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.

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