Hard Boil Eggs in the Oven — A Whole 30 Must!

hard boiled eggs in the oven | Bacon is the Way to Happiness

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A month ago, I saw a video of a Food Network cook pulling a dozen hard-boiled eggs out of the oven. I am glad that I saw this! Since I have been on the Whole30, I have used this method many times for cooking my eggs. (You can see the original video here)

I’ve been able to grab one of these eggs in a pinch. But, really.. all the guys of my house (yes, even the baby) live for hard-boiled eggs… so we go through them pretty quickly. I have found that this is a great way to hard-boil eggs in bulk. I don’t have many pots that make sense to cook more than 6 eggs at a time. For some reason, hard-boiled eggs are like cookies in my house… they disappear very quickly.

What I like most about this method is that there is less clean up. The muffin tins come out clean. And less worrying about the timer. I place one egg in each muffin tin compartment. Put it in myoven… and then I have 30 minutes to take care of whatever business that needs tending… like my two crazy active boys.

Any steps to making healthy food easier to create is always okay in my book. I think this one is a winner, for sure.

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Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven
From: the Food Network
Servings: 12
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
1 dozen large eggs
For cold water bath: about 1 quart of ice water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one whole egg (uncracked) into each section of the muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes.
2. Remove from oven and place into ice water bath for at least 5 minutes. Peel, eat, and enjoy!

The Wild Goose Chase of Fulfillment

Have you ever completely and totally struggled with direction in your life?

Which daily tasks to first accomplish? Or do you simply throw your to do list out the window and drink in your children? Or how to possibly manage doing both?

For some time, I felt as if I had done well to manage both; letting some tasks go to enjoy my boys. Other times, I have encouraged independence in the boys, so that I can at least manage to remove a few things off of my plate.

And, then, there are those questions that deal with those tasks to accomplish outside of the duties of home. Notions of fulfillment notwithstanding.

I have found myself at the intersection of all of these things and feeling entirely restless.

View from Monte Krizevac, medjugorje

Anybody who knows me knows that I enjoy creating. It has provided me a beautiful outlet for years, as I pursued academia and athletics. However, it always was placed on the back burner. I placed music and ballet aside to pursue athletics. It seemed as if I excelled, but I still felt as if something was missing. Then, sidelined by injury, I was forced to re-evaluate it all. I thought that my focusing on a career in law would bring the clarity and fulfillment I needed.

And yet, things never quite felt right, until I stepped into a new life at a magical little flower shop in East Falls, Philadelphia (@fallsflowers). It was here that I really found my talents in creating, that I stopped feeling restless. So, I thought.

I was doing something that I loved. Something which brought others joy. I was able to enjoy God’s creation each day and marvel in the beauty of the natural world.

Then along came one beautiful little boy and an eventual move out of the bustling city and life I had come to love. With this came new joys, new realities, and new realizations.

After I gave up working in the shop to pursue a new frontier of life as a stay-at-home mommy, I find that I am constantly oscillating between fulfillment and abyss. Being home is, without a doubt, the most difficult job I have ever undertaken. These little people are awfully difficult to predict and extremely needy. And completely perfect.

Each day brings with it a new challenge to overcome and a new developmental milestone to navigate in my boys.

It is still in creating that I find joy. I try to carve out time each day to make something. Whether it is a new recipe, painting a watercolor or print to give to a loved one, or working around the house. I constantly question myself whether I should more seriously pursue any certain craft. Despite all of this, the notion of fulfillment seems ever-fleeting. The moment I have a paintbrush in my hand, or clippers making an arrangement, or working in a cloud of flour dust, I have fulfillment– or so I think. And as quickly as it comes, this feeling of contentment leaves.

It is because I am looking for fulfillment in all of the wrong places.

Fulfillment can only be found in relationship. In the relationship with our spouse, with our children. Yet, only these relationships make sense and have any foundation when we enter more deeply in a relationship with God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit. From this realization has come a true peace and fulfillment.

I don’t NEED these other outlets. They bring me joy, yes. They bring others joy, too– I hope! Maybe one day I will open an Etsy shop. It is a decision I am prayerfully considering. Because, as is in my nature, I am too scatterbrained to figure out any sort of offerings or portfolio to begin another side project. Or maybe I will take up my pen and write a book (on which subject remains a total mystery).

Or should I perhaps first rest in this realization of contentment in relationship. And maybe all else will follow in due course, with the discernment I so desperately crave. And, just maybe, through discernment in Him will I grab ahold of that wild goose.

Do•It•Yourself Evergreen Wreath

DIY evergreen wreath

It is so hard to believe that next week marks the start of the Advent season. Nothing says Advent and Christmas quite like fresh greens in the house.

DIY evergreen wreath // bacon is the way to happiness

Making your own wreath is really as easy as it seems and can cost (next to) nothing. Chances are you have all of these items in your home already!

All that you need to make your own evergreen wreath::

  1. A bunch of freshly cut evergreen branches
  2. A wire hanger
  3. Snips or pruners
  4. Floral wire

DIY evergreen wreath // bacon is the way to happiness

Steps::

  1. Unwind wire hanger and reshape into a circle, twisting the ends to secure. Now you have a wreath form!
  2. Begin snipping little bits of evergreen and shaping them into miniature bouquets and tie a piece of wire around the bottom.
  3. Take another bit of wire and secure the evergreen to the wreath form.
  4. Continue making more evergreen bouquets. To secure them onto the wreath form, overlap each bouquet, so that the tops of the greens meet the halfway point of the bouquet you have already tied on (this way it hides wire and creates that beautiful layered look).
  5. Continue all the way around until the last part. This time, lift the first evergreen bouquet you tied onto the wreath form and tuck the last bouquet just underneath and secure it on, finishing the layered look.
  6. Take wire and secure any pieces that hang on loosely.
  7. Voila! It is that easy!
  8. Mist with a spray bottle full of water every day to keep it fresh!!!
  • DIY evergreen wreath

Roasted Sweet Potato + Apple Quinoa

Roasted Sweet Potato + Apple Quinoa

Hello. It’s me.

I’ve been terribly absent in the blogging recipes sphere. To say that I am busy is an understatement. These two gorgeous souls entrusted to me have been stealing all of my attention. I am not the least bit sorry.

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Excuse me while I take another three moments to stare at them. In person. To get my proper stalk on, I have to walk away from the computer since they are sleeping. Be right back.

I have great news for all of you… I have been terrifically busy in the kitchen creating recipes to share with you. Photographing. Instagramming. (Instagraming? Instagring?) I have been lovingly jotting each recipe down onto paper, and then… poof. They disappear.

So, I have bad news for you. I don’t have too many recipes to share with you. These recipes have gone to the same resting place as my grocery lists and half of the socks of every person residing in this house.

If you follow me on Instagram (which you so obviously should… @baconisthewaytohappiness) there is clear proof of lots of activity going on as we settle into life in our new home with our newest, sweetest addition.

However, despite all of the bad news of lost recipes, I do have good news. This one was so easy that I haven’t forgotten it, even though the recipe-grocery-list-sock-monster has devoured it.

It is easy. It is healthy. It is delicious. It is a Fall-y recipe not involving pumpkin. Face it, sometimes we all need a break from the whole pumpkin spice on my pumpkiny pumpkin craze, so that we can better appreciate our pumpkin tortilla chips that we bought to dip into our pumpkin salsa.  It’s just apples, onions, sweet potatoes, and a dash of heaven.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Quinoa

Nevertheless… and plentythemore… here is a delicious, healthy dish that I cannot get enough of. In fact, I’m going to go make some more while the boys ZzZZzzzzZZzz… #thankyouJesusfornaptime. 

Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple Quinoa
Yields: 4 servings
Time: 25-30 minutes

Roasted Sweet Potato + Apple Quinoa

Ingredients
3 medium sized sweet potatoes, scrubbed
3 medium apples (try gala, but any sort will do)
1 cup sweet onion
4 cups cooked quinoa
3-4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt (either sea salt or kosher)
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
1 tsp white vinegar

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes, apples, and onion into small pieces. You can go as small or as large as you’d like.. just know it’ll affect the roasting time. I opted for about 1″ bites.
3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped potatoes, apples, and onion with olive oil, stirring until well covered. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper, stirring more to combine.
4. Place onto a large baking sheet and bake approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, (or more, if you chose to go with larger pieces) until nicely browned.
5. Once finished roasting, combine the quinoa with the cooked vegetables in that same large bowl as before. Place into 4 serving bowls. Set aside.
6. It’s time to poach some eggs (if you are unable to consume poached eggs, please feel free to fry your eggs): In a small sauce pot, add enough water that comes about 1″ away from the top of the pot. Put in a pinch of salt and your vinegar and bring to a boil. Once it is rapidly boiling, crack an egg into the water, you will see a white mass forming (think Ghost of Christmas Past from Muppet Christmas Carol). Cook for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel briefly to remove excess water.
7. Place an egg on top of each serving and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper onto each poached egg and serve immediately!

Mexican Egg Stuffed Avocados

mexican egg stuffed avocado via bacon is the way to happiness

Just because Cinco de Mayo has said adios does not mean that the aromatic flavors of Mexican cuisine shouldn’t inspire our meals all the year long. Some of the most delicious recipes have been given a Mexican spin. An all-time favorite is Mexican pizza– and this recipe looks rather inspiring! How do we keep the fiesta of flavors going?

mexican egg stuffed avocado in skillet via bacon is the way to happiness

My sister has me hooked on stuffed avocados. When I was recently at her house for lunch, she made a delicious, healthy stuffed avocado using chickpeas and other goodies. It was divine and kept me full! Avocados are packed with that good fat that our diets so often lack.

Still craving the yummy tastes of Mexican food, and always jonesin’ for some good fats in my life, I decided to fuse these two ideas together and put an egg in it, too– because, well, yum. This recipe is easy enough to half, double, triple, or fafuple! All you have to keep in mind is 1/2 of an avocado, 1 egg, 1 TBS of salsa, 1 TBS cheese, and a drizzle of enchilada sauce per serving and you’re set!

mexican egg stuffed avocado pinterest

When making room in the avocado half to stuff, I found using a serrated knife to slightly cut around where the pit was, followed by finishing the scooping touches with a grapefruit spoon really helps. (ya know, a grapefruit spoon is that weird spoon-looking thing with a serrated edge that your grandmother gave you as a wedding present.)

scooped out avocado via bacon is the way to happiness

It can be a light lunch with a side salad, an appetizer, a side for a yummy dinner, or even a side for itself! Hmmmmm…Sabroso! 

Mexican Egg Stuffed Avocados
Yields: 4 servings

Time: 25 minutes

mexican egg stuffed avocado via bacon is the way to happiness

Ingredients:
4 avocados, halved
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup cheddar and monterey jack shredded cheese blend
4 large eggs
Approximately 2-3 TBS enchilada sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. To remove the pit from the avocado: I have found the best way is to use a chef’s knife and ever so carefully aim and whack the pit so that the knife is stuck… twist and remove (and save to grow an avocado tree!).
3. Slightly enlarge the area where the pit was to make room for the goodies.
4. First, add about 1 TBS of the yummy salsa, with as much of the liquid drained. Evenly spread it around the opening.
5. Crack your egg into the avocado opening. Not all of the egg white may fit, and that’s okay.
6. Top with about 1-2 TBS of cheese and lightly drizzle enchilada sauce.
7. Place onto baking sheet or cast iron skillet and bake for about 20 minutes for a firm yoke and about 15 minutes for a slightly runny yoke.
8. Eat right away, yum!!!

How to Froth Milk at Home

frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

Shaken, not stirred. 

I am in a constant pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee. I have tried so many various methods of coffee creating: drip, French press, Keurig, and so on… The best method of coffee creating– in my opinion– is the pour-over method. It is more hands-on than the typical Mr. Coffee drip, but the result is amazing. And, the quality of coffee the Chemex produces cannot be surpassed. It is my far my most used kitchen item and my most beloved kitchen item. If you were marooned on an island… yep.. Chemex. Hands down, every time.

chemex via bacon is the way to happiness

Each morning after I awaken, I have grand dreams. I sip on my habitual cup of java and I lose myself to my imagination. One day, I will have perfected my homemade cup of Joe. One day, I will buy a steamer for my milk to make a perfect cappuccino… One day, I will have an awesome coffee bar in the corner of my kitchen…

And then I wake up to reality. I am unable to justify spending over $1,000 on a tool that takes up counter space and furthermore, means I’ve spent $1,000 that I am not spending on truly needed items, or putting away in my piggy bank. And, really, the same mentality goes into going out for coffee every day. Each $5.00 cappuccino really adds up over the course of a week… a month… a year…

As a result of these realities, my quest for creating the perfect cup continues. Even though nothing compares to perfectly steamed milk created using a fancy machine with an Italian name I can barely pronounce, this method to creating frothed milk is a really great alternative. I have used handheld whisk frothers and, although they are effective, I have found that it’s very difficult to lighten my beloved whole milk.

Now, shaking up milk in jelly jars (or mason jars… or pasta sauce jars) is really able to give the lift needed to whole milk that my handheld frother can’t. If only a little bit of shaking here and there did the bit of lifting here and there that my mom-bod needs. 

 

how to froth milk at home via bacon is the way to happiness

This method is easy. It takes less than 3 minutes and you have a deliciously homemade cappuccino that costs pennies on the dollar. So, this weekend, skip the lines at the cafe and stay home and do laundry. Or, really, don’t… just make a second cappuccino and eat Nutella from a spoon. Because weekend.

Homemade Frothed Milk
Yields: 1 serving
Time: Less than 3 minutes

homemade frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

 

Ingredients & Tools:
1/2 cup of milk
Large jelly jar

Directions: 
1. Pour the milk into the jelly jar and make sure it does not pass too far beyond halfway, screw lid on tightly. Vigorously shake the jar for about 30 seconds… it should appear to fill the entire jar.
2. Remove the lid of the jar and place immediately into the microwave for 30 seconds. Keep an eye to make sure that foam doesn’t overflow!
3. Immediately add to coffee and enjoy!

frothed milk via bacon is the way to happiness

 

Homemade Herbed Butter

herbed butter via bacon is the way to happiness

Nothing gives toast a little oomph quite like a flavored butter. It’s easy enough to make, yet always has the ability to wow your guests. I mean, it is hard to improve butter, but somehow garlic and some herbs just make butter put on its fancypants.

I love how completely versatile recipes like this can be. You can mix and match herbs to create all sorts of butters matching any kind of dinner.. or brunch! And, hmmm!, once you spread this here butter on your toast or roll, you’ll be happier than a tick on a dog.

herbed butter recipe via bacon is the way to happiness

I have several go-to herbs and spices that I cannot live without: dill, basil, rosemary, and thyme. These beauties made their way into this recipe. We can dream up several other butter recipes, both sweet and savory. I am thinking a cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom combination for brunch! And maybe a paprika and red pepper flakes for when you have your saucypants on. Oooo… and how about oregano and basil for Italian night.

The possibilities, my friend, are endless!

Be sure to scroll down to the end to find my favorite way to soften butter in a snap, so save your counter space– no need to have your butter sit out for the better part of an afternoon!
herbed butter via bacon is the way to happiness

Homemade Herbed Butter
Yields: 1 stick or 10-12 servings
Time: 5 minutes

herbed butter wax paper via bacon is the way to happiness

Ingredients:
1 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 TBS garlic powder
1/2 TBS basil (dried)
1/2 TBS dill (dried)
1/2 TBS rosemary (dried)
1/2 TBS thyme (dired)

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and spices. Use a fork to really smoosh, smash, and stir (all very technical terms) until well incorporated.
2. Place onto waxed paper and shape into a roll. Roll and pinch the ends of the wax paper to resemble salt water taffy (shout out to northeast peeps, what what?!)
3. Place into refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving!

—-

How to soften butter in less than 5 minutes! :

  1. Fill a glass measuring cup full of water.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes on high.
  3. Pour out water.
  4. Slice stick of butter in half and place onto a plate.
  5. Turn over measuring cup and place on top of butter to soften for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

how to soften butter via bacon is the way to happiness

Croissants

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

I did it! I did it! I did itttttttttttt!!!!!!!! For years, it has been on my bucket list to tackle croissants. And I did ittttttttttttt. I have had failed attempts in the past, but this time, this time, it worked out! I think I am now going to rename the blog to “Bakin’ is the Way to Happiness,” or well, at least for today. Bacon has taken second, at least for today.

What is it about croissants? Is it the flakiness? The butteriness? The flaky butteriness? The buttery, flaky, butteriness? Yep, it’s most likely that. 

And, what is it about MAKING croissants that enables one to feel like… just… wow. It’s most likely the amount of time that goes into the process, coupled with the success that comes with the fruits (or breads) of your labor. After these beauties turned out, I felt like I could do anything. Like run for office. Or do a jig. Or even just eat them. And eat them I did.

And they were terrific. So terrific that I am unable to write about them in anything other than fragmented sentences.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to try making croissants at least once in your lifetime… and I really encourage you to make them several times, too!

On a scale of difficulty, I’d rate this around medium. I’d say some scratch baking experience is very helpful in this process, but the three trickiest steps in this process involve: proofing the yeast, having patience during the process, and having more patience during the process. You see, it takes several steps of rolling, folding, and re-rolling to create the various flaky layers. Proofing yeast is not all that difficult, but should your yeast be kaputz, well, that would ruin the whole process at the beginning.

Making croissants were, altogether, not terribly difficult, in my opinion. My failed past attempts were a result of a lack of patience, and I ended up with nothing other than buttery biscuits that, although delicious, were decidedly NOT flaky croissants.

In creating this recipe, I was hoping to find a middle ground between several recipes I had encountered over my past attempts- some were 12 hour recipes, some were 3 day recipes. I thought it had to be possible to find the middle ground: an afternoon of rolling and a night of resting. And the result was perfection!

Next challenge for this recipe: incorporating chocolate pieces before rolling up to bake! NOMMMMM.

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness Croissants via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

 

Croissants
Yields: 1 1/2 dozen (2 1/2″ sized)
Time: 24 hours
Ingredients:
1 TBS active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup heavy cream, warm
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for sprinkling work surface)
2 1/2 sticks sweet cream butter
1 egg (for egg wash)

Other items:
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Silpat (if you have one!)
Rolling pin

Directions: 

Day One:
1. Proofing your yeast: In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, sugar, milk and heavy cream. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to make sure that it begins to bubble.
2. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. Depending on the humidity outside, you’ll reach the desired tacky, but smooth consistency somewhere in between 3 1/2 and 4 cups (key: the more humid it is outside, the more flour it may require).
3. Lightly flour your work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes an elastic ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. While the dough is still in the refrigerator, Cut the butter in half lengthwise as well as width-wise (about 1/2″ wide). Form these butter pieces into a rectangle in between parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll out the butter and flatten it until it becomes one consistent, cohesive piece, about 7 to 8″ square. (To get to this size, you may need to cut some off to create a square, which is good– just make sure you place it in the middle and roll it back into the square).
5. Remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is approximately 10″ x 16″.
6. In the center of the rolled dough, place the butter square, but with the pointed edges facing the flat edges of the dough, so that it looks like a diamond within a rectangle (see the photo above for reference).
7. Fold the longest ends of the dough over the butter, so that they meet in the middle. Then, stretch the shorter edges of the dough to also meet in the center of the dough, pressing out any air. The butter should be fully covered.
8. Roll out the dough, elongating it to almost 2 feet, but not widening it much more.
9. Fold the dough into a trifold (think of how business letters are folded, but also reference the photos above). Make sure to dust off any excess flour during the process.
10. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 15 minutes.
11. Remove the dough from the freezer, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 10″ x 16″ again. Once again do the trifold, dusting off any excess flour. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for an additional 15 minutes.
12. One last time, remove the dough from the freezer, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 10″ x 16″ again. Once again do the trifold, dusting off any excess flour. Refrigerate overnight.

Day Two:
13. The next morning: remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it. Divide the dough in half. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 10″ x 24″. The dough should be no more than 1/4″ thick.
14. When it comes time to cut the dough, there are several ways in which to do it. I like to eyeball things, personally. If you don’t like to eyeball things, I would recommend finding a yardstick and make vertical cuts using a knife or pizza wheel at about 5″ apart along the length of the dough. You should have many smaller rectangles.
15. Make diagonal cuts on each of the smaller rectangles to create triangles.
16. To shape the croissants, roll the widest ends of the dough toward the pointed edge, stretching a little as you roll. Shape all the croissants. Placing onto a prepped baking sheet (or two, if needed) as you go.
17. Make your egg wash: In a small ramekin, beat one egg with about 1 tsp of water.
18. Brush the egg wash over top of each croissant. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
19. Preheat the oven to 400*.
20. Bake the croissants for 8 to 12 minutes. Rotate and swap the baking sheets to ensure an even bake. Bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, until the croissants are lightly browning.
21. Cool on baking racks for 15 minutes.
22. ENJOYYYYY.

Yummy, Snacky Walnut, Coconut & Date Bites

Walnut Coconut and Date Bites via Bacon is the Way to Happiness

I have an addiction to dates. No, not the kind with my husband– although those are pretty darn fantastic, too, and something we should do more often– but what I mean are the edible sort of dates. These cost much less money, just ask my husband.

Dates incredibly rich and sweet, and best of all– HEALTHY. It’s like you’re eating candy, but with mucho iron, fiber, potassium, and really a ton more.. and even a teensy, tiny bit of protein, so clearly it’s not candy. Yet, all the while it tastes like a delicious treat.

Yeah, I’m game, too.

Spring is slowly creeping its way toward the hot summer months, which means our need to eat subsides.

Nope. I’m just kidding… we aren’t bears, we have to eat year-round. If you’re anything like me, I like to eat lightly in the summer months. There’s nothing worse than an overly full stomach while sweatily sticking to the seat of your car. Gross. Definitely not game for that. That’s why I am always on the hunt for light snacks and treats to keep me full. That’s why I love items like these granola bars or these no bake energy bites.

Another reason I adore making snacks, as I have mentioned time and again, I can include my son in the process. He just loves being included in the messy mayhem that is me in the kitchen (yet he darts when it’s time for clean up… boys…). However, what he loves most is telling daddy that he made X or made Y in the kitchen– a sense of accomplishment! Although, OCDs beware: cooking with tots means a lot of mess, and eating most of the goods before you get to use them. Despite it being twice the work, it really does make the entire process so much more enjoyable on my end.

This recipe is sweet and salty, not to mention extra light. As it is, this recipe yields approximately 4 servings of snacks. I tend to want to move on and try new things after a day or two. This recipe easily doubles to yield days’ worth of snacks. I like to keep all of my homemade snacks in the fridge to preserve their freshness.

The most difficult thing about this recipe was coming up with a name. Date balls was suggested, although I fear that people may make an incorrect assumption seeing a name such as that, even though that’s most literally what they are. Either way, making these little yummies were a cinch. Everything gets mixed together in a food processor at the same time. It is really that easy.

See… now you’re going to be making your own snacks from scratch in no time!

Yummy, Snacky Walnut, Coconut & Date Bites
Yields: 4 servings / approximately 2 dozen teaspoon bites
Time: 15-30 minutes 

Yummy Snacky Walnut Coconut and Date Bites

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes + 1/4 cup coconut flakes set aside
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1 TBS vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 tsp salt (depending upon how sweet and salty you like things!)

Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients (except for the 1/4 cup coconut set aside) on low until it gathers into a ball.
2. Using a teaspoon, form little bite-sized balls and roll them into the set aside coconut.
3. Optional: sprinkle an extra pinch of cinnamon over top for an extra little zing of yummy!
4. Enjoy immediately. Preferably by yourself in a corner so you don’t have to share.

Hazelnut & Maple Granola Bars

hazelnut and maple granola bars via bacon is the way to happiness

Nom. Yum. Delish. Rrrrrrawr. I’m not sure what else to say about these granola bars. They are just so good. I made them to serve more as a fun treat with a little punch of goodness– that way you can spoil yourself with something deliciously sweet without feeling totally awful about it.

At one point during this recipe, you combine dates, hazelnut butter spread, and maple syrup together in a food processor. I was very half tempted… really 3/4 tempted to just simply end it there and ignore there was a granola/nut mixture, sit on the couch, and just go to town until I went into a coma. But, my conscience got the better of me. I told my son we were going to make yummy granola bars, so yummy granola bars we were going to make. I’ll save that date-hazelnut-maple mixture for when I have a bad day…. or a really good day…. or just a day… or am breathing, or something…

I like to make snacks like these and also those energy bites, if you remember, instead of buying them already made. There’s just something about doing the process yourself that feels a little more guilt-free.. and, not to mention, you’re less likely to eat it all in one sitting, since you’d have to go through the whole gotta-make-it-process to consume it again… I have found it enables more self control! And, these kinds of recipes are easy enough for you to include your progeny in the process, entertain them, and allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment… Win-win.

So go on and get your sweet-fix on without all the guilt.

 

Hazelnut & Maple Granola Bars
Yields: 12 servings
Time: Approximately 1 hour

hazelnut and maple granola bars

 

Ingredients
2 cups granola (I used Ezekiel Almond Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 TBS wheat germ
1 cup dates, pitted & chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup hazelnut butter spread
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the granola, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and salt.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the hazelnut butter and maple syrup, stirring frequently.
3. In a food processor, grind the dates until it forms a ball, add the hazelnut/maple mixture and process until smooth.
4. Add the date mixture to the granola mixture and stir to combine. You may need to get down and dirty and use your hands to mix it.
5. In an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper, pour in the granola mixture. Using a spoon, push down the granola until it is compact and evenly spread.
6. Cover lightly and place into the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and baking pan and cut into 12 squares. Store in refrigerator and eat within a week!