Food Blogging is indeed a strange and exciting world... It's one where key connections and amazing friendships grow through online relationships. It's a world where sometimes boxes of treats arrive at my doorstep having my whole family curiously peering inside anticipating what treasure will emerge. Much of the time they casually comment, "Oh... cool..." as I extract a jar of mustard or fill a bowl with fresh fava beans and peaches or crack the spine of a freshly printed cookbook.
Our last box, however, elicited a much different response. Cutting the tape and removing the packaging, hands flew as bags of Kind Clusters along with a few Kind bars were called "this one's totally mine!!" as each family member claimed their favorite.
You're familiar with the Kind line of whole grain products, aren't you?? A favorite in my family for years, Kind products use ingredients you are familiar with... real food (you'll recognize ingredients as something you would have in your home pantry) that packs perfectly for our on-the-go lifestyle. Liv always carries either a bar or bag of clusters in her dance bag, and my son tosses their dairy-free bars into his backpack on his way to school or work.
Tweeting a simple comment of:
"Have you tried
@KINDSnacks Vanilla Blueberry Clusters???!! Bought a bag for a recipe and Liv and I ate the whole thing before we got home!!"
led to our Kind connection, and one we couldn't be more thankful for. And... one that elicited similar results as my Twitter comment (I think the Vanilla Blueberry is still my personal favorite).
For the first time in my blog history, I actually had to go and repurchase the samples that we received in the mail to write a post. Leaving the samples in the box with a comment of "Don't eat these... I need to take pictures and make a recipe", I will admit I didn't actually hear any comments of agreement, and sure enough, when I returned to the box I found empty bags and wrappers - and Liv wanting to know why I had never bought her the "Dark Chocolate Chewy with a Crunch" Healthy Grain Bars in the past, and would I go buy more because she really liked them??
After yet another trip to the store I returned with clusters in hand and finally the recipe I had been planning came to be. Frequently using granola in my baking, I love the texture it brings to softer cookies, and the granola-like Kind Banana Nut Clusters made a perfect replacement to the rolled oats in one of our favorite snacks, Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Bites.
Packed with protein, banana and whole grains, these cookies are a treat perfect for any time of day. They curb mid-afternoon hunger pangs, lend a little energy on the way to dance class or the gym, and make a nice midnight snack without guilt. Adding Kind's Banana Nut Clusters to this batch, I found the texture to be irresistible. A nice soft cookie, now with a bit of a bite, we've made three batches over the last few weeks and no one seems to be tiring of them yet.
A big thanks to Kind for our Kind Care Package! With school just around the corner we're stocking up on the kid's favorites and making a care package of our own as we send our son off to college. Nearly every day is a Kind day for us, and we hope it is for you too.
Peanut Butter Banana Cluster Kind Cookies
Protein and fiber filled, these cookies lend energy while getting you past those mid-afternoon "what can I eat?" moments without guilt. Liv tucks a few of these in her dance bag as she head off to long rehearsals, and frequently comes home with request to bring some for her friends tomorrow. Enjoy!
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (either smooth or chunky)
1/3 cup honey (we used a generous 1/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Kind Clusters (we used the Banana Nut Clusters, but I'm eager to try with the Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flaxseed)
1/2 cup spelt flour (may use all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 handful raisins (optional - on occasion we've been known to add chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat (or coat with cooking spray) and set aside.
Place the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a small bowl whisk together flour, clusters, cinnamon and baking soda. Add the raisins to the wet ingredients if you are using them and give a little stir to combine. Add the flour mixture and gently stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter banana mixture, stirring only just until combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 2 Tbs of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly to about 1/2 of an inch thick.
Bake one sheet at a time until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Liv Life Note: We found the cookies to be very good on the first day, but enjoyed them even more on the 2nd and 3rd days! We've never had any last long enough to taste test on day 4...
Liv Life Note 2: While we did receive a care package with product samples from Kind, this is NOT a sponsored post. We have been Kind fans for years and I'm happy to share our love of these products!
As a mom looking to feed her kids "real" food, we love Kind's real ingredients. Kind clusters are 100% whole grains including gluten free oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat with each serving providing more than one full serving of whole grains. It's love in a bag!