Normally Wednesdays are our Guest Blogger Series day; but, there’s just so many new and wonderful Paleo and real-food bloggers out there that we’ve expanded our series to two days a week. We hope you enjoy the expanded view points and unique content; if so, we encourage you to show these guest bloggers your support by visiting their blog and social media links at the end of this post!
Today’s post is from Nathalie from Diabetic Paleo. I found her blog not long ago and was impressed with her honesty and food photography. I can only imagine her story and health struggles will resonate with quite a few of you. Today she offers a nut-free lunchbox-friendly treat for a variety of diets, including diabetics, thyroid issues and autoimmune (if you leave out the chocolate)! If you want more great ideas like these, go follow Diabetic Paleo on Facebook!
When I look up recipes for school-friendly snacks, I’m always amazed at the recipes that include nuts. Where are these schools that allow kids to bring nuts? I wish I could offer my kids nuts as snacks, but with all the allergies happening in schools, I need to find other alternatives.
I should also premise this by saying that my kids aren’t entirely paleo, (yet!) so for a long time I would just buy granola bars, that had a giant NO PEANUTS sign on it, because it was safe and easy to throw in their lunches.
I’ve been trying to come up with something that I could put into their lunches that could easily replace granola bars, be healthy while still being delicious, and that I could make in a big batch so that it was readily available to put in their lunches.
Enter coconut butter. A few weeks ago I found a recipe on how to make my own coconut butter and I had a huge forehead-slapping moment. I make almond butter for the kids, and I had never thought about doing it with coconut. It couldn’t be easier. Take unsweetened, shredded coconut and toss it in the food processor and blend until it’s a creamy consistency.
At first it’s really creamy, and after a couple of hours it solidifies. It’s the perfect binding agent for some kind lara-bar-esque snack.
Behold! Coconut Butter Bark!
- 4 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1-2 TBLS coconut oil (optional)+ more for greasing parchment paper
- 9 cooking dates (ed: Medjool dates will work well!)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chunks/chips
- Take a piece of parchment paper the size of a large baking pan and grease it with coconut oil.
- Depending on the size of your food processor, add either all of the shredded coconut, or two cups at a time to make a double batch.
- Blend the coconut until it’s a creamy consistency. (At this point, you can add the 1-2 TBLS of coconut oil. This will make the bark a little softer. I’ve made it with and without the oil, and I prefer it without. I just think adding the oil is a good way to get more healthy fats into my kids’ diet.)
- Add the dates to the coconut and blend some more, until the dates are incorporated.
- Add the chocolate chunks/chips and pulse a couple of times. You still want them to be chunky, just blended a little bit.
- Take the mixture and smooth it out as much as you can across the parchment. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like. The thicker you make it, the harder it is to break it into bark chunks.
- Place the tray in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until it hardens. Alternatively, place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Take out the tray and start breaking the large piece into hand-sized pieces, or whatever size suits your fancy.
I like to keep mine in a ziplock bag in the freezer. This makes enough for my two daughter’s to enjoy all week at school, with 2-3 bark pieces per day. Plus my son and I snack on them a bit too. As long as I don’t eat too much, it doesn’t affect my blood glucose too much, which is a huge plus.
You could make an endless variety of ‘bark’ with this recipe. You could add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or whatever you think might go well with the coconut butter. You could even omit the chocolate chips and just use the dates. Even better, you could make just coconut butter bark without any additions, (or maybe just some unrefined coconut oil) to make a delicious treat for the 21-Day Sugar Detox!
My name is Nathalie and I’m a type 1 diabetic with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I live in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and 3 children, Willow, River, and Rowan who I’m very slowly trying to transition to the Paleo lifestyle. It’s hard with a husband who knows all about paleo, but doesn’t subscribe to the lifestyle. He loves me, and supports my decision to live Paleo because he’s seen how much weight I’ve lost and how well it has worked for my blood sugars, but he isn’t interested in changing, yet. Slowly I think he’s starting to come around.
I love to cook and spend a LOT of time in the kitchen developing autoimmune recipes for myself. I also love to come up with recipes to feed my picky children. It’s a challenge, but I think they’re slowly starting to come around too. For more information, you can follow me on Facebook at The Diabetic Paleo, on twitter @DiabeticPaleo, or visit my website at http://diabeticpaleo.wordpress.com (it’s getting a facelift soon!)