And speaking of sadness and other sometimes overwhelming feelings…I’m anticipating a bit of empty nest syndrome creeping up on me!
I know…I know…I’m being a bit dramatic…especially considering that Luke will only be in preschool for a couple of hours three times a week! But, it will be the first time that I’ve been without one, if not both, kiddos in 6 years! I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with my 6 hours per week of alone time! Maybe some gardening once this crazy hot weather breaks…maybe get my workout in at a normal time in the morning instead of at 5:00am…maybe a spa day…ohhhhhh, maybe take that girls trip that we HealthyMammas have planned!! Okay, now we’re getting somewhere!
If you’re anywhere near S Congress in downtown Austin and you just heard a loud gasp followed by a groan…don’t be alarmed…that was just my sweet Hubby reading this post from fire station #6. Just kidding honey…there are no plans for a girl’s trip. Not yet.
Actually, in reality, I’ve got a TON of things to get accomplished in those new 6 hours per week! You see, I’m not only a stay at home HealthyMamma…I’m also a specialty cake baker and designer. So I’ve got a crazy busy next couple of months with fall wedding season quickly approaching! Yikes! Wish me luck!
Okay, enough about how I’m going to be filling up my time these next few months…let’s move on to these healthy, yummy Ladybug Snack Bars!
Miss Mia’s class does not break for lunch until late in the afternoon…at 12:30pm. Which actually does not seem THAT late…until you think about the fact that I wake her around 6:40am for breakfast so that she can get something healthy in her tummy to start her day off right. I don’t know about you…but, I can’t go without food for 6 hours…I can’t even go without food for 3 hours! Not to mention, if I were Mrs. Little (Mia’s teacher), I would not want the task of trying to teach 23 hungry, grumpy 6 year old kids! She is smart enough to allow and request that they bring a morning snack to class with them.
A snack bar seems like the perfect thing to send her to school with each day…but, I don’t like all of the junk that’s typically baked into most of the store bought snack bars. So, I created this recipe and baked these up yesterday. They are delicious, super healthy, and both of my kiddos love them!
A quick chia seed side note** I use “chia eggs” in all of my baked goods instead of regular eggs. I do this because it helps convert the recipe to a vegan one…it acts as a binder, much like regular eggs…and chia seeds are crazy good for you so I like to sneak them into my family’s diet whenever I can! Plus, I can’t consume eggs. Well, I CAN consume them…but, you would not want to be in the same room…scratch that, same house, with me for about 24 hours afterwards! Yep, I said it.
Sooo…back to my chia eggs. This is similar to a “flax egg” but the chia egg does not add the flax flavor that I don’t want in some of my baked goods. I’ve read conflicting amounts online for the chia egg mixture…anything from 1 teaspoon of ground chia seeds to 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds per 3 tablespoons of water. I’ve found that 1 tablespoon of chia is way too thick…but, 1 teaspoon is too thin…so, I use 1 1/2 teaspoons ground chia per 3 tablespoons water and it seems to give me a perfect “egg like” consistency. Just whisk the ground chia and water, then let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.
These snack bars can easily be made gluten free by seeking out GF oats and oat flour. I used dried currants and vegan mini chocolate chips…simply because that’s what I had on hand…but, these would be great with any mixture of dried fruit, nuts, or morsels.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering…Mrs. Little’s students are called “Mrs. Little’s Ladybugs”…hence the name…Ladybug Snack Bars.
Health & Hugs!
|Ladybug Snack Bars||
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seed (I just grind my seeds in a spice grinder)
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/3 cup finely flaked unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup organic almond butter or peanut butter (with no added oil or sugar)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips (I used dairy and soy free)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 8X8 baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper…going in opposite directions.
- Whisk together ground chia seed with the 6 tablespoons water, set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Combine all wet ingredients – nut butter, syrups, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the chia/water mixture (chia “egg”) to the wet mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture…the mixture will seem dry, just keep stirring.
- Fold in the dried currants and mini chocolate chips.
- Press into prepared pan with back of a rubber spatula, getting it as level as possible.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on top.
- Allow to cool in pan for 10 min, then using the parchment paper, remove from pan and transfer to wire rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting it into bars.
- Makes 8 to 12 bars depending on the size that you cut them…or, 16 squares.