Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

165

Almond Fig Oat Bars (V)

I’ve realized recently that no matter what time I actually get up (and it’s usually a full two hours before I actually need to be anywhere,) I¬†spend way too much time casually drinking coffee. I’ll even admit to waking up a half hour earlier than those two hours¬†simply to have the time to sit and sip for a while. But even on those mornings when I give myself more time, I’m still scrambling to throw everything in my bag and wrap¬†my comically large scarf¬†around my face at 8:53, with just a few minutes to run halfway across campus for class at 9. So obviously that whole lunch thing often gets forgotten. I’ve mentioned it before, if you can recall. My newest mission: to fill my freezer with so many granola bars all I’ll have to do is reach¬†and grab a few, even during the pre-coffee moments before my eyes begin to focus. Sounds like a foolproof plan, amirite? Since my fridge is already crowded with homemade larabars, I’m getting anxious to change up the routine.

So basically this post is a way of admitting I’m way¬†too into searching for granola bar recipes.¬†There are SO MANY things happening with this particular kind of food on the internet it’s nearly impossible not to find myself with eighteen different tabs open trying to make sure I pay proper attention to each and every recipe/photo aaaahh. But chaos aside, there are probably about a hundred billion different granola bar recipes out there and with you guys as my witness I will make them all.¬†It may take a few years, but I will do it.

Here are just a few of the bars I’ve been eyeing:

these superfood granola bars (because deciding to mail order dried green healthy things is infinitely more appealing when said healthy things come in the form of chocolate.)

quinoa and cherries are one of my favorite combos so I’m v into these¬†seedy cherry granola bars.

I’ve never had sesame snaps (probably because I don’t live¬†in Canada like the author of this post), but these sesame snap granola bars have a lot of tahini in them so I am a happy camper.

homemade kind bars > paying $1.99 each for the real thing at the campus center, stomach growling for all to hear

I already make these 5 Ingredient Granola Bars¬†(really it’s more like 8-12 ingredients, what with all the pepitas, cocoa nibs, and dried cranberries I add) on a regular basis. You should too. The Minimalist Baker seriously gets it when it comes to granola.

then I got into a much healthier corner of the blogosphere with sweet potato buckwheat bars¬†(I’m more nervous about this, but usually the best food things come in strange packages)

Until I can get to the store to buy all the nuts + seeds, here’s a fun fig bar recipe~

Almond Fig Bars (adapted from Healthy Happy Life)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
good pinch sea salt
1/2 cup warm water + 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 1/4 cups¬†unsweetened¬†coconut milk (use the drinkin’ stuff in a carton, make your own, or use a well-shaken¬†can)
1 large banana (the riper the better)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
coconut oil (for greasing pan)

1 cup dried figs
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
juice of one orange

topping options: toasted oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, cocoa nibs etc

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thickly grease a baking sheet with a tablespoon or two coconut oil. Combine the water and flaxseeds, stirring briskly. Set aside to¬†thicken for a few minutes. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients and spices, then fold in the wet ingredients, including the seed water (AKA the flax egg – I know, yum) Add an extra splash of coconut¬†milk if the batter seems too thick to pour. Thinly slice the figs and toss them¬†in the¬†maple syrup and orange¬†juice. Pour the batter into the baking sheet and drop the figs on top,¬†pour any excess liquid right over the figs. Sprinkle with desired topping and bake 20-25 minutes! I found these to be realllly great warm topped with coconut whipped cream. That’s not really a breakfast or to go option, but do what you can with this information.

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Sides, Snacks

Za’atar Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Last semester I had a lot of free time in the mornings (read: first class at 1 pm). I could wake up, casually drink coffee, go through class readings and actually take notes- not just skim and pull out talking points. I could make breakfast at 10, when I truly felt like eating, instead of at 7:30, when anything but caffeine makes me feel icky. Because breakfast happened at a respectable hour, there¬†was no need for lunch until 3 or so, which was just about when I was finishing¬†class, so I would mosey on back to the apartment and figure things out. It was a pretty good deal. This semester is much much busier, which¬†really changes up my food routine. Mornings are less about breakfast quinoa¬†and Joy the Baker’s podcast and more about figuring out how to simultaneously eat yogurt and put on a coat.¬†Don’t even get me started on lunch on the go; I can barely get through¬†salad at a designated eating table without making a mess. Imagine how that works at a desk in an office or classroom or costume/scene shop, which is where I find myself this semester at lunchtime. It’s an issue.¬†Throw in the whole it’s thirteen degrees outside + body craving all the comfort food and we have the perfect storm.

The biggest problem with trying to find satisfying¬†things to eat when it’s freezing and one is pressed for time? Making said enjoyable food not microwaved cookies. At least, not every day..¬†So¬†for those moments when I’m looking for something a little better -while also maintaining a semblance of table manners- I always find myself back at the humble sweet potato.¬†Considering that for some reason I have little desire to eat savory food until it’s dark out (idkidk I’m a nut), but know deep down this is a really poor choice health-wise, I’ve started making sweet potatoes for lunch..and dinner and midnight snacks. I roast a whole bunch at once and then eat half a potato once or twice a day for the next week! They manage to hold their own with pretty much every spice. Sometimes I go cinnamon and ginger; others it’s thyme and dried mustard. But my all-time favorite is a za’atar-dusted (zahtar? zatr? romanization ahhhh) potato with just a pinch of harissa. If I was a really good food blogger, I’d make my own versions of these spices. But alas, I am still a major procrastinator and usually end up looking at Instagram when I could be throwing together a quick batch of za’atar. Someday I’ll get myself together. In the meantime, I recommend this brand! And this harissa spice has done me well. The potatoes do take a while to bake, but you can get so much done in the time they’re hanging out in the oven- plus the kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving, you tell me if that’s a problem. So there’s really no downside. For dinner, I like making these with quinoa or lentils, saut√©ed kale, and half an avocado. For lunch I’ll snack on them with cashews and dried cranberries, so I get my sweet craving out of the way. Don’t get me wrong, it may not seem as satisfying as melted chocolate or mac and cheese, but for a bunch of healthy food it feels pretty darn decadent.

Potatoes (recipe makes 4 halves, easily multiplied)

2 sweet potatoes
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon za’atar
1 teaspoon harissa spice
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Slice off the tips of both ends and cut in half lengthwise. Rub the halves in olive oil and salt. Lay potatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining spices. Bake 30-45 minutes, depending on how big your potatoes are. Let cool completely then store in the fridge for about a week (good luck lasting that long) in an airtight containter!

 

 

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Breakfasts, Sides, Snacks

158

Challah

With January over and 2015 in full swing, I’m officially back in New England for my *last semester of college*. Unbelievably terrifying. I think the weirdest part is how quickly that happened. Although plz kill me if I¬†become one of those grown-ups that’s all, “four years? that’s nothin’! It just keeps getting faster…” My thoughts on becoming this someday.¬†I can already tell these next few months are going to be insane. I’m designing costumes for a show that goes up in three¬†weeks (SJdnaksjdjkasbdjLBAsJGhb) and then jumping right into sets for a show in April. So we’ll see how that plays out. I’ve decided I’m going to try to make at least one recipe to blog about a week, because honestly, this space feels the most important to me. Which is strange to think about, as it’s just a webpage. But I like having something to really care about; it helps me wake up in the morning almost as much as knowing the sooner I get up the sooner I will have coffee. I’m going to ride out senior spring dealing with a combination of actually important things and things that seem important right now, but don’t really matter in the long run. Examples? I made a chart because that’s more fun than homework.

Did you actually read it? It’s okay if you didn’t, no need to enter the randomness that is the inside of my head. Back to food: I’m so excited to share this post today, as it was a huge personal triumph. Emily and I got together pretty much the moment we got home for winter break to make challah, something we’ve seen¬†Molly Yeh¬†do a million times perfectly. We figured it was about time we took a whack at it. After all, how hard can in be to make the bread of our ancestors? Answer: not as hard as we thought, but definitely time consuming. There are moments where you have to let the bread do it’s thing without bothering it, so there were a decent amount of Netflix/hot chocolate breaks in between creating our masterpieces. We also let the dough proof¬†overnight in the fridge just to break the process up a bit. But then that meant we had to let it return to room temperature for a while right before baking, so that was another lengthy¬†break. So Emily watched me take a million more prep photos and then face-palmed¬†as I changed exposure and tinted shadows. (Side note: I’ve now realized when I’m making something for the blog it takes approximately 2.3 times longer than it would normally because of all the stopping and picture-taking). As we kneaded and braided and egg-washed¬†our breads we kept going back and forth on how we thought they would turn out. Maybe if they don’t rise properly they’ll still taste the way they’re supposed to? If they look this good, it doesn’t even matter if they taste weird! Do sesame seeds add flavor or just look pretty? All in all, it was a very eventful experience. And oh yeah, the bread came out tasting AMAZING. Make it yourself. Make it right now. You won’t be sorry!

Challah (from Food52 with notes from Becca & Emily, makes 2 large loaves)

Note: Challah can be made in an electric mixer or by hand. We did it in a mixer, so I’ve only included instructions for that. Follow the link above for all by hand directions!

1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons instant yeast (we figured that if the packets of yeast actually had pictures of challah on it we were on the right track)
6 cups + extra* all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey + an extra tablespoon for eggwash (optional)
2/3 cup vegetable or canola  oil
4 eggs + one yolk for eggwash
sesame seeds (optional)

Put 1 cup warm water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, sprinkle the yeast over top, mix just to combine, and leave it to proof for five minutes. While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend on low speed. In a separate bowl, mix remaining water, honey, oil, and eggs. When yeast has finished proofing, add it to the flour, then immediately add wet ingredients. Mix on medium-low speed, just until combined, about 30 seconds.

Switch to the dough hook and begin to knead on low speed, making sure to incorporate what’s at the bottom of the bowl with a spatula if the dough hook misses it.Knead until smooth and no longer sticky, adding extra flour with as needed, 7-10 minutes *we ended up using a lot of extra flour, the dough was extremely sticky. Add it sparingly but often and you should be golden!

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Set each in a large oiled bowl, cover both bowls with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This should take about 2-2.5 hours. We let ours rise in the refrigerator overnight to break up the process; if you go this route just remember to take it out of the fridge first thing in the morning so the dough can fully return to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Separate each mound of dough into three equal balls (six in total). Roll each ball into a log almost 1-foot long. Braid the logs together to create your loaf. Food52 braiding tip: For the nicest-looking braid, do not pinch the top edges of your logs together before braiding; simply place one log over the next and braid until you reach the bottom, then pinch those edges together. Then, flip the unfinished loaf the long way, so that the unfinished edge is now at the bottom and the loaf has been flipped over and upside down. Finish braiding and pinch these edges together. This way, both ends look identical. Tuck the very tips beneath the loaf when braiding is finished. Repeat with second loaf.

Transfer each loaf to its own parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet and leave to proof for about an hour. Make the eggwash by mixing the extra egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon honey. Brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds (or both! or everything bagel seasoning because dreams do come true)¬†Bake 20-22 minutes, until are golden and baked through. You’ll notice that there are no pictures of the sliced bread. This is because it was SO GOOD the loaf literally did not make it to daylight, there were only a few meager pieces left the following morning when nice photo lighting returned. Use your imagination to see the insides. Or better yet, make one yourself!

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Desserts, Snacks

144

No-Added-Sugar Brownies (GF)

My original beginning to this post was the following: Wait! Don’t run away! You saw “no added sugar” and “brownies” in the same phrase and immediately¬†got upset, right? I’m sorry, I swear this recipe is worth it!

And then I changed my mind. Why was I defending the things I made for¬†my blog¬†like there was something wrong with them? Why was I saying sorry for something I believe in?¬†Earlier this year in a class¬†we were discussing apologies, first in the context of theater, and then just in general. During the conversation one of my friends made a comment that’s stuck with me. She said¬†women apologize significantly more than men.¬†This is a¬†fact, guys. (Also, read¬†this¬†and watch the commercial; even though it’s for shampoo and is naturally a little overdone it’s kind of important.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and am really curious as to why it’s such a phenomenon. Why are women always apologizing? There’s nothing in our genetic makeup that scientifically says those of us with two X chromosomes will be more inclined to ask for one’s pardon before entering a room or asking a question, let alone asserting something they believe. This is something that has occurred through the bizarre way women are “expected” to interact with others. I realized I do this a lot. I say sorry to my professors before making a comment in class that might not be completely correct. I say sorry to my boyfriend for asking him something that might come off as needy or despondent. I say sorry to my roommate for asking her to clean up grease she splattered over the stove all four of us share. I say sorry to my friend for asking to borrow a bobby pin.¬†Why do I apologize so much?¬†These are not instances where you¬†jab¬†someone in the ribs with your umbrella on a crowded subway or spill a bowl of soup on the person behind you in line at the deli. For those moments of accident or plain ol’ human error we should probably apologize. In fact, I’d be pretty bummed if I tripped over your bag in the doorway and you didn’t say sorry. But I am through with apologizing for feeling the way I feel or doing the things I do. If I want to eat foods that are “good” for me, I will do so. And if I want to eat foods that are “bad” for me, I’ll do that, too! I don’t want to feel like I have to say sorry for eating almonds while you eat a Snickers bar. I wouldn’t ask you to apologize or defend your choice to me. Snickers bars are awesome, I just don’t feel like having one today.

And right now, I’m going to share with you a recipe for brownies that have no added sugar (or just a tad if you add chocolate chips, that is), egg yolk, or grain. They’re full of good fats and protein. They’re clean and they make my body feel good, but they are still just as chocolatey as the other fifteen brownie recipes I have in my rotation. I’ve never felt as healthy as I have since I started making a conscious effort to eat good food. And that’s my choice- hey, it’s my life, right? If you want to have¬†this¬†for dessert, you do it. And don’t you dare apologize. If you want to eat¬†this¬†for dessert, go ahead! But please don’t say sorry. If you agree to do this, I promise I’ll try to live my life the same way.

Brownies (adapted from Health Magazine)

1/2 c raw almonds (use sliced if you want a smooth brownies, whole if you want a little crunch)

1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c packed pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch sea salt

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsp coconut oil (solid)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and¬†coat¬†with baking spray. In a food processor grind almonds (if using who, cocoa powder, chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place the dates, vanilla, and coconut oil in the food¬†processor¬†(stay tuned for a very exciting how-to post on date butter!)¬†and blend until smooth. Resist urge to dip finger into results. Add almond mixture and blend together. Pour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk or hand mixer until medium peaks form. Fold into original mixture along with chocolate chips. Spread into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes (they firm up on the outside very quickly, and will likely not be done after ten minutes even though they look like they are). Let cool completely before slicing and munching!

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Breakfasts, Snacks

141

Morning Glory Muffins (V)

I love breakfast. I don’t love rushing out the door because I’ve actually taken time to eat breakfast. This usually points to muffins, as they are both breakfast and portable. I’ve had morning glory muffins many times before (except for the raisins) and always wanted to make them for myself, but I never have until now! These muffins are particularly great because there’s no added sugar happening here. And¬†as Emily mentioned, most muffins are literally just unfrosted cupcakes. And in my opinion, if you want a cupcake you should just eat a damn cupcake! You don’t have to pretend it’s a muffin in order to enjoy it. It’s okay, no one’s judging you! At least, I’m not. Regardless of which meal you want to consist entirely of cupcakes I’m going to talk to you about why actual breakfast muffins matter for a sec. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m not living in the school dorms this year. So, when I want breakfast I have to MAKE breakfast. Which might seem like a big “duh” moment to most adults living normal lives, but let me tell you, waking up at 7:30 and making it to class by 9 is something of a challenge. I don’t know how or why it takes me so long to get ready in the morning, but it does. And since there’s no dining hall where I can¬†grab oatmeal¬†that’s already been cooked or eggs that have already been boiled or coffee that’s already been brewed this concept of breakfast becomes a faint memory. Again, I’m sure many people out there reading that are like “boo freaking hoo I get up at 5 and then walk uphill both ways to work every morning”, and to you I say congratulations, I’m really looking forward to joining you upon my impending graduation but until then just let me complain from my place of privilege, this is my blog after all!

Anyway, I’ve never been able to do¬†that¬†“complete breakfast” thing cereal commercials used to brag about -really, who eats THAT MUCH¬†at 8am??!- but this fact does not stop my stomach from growling before noon. That was a really long way of saying I’m glad these muffins are a thing. I studied a great many morning glory muffin recipes (many of which, surprise surprise, had a LOT of sugar) before making the final ingredient list. I swapped out the sugar for date paste, which sounds difficult but is not in the slightest, and used coconut oil instead of butter/canola oil because it’s just a more beneficial fat. I like to make about several batches at a time, which results in roughly 8300 muffins and then I freeze them all and defrost one anytime I need quick food! It’s so handy and there’s no dining hall (OR DIRTY DISHES!!!) involved whatsoever.

Muffins (loosely adapted from Food52)

1 1/3 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c pitted dates

1 banana, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 c coconut oil, melted

1 apple, peeled and diced

1/2 c raisins (or whatever dried fruit strikes your fancy)

3 carrots, grated

1/2 c walnuts (or any nuts you’re feelin’)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a muffin tin. Puree dates with 1/2-1 cup hot (not boiling) water in a food processor and set aside. ¬†Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Combine wet ingredients (including date paste) in another bowl, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin tin equally with batter and bake for about 30 minutes! If you’re saving them for an extended period of time, wrap in parchment paper and then foil and place in a freezer bag/tupperware and freeeeeze them! They’ll last for a good long while.

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Breakfasts, Drinks, Snacks

139

Energizer Bunny Smoothie (V, GF)

This is a drink for those days that seem to go on forever. Y’know, those days where you have six hours of¬†class and three hours of work and 80 pages of reading? Yeah, this is a drink for those days. Everything in here is packed full of serious nutrients that keep your body alert and satisfied. Down one of these at noon and I can assure you you’ll be ready to go. You no longer have to worry about those¬†incredibly elegant 3pm stomach¬†grumbles that always seem to happen when the entire class is quiet. Also it’s probably the prettiest color I’ve ever seen. To fully convince you of this smoothie’s real potential, here’s the breakdown:

Almond milk: fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, and calcium (BAM)

Blueberries: vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, low glycemic load, antioxidants, fucking beautiful color

Banana: vitamin B6, soluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and potassium

Coconut oil: medium chain triglycerides (aka *good* fats), vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron

Flaxseed: protein, dietary fiber, omega-3, vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, vitamin C

Honey: obviously a sweetener, but does actually contain several compounds than can function as antioxidants including vitamin C, B2,3, 5, and 6! That’s sure better than Splenda, amirite?

Dates: calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Smoothie (serves 1-2)

1 1/2+ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 c frozen blueberries

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1-2 tsp honey OR 2 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

banana chip (optional)

Place banana and almond milk in blender and blend well. Add remainder of ingredients and blend until well combined, pausing to stir and add more almond milk if the blender gets stuck! Garnish with a banana chip and feel incredibly heathy for the rest of the day!

 

 

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Breakfasts, Snacks

134

BBBB (Brown Butter Berry Buttermilk) Muffins

Hi everyone! It’s Emily, here to share another guest post. Muffins are tricky little things. They are essentially unfrosted cupcakes. Yet somehow, they have been fooling moms and dads for decades that they are a breakfast food. Now, I have no problems with this. Sometimes it seems like I am on personal quest to set the world record for most cake consumed in a lifetime. The real reason I exercise is to make more room for cake in my life so as to achieve this goal. Cake is my main food group and I would like to thank muffins for being a part of it. When coming up with this recipe, I did try to make these muffins more ‚Äėbreakfasty‚Äô for those of you into that sort of thing. I threw in a little whole-wheat flour, cut back on the sugar, and threw in a ton of fruit. And, sticking with my #1 baking philosophy, anything can be improved by brown butter. This imparts a warm, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the freshness of the tart berries.

Muffins

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

2/3 c. raw sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature

1 1/2 T. milk, at room temperature

8 T. (1 stick) butter, browned and cooled (see note below*)

1 1/2 c. berries of your choice, fresh or frozen, do not thaw (I used a frozen berry mix)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a twelve-cup muffin tin. I find that doing this rather than using muffin liners yields a more golden and puffy muffin.

Combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk. Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the brown butter. Gently fold in the berries. Be careful not to overmix or you will have tough muffins.

Using a 1/3 c. measuring cup, divide the batter evenly in the muffin tin. If you wanted to top with sanding sugar or streusel, now is the time. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins will keep in an airtight container for a week. I like to keep them in the freezer, take one out before going to bed, and enjoy in the morning.

*To brown the butter ‚Äď Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a medium skillet over medium heat. A light bottomed skillet is better, but not necessary. Swirl the pan occasionally. The butter will foam and make popping noises. This is normal. Keep a close eye on the butter and continue to swirl, you do not want the butter to burn. It will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. Once the bits take on an amber color, remove the pan from the stove and immediately pour it into a bowl, bits included. Allow it to cool.

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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

129

Chocolate Pistachio Larabars (V, GF)

If you’ve taken anything away from reading this blog I’m positive it’s one thing: Becca likes making dessert. And you’d be right! I do! In fact, I make too much dessert. My family likes to joke that any time I’m home for a break from school they all gain five pounds because suddenly there are brownies in the fridge, cake on the counter, cookies in the oven, etc. Well, this post is for them (as was this one, although I didn’t call them out on it). This summer is the first time I’ve tried to make real strides with making my own healthy snacks.

These are the real Larabars. They’re gluten free, grain free, non-GMO, soy free, dairy free, and Kosher. Basically they win the special diets award. And they’re delicious. But I have to come clean: I spend waaaaay too much money on granola bars, especially fancy special diet conscious bars (I find them to be full of real ingredients instead of chemicals). Sadly, I’m a poor college student and can’t afford to buy a ginormous case of these every week, so I’m forced to buy the cheaper, crappier, “healthy” granola bars. After much time spent reading the ingredients on several different brands, I’ve found myself wondering why I don’t make them myself. I mean, what am I paying for? Oats, nuts, chocolate? Too much sugar for something claiming to be health food? I’ve discovered a few things: 1) yes, nuts are expensive, but consistently buying granola bars is easily just as pricey. 2) making them yourself is the perfect way to ensure what’s going into your body.¬†There’s no added sugar in this recipe¬†at all! 3)¬†you control the portion size. If you’re planning on these bars being a grab and go breakfast, make them a little bigger; if they’re going to be a snack, make them smaller (even bite sized!) No recipe adjustments needed! You’ll notice I suggest adding a pinch or two of salt; this is where your personal preference comes in. You may not believe me, but dates are incredibly sweet. And as they make up 83% of the bar, I think a little extra salt works wonders. It mellows the sweet and makes for a very exciting snacking experience palate-wise, I assure you!

 

Bars (makes 6-8; adapted from My Name is Yeh)

2/3 c. roasted unsalted pistachios (or any nut that suits your fancy, but you’ll have to change the title of the recipe. I don’t make the rules, guys)

3 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

pinch or two salt

1 1/2 c. pitted deglet noor dates

1/2 c. oats

Grind pistachios, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a food processor until grainy (but not powdery). Place in a medium bowl and add oats. Stir. Place dates in the food processor and grind into a paste. Add dates to the nut mixture and knead together until combined.

Pour the mixture onto waxed paper and shape into a log. Wrap the log with waxed paper and roll the dough to make the log even. Flatten the log out and cut into desired amount of bars! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for weeks!

 

 

 

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125

Muesli Cookies + How to Make Almond Butter

I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking: “I thought muesli was some weird health food, what is it doing inside a cookie?!” Well, you’re right- muesli¬†is¬†some weird heath food (technically it is a breakfast dish based on oats with nuts, grains and dried fruit served with milk or yogurt) but it actually makes for a really great cookie base! The results are like oatmeal raisin cookies with a kick!¬†My favorite part of this recipe is yes, these cookies¬†can be a healthy dessert, but they actually make for a pretty great breakfast/snack too. I like to grab them when I’m running out the door to work, they’re very easy to consume while also driving a car¬†(a thermos of hot coffee on the other hand…) My second favorite part of this recipe is the fact that it got me to explore making my own almond butter. The process really couldn’t be more easy. It’s almonds and nothing else.¬†Are you scandalized? I know I was! But using almond butter from the jar never hurt a soul, don’t be embarrassed if you take this route.¬†I strongly recommend you make these cookies and eat the first batch of warm, right off the baking sheet. Don’t even bother getting out the cooling wrack, you won’t need it. Then make another batch and take them on the go or eat off a plate like a civilized human (a respected, yet in my opinion slightly overrated attribute as it involves dirtying a dish).

Cookies (makes about 12; embellished slightly from Top With Cinnamon)

1/2 c. nut/seed butter  (from the jar or homemade- as I mentioned, I used almond butter)

1/3 c. honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 3/4 c. muesli

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt together the nut butter and honey until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt and vanilla. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the muesli, cranberries, flour, and baking powder to the pot and stir until combined. Take heaping tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball and flatten slightly onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown underneath, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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Sides, Snacks

111

Greek Couscous Salad

As the weather warms up we’re quickly approaching summer salads season! The¬†season of beers outside and cold dinner- I love it! A little background:¬†I first learned¬†this recipe when I took an after school cooking class in 3rd grade (I started young). We’d gather in the teacher’s lounge around a hot plate and microwave and make some pretty fancy treats. I still use the little orange paper print-out booklet of recipes they gave us at the end of the program! So by my calculations, if I’m still making this salad twelve years later (look- math!) it must be pretty darn delicious. And it IS. This is also a great potluck dish, as the recipe can easily be doubled (even quadrupled- more math!)

Salad

– 1 box couscous

– 1 red pepper, chopped

– 1 yellow pepper, chopped

– 1 green pepper, chopped

– 1/2 cucumber, diced

– 1/2 small cucumber, cored and chopped

– 1 red onion, diced

– 1 can chickpeas, drained

– 1 cup kalamatta olives, pitted and chopped

– 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the couscous according to the directions on the box and chop all the veggies. Let the couscous cool completely. Make the vinaigrette (see below).¬†In a large bowl, add the couscous, veggies, olives, chickpeas, and cheese. Toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the vinaigrette and toss well again when you’re ready to eat!

Vinaigrette

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

– 2 tbsp. lemon juice

– salt and pepper (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake well!

 

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