Category Archives: Healthy Snacks

Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies

I’ve had this post in my drafts for at least a month now, just waiting to be shared. I haven’t been happy with the photos, and haven’t found myself just sitting down to write in quite some time. But here I am now, sitting to write, on my second (or third?) cup of coffee , and getting over the fact that I don’t love the photos so that I can finally share this recipe that I love so much with you.

Let me tell you about how these little cookies came to be.

Greg and I are not big dessert eaters (well, he isn’t – I love dessert but don’t make it, otherwise I’d eat it all) but we are big snack eaters. I always like to have healthy snacks on hand for times when we just want something before the next meal, or, for times like right now, when I’m just not ready for breakfast yet but my coffee is starting to get to me (just ate one of these cookies). I usually go with some sort of homemade granola bar or something similar (lately, I have been on a healthy banana bread kick). 

Right around this time last year, I made these no-bake almond + peanut butter energy bites. We were consuming those for a long time, but then I started switching it up to more of a baked granola bar because we need something that will hold up for long periods of time without being refrigerated. The energy bites are so good, but they do tend to get crumbly when not refrigerated. 

A few months ago, I was making Sally’s berry vanilla cashew snack bars and was mixing the wet ingredients for that recipe. The combo is: honey, vanilla extract, almond meal, salt and almond butter (I also added some almond extract because I love it). After I mixed that together, I got a spoon, tried a little bit, and thought it tasted like cookies. And it was healthy! I was in love with that combo of ingredients. I sat with those thoughts for a few weeks, did some experimenting and came up with the recipe you see today. I combined those wet ingredients with oats, walnuts, dried fruit and chocolate. So while I am calling these cookies, they are really like granola bars, in a cookie shape, because why not? They are healthy enough to be a wholesome snack, yet in my opinion, delicious enough to be a healthy dessert if that is what you’re looking for. 

Let me break the recipe down a bit:

The oats, walnuts and almond flour: I know that using all three of these is a little high maintenance, but I really like the flavor and texture that using all three brings. We keep the oats and walnuts a little more coarse while the almond meal is more fine and soft, providing great contrast of texture throughout the cookies.

The almond butter: I list almond butter in the ingredient list but I have made this recipe using plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter, sunflower seed butter and a combination! I feel confident that any type of nut butter would work with this recipe, just keeping in mind the changes in taste. 

The dried blueberry + chocolate: This flavor combo was inspired by my childhood obsession with chocolate covered blueberries. I still love the combo, but haven’t had one of those (suspiciously purple) chocolate covered blueberries in years! I have also made these cookies with the following combos: dried cranberry + chocolate, dried cranberry + dried blueberry + dried apricot, plain dried cranberry. They are all good, and I feel confident that so many other combinations would be good, too. Experiment a little, find what you like.

If you are looking for a wholesome, homemade snack, I hope that you will give these a try. I love these little snack cookies and I hope that you get to make them and love them, too!

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Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup walnuts
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1 cup almond meal
  5. 2 tablespoons almond butter*
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  10. 1/3 cup chocolate**
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the oats to a food processor and process until coarsely ground. You don't want them to be fine, or whole, but somewhere in between. Add the walnuts and pulse several times, just to lightly chop the walnuts. You want some texture to remain. Add oat mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the chocolate to the food processor and process until broken into little bits. Add the blueberries and pulse several times, to break them up a bit.*** Add chocolate mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the honey, almond meal, almond butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Mixture will be thick - that's okay. Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until very well combined and no dry bits remain. Add the chocolate + blueberry mixture and stir well. I usually go in with my hands and almost "smash" the ingredients together, ensuring that the chocolate + blueberries get fully incorporated into the cookie dough.****
  5. If time allows, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.*****
  6. Using a spoon, scoop out some dough, and using your hands, roll it into a tight ball. Place on a baking sheet and gently flatten the top of the cookie just a bit. The cookies will not change shape in the oven - whatever shape they go in, is how they will come out. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are rolled out and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When cookies are done, they will still be soft but will smell amazing and will be golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. * Use any nut butter that you desire. I have used plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter and sunflower seed butter.
  2. ** Use any type of chocolate that you like. Milk, dark, chips or a bar, I think so much could work here.
  3. *** You don't necessarily have to do this, I just like the add-ins to be small in size. You could also just chop your chocolate if you don't have a food processor.
  4. **** Once everything is mixed together, if dough is too dry, add some additional honey, if dough is too wet, add some whole rolled oats. Dough will be just right when you can form the cookies easily with your hands.
  5. ***** Refrigerating the dough is not necessary, but if time allows, will help the dough to stay together better.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
15-2

Almond + Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile. I’m back today with a little recipe that has become a recent love of mine. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but special anyway. Almond + peanut butter energy bites. Let’s talk about ’em.

I have been making + loving these little energy bites for months and it has just now occurred to me to share them with you. Last week while I was rolling a batch out, I thought, I should share these on the blog. I know that there are many, many “energy bite” recipes out there and that this one isn’t anything revolutionary, but after many experiments in different flavor/ingredient combos, this is the one that I have come to know and love and it makes me happy to share it with you today.

Here is why I love these:

1) I haven’t had to buy granola bars in the store. And that makes me so happy. Since I have been eating these, granola bars from the grocery store just won’t do the trick. 2) They satisfy a sweet tooth craving. I have had a major sweets craving lately. Like, I never want to pass up dessert. And guess what, these satisfy that craving perfectly. 3) Not only do they healthfully satisfy my sweets cravings, they are filling. Whenever I am feeling drained in the afternoon and lunch is long past and dinner is far away, these save me. They fill me up until dinner and give me the evening energy that I need. Love it. 4) I know every ingredient. No mystery ingredients here. Also – every ingredient is one that I keep on hand and every ingredient is one that is good for me. Can’t get much better than that!

If you are looking for something to replace store bought granola bars, or looking for a snack that is super healthy + filling, please make these energy bites. This little snack has brought me much happiness and I know that it can do the same for you!

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*Recipe inspired and adapted from How Sweet Eats — click link to view her recipe.

Almond + Peanut Butter Energy Bites
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup peanut butter
  2. 2/3 cup honey
  3. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  4. 2 cups rolled oats
  5. 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  6. 1/2 cup ground flax
  7. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. Extra almonds or peanuts, finely crushed, for rolling, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter and honey. Microwave for 15 seconds, then stir well to combine. Add the almond extract and lightly stir. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sliced almonds, ground flax, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture to the dry oat mixture and stir well to combine all ingredients. Mixture should be wet + slightly sticky. If it seems overly sticky and won't roll into balls, add more oats.
  4. Using your hands, form the mixture into balls, rolling each ball in crushed almonds or peanuts, if desired.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. For best results, store in the refrigerator and serve cold. They can be stored/eaten at room temperature, although they will be much softer. I highly prefer them right out of the fridge.
  2. This recipe yields 15-20 energy bites, depending on the size you make them.
  3. I prefer to roll the bites in crushed almonds over crushed peanuts - just a personal preference. Use a food processor to finely crush the nuts.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
14-2

Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo

This is a dish that Greg and I make frequently. We stand together, each chopping away at a vegetable or fruit, and create this bowl of beautiful tastes and colors. We top it onto chips as we make the rest of our meal, and then we enjoy it as a topping on veggie or fish tacos. Every single time we make this, we each take our first crunchy bite and declare it as our favorite food ever. And every single time we make this, we get into a conversation about just how good real food tastes and how lucky we are to eat food this good and healthy for us. I hope we do that forever.

We are lucky to eat food this good, especially this time of the year, using seasonal and local ingredients. For this batch of pico, we brought home most ingredients from Three Springs Fruit Farm and we’ve actually made it twice this week. Once for fish tacos and another time, sweet potato tacos. 

With just nine total ingredients, this dish is so easy to prepare and is also so versatile. The base of tomato, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro works so well for switching up the fruit seasonally. We often make it with mango and have done it with just peach, too. But for this batch I added blueberries and loved it. This pico adds just the right freshness, crunch and sweetness to a taco and is great with just chips, too. 

The color, smell and taste of this is truly special and I have a hard time believing that you wouldn’t declare this as your favorite food ever on your first bite either. Make it while we are lucky enough to have fresh summer fruits and veggies, enjoy every bite, and be reminded of just how good real food tastes!

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Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo
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Ingredients
  1. 1 generous cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  2. 1 large peach
  3. 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  4. 1 small red onion (or about 1/2 cup)
  5. 1 small jalapeno
  6. Handful of fresh cilantro
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Evenly dice the tomatoes and peach. Finely dice the onion and jalapeno. Roughly chop the cilantro. Combine everything in a bowl, along with the whole blueberries, with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Notes
  1. *My tomatoes were multi-colored mini heirlooms but any cherry or grape tomato will work fine.
  2. * I used a yellow peach but a white one would work great as well.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
5-2

Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie

Hey guys! Has it really been over a month since I last posted? Sorry for the silence, but it has been one heck of a month! So many things to do, and I guess blogging has fallen to the end of the priority list. To be honest, I still have some busyness coming up, so I can’t promise how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully I can get things together and start sharing more frequently soon!

But for today, I’m sharing with you something that I have been making consistently, almost everyday, even through the busy times. Blueberry, peanut butter, banana power smoothie.* I have even hauled my blender across the state twice, on a train, to continue making this smoothie. Truly my current obsession.

This smoothie is as tasty as it is healthy. I call it a “power smoothie” because of all the goodness in it. Let’s go over that:

Coconut water: Full of potassium and very hydrating.
Almond milk: I use vanilla, unsweetened. Besides adding a delicious vanilla flavor, it’s high in calcium and vitamins B and E.
Banana: More potassium! and so much more!
Blueberries: Antioxidants!
Peanut butter: Protein!
Chia seeds: Full of nutrients, antioxidants, protein, fiber and more. Eat chia seeds!
Spinach: Full of all the good stuff – nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

And that’s it. All real, whole foods that bring so many good things, and when combined, become a creamy, tasty treat! 

I’ve been making this for breakfast daily. I honestly never thought that just a smoothie would be enough for me for breakfast, but this one is. It keeps me full and I know that it’s probably the healthiest meal of my day – a great start. 

While each and every ingredient included in this smoothie is important to make it just what it is, if I had to stress one to absolutely not leave out, it would be the chia seeds. If blended long enough (I blend my smoothies a long time!), the chia seeds make the smoothie super thick and creamy, and it almost reminds me of ice cream. I like this smoothie so much more since starting to add chia seeds and it’s all because of that creamy, dreamy texture. A smoothie that reminds me of ice cream – can’t pass it up. 

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Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut water
  2. 1/4 cup almond milk
  3. 1 banana
  4. 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  5. 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  6. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  7. Large handful spinach
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend, until completely smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Inspired by a smoothie sold at the Cedars House Cafe!

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Springtime Strawberries

I recently found myself home with 8 quarts of springtime strawberries. And not just any strawberries, the best strawberries, thanks to the wonderful and generous Three Springs Fruit Farm.

What does one do with enough strawberries to overtake half a fridge? 

Most we ate just fresh. There is nothing better than fresh, local springtime strawberries, just as they are. 1.5 quarts were lovingly washed, sliced and sent to be enjoyed by Greg’s PhD committee members. My good vibes for Greg were sent in with those strawberries.

And, I made these muffins. Some of the best muffins that I have ever consumed. Roasted strawberries, ricotta cheese and lime zest, in a muffin, together. They’re heavenly.

They were a bit time consuming, but when I was given a day off of work due to lots of rain, I got to muffin making. And strawberry photographing. I turned on some music, put on my favorite comfy dress, opened the windows for Ivy cat, and made muffins all day long. It was great. And therapeutic.

I highly suggest you make these muffins if you get a chance. They are so, so tasty. Use local strawberries if possible. Take your time, enjoy the process. Enjoy the muffins!

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Click here for recipe.