Strictly speaking, these are the only protein bars I have ever actually liked – so the best so far!
I’ve been really excited about this post for a while now. I’m apologizing in advance for taking so long, because you are going to want to make these bars ASAP, trust me! They look ahmaaazing and, more than that, don’t have that chalky/synthetic/weird taste that protein bars tend to have (my roommates and coworkers can corroborate this claim). Although, if you follow The First Mess blog, you may have already had the chance to make the original recipe– I just modified a few ingredients to make my version here.
So, what have I been doing all week you ask? How could I keep these little divine nuggets off your screen for so long? Well, I have had a pretty exciting week! On Monday (or Tuesday? God, my memory is truly terrible) I went to a “Paint and Pour” event with a new friend, Sara! Who, by the way, just passed a huge exam and is officially an RN! Hollaa!! Anyway we both agreed that the best part of the event was listening to the many soccer moms get liquored up and let loose. Susan was HILARIOUS. Next time we are going to try and insert ourselves into their circle, because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone have more fun with an easel, a bottle of wine and a night off.
(Our masterpieces. I have named my owl Oscar, in case you were wondering).
Hanging out with Sara was a lot more to me than just painting and drinking wine. I’m still trying to settle into a new city, and am having some post-graduation growing pains (although it’s been almost two years since I graduated, yikes!) I think the thing that I miss the most about college is the sense of community inherent in everything, and making plans with Sara made me feel like I was beginning to create a community here. In college, I belonged to a class, a friend group, and to the University as a whole. I had things that I did each day, places I could go and see people I knew. I think it’s a very human experience to want to belong to something – we are social creatures after all! Although I consider myself an introvert, I feel most myself when I’m sharing my experience with someone – and then I’ll go home and close the door to recharge :).
I have this hippie-ish dream where all of my friends decide to quit their jobs and we buy a plot of land where we will farm and raise goats and spend all of our days laughing and pondering the meaning of life and being glad that we at least have each other. Does this sound good to anyone else? Haha…but for real if you want to go in on a plot of land maybe in like Montana send me a message ;).
Also this week, I finished my application for graduate school! I am applying to get my master’s in public health, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now. Wish me luck.
How have you all adjusted to life post-college, or to living in a new city? Meeting people is very different without the convenience of living next to hundreds of people who are your age and free to hang out whenever.
Maybe the best strategy to meet people would be to start handing out these protein bars. They’re so good I think they might have the power to spark instant friendship.
I was about to say “happy baking”, but then I remembered that you don’t even have to bake these! The only time consuming part for me was making my own almond butter. If you’ve read the “About Me” section on this blog, you’ll know that I despise spending a ridiculous amount on almond butter (or any product whose price has been inflated by putting the word “sprouted” on the label). P.S. what does that even mean??
I do feel a little bad about picking on almond butter, but it’s such an easy target.
Anyway, I made my own using my new Ninja blending system (thanks Mom and Dad!) and saved like $5. I added some honey and canola oil to my almonds and magic happened right here in my humble kitchen.
Enjoy! I know I did…
The best no-bake coconut chocolate bars (adapted from The First Mess)
3 cups of rolled oats
1 Tbsp finely ground coffee
1 1/4 cups powdered peanut butter (I used this brand)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c full fat coconut milk
3/4 c honey almond butter (or other nut butter)
2 oz dark chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil
A couple Tbsps of shredded coconut for topping (I used sweetened, because yum).
- Pulse the rolled oats in a food processor until you have a coarse meal.
- Transfer the ground oats to a large bowl, and add the protein powder, ground coffee, and salt. Stir.
- Add the coconut milk, almond butter, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir well until everything is combined.
- Lightly grease a dish an 8×8 dish with coconut oil and line it with saran wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper (whatever you have on hand). Make sure to use a bigger piece than you need, because later you’ll need to lift out the bars using the lining.
- Transfer the mixture to the dish. Press down and spread out the mixture so that you have an even layer all the way across. Make sure to pack it in firmly.
- Place the dish in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
- While you’re waiting, melt the dark chocolate along with the coconut oil in a bowl over a simmering sauce pan. Stir and let melt together until smooth.
- When the bars are ready, take them out of the fridge and lift them out of the dish using the overhang of the lining. Cut the bars however you like (I cut my slab into 10 bars, but you could easily do 20 squares – they’re pretty filling).
- Drizzle the bars with the melted chocolate, and then sprinkle with the coconut.
- Let the chocolate firm up, then store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!