Friday, February 24, 2017

Chocolate Covered Cherry Energy Bites

This easy, no bake snack recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherry Energy Bites is packed with healthy ingredients and contains no added sugar.

Raise your hand if you're still trying to tame the sugar dragon from the holiday season...

Guilty. I try to stick to whole ingredients and avoid foods with processed sugar most of the time, but it's certainly still possible to have a healthy, sweet snack. Enter this new recipe that tastes almost exactly like dessert: Chocolate Covered Cherry Energy Bites.

Remember those chocolate covered cherries that came in a red box? I don't recall the brand, but each sweet cherry was individually wrapped and extremely sweet. {I'm not sure if a real cherry was even involved}. Think of this as the healthy version, with protein from steel cut oats and healthy fats from raw almonds.

I made these energy bites in my food processor while Baby C was napping this morning. They turned out exactly like I hoped! I used unsweetened dried cherries, almonds, steel cut oats, California dates, cocoa powder, almond butter, and vanilla. I also added a sprinkle of espresso powder to bring out the chocolate flavor.

If your dates aren't fresh, I recommend soaking them for at least 2 hours in milk {any kind will work} or adding 1-2 Tablespoons of milk to the food processor. My dates weren't fresh so I added 2 Tablespoons of almond milk before forming these bites.

Simply roll the processed mixture with a medium cookie scoop and you're ready to snack.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Energy Bites
Yields: 14 energy bites

14 dates {pitted}*
2/3 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons almond butter
2/3 cup dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder; 2 Tablespoons milk

How to~
*Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process the mixture a few times. Stop the processor and use a spatula to re-combine the mix if needed.
*Keep processing until the ingredients are evenly combined {I use the "pulse" function}.
*Remove from the food processor and use a medium cookie scoop and your hands to form the mix into balls.
*Keep refrigerated in a covered container - the bites should last cooled for one week, and longer if frozen.

*I used California dates, which are smaller than Medjool dates.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DIY Alphabet Nursery Decor

This DIY Alphabet Nursery Decor craft is simple to make and perfect for a baby's nursery or small child's bedroom.

This post contains affiliate links.

Baby C is almost 3 months old and I finally finished the wall decor in his nursery last week. When it comes to DIY decor, I'm far from crafty. Thankfully this turned out to be a very simple and inexpensive project that required only a few materials and a short amount of time.

Before C was born, I searched for alphabet wall decor and didn't find much except for expensive canvas hangings and wall stickers. When I found a set of alphabet Eric Carle Flashcards I thought they would be perfect to hang on the wall. The flashcards come in a pack of three, with the alphabet, numbers and math. I'll save the extra flashcards for future use.

In addition to these alphabet flashcards, you will need:

1) Twine {I used Rope King Twine}

2) Mini clothespins {I used Wooden Pins for Scrapbooking}

3) Push-pins or nails {I used Wooden Globe Thumb Push Pins similar to this set. I found mine at Target.}

To start this project, I cut the twine into three strands - two at 60 inches long and one at 75 inches. I made a small knotted loop at each end of the twine strands, approximately 1 inch in diameter.

I laid the strands on a flat surface {this is the rug in his nursery} and clipped on the alphabet cards using the mini clothespins. I left approximately 3 1/2 inches between each card, and 3 1/2 inches from the end loop.

I also trimmed the twine where needed to avoid twine pieces ending up all over the floor. This is the finished product, before hanging it on the wall:

One thing to note is the mini clothespins I used fall apart easily. I broke a few while making this wall hanging. If you want a more permanent piece of decor, I recommend gluing each alphabet card to the clothespin to avoid any issues.

To hang the alphabet strands, I hammered the push pins into the wall. I decided to hang my alphabet strands 6 inches apart. I didn't hang them in a straight line because I like the angled look better.

I love Eric Carle's books and the flashcards are so cute! Here is the before and after in baby C's room:

This project took me 2 hours to finish. Here are the materials I used: