Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Reverse" Nourishing Protein Bars 1.0.

Cocoa butter is one of those ingredients that I've been wanting to flirt with for a while, yet the "high" price tag has always bothered me. Recently, however, some of my blogger friends have been using cocoa butter in their recipes, effectively making me jealous (well, more so curious!), so I jumped in and got some myself.

Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa bean; and that's why it is white/yellowish in color, and not brown. Good quality cocoa butter should be at least $15/lb, and if it's less than that, you're either getting scammed or you just happened on a good deal. Look for a brand that has good reviews, is raw and organic, and can be used to make both food items and lotions. If you're using your cocoa butter for food applications, like here, you do not want to buy a non-food grade cocoa butter, so be sure to read the description on the product before you buy. I am a fan of Tisano brand organic cocoa butter, which you can find the link to on my ingredients page.

Cocoa butter comes in chunks or wafers (look for the kind made of chunks) and is easily meltable. For best results, store in the fridge before you're ready to work with it. And don't be afraid to try a chunk on it's own. I think it texture is like a bit like really smooth fatty coconut, but instead of coconut flavor, a hint of chocolate flavor instead! That being said, it's super versatile, and you can use it in chocolate sauces, puddings, and in things like these delicious protein bars :) I actually had a little bit left after making my protein bars, so I mashed some ripe bananas into it, added some cocoa powder, a little coconut sugar, ground chia, salt, and vanilla, and Viola! Chocolate pudding!

"Reverse" Nourishing Protein Bars 1.2.
    a spin off my original protein bars
    1 cup  whole raw walnuts
    1 cup  whole raw pumpkin seeds
    1/4 cup  ground chia seed
    1/2 cup  organic whole cranberries - mine were from Trader Joes
    1/2 cup  organic unsweetened coconut chips
    1/2 cup  organic sunbutter - mine was homemade :)
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil, melted
    1-2 Tbsp  organic local wildflower honey
    2-3 tsp  vanilla
    ~  1 cup  organic raw cocoa butter, melted - source
    ~  1 cup  coconut cream concentrate - source
    ~  1/4-1/3 cup  organic coconut oil
    1 dropper  vanilla creme liquid stevia (optional)
    1 Tbsp  vanilla
* Please note the ingredients with an "about" sign in front of them are just estimates of amounts. I really just added some cocoa butter, ccc, and coconut oil to a double boiler and melted it together, adding the stevia (for sweetness) and vanilla (for flavor) at the end. I wanted a lot chocolate coating on my protein bars, but feel free to use less if desired.

To make your protein bars:
  1.  Place walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground chia, cranberries, coconut, sunbutter and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2.  In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil using LOW heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla and maple syrup.
  3.  Add melted oil mixture to the food processor and pulse/grind ingredients until it forms a coarse paste.
  4.  Scoop out the mixture and press down hard into an square bar pan.
  5.  Melt coconut and cocoa butter in a double boiler, add stevia and vanilla last when finally melted. Pour the white mixture on top of the already pressed down bars, it should be liquid. Place into the fridge until chocolate has hardened. To serve, take bars out of fridge for at least 2 minutes. Work a knife around the edges gently, or insert a large knife on side and gently pop out the bar  and place pieces of plastic wrap or small baggies. Freeze for later or munch right away :)

You can even cut them into smaller or easier to bite shapes, like in the second photo. Enjoy this easy + nutritious option on the go!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Banana Macadamia Muffins.

For the past two weeks I've been on a muffin craze, which has me seriously thinking why I don't make muffins more often. Perhaps the one thing between me and muffin-land is the belief that muffins take longer from start to finish. Well, after making 4 different batches of muffins in the past 2 weeks, I can definitely say, I am so totally wrong! Muffins are easy. Easy easy easy. Which means... More muffins! More muffins! Yay!

You will certainly feel my enthusiasm once you taste these muffins. I orginally found the recipe on Tropical Traditions coconut recipe website (which is great for inspiration), but have never made a recipe from there before. I never make a recipe from someone I don't know, or a blogger I don't respect. I've done it before, and they don't work out. Anyways! So these muffins looked so great, and after looking at the ingredient list I figured they couldn't go wrong, so I whipped up these muffins. I am so glad I did! They are moist, with just the right texture and not overloaded on any one ingredient. My favorite thing is that you can make these in one bowl quite easily, then pop them into the oven and you've got some delicious muffins to share!

I made some minor changes to the recipe, like subbing coconut water vinegar for lemon juice, since it's what I had on hand, and I didn't toast the coconut before adding it to the batter, since that would just be another step. I've also found that the recipe makes 14 muffins, so you'll need more than one muffin tin. Head over to for the original recipe!

Banana Macadamia Muffins.
    makes 14 muffins

    2/3 cup  macadamia nuts of choice, chopped
    2/3 cup  unsweetened coconut flakes
    1 cup  blanched almond flour
    ¼ cup  organic coconut flour - source
    3  ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
    2  eggs, room temperature
    1/3 cup  raw creamy honey
    1/3 cup  organic coconut oil, melted and cooled
    ¾ tsp  baking soda
    ½ tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 tsp  coconut water vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    1 tsp  vanilla extract

To make your muffins:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees convection. Take out 2 muffin tins and place muffin liners inside.
  2. In a large bowl, add nuts, coconut, flours, baking soda, salt; mix to combine.
  3. To the same bowl, add eggs, bananas, honey, coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla; mix again to combine.
  4. Drop by tablespoons into the muffin tins. Fill 14 muffins full. *This will make 14 full sized muffins as long as there is no batter eaten in the process.
  5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans at 20 minutes for best results. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Then move muffins to a cooling rack, which helps to firm up their bottoms. Enjoy!

These muffins can be frozen or refridgerated! I recommend storing them in the fridge, versus the countertop before eating. Be sure to share these with your family and friends, they're quite tasty!