Good morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.
You know how there are times when you meet someone, and it’s as if you’ve always known each other? It’s a special chemistry that applies to romantic relationships and friendships alike, and in my experience, it is both extraordinarily rare and extraordinarily wonderful!
This weekend, one of those “Insta-friends” came to visit!
Berkley and I met during the sorority rush process my freshman year of college, and although we were supposed to try to chat with as many people as possible, we only had eyes for each other!
Berkley is the kind of friend I couldn’t lie to if I tried–she can read me in an instant, knows the ugly and loves me anyway, and although life has placed us in different parts of the country,we always pick up right where we left off.
This was evident the moment she came through my apartment door on Friday to the intoxicating scent of a 1-2-3 Cake! Berkley had specially requested one of these
beauties outrageously delicious cakes, and I HAPPILY obliged.
Berkley was primarily in town for a friend’s engagement festivities, but we had a BLAST in the time we spent together! Thankfully, I had brunch plans with Rachael’s parents at PEELS to look forward to when Berks and I parted ways Sunday morning :(.
This weekend was a JAM-packed (note: Foreshadowing) whirlwind, but here are a few snippets!
Pat-myself-on-the-back bargain find:
I absentmindedly sniffed the above perfume while waiting in the Zara checkout line with Berkley, and I’m tellin’ you, this is a DEAD-RINGER for Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue, one of my absolute favorite scents that’s too expensive to buy on the reg. This tube was $5 and will last for a loooongg time.
On Saturday afternoon, I had my second volunteer orientation session at Animal Haven! I’m officially a purple-tee wearing volunteer and cannot wait for my first shift.
After Sunday brunch, with the NOR’EASTER that is blowing through the East Coast right now (we got complacent, didn’t we?), the only thing that sounded good to me was BAKING!
I was SO disappointed by that Peanut Butter Balance bar, and knew I could make something with a solid protein punch that not only tastes better, but has a list of ingredients I can pronounce and count on (less than!) ten fingers!
Thus, the birth of these High-Protein, No-Oven-Required, SCRUMDIDLYUMPTIOUS Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars!
I used this incredible recipe by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows as my inspiration. Definitely check out Angela’s site–her’s was one of the first blogs I read, and she is also the mastermind begin the Green Monster Smoothie revolution!
HEALTHY NO-BAKE PB & J BARS:
- 3/4 c roasted unsalted almonds
- 3/4 c roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1.5 c regular oats (I used quick cooking steel-cut oats this time, but have made this crust with regular and I think I prefer the regular)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 c coconut oil (you can sub canola)
- 3/4 c Peanut Butter (I used crunchy unsalted Trader Joe’s)
- 1/3 c JELL-AYYYY (it just has sass, you know? Used TJ’s Strawberry!)
This recipe is WAY easy. The one crucial element is a food processor or a really good blender.
Line a rectangular pan (I used 8×5) with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Add the almonds, peanuts, oats and salt to your chopper of choice and process until a fine crumble forms. Next add the dates and and pulse until incorporated. Add oil (melt first if using coconut) and process until the mixture is sticky and can hold shape when pressed. If necessary, add a bit more oil until you achieve the desired texture.
Remove mixture from the processor, set aside 1 cup for the top layer, and press the rest FIRMLY into the pan. I used my palms to cover more surface area.
Next, just pour your peanut butter and jam on top and schmear around with a knife until evenly coated! My PB&J sandwiches are always peanut butter heavy and lighter on the jam, but if you like an even pb to jam ratio, use 1/2 c pb and 1/2 c jam.
Lastly, cover the filling with the remaining cup of crust, cover with saran wrap/aluminum foil and pop in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
Cut into bars and serve! Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
THESE BARS ARE UN-FLIPPIN BELIEVEABLE! I could NOT STOP coming back for forkfuls throughout the afternoon.
The front-page news?! Packed with good fats, protein and natural sugars, these are actually healthy enough for a snack BUT sweet and decadent enough to satisfy a dessert craving!
I brought one to work with me today (stored in fridge), and I’m literally counting down the hours until I can devour it as my pre-workout fuel!
Have a great Monday guys!