Ladybug Snack Bars

My sweet Mia started first grade this year…with all of the enthusiasm, outward love, and energy that she applies to everything in life! And, my little guy Luke is about to start his first year of preschool this week! I know I can speak for all of us healthy moms and healthy dads when I say, for at least the 100th time, “It’s CRAZY how fast they grow up!” It makes me excited for them and a little sad all at the same time. :(

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! :)

Melissa

Ladybug Snack Bars
5.0 from 2 reviews
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Recipe type: Snack, Breakfast
Author: Melissa
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 8 to 12 bars
These 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.
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 8X8 baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper…going in opposite directions.
  3. Whisk together ground chia seed with the 6 tablespoons water, set aside.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Combine all wet ingredients – nut butter, syrups, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  6. Add the chia/water mixture (chia “egg”) to the wet mixture and whisk to combine.
  7. Add wet mixture to dry mixture…the mixture will seem dry, just keep stirring.
  8. Fold in the dried currants and mini chocolate chips.
  9. Press into prepared pan with back of a rubber spatula, getting it as level as possible.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on top.
  11. 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.
  12. Makes 8 to 12 bars depending on the size that you cut them…or, 16 squares.
 

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About Melissa

I've been blessed with an amazing husband, Tyler and two amazing children, Mia who is 5yrs old and Luke who is 3yrs old. Our entire family has a passion for food. We see food as a means of nutrition, something wonderful to enjoy and indulge in, and meals...if we are doing them right...serve as a fun social experience too! Food definitely brings this family together!
Our family, as a whole, eats a mostly vegetarian diet...although we do consume meat and fish, on occasion. So, I'm always looking for and trying out new vegetarian and vegan recipes that hopefully all of us will enjoy.
Besides food, we are passionate about gardening. We have an organic veggie garden in our backyard that provides a good portion of the veggies that we consume. The kids love to jump in and get their hands dirty and it's crazy how much they already know about gardening! It makes my husband and me so happy to think that they will (hopefully) carry this experience and lifestyle into their futures.
I'm also passionate about learning new ways to lead a healthy lifestyle and provide one for my family...and, I love sharing these ideas with anyone who is interested in hearing about them! So, as I discover recipes and other healthy happy things I will share them...and when you discover some yourself...I'd love for you to share them with me! :)

Comments

  1. Susan says:

    These Ladybug Snack Bars look fabulous – want to make them ASAP! Question: If I want to use flax seeds instead of chia seeds (because that’s what I currently have a ton of) how would I adapt or substitute properly to make the recipe work?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Susan…great question! Simply use 2 tablespoons flax and 6 tablespoons water. Fyi…one “flax egg” is 1T flax w/3T water. Also, in my experience, a chia egg is a little thicker than a flax egg…so, you might need to adjust the cooking time just a bit longer? Just check them after 15 to 20 min and pull them out once they just start to get golden brown on top. :)

  2. Pancho says:

    Cute Kids! and you can take a trip anytime you wish!

  3. Lexie says:

    I am SO making these! These bars not only have good stuff in ‘em, they look good, too!!! And I love the name. What kid (or big person) would turn down Ladybug Bars? Have a great year at school, Mia!

    xoLexie

    Oh and LOVING your site!!!

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you Lexie!! So far Miss Mia is off to a great start! :)
      My kids plowed through these so fast…I need to get back into the kitchen and make more!
      Thanks again and we LOVE your site too!! :)

      • Jennifer says:

        We ate all 12 of these bars in about 48 hours…OMG so good !!!! And my tennis team devoured the other batch I made :)

    • Kim says:

      Lexie, we are so excited you found our site – because we LOVE yours!!!
      Hugs!

  4. Laura says:

    Baking these right now! They seem delicious!! I did omit the chocolate chips and replaced the dried currants with raisins and chopped up dates (just because that is what I had available). Just wondering, in case these do not disappear within 24 hours, how do you store them and how long do they last??

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Laura! I wrap them individually with plastic wrap and just store them at room temp…they don’t last long around here at all! But, you could wrap them individually, place them all in a storage or freezer bag, and then store them in the fridge if you’d like. Jenny sometimes makes a double batch and freezes some…she said they work great that way too because she can just stick them in her kids lunch boxes straight from the freezer and they are perfectly thawed by lunch time. :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I hope you enjoy the bars! :)

  5. Jackie says:

    These are AWESOME! I used flax in place of chia. I didn’t notice the comment about using 2T flax to the 6T water until just now. Mine turned out just fine though. I will do the 2T flax next time. I used fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips (not vegan), and, oh my, talk about dessert for breakfast, hehe! As a nursing mother of a 2 month old and homeschooling mama to a 6 year old, these have been great. I can grab one and eat it while caring for my two boys, and I don’t have to feel guilty like I do when I grab portable junk foody stuff. My husband loved these too. They were really easy to make too. Sometimes the recipes for these types of bars are labor intensive, but these were not. These will become a staple in my house, and I can’t wait to try some different combinations!

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Jackie! I’m so glad that you like them! They are a favorite around our house! And, yes, it’s nice to be able to grab something fast AND healthy while juggling kiddos! :)
      I just made a batch with pecans and choc chips…it was a yummy combo! We all love cranberries around here so I’ll have to try that next time! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and have a fabulous day! :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I don’t drink alone – I blame my wine consumption on HealthyMamma Melissa being over here!  :)  Together, we were busy migrating some of our recipes into our RECIPAGE.  It was not a hard decision to use Recipage to organize our recipes, and please with us while we migrate them over.  I’d estimate we are about 1/3 of the way finished and will continue to add them as we post new ones!  If you need to see other categories, feel free to suggest them.  I’ve had one request for a “egg-free” category.  Melissa can talk to you about Egg-Free!!!  [...]

  2. [...] & one of my favorites, brown rice syrup. I use agave daily in my matcha tea & I cook & bake with both maple syrup and/or brown rice syrup in place of sugar. Oh, & artificial [...]

  3. [...] also made Melissa’s Ladybug bars.  We have a tennis match tomorrow and I’m in charge of snacks this week…so instead of [...]

  4. [...] I made another batch of Melissa’s Ladybug bars…my kids SCARFED down the first batch so I made a double batch this time so I can freeze [...]

  5. [...] later that afternoon I regained their praise with a fresh batch of Ladybug Snack Bars. This time I made them with chopped pecans and vegan chocolate chips and the whole family LOVED [...]

  6. [...] weather and makes me want to be in the kitchen non-stop … this week I made Melissa’s Ladybug bars (AGAIN-my kids can’t get enough!), Kimmy’s 15 bean soup (AGAIN!) and 3 different [...]

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