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No Bake Peanut Butter “Granola” Bars

When you embark upon a low carb and grain-free diet, you think there will be foods that are off limits to you for the rest of your life. You scroll past yummy looking treats on Pinterest or Facebook, assuming that they just aren’t for you. You’re okay with it…most of the time. You’ve committed to your health above all and for that, you can feel virtuous. Yay you!

But oh, those days when the cravings hit. Maybe you had a tough day at work, maybe the kids are driving you bonkers, maybe someone ran a red light and totaled your car (yeah, that happened to me recently!). Maybe it’s just one of those days when life is hard and food is comfort and you really want some of those off-limits goodies. But you don’t want to go off plan because you know it could easily spiral out of control. What do you do?

You improvise! You make “oats” out of healthy coconut and nuts, you add some peanut butter (any nut butter will do here!), you add your favorite low carb sweetener. And then you press that sucker firmly into a pan and refrigerate. Voila, you have just created a healthier version of one of those recipes you normally scroll past. It’s no-bake, it’s easy, it’s salty-sweet, and it’s delicious. And it makes you feel like you are sticking your tongue out at that tough day. Nah-na-na-na-boo-boo! Take that, life! You get to satisfy your cravings AND stay low carb. Yay you!


  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup grass-fed collagen powder (optional but helps hold them together better)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup Swerve, Confectioners
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a food processor, combine the coconut, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, collagen powder, and salt. Process on high until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs in texture.
    In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and butter together until smooth. Whisk in the Swerve and vanilla extract. Add the coconut mixture and stir until well combined.
  2. Line a 9×9 or 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper with overhanging edges for easy removal. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press firmly and evenly into the pan. Cover with another piece of parchment and use a flat bottomed measuring cup or glass to smooth it out and really press it together firmly.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour. Lift the bars out using the overhanging. Cut into 16 bars.
  4. Store in the refrigerator.

Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Sausage

For someone who is really not that interested in football, I’ve watched my fair share of football games. How could I not, when married to a rabid Redskins fan? I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but as a child, the aforementioned Redskins fan used to cry and kick his legs on his bed when they would lose. I’ve seen the man through decades of Redskins heartbreak, as they’d get one new coach or quarterback after another, and everyone would have high hopes. And then they’d lose, again and again. He’s become a little less rabid as time as gone on and they’ve disappointed him year after year. But anytime there is a Redskins/Cowboys or a Redskins/Eagles game, it’s hard to tear him away.

And now I happen to be a mother to a relatively rabid Patriots fan. He’s more into soccer than football, but we lived in Boston for much of his formative years and the Patriots were a rockstar football team. You really couldn’t NOT be a fan during that time. Well, I could manage to not be a fan, but my boy couldn’t. Now that we live on the opposite coast, he still loves his New England Patriots (he’s actually watching it as I write this).

For all that, I really could take it or leave it. I know my football pretty well, I know the rules of play, and I can watch a game and be mildly entertained. But what I really like about football is the food. Soccer, hockey, baseball, all great games but they just don’t have the food culture that football has. From Thanksgiving to the Super Bowl, football has all the other sports beat in terms of the food you munch on while cheering on your team. I love it for the finger food and appetizers. I love wings, I love meatballs, I love BBQ, I love nachos, I love jalapeno poppers…

And I love, love, love these sweet and spicy sausage bites! This recipe serves a crowd, right out of your slow cooker, so it’s perfect for game day. Whether or not you are a football fan, you will be a fan of these.


  • 2 lbs kielbasa sausage, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Asian Chili Garlic Sauce (not the sweet chili sauce but the really hot stuff!)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup Swerve, confectioners
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum (optional)


  1. Place the kielbasa in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce, Worcestershire, garlic, and Swerve. Pour over the kielbasa and toss a little to coat.
  3. Cook on high for 2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kielbasa to a serving dish. Briskly whisk the xanthan gum into the sauce that remains in the slow cooker. Once it has thickened, pour over the kielbasa.
  4. Alternatively, you can return the kielbasa to the slow cooker and serve directly from there.

Makes 12 appetizer size servings.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 (94g)
Servings Per Container 12

Amount Per Serving
Calories 180 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 4.5g 23%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 680mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 2g
Protein 11g 22%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Looking Forward to 2017

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