School Lunch Ideas + Sweet Potato Energy Bars

It’s that time of year again… packing kids lunches (or our own) and trying not to repeat the same old recipes.  Even with the best intentions, I tend to get in a rut for L… I like sending her the things I know she’ll eat (anything nut butter related) but I also want her to get a variety of nutrients.

Here are some lunch ideas to help spark your creativity:

Roll-ups (our favorite, with endless combinations)

  • Hummus and shredded Veggies (carrot, zucchini, beet)
  • NB &B (peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter with sliced bananas)
  • Melted Cheese and Tomato
  • Black Bean + Spinach Spread +Cherry Tomatoes
  • Avocado (mashed) and shredded cheese

Finger Food Leftovers

Breakfast for Lunch

For more inspiration, check out Lindsay’s 50 Packable lunch ideas, Michelle’s School Lunch series and Lisa’s Smart Lunch box ideas.

We created a new favorite granola bar this week, using sweet potatoes, dates and nuts.  The measurements make enough to fill a bread pan, or 12-14 squares.


Sweet Potato Energy Bars (print recipe)

  • 1/2 c. oat groats (steel cut oats)
  • 1 c. walnuts, almonds or peanuts (I combined almonds and peanuts)
  • 1 1/4 c. dates (or combination of dates and raisins)
  • 1/2 c. mashed, cooked sweet potato
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt

Combine steel cut oats, nuts and dates in a food processor and combine until chopped finely.  Add sweet potato, vanilla and salt and continue to blend until the mixture is well blended and begins to pull away from the sides. 

Line a bread loaf pan with wax paper, and spread mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until done.

The steel cut oats give the bars a little crunch, and the dried fruit is sweet enough that no additional sugar is needed.  This recipe is gluten and dairy free, and an excellent project for little hands to help dump in the ingredients.  It’s also a safe batter to eat straight from the bowl.  🙂

Final tip: If do-it-yourself bars and snacks are are intimidating, remember that the freezer is your friend! Make large batches at a time and freeze the rest to have for the month.  Recipes that freeze well include muffins, granola bars, pancakes, mini-frittatas, homemade pizza dough, spanokopita triangles, homemade crackers, etc).

Thanks to Jenn, at Peas and Crayons, for the encouragement to set September goals, (like more variety in lunches!) I’m also linking up with Munchkin Meals for picnic ideas!

What are your go-to lunches?

Healthy Travel Tips for Toddlers (and mamas!)

Being away from home for two weeks is a long time for a toddler, especially when it involves several long car rides and flights.  I knew we would have to be flexible with our schedule and eating habits, but was equally determined not to drop the ball on healthy living while we were gone.

Here are some of the things I used to keep us happy and healthy:

1) Healthy snacks!

It’s nearly impossible to avoid packaged foods when traveling, but we took along some of our favorite healthy snacks to avoid last minute junk food.

Yogurt smoothies, all-fruit bars, Annie’s whole wheat bunnies

I packed extra veggies for snacking, and brought frozen peas for L which have been a favorite of hers since she started solid food.

More travel favorites: Bananas, nuts, carrot & nut butter sandwich

I started both travel days with a spinach, banana, blueberry and yogurt smoothie for greens and protein.

2) Water, water, water

It’s always important to stay hydrated, but traveling makes water much less interesting.  Even a 2 yo knows that grandma’s kitchen has juice, and her usual sippy cups were rejected the entire time we were away.

We used “big girl” cups and I brought a few fun curly straws to make drinking more interesting.  Sometimes I add frozen blueberries to make water tastier and more tempting.

3) Stay active

Being trapped in the car or on a plane is miserable for me, and possibly even more challenging for toddlers.  Use every opportunity to run and get out the extra energy.  While waiting to board, we walk all our the airport and go up and down as many ramps or staircases as we can. We always take breaks on long car rides to run around, or stop at toddler friendly destinations with playgrounds or open grassy areas.

While on vacation, I was able to get out for some scenic runs and took more daytime walks. Thankfully, running is an easy activity that can be done anywhere.  It’s one of my favorite ways to check out a new place when we travel.

Toddlers will run around anywhere, but it’s helpful to plan outings where they will be free to do so, as opposed to an afternoon of shopping where they’re strapped in the stroller.  We took daily trips to the neighborhood playground and checked out the local children’s museum.

4) Probiotics

Even with the best intentions, our diet changes when we travel.  A few less veggies, a little extra sugar, and less fiber can cause some stomach distress.  Culturelle helps to support kids natural defense systems and reduces digestive upset.

It comes in tablets for kids over 50 pounds or dissolvable packets for those 25-50 pounds, and is sugar, dairy and gluten free.  This is an easy way to increase the good bacteria in their tummy.  L happily drank it in her milk or smoothies.

5) Sleep

Maintain a schedule as consistent as possible to the usual routine, with an early bedtime and planned naps.  A well-rested toddler is a happier toddler, at least in our experience! This makes the entire trip more enjoyable. (A well-rested mama is happier, too.)

6) Plan Down Time

We packed our trip full of social time with old friends, relatives, great-grandparents, cousins, etc.  It’s important to be flexible and take the opportunity to do new things, but constant stimulation is exhausting for both kids and adults.  We built in some down time for reading and free play every day.

Reading with grandma

Check out Jill’s for more Fitness Friday posts!  I was compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.

What do you do to stay healthy when you travel, or to keep your kids healthy?

My favorite summer salad and celebrating 8 years!

After being cooked for and eating out the last two weeks, I found a renewed energy for cooking again, and came home with a long list of recipes I wanted to make this week.

I’m linking up with Jenn again at Peas and Crayons.  Check out what everyone else is eating, too!

I’m also linking up with Brittany for Munchkin Meals. Despite some delicious meals while traveling, it’s always nice to be back to our own food again.  Here’s what I ate yesterday- a few more sweets than usual, but it was a special day:

[Breakfast (post-spin class): Plain yogurt +homemade granola + banana; Snack: bites of L’s shredded pb and apple; Lunch: Summer grain salad over spinach;  Snack: almonds, raisins and dark chocolate; Dinner: Zucchini crab cakes with avocado-wasabi dressing, Mini- spanokopita; Dessert: Toasted coconut brownie bites and Mini Zucchini-Apple Cakes (Because you get two desserts on your anniversary, right?)]

My favorite Summer Grain Salad (print recipe)

  • 1 c. bulghur
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4- 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained or 2 c. cooked
  • (optional) salmon or chicken, diced
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Cook bulghur in boiling water, or for chewier bulghur pour boiling water over the bulghur and let it sit in a bowl, covered for 30 minutes.  Drain and cool bulghur, and add veggies, herbs, chickpeas and salmon.  In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, oil and mustard.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over salad and stir to combine.  Eat warm or cold.

I love the flexibility of this salad.  You can replace the bulghur with quinoa or couscous, and can add other veggies you have on hand, kalamata olives, or feta cheese.

Depending on her mood, L will sometimes eat this with me.  She likes the cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. Yesterday was a pickier eating day, so her lunch was a tortilla roll-up with peanut butter, shredded carrots and shredded apples.

The brownie bites were so good! I based them off Gabby’s recipe. I just stumbled across her blog this week, and she has some delicious gluten-free recipes! Here’s what I put in mine:

Toasted Coconut Brownie Bites (no-bake)

  • 1/3 c. nut butter (I prefer almond)
  • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed (such as this one)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate Life Shake protein (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey

Combine all ingredients and roll into balls.  Toast coconut for five minutes on the stove, stirring constantly (I used unsweetened coconut).  Roll brownie bites in toasted coconut and store in the refrigerator.  Yum!

On a personal note, yesterday was our 8th anniversary! We celebrated with a few days in the Finger Lakes alone last week, and will go out again on Saturday when we have a babysitter.  Last night, we were content to eat at home and have a relaxing evening.  L is still catching up on sleep from the trip and crashed by 7pm, giving us extra down time.

A lot happens in eight years.  Since getting married in 2004, we lived in Philadelphia, then upstate NY, and are now getting our southern experience in Houston.  We’ve had a few job changes, said goodbye to four grandparents, battled 18 months of infertility, and now have a sweet 2-year-old who we can’t imagine life without.

I feel so blessed to have married such a hard-working, supportive, engaged, loving partner and father.  We’ve found it is true that marriage takes work, but all that hard work to grow the relationship and practice selflessness is well worth it.  I’m looking forward to what the next 8 years will bring!



One Million More

Have you seen the food documentaries Food, Inc or King Corn? Both of these films were instrumental in raising my awareness and concern around the issues of genetically engineered food in our country.

Currently, genetically modified food is not labeled in our grocery stores, and it is estimated that approximately 70% of the food sold contains GMO’s as opposed to only 5% in Europe. The FDA has not required any long-term studies of the effects of this food on humans.  I don’t know about you, but as a mom of a toddler, those statistics are a bit alarming.

I recently became aware of the Proposition 37 in California, which would require food sold in CA to be labeled whether or not it contains GMOs.

What are GMO’s?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is an organism whose genetic material has been artificially altered.  Approximately 85% of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified, and then used in countless processed foods, including cereals, chips, crackers, and even baby food.

Why should we be concerned?

First of all, we have a right to know what is in our food. If these products were labeled, consumers who wanted to avoid them could do so. Even more importantly, we have no idea what the long term health implications of GMO’s may be.

The FDA has not required any long term studies, and research is beginning to link GMOs to a number of health concerns.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that,“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” which may include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. According to the this article, the AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

What does is Proposition 37?

This initiative in California would require food to be labeled if it is genetically engineered or if it contains genetically engineered ingredients.  It is intended to have no cost impact on consumers or producers.

Why should we care if we don’t live in CA?

Fifty countries with approximately 40% of the world’s population are already requiring GMO’s to be labeled in food. Getting this passed in California would open the doors for change to spread across the US.

It took one million votes to get the initiative on the California ballot, and it will take a million more to vote, donate, and spread the word to get the initiative passed.

How can you help?

There are many levels at which you can help make a difference.

  1. If you are a blogger, and would like to help spread the word, you can sign up here.
  2. Join us for a Twitter chat on Friday, August 10th at 7pm PST/ 10pm EST
  3. Tweet about the initiative using the hashtags #CARighttoknow & #LabelGMOs, here’s two sample tweets you can copy and paste:

“Yes on Prop 37! Consumers have the right to know about #GMOs. #CARightToKnow #LabelGMOs #YesOn37

OR “Are u passionate about labeling #GMO? Join the Official LabelGMOs Blogger Team! #labelgmos #carighttoknow”

More interesting reading:

My family is not perfect in our food purchasing and consuming, but I am passionate about knowing where my food is coming from.  I’m hopeful that if we can begin labeling all products with GMO information, more and more companies will feel the pressure to stop using genetically-engineered food in their products.

Do GMO’s concern you? Did you know CA has this initiative on their ballot?

June recap and Winners!

June Recap: June has come and gone, which means it’s time for another monthly goal recap to check in on my 2012 goals.

Running Related

  • June stats: 15 runs- 118.5 miles; 6 miles on the arc trainer; 9 spin classes- 134 miles, plus one outdoor 14 mile ride; swimming- 3400m; weights 2-3x/week
  • Record breaking: No new prs- too hot to race here right now!
  • New Cross Training Challenge: Finally went to the HIIT class (High Intensity Interval Training)- I loved it, but after all the jumping, my shin was a little unhappy

  • Running Buddy: I went from zero to 4, plus I started linking up with a local running group that meets two blocks from our house.  I have my long run buddy May, my interval-loving-triathlete buddy Liz, my BQ-aiming buddy MC, and another local mom
  • Meet bloggers:  I went for a run with a local blogger, and had coffee with Holly this month to soak up her triathlon advice!

Personal and Family Balance

  • Computer balance: Sticking to my plan so far of early am, naptime and/or pm computer time rather than getting off and on  But I could definitely work on getting to bed earlier…
  • Reading: Devoured Runner’s World’s Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training; I think that was it for this month.
  • Date Nights:  Had a baseball date night, where I was part of a pre-game ceremony with all the age group winners from the Astros 10k

I also started a Fitness Bucket list, which motivated me to sign up for my first sprint triathlon on July 15… two weeks to go.

I cut my running back this week to fit in extra time in the pool and on the bike.  On Saturday, I met my triathlete friend and running buddy Liz at the pool for the Master’s swim, and we followed it up with a short run with hill repeats.  It rained all weekend, so I missed my planned outdoor ride on Sunday and did an 80 minute spin class instead.

Time to wrap up the giveaway!

Winners!   This is my favorite part of hosting giveaways… I love using to see what numbers will pop up.  So the two lucky winners are….

#222     Ali


#159     Kristin

Congrats, ladies! I was also thrilled to see that both women are training for their first full marathon!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the RW Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training!  It’s an excellent resource.  If you didn’t win a copy and are considering purchasing it, I would definitely recommend it.  Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions about it that I didn’t cover in the review.

Do you track your goals monthly?  What was one of your June highlights?

Three healthy, homemade popsicles

We’re only a few days into summer officially, but Texas hit summer temperatures months ago.  One of our favorite ways to keep cool is with homemade popsicles, and we’ve been experimenting with some of our favorite flavors.

These are a much healthier alternative to store-bought varieties (you can even sneak spinach into the blueberry one!), and they are delicious, refreshing and more economical.

healthy, homemade popsiclesBlueberry, Watermelon and Orange Creamsicle

Blueberry:  Combine 1 c. plain yogurt, 1 banana, 1/2 c. frozen blueberries, 1/3 c. milk and 1 c.fresh spinach in a blender.  Pour into molds and freeze for 3-4 hours.

Watermelon: Combine 2 c. fresh watermelon and 1 apple (peeled or unpeeled).  Pour into molds and freeze for 3-4 hours.

Orange Creamsicle: Combine 1 c. plain or vanilla yogurt, 1/3 c. milk, 2 oranges and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Pour into molds and freeze for 3-4 hours.


  • Each makes enough for 3-4 popsicles, depending on size.  You can easily double the recipes to make more.
  • If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use dixie cups with popsicle sticks.
  • Run the popsicles under warm water to remove the popsicle in one piece.

It’s also another What I ate Wednesday with Peas and Crayons!

Here’s what I was chowing on yesterday:

  • Breakfast: (center pic) Post-run protein smoothie and oats.
  • Lunch: (lower left) Chickpea curry and couscous
  • Dinner: (lower right) Mini-frittatas; homemade whole-grain bread
  • Snacks: Apple + choc chips; Blueberry Larabar; Coconut-date-nut balls; unpictured banana; carrots + hummus

Is it hot enough for popsicles where you are?

Do you have favorite flavors? Or other tricks for staying cool?

30-20-10 Intervals and Yogurt-making

One of my new running buddies has been experimenting with the 30-20-10 workout.  Did you see the article about it on RW?  It’s designed to be easy to remember speed work… a 30 second jog, 20 seconds at training pace, and a 10 second sprint (5 times, then recover and repeat).  I read the original article, but after chatting about it with Liz, I resolved to give it a try.

I got myself to the treadmill for this workout last night.  Big mistake- I spent most of the intervals increasing/decreasing speeds.  Because of that, I only ran through it once (5x 30-20-10) and tacked on a few 400’s… but I do think would be an awesome workout outdoors!

It’s also What I ate Wednesday- snacking edition. After posting on Instagram about my homemade yogurt, I had a few requests for a recipe.  It’s more economical than store-bought yogurt, healthier with your own add-ins, and delicious.  I don’t remember the original source, but I now have it memorized.  Here’s what you do:

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot

  • 1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole, 2 % or 1% organic milk
  • 1/2 c. organic yogurt with cultures (store-bought or reserved from a previous batch)
  • optional fruit or honey/maple syrup to flavor yogurt

Pour milk in a crock pot and turn on low for 2 1/2- 3 hours, or until temps reach 180 degrees.  Turn off, and let crock pot sit covered for another 3 hours until it drops back to 110 degrees.  Whisk in yogurt, and cover again.  Insulate by wrapping in a large towel or blanket and let sit for 8-9 hours, or overnight.  Optional: Blend in fruit or sweetener to part or all of the yogurt.

 *To ensure thick yogurt, pay attention to temperature (any meat or candy thermometer would work!)  I often start the process at 4 or 4:30pm, turn off the crock pot at 7pm, and wrap it all up by 10pm before I got to bed.  Then in the morning… presto! Yogurt!

And because the theme is snacks, here are a few of my favorite yogurt-based snacks:

  • mid morning: plain yogurt with toasted oats or granola and fruit
  • afternoon: blended with frozen blueberries, bananas and spinach for smoothies
  • great kids snack: freeze above smoothie as homemade popsicles
  • healthy dessert: lightly sweetened yogurt with garbanzo brownies crumbled on top
  • before bed: soft toddler cheeks

Would you try the 30-20-10 interval workout?

What are your favorite ways to eat yogurt?


What a day wiaw and a Winner!

Before I jump into What I ate Wednesday, I have to say thank you so much for the many encouraging words on my last post.  I am so grateful to have connected with many of you all through this blog, and really value your support.

So, it’s Wednesday- time to link up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons!

Yesterday was just one of those days. Thank goodness for an early morning run (6 easy miles) to get my mind in a good place and ready for the day! I came home to the remaining oats in the pot, and added pear, frozen blackberries, flaxseed, chia and cinnamon:

L and I were excited to attend a puppet show in the morning at her Mother’s Day out program.  I packed a pb roll up with carrots and raisins for each of us and a few snacks for a picnic lunch.

In the process of getting her into the car, she found the lunch bag and wanted to open it. I placed it temporarily on top of the car while I buckled her in.  And drove off.  Fail #1.

Ten minutes into the puppet show, L began crying hysterically and yelling, “I want to go home!” (Although there was nothing scary about this puppet show, I think she was remembering the first one we went to a few months ago, when the giant puppy-dog man puppet traumatized her.)  I finally gave up trying to convince her otherwise, and we headed back home. Fail #2.

Time to make lunch #2.  I often add grated carrots and apples to her peanut butter for wraps, so made some as a dip (2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1-2 Tbsp each grated apples and carrots):

And ate it with crackers and green smoothies (bananas, yogurt, almond milk, spinach, carrots, black raspberries):

My afternoon trail mix snack: almonds, raisins, kashi cereal, and dark chocolate… (L had a banana-carrot cookie)

The plan was to make pizza for dinner.  Apparently, our freezer ate the yeast- it was nowhere to be found.  Fail #3.

So we improvised, and made some tortilla pizzas with grilled eggplant, spinach, fresh mozzarella and kalamata olives.

After dinner, I decided it was time to make another batch of Dark Chocolate- Sunflower cookies and lazily squeezed them all on one sheet and then forgot they were in the oven.  Fail #4.

Oh well, even in crunchy pieces, they still taste good.  And today is a new day!

Finally, the winner of the Honey Stinger giveaway is… Ray!

Please email me and we’ll get you set up with the Dark Chocolate Mint protein bars you wanted!

Do you have plans for Memorial Day weekend? I signed up for a local 10k, and we also plan to do some blueberry picking!

Joggermom marathon, wiaw and toddler carrot “cookies”

I got up bright and early yesterday to finish my last 6 miles for the Joggermom Virtual marathon.  The “marathon” is for women (moms) of all abilities–you have all of May to complete your 26.2 miles, and there are some great prizes (winners chosen randomly- so no pressure for speed).   And registration is open through the 15th, so it’s not too late to sign up!

I totaled 26.6 miles in four runs, and completed it in 3:29:xx.  Since I decided against the Dallas marathon this April, it was nice to feel like I still did a marathon of sorts.  Maybe that can hold me over for awhile?!

On to food… I’m linking up again with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for another What I ate Wednesday:

I came back from my sweaty run and gobbled up the leftover oatmeal and egg that daddy and L had saved for me and had half a Honey Stinger protein bar (new to me, and delicious!).  You can’t beat starting the day with a little chocolate!

We had a whole day with no plans, so L and I took it easy after breakfast and had a picnic with her “friends” on a blanket in the living room. I like getting out of the house in the morning, so we went to the Children’s museum, and she had a blast playing in the police car and ambulance, throwing boats in the “water works” and watched a baby chick trying to hatch out of its egg.  She made me pizza and lasagna for lunch #1:

We headed home for lunch #2 and threw together some quick leftovers: salad with beets and avocado, and the remaining peanut-lime noodles from last night’s dinner.

After she was settled for her nap, I finished my lunch with kashi cereal, raisins, almonds and a few dark chocolate chips.  Later, I finished the other half of the protein bar and snatched a few pretzels. Mmm, I love snacks.

It’s already getting hot here by mid-afternoon, so we opted to stay indoors and L “helped” me get dinner going. (Dinner was ready after two kitchen floor sweepings,  one soaking wet L, and three bead necklace projects.)

I haven’t been doing a great job of menu-planning lately, so at the last minute I decided on a barley risotto, (inspired by Thrifty Veggie Mama). I like her idea of throwing it in the crock pot, but didn’t have time for that, so we made it on the stove top and added sauteed zucchini and peppers to the finished product, and fresh Parmesan cheese.  We also made a simple lentil dish for extra protein.

Finally, here’s another healthy toddler cookie we’ve been loving.  This one is a variation of the banana raisin cookies.  I ate a few spoonfuls of the batter and would consider having a bowlful for breakfast, but I know I’m weird.

Carrot banana “cookies” (printable version)

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. oatbran (or all oats)
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 c. dried fruit of choice (raisins, chopped dates, chopped apricots)

Mash the bananas well and combine all ingredients.  Let sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350, and scoop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Moms at home- do you have to get out of the house every day like me?!

Mock Nutella and wiaw

Happy Wednesday!  I’m linking up with Jen again at Peas and Crayons for “what I ate Wednesday.”

We all woke up early yesterday, thanks to someone working on her 2 year old molars, so we had extra time to make whole wheat blueberry pancakes.  I like to top mine with almond butter and banana in place of syrup.

It was a warm day, so we made sure to get out in the morning hours.  I shared a large apple with L at the playground, then we headed home for lunch.

There was leftover couscous-zucchini salad and grilled chicken from Monday night, so I ate mine over spinach and added feta cheese.  (Yes, we rarely have meat- but the spinning extravaganza weekend and lack of meal planning for the week led to a quick and easy marinated chicken on the grill.  Every once in awhile my body asks for a little extra protein!)

Snacks: wasa crackers with Neufchatel cheese and salsa; mango; and molasses “tea” (great source of iron: hot water, spoonful of molasses and a splash of milk)

L helped me throw ingredients together for split pea soup this morning, so it was a quick easy dinner.  We had good, crusty bread on the side.

I headed to the gym to practice my spinning class in front of an empty room, and came home to do a little more snacking… a couple of L’s banana cookies and some pineapple.   Unfortunately, there is no dark chocolate in the house, but I managed to get my cocoa fix with this:

Homemade chocolate-nut butter.  I used to love Nutella but now find it way too sweet.  This is a much healthier version, but can be made sweeter to suit your taste.  Use it the same way you would use Nutella- on crackers, as a dip, or (if you’re like me) eat it by the spoonful!

Here’s the recipe: (printable version)

  • 1 1/2 c. nuts (I used mixed nuts)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or mild tasting oil of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar or liquid sweetener
  • (optional- for thinner “icing”) 1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in water for 15 minutes OR 2-4 tbsp milk

Blend first three ingredients except chia in a food processor until well blended (could take up to ten minutes, until it begins to bind together and look like nut butter).

Add cocoa powder and sweetener and blend until desired consistency, similar to nut butter.  If you prefer a creamier texture, add chia gel and blend another minute.  Add additional sweetener to taste.  Store in the refrigerator.

The creamier, chia version is much easier to spread, and could even serve as an icing alternative. Adult and toddler friendly.

Are you a Nutella fan?