Tag Archives: snack

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove

Crust:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, recipe

Carrot-Spice Graham Muffins

*ahem*

Sorry for my “spaz-moment” last night.

But when I opened up that e-mail, I literally couldn’t stop thinking/saying “oh my God” over and over and over. Needless to say, I attempted getting my thoughts together to form a relatively comprehensive post, but it just wasn’t happening. And instead, I probably confused a good number of you all, too!

My mom probably thought I was reading a letter from the dead, as I slammed my bowl of chili to the coffee table and stared at my computer screen bug-eyed and open-mouthed.

I apoloize if youre not the correct person but if you are, you posed on the fuglyblog about a haffie that you wanted past history on.  I owned him as a yearling (the face markings are unmistakable)…

And believe it or not, my little punk is even registered. Not something that matters terribly to me – but pretty interesting.

Anyways. I promised muffins, so I’m here with those graham-carrot muffins I blogged about the other day.

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From Nicole:

Is graham flour anything like graham crackers? Is that a dumb question??

Well, it’s not a dumb question if it’s me you’re asking. I mean…when I saw a bag that said “graham flour,” my immediate thought was “I love graham crackers!!”

Which made me realize that it’s been far too long since I’ve had graham crackers.

That’s a subject for another day.

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ANYWAYS. Back to the matter at hand: graham flour. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed when I investigated my new purchase further, just to discover it was stone-ground wheat berries. Apparently I was expecting stone-ground graham crackers or something.

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Graham flour is actually named after a person – Sylvester Graham – who was really the backbone of the health food movement way back when it was first starting. “Graham flour is a form of whole wheat flour made by grinding the endosperm of winter wheat into a fine powder. Both the bran and the germ is mixed back in so the final mixture is, sweet, nutty flavored coarse flour. Depending on the manufacture sometimes the amount of wheat germ is reduced because of the high oil content which makes the flour go rancid faster.” [source] Graham crackers were actually made from graham flour – although nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find graham crackers that still use this flour. Since it is so whole with the bran, germ and endosperm – it goes rancid quickly, and if you’ve ever read In Defense of Food, you know that refined flour is used most often because it has no nutrients and as such, is far more shelf stable.

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There was one source where Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and Graham Flour is used interchangeably – but every other source treats them as if Graham flour is its own thing. Who knows. Do you know?

In my terms – graham flour has sort of a consistency of cornmeal, yet with a flavor just as described…slightly sweet, “graham”-y and nutty. Delicious! I’m an addict.

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So. History lesson over. Now it’s time for the baking lesson. Just don’t look at me to teach.

This recipe is a take on Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Zucchini Spelt Muffins. The changes are not huge, but I have a feeling the taste is definitely a huge difference!

It can easily be veganized with replacing the honey for maple syrup or agave. I’m just tired of having a honey bear sitting in my cabinet.

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Carrot-Spice Graham Muffins

yields 6-7 muffins

  • 1 T. flax meal
  • 1/4 c + 1 T. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. grated carrot
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. oil (coconut, olive or canola)
  • 1 c. graham flour
  • 1 T. cane sugar
  • 1/8 t. sea salt
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • generous pinch ground nutmeg
  • generous pinch ground clove
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecan
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375*. In a small bowl, combine flax meal and milk. Mash banana and add it to the bowl along with the grated carrot. Combine well. Add in honey, vanilla and oil. Stir to combine.

In a separate larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for pecans, sifting in the baking powder and soda. Stir until combined.

Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just combined. Fold in pecans.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, and fill muffin cups to 3/4s full. Smooth tops (better than I did, at least) and bake for ~22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Homemade Laraballs!

Alright, alright – I’m doing up this recipe again. Mainly because now I’ve gone through lots of trials and experimentation. And finally took pictures of the process today. And everybody keeps asking about them because I’m a bad blogger and a. never link and b. never explain. Although I should state that I’m not laying claim to owning this recipe – it stemmed from a Moosewoods date truffle recipe in efforts to get a drier, more larabar-esque goodie – and found these measurements to work well, and find it to be pretty universal based on further exploration afterwards, too. When you’re working with this many ingredients, it’s hard to be unique 😉

Quite simply, you will need:

  • a food processor – it doesn’t even need to be a great one. mine is lousy. but it gets this job done no problemo.
  • dried dates and other fruit, as desired – to equal a half cup total. You’re likely to have best luck (and great health benefits!) if you use at least 1/4 cup dates, however.
  • nuts – 1/3 cup, any kind
  • optional: spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger – zests from oranges or limes – a hungry parent who eats them all before you do – family members to drive crazy with your new obsession
  • optional: powders like acai, protein, maca, whatever floats your boat and keeps your heart and muscles pounding
  • 5 minutes
  1. Choose your fruit victims. I’ve always used at least 1/4 cup of dates, about 5 dates. I use the big Medjool dates – don’t use the date pieces you buy in a bag. The other 1/4 cup can be your favorite ol’ dried fruit, or dates again. For today, I got a little crazy in the kitchen and opted for 1/4 c. dates (make sure you pit them, guys. I know, I know – obvious, but I could see myself doing something like that.) 2 T. dried sweet cherries, and 2 T. organic shredded unsweetened coconut.

    I think I see an optional cat hair in there.

  2. Process them in the processor until it’s all clumped together in one big ol’ clump. I’ve found it takes a bit longer to clump together if you’re using coconut, since it’s drier.
  3. Dump the puree into a medium sized mixing bowl. Don’t clean your processor, but dump your 1/3 cup nuts/seeds into the processor. Once again, I got a little crazy and experimented with using chia seeds today, in addition to some honey roasted almonds.
  4. Grind until course ground. I guess you could do finely ground, too…but I don’t know why you’d really want to.
  5. Combine everything into the mixing bowl. Here you could add in some powder or spices, too. I chose to add in some wolfberry Tera’s Whey today – but just a spoonful (half Tbs maybe?). I didn’t want the flavor to be overly abundant, and didn’t have any plain powder.
  6. Knead it all together into one ball. It takes more work if you use a powder of some sort, I’ve noticed. Don’t worry if it’s a bit too crumbly and you can’t work all the nuts in. Life will go on, I promise. Just form them into balls and store in a container. Sample one after that’s said and done, because otherwise you’ll probably want to eat the whole thing before actually forming them into balls.

The nitty gritty:

  • Know that if you use all peanuts, they are quite more pronounced in terms of flavor than any other nuts. It will taste more peanut butter-y than fruity. Not saying it’s a bad thing.
  • After having made them a couple times with protein powder, I think it’d be a good idea to cut back on the nuts a little bit, especially if you’re planning on using a lot.
  • Obviously, form them however you want…but I think the mini-ball size is great for a snack when you just want a little something. That and, I’m likely to never stop buying real Larabars anyways.

Some fun concoctions:

  • cinnamon-raisin – 1/4 c. dates, 1/4 c. golden raisins, 1/3 c. cashews, cinnamon
  • cranberry-orange – 1/4 c. cranberries, any nut, orange zest
  • pb & j – 1/4 c. cherries, 1/3 c. peanuts
  • coconut-macadamia – 1/4 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, 1/3 c. macadmia nuts (note that this mixture tends to be more crumbly, but can still be easily formed into balls.)
  • apple pie – 1/4 c. dehydrated apples (I used seneca apple chips), 1/3 c. mix of almonds, walnuts and pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg

and I’ve honestly forgotten what else. There are so many combos, though – just have fun! And I must say – this was my first time using some chia seeds, and I really think it may become habit 🙂

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Motivator

Oh me, oh my; another day gone by. Oh Ew; that was not intended to be a corny rhyme.

As with any Sunday morning where I have the time and means to sleep in – I was up and at ’em by 6:15. What is wrong with me? For the better, I guess – I had lots to “make up” after a busy week – baking, groceries, cleaning, laundry…okay – so fun things, but still needed to be done!

And what’s a better motivator than blueberry oats?

The base:

And then topped with:

  • chia-flax-acai icing
  • slivered almonds
  • Mae’s Toasted Coconut Butter
  • chopped dates
  • Ginger preserves
  • and the mix of blueberries and some chopped dates with a pinch of shredded coconut – simmered down in some almond milk

Oh, yes – with those huge globs of coconut butter, and perfectly paired with done other than Green Mountain’s Wild Mountain Blueberry coffee, nothing could go wrong. And that’s what I hoped for my day to be like.

And it proved to be that way, too! I got my baking out of the way early – I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t get to it because I wouldn’t want to be turning on the oven. I made another batch of quinoa-bulgur muffins.

I made some tweaks including using a whole, diced fresh peach. I was afraid to change too much so didn’t add any yogurt – I wasn’t sure if I should just add a spoonful, or if I should have cut back on some of the other liquid ingreds, too. So – I hoped maybe the peach would moisten things up. I think it definitely did. Like I mentioned, they were hardly to be considered dry to begin with, and nuking them for a quick ten seconds did them wonders anyways. I also used spelt flour in this batch. Oh, and completely forgot about the poppyseeds 😦

After that was all taken care of I went for a wonderful ride with my mom, heading out about 9:30. We were trying to beat the heat and the bugs! We weren’t too successful in either area, but it was still a great ride. I pocketed a mini Larabar on my way out the door. I knew for sure my stomach would be knocking soon! They are the perfect size for a morning snack, I must say. Funny how the food I rag on for being too small proves to be just right, if I’d stop eating with my eyes 😉 I did the same with the 4 oz. Oikos caramel cups!

We got back probably around 11:30, but gave the horses baths to cool them down and get all the “winter crud” (yeck) off of them. Dirty kids. Even though it was only 12:00 when we got in the house – I was starved. And about ready to eat the sweet potato rounds for my sweet potato panini before they even made it on the sandwich.

Luckily, I resisted. This one had some of the grilled eggplant from last night, and did not disappoint. In between two slices of harvest grain bread was the dressing (in which I got lazy and just spread the mustard, some greek yog, sprinkled the poppyseeds and curry powder, and called it done. Worked fine.), two slices balsamic-soaked grilled eggplant, two sweet potato rounds, roasted red pepper, fresh basil, and almond mozarella. I went crazy with the fresh basil. Fact.

Paired it with some plain brown cow greek yog and fig preserves, banana, and honey roasted peanuts that I so kindly borrowed from my mom without the intention of returning. Diiiiiiiivine.

I didn’t get my grocery shopping done (can you believe it?!) and now my fridge is really starting to run low – but I’m thinking I’ll just make a mega-trip to Hannafords and the co-op on Tuesday since I won’t have my night class. I like going in the morning when it’s not packed, and with time to spare – since my morning was well spent, there was no way I was going to battle the crowds this afternoon, and didn’t want to run in for just a few things.

I kind of like being forced to come up with something based on the fact that my ingredients are limited, to be completely honest. It’s kind of a nice experience.

Instead, I gave my saddle a much needed oiling. I’m going to be sad if I have to part with this saddle, and I likely will. The types of ponies I’m looking at are built sort of like tanks. Meaning…saddle = too narrow. Imagine running in shoes that squeeze your feet. I bet Freya feels my pain with the potential parting with a saddle that is juuussst right 😉

…and spent the afternoon pretty much chillin’. It’s too hot to do much! And here I was complaining about the snow on Wednesday.

Of course some muffin sampling took place, as well – half for me, half for le madre

and a bowl of some frozen fruit chunks from a bag of the yoplait fruit smoothie mix, with some greek yog, Mae granola, and cacao bliss. Holy cow – it’s been so long since I’ve had flavored, “normal” yogurt that the frozen chunks of the yoplait yogurt were so sweet they about made me cringe. Yikes! Pretty sure I used to love Yoplait yogurt…

I kept dinner simple for pasta Sundays. Anyone else notice how pasta has become a Sunday night dinner?! Not sure why…but I remember growing up we would tend to have certain things certain nights of the week. Well, okay – maybe spaghetti night on Monday was the only set thing…but work with me here.

Anyways – sauteed some kale and chopped tomatoes in 2 cloves of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil before adding some butter beans and then the whole wheat penne. Topped with some fresh basil and garlic and herb feta.

…and a lovely little piece on naan on the side! I like my carbs with a side of carbs, you know…

Hope everyone had a stellar weekend – here’s to Monday!

A Sunday-night Segment of Jess’s Insane Cravings as of Late:

  • peanut butter (this is a weird one for me. yes – I love peanut butter… but I’ve never been the person to think “wow. I really want a spoonful of PB right  now.”)
  • cottage cheese (I guess I don’t realize how much I love it until I can’t have it. I’m out.)
  • nuts
  • plums (again – all out)
  • iced coffee (hm, wonder why.)

What has your body been jonesin’ for lately?

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe, Uncategorized

Quinoa-Bulghur Muffins

Quinoa – Bulghur Muffins

yields: 12 muffins

Inspired by Veganomicon – The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed
  • 2 T. Sunsweet Lightbake (or 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 1/4 c. Bob’s Red Mill Grains & Nuts Hot Cereal
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. chai spice blend
  • 1/4 c. cracked bulghur wheat
  • 1/4 c. quinoa
  • 1/4 c. chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 ripe fresh peach, peeled and diced
  • scant 1/4 c. slivered almonds
  • poppyseeds (opt – I used them last time but completely forgot this time)

Destructions:

  1. Prepare the bulghur and quinoa as indicated. I just combined them and cooked until the liquid was gone (the ratio for each is 2:1, btw) but if you like using a lot of pans, feel free to use two separate vessels. As my girl Rebekah would say, it’s your life.
  2. Meanwhile – preheat your oven to 350*. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your milk and flax and allow to sit for a minute. ish. Whisk in the lightbake (or oil. or applesauce.), maple syrup, and almond extract. Set aside.
  3. In another larger bowl, sift together your flours, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the Bob’s grains & nuts. Mix together.
  4. Add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix together until just combined.
  5. Fold in the diced peach, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and 1 1/4 c. of the bulghur & quinoa mixture. (should be most of the mix.)

Spoon into a greased/sprayed muffin tin until full to the brims and bake about 22 minutes – until some pointy object inserted into the center comes out clean. And don’t be non-environmentally friendly like I was and use muffin tin liners. I need to go grocery shopping, I have no spray and was too lazy to grease every single one. Oh and to add to the excuses my muffin pan is old and not very non-stick. At all.

You might want to smooth off the tops, too. I guess I didn’t feel like making them pretty today. Tuesday I did! (see first photo 😛 )

also a Tuesday photo

The first time I made them with all white whole wheat flour, no spelt. Do whatever makes you smile.

Also – you could probably sub a processed mix of oats & some nuts for the bob’s red mill hot cereal. That’s what it is, basically.

Annnd, if you want to get really mathematical you can figure out exactly how much dry quinoa and bulghur yields 1 1/4 cups cooked. I try to avoid mathematics at all cost, and hey. A spoonful of leftover bulghur & quinoa never hurt anybody. Go ahead and add it to the muffins if ya wanna, even.

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