I'm pregnant. And not to be all overly-sentimental, but it really is magical to know that my body is making a person. I love each of my kids so much and I'd do anything for them. But, at least for me, with the miracle of pregnancy comes a couple of very unfortunate changes. Those changes are my sweet tooth and weight gain. Usually, I don't crave sweet things. I love my occasional chewy chocolate chip cookie or bright lemon tart, and let's not forget a super rich chocolate cake smothered in ganache. But, in general, I usually would prefer seconds on dinner over dessert. But once I get over the hurdle of the miserable first trimester morning sickness (which is a total misnomer! Whoever thought to make the world think that the nausea subsides in the afternoon was lying), and I finally have some energy again, I suddenly want chocolate. No, really, like all the time. It hurts.

And you're thinking, "pregnant lady, then just eat the darn chocolate." But I really shouldn't, right? Not every craving is telling me what my body needs. Some are just crazy pregnant lady pointless cravings. So what am I supposed to do? I can't go out and buy a box of double chocolate magnum bars every time it hits. As much as I want to.

This exact thing happened to me the other day. And I didn't even have cocoa powder in my pantry. I'm not sure how in the world that could have happened, but it did. And I panicked. My chocolate hankering was a need. I tried to distract myself with chores like doing the dishes, but then I magically got stopped by the pantry, and started digging around for chocolate. So I tried again to take my mind off of it by checking my email, and somehow I ended up on pinterest, searching for no bake cookie recipes. The amazing thing was that I found several nutritious versions which got my mind racing. Somehow, I was able to scrounge up some usable ingredients to experiment with, and I got to work right away. The cool thing is, it all came together in minutes and I was eating my "cookies" within the half hour. And I didn't even have to feel bad because they were good for me!

The trick to this recipe is the dates. They are the base of the whole cookie. They are the structure and the sweetness. The fabulous thing about dates, particularly the Medjool variety, is that they are not only sweet but have a caramel-like complexity to them. But not only that, they are really good for you! Dates are great at aiding in digestion due to their high fiber content. They also provide calcium, selenium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, potassium, and a whole bunch of other beneficial nutrients. What's not to love, right?

Along with the dates, we're using coconut flakes, coconut oil, nut or seed butter, and oats, with the optional cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. All of which love your body with fiber, protein, all sorts of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and if you use the seed mix, you'll even get omega 3's and all sorts of other benefits.

... As far as quantity goes, we should probably be careful with these guys. They are addicting. Because even if they're made with good sugars and fats, they're sugars and fats. Too much is still too much. But go ahead and have a couple. It's definitely better than eating your traditional cookies. And you'd be surprised how tasty.

Nutritious no-bake, gluten-free, raw, vegan cookie bars
makes 16
18 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan if needed) or 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons nut or seed butter (raw if needed)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
pinch of coarse sea salt
raw seeds, optional (I always have a jar in my fridge with equal parts chia seeds, flax seeds, black and brown sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and sliced almonds to sprinkle on my yogurt or in my smoothies or whatever. I liked it in these cookies, but they're not necessary for flavor or structure)
  1. Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan with coconut oil.
  2. Pulse the dates in the food processor until coarsely chopped. You may need to stop and redistribute the contents because they tend to clump up a bit.
  3. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and pulse until medium chopped and well mixed. Don't over process, you want a little texture to it.
  4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 15 minutes or until firm. Cut into 16 squares. Put uneaten pieces back in the freezer for later.

1 comment:

Indiana Haffners said...

Oh my dear if I could just have you in my kitchen everyday to inspire me to eat healthier...
This definitely looks worth a try!