Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)

Ok ok! I know, this is crazy! I post on Mondays, not Tuesdays. But, this week is a little different. 
Today I'm participating in a very special cause.
Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)
Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita's Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her stepfather had a heart attack. Jen's stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honour of Momzie, Kim's Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.

I was so honored when I was approached about participating-my heart totally goes out to Kim today, I can't even wrap my head around life without my mom, and to all of you who have lost loved ones to heart disease. I knew that I had to be a part of this. Heart problems run in my mom's side of the family-some of my great-grandparents passed from heart attacks or other heart problems, my mom has had many cousins with heart problems (including an especially tragic story of her cousin who was extremely healthy, a pilot, and unexpectedly died of a heart attack at, like, 30), and one of my uncles has had heart surgery (triple bypass?). But, the most close to home, for me, is my grandfather, my mom's dad. He is the only one of my grandparents that has passed, and he'd had health problems for my entire life. Various factors led to his passing, but the earliest issues that I can recall him having were with his heart. When I was little my grandpa had a heart attack, and subsequently open heart surgery (I thought he had a bypass of some kind too, my mom can't remember and thinks it may have just been splints). It was especially scary for me as a young child, and I recall it being fairly touch and go for awhile. My mom is mostly fine, but she does have slightly high cholesterol and blood pressure. There's not a lot of health problems that run in my family, but I have always known that this was it: the thing for me to keep an eye on for myself and my family-I need to take care of this little hummingbird heart of mine. And so do we all.

Hearts are kind of amazing, right? They have such a big important job-it's the least we can do to just take care of the ole ticker.
Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)
One part of being heart healthy is eating right. I realize that eating healthy and my blog don't exactly go hand in hand but...they don't not go together either, you know? I even had that post with a round up of the healthiest recipes from the blog. Now, in some ways eating healthy for dinner and breakfast and for all the meals isn't that hard-throw in some veggies, don't smother everything in butter, voila! But...we still need to have dessert you guys. Dessert makes life worth living. So I am here to give you a delicious, decadent, fabulously addictive dessert that you will LOVE, and your body will love it too :).

First of all, omg this recipe is simple. You mix everything up in 1 bowl, then bake it all up in a dish. Easy peesy-cookie bars are awesome like that. These are easy transportable, so it's super simple to bake some of these up and share the goodness with loved ones or at some kind of event! I've already told you they're delicious-rich, gooey, the perfect balance of peanut butter and chocolate and sweet and that awesome heartiness you get from oats.

And you're wondering-but how are these healthy? These babies are gluten free (so long as your oats are gluten free). They have no butter (all the "fat" comes from the peanut butter and moisture from the applesauce) and only have egg whites (no yolks)-so they're dairy free, and low fat, and I assume low cholesterol (admittedly, that's not my area of expertise). And we all know dark chocolate is like...practically as good for you as broccoli*.

*(except not really)

Anyway, if you are being good boys and girls and being healthy and taking care of yourselves-you deserve some of these bars. And you like...won't even be being bad. Health food should always taste so good ;).


Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars

Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)
Makes 24 servings (one 9 x 13 pan)
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups oats 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth homemade unsalted, but you can use whatever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (preferably unsweetened. I used homemade.)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks
Preparation:
Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)
  • Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together the oats with the baking soda.
  • In a large bowl, beat peanut butter on high until light and creamy.
  • Beat in the applesauce.
  • Beat in the sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg whites and vanilla on medium speed.
  • Stir in the oats. 
  • Stir in the chocolate.
  • Pour/press the batter into the pan.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes, until when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean(ish).
  • Allow to cool before slicing (they will be quite gooey, even when cool).
  • Store at room temperature in a covered container or freeze for up to a month.
Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (gluten free, dairy free, low fat)
The best kind of eating healthy is when you don't feel like it's healthy at all.


And now, go check out all these other fantastic and healthy recipes courtesy of some of my amazing fellow bloggers:

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