Magical Cranberry Nut Bars with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

IMG_9444Merry new year to you, my friends! I’ve had a long hiatus from blogging, and I’ve missed you. It’s been a challenging year in some ways. I’ve not had much in the way of work-life balance, but I’m getting there slowly but surely. This time of year is always such a good time for reflection and re-evaluating what’s working and what’s not. Some people like to set resolutions and that’s not so much my thing. Resolutions in my mind are all about the “I’ll try to do (blank) this year.” Frankly, I don’t want to try. I simply want to do. So, 2015 is to be the year of the doing of the things. 🙂

This time of year is also an excellent time for baking and eating. So, while you reflect and resolve to do the things, let’s eat Magical Cranberry Nut Bars, shall we?

Yes, excellent.IMG_9439What you need:

1 bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup of gluten-free oats

1 cup of cashews, raw

1/2 cup of almonds, raw

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

2 Tbsp shredded coconut (fine or course shreds, whatever speaks to you)IMG_9430Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin by using your food processor (or Vita-mix) to grind the nuts, oats, and maple syrup into a thick paste.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, cranberries, chocolate chips, and coconut shreds and mix.

Spoon your the base layer (the nut and oat paste) into either little bite-sized muffin tins or line a loaf pan with parchment and pour it in there, evening out the base layer as you pour. I made enough to make both a few little muffins and a loaf, and I highly recommend that, because you will be very sad when you finish off the little muffin tin bites or the loaf, and oh-so-happy when you discover you still have another loaf or muffin pan full of them to eat!IMG_9434Spoon on the cranberry, chocolate, coconut mixture on top of the base layer and start the baking! The muffin sized treats cook in about 20-30 minutes, so watch them closely. The loaf took about 45min to an hour to cook for me, but it all depends on how thick you layer the base.IMG_9445It’s finished when a fork comes out clean. Once that happens, let it cool, then begin the eating! These freeze very well, so if you’re deciding to not eat so many baked goods this year, put the majority of the bars or muffin bites in the freezer and take one for a treat at work each day. Then you will have done two things – 1) made delicious baked goods; and 2) avoided eating all the baked goods at once. It’s really a win-win. 🙂

Again, happy new year to you all! I hope this year is full of tastiness, laughter, love, and magic!

IMG_7121This is how winter looks in my neck of the woods. Lucky, lucky me.

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Cherry, Cacao, and Basil (and greens!) Smoothie Goodness

IMG_9372Cherry Basil? Yes, Cherries+Basil+Cacao=delicious and I too was surprised that combination worked, but it certainly did. This smoothie is light, refreshing, and kind of complex (in a good way). That said, it’s still dang tasty if you omit the basil and just go with tried and true cherries and chocolate.

What you need:

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about 1 cup of cherries, pitted

2 cups vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk, unsweetened)

2 cups of spinach

1 banana, preferably frozen and chopped

2-3 basil leaves (or no basil leaves if you don’t sway that way)

1 Tbsp chia seeds (totally optional)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder – I use Sunwarrior Vegan protein powder (again, totally optional, but nice)

1 Tbsp cacao nibs (I use Theo)

3-4 ice cubes

IMG_9366Sweet, sweet cherries – I prefer bings, but you could use any cherry. My guess would be that the darker varieties would probably be better, but why not give glorious Rainiers a try in this smoothie? A note on cherry pitting: DO NOT WEAR WHITE CLOTHING, or brand new clothing, or anything that you care deeply about in the event of cherry spatter. No matter how accomplished you are at pitting cherries, it can and will happen. I even watched a video on smooth ways to pit the cherries, and despite my efforts, my friends, it was not smooth.

What to do: Put everything in a blender and blend the heck out of it!

IMG_9374Now drink the lusciousness knowing that you got your fruits, your greens, your chocolate, and some protein. HOORAY!

Berry Pie, ‘Nuff Said. (gf, vegan, and processed sugar free)

IMG_9353Pie, my friends. Sweet, sweet pie. As the berry season cometh, so cometh delicious pie. I wanna be straight with you folks though, and this may sound like blasphemy to the pie purists of the world, but I don’t historically love traditional pie crust. So I made a different crust. Also, let’s be honest because we’re friends, regular crust from scratch is a huge pain in the ass and gluten-free and vegan crust is even more of one. Thankfully, the crust in this recipe is easy as, well, pie. 🙂IMG_9348Berry season (i.e. summer) in the northwest is the best. The berries are giant, sweet, and abundant. I literally spent 20 minutes just picking blackberries one block from my office yesterday and came home with 3 pints of juicy blackberries. One of my favorite memories is picking blackberries with my little brother and my folks at the beach. To this day, just taking a couple of minutes to slow down and pick a few blackberries brings the biggest smile to my face (pause for reverie about berries). Okay, resuming pie talk.IMG_9332So, crust. What you need:

2 cups of gluten-free oats

1.5 cups of almonds

2 heaping Tbsp coconut oil

1/4 -1/3 cup maple syrup

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Will the preheating is happening, grind your oats and almonds. I did it in my Vitamix. If you don’t have a power blender (or a magic bullet is awesome here!) just buy oat flour and almond meal.IMG_9333Here’s my oat and almond flour all ground up and mixed. Don’t grind your almonds too long or you’ll have almond butter, which is delicious, but not our goal here. 🙂

Add your coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix well and press into a pie tin.IMG_9338Bake for about 15 minutes.

While your crust is baking, prepare the filling (this part is shockingly unchallenging). What you need:

1 pint strawberries, rinsed and sliced

1 pint blueberries, rinsed

1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Mix them berries! After your 15 minutes of crust baking, fill that thar pie crust!IMG_9351Bake for another 45 minutes-ish until the crust is golden brown and berries are cooked, but not mushy. The outside of the strawberries ends up almost roasted and was so tasty that it led to a future recipe about roasted strawberry ice cream. Prepare yourselves.IMG_9354Now eat a slice of pie! Or the whole pie! (brief pause for pie reverie).IMG_9361Yum. 🙂

It Eats Like a Meal: Everyday Green Smoothie

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What do you get when you put all of these ingredients into a blender? Deliciousness, my friends. Pure deliciousness.  The fact that it’s an actual hearty green smoothie makes it even better, because unlike the situation I find myself in with many green smoothies, I don’t find myself ready to chew off my own arm an hour after drinking this one.

I apologize for being MIA for so long! Unfortunately work has been testing my stamina lately and I haven’t had much energy for a whole lot outside of work. I’ve missed my edible creative projects and interacting with you fine folks on the interwebs, so there will be very regular posts for the next few months.IMG_9312Let’s talk about the magic that is avocado. You’re reading a gluten-free and vegan blog, so I’m preaching to choir here, but bestill my heart when I open a perfectly ripe avocado. Does the fact that nature just makes these flabbergast anybody else? I recently visited my first avocado orchard and was speechless. IMG_5410Because why? Because, dudes, nature provides (and so does irrigation technology – California has had a real mess of a growing season).

Anyway, here’s what you need:IMG_93131 frozen banana

2 cups of spinach

1/3 of a cucumber, chopped

1/3 of a zucchini, chopped

1/4-1/2 avocado, depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be and how many you’re serving (I usually do 1/4 if it’s just for me)

1 scoop protein powder (totally option, but I use Sun Warrior Vegan Protein)

2 cups apple juice (more or less depending both on how thick and how sweet you like things)

A couple of ice cubes if you’re banana’s not frozen

Ready, set, BLEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_9320Sure, it looks a little like the slime from “You Can’t Do That on Television!” Ignore that.

Now drink up that sweet, sweet chlorophyll. 🙂 Enjoy, friends!IMG_9318

Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Springalicious, Gluten-free, and Vegan

IMG_9267 It’s been quite a while since I posted anything, though I’ve been whipping things up in the kitchen and just haven’t quite made it to the photo/blogging stage. I’m feeling re-energized now and despite the overwhelming grayness of the day, it feels like spring. So, tasty, lemony goodness in muffin form is what I present to you today.IMG_9271What you need:

2 cups of brown rice flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 Tbsp chia seeds

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 cup blueberries (or more if you’re feeling fruity)

3 Tbsp almond milk (add 1 Tbsp spoon at time if batter is too thick)

IMG_9263What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients (chia seeds included here). Mix wet ingredients. Combine the two and add almond milk as needed to keep the dough from being too dry (it took me 2 Tbsp of almond milk). Add blueberries.IMG_9266Grease muffin tins or use muffin papers (muffin cups? I just realized I have no idea what those are officially called) and fill with muffin batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife or toothpick comes out cleanIMG_9274Please note in the background my new favsie mug. Tea and a muffin = perfect second breakfast.IMG_9272Eat and enjoy!IMG_9275

(The Best) Buckwheat Oat Biscuits (Ever).

IMG_9252  Ah, February. I can’t believe you’re here already. Another birthday coming up, a last “arctic blast,” and we’re still in the middle of soup season.

Is this post at all about soup, you ask? No.

So what’s with the soup season comment? Well, with soup season (and yes, this is a season I celebrate and look forward to all year long) comes biscuits and another reason to marvel at the magic that is buckwheat.

So my friends, after many attempts at making the buckwheat biscuits of my dreams, here we are. I present to you a recipe I love and will be making pretty much every week for the rest of my life. Maybe that’s an overstatement, but you get what I’m saying.IMG_9253For those of you who haven’t yet heard me wax poetic about buckwheat, I’ll keep it short. If you’re gluten free, go out and buy some buckwheat right now! It will make being gluten free so much happier. Rice flour has always had an odd texture to me, and who can live without whole grains? Nobody. That’s who. IMG_9251These little buddies are easy to whip up in a jiffy, and they’re great with soup (or what I like to call “the big show”), jam, or anything else your heart desires. Nutella? YES. Smashed banana? Why not?! Honey (if you’re not hardcore about the vegan thing)? Do it.

What you need:

1 3/4 cup oat flour (I ground mine from certified gluten free oats in a magic bullet)

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour (buy online at Bob’s Red Mill or grind it from groats)

3 Tbsp Potato Starch

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 – 1 tsp salt (depending on how savoury you like your biscuits)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup unsweetenend almond milk (if dough is too thick, add 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved)

IMG_9239Preheat the oven to 450. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another, and mix! Your dough will be fairly dry and crumbly, but if it won’t stick together add more almond milk. If it’s too wet, and a little bit of flour.IMG_9245Once you’ve mixed, knead the dough into a ball and roll out on parchment paper into a flat layer about 1/2 thick (thick if you’d like). Using a mason jar or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles, repeating the rolling and cutting until all of the dough is used.IMG_9246IMG_9248Bake for about 15 minutes, until crusty on the outside, then take a tea and biscuit break. You deserve it.IMG_9256Seriously, the smashed banana thing is good. Enjoy, friends! 🙂

Buckwheat + Cranberry = Magic (or just Buckwheat Cranberry Bars). Vegan, Gf, and Tasty!

IMG_9207Happy 2014! I feel like this is going to be a good one, friends. Granted, I did wake up with a body full of aches and angry sinuses, but let’s look on the bright side: It was a cold, not the flu. Nailed it. 🙂

This year I want to try more, do more, see more, and get the nasty loose ends that I tend to have floating around all tied up. I want to spend time with the people that I really care about and enjoy what I have. The last couple of years have been a project in trying to live more simply, and that project is going to continue. It’s been a productive first week of the year and I predict it will only get better.

You may ask, what does this have to do with buckwheat cranberry bars? Absolutely nothing, except that I had cranberries and buckwheat and I wanted some bars. I’m just jamming here. Making something delightful with what I’ve got. With that in mind, enjoy and I hope you all have a happy, healthy, lovely-all-around year!IMG_9217

What you need for the base:

1.5 cups gf oatmeal

1/2 cup walnuts

3 Tbsp hemp seeds

2 Tbsp chia seeds

2/3 cup buckwheat flour

1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on the level of sweetness you like)

dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

What you need for the cranberry topping:

1 package cranberries

3 Tbsp gf all-purpose flour

2-3 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp lemon juiceIMG_9201First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For the base, combine all ingredients except buckwheat in a food processor or magic bullet and mix until a thick paste is formed. IMG_9202Once the paste is formed, mix with buckwheat as above. Spread into a loaf pan lined with parchment. Prepare the cranberry topping.IMG_9204Mix cranberries, syrup, flour, and lemon juice and spread over based.IMG_9206Next step: bake for about 40 minutes, until a fork comes out clean. Eat and enjoy!IMG_9210Noodles also wants to wish you a happy new year. He’d also like to get his grubby little paws on some bars. 🙂IMG_9199

I’m Back! And With Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gf, vegan, delicious!)

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Dear blogasphere, it has been waaaayyyy too long! I’ve been traveling, finishing up my degree (10 days to go!), leraning about the world of real estate, and getting  acquainted with my new clinic, and these last few months have flown. It’s been a trying summer in many ways, but a good one too.

So, now that life is finally settling a bit, I can get back to cooking and blogging. Hooray!

And with that, I present to you some lovely chocolate zucchini bread. Tasty, tasty, but not too sweet. And I won’t lie, it goes mighty nicely with a little vegan ice cream right on top. Or by itself. Really, whatever you do, as long as it involves eating zucchini bread, it won’t be a wrong decision. 🙂

What you need:

1 cup superfine brown rice flour

2/3 cup sweet sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

3 Tbsp chia seeds (plus 6 tbsp water, all whisked into a gel)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup raw cacao

dash cinnamon

3/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened

11/2 cup grated zucchini

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IMG_9069What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Mix chia gel and let sit for about 10 minutes. While that’s setting, sift together dry ingredients in one bowl and mix together wet ingredients, including chia gel, in a separate bowl.

Pour wet into dry and mix thoroughly and mix in zucchini shreds, then transfer to a greased bread pan.IMG_9071Bake for about 45 minutes, maybe more, until the a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. IMG_9072IMG_9074

Glooooooorious Morning Everything Muffins – Vegan, Gf, quick and easy!

IMG_9058This week I found myself with an abundance of beautiful zucchini, apples, carrots (I know, it was a good week). While I totally love those fine veggies in their natural form, I also am a huge fan of the veggie+fruit+seed muffin, and so it only seemed right to make some of that magic happen.

Also, excitement! I have 3 weeks off from school and the end of my degree is in 3 months. WOOOOOO! Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.IMG_9044What you need: Makes 12 muffins

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1 cup of oat flour (gf oats)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup cacao nibs

1/3 cups pumpkin seeds

1 zucchini, grated

2 carrots, grated

1 medium apple, chopped,

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water to form a gel (this is the egg replacer)IMG_9049Preheat to 350 degrees. Start by making your chia gel, it should take about 5 minutes to set. Continue by combining dry ingredients (I ground my own buckwheat flour and oat flour in my magic bullet) in one bowl. In another, combine the wet ingredients (including sugar, oil, and chia gel here).IMG_9053Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stir, and then add veggies, seeds, apple, and nibs. Stir until well combined.IMG_9054In a greased muffin tin, fill each cup.IMG_9057Place in oven and bake for about 20-30 min. When a fork comes out clean, your muffins are done!IMG_9061IMG_9060Enjoy! 🙂

Pom-Berry-a-Gogo Smoothie (gf, raw, vegan, and crazy tasty!)

IMG_9040Spring has finally sprung here in Seattle, and while smoothie season never really ends at my house, it’s definitely back in it’s fully glory. This is a little bit of a smoothie departure for me because it occurs to me that I tend to get an upset stomach and headaches after I eat more than 1 or 2 bananas per week. Does this make me sound a little kooky? Possibly. Does slowing down on the bananas make my head feel better? Absofruitly.

So anyway, this is a mango based smoothie made with the sweet, tart, magical elixir that is pomegranate juice. I’ve also been adding hemp hearts to everything lately, and between a little almond milk for added creaminess and the hemp hearts, there’s a delicious nutty flavor that pops up.IMG_9038What you need: (Makes two little smoothies or 1 Mandy-sized smoothie)

3/4 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

a few frozen dark sweet cherries

1/2 cup of spinach

1-3 Tbsp hemp hearts depending on how hempy your dream smoothie is

1/2 cup of cold Pom juice (more if you like a thinner smoothie consistency)

about 1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milkIMG_9037Now what?! Don’t worry, just put your goodies in your blender (or magic bullet, which I have linked to because I love this crazy little gadget and it’s an excellent choice when the infamous Vitamix is just a little out of reach price wise).IMG_9039Add the liquids and ready….set……….go! Er, blend!IMG_9042Partake of the sweet, sweet goodness that is your smoothie!IMG_9043IMG_9040