4-ingredient peanut butter crunch bars (vegan & gluten free)

Hello and happy weekend! I have a fun and EASY recipe. 

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Making a party-friendly recipe is as close as I'll ever get to the Super Bowl (I'm assuming it's this weekend because I keep seeing articles). Like, I don't even know who is playing. I know, I know, I could Google it. Or ask somebody. Eh. 

I'm trying to say nicely that it isn't really my jam. BUT I made a thing that you could make and take to it, if it is your jam (still in that window despite posting the day before, yes?). If you're in a last-minute type of pinch. You need 4 hours so it can chill though (oops). Otherwise you are good :) 

These actually came at the request of my lovely older sister, for Super-Bowl appropriate food-fare. She suggested some post titles, like "guilt-free" and "healthy alternatives," because it would get people's attention. 

So I made a dessert. 

I asked her if I could bring this up, though, because when she said those things I actually cringed. 

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I think it's because I have become increasingly intentional about clearing out my own immediate circle of influence from dieting messages, but I realized that what she said is so normal

People think that in order to be able to enjoy something it has to be guilt-free. And it is only guilt-free if it is "healthy." And "healthy" is either vegan, gluten free, soy free, low carb, refined sugar free, oil free, paleo, raw, keto...I'm probably missing like 20 others. They also all contradict each other so it gets really exhausting (RIGHT?!). 

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I especially feel like when a sweet is brought into the picture, it immediately comes with a justification of why it is okay to eat it. Because apparently it is bad when we crave sweet things. 

"I only used raw agave!" 

"They're organic!"

"Have another! They're vegan and gluten free!"  

Eating things that fall into these categories isn't wrong. Enjoying foods that fall into these categories isn't wrong, either. But if you are eating them because you think they're "better," or if you feel guilt, anxiety, or stress when you find yourself wanting to eat foods that don't fall into the purported "healthy" category, that's the sign that harmful dieting messages have taken charge.   

 

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Food is meant to be a source of pleasure. It is why our body is fine-tuned to reward us with pleasurable feelings when we eat -- so that we keep eating. If we didn't, we would die. That food is pleasurable is a good thing. It is one way our body keeps us wanting to eat. 

Food, no matter what it is, will always be guilt-free if you don't believe the lie that you should feel guilty for wanting to have it. 

If you crave something that you think is unhealthy, know that allowing yourself to enjoy that craving is healthy. When we remove the guilt from the choice, we get all the positive feelings that our bodies are wired to give us. Pleasure, satisfaction, comfort, and satiety. These things can come from a monster veggie bowl thing, and they can also come from fudge-y chocolate cake. One choice isn't better than the other. 

 

So this dessert. Peanut butter crunch bars. 

They don't have refined sugar, but crazily enough, our bodies can't tell the difference between the two. 

They aren't oil-free, because there are oils in the vegan buttery stuff AND peanut butter.

They sure as hell aren't low carb. 

They happen to be vegan and gluten free, but the recipe works whether you have ingredients that are these things or not. 

 

What else do I have to say about them?

They require 4 ingredients. (WOO!!! Simplicity.) 

They take literally 5 minutes to throw together (plus that durn chill time). 

Are FULL of delicious pea-nutty flavor. 

They are lovely. And a fine offering for any (non-peanut allergic) gatherings. 

I made them, I ate them, and it was great. 

 

Whatever you end up eating this weekend, what about just enjoying it? I really, truly hope that you do. Guilt-free :) 

 

xox 

Alyssa 

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4-ingredient peanut butter crunch bars

vegan & gluten free 

prep time: 5 minutes 

chill time: 4-6 hours 

makes: 1 8x8 dish 

Ingredients:

4 & 1/2 cups puffed brown rice* 

1 & 1/3 cup creamy salted peanut butter

1/3 cup Earth Balance or butter, melted

2/3 - 3/4 cup agave*

Directions:

1. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. 

2. Combine all wet ingredients into a large bowl. If it isn't sweet enough to you, use 3/4 cup agave. Add in the puffed rice, stirring until thoroughly coated. 

3. Press into baking dish, patting down with a spoon. 

4. Chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before cutting and serving. Ta-da!

Notes:

* You could use any puffed rice cereal. I used my broken rice cake bits (PROBLEM). 

* If you don't have agave, brown rice syrup or corn syrup should work nicely. Or honey. You could try maple syrup, but I am not sure if it would be sticky enough.