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Hormone Balancing Energy Bites

Remember those chewable Flintstone multivitamins? How about the grape flavored children's Tylenol? I LOVED them both and actually looked forward to my daily vitamin. In fact, I loved chewable Tylenol so much that three year old Jill snuck into the medicine cabinet and consumed the contents of an entire bottle - which resulted in a trip to the hospital and a round of ipecac. Fun!

Anyway, the reason I am telling you this is because it seems as though I still love to eat my vitamins but I am pretty sure these powerfully magical beauties will never result in vomiting! I am pumped to share this recipe with you, especially if you are a woman!

For months I have been on a quest to naturally balance my hormones - I have been struggling with irregular periods for the past few years and as an otherwise thriving 29 year old honestly, enough is enough. I have upped my fat to carb to protein ratio (yes, I was on the 80-10-10 train for a while and I think it may have done a little damage), altered my exercise routine and have been *trying* to stress less. In addition to these things I have also been eating the most delicious hormone-balancing "vitamin" daily - a cacao sprinkled  date wrapped in a brazil nut. I learned all about the hormone balancing powers of dates, brazil nuts and cacao in the book 'How Not To Die' by the wonderful Dr. Michael Greger - which the bible for anyone interested in the intrinsic link between good health and diet. One day, I shared my magic bullet of healing on Instagram and the photo got such a reaction that a light bulb went off, "this would make a really great energy bite", I thought. Any excuse for another energy bite recipe, AM I RIGHT?

One of the most wonderful things about Dr. Greger's book is that he makes actual suggestions of foods you can eat to improve specific health conditions - and he goes further still by suggesting combinations of foods that enhance one another's healing effects. For instance, I now always make sure to add pepper to any dish containing turmeric because the anti inflammatory properties are greatly magnified when you do. Dr. Gregor cautions against supplementation and urges us to consume whole foods as much as possible as the complexity of minerals, vitamins and fatty acids in our foods work together, in unison. We are designed to benefit from the delivery of these nutrients through food! They rarely benefit us quarantined in a bottle, as suggested by the supplement industry. 'How Not to Die' is a super dense read and I actually got a lot more from it by listening to it on tape - which is a great thing to do during any tedious task - driving, walking, cleaning, *rolling out energy bites*. 

The way the compounds in these energy bites work together is fascinating. Here's a quick break down - Brazil nuts are SUPER high in selenium, an important trace mineral supporting thyroid function. Selenium's power is magnified when combined with vitamin E, found abundantly in cacao along with antioxidants and other stress reducing compounds like magnesium. Dates further amplify this blend by providing a healthy dose of potassium and manganese - which play a part in regulating sex hormones, energy and metabolism. Although dates are high in sugar the manganese also helps to maintain a healthy blood sugar level and regulates brain and nerve function. 

I went further still adding maca powder - the hormone balancer of hormone balancers and ashwaganda which acts more gently to lower cortizol levels. 

Most days, I enjoy these as a pre-workout pick me up and I am happy to report I am beginning to feel more balanced. I have gotten a period since starting this daily practice and gained a little weight, which I am trying my best to embrace as I course correct my healing journey...NOT easy!  

But the whole reason I am sharing these babies with you is because they are also GOD DAMMED DELICIOUS. I mean - dates, chocolate, nuts - how could you go wrong? I love how the maca powder adds a malted-honey note! My boyfriend - aka my official taste tester - who had no idea about the "medicinal" element, said these are the BEST energy bites I have ever made. Woah, thats big coming from a guy who makes anything I create disappear! 

So, if you're like me, and you're looking for a whole foods solution to your hormonal struggle - give these a try, I am so interested to know if they help. OR, if you aren't struggling with hormones but just want a delicious pre-workout delight let me know how these babies stack up!


Serves: Apx. 24 1.5" Bites • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Total Time: 30 minutes


 

  • 24 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup gluten free oats, ground into flour
  • 1 cup brazil nuts, pulsed into a meal 
  • 3 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. maca powder *optional
  • 2 tbsp. ashwaganda powder *optional
  • 1/2 tsp. pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Pit all of your dates, place them in a bowl and pour hot water to cover - allow them to soak for 3-4 minutes and then drain well, removing all excess water

NOTE: Skip this step if your dates are super moist

2. Measure out the oats into a food processor and wiz them up till the consistency is that of a coarse flour. Pour oat flour into a bowl.

3. Measure out the brazil nuts into the food processor and pulse in 5 second bursts until you reach the texture of coarse sand. Pour the nuts into the bowl with the oats.

NOTE: Be sure to not over blend your brazil nuts, they are quite oily and can turn into brazil nut butter very easily...not that that would be bad, but its just not what we're going for here, we still want little bits of nuts detectable in the final product

4. Now add the soaked and drained dates to the food processor along with the cacao powder, maca powder, ashwaganda powder, salt and vanilla - blend until your mixture is that of a thick paste. 

5. Add the oat flour and crushed brazil nuts back into the food processor and pulse till the entire mixture begins to come together - you may have to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to ensure an even mix. You want the dough to appear slightly crumbly but to stick together when squeezed between your fingers. 

6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow the chill in the fridge for 15 minutes - you can skip this step but it will help the dough set up and stick to your hands less when rolling out the balls.

7. Use a rounded tablespoon to measure out the balls and roll the mixture between your hands - repeat this process till all the dough is gone. 

8. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks - but they will be gone long before then. 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Vegan Nutella Energy Bites

Energy bite options are endless. I have a ton of different flavors on the blog already but they are something I never tire of creating and I hope you never tire of enjoying them either. I love storing them in a fridge and having one or two as a pre-workout pick-me-up (they provide a boost of potassium and sustained energy by way of dates, nuts and cacao) but I also love eating half of the mixture while it's still in the food processor as I roll them out - it's all about balance with these guys. 

I have wanted to make a Nutella flavored energy bite for a while now. Nutella, the classically creamy roasted hazelnut spread, is not dairy free which means it's been a long time since I have experienced it's uniquely delicious flavor profile - until now. A key to nailing the flavor was roasting the nuts - I was worried about the (slightly pricey) little hazelnuts but the method I described below was easy and worked out fine and the end result is so worth it!

The rest of the process is pretty much my standard - oats, dates, healthy fat, flavorings - all combined in my trusty $30 food processor (best purchase ever). 

Let me know if you try these nutty little guys, they are such a special treat - I actually used this recipe as an on the fly vegan dessert for a plant-based guest at the inn where I work, I drizzled some chocolate sauce over top and sprinkled some berries, so easy - he LOVED it! 


Serves: 6 (Apx. 12, 1.5" bites) • Duration: 15 minutes (add a little extra if you're hand rolling bites!)


  • 1.5 cups oats, ground
  • 12-16 large Medjool dates (roughly two cups, lightly packed), pitted and soaked, if needed
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted hazelnuts, toasted
  • 3 tbsp. cacao/coco powder
  • 2 rounded tbsp. almond butter (sub coconut oil or any nut/seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pink salt

1. Preheat your oven to 325*F. Once the oven is at temp, place your raw hazelnuts on a lined baking sheet and roast for intervals of 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly toasted (this took me about 6 minutes total), allow to cool.

2. While your nuts are roasting, pit your dates, IF they are a bit dry place them in a small vessel - heat water on the stove and pour over the dates and allow to soak for a few minutes until plump. Drain well and dry the dates off with a paper towel.

3. Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until a flour-like consistency is reached, pour the flour into a separate container.

4. Add the dates, hazelnuts, cacao, almond butter, vanilla and salt to a food processor - blend till the mixture is nearly smooth (you may have to stop the machine and push the mixture down a few times with a spatula). Then add the oats back in and blend again until the oat mixture is fully integrated - it should be very thick, just slightly sticky and easily formable between your fingers.

5. Begin to roll into 1.5" balls and place them in a storage container in the fridge to set up for a few minutes. To decorate, you can roll the balls in coco powder, drizzle chocolate sauce over or press a hazelnut into the center of each one.  Alternatively, you could press the mixture into a pan or other vessel, set in the fridge, slice and enjoy them like brownies. 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

 

 

 

 

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'Full of Joy' Almond & Coconut Energy Bites

Packed with clean energy these bites are simple yet satisfying. If you love the winning combination of coconut and almonds, these are your new best friend...at work, on the go, pre-exercise and post-dinner (hey, just saying).

Gluten-free, oil-free, processed sugar-free yet flavor-full and nutritionally dense, they are sure to bring a joyful smile to your face.

Aside from chocolate and well ... anything, I don't think there is any greater food pairing than almonds and coconut. While coconut is loaded with hormone-balancing, candida-banishing lauric acid, almonds curb cravings with their healthy fat and fiber. They are quiet the pair on their own so I kept this recipe simple only adding in a few other ingredients - oats, chia seeds and maca for a malt-like flavor.

These energy bites come together quickly. They only require a food processor or blender and a whole lot of muscle, but it's well worth it. I just love the physical and mental boost these guys give me whenever I need it most - if I were a superhero energy bites would be my sidekick.

They make the perfect base for any other flavors you may wish to add...but there's something glorious about keeping them this wonderfully simple as well. Make a big batch and share amongst friends or eat over the course of a few weeks!


Makes: 34-36 energy balls • Prep Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats, ground
  • 2 cups "wet" pitted dates (any variety will do, I get mine here)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. maca powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. five spice powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt (optional)

1. Add your rolled oats to the food processor and blend until a flour like consistency is reached. Pour the oat flour into a large bowl.

2. Next, pit your dates and add them to the food processor. Pulse until a thick paste has formed and there are no more large date pieces. Add the date paste to the large bowl with the oat flour.

NOTE: If you are having trouble getting there it may be because your dates are too dry. Add in 1 tsp. of hot water at a time and blend until you reach a sticky paste.

3. To the bowl, add the almond butter, coconut flakes, chia seeds, maca powder, five spice powder and salt. Use your hands to fully combine all the ingredients - this will take some man power but it is well worth it. The dough will be a bit crumbly but should hold together nicely when pressed between the fingers.

4. After the mixture is fully combined you can add in any other desired mix-ins like cacao nibs, dried fruit or more spices. Then form the dough into balls 1"-1.5" in diameter, roll them firmly between the palms of your hands to create a perfect sphere.

5. Allow the bites to set-up in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Store for up to 3 weeks. 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Blueberry Muffin Energy Bites

Hey, here I am! Back on track with blogging after releasing my new e-book last week (check it out if you are in the mood for breakfast)! My goal this year is provide you with at least two delicious, plant based recipes each month - that goal has been made all the more legit thanks in part to my new camera, which I am using to photograph anything and everything - want to see 800 photos of my parents cat, anyone?

With all of that said, I am so excited to be posting another recipe for energy bites (you can check the others out here)! These ones hit the spot if you are craving a blueberry muffin but would rather the same flavors packed into a healthier, nutrient rich and spherical package. 

The combination of sweet and creamy cashews with the somewhat tart dried blueberries make this an uncanny replica of everyones most beloved muffin - plus they use only whole, unprocessed plant based ingredients that give you a real jolt of energy. They are the perfect thing to share with friends post-workout or to keep in the fridge for an on-the-go boost. 


Makes: 18-20 bites • Prep Time: 20 min


  • 1.5 cups packed pitted dates, any kind will do
  • 3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup dried blueberries (I find mine in the health food store)
  • 1/2 cup died mulberries *optional
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt *optional

1. Add the cashews to a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb forms - be careful to not pulse after this point, as you will literally make cashew butter. Transfer the cashew crumbs to a large bowl.

2. Pit your dates and add them to the food processor, pulse until a soft ball forms. If you are having trouble getting to this point add 1-2 tsp. of warm water to help move the process along. Add the date mixture to the bowl with the cashews.

3. Add the oats, blueberries, chia seeds, vanilla and salt to the bowl with the dates and cashews. Use your hands to fully integrate all of the ingredients - this part takes some muscle but it is totally worth it. 

4. Once fully combined, roll the mixture into 1.5" balls with the palms of both hands. Set in the fridge for a few hours to firm up.

NOTE: Alternatively, you could press the mixture into a baking dish and cut into sweet little blueberry muffin squares for a different take.

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

Alright, I'll admit it. I am just a girl who loves fall and every consumerist notion associated with it - including the total glorification of pumpkin. But in pumpkin's defense, its nutrition packed and easy to incorporate into tons of different recipes. Fall inspires me to get cooking as we all start craving warmer, cozy dishes. While laying in bed the other night, I remembered I had an open can of pumpkin puree and started thinking of ways to use up the bit I had left - thats when energy bites popped into my mind. I have two other recipes for this type of treat (which you can find here) but I thought this was festive and unique enough to earn a post as well.

Biting into one of these babies is kinda like having a bite of pumpkin pie, you are hit with the same flavor profile but with a lot more texture, fiber and micronutrients. With supporting ingredients like oats, almonds, dates, sunflower seeds, and of course loads of pumpkin spice you really can't go wrong. A lot of energy bite recipes include a ton of fatty coconut oil and nut butters but I like how these are a bit lighter in that department, you still get the richness from the ground nuts and seeds but they have a bit better bite to them as far as I am concerned. 

Make these in lue of trail mix as fall foliage scouting snack or as the perfect grown up alternative to sugary Halloween candy as you get all of the energy and indulgence with none of the crash or guilt (unless you eat 6 in one sitting like yours truly). If you're brining these to a party, you could press them into a pan and make squares or coat them in a little chocolate for a pumpkin spice truffle...options, people, options! 

Anyway, onto the recipe...

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Serves: 24-26 1.5" bites • Prep Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup of rolled oats, ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts, ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (or both), ground in a food processor
  • 15-20 large, pitted Medjool dates, blended in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (from a can, or a roasted pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Optional:

  • 1-2 tbsp. maple syrup if your mixture isn't sticky or sweet enough for you... or if you just really love that flavor
  • 1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds, to roll the balls in
  • Add ins like coconut flakes, hemp seeds, goji berries, peanut butter, cacao nibs, etc.

1. Blend the oats in a food processor until you reach a fine flour-like texture and add to a bowl. Do the same for the nuts and seeds and add to a bowl. Then blend the dates into a paste. It's important to do each separately do achieve the finest texture - it takes a little patience but is well worth it. 

2. Add the oats, almonds and seeds back into the food processor with the dates and the pumpkin puree - blend to combine. This may take some working with a spatula but the pumpkin should help to move it along. 

3. Once the mixture is combined, remove it from the processor and put it in a bowl. Work in the whole oats, seeds, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt, chia seeds and ginger with your hands til everything is evenly distributed. The mixture should be somewhat crumbly in the bowl but form together nicely when pressed between your fingers. 

4. Roll into 1.5" balls and place in the fridge to set up. I found the flavors are better the next day but they should be ready to go after chilling for a half hour or so.

 

LOVE & LIGHT, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

 

 

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4 Ingredient Raw Vegan Brownie Bites

You are 4 ingredients away from sheer and utter bliss. These things should come with a gold metal - if you can get them to the point of completion without eating half the mix before hand (because you've gotta 'test it') then I applaud you, it was really hard for me. Chewy, nutty, chocolatey, bite-size little nuggets of energy packed, whole ingredient, raw, vegan, heaven. If you haven't noticed, chocolate (more specifically, brownies) is kinda a theme around here but I just can't help myself, I constantly crave them and when they are this healthy my indulgence is to your benefit! Dates pack a nutritional punch, as do walnuts. Google the specifics ... or just trust me.

Now, a recipe for date balls isn't revolutionary by any means but it should be shared none the less and that's because you can have so much fun making this your own - I make a ton of add-in suggestions below but the base recipe is just so simple and takes no time to come together!

So without anymore blabbing...the recipe...


Makes: 14 bites (Roughly, 1.5" Diameter) • Active Time: 15 minutes • Inactive Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw oats ground into flour
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 12 large dates)
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder

Add-in ideas:

Spices - Cinnamon, cardamom, chili, all spice

Flavorings - Instant coffee, vanilla, almond extract, mint extract, coconut extract, orange zest, maca powder (mmm...malty), sea salt

Bulk builders - Coconut flakes, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, chopped nuts or whole seeds, dried fruits

Coat it - Chocolate "shell" (see below), coconut flakes, extra cacao, hemp seeds, protein powder


1. In a food processor, use the "s" blade to finely grind your oats into flour, then remove oats and add to a bowl.

2. Pulse the raw walnuts in the processor until they are a sand-like consistency, remove and add to a bowl.

3. Add the pitted dates to the food processor and pulse till nearly smooth.

Note re: dates: You want your dates to be as moist as possible to keep the mixture together, so if they feel too hard or don't process well, give them a soak in some hot water for 10 minutes - then drain and towel dry before adding to your food processor. 

4. Add all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse to combine.

Note: Mixture should appear loose but easily come together when squeezed between your finger tips.

5. Remove a rounded tablespoon of the brownie mixture and form a ball, repeat until it's all gone. Alternatively, you could press your brownies into a pan and cut into pieces but I prefer the "ball" presentation. 

6. Bring to gathering, impress everyone OR grab one for a run, have energy OR enjoy many by yourself on your couch, love life.

P.S You can eat them straight away but they are better if chilled. Keeps in the fridge for weeks...but lets get real, they won't last that long. 

Get extra-fancy: If you really want to up the decadence level and take these bites from pre-workout indulgence to full blown dessert-to-impress make the chocolate shell coating shown in the photo above. It's easy! Simply heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a pan on low heat till melted then whisk in 1 tsp. cacao and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Add a brownie bite to the coconut oil mixture and use a spoon to coat. Remove the bite and place it on parchment paper, allow to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the "shell" sets completely. 

 

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Superfood Energy Balls, Three Ways

livecleankitchen-superfood-energy-balls

I don't often make energy balls, and that isn't because they aren't the most amazing thing I have ever put in my mouth, it's because they are so delicious, in fact, that I end up eating all of the ball-mixture before they even take ball-form. For someone who loves sweet, texture driven food like me these are literal heaven. I only allow myself to make them when I know they will be eaten by others so that I don't polish them all off while watching TV on the couch - you need energy for that too, right? 

So with that said, the yoga studio where I teach had their grand re-opening this past weekend so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make some balls! I actually think this is the perfect snack pre or post workout/sweaty yoga session because they provide you with everything you need to really power through - carbs, natural sugar, chocolate, ya know, the building blocks of life. They would be a great thing to take on a hike, a brutal bike ride or on any other strenuous activity - pick your poison. They are a total hit at gatherings, my yogi friends devoured them in a matter of minutes! I promise that you will genuinely feel more energized after eating one or two - funny because eating the whole batch has the opposite effect ;) .

Because I was going to a celebration, I made a big batch of "base" dough and then divided it evenly into three bowls to create one for the oatmeal cookie lover, the chocoholic and the peanut butter fiend but the beauty of these balls is the ability to customize the base recipe to YOUR liking. The combinations below are loaded with "superfoods" (aren't all foods super?) like cacao, maca, coconut oil and chia seeds but you could seriously flavor them with anything you love from dried cherries to crushed nuts. You can keep them low fat by omitting the coconut oil (a la the oatmeal cookie concoction) or up the fat with additions like almond butter, etc. 

P.S - Not that it matters but I  seriously struggled with what to title this post because these things go by so many names - energy balls, energy bites, tiny nuggets of goodness, tasty bite balls, heavenly superfood treats - all were in the running but in the end I kept it simple for the sake of poor ol' SEO. 

Onto the recipe...


Makes: 20 1.5" Diameter Balls (apx. 2 tbsp each) • Prep Time: 1 hour (all in)


Base Recipe

  • 2 cups oat flour and 1.5-2 cups whole oats

(Note: to make oat flour just give your whole oats a ride in the blender, doesn't take long especially in this application as it isn't imperative that the flour is finely ground)

  • 20 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large spotty banana
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Prepare your oat flour and pit your dates.

Note: If your dates are dry, soak in hot water for 10 minutes to rehydrate and drain well. 

2. Blend dates in your high speed blender or food processor till almost smooth.

3. Add oat flour, banana, cinnamon and salt to the blender/processor and pulse until fully combined.

4. Scoop mixture into a bowl and mix in the whole oats, mix in with your hands (sticky but fun). Add more or less oats depending on how you like your treats and the additional binding ingredients you plan on adding...less oats if you are adding more coconut, cacao or maca, etc. In my humble opinion, the dough should just stick together when you form it by hand but I know others like them a little on the stickier side.

5. Divide into three even portions and add the following ingredients if you are moving on to make the three different versions...

TIP: These are even better when given a few hours to chill in the fridge but I am not going to tell you what to do what your balls...

Note: All of the measurements below are just estimates, I just kept adding until everything tasted good. Make it your own!


Malted Coconut Chocolate Chip 

  • 3/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Method: This one is simple - just mix in the ingredients to your base dough and roll into balls.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch

  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp cacao nibs

Method: Add peanut butter and coconut oil to a small sauce pan and heat until the mixture is runny. Add this to your dough and combine with a spatula (CUZ IT'S HOT). Add in cacao and roll into balls. Reserve a teensy bit of your PB and coconut oil mix to top the balls as shown, it will harden up in the fridge.


Triple Chocolate Chia

  • 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
  • 2-3 tbsp chia seeds

Method: Melt cacao powder and maple syrup into the coconut oil in a small sauce pan, stir to combine. Add the mixture to the base dough and stir with a spatula to combine (again, HOT). Once the mixture is cool to the touch add in cacao nibs, chocolate chips and chia seeds. Reserve a little of the melt-y mixture for topping, or don't (I didn't). 


 

Please let me know how these tuned out for you! Get creative, add more cool stuff!!! Share your unique flavor combinations in the comments!

 

LIGHT & LOVE, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

 

 

 

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