Healthy Oatmeal Bites!

As promised, it’s time to celebrate National Heart Month and I have some healthy recipes to share! Today I present to you a quick and easy, healthy snack you can make for yourself and/or loved ones! My oldest son loves these quick little bites, I love them even more because I can get him to eat some healthy things by sneaking them into this recipe!

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So here we go! And we’ve got three products that we enjoy in this recipe! We have McCann’s Irish Oatmeal, Breitsamer Honey and Hachez chocolate! Are you ready? It’s super easy to make and you’ll be enjoying a healthy snack in no time!

 

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Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes (toasted optional)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (or so, I did less) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I used dark chocolate for this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until mixed throughly.
  2. Optional: Chill first in the refrigerator for half an hour, then roll into balls.
  3. OR roll into balls immediately after mixing. (Just a matter of preference, I have no issues rolling these before they are chilled.)
  4. Store in airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

These are quick and simple, and provide some healthy oatmeal power! When forming the balls, you can size them any which way, the ones I had rolled were about 1 inch or so in diameter. By the way, the mini Breitsamer Honey jars are just about perfect for the amount needed for this recipe and work PERFECT! Enjoy!!

The best part, as I say with any recipe, you can tweak this recipe to your own tastes and likes! I like adding the spices in to give these oatmeal bites some more pizzaz! Try them out and adjust them to your preference!

 

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Take the Bitter with the Sweet.

Yes, go for it! Go ahead and be bitter! Today you can be! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Start indulging in your favorite chocolate until the bitter end! Am I getting a little carried away here? I’m sorry! I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but there are just to many perfect ways to express today’s bittersweet day! And just because it’s a day for bittersweet chocolate, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your milk chocolate. Because we’ve got them all covered today to celebrate Hachez all the way from Germany.

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Let’s first explore what makes chocolate bittersweet:

  • Legally, at least 35 percent pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added.
  • Also known as: dark chocolate, when it is a European brand.
  • Characteristics: Usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.
  • No legal specifications for the term so not always darker and less sweet.
  • Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences.
  • Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer’s recipes and cacao bean sources.
  • Uses: Baking and eating.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens (Chocolate Types, Selection & Storage)

So, let’s get this (tasty) bitterness out of the way, shall we? Let’s start with these two bittersweet chocolates made by Hachez. The Ecuador green package is a 58% cocoa and the São Tomé blue package is 73% cocoa. How bitter do you like to go?! Missing from our group would be the Madagascar in blue-violet package at 75% cocoa.

Hachez can impress even the best dark chocolate connoisseur. I thought I was a dark chocolate expert until I had some of the darkest Hachez chocolate (I believe 88% is my favorite) and I was blown away! It’s not overly bitter, it’s not “dry” or tastes chalky, it’s just a smooth, chocolatey taste that is very enjoyable! I tried both of these below and they are very good!

 

Back in 1890 Joseph E. Hachez refined superior cocoa from South America according to a simple recipe. The secret to perfect chocolate quality involves roasting the cocoa bean batch, meticulous conching and use of natural ingredients. We still adhere to this recipe today. Enjoy our chocolate compositions handcrafted with love and painstaking care.

Source: Hachez (Product Packaging)

Even though it’s “bittersweet” day, below I thought I would share a photo of some of the Hachez superior milk chocolate, influenced by Venezuela at 43% cocoa and in a yellow package. Silky, smooth milk chocolate, very dreamy and delicious!

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We will be exploring Hachez chocolates some more in the future, so expect to see more delicious chocolate from them coming to the blog! We will also be exploring Hachez’s Taste Navigator in a future post, so look out for that, soon!

To end the post for today, I had to share one of my favorite songs from back in the day, “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy!

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Proud to Provide Local Flavor.

I’d like to start out this post by saying it’s time we take a look at our local shops and stores. In the next few weeks and months ahead, I want to highlight the variety of different places that are around West Michigan (and hopefully beyond), and share with you all what’s unique about each! So don’t worry, we hope to make it around to all our local friends of Gourmet International and share our local flavor!

We have an opportunity to connect with Kingma’s Market this weekend to feature Butlers Chocolates, Hachez Chocolates and some tasty treats from Wicklein! Stop on out to the Ada location of Kingma’s Market from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, December 9.

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Kingma’s Market has been a staple serving the community for 80 years with its main storefront located on Plainfield Avenue. Just this past year, Kingma’s opened a new location in Ada, Michigan, where the downtown revitalization is hopping. Many in the area had awaited the grand opening, offering shoppers a variety of meats, cheeses, local and imported beers and wines, bulk food items and more.

Originally located in the Boston Square area of Grand Rapids, Kingma’s Market was originally owned and founded by the Kingma family. In 2014, Alan Hartline purchased the store from the family and has continued to expand the company and the many products offered within its shelves.

Proud to provide local flavor to the community, Kingma’s Market provides all natural, local meats, a range of Michigan based fresh produce, roasted coffee, honey, dairy products and more! By partnering with Fish Lads and Carvers Finest Meats of Grand Rapids, the local residents can be assured that they are purchasing quality fish, meats and poultry.

So stop in and visit some of Gourmet team at Kingma’s tomorrow if you are local! We’d love to meet you and we’d love it for you to stop by and say hello! While you’re there, pick up some holiday items for yourself or for your loved ones! Nibble, nibble with us!

Some information from this post was obtained by MLive and Kingma’s Market websites.