Jayna’s Heavenly Squares

Jayna’s Heavenly Squares

"Seesters"

My two dear friends since childhood, Trisha and Jayna (they are sisters, or "seesters" as Trisha likes to say) decided they were going to make this recipe for "Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars" after their April trip to Aruba.

jayna bars 1

Trisha just had a beautiful baby girl named Sophia. Jayna, a hygienist, was 8 months pregnant with a girl. Here is a photo of Trisha and Jayna. These girls are stunning. When I look at this picture, I see many things. I see a bond between 2 sisters. I see their inner beauty radiating outward. I see happiness. I see friendship. I see love. I see the past and the present, and I get excited about the future.

Trisha and Jayna

Trisha (left) and Jayna (right)

Take a moment to read through the recent comments on this screen capture of Jayna's Facebook wall. You will read that I declared it my mission to transform this refined sugary dessert into a healthy, low-sugar, but equally delicious version for the girls. You will also notice the bond between Trisha and Jayna. I honestly wish all "seesters" could share such a powerful bond. Even though I am not their sister, they always made me feel like I was. I was not popular in high school, but they always included me and made me feel amazing, regardless of my popularity status. This is pretty remarkable, considering most teenage girls wouldn't risk demoting their own popularity status by associating with someone unpopular ... and yet these girls did ... which goes to show you just how genuine and caring they truly are. My fondest high school memories are of the times I spent with Trisha and Jayna. We would sit for hours and talk about anything and everything.... and we did!

 

Jayna's Heavenly Squares

 

When one person is missing the whole world seems empty

On April 9, 2013, our world turned upside down. Shortly after arriving at the airport in Aruba, Trisha, Sophia and Jayna piled into one car, and their husbands and brother piled into another car. En route to the hotel, Trisha, Sophia and Jayna's car was struck by a drunk driver. Jayna and her unborn daughter, Lauren were killed instantly.

It is so sad that Jayna's life ended so early in such a tragic way. It is hard to accept that this sweet and beautiful girl will no longer be with us. She had a loving family, wonderful friends, a devoted husband, a baby on the way, and a brilliant career. No one was prepared for this tragedy and it can be difficult to understand how life works sometimes.

One day, a son asked his father, "Why is it always the best people who die?"
The father answered, "Son, if you are in a meadow, which flowers do you pick? The worst ones or the best?"

I feel as though someone has ripped open my chest and torn out a chunk of my heart...but this person purposely left just enough heart tissue to ensure I remain alive in agony. I can't even begin to fathom the pain that Jayna's family is experiencing.

Although there is a giant hole in my heart, Jayna will live forever in my heart and in my memories. She positively touched my life and so many other people's lives during her short time on earth and will be forever missed.

Is there a lesson here? The answer is yes. Jayna's life and death should have an immense impact on the way we all look at life. Life is a gift. Do your best to always be positive and make other people feel good. You never know when it will be the last time you see or speak to someone.

I thank Jayna and Trisha for showing the sisters of the world how to be "seesters". Let your loved ones know they are special.

Jayna's Heavenly Squares

I wrote this recipe with tears streaming down my cheeks. I confess I stared at the ingredients in my pantry for 4 days, unsure if I should even bother making this recipe anymore. But then I wondered, "what if there's internet, peanut butter and ovens in heaven?" Besides, I said I'd make them, and gosh darn it, I will stick to my word. It only makes sense to call this recipe "Jayna's Heavenly Squares".

jayna's heavenly squaresThis recipe is comprised of so many emotional layers. Each bite tells a different story. I thought my anger would make me hate this recipe, but I confess that making it was cathartic, and biting into the delicious square gave me a new perspective. I felt like Jayna was smiling from heaven, knowing that I would be there to make these for Trisha. The squares are a metaphor: Jayna is the peanut butter center that ensures Trisha and I stick together.

Ready...Set...Bake!

This recipe is virtually sugar free, high in protein, dairy free and gluten free! It is also half the fat and calories of the original version. And did I mention it is low carb? My version has 13.7 grams of net carbs, but their version has 50 grams of net carbs and nearly 40 grams of sugar!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 13 x 9" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (Pam).

Layer 1: Combine the following into a large bowl. Mix by hand until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Reserve 1 and 1/2 cups of this mixture for the layer 3 topping.

  • Stir 1 egg and 1 cup of egg whites into the remaining crumb mixture and press it into the 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 15 minutes

Layer 2: Combine the following into a large bowl and mix by hand:

Spread over the partially baked crust

Layer 3: Add the following to the remaining crumbs mixture:

Sprinkle the crumbs mixture over the chocolate peanut butter layer.

Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool and cut into 20 bars.

layersNutritional Information:

This recipe yields 20 bars.

1 bar is: calories: 200, fat: 9.9g, saturated fat: 4.5g, cholesterol: 17.3mg, sodium: 269.2mg, carb: 18.6g, fiber: 4.9g, NET CARBS: 13.7 g,sugars: 2.6g, protein: 10.7g

Compare this to the original version:

1/20th of the recipe is: 407 calories, fat: 20.2 g, saturated fat: 9.6g, cholesterol: 43.3mg, sodium: 172.8mg, carb: 53.2g, fiber: 3.1g, NET CARBS: 50.1g, sugars: 38.9g, protein: 7.7g

Ingredient Information:

Quinoa flour

  • is perfect to use when baking.
  • It’s made by grinding whole grain quinoa into a fine powder
  • You use quinoa flour instead of wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes (exception: yeast breads).
  • It’s gluten-free

Almond milk

  • is free of saturated fat and cholesterol. 
  • Unlike cow’s milk, it is safe for those who are lactose intolerant or who have gluten or casein allergies.

Coconut butter

  • is freshly made from whole coconut flesh (not just the oil) and puree’d into a fiberous, densely nutritious & creamy spread.
  • You can use it as a dairy butter substitute in recipes.
  • It hardens when you place it in the fridge/freezer (use it to make fudge)

Cacao Nibs

 

  • cacao beans are the source for all cocoa and chocolate products. 
  • Unlike processed dark chocolate, the antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao, which is why they have more antioxidant flavonoids than blueberries, red wine and green tea. 
  • They are also high in fiber.
  • Cacao contains magnesium, theobromine (natural stimulant) and anandamide (endorphin), which stimulate your metabolism.

Chocolate PB2

 

  • PB2 has the same consistency and taste as full fat peanut butter, minus the guilt!
  • PB2 has nearly 85% less fat calories than conventional peanut butter!
  • PB2 is made with high quality peanuts that are slow-roasted and pressed to remove the oil.
  • PB2 is all natural with no artificial flavours, sweeteners, or preservatives.
  • PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter is mixed with water to create a traditional peanut butter mixture.
  • PB2 can be used as a substitute for peanut butter in recipes.
  • Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts, salt, and sugar.

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Welcome! If you want to learn how to MOVE and EAT BETTER, you've come to the right place! I'm Dr. Sara Solomon. I'm a certified StrongFit coach and an intermittent fasting expert. I have degrees in dentistry (DMD) and physiotherapy (BSc PT), and I'm also a Pilates Mat Level 1 Instructor, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ACE personal trainer, NASM fitness nutrition specialist, a Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor, and a certified level 2 Buddy Lee Jump Rope Trainer and Ambassador. I'm a Bodybuilding.com and BSN Supplements sponsored athlete. My passion is helping people overcome restrictive diets and muscle imbalances so they can FEEL their very best!

11 Comments

  1. What a terrible tradegy Sara! I’m so sorry for your loss. You are so right, their picture above is so beautiful and speaks many things about beauty, joy, love and the future.

    I’m not really into peanut butter, but I’m going to make this recipe in honor of your friend.

    There is also another lesson to be learned here, and we must stand up against drunk driving!!

    Reply
    • Gule! Thank you for writing. I agree with you. Many lessons here. Thanks for being a good friend always. xoxo

      Reply
  2. I’m so sorry for the heartbreaking loss 🙁 This is a wonderful tribute though.

    Reply
  3. I am a dude who loves your site, but this blog post really stood out to me. very sorry for your loss. This stood out to me –
    One day, a son asked his father, “Why is it always the best people who die?”
    The father answered, “Son, if you are in a meadow, which flowers do you pick? The worst ones or the best?”

    Reply
    • Thank you – that means a lot to me that shared this with me.

      Reply
  4. I looked at this article yesterday and didn’t get a chance to read all of it. My mouth just dropped when I finished reading the story and my heart broke with tears. When I look at the picture you posted, I see a young and very beautiful woman who didn’t get the chance to be a mother to Lauren. My heart aches. I love PB and chocolate so I will definitely make these. Whenever I make these bars, I will think of her and her seester and the many memories she left to the people who knew her best and loved her deeply. Thanks Dr. S for sharing.

    Reply
  5. Sara,
    Just got around to reading this and I must say I am incredibly touched. There have definitely been a lot of memories and as I write this the tears are pouring down my face for I miss my sister and best friend so very much.

    Reply
    • Trisha – I am looking forward to working on projects with you to keep Jayna’s legacy of love and kindness alive. Jayna will forever make the world a better place. Lots of hugs & love, Sara

      Reply
  6. Hey Sara,
    Appreciate the article and the recipe. I recently have had a close friend get badly injured in a car accident by a drunk driver, she is still alive thank God.
    I will try your recipe, thank you for sharing. Maybe you could post something on how people should not drive even if they’ve had 1 or 2 glasses of wine, people don’t realize how much it affects them.

    On a side note, an edit you could make is you said you cried crocodile tears- crocodile tears are fake tears. That’s what it means, I assume you didn’t mean that so you should probably change the wording.
    Here’s a definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodile_tears

    Best!

    Reply
    • thanks! Sorry about your friend. I’ll fix the tears 🙂

      Reply
  7. I just recently heard the horrific news that Jayna passed away as I went to get my teeth cleaned yesterday. The last I spoke with Jayna she said “I won’t be seeing you for awhile”. Of course, she was to leave for her maternity leave. I broke down with tears, for such a beautiful, warm hearted woman has been taking away from this world. Her smile lit up the room every time I saw her. I went through a tough divorce a couple years ago, and her soft spoken encouraging words was so uplifting and helpful. She had a HUGE heart. And there’s no words to describe what a loss she was to everyone around her. My heart goes to Trisha and her husband and to all those who loved her dearly.

    Reply

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