One week…

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I did it!!!

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Well, almost. I walked this weekend, which means there is only one more advent calendar baked good between me and me officially having my masters. That and one presentation… as one of my cohort peeps so accurately said “It’s like going back to the Dursleys after spending a year at Hogwarts”. TRUER WORDS NEVER SPOKEN. Sheesh. Nothing like getting hooded and walking in your graduation to go right back to editing your slides for the looming presentation… but whatever. Almost there!

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One more week.

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And in the meantime, I have baked goods. Or rather, a no-bake treat since it’s bloody hot out and I’m not about to turn on the oven. But if I have to work on practicum stuff, you better believe I’m going to have something interesting to eat.

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Fast, easy, and delicious. These kind of remind me of a gourmet PB&J…. except better! And they’re cold. Which is bueno when it’s so hot outside, and you want a treat that feels more like real food (ie. me every day).

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So! Next time I blog I will be DONE DONE DONE DONE.

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Hayley Scott, Master of Public Health. Hmm… that has a nice ring to it :)

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Almond Butter Raspberry Chia Bars

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. Healthy fats, antioxidants, and chocolate. YAY! All the good things. Yield: 1 loaf pan. Recipe lightly adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life, here!

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  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

In a smallish bowl, mash together thawed raspberries and chia seeds. Let sit while you make the rest of the bar crust.

Line a bread pan with parchment paper. In a vitamix or food processor, process the oats until they become flour. Toss into a bowl with the flaxseed, almond butter, maple, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir (or use your hands, it’s more fun) everything together until it all comes together. Press all this goodness into the prepared pan. Set aside for a hot minute.

The raspberry-chia jam should have thickened by this point. Spread it on top of the almond butter-oat mixture in the prepared pan.

In another smallish bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil until melty enough that you can stir it all together sans lumps. Spread this on top of the raspberry layer in the pan, then top with shredded coconut if that’s your thing. Toss it all into the fridge for about an hour before slicing and serving!

Store in the fridge.

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If life hands you lemons, you should obviously make lemon bars

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LEMON BARS!

With MEYER LEMONS!!

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Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Especially since we had a random little heat wave in the middle of last week. And of course, it hit Thursday and I immediately wanted cookies because apparently Thursday=cookies. But seeing as it was waaaayyy too hot for any normal person to want to even consider turning on the oven, I wisely opted for no bake, raw lemon bars. Because they took about thirty seconds to throw together and then all I had to do was shove them in the fridge for chill time until I ate them. Lazy lazy and very nearly instant cookie gratification. Wheee!!!

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Also, I love lemon desserts but I’m wildly picky. For instance, I find most lemon loaf cakes to be waaaayy too sweet—almost cloying and definitely icky. I love lemon scones and lemon curd—both of those are usually a good balance of not too sweet and just sweet enough. These bars totally fall into that category too—they’re not overly tart, but neither are they stupid-sweet.

Besides all that, they also happen to be raw, vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free! Sooo…. breakfast, anyone??

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And really. Anything with Meyer lemons: sign me up. They are SO much more exciting than a regular lemon (although these bars would also be delicious with regular lemons, I’m sure). Lemons=spring! Perfect springy dessert/breakfast/feelgoodtreat/younameit/please eat it.

That being said, these take pretty much five minutes to make so you have nooooo excuses. Lemon bars!! With nearly instant gratification!! YAY! Do it.

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Raw Meyer Lemon-Coconut Bars

Recipe lightly adapted from Pure Ella, here! Raw, vegan, no bake, gluten free, and refined sugar free. They’re full of healthy fats and whole grains… AND they’re delicious. Recipe makes about 9 squares—I did mine in an 8 by 8 pan, but I think next time I’ll use something smaller so there’s a  better crust to icing ratio.

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For the crust:

  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c raw buckwheat groats
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c dates, pitted (and soaked if they’re hard)
  • 3/4 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • fresh zest of one meyer lemon

For the icing:

  • 1/4 c unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • fresh juice of 1/2 a meyer lemon

Line your preferred pan with a parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, whiz together almond flour, oats, buckwheat, salt, dates, coconut, maple, and lemon zest until thoroughly mixed and blended (you’ll need to scrape the sides a bit). Upend the processor over your prepared pan, and pat the crust down with your hands until it’s evenly distributed.

In a microwave-safe bowl (or on the stove), melt coconut oil and maple syrup together. Once everything is fully melted, stir in coconut oil and stir until that melts as well. Set aside until this cools off a little, then stir in the lemon juice. Pour all this goodness over your prepared crust, and carefully transfer to the fridge to chill for at least an hour before cutting and serving. Keep it stored in the refrigerator, assuming there’s any left to store…

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Nutty shenanigans involving chocolate

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Hello!!

Happy Rainy Wednesday, wheee!!! I LOVE rain. So does my cat, apparently, since he spent the majority of the morning outside in it, little furry twit. And now he’s sitting on me and purring, all pleased with himself. And damp. I am apparently a fab kitty towel… (not that I mind. He’s adorable).

But anyway.

This morning I skinned hazelnuts and listened to really loud opera and the rain. The opera was L’elisir d’amore by Donizetti, one of my favorites. What did you do, invisible internet friends??

Why did I skin hazelnuts, you ask? Funny you should ask…

Because, THIS.

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And then THIS.

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And then all of this will become COOKIES as of tomorrow and well… it just obviously doesn’t get much better than that (Don’t fret. I will also share the cookies).

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And also. Can I just say refined sugar free?! Yep. This is nutella. Except it isn’t, because it’s unprocessed and refined sugar free! Boomshakalaka. I just blew your mind, right? It’s okay, five minutes ago I blew mine too by tasting this. Just sit down for a minute, you’ll be fine. Deep breaths… Right. See? Now you feel recovered enough to trot into the kitchen and whip this up for yourself. Just be sure to hang onto at least a cup so you can have your mind blown all over again when I share the cookies for tomorrow.

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You know what’s funny about hazelnuts? I absolutely love them, but the taste takes me back immediately to my trip to Europe when I was 10. At some point in Austria, I was given a couple of Mozart Balls (I kid you not, that’s what they’re called), which are these chocolate-hazelnut truffle thingies. And guess what. I disliked them with great intensity. Apparently, something about the nuts in chocolate combo really turned off my 10 year old self. But oddly enough, that prejudice didn’t stick around (thank goodness), and now I love hazelnuts with reckless abandon. ESPECIALLY when paired with chocolate. But that smell and taste totally takes me back to Europe. Not saying that’s a bad thing in the slightest..

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But anyway. Hazelnuts!!! In CHOCOLATE!! Doesn’t get much better.

Also ps. The weather is doing that crazy spring thing where it’s SUNNY!!! and then it’s RAINING!!! and then it’s SUNNYYYY!! RAININGGGG!!! SUN! RAIN!SUNRAINSUNRAINSUNRAIN! You know exactly what I’m talking about… it really reminds me of the weather in Salem. I remember one particular day where it rained, was sunny, hailed, and I think probably snowed. All in one day. Don’t even ask. An umbrella becomes exceedingly useless at a certain point…

So anyway. Enjoy the nutty springtime weather and some homemade, garbage-free chocolatey hazelnutty goodness.

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Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Recipe loosely adapted from Living Healthy with Chocolate, here! My batch yielded about a cup and half. Vegan (sub maple for honey), gluten free, refined sugar free, and paleo! Winner, winner. Also, if you’re allergic to/can’t have chocolate, this could be done with carob powder/carob chips.

  • 2 c hazelnuts, dry roasted
  • 3.5 tbsp dark chocolate, chopped (choose something above 70%–mine was 73%)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1.5 tsp unrefined coconut oil*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

*hate coconut? (though I’m not sure we can be friends if that’s the case…)(just kidding!) Use olive, avocado, hazelnut–whatever oil floats your boat.

Rub the skin off the hazelnuts using your palms. You can buy pre roasted ones, and most of the time the skin is already off 3/4ths of them, or you can roast your own for about 10 minutes at 350, then rub the skins off while they’re still warm. Either way, make sure almost all of the skin is removed. Toss the two cups of skinned hazelnuts into a food processor (or a vitamix, if you’re lucky), and process until they start to form a buttery consistency. You’ll probably have to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times. This should yield a cup of nut butter—do try not to eat it all in advance since you need it later…

Using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate until it’s completely melty. Take the double boiler off the heat, and stir in the hazelnut butter, cocoa powder, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt, and almond milk until smooth. Adjusting to your personal taste preferences is obviously totally acceptable.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge. Mine will be going into cookies tomorrow (get ready for epicness in the next post), but I would assume it would stay good in the fridge for a week or two.

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I’m alternative… or awesome? Let’s go with awesome.

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I eat greens in three meals a day.

No joke.

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I even put spinach in my oats. (I can hear you ewwwing, you know, through my computer). NOT cooked, mind you—it only goes in my overnight oats. With a buhhnahhhnuhhh. And then I eat them in lunch. And dinner. And probably a snack, if I could finagle it. You know how in previous posts I’ve mentioned putting spinach where it totally doesn’t belong? Yeah. I suppose oats would be one of those places… as would a banana scramble…? Whatever. I’m kind of  alternative. Or awesome… let’s go with awesome.

Ahem..

Movingggg… on!

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This time, spinach went in a smoothie! That’s at least a little more normal… but why I chose to make and eat this on day when it was cold and raining outside is beyond me. It was delicious but then I was promptly freezing. Whoops. Whatever, worth it!

And then you can do almond butter art on top of your smoothie, if you eat in in a bowl. Which is obviously reason enough to eat in a bowl, right?? Who doesn’t like an excuse to play with their food? Come on, channel your inner Jackson Pollock, you know you want to!

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Almond Coconut Green Smoothie

Gratefully inspired by The Edible Perspective, here! Makes one largeish smoothie bowl. Note that you need to freeze the coconut milk first, so make time for that if you want this later in the day!

  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c milk bev of choice (I used 1% milk)*
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp almond butter+more for drizzle
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut+garnish
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*I would have liked mine thicker, more like a milkshake consistency—next time I won’t add as much extra milk. Up to you!  If you want it drinkable (as opposed to spoon-able), use 1/2-1 c extra milk bev.

Freeze 1 c of coconut milk in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen, pop them out into your food processor (or blender, if you happen to have a decent one). Add in spinach, almond butter, coconut, date, banana, and vanilla, and blend until combined. Pour into a bowl (because that’s more fun!), and top with almond butter and coconut, and maybe some chia seeds. Preferably eat when it’s not freezing outside…

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Instant Date-ification

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I used to looove fig newtons. Love them. I don’t really think they’re a universally loved-by-kids snack, but whatever. As a kid, I loved them. I used to nibble around the sides and eat off all of the cakey bits (come to think of it, I ate around madelines from Starbucks the same way…) and then eat the figgy bits in the middle.

In college I graduated to organic ones. Oooooh. Organic obviously makes processed things okay… ?! Um no… not really.

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But… I’ve graduated college and am now a real person (um.. no) (immaturity keeps me forever young) (part of being an adult is being a kid at heart, right? Right) now I’ve graduated to making my own! And even better than figgy type newtons… these are DATE newtons! Pshh. Who WOULDN’T love something stuffed with dates?!

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I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this, but juuuust in case you haven’t noticed… I also LOVE dates! As in, I love dates beyond all reason. They are delicious and good for you and I could easily eat them all day long all day every day for the rest of my life. End of story. Stranded on a desert island, can only pick one food? Dates. Well, okay. Dates and almond butter, because clearly I couldn’t survive on dates alone (and okay… maybe some toast to put the dates and almond butter on. Picky, aren’t I?). I would obviously try though.

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So I made these! And they were maybe one of the best things I’ve put in my face all week. Aaaamazing. And raw. Which means no dealing with ovens and all that silliness, just instant date-ification. Yum yum yum. Oh. And they’re fabulous for you, so it’s just a win win win all around. Healthy fats [almonds and flaxseed], omega 3’s [flaxseed], whole grains [oats], protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and excellent energy [dates, dates dates!].

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Raw Date Newtons

Recipe gratefully borrowed from the Pancake Princess, here!

Makes 16 little guys. Gluten free, could be vegan [non dairy milk bev+maple].

First we rummage for this kind of biz:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partially ground)
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp milk bev (I used 1% dairy)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked for a few minutes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

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Then we:

Lug out the trusty, zillion pound food processor. Open lid, put in blade, yadayada. Toss in almonds, flaxseed, oats, and salt, and pulse until blended. If your almonds are whole and not partially ground like mine, you might want to grind them alone for a bit so that they’re more broken up, but that’s up to you (and the strength of your food processor). Add in honey and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and be clumpier. Add milk, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it sticks together like a dough (and if you pinch it between your fingers it stays together). Remove the dough from your food processor, and roll it out really thinly between two pieces of wax/parchment paper. Aim for a mostly rectangular shape, just to make your bites even sized. I cut mine in half so that I would have two even-ish rectangles, about 1/8-1/4″ thick.

Without even bothering to wash out your food processor (quite possibly my least favorite part of baking), drain dates, and add them with the vanilla to the bowl. Process until a paste forms—it should be spreadable. Spoon that goodness directly onto each half of your rolled out dough, and then fold it up and around the filling to make a cute little date newton bite! Repeat with the other piece of dough and filling. Slice each log into about 8 bites, for a total yield of 16.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge… if they last that long…

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you can never have too many dates…

Did British cavemen eat english muffins? If not, I refuse to be Paleo

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Sorry sorry for the blogging fail, I’ve been busy!! But to make up for all that, I have two wildly different cookie recipes to share with you. Never fear, all is right with the world when we have cookies.

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Hmm, some random musings first.

First and most importantly, I’m now a qualified TRX suspension trainer! Wheeeee!!! Now (after I practice forever and ever), I am certified to officially kick butt. I need business cards now, clearly. Get ready, world, I’m now certified and dangerous.

On a gastronomical level, I tried Welsh Rarebit for the first time when Mutti and I ventured down to Carmel by the Sea for the day. It’s… interesting. And no, it has nothing to do with rabbit, thank goodness. This, however was fantastic. How can you not love caramel and chocolate?!

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And then there is this enviously adorable picture of our feet on the beach.

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And then this awesome thingy that I can now do with my phone! Ridiculous photo editing triumphs! Totally unnecessary but hey, I love glitter so don’t judge.

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Okay so I suppose now I’ll share the cookies… because I spent 8 hours in TRX training, so obviously I earned a cookie (or a million. I was SO. HUNGRY). These cookies are amazing! Raw, vegan, and full of good things for you. No added or refined sugars, and they’re even gluten free! I’m kind of on a raw-date-nut-I’m-really-hippie-crunchy-to-the-core cookies, can you tell? These might even be paleo, maybe? I’m not sure, as I really like cheese and am not in fact well versed in the caveman diet as apparently cavemen didn’t eat cheese. Or english muffins. Maybe British cavemen ate english muffins? Whatever. To each his or her own eating proclivities, if you’re paleo, make these! If you’re not… make them anyway! Love food. Eat!

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Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

I only slightly modified the recipe from The Sweet Life. Soooo good. I got 11 cookies out of mine, with a tiny ball of ‘dough’ left over to eat whilst making… These cookies come together in a snap, and set up easily in the fridge. Raw, vegan, gluten free, paleo, no refined sugars, no added sugars, good protein, and healthy fats. Um… you could go wrong how?!

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Firstly, you need:

  • 1/2 c dates, pitted puuuuhlease
  • 1.5 c raw walnuts
  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c unsalted organic almond butter
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Secondly, do this:

Pit your dates. Please. Don’t murder your food processor…Process the dates (with maybe a teeny bit of water), until they’re smooth and form a bit of a paste. Add walnuts and pecans, and pulse again until smooth and slightly crumbly. Add in almond butter, oats, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, and blend until smoothyish. The ‘dough’ should be crumbly but hold together when you press a bit between your fingers. If it needs a bit more sticking-together-power, add a tsp of water at a time until you get the consistency you want. Toss the dough out into a bowl, fold in chocolate chippies, and form it into balls or cookies or whatever (I like cookies with a fork pattern). Let set in the fridge for about an hour, and then consume with reckless abandon. I let mine sit on a plate for a bit, uncovered, then put them into a glass container.

Eat, in a wholly guilt-free and smartly indulgent manner. Eat the food you love… love the food you eat!

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Goodbye, moderation, hellooooo ice cream

Thursday things.

1. Apparently I make an excellent napping place:

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2. You know that Oscar Wilde quote I always toss around, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”…? Yeahhhhh. About that moderation thing. Out the window it went on Tuesday when I went to Fenton’s and ate this food coma-inducing wonder. Luckily I split it with Vacuum Vati or else I might be dead by now, ha. This was moderation in moderation in action:

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and then.

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muahahhaha.

3. And then last week I ate this: bourbon cornflake ice cream with bourbon caramel and tahitian vanilla ice cream with slivered, sweetened almonds. Thank you, Humphrey Slocombe, for sending me to gastronomical heaven.

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4. AVO!!! I made paleo cookies to use up the last of my coconut flour. They were… ehh. As much as I love coconut, I just can’t get past the sucks-all-the-moisture-out-of-your-mouth grittiness of coconut flour. It’s okay… but ehhhhh is really how I feel about it.

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5. I really like architecture. Juuuuust saying. Neo gothic seems to find me everywhere after my thesis, but I can’t say I’m sorry: it’s like finding an old friend wherever I go!

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6. OHMYGOSH. I made the ehhh paleo cookies. AND THEN. I made… these. They’re amazing and amazing for you. Make them. (Just as long as you’re not allergic to nuts please). I want them for second breakfast since it’s nine and I’ve had eggs and spinach already. Time for cookies, obviously…

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7. One last thing. Um… Downton Abbey?! Helloooo, what a horrible way to end the season. Couldn’t we have just had a nice ending to the SERIES, with everyone all happy and whatnot? Jeez. At least my favorite Machiavellian meddler is still alive and sarcastically kicking—I’d seriously have to quit watching the show if Maggie Smith left. I think I now have sympathetic post-partum depression. Ugh. At least Mad Men is starting up again in April (!!!)… I’ll attempt to fill the gaps between wildly addicting tv shows somehow… more baking perhaps?!

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Chocolate-Date Almond Butter Cookies (No Bake)

The recipe is from Vegetarian Ventures, here! Sooo glad I came across it, these are freaking amazing. Especially with date caramel on top! You can never have too many dates. These cookies are raw, no bake, and vegan (and gluten free!). They’re full of healthy fats, good protein, and antioxidants… annnndddd all they have is natural sugars! No added or refined anything, which means they’re a snack/breakfast/dessert you can eat and love! I got 11 2″ish cookies.

Whatcha need:

  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partly ground)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked in water for about 15 minutes
  • 1/2 c unsalted organic almond butter (I used Maranatha)
  • 1 oz of dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt for a garnish

This is beyond easy, no excuses:

After dates are finished soaking, chuck everything into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Mine went for probably about 3-4 minutes, or until the “dough” forms a bit of a ball. If needed, add a little bit of water (I didn’t and mine stay together fine). Here’s where you get to play with your food! Roll dough into little balls and smoosh them out into a cookie-like shape… make a crisscross pattern with a fork if you’re feeling fancy, and sprinkle with sea salt. Or leave them as balls, up to you! Store in the fridge, in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers. I let mine chill for a bit before eating—they solidify into sort of a fudgy-consistency. Soooo. Freaking. Good!

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