During the summer before I started my freshman year (the summer this blog was born, actually), a big batch of some sort of protein bars or protein balls popped out of my kitchen about once a week. Some boasted loads of healthy indulgences like peanut butter and chocolate chips, while others carried delicacies like almond butter and dried fruit. Whatever the flavor combination, each batch was 100% homemade - the most processed ingredient being the brown rice cereal krisps or the touch of agave nectar.
I loved creating the recipes and spending such quality time with my stand-mixer, spatula, and beloved nut butters. Though these snacks aren't really under the category of "cooking", since little to no heat is involved, that doesn't diminish the experience with and passion for healthy, homemade food they planted within my heart.
If you're following along like a good reader and keeping in mind the chronology of this situation, you're hopefully making the prediction that these wholesome protein bars lost their place in the midst of my transition to college. Well, they did. I still refused most processed snacks, but with the meal money Cal Poly gave me as a freshman, I found a few snacks on campus that didn't seem too terrible. Keep in mind that my opinion of what was and wasn't "healthy" was a little distorted - I now know that not all packaged snacks make it on the naughty list.
College wedged itself in the way of my favorite homemade bars, but God gracefully stood in the way of something destructive in me. He restored my mind and protected my heart as He brought me to a place of bravery in enjoying something I didn't make, something I didn't know how much of what ingredient was in this or that bar. He didn't flip a light switch or anything - this was a long process, requiring my trust in His unconditional love for me, His incredible wisdom and provision for my life.
Fast forward another year to when I'd fallen head-over-heels in love with Clif Bars and Squarebars and Larabars, with the excitement of tasting a new flavor and sharing it with my family and friends. And when I say "head-over-heels" in love, I mean so much so that I ate them for dessert. Like, every night. I still do, actually...
BUT (plot twist) summer has finally arrived, carrying baskets and baskets of free time for me to spend in the kitchen, and how could I resist cracking open one of the I-can't-even-count-that-high jars of nut butter in my pantry to create some nostalgic homemade protein bars? Well, I guess it's "cookies" in this case...
So, God's leaving this last paragraph as a space for words of more than just food. Maybe God's work in my heart through protein cookies seems silly, but maybe that's just another reflection of His beauty - his ability to seek out the most hardened, darkened nooks and crannies of our souls and clean them up, silence the squeaks, and restore them as the coziest corners in which we can rest in His peace. If you ever have struggled or are struggling with a monster in the family of an eating disorder, my encouragement is to ask and allow God to come in and clean and restore. He makes all things new, all things healed, all things right when we trust in His provision and admit that, on our own, we. are. weak.
Is that why I made protein cookies? Because we're all weak and in need of some muscle-building post-workout snacks? I guess you could put it that way, but my ultimate hope is that you see God's strength here, not my passion for snacks or my photography or my summer-time boredom paired with a surplus of nut butter and oatmeal...
Makes about 8 cookies
1 package Vigilant Eats Maca Double Chocolate Superfood Cereal (or any flavor)
2 scoops Ka'chava Tribe Vanilla Whole Body Meal
1/2 cup nut butter (I used 1/4 cup peanut butter + 1/4 cup cashew butter from Crazy Richard's)
1 tbsp. coconut butter, softened
Optional: extra cacao nibs
- Soften or melt the coconut butter and whisk it into the nut butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, stir together the oatmeal package and protein powder. Pour in the nut-coconut-butter mixture and mix until well-combined.
- Scoop portions about the size of a golfball and press into circles the shape of a cookie Lay on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze (for faster results) until firm, about 2 hours if refrigerated and 30-60 minutes if frozen.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge or freezer.