Berry bars for errryybody

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Internet friends!

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How goes it? Things here are pretty bueno – it feels like fall, with the snappy air and all the squash in the markets! I have yet to make any squash this season, but I’m sure it’ll happen SOON; we can just chalk it up to being super busy at work and opting for quick dinners (hello eggs & black beans, you’re the bomb) or meal prep that can turn into a quick dinner.

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Weekends have been productive and lovely, with lots of urban hiking and pretty views of my beautiful city. The sunsets have been off the HOOK – this is the time of year for cotton candy skies in this part of the Bay, and I’m loving every minute.

Looking back down the hill; I never ever get tired of the views on my walk home from work:

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I love that I can get these amazing sunset panos from my roof!

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And of course, there was dessert! A low-key one for this last weekend; C and I may or may not have eaten this all in two sittings. To be fair, there was a hike in there also that was nearly 6 miles and a lot of stairs, sooo…. ahem.

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This is rapidly becoming one of my staple desserts, along with my go-to cookies. It’s SO easy and flexible, and super delicious. It reminds me a bit of a grown up pb&j – only with almond butter and a lack of cloying jammy sweetness. Not to mention that it’s great for so many dietary preferences or allergies! Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free (it’s nearly sweetener free; only 2 tbsp of maple in the whole thing), dairy free, vegan, paleo! Woooohoo for inclusive desserts!

I find that I love it best straight out of the fridge for maximum chewy coldness, but it’s still great at room temp. Of course for science research C and I had to eat it with ice cream – highly recommend. Its nutty base dough/crumble tastes very reminiscent of an almond cookie, and is complemented perfectly by the sweet-tart chia jam in the middle. Suffice it to say, we’re big fans over here, and I hope it brings you as much joy :)

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I can feel myself starting to gravitate towards more involved baking projects as the nights come earlier and the days get shorter… it makes me turn inward and seek out cozy things like blankets, tea, and the oven. Not that I don’t usually seek out the oven, but you get the idea.

Happy October!

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Berry & Almond Butter Crumble Bars

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, grain free / paleo, vegan! A direct riff off of the blueberry bars that I posted a few weeks ago, here, where were in turn inspired by the Roasted Root, here! Yield: 1 8″ pan of bars, round or square, your choice. Super simple; these come together in about five seconds and bake up in just over 30 min, so they make a perfect last minute snack, dessert, or breakfast ;)

For the berry filling:

1 raspberries (I used frozen)*
1 c blackberries (I used frozen)
splash of yuzu or lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp tapioca flour
1/4 c chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla

*can be made with all raspberry (or all blackberry!) – I was just trying to use up what I had

In a small saucepan, heat berries, sea salt, and tapioca until just barely boiling, 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chia seeds & vanilla; let cool.

For the crust & crumble:

2 c almond flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp maple
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 c almond butter
1/3 c chopped almonds
Black sesame seeds
Coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 and line some kind of 8” pan with parchment – this is the least fussy recipe ever, so square, round, tart pan, etc – whatever you have is fine! I used an 8” round cake pan. In a large bowl, stir almond flour, vanilla, salt, maple, almond butter and coconut oil together. Reserve half a cup and stir in the almonds, sesame seeds & coconut (this will be the top bit) – set aside. Press the rest of the dough into the base of the pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and top evenly with berry mixture. Crumble the rest of the reserved topping on the berries, and bake for another 23-25 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown and the berries are bubbly. Remove and let cool completely before serving. It’s also fabulous cold – I made mine the night before serving, refrigerated overnight and served straight out of the fridge – highly recommended. Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge for a day or two but I dare you to have any ;)

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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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Get those balls rolling…

BALLS!

Okay… so I finally did it.

Apparently I’ve jumped onto the balls bandwagon.

Not THAT kind (pshhh—get your mind out of the gutter); THIS kind!

and then there was one.

Except to me they’re really like healthful no-bake cookies. But in ball form. Because I don’t really use these for energy, let’s be real… but they’re perfect snackies for when you want something kinda sorta sweet but good for you all at the same time. But not dessert. A ball.

Besides, saying BALLSSSSS is fun! Try it: just make sure there’s no one around, they might look at you a little funny.

And they’re fun to stack, and roll around…

all by its lonesome

Let’s face it, I have yoga brain after my class this morning. Yes, I know the class was finished at 11 and I had a chai afterwards and should be fully functional by now (at 4:15 pm), buuttt my brain says… NO. Apparently we’re having a small tantrum today: it’s fuzzy Thursday. Acceptable, I suppose, for my day off. Good thing I don’t have to do anything more strenuous than go grocery shopping (oh wait. That required efficient decision making.whoops, FAIL) and photograph balls. Tee hee.

yum yum yum

Anywayyy. I digress. These balls are delicious and easy and come together in a snap. They’re a little on the crumbly side and excellent to grab on the way out the door (just don’t get crumbs all in your car; oh wait… I already did that).

I suppose you could call them blobs… but balls is more fun!

Balls balls balls:

aerial shot!

No-Bake Energy Balls

Ever so slightly adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here! I doubled the recipe and got 18, since I’ve made a single recipe before and we fight over them…

  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp nut butter (I’ve used all peanut, half peanut/half almond, both are good!)
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Couldn’t be simpler: chuck nuts into your food processor. Pulverize until they’re a fine powder. Add in oats and pulse again. Add everything else (nut butter, chocolate chips, chia, maple, and vanilla), and pulse until it all comes together. Form/roll into balls and store in the fridge. Easy money.

it looks like…a rock?!

Caped cookie crusaders for breakfast?

jars are always superior storage

The breakfast cookie strikes again!

Sneaky breakfast nutrition packaged into one deceptively small package, complete with whole grains/fiber, potassium, and healthy fats. All it needs is a cape to achieve complete superhero status. Can’t you just imagine this little caped cookie crusader swooping in, shoving your boring (and non-nutritive)  breakfast off your plate, and (standing with fists on hips, cape blowing in the wind… wait. do cookies have hips? Whatever, indulge me) trumpeting: “I am the breakfast cookie, here to save your butt from a boring breakfast! Eaaaat meeeee, you know you want to! I’m tasty and portable, and a COOKIE. Hellooooo, who DOESN’T want to say they’ve had a cookie for breakfast?!”.

demonstrating amazing feats of super-cookieness

And then you eat it, and feel so ridiculously awesome, like you could go off and save the world. Or wear a cape and look bomb. You know, just some minor benefits of eating a proper breakfast (or a legit breakfast cookie, since as I’ve demonstrated, that clearly equates to the same thing). Besides, these cookies are one of the easiest to make: just toss all the ingredients together, stir and chuck onto the cookie sheet in roughly cookie-shaped balls. Bake. Let cool (yeah right). Eat. Done! Go don your cape.

dense cookie complexity up close and personal-like

Banana-Granola Breakfast Cookies

I adapted these ever so slightly from Fannetastic Foods, here! I’ve made them before, but I really wanted granola in this batch somewhere. They’re lightly sweet and nicely hearty, perfect for a capped crusader breakfast. Mine were 2-3″ across fully baked, and I ended up with 14 total.

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp whole chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ridiculously ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c plain lowfat yogurt (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c granola of choice*

*I used 1/4 c Nature’s Path pumpkin flax granola, and 1/4 c Nature’s Path Ancient Grains + Almond granola (a winning combo, I must say)

mmm, coookies

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a cookie sheet (or two, whatever floats your boat). In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, coconut, flaxseed, chia, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mash up the bananas, and then add yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add wet into dry, and fold in granola as you stir them together. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes—mine were done at 13. I pulled them off the cookie sheet right away, as I didn’t want them to dry out. Let cool on  a cooling rack. I store cookies with banana in the fridge—I think it improves the consistency and I like them cold, but that’s up to you :)

Eat. Enjoy wearing your cape to work.

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My kitchen smells like sunshine!

Lemon-tastic day!

Saturday was a good day indeed… life handed me Meyer lemons! Or rather, Trader Joe’s handed me lemons. Or at least put them where I would see them and then pay for them, and THEN they were handed to me.

And then. They were mine. Citrusy goodness, miney mine mine. (And Kira’s. Sharing is caring!)

At which point I was confronted with a dilemma. What to do with these rare gorgeous lemon specimens?! Since Meyer lemons have such a ridiculously short season, I wanted to do something with them that would stick around for awhile. But what?! Soooo many options. Thus it happened that while I was dutifully thesising this morning (which, by the way, is 54 pages and winding down, hooray!) that some devious part of my brain escaped to Meyer lemon land to ponder the myriad possibilities of four lemons and a relaxed Sunday at home. At which point it apparently decided that lemon curd was the way to go! Mmmm, good work, brain. (Though I must remember to chastise it for skipping out on me, and leaving me to thesis with only partial brain cells. Psh. If I have to concentrate, EVERY cell up there has to be involved, it’s only fair)

glowing lemon curd :)

So after I finished up writing for today, lemon curd happened. And oh man, am I glad it did… there was not a drop spilled that wasn’t immediately swiped up and eaten. And the food processor that was very thoroughly “cleaned”… and the spoons…. and the spatulas… Well. You get the idea. I’ve loved lemon curd since I went to high tea with my lovely Mutti, and we found ways to put it on everything! Now all I need is some clotted cream and scones… hmm.. next weekend’s project?!

BUT. Surprise, surprise! Lemon curd only used TWO of my lemons. Which meant that I had an unexpected bonus of TWO MORE! So I made Sunday muffins… with lemons! (and chia seeds, natch) I’m sure they’ll be fab with the lemon curd. And then, when I was done with these, I realized that I still have one lemon left! Wow. This is even better than dead banana surplus… What to do?? Something to ponder in the next few days :)

mmm, sunshine in food form!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Curd. Such a *ahem* LOVELY word. Like, move one letter and it spells crud. But hey, don’t knock it till you try it: this is good enough to eat with a spoon. Oh wait, I already did that… Your turn!

From the Pastry Affair, here! I got… half a peanut butter jar’s worth?! Sorry for the inexact measurements… I would guess between one cup and 1.5 cups.

  • 1/2 c sugar (I used turbinado, which is why my lemon curd isn’t bright yellow)
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c Meyer lemon juice (I used the juice of the 2 I zested)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter (Mine was salted), softened and cut into chunks
spoons are a perfectly acceptable vehicle for lemon curd

In the bowl of a double boiler, combine sugar and lemon zest, and rub it together with your fingers until combined and smelling tasty. Whisk in lemon juice and eggs.

Over medium-high heat, whisk constantly as the curd cooks. (Think of it as your arm workout for today). It will begin to thicken: cook it until you see whisk-tracks, and then remove from the heat and let cool briefly. This took me probably about 15 minutes.

Scrape the curd into a food processor or blender (Strain first, if you want to eliminate zest pieces—I don’t mind the zest, and I don’t have a strainer… so I skipped this), and blend until smooth. Once smooth, add in butter chunks, a few at a time, blending after each addition, until all of it is fully incorporated.

Let chill in the refrigerator before using. Keep it in an airtight container (I use jars for EVERYTHING). Eat with anything, or just off a spoon!

muffins 'n curd

Meyer Lemon, Cardamom and Chia Muffins

I made 6, as per usual: double if you want a normal sized batch! This makes 6 huuuuge muffins. They’re not very sweet, which I like for snack muffins, but I’m sure the lemon curd would add just the right amount of sweetness :) Those who prefer sweeter muffins, make sure your bananas are super ripe, or else add a few tbsp of honey or brown sugar. *Update 3/14: These need lots of work—Kira and I aren’t super fans, we’ve decided. They need more flavor and more moistness… but that’s a project for another day! Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 c meyer lemon juice
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used plain, lowfat)
  • judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen huckleberries (or frozen berry of choice, blueberry would be good too)
the muffins are so BIG!

Preheat the oven to 375, and grease yo’ muffin tin.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamom, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, and then vigorously whisk in (your second arm workout for today: your biceps can thank me later) egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and yogurt until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry, and fold in chocolate chippies and huckleberries.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Mine went for 15 and came out perfectly.

Mmm. Enjoy your lemon-tastic day! My kitchen smells like sunshine now :) (And I have the added bonus of having sunshine in a jar in my fridge for later consumption, wheee!!)

like sunshine in a jar :)