Chocolate Lover’s Healthy Granola Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day! It is indeed the sweetest day of the year, and a great opportunity to scope out your child’s Valentines Day school stash – it is like Halloween for parents. Valentine’s Day has been strategically placed, a few weeks after the holidays, just in time to allow us to get over the chocolate hangover, and ready to endure another few days of gluttony.

I LOVE chocolate, and find every excuse to eat it. With this recipe, now I can, so can my Valentine’s, and so can you. I’ve been making homemade granola bars for a long time; they are healthy, cheaper then buying at the store, I can put whatever I like in them and they are really easy to make…so why not turn then into a healthy indulgent snack?

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Here is the recipe – it makes 12.
1 Cup of Rolled Oats
1 Cup of Spelt Flakes
1/2 Cup of Wheat Germ
1/4 Cup of Hemp Hearts
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1oz Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
2 TSP Vanilla Extract
1/2 TSP Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Dried Diced Strawberries
1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

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Here are the Directions:
1. Preheat your over to 300F and grease 1 glass baking dish.

2. In a bowl, mix the rolled oats, spelt flakes, wheat germ, hemp hearts, cocoa powder and salt together and set aside.

3. On medium heat, in a sauce pan, melt the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture bubbles, cut the heat and pour into your oat mixture, mix thoroughly and add your diced dried strawberries and 1/2 of your chocolate chips – try not to eat all of it before you bake it.

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4. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter (if you like) to form heart shaped treats. Put the cookie cutter right into your baking dish, pack the granola mixture into the cookie cutter and gently lift the cookie cutter to achieve the shape.

5. Bake your hearts at 300F for 25 minutes. When they come out, sprinkle with the remainder of the chocolate chips.

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These tasty treats are beyond delicious, and adorable. They are the perfect opportunity to eat chocolate for breakfast, or any time of day. When I make them I can’t keep my daughters’ or my husband’s hands out of them. Enjoy,,,and Happy Chocolate Day!

 

 

 

 

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Run. Laundry. Repeat.

My day starts early, a little earlier for my liking, no, a lot earlier, but that’s what I signed-up for when I became a parent. Each day is jam packed from start to finish, from waking, dressing and feeding my kids, who do not to be woken dressed or fed (you can probably imagine how that goes, yeah, it is the same as your morning), to school drop-off, work, school pick-up, dinner prep and clean-up, getting the kids ready for bed, who do not want to get ready for bed, laundry, then trying to locate toothpicks to hold my eyelids up while I have 15 minutes to catch-up on The Bachelor. Let’s face it, as a working parent, finding time to exercise is as easy as trying to get your child to eat broccoli, but it is doable, I promise.

I’ve been a dedicated runner & fitness enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Before having kids, finding the time was easy, because I actually had time. Now, it takes a bit of creativity with schedule and some will to get out of bed, but it is totally worth it because I feel energized for the rest of the day and can completely justify an extra piece (or two) or chocolate.

I get asked all the time, ‘how do you do everything you do and still have time to exercise?’. The biggest part of staying dedicated to fitness is finding something you love and look forward to doing. If you find something you love and look forward to doing, you will want to squeeze it into your insane schedule. Being consistent is also key, find a time of day that works for you and stick to it.  I love the early mornings because I get to have some time to myself, a very rare occurrence these days, although occasionally I get some help. At the end of the day though, do what works for you, find your prime time and do what you love. You don’t need to dedicate an hour, even 30 minutes will do the trick. I promise, a tiny bit of time is really worth it, you will feel like a million bucks.

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Fake Pops

Cake pops are a little taste of heaven. If I could, I’d eat them all time, but for the sake of my waistline and health, best to find a comparable alternative. I’ve done that, and now I am sharing it with you. I call them, ‘Fake Pops’, looks can be deceiving, but there is not an ounce of cake in these little bites of delightfulness, and barely an ounce of sugar. The best part about them is they are actually healthy, and kids love them. You have probably heard the term, ‘power balls’, or, ‘vegan truffles’, this is my spin on those recipes, but taking them a step further by turning them into a legitimate dessert.

Here is the Recipe – it makes 24.
3 Cups Dates
3/4 Cup of Walnuts
1/4 Cup Hemp Hearts
1 Cup Cocoa
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
24 Lollipop Sticks

Here are the Directions:
1. In your food processor, blend the walnuts & hemp hearts until they are as fine as you can get them. Set them aside.

2. Blend the dates until they become a, ‘dough’. If your dates are a little dry, soak them in some hot water for 5 minutes.

3. Add the walnut & hemp hearts into the date dough and blend everything together. Then add the cocoa, blend, then the coconut oil and blend until all ingredients are mixed together well. The, ‘dough’ should feel like a nice moist cookie dough. If it feels dry, add a tiny bit more coconut oil.

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Use a little melted chocolate, dip the lollipop stick in the chocolate, then into the ball and set aside.

6. Decorate as your heart desires! I used mini M&Ms – a little sugar is good for the soul. The balls are sticky so you can just press them M&Ms in, or use a bit of melted chocolate to stick them on.

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Not only are these Fake Pops delicious, but they are loaded with antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin E, fibre and so many more valuable vitamins and minerals. The M&Ms are colourful, and they taste good – see, they have a benefit.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

About Me

My name is Lauren Segal. First and foremost, thanks for being a part of my community and reading my blog! I hope you are enjoying the posts and finding them helpful, inspiring and humorous of course.

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PASSIONS:

Family: Nothing else matters without family. I have been married to my hunky husband, Adam for almost 6 years. It is like being married to my best friend, I envy my own relationship with him. We have two kids, Maiya (almost 5) and Kaylee (almost 3) who are, as cliché as it is,  the light of our lives and our inspiration each and every day. I also have the most wonderful parents and brother, and the most awesome extended family I could ever ask for.

Helping People: Whether it be through advice, moral support or being a workout buddy.

Food: I LOVE to cook, and I hear, from trustworthy sources, I am really good at it. I’ve adapted a lot of the recipes I love to suite families. I never use cookbooks, so all the recipes you see on this blog are Lauren Segal originals.

Fitness: I am a passionate runner. I’ve been running for over 10 years, and have recently started racing. Running is my, ‘me’ time and it helps to burn off all the chocolate I eat.

I am a working mom. I do daycare/school drop-offs and pick-ups, I cook, I clean, I run, do a lot of laundry and some how manage to be a very relaxed person and have somewhat of a social life. I often get the question, ‘how do you do all of that?’. This blog was started because of that question, and of course, my passions.

The Bosses of Me

When they tell you your life will change when you become a parent, they weren’t kidding. In fact, it really isn’t your life anymore, it is now owned and operated by your new boss, your child. That’s right, you have just given birth to your boss.

I have two bosses who are now 5 and 3 years old. They are erratic, often they do not agree on strategy – or who can use the pink bowl, they can be aggressive and they yell…a lot. They are very demanding and have high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations, they don’t pay well, but the benefits are extraordinary.

My bosses have changed every aspect of my life – they have changed my alarm settings to an ungodly hour, have allowed for an increase in the laundry quota by 10-fold, have made it acceptable to watch only Peppa Pig while I do my work out and have integrated cheese into every menu item I serve. I thought about forming a union, fighting for my rights, but after thinking about it long and hard, change is good, right? Actually, it is amazing, and I love cheese so I really can’t complain.

On the other hand, my bosses LOVE me, which is a total ego boost. They have confidence I can get the job done with minimal support, although they are known to follow me around, even to the bathroom. They are really easy on the eyes, which forgives most of their shortcomings and they have been known to give the odd bonus, which generally comes in the form of a few scribbles on a piece of construction paper, but they are worth waiting for. Occasionally, they accept some of my advice…very occasionally, because they believe they are always right.

I could not think of a better job, being a parent. It has been the most fulfilling and important career I could ever imagine. Sometimes I need a little reminder of that…especially while I am tackling mountain laundry.

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