This post sponsored my Bard Valley Natural Delight Dates. However, all content, opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
Growing up, Dad had a joke in our house that cookies eaten outside of normal dessert consumption hours were called “Breakfast Circles,” or “Energy Rounds.” This soon became my line of defense when Mom caught me with my hand in the cookie jar. Thank goodness, my Date & Protein Chocolate Cookies need no explaining away!
These little rounds of goodness are loaded with quality and sustaining energy my family needs to smash through the day’s goals – both physically and mentally. My youngest teenager and I are the athletes of the family and my older two boys are the “math-letes” – bodies and brains BOTH need healthy carbs (backed by a bit of protein) to optimize performance. My cookies, made with absolutely no refined sugar (only Medjool dates and a few other smart ingredients), make the perfect snack to fuel running, workouts, sports practice, and racing to the head of the class! Read on to get the recipe and all the delicious, body-boosting benefits: Continue reading →
Yes, I have been guilty of eating REAL cookie dough and a lot of it. Once as a kid, my indulgent grandmother let me eat as much as I wanted while my annoyed mother looked shaking her head and telling me I was going to get sick. So, what happened? I barfed . . . mothers are always right. While I still like to make “real” chocolate chip cookies for the family now and again, I try to stay out of the dough (as much as I can). My recipe for Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites is a healthier option with no raw eggs, no gluten, and no added sugar except for a few chocolate chips.
With less than 100 calories and almost 5 grams of protein, one these yummy little no-cook treats also make a sensible alternative to eating that whole chub of cookie dough and turning into the Pillsbury Dough Boy (but, darn if he isn’t the cutest thing).
Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with the smattering of chocolate chips, but you can also omit these from the recipe.
I’ve added a whey protein powder for sustained energy, muscle-making and to prevent that sugar crash that comes with eating too many sweets. The protein also makes this no-bake recipe a great choice for your post-workout or run recovery snack. You can use your favorite brand of protein powder, but note that it may change the nutritional info depending on the brand and exact ingredient list.
Also, I used Nuttzo Seven Nut & Seed Butter which is my nut butter of choice – again, you can sub in whatever almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butter you like, but I highly recommend this one because it is packed with so much extra wholesome goodness. Save 20% on your order with my discount code FITFORK-20 at Nuttzo.com.
I’m making an extra batch this week to take along on our road trip to Spartan Houston! It has been raining buckets all over Texas so it looks like it’s going to be ANOTHER wild, wet and super muddy course. If you’re thinking about running an upcoming Spartan Race (check calendar here), there is a new limited-time discount code SPRING20 you can use at checkout to save 20% .
Add protein powder, almond meal and oat flour in bowl; stir to combine. Stir in chia seeds and flax seeds (if using a nut butter that already includes these seeds, simply omit these ingredients).
Add nut butter, 2 tablespoons of almond milk and stevia to bowl. Use spatula to combine well; mixture should be a bit crumbly, but hold together when pinched between fingers. If too dry, add additional almond milk a teaspoon at a time.
Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Roll approximately 1 tablespoon between palms of had to form ball; repeat with remaining dough.
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Ditch the chips and grab some Game Changing Flavors this football season! Enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Football Party Prize Pack, get great savings and ideas for delicious snack hacks at GameChangingFlavors.com .We take football SERIOUSLY here in Texas. Friday nights are spent under the lights cheering on the hometown boys and socializing with friends. All day Saturday is set aside for tailgating and stomping boots in the fan stands of our hometown college team (or Pop Warner) and Sunday and Monday we gather ‘round the big screen to rally behind our favorite professional teams.
So, during the season, it’s not uncommon to have four straight days of football. Oh, and the holiday bowl games – those may be the best because usually all the family and friends are around to celebrate! You may not believe this, but it’s TRUE – every year my family pushes our Thanksgiving feast from Thursday to Friday just so some of us can attend a very important collegiate game. Like I said, football is serious business in these parts.
Second to the serious excitement of the gridiron action is the snack table lineup. Actually, I know some (okay, maybe me) would say that good football grub is the most important part of the day – in fact, I go nuts for football food! Nuts, especially almonds, are always part of my starting snack lineup and they pair with everything from cold-cut sandwiches, pizza, wings and healthier things – including the over-the-top Healthy Snack Stadium I crafted for a big bowl game last year!
This football season, I’m serving up Salty-Sweet Smokehouse Almond Bacon Granola – a real winner based on how many times I have to refill the bowl even before half-time! People are like “bacon granola?!” and I’m like “heck, yeah!” – it’s spicy, sweet, smoky, salty, what more could you want? Everyone knows that bacon makes everything better, but so do almonds! Almonds are little powerhouses of nutrition – a handful (about an ounce or 23 nuts) has 163 calories, 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of heart-heathy fat along with all sorts of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. I especially like almonds for a snack because they are hunger-squashing and keep me satisfied until my next meal!
A bowl full of this Salty-Sweet Smokehouse Almond Bacon Granola is definitely going to satisfy the snack cravings of the biggest armchair linebacker or peppiest cheerleader at your party. The bacon definitely pushes this easy granola recipe into the Snacking Hall of Fame (okay, I made that up), but it is also balanced with healthy ingredients like whole grain oats, dried pears (or apples), quinoa, flax seeds, real maple syrup and more.
In small food processor or with knife, chop 3 ounces of almonds (1/2 Blue Diamond can); leave other half of can whole. Set both aside.
In large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high until moderately crispy (don’t over-cook). Remove bacon to drain on paper towels and coarsely chop up. Don’t dispose of bacon fat.
Keep about ½ cup of bacon fat in skillet along with all the delicious crispy bits left behind. Add cayenne pepper and stir into bacon fat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add maple syrup to this mixture, stirring constantly and allowing to bubble up for about one minute. Remove from heat.
In medium bowl, toss together oats, quinoa, flax seed, chopped bacon, dried pears, chopped almonds and whole almonds.
Stir oat mixture into bacon fat - maple syrup mixture until evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
Spread granola mixture out onto baking sheet and lightly press down with back of spoon to compact a bit.
Bake at 325 F for about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes and them break into chunks