Mid-way through September, I embarked on a quest to eat clean. Simply put – eating foods cooked and prepared in their cleanest form possible. Grilling and broiling instead of frying. Olive oil and vinegar instead of creamy bottled dressings. Fresh herbs and dry rubs for marinade instead of sauces and butters. Whole wheat and multi-grain instead of white flour. Pure honey over white sugar.
Okay, I think you get it.
I had been inspired quite a while ago after discovering Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean cookbooks. After experiencing frequent migraines, not working out as much and eating very sporadically (and, sometimes, not very wisely) I had decided to pull the books out of the cabinet, open my planner and begin listing foods I already had on hand, ones I needed to purchase and recipes that incorporated them all. One of the main proponents of Eat Clean is to eat every 2-3 hours which include 3 small meals and 2 snacks. Meals weren’t a problem, but finding interesting, satisfying and clean snacks was challenging as I found myself rotating the same ones over and over.
I began to search clean eating recipes on Pinterest and came across this recipe for these Oatmeal Peanut Butter cookies. After two attempts at making them and having them come out crumbly and dry as a bone, I decided to tweak it a bit, adding a few extra ingredients to turn it from a dessert into a healthy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Here is my version:
- 1 cup uncooked oatmeal
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2-3 tbsp low fat-high protein granola
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup liquid egg whites
- 1 cup peanut butter (or any natural nut butter)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp. of water
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325
Combine all dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a large bowl and set aside.
Microwave the pea(nut) butter for around 20 seconds in a smaller bowl to soften it up (but so that it’s not heated up) a bit and make it more mixable. Add the egg whites, honey and vanilla and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a heaping tbsp. at a time until well blended. You may have to use your hands to smush the ingredients together as it will be very sticky. This is where the water comes in. Add a tbsp. at a time until mixture is a little less sticky. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop (or a tablespoon) scoop out enough of the mixture and form it into a patty a little smaller than the palm of your hand. Remember, we are making these to be a snack rather than a dessert so it needs to be a little larger than a cookie. Place them on the cookie sheet. They should not rise or spread out so don’t worry if you keep them close together in order to fit the entire batch on one sheet. This recipe should yield anywhere from 10-12, depending upon how you size them
Bake 10-12 minutes.
After cooling, I store in a small container or place in a quart-sized Zip-loc and place in my lunch bag so that I have them on hand for either my mid-morning or afternoon snack. I also grab one to take with me (along with my water bottle) when I have to be out of the house early on Saturday for appointments and errands to keep me satisfied and energized (and away from the temptation of coffee shop treats and fast food drive throughs!