Master Status.

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oh hey! I DID IT! I’m actually DONE!

A masters degree in 10 months? Not too shabby.

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Somehow, that isn’t computing in my brain… I still feel like I need to be doing something. I’m sure you know the feeling? But… I don’t! I’m taking a mini break from adulting, so the biggest decisions I have to currently make are a) am I going to go work out (answer: pretty much always yes) and b) what will I eat afterward?

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My presentation went well, and it felt really good to end on a high note! I’m officially a master? Or something. Ha.

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But! I now have more time and mental energy to blog and make interesting things, which is just lovely. I got a notification today that my bloglet is 5 years old today! I can’t believe it. It’s growing up so fast!! *sniff* … or maybe that means I’m just getting old; that’s probably more likely.

SO! For mutti’s (rather belated) birthday dessert, I got fancy. Coconut milk panna cotta (dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free) with date caramel and walnut cookie crumble. So good! And actually fairly simple, when it comes down to it — there are just a lot of parts, but they come together with a minimum of fuss.

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Coconut Panna Cotta with Date Caramel and Walnut Cookie Crumble

Dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free — everything EXCEPT taste free. Because these are delicious! And they really don’t heat up the house much if you’re making them on a day that it’s stupid hot outside (not like I did that or anything). Yield: 3 panna cotta servings (I chilled mine in small coffee cups; about the size of normal ramekins only deeper) + extra caramel and crumble left over after serving. Recipe lightly adapted from Kiss my Bowl, here!

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp agar flakes*

*agar powder is no doubt better, but all my Whole Foods carried was the flakes, and they worked fine

For the date caramel:

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates, soaked
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 heaping spoonful of almond butter**

**mine is salted; I like the salty-sweet combo so you may want to add a pinch of salt if yours isn’t

For the walnut cookie crumble:

  • 1/2 c raw walnuts
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder / cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • splash of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk until it steams. Whisk in the maple syrup and bring just barely to a boil. Whisk in the agar flakes and let cook for just about 5 minutes, still barely boiling/high simmering. Remove from heat and let stand in the pan, whisking occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour into molds of choice (I used small coffee mugs that are deeper and slightly less wide than a standard ramekin; ramekins are just fine if you have them!). Let cool on the counter until your fridge can handle it, then let them set up in the fridge for at least an hour.

While the panna cottas are chilling, use a food processor or a vitamix to make the date caramel. Pour the dates and a few tablespoons of their soaking water into the implement of choice, add vanilla and almond butter, and blend till smooth (or chunky. you do you!). Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

I made the cookie crumble in the same vitamix as the date caramel without cleaning it overmuch, which worked totally fine. Add walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla, maple, and salt and whiz away until it’s crumbly. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed!

The panna cottas should be firm to the touch on top and have lost most of their jiggle by the time they’re ready. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin or coffee cup, and they should flip right out onto a plate. Top with excessive amounts of date caramel and cookie crumble for maximum effect, and indulge accordingly!

Any leftover date caramel (who are you?!) and cookie crumble keeps well in the fridge for at least a week (but I dare you to make it last that long).

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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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Two Weeks: Brownies are obviously called for.

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The advent calendar of baked goods continues! TWO MORE WEEKS. Actually, less than two weeks. Let’s get to days, shall we? 13. And that includes weekends.

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Also, the to-do list is finally getting smaller, which might account for the two types of baked things that emerged this weekend.

And eggs! Always eggs. These were especially pretty though, so… here they are.

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I exercised my math skills and made 3/4 of a brownie recipe this weekend, because a) I’m just cool like that and b) I was using my favorite skillet and I decided that a 1/2 batch doesn’t appropriately fill up the skillet and c) more brownies is ALWAYS the answer. This isn’t a new recipe, but these are probably just my favorite brownies, pretty much ever. Big claim, I know… but I think if I had to pick one brownie recipe for the rest of forever, there is a really good chance it would be these.

And they disappeared in short order (though I did have help…)

This is the recipe I love so much — I suggest just making a double batch (I list the 1/2 batch measurements here) because they’re just THAT good. Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, full of healthy fats and… nearly three kinds of chocolate. WINNING.

That elusive last piece…

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And then in the midst of presentation preparations (PowerPoint for DAYS), I needed a study break so I made a small batch of chocolate chip cookies… because, cookies. I wasn’t even really craving cookies, but just to stand up and look at something that was NOT a computer or a powerpoint slide…. and then I ended up with cookies. Solid choice.

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The cookie recipe is from Living Healthy With Chocolate, here! I didn’t alter it aside from using 1/4 c date sugar instead of coconut and added ~1 tbsp maple syrup.

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They’re delicious! And they’re vegan which was important because I was feeling the need to eat a few bites of the dough…

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It’s the homestretch! Let’s see if we can’t squeeze in at least one more baked thing between now and June 3. Ready… GO.

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Sometimes caramel is the only thing that will do

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Three weeks. But who’s counting?! Not me, obviously…

Two weeks till I graduate, three weeks from today till I’m done done done! I feel like my posts of late are kind of like some version of a baked goods advent calendar until I’m done with my Master’s degree. Is that a thing?! Well whatever, I just made it a thing.

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I’m taking study breaks with baked goods! This week’s offering could  not be more different than the last post — that one was fruity and light, this one is shut-the-front-door dense, caramel-y, gooey, rich, and decadent (in the best way, of course). All while being paleo (it’s sweetened with maple so not strict paleo), vegan, free of the glutens, and full of healthy fats and real food! Because, well, because. Because real food is good for you! And it tastes better anyway, right? Right.

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Might I point out this also makes a great side dish for breakfast… alongside eggs and salad and leftover caponata. Don’t question. Just do it!

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Highly recommend to consume this in front of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with excellent company for full brain-rejuvenation effect and happy taste buds.

And that is officially all I got on the anecdote front. Brain is in maxed out mode, I think it’s time for bed. Yes, I know it’s 8:45 on a Friday night. Nope, I’m not sorry at all.

Happy Weekend!

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Vegan Salted Caramel Skillet Blondies

Vegan, paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free. Dense, fudgey, gooey, and delicious. Yield: 1 8″ cast iron skillet, which feeds however many you decide (1? 2? a dinner party? you do you). Lightly adapted from With Salt and Wit, here!

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 c almond butter
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted

For the blondies:

  • 1.5 c almond meal (or flour, also fine)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 350, and bust out your trusty little 8″ cast iron skillet! No need to grease it, such is the wonder of cast iron and the use of caramel under the blondie batter…

Mix the flax and water in a small bowl and let sit until gelled, about 5 minutes.

In a large liquid measuring cup (one of those pyrex ones works nicely) or other tall thing, vigorously whisk the almond butter, maple and coconut oil for the caramel until combined. You can do this in a blender if your almond butter is particularly thick — mine was runny enough to make a bicep workout feasible (and I decided I was too lazy to wash the blender later). Pour the caramel into the skillet and set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add in flax egg, melted coconut oil, applesauce, maple, and vanilla. Stir until combined (shouldn’t take too long). Toss in chippies and give it one last good stir. Pour the batter into the caramel — you may have to smooth it out a little, and it will cause the caramel to creep up the sides. All good!! The caramel forms a nice crust for the gooey blondies, which turn out almost like cookie dough. Don’t worry too much about it spreading out perfectly, I promise it will be delicious.

Bake until the top is firm and the caramel is crackly on the edges. I checked mine at 20 minutes, then let it go for another 5 minutes since the blondie wasn’t as firm as I wanted. Final bake time was probably closer to 30 minutes. It helps to bang the skillet on the stove a bit to get the batter and caramel to settle. Once done to your liking, remove from oven and let sit for a few before annihilating.

Absolutely delicious with paleo gelato, or whatever floats your boat! Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Sincere apologies for the strange coloration on the photo below; I have no idea what happened and sadly grad school nonsense takes priority over having a proper photo shoot for the last remaining piece of blondie. Le sigh. Three weeks!

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Crisp = dessert, then breakfast

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Woah woah woah I graduate a month from yesterday! Wheeeeee almost time to decorate my mortar board. Because I care not that I’m getting a masters and that any display of creative originality might be frowned upon for grad ceremonies; any flat, otherwise boring surface is acceptable for yogic doodle decoration and glitter. Also, it’s probably time to make a dent in that giant pile of work I have to do between now and my practicum presentation but…. nah. I made crisp instead.

Because… CRISP!

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Infinitely more fun than papers and literature review and and and.. ew. Someone make all that go away so I can enjoy my crisp in peace, mmk?! Great.

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This one is full of springy, fruity deliciousness. Good for the soul and the bod — brightly colored (food should be fun!) and full of whole-food nutrients. Because all desserts should be able to do double duty as breakfast! Obviously.

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And with that… I’m back to work. Because even that little respite couldn’t last long (waaah).

Let’s get to it. Happy weekend!

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Vegan Raspberry Crisp with Meyer Lemon and Coconut

Fruity, lemony, springy, delicious, and good for your bod! All you could want out of a dessert / breakfast / fruity whole food shenanigan. Full of whole grains (oats), healthy fats (coconut and almonds), antioxidants (raspberries) and all kinds of textural fun. Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 4 c raspberries (frozen is totes fine; just thaw them first)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crispy fun:

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats**
  • 1/4 unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • zest of one meyer lemon*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

*regular lemon will do but Meyers are SO fabulous; find them if you can!

** gluten free if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 and locate your trusty 8 by 8 pan that you make EVERYTHING in. Or maybe that’s just me…

In a large bowl, toss together raspberries, tapioca, maple, meyer lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once it’s all combined, spread this evenly into the bottom of the 8 by 8.

In another largish bowl, stir together almond meal, oats, sea salt, and lemon zest. Add in maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until combined, mashing out the largest lumps. Spread this goodness evenly over the raspberries in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the filing is bubbly and juicy (omg yum). Let sit for a few before annihilating. Leftovers (ha) store best in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast, just saying.

Top with any kind of iced dessert of choice – i.e.. vegan paleo gelato, dairy deliciousness, whipped coconut cream?! The sky’s the limit. You do you!

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Can someone explain how it’s already 2016?

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Woah. Apparently I’ve totally fallen off the blogging wagon. It’s nothing personal, don’t worry — I still love you, invisible internet friends!! But life seems to be taking me in different directions these days, so time to blog is few and far between.

That’s not to say I haven’t been baking…. or cooking… or eating… because all of those have been happening in spades.

AND I made cookies last night  apparently several days ago since I really failed at actually posting this when I thought I was going to… AND the cookies are fantastic.

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AND my winter quarter started today, how on earth is that possible?! I swear I just started break. Can I rewind and redo and have an extra month of break please?

In other news, my contribution to the Scott Fam holiday card was quite fun to execute, especially in fun new leggings…

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I’ve been drawing again, wheeee!

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But anyway, cookies! These are fantastic — chewy edges with softer centers, and extra chewy when you keep them in the fridge, which is my fave.

Happy 2016! I think this year is going to be pretty fabulous.

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Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan, refined sugar free, full of healthy fats and whole grains. Just sweet enough for the post holiday season. Thick, chewy edges with a softer center. Perfection. Yield: 17. Recipe lightly adapted and gratefully borrowed from Pralines and Greens, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole spelt flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • scant 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3  c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit for the flax egg.

In a larger bowl, whisk together almond flour, spelt flour, oats, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Add flax egg. Toss in chocolate chips. Form the dough into little balls, and flatten slightly once they’re on the cookie sheet. Bake for just about 11-12 minutes, then let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temp for softer cookies, or in the fridge for cookie with chewier edges (my personal fave).

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Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil 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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Wait. Free time?! I’m unfamiliar with this concept.

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Looklooklook I actually had time to make something!!! Actually, I had time to make TWO somethings, because well.. the oven was already on. So obviously. I also had a super productive weekend that also included time to work out and time to sit on my butt and read. Generally speaking, I consider this a highly successful weekend. Jessie thinks so too.

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And… I made bars!

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It felt so good to bake. I swear, it’s probably been about a month and that is WAY too long. These were a product of that fun game “let’s see what’s in the fridge and what I can make with it, depending on my mood and a billion other factors, but actually depending on what food is actually present”. It’s fun, kind of like a treasure hunt in the pantry.

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And (shockingly, not), I ended up with barz! I know, I know. But they’re just so delicious and fast and easy and satisfying. So, bars. Cookies were slightly too high maintenance for this particular weekend (though I did make a tiny batch of 10 cookies, just to be thorough).

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These are great for the indecisively minded, which I tend towards when I’m baking…. usually I want five things and can’t decide which of the five to bake. Sooo…. I decided to get creative and make both, at the same time. Problem mega solved. Now I have barz AND blondies AND brownies without having a gigantic pile of baked goods staring me in the face. Winning, winning.

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Also, succulents are awesome!

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Swirled Chocolate Tahini Barz

Half blondie, half brownie, for when you really can’t decide or you’re so braindead from biostats that you just decide that deciding isn’t worth the effort. Enter the hybrid bar. The best of both worlds with a minimum of effort.

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Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and vegan! Spread the love. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c tahini (mine is unsalted)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup + 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce + heaping 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce, divided
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, stir the flour occasionally until it’s fragrant, about 5 minutes. Toasting reduces the otherwise slightly bitter nature of quinoa and quinoa flour.

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

Make flax eggs, and set aside to gel.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, quinoa flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in tahini, flax eggs, 1/2 c maple, avo oil, and 1/4 c applesauce. Stir until just combined — try to avoid overmixing. Take half of the batter and plop it into half of the prepared pan. Add the cocoa powder, 1 tbsp maple, and 1/8 c applesauce to the remaining batter, and stir to combine. Drop this chocolatey goodness into the other, empty, half of the prepared pan, and using a knife, swirl the middle bits together (or go crazy and do the whole thing, I’m not going to stop you!). Pop this goodness into the oven for just about 35 minutes, when the top should be mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then cover and store any leftovers in the fridge.

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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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