I don’t know about you all, but I find December one of the harder months to resist…
In fact, I’d better just admit the dark (or milk) chocolate truth. I love most sweets. And chocolate is pretty much at the top of the list. I would eat it for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner and dessert, too. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in various forms (and quite possibly on the same day).
The down side (apart from cavities and possible weight gain)?
The problem is that, in December, the chocolate pie, the chocolate chip cookies, the hot chocolate, and all the other sweets that end up getting passed around the office or at a potluck or with family are often processed. And that’s pretty much because we all think we don’t have enough time to make actual food with real ingredients.
That’s why we’d like to invite you to join us on a winter adventure: Deprocessed December. Let’s kick the intake of chemicals, preservatives, refined sugars, and hydrogenated oils this month.
That doesn’t mean we won’t eat sweets or snacks or other delicious comfort food at all. No, indeed! That’s not possible for me in December (or any other time, really).
Instead, we’ll look at all the things we could easily be making with real food, without additives.
Every few days, we will post a recipe for snacks or food that we often buy prepackaged that just isn’t that difficult to make at home. Here’s our promise: as few ingredients as possible. No refined sugar or prepackaged items. And as fast as possible. The above stipulations are necessary because we’re both busy people with children who scream if we are in the kitchen too long.
So…this might mean spending just a few extra minutes in the kitchen before the office holiday party or the family gathering. But our bodies, our scales, and our wallets will thank us for resisting the over-processed and instead taking responsibility for the process. Who’s in?
And to start us off, here’s our first recipe:
Homemade Protein Bars
2 c. flour (+ more if needed)
2 c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. peanut butter (all natural…no sugar, no oil)
1 c. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. molasses
Those are all the necessary ingredients…the fun part comes when you add extra goodies:
1/2 c. flax seed (this just makes it healthier, but if you omit, you might need more flour)
1/2 c. slivered almonds or walnuts or any other nut you desire
1 tsp almond extract or vanilla extract (or none at all if you prefer)
1/2 c. raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, or any other goodies
Combine all dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, baking soda, flax seed, nuts, and dried fruit/chocolate. Then stir in wet ingredients (peanut butter, maple syrup, and molasses). Press mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and bake 20-30 m. until a fork stuck in it comes out clean.
A 9×13 baking pan will yield about 12 thick and delicious bars. I eat them for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner or snack, as the mood strikes.
And…to give credit where credit is due, I would like to thank Terry Walters’ book Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source for inspiring me to bake without butter and sugar. Her “Teff Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies” on page 275 were a revelation. The purchase of the entire book was worth it for that one recipe!