Almond Butter Chia Bars

Vacation time! The slower (yet still very busy) part of my summer is over, and from now on is pretty go go go, and the go go go-ing. I’m typing this on a boat on my way to Canada from Seattle.

Yay, airports. Traveling. New places. Always tons of vegan options, right? And all fairly priced? Yeah. No. So you kind of have to plan a little bit. On Monday I threw together these super easy bars, just four ingredients, vegan, paleo, and no added sugars. This was my breakfast this morning 🙂

You only need four ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds

For this recipe, I used one package of dates (around 12 oz), 1/2 cup of almonds, 4 tbs almond butter, and 1/4 cup of chia seeds to make 8 bars.

To make:

  1. Put all ingredients in your food processor.
  2. Process until you have a soft, crumbly dough.
  3. Press into an 8 by 8 pan- you may want to line with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to compact the bars as much as possible.
  4. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
  5. Cut bars, store in beeswax wraps. Keeps best in the fridge- otherwise, they’re still fine but a bit crumbly.

Happy baking!!!

Paleo Vegan Almond Butter Cups

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Probably a lot of things. A million dollars. The ability to shapeshift. A sense of purpose in life. So, probably a lot of things. But this recipe is also one of those things. So let’s try again.

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? How about a treat that’s paleo, vegan lower in sugar and calories, free from refined sugars, and made with completely homemade ingredients and fair trade chocolate? Now, many people would say that DOESN’T sound better, but you don’t really need those people in your life.

I made these for my dad a few weeks ago and he was really pleased. Now any time I make treats that aren’t paleo, he’s a little disappointed. But sometimes there is an emotional emergency that requires slutty brownies (those delicious layers of chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies, and brownies. Totally drool worthy. )

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Good for vegans. Good for… err… cavemen? Paleos? Definitely not good for dogs. I think he forgives me though. DSC09021.JPG

Ingredients: 

  1. Spread melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of reusable silicone baking cups (or paper ones). DSC09010DSC09012.JPG
  2. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.
  3. Melt almond butter until pourable. Pour into chocolate cups- the amount is up to you. Don’t let the power go to your head. DSC09014.JPG
  4. Let set until tops are solid- this will prevent the next chocolate layer from sinking in.
  5. Pour on remaining chocolate, spread to cover all of the almond butter.
  6. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.

Make sure to keep these cold, especially in the summer. The coconut oil chocolate melts at really low temperatures. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, feel free to add stevia or maple syrup to the almond butter, or add a little extra maple syrup while making the chocolate. Happy baking!

Homemade Almond Butter

You already know how much I loooooooooooove peanut butter. There are very few things I love more than peanut butter: dogs, coffee, my family, my boyfriend, chocolate… okay, maybe there are quite a few things. But you get the point. And most of those things can be improved with peanut butter. If you put a teaspoon of it on the tip of a dog’s nose, you both have nearly endless entertainment!

Since my dad is currently following the Paleo diet, I have had to tweak some recipes or find new ones (gotta love Pinterest!). A lot of these take almond butter which is…. expensive. At school, a 16 oz jar of almond butter is around $15. Only $9.99 on sale, though! What a bargain!

The other problem is that it is completely delicious, and doesn’t last long when I’m in the house. On a recent trip, I actually ate two of those squeeze packets of almond butter… one right after the other. Nothing to put it on. Just almond butter. And it was delicious.

But it’s not hard to make by yourself at all! The trick is to toast the nuts beforehand and to be patient. You absolutely need a decent food processor for this.

Ingredients: 

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup
  1. Toast the almonds at 250F for about ten minutes.
  2. Transfer toasted almonds to food processor. Blend for about ten minutes, checking and scraping the bowl every few minutes. It will quickly look like thisDSC09048.JPG
  3. Once it starts to turn from a flour texture to something slightly, but still dry, you have two options: to continue mixing until the texture you want is achieved (which may take a while…) or add in the melted oil and maple syrup to speed up the process and create a smoother, creamier, sweeter almond butter.
  4. Continue blending until smooth and transfer to a jar. Keep in the fridge for best results. DSC09060.JPG

Comment your favorite paleo recipes, and if you try this recipe, tell me how it turns out. Happy baking!

Lazy Berry Smoothie

This is super simple to make (kind of a cheat recipe, if we’re being honest) and has tons of vitamins; this is a great way to start the day or as a sweet dessert. 

I have just finished my first semester of college, and I’m exhausted. Exhausted and a little chubby. Not chubby, honestly, but I put on a few pounds during finals week and on my recent trip to New York. Side note: I tried two new vegan flavors of Ben and Jerry’s and they were FANTASTIC. So no regrets. But I feel a little sluggish and bloated, so I’m trying to feel better, no matter what the scale says.

This was actually one of my favorite cheats at school because you can make a really pretty smoothie with just two ingredients: Naked juice and Vitamin Water. I told you, it’s a cheat. But those were two things I could buy with my meal plan, and you have to get creative sometimes.

DSC08993.JPGPersonally, I prefer XXX Zero + Blue Machine. The flavors compliment well and they’re both packed with vitamins B6 and B12, which are really difficult for vegans to get sometimes. Plus, the taste is amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz vitamin water, vitamin water zero, or other liquid of choice
  • 8 oz Naked juice, or other similar juice

Freeze the juice overnight, pop both into a blender, and enjoy! That’s it! I add chia seeds for a little extra umph.

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Simple Chocolate Nicecream

DSC08909Sometimes, you need ice cream. Or, really, you want ice cream, something cold and sweet and indulgent and full of chocolate. You probably never need ice cream (but I’m not a nutritionist or God, so I really couldn’t say for sure…)

In my tiny college town, there’s one place to buy vegan ice cream. The selection is slim and full of sugar, and the store closes at 8 pm, which doesn’t help when those 10 pm cravings hit. I am also much more mindful of what I eat now, so a pint of sugar-laden, fatty coconut milk ice cream just isn’t very appealing. Enter nicecream.

You’ve all heard of it. Frozen bananas, blended up. I used to shudder at the thought. My aunt an cousin did a Whole30 cleanse and swore up and down that frozen bananas and cocoa powder tasted just like ice cream.  They’re wrong. This won’t taste like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But it’s still good, and good for you.

Ingredients:

1/2 banana, chopped and frozen

1 tbs cacao powder

1 tbs almond milk

1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener

add ins: cacao nibs, cinnamon, almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, flaked coconut

Mix all ingredients (except add ins!) in the blender, stir in your toppings, and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

I have corrupted the chocolate chip cookie. Seriously. I have removed every semblance of a cookie ingredient and reconstructed it completely. And it’s delicious.

My family loves my chocolate chip cookies- you know, the regular, non-vegan, buttery, sugary kind. The kind I don’t eat. I had to find my own recipe, and I had to make it better.

Calling these “chocolate chip cookies” isn’t accurate. There aren’t actually chocolate chips. In fact, there’s not actually chocolate- just raw cacao nibs and powder. So really, it’s not a dessert, it’s a superfood packed energy snack. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I eat a whole batch at 2 a.m. while rewatching The Great British Bake Off for the third time. Spoiler alert: Nadiya still wins.

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites:

(Makes 7 servings)

For the dough:

  • 6 tbs organic coconut flour
  • 6 tbs organic unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • stevia, to taste (I use around 4 packets)
  • 8-9 tbs unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1-2 tbs raw cacao nibs, chopped

For the chocolate topping:

  • 4 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbs pure grade A maple syrup

To make the dough, mix all ingredients except cacao nibs together until it forms a dough- it won’t look like a normal dough because there’s nothing fat like oil or butter. Add in chocolate chips.

Press the dough into a silicone mould or form into flat disks. You have a few options here: microwave the cookies for 1-2 minutes to set them; OR immediately put into the freezer. If you microwaved them, let cool before freezing, at least one to two hours.

To make chocolate, melt the coconut oil until liquid. Stir in other ingredients- you may want to sift the cacao powder beforehand to get out any lumps. Dip cookies in chocolate and return to fridge or freezer to harden. Eat right from the freezer or let them thaw a few minutes before eating, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • I have not tried an oven version yet, I will update the recipe when I do
  • If you don’t want to use stevia (and don’t mind the cookies being a little higher in calories), replace with organic coconut sugar to taste, about two tablespoons

Nutrition (using stevia):

153 kcal, 13g carbs (4.5g sugar, 5g fiber), 10g fat, 2.5g protein