Dr. BJ Hardick, co-author of THE book Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, was in Bloomington on Friday to give a [amazing] nutrition talk to the Maximized Living students.  Even though I had known about the talk for like a month, it honestly didn’t occur to me to surprise him with some healing treats until the night before (helloooo, right??).  And need I mention I didn’t get home Thursday night until closer to 10:30pm after a full day of work followed by nannying for a family.  So Dave and I were sitting on the couch, half asleep, and the idea came to me that DUH, I should have made BJ something.  Then I looked at the clock, approaching midnight, work in the morning…and I said “oh well, maybe next time.”

Friday afternoon, Dave and Vern were going to pick him up at the airport, and little did I expect for him to request some food!  I got the call from Dave in the middle of our shift on Friday, leaving me 3 hours to  plan my recipes, go to the store, drive all the way home in the pouring rain (I hate driving in the rain), make the food, and get it to him at his hotel.  Well I did it!  I prepared the Chocolate Strawberry Tart from my Mother’s Day menu (the chocolate crust is to DIE for!!) and this salty-sweet Nut & Seed Protein Bars recipe.  I think Dr. BJ liked them just a little bit as I’m posting this recipe per his request.  ;)

Enjoy this simple and quick to make snack that will have you begging for more!

Nut & Seed Protein Bars 
Adapted from Meghan Banke’s recipe

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup fresh ground flaxmeal
1/3 cup organic sodium free Valencia peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp spoonable stevia (more/less to taste)
Dash of sea salt (to taste)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Optional Chocolate Topping:
4 oz unsweetened organic dark chocolate
3 Tbsp raw butter
2 tsp spoonable stevia (more/less to taste)

1.)  In a dry stainless steel skillet over Medium-Low heat, toast coconut lightly until it becomes fragrant and just starts to brown.  Stir often and watch carefully so not to burn.  Pour into bowl to cool.

2.)  In food processor, add all nuts.  Pulse until well chopped, almost ground (you want tiny chunks of nuts that can stick together easily).  Add chopped nuts to dry skillet over Medium-Low heat and toast for approx. 10 minutes, stirring often, until nuts are fragrant.  Again, be careful not to burn.  The moment you smell the nutty flavor, remove from pan and add to bowl with coconut flakes. (Optional protein powder can also be added to bowl at this time.)

3.)  In small saucepan over Low heat, add peanut butter, coconut oil , stevia and vanilla.  Stir to combine then remove from heat.  [Note: if adding protein powder, you'll need to use a little bit more peanut butter and coconut oil to get the right consistency, about an extra Tbsp of each.]

4.)  Pour peanut butter mixture into the bowl and stir everything until all nuts are well coated and protein powder is mixed in.   Use a spatula to scape nut mixture into a 9×13″ pan lined with parchment paper and press the mixture into the form of the pan.  Put into fridge or freezer to set.

5.)  This chocolate topping is optional, but very delicious!  This makes just a thin layer of chocolate on top, so sometimes I double it.   It turns these protein packed bars into a dessert!  In a small saucepan over Low heat, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth.  Stir in stevia.  Pour over bars and spread evenly.  Pop pan back into fridge to set for about a half hour before serving.  Store in fridge, lasts up to 1 week.

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.

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