I love the number 2020

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Hi friends!

How is 2020 treating you so far? I’ve been BUSY. So many deadlines this time of year have meant some very long workweeks that bleed into the weekends (ew). But! I am not working this weekend and for that I’m super grateful.

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Had a great climb with C this morning – did a bunch of climbs at the top of my skill level, which always feels good. Finished and inhaled a plate of eggs & veg + a latte… working out on an empty stomach is great until I’m done, at which point I’m usually STARVING.

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I made these on Thursday night for a Friday datenight – I think they get better overnight actually, so I like making them in advance. Plus, I needed to destress and baking is my favorite way to do that.

I’d had a bag of cranberries that I tossed in the freezer somewhere in the early part of December, and some rosemary hanging out that I didn’t want to waste (waste not, want not!). Besides that, I’d been thinking about the rosemary – cranberry combo for awhile and I’m happy report that it’s fully excellent.

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These slice like beauties; are tart and “buttery”, despite being dairy free. Actually, they are free of all the things (gluten, grain, dairy, refined sugar & are vegan & paleo), so everyone can share the love.  Not to mention, they come together in a snap, so no waiting around. Perfect for breakfast or brunch, or an anytime snak.

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Happy weekend! Hopefully you’re finding time to bake something delicious and/or treat yourself right.

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Cranberry Chia Bars with Rosemary Pecan Crumble

Fully sliceable, tart, breakfast or anytime snak bars! Free of all the things, so everyone can share the love. Gluten and grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan & paleo. A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the cranberry filling

1 bag (~2 c) fresh cranberries
zest & juice of one lemon
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp tapioca flour
1/4 c chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, lemon zest and juice, maple, sea salt, and tapioca until the berries have popped and the liquid is just barely boiling, 10ish minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in chia seeds & vanilla; let cool.

For the crust & crumble

2.5 c almond flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt, heaping
3 tbsp maple
5 tbsp melted coconut oil
~1tbsp finely chopped rosemary – I used about 1.5 large sprig’s worth
1/3 c chopped pecans
1/4 c unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 and line some kind of 9” pan with parchment – this is the least fussy recipe ever, so square, round, tart pan, etc – whatever you have is fine! I used an 9” pie plate. In a large bowl, stir almond flour, vanilla, salt, maple, rosemary and coconut oil together. Reserve a heaping half cup and stir in the pecans & 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 cranberry chia jam. 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 ;)img_1927

Rhubarb Stalking

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Rhubarb stalking!

… see what I did there? I’m especially proud of that one…

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Sometimes, you just gotta stalk the seasonal produce of your dreams (especially when it has stalks… heeheeehe!) Luckily, I found a big bunch at my local market a few weeks ago, chopped it up and threw it in the freezer for later use. And what a smart plan that was! Frozen rhubarb bakes like a dream, which meant this crisp was in and out of the oven in an hour, including prep time.

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We seem to be getting full-on summer weather (90+ degrees, ew someone save me) here for a few days — I trotted out my old trick of baking at 6:30 in the morning so that the oven doesn’t heat up the apartment overly much (definitely warranted when you live in a studio… no one likes a furnace for an apartment).

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But! This crisp is worth a slightly warm apartment… especially since we’re getting close to the end of the rhubarb season I think (at least around here); I’m not seeing it in the market as much lately. If it’s still around you, stalk those suckers! You need this crisp in your life.

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Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness from the sage – this one is a winner for dessert with some ice cream, and for breakfast the next day (obviously, that’s what leftover crisp is made for, it’s basically granola and fruit!) Not really sure what prompted me to try sage in dessert but I am NOT sorry – I think it might become a reoccurring thing around here, that’s how good it was! I really like the flavor paired with fruit, and it would be interesting to see where else it might play a role.

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Another from the SF series – I photographed the dome when I was over at the Herbst Theater a bit over a week ago.

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Happy May! Go stalk some rhubarb before it disappears for the season, make crisp & eat it with your loved ones. I promise it tastes even better in good company :)

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Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp with Sage

Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness hit from the sage. Perfect for dessert with ice cream of choice, and for breakfast the next day. Refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serves 6-8 (or 2… not that I speak from experience). A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the filling:

  • 3.5 c fresh rhubarb, chopped into small pieces (frozen is also fine – run briefly under cool water in a colander to thaw slightly before using)
  • 1.5 c blackberries (mine were frozen)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of one meyer (or regular) lemon
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

For the crisp:

  • 1 c rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 c raw pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond flour, sea salt, pecans, almonds, and coconut sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork/your fingers/a pastry cutter if you’re feeling fancy — I used a fork and my fingers and it worked just fine (crisp is exceedingly forgiving). Stir in vanilla extract and chopped sage.

If using frozen rhubarb & blackberries, put them in a colander and run them briefly under cool water in the sink to thaw them slightly. Drain any excess water and toss into another large bowl. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine.

Add the rhubarb + berry mix into the prepared pie plate or baking pan, top evenly with the crisp. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned and… crisp!

Serve with your fave vanilla ice cream/non dairy of choice (whipped coconut cream would also be good here), and store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Makes EXCELLENT breakfast the next day – the crisp solidifies a little in the fridge and omg it’s good. Besides, who is going to pass up crisp for breakfast?! Not this girl.

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Let’s roooollllllll

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This is how I roooolllllllllll.

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Or something like that! I roll with rolls for dessert and for breakfast, because I am all about the treats that do double duty. These are appropriately autumnal with pumpkin and warming spices and such, and glazed pecans just sort of scream HOLIDAY TIME!!!! to me. Do you hear that, or is it just me? … don’t answer that.

Anyway, moving on. Cinnamon rolls! A winner all around, especially when there is some kind of glaze or frosting involved (which is absolutely necessary…there is no question).

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These happen to be paleo, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (everything EXCEPT taste free), so if that’s how you roll (ha. pun intended), these are for you!

Let’s see, what else is new…

More drawing!

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More photography fun:

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Succulents! Why not.

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I don’t have much anecdotal humor for you today, so you’ll just have to content yourself with some cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend making them to be eaten for dessert… and then for breakfast! You won’t be sorry, promise.

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Grain Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Coconut Glaze and Maple Pecans

These aren’t overwhelmingly pumpkin-y, more towards the cinnamon side, but are delicious regardless. Grain free, paleo, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Roll dough adapted from Eat Something Delicious, here! Yield: 1 8″ skillet-worth of rolls; I got about 8 large rolls.

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For the dough:

  • 2 c tapioca starch
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs*
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

*the eggs I used were small, so I needed a few tbsp of coconut milk to bring it together — you may not need this if your eggs are larger

For the filling (This makes extra; use it to top the rolls or eat separately!)

  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 heaping tbsp almond butter

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 c coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

For the pecans (these are great to make ahead and store for when you need them):

  • 1 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

If making the pecans ahead, do that now!

Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, add maple — it will foam a bit when it hits the pan. Add in pecans and sea salt, stirring to combine. Keep stirring and cooking for about 3-5 more minutes, until the maple has caramelized. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy clean up and pour the pecans out, breaking up any large chunks. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or other pan of choice. I sprinkled the bottom with a little extra coconut sugar, just for fun.

For the dough: stir together tapioca starch, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and vanilla. Use a fork to combine until you get lots of little pieces, then get in there with your hands and knead until the dough comes together (add coconut milk here if needed; by the tsp and just until the dough comes together to avoid sticky dough). The dough should come together nicely and be stiff enough to roll out; if it’s too sticky, add a bit more starch. Flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin (or do like I did and roll out between parchment paper), and roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 1/4″ thick.

In a small bowl, make the filling: stir together pumpkin, maple, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and almond butter until smooth. Spread the filling onto the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1/2″ clear on the edge furthest from you (there will be leftover filling!). Roll up the dough starting on the long side (I always try to cram as much filling in there as possible and end up with it going everywhere, so you do you!). Once the log is rolled up neatly-ish, slice it into rolls. I like to start in the middle and slice outwards to get the most even slices. Place the rolls into the skillet, so that their sides are just touching. Bake for 20-30 minutes — sorry for the range; mine stayed in much closer to 30 so that the centers of the rolls that were touching would be done all the way through — the rolls should be firm to the touch and not goopy in the spaces between them.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Make the glaze while the rolls are cooling: stir together warmed/melted coconut butter (it’s solid at room temp), maple, vanilla, and sea salt together until smooth. Alternatively, store it in a jar and dance around to mix it up. It’s way more fun, I guarantee.

If you want a true glaze and less of a frosting, pour the melted coconut butter mix over the rolls and eat immediately. Let cool to room temp or overnight if you’d rather have a consistency closer to frosting. Either is delicious!

Before serving, drizzle glaze over the rolls and top with a few pecans for decorative shenanigans. Serve with more glaze, more pecans, and vanilla ice cream because you’d be missing out otherwise, and we can’t have that!

Leftovers keep well covered on the counter overnight; in the fridge for longer storage.

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Because, BEETS!!!

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I’m having a moment.

Like, RIGHT NOW.

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Because I just took a bite of my lunch and my insides kind of exploded, it was so good. BEST LUNCH EVER! Okay. Not really, probably, but extremely delicious at this particular point in my life and too good not to share. Because, lunch. Which can unfortunately be extremely boring and sad, if not given the proper attention. I know for me it goes something like this: “going about my day lalala… shmaybe some jazzercise, oooh I think I’ll bake bread! And clean things! And OMG I’M STARVING how is it already noon?? Wander wander into the kitchen, yank open fridge and… ugh. Nothing exciting and I am too starving to seriously consider making something interesting. So… eggs. AGAIN. For the elevendy billionth time. Someone save me from the inevitable scrambled eggs!!!” And then no one does so I eat them anyway. Laaaaame.

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BUT!! Today. Today was different.

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Because there were BEETS in the fridge!!! And I looooove beets [Probably excessively. I have never met a beet salad I didn’t like]. Alas, no goat cheese… but that forced me to improvise with cute my beet-lets. And so. Have you ever shredded a beet with cheese grater?? It’s actually quite fun, they’re easier than carrots and don’t fly everywhere like zucchini. No, I don’t spend ALL of my time grating different vegetables. Just kind of… a lot of it, apparently, enough to make me an expert on inadvertant grated vegetable projectiles. Ahem. Moving on.

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This bowl.

A perfect balance of sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy, eggy, nutty, beety. What more could you want out of your normally marginalized midday meal? Give your lunch (and indirectly, yourself) some love and make it delicious. I promise it makes your day ten billion times better! But seriously. This is super fast, easy and delicious… AND full of whole foods just doin’ all kinds of fab things for your bod.

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Red Beet, Roasted Corn and Zucchini Hash, with Egg and Avo

A Wait.. Are those.. Cookies original! Straight from my brain box, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But seriously… make it! Gluten free, full of antioxidants, and vegetarian. Serves 1 [adapt amounts as needed! It’s ridiculously forgiving]. This could also be a really good breakfast, if you’re weird like me and crave veggies in the am. Super fast as well, provided you’re using precooked beets.

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  • 4 steamed and peeled beets, shredded on the large holes of a grater
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, shredded
  • small handful of fire roasted corn
  • small glug of good quality olive oil
  • 4-5 pecans, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of a perfectly ripe avocado, cubed
  • salt+pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, toss in shredded beets, zucchini, and corn. Sauté for a few minutes, until the veggies soften but are still just a bit crunchy. Season with salt and pepper, and toss in chopped pecans. Turn off heat and let sit for a second. Make your egg (simultaneously, in separate skillet if you’re a talented multitasker) however you like (I like a runny yolk for this but mine broke, so it cooked through. Wah). Top beet hash with egg, cubed avo, and more salt and pepper. Devour like no one’s watching, it’s that good! Or maybe I was just super in the mood for beets. Either way, enjoy your lunch!

Oh… one last thing. Obligatory New Year’s Day eating: cabbage with BACON (!!!), black eyed peas with BACON (!!!) and hot sauce. All my southern heritage in one bowl.

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My sandwich is exploding kale

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Drool drool drool.

I had no idea these bars were going to be so spectacular!!! But they were. And thankfully for me and my sweets consumption they went on the plane to Oregon with m&v, those lucky ducks. I have serious problems when I go to Portland… I just want ALL THE FOOD. And I run into that reoccurring problem of most mortals in that only so much goodness will fit in my stomach. With whom do I register a complaint for this ridiculous design flaw?!

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But anyway. They needed plane snacks and any excuse to bake is fine by me so these happened.

And I am soooo glad they did.

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Sorry in advance for the next bajillion posts being sweets, don’t say I didn’t warn you… Jill (of the blog Halfway There and the tamales and flan madness) and I are having our bimonthlyish baking extravaganza later today sooooo there will be cake and ice cream and cookies. And quinoa pizza…just to, you know, round things out. Because why make just one thing?! How boring. But more on that later.

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Also tacos. And feet. And there was a pool behind me and what more could you want on a weekend? Sadly that was last weekend (of the light side/dark side bars) and there is currently no pool in sight for me. Harumph.

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Also KALE!!! Could there be any more kale in this sandwich?! I think not. KALE EXPLOSION! Love love love. I know it’s random but KALE!!! is AMAZING!! And it’s my blog. So I’m sharing.

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But for now. BARZ. M&V needed something that traveled well and wouldn’t be too crumbly so obviously dates. And nuts for sustenance whilst traveling (much better than that garbage you typically find in airports). And only five ingredients, all whole foods, all things that come from nature and are eaten while still resembling their natural state. Wheeee!

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Pecan Date Bars

Beyond simple to put together! Chewy, naturally sweet and delicious. Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free!  Might be paleo? Easily veganized. Healthy fats [pecans], a good source of vits/mins [dates], antioxidants [extra dk chocolate] + protein. Perfect travel (or anytime) snacks. Recipe adapted from Ellaphant Eats, here! Makes 9 giantish bars, or more if you cut them smaller… but… why?!

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates [soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes if they’re like rocks]
  • 2 c raw pecans
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs*
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate, chopped or chips (mine was chips for hurried baking)

*or two flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6tbsp water) veganizes this nicely 

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Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan with your thing of choice (I like coconut oil).

In a food processor (what on earth would I do without these?!), process softened dates and pecans until a sticky, clumpy dough forms. The pecan pieces should be relatively small (just don’t over do it and end up with nut butter…). Pulse in vanilla and sea salt, followed by the eggs. Remove the blade and stir in 1/4 c chocolate chips. Scoop the batter out into the prepared pan, and flatten it out with a spatula or your fingers or whatever. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the bars. Bake for just about 19-20 minutes, until the edges are browned. The center will still feel slightly soft, but a tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan, then cut and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Kelp noodles are ridiculously distracting

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I really freaking love kelp noodles like WAY TOO MUCH.

I want to eat them all day, every day.

Which is weird, given that they pretty much taste like… nothing. It’s like eating noodley nothing.

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So maybe… I’m really obsessed with the almond butter sauce. Realistically that’s probably it, given my history of obsession with anything nut butter related. Sheesh. I’m so predictable.

Whatever. Kelp noodles+almond butter = AMAZING.

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But actually this post is about banana bread. Um. Non sequitur? Sorry, I was just really excited about my leftovers for lunch today… and I’ve been working too much and my I think I lost my brain somewhere between my last six days of work in a row and here. Has anyone seen it? It’s lumpy.. and grey…

Right. Anyway. Banana bread. Not just any banana bread though—this is grain free, refined sugar free, and has CHOCOLATE in it. So I mean, obviously. What are you doing still standing there?? Why aren’t you in your kitchen making this immediately?
Good. I see you trotting off towards your bowls. My pictures have apparently had their desired effect…

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Sorry if there’s drool on your keyboard, I take no personal responsibility for that.

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This went over quite well with its audience: dense with a  good crumb, equal parts chocolatey and bananay… not too sweet but just sweet enough. Excellent with ice cream, if I do say.

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Grain Free Swirled Chocolate Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from My little jar of spices, here! Yield: 1 loaf. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free.

  • 3 very ripe bananas (the blacker and more disgusting the better), about 2 cups mashed
  • 2 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz extra dark chocolate, 70% or above
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 c pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Grease a loaf pan (I use coconut oil), and preheat the oven to 350.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, and baking soda. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and honey together until incorporated, stirring constantly until the mixture is a bit thickened. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until you get most of the lumps out. Whisk in egg and vanilla, followed by the butter-honey mix. Whisk to combine. Pour all of this biz into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring occasionally. I usually do mine on 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Divide out half of the batter and stir in the chocolate.

Drop the batter into the loaf pan, alternating between chocolate and banana. I used heaping spoonfuls of each, swirling the tops sightly as I went (really, there is no wrong way to do this. Pretend it’s art!). In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp honey and chopped pecans until mixed. Toss this evenly on top of the batter, spreading it out so it’s all even and pretty. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Mine was perfect at 50) Let cool in the pan completely, and store in the refrigerator. I just left mine in the pan for 3 days, and it was totally fine.

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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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