While I’ll admit that I adored the holiday season, my actual favorite time of the year comes during the first few months…January, February and even March. I’ll admit that it’s cold outside and the relaxed pace of the holidays has passed but honestly I love this time of year because it’s all about fresh starts and better-for-me changes. It’s a time of year when I feel like the slate is clean, and I can create the person who I want to be for the next twelve months. It’s a new beginning and a chance to make resolutions stick. This year, as I thought about my word for 2017 (I think everyone should have a word for the year), the idea I kept coming back to was balanced. It’s a word that I can apply to every area of my life from work to exercise to parenting to nutrition. Because while my all or nothing personality tendencies are at times a bonus, a balanced year of life was exactly what I knew I needed. As I sat down with my journal and began to come up with ideas of how to create this balanced life in the New Year, I kept coming back to food. Now, I know, I know…with me everything always comes back to food but it only makes sense because food fuels everything I do. I knew I needed to come up with simple, balanced meal and snack options that are built on wholesome ingredients as an integral part of my resolutions; something that would fuel my work, exercise and play in a way that tasted amazing and kept me on track. As I thought through options and considered ideas, it kept falling back on classic combinations like peanut butter and jelly which just happens to be one of my favorite combinations ever. However, knowing that I needed to find ways to add a wholesome balance to this favorite snack that is perfect for a post exercise treat, I switched things up a little bit and created Gluten-Free Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich Bar Parfaits that are totally drool worthy and the perfect balanced snack or meal for any time of the day.
Knowing that finding the perfect wholesome base for this delicious idea was essential, I headed to Meijer in search of just the right place to start. As I perused the aisles, I toyed with different combinations. However, since part of my balanced lifestyle goals are to reduce my gluten intake this year, I found myself looking for products that were gluten free. Thinking back on past shopping trips, I found myself in the dry snack aisle searching out Van’s Foods products that boast delicious tastes without the gluten. Since I know that Van’s Foods products contain simple, clean ingredients and delicious flavor combinations, it seemed like the perfect place to start! And after locating the Van’s Strawberry & Peanut Butter Gluten Free Sandwich Bars, there was no doubt in my mind that I had the perfect starting point for a snack or meal that truly satisfied while fitting in with my active lifestyle.
After taking my Van’s Strawberry & Peanut Butter Gluten Free Sandwich Bars home, I began to think of ways that I could take the simple flavors that they boasted and add to them in a way that made them even more amazing. Because while I loved the ability to grab and go with my Van’s Foods products in hand on those days when I am busy, part of my balanced lifestyle goals included finding ways to treat myself without getting off track. Inspired by the flavors of my sandwich bars, I began to think about pairings. Of course I knew that fresh strawberries would pair amazingly with my gluten free snack. But I decided I could take things one step further by whipping up an easy and amazing peanut butter mousse that would transform snack or lunch time into a total treat.
What You Will Need:
1 Can of Lite Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon of Honey
How to Make It:
While the Van’s Strawberry & Peanut Butter Gluten Free Sandwich Bars are amazing on their own (seriously, the flavor is so good!), I knew that by pairing them with a light peanut butter mousse and fresh strawberries I could create a full meal that was satisfying and wholesome. To start, I placed my can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to make it denser. The next morning, I pulled it out, opened it and spooned the cream from the top of it into a mixing bowl.
After whipping it on low until it was light and fluffy, I added in my peanut butter and honey and continued to mix it until I reached the consistency I wanted.
With only simple, wholesome ingredients in my peanut butter mousse, it was the perfect pairing for my sandwich bars.
As soon as my mousse was mixed perfectly, I placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to set and went on about my day. I worked. I worked out. I accomplished all the things I was hoping to in my morning. And when I came back to my mousse at lunch time, it was the perfect consistency for creating a lunch time parfait that looked fancy, tasted amazing and was packed full of wholesome ingredients, allowing me to turn my lunch time from boring into deliciously amazing! As an added bonus, it was gluten free, meaning it fit in with my balanced living goals, while still being amazingly flavorful! Total score, right? I quickly added a half a cup of my peanut butter mousse into a serving dish.
Next, I topped my fluffy peanut butter mousse with diced strawberries.
While my recipe was looking OK at this point, I knew that the main ingredient that would really make this meal amazing was still to come! Wanting to add some texture and a burst of flavor to each and every bite, I chopped up three-fourths of my Van’s sandwich bar and sprinkled it on top of my fresh strawberries.
Already I knew I had a meal that looked amazing, was gluten free and was sure to fuel the remainder of my busy day but because I wanted to really make my dish look special, I quickly piped a little more peanut butter mousse on top of my chopped up sandwich bars and then added the remaining fourth of my Van’s Strawberry and Peanut Butter Gluten Free Sandwich bar and a strawberry.
Instantly, I had a dish that had me excited about lunch time and I knew without a doubt that I would be completely satisfied at the end of my meal.
Even better, since I had paired simple, wholesome ingredients like coconut milk, peanut butter, honey and fresh strawberries with the simple, wholesome ingredients in Van’s products, I could feel great about what I was eating and know that this was a meal that fit right in with my desire for a more balanced life.
As I dipped my sandwich bar into the peanut butter mousse, I was thrilled with the flavor combination that was perfectly balanced and totally satisfying, all while being gluten free.
And with each bite of my Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Sandwich Bar Parfait, I realized that nutrient-rich, gluten free snacks and meals don’t have to be boring. They don’t have to be bland. They simple have to include great ingredients and the wholesome taste of Van’s Foods products!
As I move forward in this New Year, I’ll continue to stick to my goals. I’ll keep pushing towards being more active, living a more balanced life and enjoying foods that are made from simple, clean ingredients. Because now that I’ve discovered that adding gluten free options to my daily life is easy with Van’s Foods products, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating snacks and meals that taste amazing and fuel my active lifestyle in a balanced way.
Are you ready to try Van’s Foods gluten free product for yourself? Maybe you want to whip up my can’t miss Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich Bar Parfait (which I highly recommend)! Start by heading to Meijer today to pick up a variety of Van’s products in fun forms and amazing flavors! To help you get started, by sure to download the coupon for $1.00 off one Van’s product (multiple varieties) here. Then start discovering that balanced snacks and meals made with wholesome ingredients have never been tastier or easier to find thanks to Van’s Foods!
Tell me, which of the Van’s products from Meijer would you most like to try?