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!
One more week.
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.
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).
So! Next time I blog I will be DONE DONE DONE DONE.
Hayley Scott, Master of Public Health. Hmm… that has a nice ring to it :)
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!
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!
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!!!
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??
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?!
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.
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!].
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
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…
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:
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.
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.
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!
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…
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?!
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.
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!
Apparently once as a toddler, I said to my mother (regarding an ordinary dinner): “Always eat your veggies first, except for special occasions”… pause… “Is this a special occasion?”. See? Apparently my brain is hardwired this way (it must have been all the tofu I was fed as a kinder). Veggies are delicious. But I also love dessert… so what better when dessert and good-for-me ingredients tango together and create fabulous babies?? Or rather, when I can sneak healthy-type things into otherwise deceptively delicious desserts. Precocious child that I was (ha) I apparently developed my philosophies waaaay early in life: always attempt to get away with eating dessert first! Life is short.
Although I also was quoted saying (in response to my mother saying that veggies made you strong), “No mommy, sleep does that!”. Hehe. Right on both counts, I should think?
Anyway. Pie. The next in the series of it’s-too-hot-to-bake-much-less-live-ew ‘baking’, here’s pie! Thankfully it’s cooled off slightly around these parts in the last few days, so I’m thinking cookies or somesuch later today. Because (after getting up at 5) I washed my car, which desperately needed it, and now I’m tired and need sustenance. Preferably snacky cookies. Uh oh, look out. But back to pie. Who doesn’t love pie? Delicious. Snappy. Frosty. Melty.
Just goes to show, bananas are awesome in pretty much any form. Besides, I love that they give this pie body and make it acceptable for breakfast. Potassium win. Plus antioxidants from cocoa and healthy fats from cashews and peanuts. AND dark chocolate. Definitely breakfast material in my book. Or at least elevenses, that awkward hungry time between breakfast and lunch (otherwise known as second breakfast, if it involves a muffin in Ricardo’s class).
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Banana Pie
I gratefully borrowed the recipe from Back to Her Roots, here! I made a few small adaptations so that I didn’t need to make a run to the store, but if I made it again, I’d like to try peanuts in the crust (I used cashews, as it was what I had). I also made this in a deep-dish pie dish, so I made 1.5 times the filling so that it would be a little taller. In a normal dish, the amount below should be fine. Maybe next time some coconut needs to go somewhere in this? Food for thought…
Putz and acquire for the crust:
1.25 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup raw cashews*
1/3 cup milk bev (I used 1% cow’s milk)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil (canola is fine too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling-tastic (second set of numbers is the amount for a deep dish pie):
3 large, ripeish bananas (or 4.5)
1/4 cup honey (optional, only add if bananas aren’t very sweet)**
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (1/4 + 1/8 c)
1 cup light coconut milk (canned, please) (1.5 c)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1.5 tsp)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (1/4 + 1/8 c)
Chopped salted peanuts and dark chocolate for the topping, plus ice cream if you’re feeling frisky.
*The original recipe called for equal amounts of unsalted peanuts, but I still had raw cashews left over. The crust was still really good (I love the addition of nuts), but I’d be curious to try it with peanuts.
**I used just about 1/4 c of honey in my total amount of filling (1.5 times the recipe above), since I wanted this to be a bit sweeter than I usually prefer (sharing is caring). I may leave it out next time, depending on banana sweetness.
Preheat the oven to 375.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cashews. Pulse until combined and nuts are finely ground. In a liquid measure, combine milk bev, egg yolk, vinegar, oil, and vanilla. With the food processor running, drizzle the liquids into the dry ingredients and run until the dough forms into a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out until slightly larger than the diameter than your pie pan of choice. Transfer the crust to the ungreased pie pan and flute the edges. Use a forkish thing to poke steam vents in the bottom (no one wants soggy, puffy crust). Bake for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned (mine would have been good at 16ish, my edges got a bit brown). Let cool completely before filling.
While the crust is cooling, make the filling! If you’re not like me and have a decent blender, use that. If you’re like me and your blender is utter crap (yes. it is. it struggles even with a basic milkshake, much less anything more solid. Blender fail), use your food processor again. Chuck in all the filling ingredients (bananas through peanut butter, above) and blend until smooth, scraping the sides if necessary. Once the crust is cool, pour in the filling and smooth it out. Top with chopped peanuts and chocolate. Carefully transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 2ish hours. Mine sat for longer, so I let it thaw on the counter for about 25 minutes before we served it, which worked perfectly.
It’s been one of those weeks where you get up and think… do I really have to put clothes on today? Dis.Gust.Ing. Too hot to live, let alone bake. I really am a pacific northwesterner in this regard: hot weather makes me nutty. Today I sort of decided to stick it to the weather and go take a hot yoga class, since I’d been sweating all day anyway. Surprisingly, it was a great idea: maybe there is something to that ayurvedic idea of eating hot foods on a hot day? Huh. Anyway. After said hot yoga class, all I wanted was a dunk in cold water and one of these.
No bake, for the WIN.
The solution for when it’s too hot to do much of anything and turning on the oven (or really even the stove, let’s be real here) turns into a capital offense. I had grilled cheese for dinner last night (although I did go gourmet with some sauteed veggies, ha) since I was so unmotivated to do much of anything except watch other people (i.e. Olympians) be ridiculously fit. Whatever, I made up for it with my yoga today, so there. And with these bars. These are FAB. And healthy, which is a bonus considering most no-bake items seem to involve some form of strange food product like cool-whip. Let’s not go there, shall we? Back to these:
Mmmm. Banana coconut bars on a nutty date crust. Naturally sweet and so frostily delicious. Bonus points for being gluten free and vegan, as well as refined sugar free. You also get a healthy dose of magnesium from the cashews, calcium from the almond butter, healthy medium-chain fatty acids from the coconut, and potassium from the banana. See? It’s like a complete summer meal in a bar (welllll…sort of). Wheee! Squat and gobble to your heart’s content, I won’t tell… even if you do it in a sports bra and running shorts because, like I said, it’s too hot to live or bother to look decent. Or to blog… this is all I got today!
Vegan Banana-Coconut Bars
I slightly adapted these from the DAMY health blog, here! These are frosty and best when straight out of the freezer. Easy to make, they come together in a snap and set up decently quickly, satisfying all kinds of crazy summer cravings (Besides, they’re healthy to boot!)
Poke around and scrounge up the following:
For the crust:
1/2 c raw cashews
scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 c pitted dates, chopped into smallish pieces
a tbsp or two of water, if the crust needs a little help to come together
For the topping:
1 ripe banana
scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut+ some for sprinkling
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 c organic almond butter
1/4 c light coconut milk
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together cashews, coconut, and date pieces until the dough comes together, with pieces of nuts intact. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it needs a little help. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased pan (mine was 9″ square, making thinnish bars), flattening it out as you go. In your food processor once again, blend the topping ingredients, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth. Pour the topping on top of your crust, and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Top with some reserved coconut, and cover with plastic wrap or foil (bonus points for foil, it’s recyclable!). Let set for at least 2ish hours before slicing (it should be firm). Store in the freezer!
Love tasty food. Eat. Feel magically cooler… ohmmmm.