Sometimes, you gotta get messy

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Homemade It’s-Its!

Somewhat less aesthetic & refined than my fruit desserts of late, but sometimes you have to trash up your dessert a little. And it photographing such a hot mess (or at least attempting to) is lots of fun! Somehow I managed NOT to get ice cream on my phone, I consider that a rousing success.

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Okay… So we all know that I lovelovelovelove ice cream. But actually I lovelovelove ice cream and I LOVELOVELOVELOVE ice cream sandwiches. There is a world of difference when it comes to this. And no, a cookie with a scoop of ice cream on top is so not the same thing. Close, but no cigar.

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In a pinch it is definitely an acceptable substitute, but give me ice cream smooshed between two chewy cookies and I am one happy camper.

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It’s-It ice cream sandwiches are undeniably delicious but why buy them when you could level up and make some that were even more delicious and with better-sourced/pronounceable ingredients and more nutrition (with minimal effort)?! Right. My thoughts exactly.

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Besides that, these are SO easy and involve really only two steps: make cookies, then play with your food! Who doesn’t like that?

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Besides, these were consumed with berries, so that makes them virtuous…  I kid.

In other news…

The SF series continues!

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Always fun to find new viewpoints and perspectives on old favorites:

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Happy springtime! Mother Nature needs none of your silly filters.

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Homemade Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches (ie, it’s-it… probably trademarked, so I won’t call it that…

These are ridiculously easy! The cookies I used are whole wheat and sweetened with maple, which mollifies me a bit in terms of avoiding refined sugar (yes, I know I’m also eating ice cream… It’s all about balance). I think these are best fresh, so I would only make as many as you’re going to eat in one sitting. Can be gluten free, dairy free, or vegan depending on dairy or nondairy ice cream of choice and cookie recipe [mine were none of the above – sub a gf/vegan/dairy free cookie & ice cream].

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Sooooo easy. Lez do it:

  • 1 batch of chewy oatmeal cookies (recipe I used is below)
  • 1 pint of super delicious, good quality ice cream
  • 3/4 c chopped dark chocolate (mine was 70%)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Make favorite chewy oatmeal cookies. Let cool. Melt chocolate and coconut oil either in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 sec intervals, stirring in between until fully melted. Set aside.

Take favorite ice cream (I prefer Straus vanilla chocolate chip) and smoosh in between two cookies. Eat ice cream out of the carton because… just because. Squash other cookie on top of delicious pile of cookie and ice cream, and then, working quickly to prevent meltage and structural failure, roll it around in melted chocolate. Pretend to shake off excess (but actually don’t, because chocolate). Place on a parchment paper lined plate and stick them into the freezer until the chocolate hardens, five minutes or up to two hours. Unstick carefully from plate and stuff face!

Grin happily and pat yourself on the back for leveling up.

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were SO perfect for making sandwiches. They didn’t turn into rocks in the freezer, and they stayed chewy until the next day. Whole grain, refined sugar free, and lower in sugar than most chewy cookies out there. Mmm cookies.. Recipe slightly adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking, here. I made a batch and a half, sorry for some of the strange measurements. Yield: 18

  • 1.5 c whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)*
  • 1.5 c rolled oats (leveled)
  • 2.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 eggs (ugh sorry! for the .5, beat one egg, measure & use half)
  • 3/4 c pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, maple, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry and mix until just barely combined, stirring in chocolate chips. Cover the dough and refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes, up to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop refrigerated dough by the tbsp onto the baking sheet, flattening each slightly (they won’t really spread). Bake for 11-13 minutes (mine were done at 12), until the tops spring back when touched and the sides are firm. Cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before turning into sandwiches! Store in an airtight tupperware at room temp unless you eat them all immediately.

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Apples and Autumnal Dessert Shenanigans

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Good morning, invisible internet blog friends!

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I have apple-y, fall-y dessert for you today! And can someone explain to me how it’s almost November already? That snuck up on me… but whatever, I have baked apples (or at least I did, they’re all gone now, what a shocker) so it’s all good.

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Despite looking and sounding kind of complicated, these apples actually aren’t so bad, they just require some advance planning. But there’s no prolonged dough chilling involved, and the dumpling dough is very forgiving (all good things in my book).

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today — apples, fall, cooler weather, rain, and caramel sauce. All that’s needed on a lazy October weekend.

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In other news, I’m sitting with my legs wrapped in a blanket because it’s cool this morning and when I just went to get up, I got all tangled up and almost ate it. But I didn’t! I’m basically a mermaid…

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I don’t think desserts get more autumnal than this: apples stuffed with oats and walnuts, wrapped in pastry dough and baked in a caramel bath. Highly recommended both for dessert (with ice cream, obviously) and for breakfast, alongside eggs and something green. Happy Fall!

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Quinoa Flour Apple Dumplings with Caramel and Maple Glazed Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free! Can be dairy free with a very easy swap (coconut oil for the butter in both the dough and the caramel); a delicious and quintessentially autumnal dessert. Despite looking tricky, these aren’t especially hard — they just take a little planning. Yield: 6 apple dumplings + sauce + walnuts; we found that 1/2 an apple was totally sufficient in one sitting but this could easily be 6 servings if that was all you were eating! Recipe adapted from The Kitchn, here!

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For the crust:

  • 3 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk

*toasting reduces the natural bitterness of quinoa — I do mine in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes, until the flour is fragrant and the flour is just barely starting to go golden. Let cool before using.

For the filling:

  • 6 small baking apples (I used Gala and Jonagold)
  • cinnamon & coconut sugar to taste
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • a handful of glazed walnuts (reserve the rest for topping)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Glazed walnuts:

  • 1 c raw walnut pieces
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of fine sea salt

For the caramel sauce:

  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • scant 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp arrowroot starch

These have a lot of parts, but they’re not very complicated when you break it down! I made the walnuts several days ahead, which I recommend.

Heat a saute pan over medium until warm. Add maple (it should fizz when it hits the pan), walnuts, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir to combine and let cook, stirring frequently, until the maple has caramelized and the liquid is gone. The walnuts will feel soft until they cool, which is fine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread them out to cool, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight jar for several weeks (but, yeah right. Mine were gone in a day!)

To make the pastry: In a large bowl, stir together toasted quinoa flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and sea salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until the butter pieces resemble small peas. Add in maple, and vanilla. Add milk, 1/4 c at a time, stirring until the dough just comes together (I like using my hands for this, I find it easier than a spoon). Once most of the milk is added, the dough should form a largish shaggy ball. Turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. I found it easier to roll out two sections of dough separately, as my counters are slightly small. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6×6″ square, and use it to trace and cut 6 dough squares. Stack them on a plate with pieces of parchment paper in between, and let them chill in the fridge while you prep the apples for the filling.

Peel and core each apple. In a small bowl, mix together oats, cubed butter, cinnamon and a few glazed walnuts — this goodness should be chunky, which is fine since it’ll just be stuffed into the space where the apple core was.

Preheat the oven to 450, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (or large cast iron skillet).

Retrieve the dough squares. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut sugar on the bottom of each, put the apple in the center of the dough, stuff some of the filling in the cored space (I used a few walnuts per apple, and filled the rest with the oat/butter blend), and bring the corners of the dough up to meet over the top of the apple. Pinch the sides together to seal the seams. Repeat for all remaining apples, and if you’re an overachiever like me, make little leaves out of the excess dough for decoration.

Place the apples in the prepared baking dish or skillet, about 1″ apart. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown. While the crust is baking, make the caramel: in a small saucepan, melt butter / add almond milk, sea salt, and vanilla over medium, until it comes to a simmer. Stir in maple and arrowroot, and let simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.

Lower the heat to 350, and bake the apples for 30-40 more minutes**, until the apple is soft when poked with a fork and the dough is browned (quinoa flour is a little delicate, so if your dough cracks after baking, don’t worry! It’s still delicious). Remove from the oven once done, and pour caramel sauce over hot apples, and in and around them in the pan. Let cool for a few before eating — top with sauce and walnuts and ice cream for serving!

These keep well overnight in the fridge, and are delicious for breakfast (as well as for dessert, obiovusly, I can vouch for both). Store in the original pan, loosely covered with foil.

**I have some beef with the original apple dumpling method, which is to pour the caramel over after the initial par baking, and then continue baking for about a half an hour. That’s what I did, but I ran into some soggy dough and had to resort to some interesting pan switching techniques to continue baking them and THEN add the sauce back. SO. I would recommend the above method, which is how I would make them, when I make them again. That being said, they are delicious either way so you really can’t go wrong.

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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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My brain is sore from too much grad school

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How is it almost November? Can someone explain this madness to me? I mean, first of all it’s still kind of hot (summer, you can bugger off now… you have officially overstayed your welcome) but also, where did September and October go?! I want them back please.

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And I know the term compost cookies is probably unappealing, but it’s always made me laugh. I suppose you could call these ‘pantry cookies’ but isn’t compost more fun?? Besides… these are hippie enough that the stuff going into them is stuff that usually lurks in the fridge or fruit basket, and therefore is more like… compost! Obviously.

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These cookies get a little crisp on the outside while staying cakey and delicious on the inside. If you want a chewy pumpkin cookie, these aren’t it… but they ARE quite tasty. They store well in the fridge and make for a fast breakfast or a good snack. AND they’re full of healthy fats and good fiber, plus antioxidants. No refined sugar, can be gluten free… the options are endless. Don’t like walnuts? Use something else. Hate sunbutter? Use almond or peanut— These are extremely forgiving cookies.

They’re also super fast to whip together, no muss no fuss. I made them on a lunch break between classes because I desperately needed a brain break — I can only cram facts and knowledge into my brain in concentrated intervals for so long before I start glazing over. Case in point:

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Sometimes, you have to take a break from taking lecture notes for your own sanity.

Making cookies like this reminds me of undergrad when I would run home and make lunch and a batch of cookies in the hour I had between class and work. If that isn’t time management, I don’t know what is.

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Also, I really need to study right now but I am sleepy and brainsore (that’s a thing) and I just want to cuddle on the couch with my novel and a cookie and a nap. But.. le sigh. That is currently impossible because stats and the billion other things I have to do are calling my name and I really should get on that. But at least I shared cookies, so that if your Sunday is less nuts than mine, you can make something delicious out of your fridge compost. Happy almost November! Enjoy your pumpkin goodness.

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Pumpkin Banana Compost Cookies

Vegan, low FODMAP and IBS friendly, gluten free option (just switch the spelt flour for a gf flour of your choice), refined sugar free. And delicious! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 12 cookies.

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  • heaping 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sunbutter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened hemp milk
  • 2 c rolled oats (gf if desired)
  • 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/4 c chopped raw walnuts and dark chocolate

*alternatively, you can use 2 tbsp of the same nut butter; I just wanted a little variety

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or 2, if your oven is stupid tiny like mine and normal cookie sheets don’t fit. Rude. Bring on the quarter sheet pans).

This is pretty much as easy as it gets. Bust out a bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork, then stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple, sunbutter, almond butter, and hemp milk. In the same bowl, because we’re making cookies on our lunch break between classes today and this needs to be fast, toss in oats, spelt flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to combine. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate. Make sure the whole thing is nicely mixed, then drop lazy spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheet (all 12 should fit onto a standard cookie sheet no problem; these don’t spread). Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for a minute before moving, then move to a rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a plastic container in the fridge (glass will make them go soft).

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Finals + moving + classes = pooped.

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ONE MORE WEEEK!! ONE MORE WEEK!!!

Only one more week of summer session and then I can breathe again. Phew. Or at least, I can breathe for a week before fall term starts. Hooray! And to complicate things even further, I moved this weekend. So in between all the finals crazy, Elliott and I are attempting to turn our apartment into something resembling human habitation (the piles of boxes are getting smaller, I swear). Grad school finals + moving + classes on top of finals = pooped.

 

First new apartment breakfast! This is from last week, but that is my life. Anything I actually WANT to do takes place about a week after I actually decide I want to do it.

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None of my lectures are shorter than an hour and a half. The struggle is real:

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But hey! Our apartment is very cute and even though getting pots out of the cupboards is like playing pot Tetris (more posts on solutions for that later… I WILL have room for all my kitchen implements, ha), I think we chose a winner. Pictures to come when there aren’t boxes everywhere…

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In the meantime, I seized a free thirty seconds this weekend and made banana bread! This is tummy friendly banana bread too, since mine is still playing its little game. Fun. NOT. But this bread is low-fodmap, which is the strategy I’m currently trying (it limits the amount of fermentable mono/di/oliogo carbs and polyols in certain foods) and it seems to be at least helping a bit. I’ll take it! And besides, this is now one of my new favorite banana breads.

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Also, Jessie says hello and that she wants to be in another blog post. I can’t promise I’m not a crazy cat lady…

cat naps > med stats

cat naps > med stats

Spelt Banana Bread

This bread is lightly sweet and DELICIOUS. Disregard the low-fodmap biz if your tum plays nice with you — both my parents really like this one and they aren’t following the fodmap rules. Normally I’m skeptical of nuts in cookies and in most baked goods, but I definitely make an exception for banana bread. Walnuts + bananas = match made in heaven. Recipe adapted from FODMAP Fun, here!

Side note: low fodmap diets typically exclude gluten; however, I’ve tested my reactions to it and I am not currently sensitive to it. If you can’t do gluten, the flour blend in this is easily replaced by a gluten free all purpose blend. Yield: 1 loaf. Refined sugar free, low fodmap, healthy fats (walnuts + almond flour = omega 3s = happy brain!). Apologies for the mix of American and metric measurements, I’ve made this twice and this just seemed easiest. A scale is your friend!

  • 3/4 c whole or white spelt flour
  • 1/4 c white rice flour
  • 1/8 c quinoa flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1 tsp salt
  • 130 g almond flour
  • 30 g rolled oats
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • heaping 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ~1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • extra dark chocolate chips, optional

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a bread pan (mine is 9 by 5 I believe).

In a smallish bowl, mash the bananas, then whisk in the vanilla, eggs, and maple syrup. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, rice flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, salt, almond flour, oats, and cinnamon. Stir in the banana bowl’s contents, followed by the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, if using. Mix until there aren’t any dry spots left, but avoid overmixing with spelt flour because it can affect the texture of the final product. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan (it will be thick batter, and that’s okay), and bake for 35-40 minutes. A tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in the fridge.

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All things legume

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Apparently I’m on a roll with the barz here… this isn’t intentional (and they do get a little redundant to photograph after awhile), but I guess legume-based dessert barz are my jam these days. Who knew.

BECAUSE THEY’RE AMAZING!

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Or maybe because I’m obsessed with all things legume. Whatever, one of my nicknames is Lentil for a reason…

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Also, I inadvertently had ice cream for dinner last Friday night. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. See below for photographic evidence. I’ll give you one measly guess which one is mine…

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But back to barz. I’ll address your concern: no, you can’t taste the lentils (much like the time I made red lentil coconut ice cream — you get the earthiness from the lentils but once they’re hangin out with cashew butter and maple, your tastebuds don’t go LENTILS?! WTF?! No no. They’re actually a very neutral flavor. What’s more (because, there’s always more; just like parenthetical asides within a parenthetical aside; redundant much?! Jeez), the lentils add a whambam, no nonsense, whole food protein punch to your dessert, which is just winning in my book). I have other lentil barz on the blog but these are my favorites. They present kind of like an oatmeal cookie, with a similar texture, and I’m all over it.

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ALSO. By virtue of the fact that these are… virtuous… they qualify for breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-dessert; or some combination to that effect. You know, because LENTILS and OATS and CHOCOLATE. Which also happen to be three of my very fave things. I’m reserving them for dessert, for now… but I may have evened off a sliver to go with my breakfast. I mean, come on… the edge was uneven. You can’t have uneven bar cookies, it’s a crime. Luckily I am very adept (I learned this skill from my similarly-adept mother) at trimming and neatening all baked goods. It’s an essential skill, right up there with smoothing and leveling off the ice cream (though that one, I learned from my gram who was extremely wise in these kinds of things).

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So, barz. Sorry this is pretty much the umpteenth bar recipe on here and about the elevendyith that is made with a legume of some sort, but I’ve just been too lazy for indivudual cookies lately, and big chewy squares of bar cookie with a fork have been very appealing (they’re also fast, excellent when you’ve been out of the house for 12 hours including a workout, you’re famished and a nutrient-dense, satisfying sweet treat is necessary).

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Oaty Cashew Butter Lentil Bars

Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, soy free. And delicious! They are lightly sweet and satisfying (both taste testers concurred, and one of them likes really sweet things — I’m looking at you, Vacuum Vati!), so they appeal to a broad range of tastes. Recipe yield is one 8 by 8 pan, and is inspired by Ambitious Kitchen, here.

  • 1/2 c red lentils (dry), rinsed
  • 1/2 c cashew butter
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit 5 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • heaping 1/4 c cashew meal
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine red lentils and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Lentils are done when soft and all of the water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool. Once they’re cool, puree them with a tablespoon or two of water in the food processor, until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together cashew butter, maple syrup, and vanilla (if your cashew butter is cold, arm strength is necessary… think of it as part of your workout). Once combined, stir in flax egg and pureed lentils. On top of all that, toss in the oats, cashew meal, sea salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and smoothy smooth out the top if that’s your thing. Pop them into the oven for 28-35 minutes — 28 will give you gooey bars, and more like 33 will give you dense and chewy ones (I prefer the latter). For the chewy, dense bars at about 33 minutes, the top should be firm to the touch, and a tester should come out nearly clean with a few crumbs.

Store covered in the fridge for extra chewyness (my fave).

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Messy blobs of Jackson Pollock ice cream

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Trashed up desserts are the best kind of desserts.

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I usually find that ice cream and rainbow sprinkles are my preferred trashing-up methods of choice… and once the ice cream starts melting, you can go all Jackson Pollock on your dessert. This method is especially fun when there is drizzly caramel involved, obviously.

Apologies for the lousy photos… Realized this was too good not to share when I was in the process of annihilating it. Let’s just go along with the Jackson Pollock theme, hooookay?! And actually, I’m kind of loving the messy blobs of ice cream…

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And yes, this ice cream does contain eggs and dairy. If you follow me regularly, you’ll know that over a month ago I was told I had an intolerance to a bunch of different foods (after feeling like garbage for three months), so I went cold turkey and stopped eating all of them for a month. And I felt exactly the same (ie, crappy) for that whole month. So, I am a) back to eating those things and b) in the process of being tested for a bunch of other stuff to find out what’s going on. Which means that as it doesn’t make me feel any worse than I already do, ice cream is back on the table. Because it makes me happy, and until I have a better idea of what’s causing this unceasing bout of crappy, I will eat things that make me happy. Le sigh. Ideally answers will be forthcoming, and SOON.

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But enough of that, because I don’t like wallowing, I like dessert. Let’s indulge instead in some messy delicious photos of dessert. Because dessert is way more fun than wallowing, and messy food is sometimes more fun to photograph than perfect food. Even when it’s lacking sprinkles (I know, I don’t know what I was thinking. Obviously I wasn’t).

So here you have some chickpea oatmeal cashew butter bars… because I took all the delicious things and crammed them into one bar. Because I can. I’m definitely a fan of bean-based desserts— it’s a great way to get a little extra protein boost in your dessert, besides the fact that they’re naturally gluten free and delicious. AND THEN you throw ice cream all over the top of it and pat yourself on that back for a job well done.

A word of caution to the super sweet fans out there: these bars are lightly sweet, but definitely not overly so. The maple could be increased, depending on your preference; I like them less sweet though so a 1/4 c was fine for me.

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Cashew Chickpea Oat Bars

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and full of good carbs and healthy fats. Lightly sweet and cakey Quick to make, and minimal clean up (especially if you bung the food processor into the dishwasher as I’ve become fond of doing… more a slightly more drought-friendly option than trying to hand wash the stupid thing). Recipe yields one 8 by 8 pan, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-12 bars. Lightly adapted from the Natural Nurturer, here!

  • 1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 c hemp milk (or other non dairy of choice)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c unsalted cashew butter
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • heaping 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

Add garbanzo beans to the food processor, and pulse until they’re mostly broken up but still slightly chunky. Add maple, hemp milk, applesauce, cashew butter, vanilla, flax eggs, baking powder, and sea salt, and process until mostly smooth. It won’t be completely smooth, but a few chunks are okay. Add in oats, and pulse to combine, but leave the oat pieces intact like an oatmeal cookie (in other words, don’t let it go until the oats are completely smooth— you want texture!). Stir in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top (and eat the extra off your fingers, bonus points for being vegan). Bake for 27- 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is lightly browned.

Store any leftovers (ha, you’re funny) in the fridge, either in the pan covered in foil or a sealed container (I usually move them to a tupperware after a day or two).

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Upper crust bananas always have an accent

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Buhhhhnahhhnuhhhhhhhh cookies!

Because buhhnahhnuhhhh with an accent is much more fun than banana. You know, upper crust bananas always have an posh accent… Admit it, it’s really fun to say buhhhnahhhnuhhh with a silly expression on your face. Also, eating cookies is super fun too. There’s something so homey about a cookie.

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These could pass as breakfast too, if you’re in a hurry or just decide that Monday = cookies for breakfast because ew, Monday. They’re full of healthy fats and whole grains, and happen to be gluten free and vegan, just in case either of those is your MO. They’re a little soft with a bit of a chew—-bananas and a bit of maple bring the sweetness, and oats are just awesome in cookies. Quinoa flour bumps up the nutritional profile and protein count a bit, and the almond butter and coconut oil help out in the healthy fat department. Basically, these are just winner cookies.

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And they’re basically the nutritional opposite of the pizza I’m currently eating, in its cheesy, glutentastic glory. Oops. But not really oops, because life is all about balance, and that balance defs includes pizza.

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Also, apparently my balance includes some visually interesting/rather strange and creative oat bfasts. Here are some of the latest shenanigans in the breakfast department:

Oat base with shredded beets and zucchini, hemp seeds, unsweetened egg, nutmeg, and sea salt, topped with avocado and a runny-yolk egg + chopped walnuts + chia seeds.

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Oat base with shredded beets and raspberries, hemp seeds, unsweetened almond milk, nutmeg + cinnamon + cardamom; topped with unsweetened applesauce; seven seed and nut butter [homemade! Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pepitas, flaxseed, sea salt] + Coconut butter + chia seeds!

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I LOVE breakfast. Obviously…

But cookies! Back to cookies, because I know you’re really here to see those and not photos of my weird breakfasts.

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Banana Oat Almond Butter Cookies

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, egg free. Recipe adapted from Meaningful Eats, here! Yield: 17 large cookies.

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c unsalted, roasted almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/6 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; set aside to gel as a flax egg
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c quinoa flour, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (try as hard as I might, I couldn’t cram them all onto one sheet as per usual…. so I went with two baking sheets like a normal person. Sigh).

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork and those biceps of yours. Stir in almond butter, melted coconut oil, vanilla, maple, and gelled flax egg until incorporated. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder + soda + salt. Stir dry into wet, toss in oats and chocolate chips, and stir until combined. Drop by the heaping large spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet (the dough is a bit runny, but don’t worry, they bake up fine), and bake for just about 12-13 minutes, until the tops are firm when gently poked. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container.

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Vegan Flintstone’s fun

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I’m back I’m back I’m back! Finally. Oi with the poodles already! It’s been ages, and I missed my invisible internet blog friends. Also, I very obviously missed baking, because TREATS. I need them.

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So to celebrate actually having free time to cook and bake, I danced around my kitchen (that kind of looked like a bomb had gone off, there was very little horizontal space to be had) all Sunday afternoon and made things. Fun things. Like bone broth from basically a whole femur bone (ha. It got real Flintstone up in here…seeing the whole bone made me want to dress up in fringe and put a bone in my hair) and some baked treats (gluten free, dairy free goodness). I’m ridiculous. I think I might be the only one who dances barefoot around the kitchen to opera whilst simultaneously making marrow bone broth and vegan desserts. So weird. Who does that?!

No comments, please.

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Moving ON!

My doodles are taking over…

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E and I went on a fun lollop around Mountain View Cemetery on Saturday, and I found this!

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I don’t think we’re related… but hey, you never know. And yes, I do like to hang around in cemeteries because they’re so peaceful and usually quite beautiful! I love the monuments… and Mountain View has some spectacular ones.

But also.

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Snacks! Like gluten free-vegan brownie-cookie bars. It’s a hyphen party today, apparently. These cookie bars take little more time than your average wham bam boom cookies, but they’re worth it. Two layers are SO better than one. Because wouldn’t you rather have cookies AND brownies rather than cookies OR brownies? Right. That’s what I thought.

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Brownie-Cookie Bars

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. Makes one 6″ round pan; double the recipe for a square 8″. Recipe adapted from Nutritionicity, here!

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For the cookie layer:

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (I grind my own in a food processor)
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter**
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

For the brownie layer:

  • 1/8 c + scant tbsp almond flour
  • 1/8 c + scant tbsp oat flour
  • 2 rounded tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • sprinkle of chocolate chips

**sunflower seed butter does this awesome thing where its chlorophyll reacts with baking soda, and makes baked goods green after they cool. I think it’s RAD to have bright green baked goods, but if that’s not your jam, feel free to use almond butter or cashew butter or coconut butter!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 6″ round pan.

Start with the cookie layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, oat flour, sea salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, melt sunflower seed butter, coconut oil, maple, and vanilla together (I used the microwave for two 20 sec intervals). Pour the wet into dry, toss in chocolate chips, and stir to combine— it will be crumbly like a crumb crust. Press the dough into your prepared dish, and smooth out the top and sides. Set aside.

In the same bowl (because we’re in a drought and why wash if you don’t have to), whisk together brownie ingredients: almond flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, and coconut oil until combined. Add chocolate chips, and pour the whole shebang onto the cookie layer already in the pan. Spread it out evenly, then pop it into the oven for 17 minutes. The center should spring back a bit when you poke it. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge!

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Bacon and vegan things: All my eating proclivities in one post

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Ugh. It feels like it’s been forever and a year since I blogged last, but my stomach decided to take a little trip to the valley of the extremely irritable the last several weeks so I haven’t been cooking much of anything exciting.

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BUT!

Elliott and I made up for it this weekend by making these ridiculous paleo brownies that were all dark and fudgy and involved BACON. If that’s not perfect, I don’t know what is. Mmm. Bacon. And then of course a little vanilla ice cream was necessary to balance out extreme chocolateyness and savory baconess of it all. Trifecta. Especially because we ate it al fresco in a park on some grass, on a fuzzy blanket in the sun. Have I made you vomit from the cuteness yet? Ha. And it wasn’t even Valentine’s day! Double ha. We’re just non-traditional… only the cool kids make brownies the day after Valentine’s day.

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Excuse us while we annihilate them.

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I also made cookies for a friend last week that were similarly delicious except were vegan (no bacon) and gluten free and not chocolate. So not exactly similar at all except for delicious. And all treats should be delicious! These were a hot mess in the crumbly department but were tasty tasty so might I recommend crumbling them over ice cream? Or maybe straight into your mouth? Double fisted cookie crumbling into that big hole in my head sounds fantastic, who needs a plate?!

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And everyone knows that a four day weekend (Or three day. Or just any normal weekend) means that it’s time to go bop around outside and then come in and make dessert. Because weekends=dessert. Actually most things = dessert. Because… mmm treats.

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Also, one last side note… I get quite a few inquiries into my eating habits. Most everyone tends to think I’m a vegetarian, but that’s not exactly true. I choose not to have a label: sometimes I bake and eat paleo things, sometimes I eat vegetarian, and sometimes gluten free. I’ve experimented with lots of different ways of eating, and I like to mix it up… and I have lots of friends who are gluten free, or vegan, or paleo, and I like to make different things that are accessible for everyone. Also, I like to eat! I noticed as I was finishing this post that it’s a very accurate representation of the way I eat: something meaty and paleo, grain free, gluten free, and vegan. ALL delicious!

And Jessie and I have very interesting conversations. Apparently she thinks I’m fascinating, see exhibit A below…

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Paleo Maple Bacon Brownies

Paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free. Full of healthy fats and BACON so obviously you should make them. Refined sugar free, depending on the brand of chocolate chips you use. Yield: a small skillet or a loaf pan’s worth, 2 gratuitously obnoxious large servings or 4 sensible people servings (or you can just eat the thing out of the pan, to hell with proper plates because… picnic!)

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For the maple bacon:

  • As much bacon as you care to consume
  • maple syrup for brushing

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium until hot. Brush bacon with maple syrup and pan fry until it reaches your approved bacon-doneness (I like less crispy, feel free to make dead bacon if that’s your thing). Set aside and let cool.

For the brownies:

We used this one here by Clean Eating with A Dirty Mind, but I think these are my all time favorite brownies (so far. You never know). Both are very dark, not overly sweet, and super fudgy. Either way, they’re winners!

For serving:

Top brownies with crumbled bacon and some creamy vanilla ice cream/non dairy thing/coconut whip/whatever your favorite thing is. Live a little and eat them straight out of the pan in a park in the sun. You won’t regret it :)

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the crumbliest things imaginable but they’re delicious so if you like crumbly cookies, defs give these a go. I prefer chewy cookies but I liked the consistency of these and they would be superb crumbled over ice cream. Gluten free, vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free. Yield: 19 cookies.

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c millet flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (<–not a typo!)
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I fit all my cookies onto one sheet because I have intense cookie cramming skills, but you can also use two.

In a large bowl, whisk together oats, almond meal, millet flour, baking powder and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, maple, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and toss in chocolate chips. Stir to combine until fully incorporated, and drop heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly since these don’t spread all that much (if at all). Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a rack to cool completely.

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