Vegan Peanut Butter Crunch Cups for Easter? Yes Please!

Are you still scratching your head about what to bring to Easter brunch this Sunday? Our favorite “golden girl of wellness” and go-to source for all things clean eating has you covered. Indulge in this incredibly easy, delicious and dare we say vegan recipe for peanut butter crunch cups. All you need is a lot of love for dark chocolate and a little willpower to not eat all of them before Easter Sunday!

Makes: 20 peanut butter crunch cups
Ready in: 40 minutes


Ingredients:
One bag (11-12 ounces) semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter coconut butter
3/4 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crispy rice cereal
+20 mini cupcake liners

  • Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it at 100 percent power in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool slightly and then scrape it into a large bowl. (You can also melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring the chocolate occasionally, until it is completely melted).
  • Using a small paintbrush or pastry brush, coat the bottoms and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the liners with some of the chocolate (set aside the rest for later). You want the coating to be fairly thick, so that when the liners are peeled off, the chocolate shell doesn’t crack. Place the filled liners on a plate and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to several hours.
  • While the shells chill, make the peanut butter filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter using a wooden spoon and then add the confectioners sugar and rice cereal. Mix until well combined and gooey looking (it should look like slightly melted chunky peanut butter). Allow the mixture to cool slightly; about 10-15 minutes should do it (if the mixture is too hot, it will melt the chocolate shells).
  • Remove the chocolate cups from the refrigerator. Use a teaspoon to fill each shell 3/4 full with peanut butter filling (you can use a wet finger or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top if you like). If the remaining chocolate in the bowl has hardened, re-melt it in the microwave in 5-second bursts. Spoon some chocolate over the peanut butter filling, spreading and turning the shell so the chocolate seals the cup. Return to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container) to harden. Serve chilled.

Candice Kumai is one of the country’s leading wellness journalists and the most trusted source in clean eating. She is the 5x best-selling author of Clean Green Eats, Clean Green Drinks, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy, and Cook Yourself Thin. Candice is a regular contributor to E! News, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Today Show. Candice lives to inspire a a whole new generation of wellness lovers, creative artists, fitness gurus and cooks in the kitchen. Click here for more of her recipes, wellness tips and life hacks.

This Berry Delicious Smoothie is the Perfect Post-Class Snack

Chances are that you’re dying for something delicious, healthy and energizing after celebrating a carb-coma worthy Thanksgiving and working hard in your first post-Turkey day Bar Method class. We get it — taking challenge options, staying in good form and pushing your limits for an entire hour is truly hard work.

Candice Kumai

Since we often get questions about healthy snacks (which inspired Burr’s research into low-sugar suggestions), we reached out to our friend, author and fellow Bar Method addict Candice Kumai for an easy to make smoothie recipe that you can whip up in seconds once you get home.

Not only will the ingredients help bring you major internal health benefits, but Candice loves this satisfying drink for what it can do for your outside too. She says, “Beauty is an inside job. This is the perfect drink when you’re fighting a cold and for pesky wrinkles. To feel great and look gorgeous, get on that blending. It’s #SmoothieTime!

Ingredients (this smoothie recipe serves 3):

  • 1½-2 cups  unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • Toss in some blackberries
  • 1-2 teaspoons spirulina
  • 1 tablespoon probiotics/acidophilus (or a scoop of yogurt if you’d like!)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Candice Kumai, berry bliss smoothie

Do you have a smoothie recipe you swear by? We’d love to learn about it in the comments!

A Bar Method Student’s Guide to Complex Carbohydrates

It’s no secret that carbs are a super important macronutrient and give your body heaps of energy. However, despite it’s ability to act as fuel to power you through the day, trendy diets and weight loss buzz can discourage people from consuming enough of them. Rather than cut carbs out completely, the key to maintain good energy levels while achieving your fitness and health goals is actually to find the right carbs.

You might already know there are different kinds of carbs and that that complex carbs are much better for you (especially on days that you do something active, like take a Bar Method class) than simple carbs. The outstanding problem? Even the healthiest nutrition labels don’t tell you which kind of carb you’re about to consume.  Understanding how each gets classified and what it can do for you will help you make the healthiest choices while eating all of your favorite fall foods. To get the scoop, we talked with Monica Auslander of Essence Nutrition in Miami, FL.

Carbs, explained.

Comprised from fiber, starch and sugar, carbohydrates are in tons of different foods. Starches like bread and sugar might pop into your mind first, but foods like dairy, fruits, veggies, nuts and sweets also have them.

The differentiator between the carbs in all of your favorite foods is how much fiber, starch and sugar are in each. Though sugar is a simple carb and packs less nutritional value (Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?), fiber and starch are present in complex carbs. This group is much more nutritious.

Carbs can be Complex. Literally.

Complex carbs have more nutrients because they’re higher in fiber, which means your body digests them at a slower rate. This helps you feel full longer, too — a key thing to note if your health and fitness goals include losing weight.

Though starch is found in some of the same foods as fiber, some are considered more starchy than fibrous (like potatoes). Corn, rice, oats, cereal and whole grain bread also rank high on the high starch lists.

With their ability to power you through a tough workout or just an ordinary day, a handful of complex carbohydrates definitely belong in your regular diet. The following are a few to consider — all of which are perfect for the coming Autumn season.

Whole grains. Excellent sources of fiber, grains are also packed with potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Whole grains such as buckwheat, and whole-wheat pasta are awesome choices and if you get tire of them, Monica swears by rye, spelt and quinoa varieties. We even found an award-winning pasta made from chickpeas. As she says, “What a time to be alive!”

Beans. In addition to lots of fiber, beans have a bevy of nutrients that include potassium, iron and folate Mix yours into a turkey chili or warm burrito bowl for a delicious, complex-carb filled meal.

High-fiber fruits. Melons might have come and gone with summer, but fiber-rich fruits like apples and bananas are still easy to snap up — and in season! Try adding almond or cashew butter to yours for a delicious high-protein snack after crushing a Bar Method class. For something super seasonal, Monica suggests making your own cranberry sauce. “Go homemade, with pectin. The reason is that Pectin is a resistant starch which is great for digestion. Cranberries have Vitamin C so some will trickle into a homemade sauce, too.”

Fiber-rich veggies. Fall is a great time to take full advantage of seasonal recipes like a sweet potato bake with delicious high-fiber veggies. Monica says, “Cook with pumpkin, even from a can! You’ll also get some Vitamin A and magnesium. Squashes are a great choice too; cook with butternut, acorn squash or even spaghetti squash.”

Have a link to a favorite fall food recipe packed with complex carbs? Share it with us in the comments.