Actually yes, I do eat something besides barz.

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Before you say anything, I am totes aware that the last billion recipes on here are bars. I knoooow. I’m working on that, obviously not very successfully… One day, in the hopefully not to distant future, I will get off my bar train and blog about something different. And you’ll be so shocked, I’ll have to come over there and pick you up off the floor. But until that day… Barz.

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So….. I wasn’t necessarily going to blog about these, but then I ate one and discovered how deep, dark, datey and delicious they were, and decided they were too good not to share. Besides, they’re much fudgier than a lot of my barz recently, so you know. Variety is the spice of life, right? Right. But dates and dessert and chocolate and tahini also make life spicy, so why not eat those too?

Also because spicy life = great life.

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And also because I wrote the last two sentences yesterday, and I ate a brownie last night and they only get better hanging out in your fridge, so there are really no reasons not to make them (unless of course there is no food processor readily accessible… sadly these aren’t one that you could hack, unless your by-hand mashing and blending abilities are on par with some kind of superhero. Even I, who avoids using appliances if at all possible, busted out the food processor on this one). SO! Brownies! That are phenomenally good for you and also delicious. Can’t beat that.

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Okay so further ALSO: it was a billion degrees here this past weekend, but I really needed brownies, so I stupidly ran the oven (no bake treats were just not going to cut it). I also stupidly decided that peeling an entire can of chickpeas was a good idea. I know I know, I sound like a crazy. But here’s why: I’d heard forever that peeling your chickpeas makes for smoothy smooth homemade hummus. And having been extremely put off and irritated by the grittiness of my previous batches of homemade hummus, I decided that standing in my million degree kitchen on my day off pinching the skin from each individual chickpea was a good idea. Um, just no. But I can happily report that my hummus is SPECTAC. And it has beets in it, so it’s pink…which obviously ups its superiority factor. Incidentally, I was also out of lemon juice and had to pinch hit with limes. Amazingly, it’s some of the best hummus I’ve had in awhile AND it is silky silky smooth. So unfortunately the peeling method does work. I might be convinced to do it again… maybe. Just not when it’s a thousand degrees out and all I want to do is lay on the air vent like my cat.

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And one further aside, that is completely unrelated. I (just for laughs) calculated my average fruit and veg intake on a standard work day (lunch varies; dinner varies but my overall veggie intake during the week is pretty standard each day). An article I saw sparked my curiosity — it was a pictorial essay of different combinations of fruit / veg that meet the official recommendations; and my first thought was, ‘wait. that’s IT?!’, which made me want to see what my intake looks like within the official guidelines. According to the government website calculator, I am supposed to eat 2 servings / cups of fruit per day, and 3 servings / cups of veg a day. At which point I calculated mine for the day (and it’s only 2 pm. I haven’t even had dinner yet, which will contain at least another cup of veggies, and then there are dates in my dessert)… and I’m at 3.5 servings / cups of fruit, and 4.5 servings / cups of veg. Sooooooo….. yeah. I’m basically a piece of produce. And plant-powered!

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And a bit of freehand, just cause!

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Tahini Date Brownies

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and flour-free deliciousness! Whole food ingredients to show your bod how much you love it. Recipe makes one 8 by 8 pan. Inspired by Graceful Kitchen, here! In case you’re interested in this stuff, like I am, tahini is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins / minerals, and omega 3’s + unsaturated (good!) fat; dates are generally just fabulous for you (assorted vitamins / minerals / too many bennies to list); and dark chocolate + unsweetened cocoa powder = minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. In sum… eat whole-food brownies, absorb nutrients, be happy.

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  • 1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c packed + pitted medjool dates*
  • 1/2 c tahini
  • scant 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • optional…. sort of: 1 – 2 squares of chili-spiced chocolate, for a bit of subtle heat

*If the dates get hard, a 15 minute soak in boiling or very hot water usually softens them enough so that they won’t murder the food processor… Also, the date soaking water can be used in smoothies! Mmm. Or to cook oatmeal… or anywhere you need a little liquid sweet.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan (or use parchment. These are sticky, so if you want more evenly sliced bars, I would recommend the parchment route. Otherwise, I didn’t have a problem getting them out sans paper).

In the food processor, combine drained beans, dates (soaked if necessary; drain before adding), tahini, maple, and vanilla. Process for a few seconds, to get the dates broken up. Add cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and process until the batter is nearly completely smooth. I left a few chunks of dates in mine, but I draw the line at chunks of beans, no thanks. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, and spread the batter into the prepared pan (it’s thick, so just go for the rustic look). Bake for 29-32 minutes, until the top is mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. These are very fudgy (and they’re vegan), so if you want to underbake them for super-goop, go ahead! Mine were perfect and sufficiently fudgy at 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing. Store in the fridge (I cover the pan with foil till they’re mostly gone, then transfer them to a tupperware).

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Free radicals are NOT invited to any of my parties

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Mmmm, sweet pohhhtayyytooeeeessssss! (You like that phonetic spelling there? Yeah, I thought so too). Hello, beta-carotene, I love you!

And then combine that deliciousness with powerful greens for a free-radical fighting snacklunchdinner (or maybe breakfast, who knows, maybe some of you are even weirder than me?!). I love love love making stuffed sweet potatoes for lunch! I started doing it sometime during my senior year of college when I discovered that sweet potato+egg+spinach makes a really cheap and wonderful combination… even more wonderful if there’s some avo lurking around as well (Who doesn’t love lurking avo?!).

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More recently I’ve been sticking with the greens+beans variety of sweet potato, probably because I like that it rhymes and who knows why I end up with random food combination obsessions; I’d be the last to know why I’m obsessed with something. Like… millet. It’s for the birds! Or is it?! Apparently it’s for me, too, and you can add that to your “Things that make Hayley even more of an-“alternative-awesome-hippie-who-eats-bird-food” list…I know you have one, don’t try to deny it…

Besides all of the inherent hippiness you get whenever you visually dine with me, this combination also happens to be an antioxidant powerhouse. Like, it deserves a cape it’s so good at saving the world (ie, your body) from the evil menace of those nasty free radicals. No one wants them invited to the party… thankfully, with this kind of dish, those free radicals get kicked to the curb by  antioxidants AND excellent dietary sources of vitamins A, C, and K, to name a few. Free radicals are NOT invited to my birthday parties…

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Side note, I made coconut quinoa porridge-pudding today! What is with this new strange pudding obsession? Is it because it’s hot? I mean, I’ve always loved rice pudding but seriously, this is getting out of hand. Three puddings in basically four days? Yep, that happened. At least I’m changing it up, this time it’s quinoa+coconut milk+cardamom+cinnamon+almond, yum yum yum. Breakfast? With almond butter? I think yes.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

Recipe by… me! Serves 1, double or triple as needed. Simple, delicious, and comes together quickly. Perfect for a light dinner when it’s hot out, or pretty much whenever… I love it for lunch!

Scrounge and find:

  • 1 (decent sized) sweet potato
  • 1/2-1 tbsp tahini
  • olive oil
  • a good double handful of power greens (kale+chard+spinach!)
  • 1/3 c white beans, drained and rinsed
  • a squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce (whatever your preference)
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado, cubed

Wash and dry the sweet potato, and poke some holes in it so it doesn’t explode in the microwave (no one wants that…). Toss it in on the baked potato setting, until done. Once finished, slice it lengthwise down the center, and smash a bit of tahini on the inside while it’s still hot.

While the sweet potato is doin’ its thang, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add rinsed greens and white beans, and sauté until greens are wilted.

Aesthetically layer your greens and beans into the prepared sweet potato, and top with a bit of Bragg’s. Garnish (or cover liberally, your choice… we know which one I chose) with avo!

Eat hot, and revel in your simple meal that is so delicious and so good for you! Free radicals, you have no choice but to capitulate! Muahahaha.

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