of pretzel m&m’s stand no chance around me. But these are WAY more fun to eat than pretzel m&m’s.
IMG_3964

  Obsessed, obsessed, obsessed. Make these as soon as possible!

No-Bake Low-Sugar Pretzel & Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Adapted from Natural Sweet Recipes

Ingredients:

For the Pretzel Crust Base:
1 Cup Pretzels
1/2 Cup Oats (I used whole oats)
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
2 Tablespoons Chocolate Protein Powder (Or vanilla)
1/2 Cup Butter (very softened)

For the Peanut Butter Fudge Layer:
1 Cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar Free Chocolate (or any chocolate)
1/3 Cup Coconut Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

For the Topping:
3-6 Tablespoons Crushed Pretzels (depending on how much pretzel topping you want)
Sea Salt

Directions:
1) Line a 8 by 8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray it well with canola oil cooking spray.
2) In a food processor or blender, blend the oats until they become a flour-like consistency. Add in the pretzels and pulse them together until fine. (I used a blender and it worked great!)
IMG_3946IMG_3947
3) In a mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, pretzels, coconut sugar and protein powder. Add the soft butter and mix to combine well. The dough should be moist, but not too sticky. (If it seems too sticky, add a little more protein powder and mix well.) Transfer the dough to your prepared pan and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place this in the freezer while you make the fudge, for about 10 minutes.
IMG_3950IMG_3951
4) In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and coconut sugar. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or until all the chocolate and coconut is melted and combined. (Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn!)
IMG_3948IMG_3954

5) While the chocolate is warm combine I with the peanut butter. Allow the mixture to cool slightly for a minute or two and then add the vanilla and cocoa. Mix well. (Warning: this smell is intoxicatingly-good!)
IMG_3955IMG_3956IMG_3958
6) Pour the warm fudge mixture over the chilled base and return it to the freezer to chill for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, crush up the pretzels. (I crushed mine up in a zip-loc bag!)  Sprinkle the pretzel mixture over the fudge layer, then add sea salt if desired. Return it to the freezer for about one hour. Then transfer them to the fridge, cut, and serve.
IMG_3959IMG_3960IMG_3962

IMG_3965
The natural sweetness of these bars is shockingly delicious. Although this was my first baking experience with coconut sugar,  I’ll be using it again and again. I made these yesterday, and they are nearly gone today. A good sign? I think so!

Advertisements

Any holiday is a baking holiday..australian anzac cookies

Hey there and happy Anzac Day from Australia! Anzac Day is Australia’s National Day of Remembrance, which stands to remember the service of Australian veterans. I had the day off from classes today, and nearly everywhere in town was closed, too. It really is a true day of honor.  I started the morning off bright and early with a sunrise service at 5:30 a.m. with some girlfriends. Despite the very early awakening, I am so glad I went. The music and words spoken were beautiful, and it was so nice to see such a big turnout to honor the veterans. I would say at least 600-700 people were there!
395725_10151900341958569_82052508_n
Sunrise Service

In my opinion, any holiday is a baking holiday, so in honor of Anzac Day, I wanted to bake the traditional “Anzac Cookie” that I’ve seen all over Australia in coffee shops, restaurants, airports, and supermarkets. I just wanted to make it a bit healthier than the traditional versions.  I have tried a few Anzac cookies at various places and believe me, they are delicious, but I know they are full of butter…lots of butter! What made of butter, oats, brown sugar, syrup and flour isn’t delicious? There’s nothing wrong with these ingredients at all, I just wanted to use less of them! In my search to find a healthier  recipe, I found a keeper from Cooking Light. This recipe uses minimal butter compared to other traditional recipes, but still uses enough to yield a soft texture and buttery-like flavor to the cookies.

These cookies take only minutes to put together, and you only need one mixing bowl from start to finish. Less dishes=happy Meredith. Hope you enjoy these as much as I am!
P.S. the dough is pretty great too…I would know, obviously : –)

Healthier Australian Anzac Cookies
Recipe from Cooking Light
Ingredients
IMG_2565

  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons golden cane syrup (I used maple syrup and it worked just fine!
  • Cooking spray

    Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (176°C). Line two cookie sheets with baking/parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
    IMG_2552
  3. Next, add the water, butter, and syrup; then stir well.
    IMG_2557IMG_2559
  4. Pat/roll the dough into ball formation, using about 1-2 TBSP of dough per cookie, and space the dough out evenly on the cookie sheets. Then bake at 325° for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool. Once firm, remove them from the pans to cool completely on wire racks.
    IMG_2562IMG_2566IMG_2569
  5. Eat them with vanilla ice-cream…that’s an order! : )

IMG_2586

I brought these to dinner tonight and my two girlfriends really enjoyed them. They said they tasted just like a traditional Anzac cookie…and they would know since they’re Australian! I’d say these are a winner for sure.

What’s your favorite type of cookie?
Oatmeal Raisin and chocolate chip are my top two!

Cocoa, Peanut Butter & Oat No-Bake Treats

Hey there, happy almost-weekend to all! I have the day off from class today, so I am psyched. I love having Friday as my study day. This way, I can do less studying come Saturday and Sunday, when it is the last thing I want to do. This morning I opted to sleep for a few extra hours and take a 9:00 a.m. rpm(spinning) class rather than attend 5:30 a.m. boot-camp, and it felt great to get some extra shut-eye. It also felt great to sweat…but when doesn’t it? I’m loving my new Australia work-out gear (the brand is Lorna Jane and it’s really similar to Lulu Lemon back home). Brandon gave it to me for Christmas, and I adore the thick waist band of the spandex capris, the bright colors, and the length of the tank. Basically, Lorna Jane rules!
IMG_1340IMG_1339

Like our American flag in the background?  It is safe to say we are missing home!

Anyway,  this weekend, I plan on doing some baking, or should I say no-baking, in the form of cocoa, peanut butter, and oat no-bake treats. I made these a few weeks ago when we had a friend over for a barbeque, and it was extremely humid that night. It was definitely WAY to humid to bake, but of course I was craving dessert.  I’m pretty sure the guys both thought I was crazy, but I was determined to produce some-sort of chocolate treat without turning on the oven. Then I remembered a dessert I used to make with my Mom when I was younger: no-bake cookies. Voila, I knew what I was making! These are in no way healthy, but they sure are delicious, and they produce a lot of cookies with minimal effort. I don’t recommend making the mistake I made of leaving “extra” dough in a container. Me+cookie dough=disaster. I was in there with a spoon on a daily basis!
IMG_1482

Cocoa, Peanut Butter & Oat No-Bake Treats
Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 cups oats (I used whole oats, but quick oats will work too)
1/2 cup reduced fat creamy peanut butter (Any peanut-butter would work)
1 tsp vanilla extract
IMG_1471

Directions
1)Lay out a large sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Set aside.  Combine the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a boil for about 1 minute.
IMG_1473IMG_1475

2) Remove this from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients (oats, peanut butter, and vanilla). Stir the mixture and mix well.
IMG_1479IMG_1480

3) Drop the mixture by teaspoons onto your wax paper. (I prefer to use a scooper to make them as round as possible, but I unfortunately don’t have one here!) Then place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until cooled.

IMG_1489

These may not look very pretty, but they are truly delicious. Plus, with the inclusion of oats and peanut-butter, they are super filling, so you’ll  satisfy your sweet tooth with one or two.

Do you have a favorite no-bake dessert? Please share!

Make-your-own-granola bars

Make your own granola bars

Lately, I’ve been making a diligent effort to eat less processed foods, and incorporate more protein into my diet. But as I’m sure many of you know, this can prove to be particularly difficult if you’re stuck in an office all day! I have to admit, I really wonder how in the world I get hungry from sitting at a desk and in meetings all day, yet somehow, I do. I don’t exactly enjoy sitting all day, which is my main motivaton that gets me to the gym each and every morning. I know it’s in my head, but I just feel better at 8:30 a.m. knowing I was already active that day, especially since I’m sitting there all day.

Anyway, something that’s even more difficult than sitting at a desk all day is feeling satisfied after breakfast and lunch each day. Up until last month, I continued to realize that I was starving within one hour after eating. I wasn’t eating enough protein at or between my meals, and was eating empty calories of “100 calorie packs” and sugar-laden granola bars, instead of choosing protein-packed snacks or whole-grain options. That’s why I love these granola bars. They’re full of wholesome, high in protein, and they satisfy my sweet-tooth….good things really do come in 3’s!

Make-Your-Own-Granola Bars

Ingredients
½ apple (I used a granny smith)
1 ½ cups whole oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup nuts (pecans or walnuts would work)
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup light maple syrup
¾ cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but chunky would do!)
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1-2 scoops vanilla or chocolate protein powder ( I used Arbonne protein powder)

Optional Ingredients
1.5 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions
1) Chop apple, a cook Apple(or your choice of fruit) on stove, then mash in a large bowl.

cooking the apple

2) Add all ingredients to bowl and mix together.

Ingredients, all together

All mixed!

3) Smooth out in 8X8 pan, and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

granola bar goodness :)

One of the best parts about these granola bars is that you can adapt them to your taste. For instance, use a banana instead of an apple. Or, don’t include the chocolate chips and double up on the raisins instead. It’s up to you! Whenever I make these, I package them up in plastic wrap and take one to work each day for my afternoon snack. It’s quite the afternoon treat. Make these!!