homemade sunflower butter bars

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

Y’all. Nothing takes it out of me more than traveling does. As much as I love adventuring and exploring new cities, I always need a day to recover – I definitely not alone on that one, right?? I was out in Cali this week because drum roll please…………I’m moving to Sacramento! I don’t think I ever once thought that I would end up in California, let alone Sacramento, but here I am! I guess that’s why you should never rely fully on your quote unquote “ten year plan” because that plan can change before you even realize and then bam you end up on the west coast.

While traveling is always an exciting experience – it’s easy to find yourself without any really good snacking options – especially if you are trying to stick to an overall healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for treating yourself on vacations and travel excursions because trying new foods at local restaurants and shops is all the jazz, but it’s those in between times like hanging out at the airport or between day trips where you don’t have your fully stocked kitchen and usual go-to snackies that can totally derail you. I was quickly reminded of that challenge while browsing the newsstand shops at the airport where the so-called healthiest options included cheese, pretzels, and a yogurt parfait. Not bad options per se – I mean hey, they are better than a bag of candy that you promise you’ll just have a few bites of and then halfway through the flight you realize you’ve scarfed the whole thing down. What I really want from snacks is the ability to fill me up between meals without eating an extreme amount of food while also being something that is easy to transport – enter the granola bar.

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

I’ve been on what seems like a never ending hunt for the perfect granola/protein bar – something that is full of protein and yummy ingredients but also doesn’t have the texture of chalk or a stale chewy bar and is full of sugar. It’s been real hard yo. I’ve found some good options, like RX Bars or Perfect Bars, but even there I’m not a complete fan of the texture of RX Bars (though my friends will preach to the high heavens about them!) nor the super long list of ingredients in Perfect Bars (I do always have one or two of the chocolate PB flavor in my fridge for emergency lack of food situations!). Due to these issues, I started thinking about the idea of making my own granola bars. I know, it seems like a simple solution but I never put any extra thought into creating my own bar until a few weeks ago. I knew what I wanted in a bar :: something nutty in flavor without being overwhelmingly peanut flavored, some texture and sweetness without the addition of extra sugar, and a bar that will actually keep me full between meals. And now here is the final result!

These Sun Butter Bars are my JAM and I’m excited to share the recipe with y’all after doing two different tests on them.

So why did I choose sunflower seed butter over a normal nut butter like peanut? Well if you’ve kept up with m Ayurvedic learning – peanuts are among the nuts that are to be avoided/limited for Pitta types – you could certainly substitute with peanut or almond butter if you prefer those, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my newfound love of sunflower seed butter. It’s got a milder nuttier flavor that peanut butter and is almost slightly sweeter – I make my own by just blending up roasted and salted sunflower seeds in a food processor. I made three different versions of this bar ::

Chocolate and Coconut

Dried Fruit and Coconut

Ultimate Loaded Nut and Seed Bar

You can totally customize to include your favorite mix-ins or whatever you have on hand (I like to think of these guys as those garbage can cookies where you literally toss in everything you can find in the pantry and call it a day). I personally love anything with chocolate, and these bars feel more like a treat when I add (80 – 90% cacao) chocolate. My favorite blend so far has been one with chocolate chunks, dried apricots, and cranberries. Just make sure that there is enough sun butter coating to hold the bars together and that you let them rest up in the fridge to hold their shape. Happy bar making!

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars
yields 6 large bars
time :: 10 minutes prep, rest overnight

ingredients ::

1/2 cup of sunflower butter (I make mine homemade)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of toppings/mix-ins (dried fruit, coconut shreds, nuts, seeds, chocolate, etc.)

directions ::

  1. in a large bowl add the sun butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. combine into a smooth mixture.
  2. add the oats and toppings of choice and combine until everything is coated in the sun butter mix and evenly combined.
  3. line a square 8×8″ pan with parchment paper and pour in the oat mix. press down into one even layer and add and press in additional toppings.
  4. place pan in the fridge overnight to set up. 
  5. remove un-cut bars from the pan and cut into even bar shapes. store in an airtight container (I keep mine in the fridge) – enjoy!

smokey turmeric hummus

you didn't know you were missing this turmeric hummus from life until now.

turmeric hummus recipe with veggies

How was y’alls weekend? 

We had a very low-key weekend over here because Imani and I are going to Chicago next week!!! Do you have any suggestions for places to visit? (bonus points for extra cute instagramable spots haha!) In preparation for our adventure next week I took this weekend off from exploring and just had some chill time. Running errands, hit up a yoga/barre/cardio class that kicked my butt and has me sitting in bed still sore, as well as grabbing brunch with Kristin at Spoon and Stable – seriously it took me way too long to make it out to S&S after so many people have raved about it to me. We noshed on their Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake which just lemon-y enough and crumbly in just the right way, as well as their Onion Quiche which was as fluffy as a pillow and their Red Wine Poached Eggs which were out of this world yummy. I might have also downed about four cups of coffee along the way but hey, it’s brunch after all. 

this is how to make a delicious and smokey turmeric hummus you will love turmeric hummus

this smokey turmeric hummus is the healthy delicious snack missing from your routine

In between all the crazy life things that are going on in the next two weeks, I’ve been taking a little extra time to try and organize my everydays in a bullet journal. What’s a bullet journal you ask? Well just search #bujo on Instagram and you’ll soon realize that it’s this crazy Type A way to track pretty much anything your heart desires in one little journal/planner/goal tracker. Being that I’m not naturally super Type A, I thought I would give it a shot and see if being a little more intentioned with daily activities would help me feel more organized – one week in and so far so good! I’ve been using mine to track how much water I’m drinking, when I’m working out, etc. etc. Since I’m using this year to focus on wellness, I thought being able to visually see these goals would be helpful – I’ll give y’all an update in a couple weeks to see if I stick to it!

A part of my wellness challenge has been being more mindful of the food I eat, especially when it comes to snacking. We have this drawer at the office that has been dubber “candy drawer” because, as you guessed it, it’s full of candy, and when I’m feeling antsy or snack-y at work you can find my arms deep in the drawer unwrapping some Reese’s Cups or whatever other sweet treat we’ve got in there that day. Part of beating the lure of the candy drawer has been packing yummy things that are actually good for me – like chia pudding to eat in the morning, nuts and fruits, and now this hummus. I’ve got this thing with turmeric – it’s like my favorite spice in the world. It’s earthy but not overpowering and has some kick butt benefits like having anti-inflammatory properties, regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as boosting immunity. I actually read a piece, “How Indian is Your Turmeric Latte” on Food52 this last week, and thought about how interesting it is that turmeric is the new mainstream and hip food – like people have just now discovered it. It’s always been a staple for me and I feel like the secret has been let out into the world which is kinda cool, but also come on y’all – recognize where your food trends actually come from and try to understand the origins of them. 

Being that I couldn’t imagine my world without turmeric, I’ve incorporated it into many of my daily recipes – tossing veggies in a turmeric spice mix, adding an inch of turmeric root into my smoothies, and of course sautéing foods in it as well. Well here’s another favorite way of mine to get that sunny golden color in my life – hummus. Hummus might in fact be one of the easiest recipes to make in the world. Toss everything together and blend – ta-da! My recipe is smokey and spicy thanks to some smoked paprika and red chili powder, and I could eat it by the truckload. (I wouldn’t actually advise doing that by the way!) So in case you’re looking for something new to try this week, here ya go! Happy last full week of February! (:

a smokey turmeric hummus recipe

smokey turmeric hummus
  1. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  2. zest 1/2 lemon
  3. juice 1 lemon
  4. 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  5. 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. 2 inches of turmeric root, peeled
  9. 1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
  10. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  11. 1 tbsp tahini paste
  12. 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  13. 5 tbsp olive oil
  14. 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
for garnish
  1. olive oil
  2. cilantro
  3. sesame seeds
  4. sea salt
  1. add all of the ingredients to a high power blender or food processor.
  2. blend until smooth, scraping down the edges while mixing - if the hummus is still a little too thick, add a little extra olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.
  3. serve topped with suggested garnishes or store in an airtight container for up to one week. enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/

kheer – inspired breakfast chia pudding

This kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding is a delicious breakfast scene!

a yummy breakfast chia pudding

Let’s chat about breakfast shall we –

The most important meal of the day? Until recently I wouldn’t have agreed with that statement, but as of late I’ve been all about the breakfast. Most of the time it’s a quick toss together of ingredients I can scrounge up in the fridge that will likely be blended together in a smoothie or tossed into a plastic container that I can munch on while catching up on emails in the first hour of work. Maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person, but breakfast has never been a big hooplah for me. It’s just so much effort in the morning to cook something up especially when I snooze my alarm about five or six times and then realize that I still need to pack my lunch, toss everything in my work bag, and attempt to look somewhat put together for the office. Enter this chia pudding.

this chia breakfast pudding has the flavors of indian kheer and is topped with berries and coconut, yum!  kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding topped with fruit, almonds, and coconut

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding

this breakfast chia pudding is the perfect morning meal topped with fruit

Although I have been attempting to wake up a little earlier each day (sometimes it works better than others) to organize life, the one thing I have been focusing on is making sure I actually eat breakfast. I can’t count the number of times in the last couple of years that I’ve haphazardly just picked up a granola bar or just skipped breakfast entirely as I run out the door. Let’s give a big round of applause to me for not doing this anymore. What makes this endeavor eating something anything seriously absolutely any possible thing easier is the make ahead breakfast. I’ve tried the overnight oats – my roommate is obsessed with them – I personally could live without ever eating them again, I’m a fan of smoothies but that much sugar every single morning can be excessive, and sometimes a breakfast scramble just takes too long. This chia pudding solves all problems. It’s slightly sweet but still nutritious, delicious with lots of yummy toppings, and can easily be packed and made ahead of time should you fall behind on your morning time table and need to eat a hearty breakfast in the car on the way to work. 

The flavors are inspired from another pudding recipe that I’m just obsessed with – kheer. I’m not lying when I say that my mom makes the BEST kheer in the world. It’s so sweet and floral-y and like a big dose of happiness in a bowl. Ugh I love it. But of course what makes it good is all the sugar in it, which I’m trying to be more mindful of consuming. So when developing this recipe I was uber careful of the amount of sugar that was in it – you can even make this without the sugar if you want! I topped my little bowls of pudding off with berries, toasted almonds and coconut, and cacao nibs. You could add pistachios or maple syrup or any fruit of your choice. I’ve been mixing everything up the night before in a container and then adding all the toppings in the morning and taking it to work – easiest breakfast ever! Happy eating!

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding
  1. 2 cups almond milk
  2. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  3. 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp rose water
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  6. 1/3 cup chia seeds
  7. fruits, toasted coconut, toasted almond slices, etc. for topping
  1. in a large sealable container, add the milks, sugar, rose water, and cardamom. stir to combine.
  2. add the chia seeds and stir.
  3. let the chia pudding form overnight - I stir the pudding an hour after combining everything together to keep the chia seeds from sinking to the bottom (this is optional as you can always do this in the morning too.)
  4. top the chia pudding with toppings of your choice and enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/