Hot Cocoa Energy Bites

Today Southern VA got a whopping 6 inches of snow...so I had my first southern snow day! The kittens were SO entertained watching the snow fall, Ryan and I both got the day off of work, and the best part is that the snow will be gone by Monday!

It's been pretty funny to experience my first snow "storm" here. I grew up in NH and went to college in Boston, where 2 feet of snow + the declaration of a state of emergency meant nothing. We trooped down Comm Ave with snow up to our knees wearing at least 4 layers of clothing. Meanwhile in Newport News VA, the only things open are some gas stations and Target! It's seriously a ghost town.

Growing up, snow days were the best. We would all gear up in our snow-suits, meet the neighborhood kids outside, and spend hours making snow-forts and sledding. My mom would take the day off of work, and when we finally came home after hours of playing outside, she'd always have homemade hot chocolate ready.

With my unexpected snow day I definitely wanted to do some recipe development, and hot chocolate seemed like the natural route to take.

I love these energy bites for a few reasons: they're full of fiber and healthy fats, have balanced macronutrients (think long, even streams of energy with no crash!), are dangerously tasty, and simply fun to eat. One serving is two bites, so you can easily grab a few on your way out the door, have them as a pre-workout snack, pack them in your lunch, or enjoy as dessert.

I like to store them in the freezer (I'm obsessed with frozen textures), but you could also store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Ingredients:

-2 cups whole oats

-1 cup vanilla protein powder (can be substituted by an additional cup of oats)

-1/2 cup flaxseed meal

-1/2 cup cocoa powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-`2 T honey

-1/4 cup melted coconut oil

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

-1/2 cup mini marshmallows (halved after measuring)

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt coconut oil and honey.

3. Once melted, add almond milk and vanilla extract.

4. Add wet ingredients to try ingredients, and mix thoroughly until a dough is formed.

5. Gently fold-in halved mini-marshmallows.

6. Using a spoon, divide the dough into 26 balls. If desired, roll in cocoa powder.

7. Store at room temperature for one-week, in the refrigerator for up to two-weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information - makes 13 servings (1 serving = 2 balls)

150 calories, 7g fat, 16g carbohydrates, 8g protein

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