Healthy Gluten/Dairy/Sugar-Free Chewy Granola Bar Recipe

I’m always on the hunt for the next awesome granola bar recipe. I love experimenting with new ingredients! I read through a handful of recipes this week and decided to mash them all together and make my own, like usual. This recipe didn’t disappoint. I love that it uses ground up oats for oat flour, and pretty much every seed I had in my pantry. The other thing I loved, is it used the majority of the dates that I had sitting on top of the fridge as the binder. Blending the dates in water creates a paste that acts as a binder with the oat flour. It’s perfect and sweet without any added sugar. Woot! Seriously addictive and the perfect snack for my purse. For a little added visual appeal, I sprinkled unsweetened shredded coconut on top. Now they look perty.

Here are the little squares of fruit that I picked up at the Bulk Barn. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of them, they have strawberry, raspberry and mango – and they’re pressed together with other fruit. I liked the way they looked so I bought a small bit of them to try in this recipe. The kind I used is the raspberry ones.

Dried fruit

I use an 8 x 8 baking pan instead of the 9 x 11 glass baking dish because I wanted the bars to be square instead of rounded at the corners (I am very specific about how my baking comes out, okay! :)). I had some left over after pressing it into the square pan (didn’t want them to be too thick) so I decided to make mini bites out of the leftover and used the mini-muffin pan.

When lining the pan, overlap your parchment paper so it covers each side. Much easier to remove and prevents breaking after they’re cooled.

In the pan

 

Mini

 

I baked them for about 15 minutes and they came out PERFECT. I threw a couple in a ziplock and into my purse they went. Nice easy bite-sized snack.

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After the original batch finished baking, I let them cool (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP) and then cut them into bars!

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Mmm… just perfect. They were easy to cut and even easier to eat! Enjoy!

Finished product

 

Ingredients:
• 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
• 1 cup water
• 3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
• 1/2 cup chia seeds
• 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
• ¼ cup red oat bran
• ¼ cup hemp seeds
• ¼ cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice, chopped to desired size
• ¼ cup your favourite nut butter (I used almond)
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.
2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.
4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if you need to.
6. Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy! I suggest freezing leftovers to preserve freshness.

Very Berry Spelt Multi-Grain Muffins

Well after that sugar rush of caramel corn last night (I had a handful then had enough), I am craving muffins today.  Multi-grain berry muffins.  I am not a muffin girl and when I do eat a muffin, it’s never the fruit kind but for some reason today, I want a wholesome soft, fluffy fruit muffin. I’m looking forward to having this in the morning, cracked open, drizzled with yogurt and sprinkled with nuts and chia seeds. Perfect breakfast? I think so!

I enjoy the flavour of spelt flour along with the hard wheat red bran in this recipe. In half the batch I threw in some cacao nibs just ‘cause.  This recipe will be sure to satisfy your whole grain and sweet tooth all at the same time!

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Ingredients:

2 c           spelt flour

½ c          yellow corn meal

½ c          hard wheat red bran

1/3 c      lightly ground flax seeds

¼ c          chopped walnuts

2 tbsp    sesame seeds

1 ½ tsp  baking powder

1 tsp      baking soda

1 tsp      ground cinnamon

½ tsp     pink Himalayan sea salt

Small handful of chocolate chips (optional)

2              large eggs

1 c           orange juice

½ c          organic coconut oil

½-¾ c     agave

1 tsp      vanilla extract

1 ½ c      mixed frozen berries, thawed

1 tbsp    rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a medium-sized muffin tin with your favourite cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, cornmeal, oat bran, flax seeds, chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. To the eggs, add the orange juice, coconut oil, agave and vanilla, whisking until they are well combined. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk just until blended. Mix in the berries (and the juice they produced when defrosting) and cacao nibs (if using).

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the muffin cups almost to the top. Top each muffin with a sprinkling of the oats. How pretty!

5. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are deep golden brown and spring back lightly when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy my friends!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


I’ve added one more kitchen appliance to the ‘obsession’ list. The infamous “Magic Bullet”! Although I haven’t been going crazy since I’ve had it (just give me another month okay, I’ve only had it for a couple of days lol), I have made two really successful Pumpkin Pie Smoothie variations.

Thanks to my mom for pureeing up the pumpkin and keeping it in the freezer for me for the last couple of months… otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have made this. I am NOT a fan of canned pumpkin. I didn’t have time to buy them this past October, cut them up, boil.. yada yada.. so this recipe wouldn’t be possible without my momma.

This is not an original recipe, as I’m sure you’ve seen many variations of it online and other blogs.  I read one or two then just threw mine together, knowing my tastes.

I have to say that the one made with coconut milk was just perfect and everything I imagined it to be. Thick and creamy and more resembled a pie. The almond milk version is much lighter and not as thick. Still both are fantastic and I would drink either one any day.

Ingredients

– 1/2 c organic pureed pumpkin

– 1 c light coconut milk or unsweetened original almond milk

– 1/2 frozen organic banana

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 squirt of stevia (Oddly, I don’t measure this ingredient)

1 tbsp ground graham cracker crumb

pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt

Throw all ingredients into your handy-dandy Magic Bullet or blender and blend until smooth.  Add two cubes of ice if you want it super cold. Drink and enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Raw Food Reset Day 8 & 9

These posts are getting boring! I’ve been eating the same damn thing for daaaayyysss. Some how not getting tired of it, except for the tart.  I’ve had it three days in a row and today I think I just had enough of sundried tomatoes and hummus.

We hit up the spin class last night.  It wasn’t as successful as I hoped it would be.  The instructor played ONE track the whole time.  She did the same drill, over and over, without any rhythm. At one point she incorporated jumps, sets of 2, then 4 then 6.  None of it was counted or to a beat, so the whole class was up and down up and down up and down… well you get the idea… all over the place.  She looked up at us 4 times in 25 minutes. I had no clue what was going on, and I’m a spinning instructor!! It was definitely not the ideal first class for B. I will go back to the gym but I’ll try another instructor.

I have eaten the exact same thing the last three days.. only difference being dinner:

Breakfast: mixed frozen berries with cashews, banana

Snack: grapes, kiwi

Lunch: sundried tomato tart and mixed green salad

Snack: apple

Dinner: Tuesday I just had an avocado, tonight I had yam noodles with miso sauce.

Nothing more than that to report. I have some cooked carrots and parsnips for lunch tomorrow because that’s what the famjam had tonight with a roast for dinner.  I am out of salad, peppers, broccoli etc. So I will have to get a salad at work.

I really meant to go for a run tonight, but I am SO tired I just couldn’t do it after I ate dinner at 7:30. I’m going to look for vacations for Xmas and head to bed. Hoping I can get to the gym early tomorrow AM and run on the treadmill and do some weights. Here’s hoping!

Have a great night peeps!

Raw Food Reset – Day 5 & 6

Gotta admit. Friday was a bust.  I had sushi with rice, a chicken wing and one small beef rib for lunch.  For dinner our friends ordered awesome Chinese food and I had some cooked eggplant, peppers, 3 shrimps, some tofu and half a chicken ball.  I also had Prosecco with the girls and loved every sip. I felt a little bloated the next day from the sodium and alcohol, but it didn’t throw me off track.

Yesterday I didn’t really eat much for breakfast for lunch. I had some cauliflower with hummus in the AM and shared a small Greek salad for lunch with B in between errands. For dinner, I made a huge green salad with fennel, and Vietnamese veggie fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce. So filling and satisfying.

B roasted a whole chicken for himself to eat over the next few days. He stuffed the chicken with chickpeas, a recipe we saw earlier in the day on TV from Chef Ramsay. OMG. The roasted chickpea mash he made after with lemon and roasted garlic was INCREDIBLE. I have never tasted anything like it. The ones that fell out of the chicken roasted at the bottom of the pan became crunchy and full of garlic and chicken flavour and were awesome. You must try it.

I kind of wanted to eat the chicken but at the same time I didn’t. I tried a couple pieces of it and it was good but I wasn’t going crazy for the meat. I don’t usually eat a lot of meat anyway so it’s not my go to thing.

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I was looking forward to the fresh rolls, the chickpea mash and a nice big salad.

Today I ate the leftover salad and fresh rolls for lunch, and have a super tasty treat planned for dinner. It’s already resting in the ‘fridge.

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I tried a new raw power bar recipe, which was awesome. Lots of dates, so it satisfies my sweet tooth. Really loving This Rawsome Vegan Life blog by Emily. She knows how to do it right and everything I’ve tried from her site is AWESOME.  The super tasty treat for dinner I also found on her site, which Emily wrote as a guest post for Ascension Kitchen’s site. Let me tell you, these ladies are rawkstars! (See what I did there?)

Raw power bar recipe

Raw power bar recipe

Raw Power Bar Recipe

Anyhoo.. here’s some pics – they are not as fab as Emily’s but I tried. I don’t have a dehydrator (Yet! I ordered it last week, woot!), and I didn’t have the patience to dehydrate the tomatoes in the oven, so I tossed them in some of the sundried tomato oil and some salt and threw them with some crushed garlic and olives in the toaster oven for 40 mins.  It made a nice cooked mush, which I just piled on top of the tart and threw it back in the fridge.

I also added some of my own home made hummus into the zucchini hummus mixture in the blender, which was SUPER garlicky so I didn’t actually add any fresh garlic to the zucchini mix. Hopefully I didn’t make it too thin and it will set. I also left the skin on the green zucchini.

Sundried tomato tart with zucchini hummus

Crust

Tart

Raw Food Reset – Day 3 and 4

Day 3 and 4 went pretty well. I’m down 5lbs!

I had a hard time sticking to raw, simply because I didn’t have the time to prep, so day 3 and 4 have morphed into a 90/10 raw split. With all the action at home I’ve not had the time in the kitchen I needed to ensure I could eat everything raw.  Majority of what I ate was raw however I did have a warm soup on Wednesday and Thursday because I forgot to bring my gazpacho to work! Gah!

Last night I sautéed large bok choi and one Portobello mushroom cap in sesame oil cause I needed to use it up. I was going to make mushroom and cashew pate but needed to use the bok choi that I had planned to have with my cauliflower ‘rice’. I ended up eating the bok choi and mushrooms with toasted raw cashews and toasted sesame seeds.  I really needed that meal last night. It was awesome and filling and B LOVED it. So simple, and when I start eating cooked foods again on the regular, I will be adding this to my weekly menu. It’s cheap, flavourful and healthy!

Each morning I’ve been having a banana, avocado and a kiwi, then snack, then lunch. It’s working out pretty good.

The one thing that I’ve really noticed from this week is that I need a LOT less food to feel full then I have been consuming. I was getting in such a rut, eating due to boredom or because it’s cheap and easy. Although B and I don’t eat out a lot, the food at home with our house guests needed to be simple and cheap.  I’m happy to be back on track and really paying attention to how my body feels without the oils, grains, wheat, meat and dairy.  I am craving cheese sometimes, and did have a couple of slices of spiced Gouda last night when I sliced it up for B. SO YUMMY. I so badly wanted to cut off a big chunk and mow down. Alas, I had control. WITH CHEESE!  I know, unheard of.

B stuffed pitas with the spiced Gouda and then toasted them in a frying pan.

Oh

My

Gawd

Not gonna lie.  I took a bite. Ok. I took 5 bites, but I gave it back after 5 bites and just enjoyed what was left in my mouth to savour. I also had control with that. It was the first time I had put wheat into my mouth in FOUR DAYS. Let me tell you, I appreciate that taste and will definitely be cutting down on it. Problem is, I LOVE baking bread. Like love it SO much I used to do it every Sunday. Sigh. Those days are long gone.

Did I tell you that after not having hummus for a while, when you’re on a raw diet, that hummus is like SEX in your mouth? Wow. I slathered it on broccoli and cauliflower yesterday at lunch and if anyone was watching me eat, I was like a fat kid with a bowl of chocolate cake with double chocolate ice cream on top, with someone holding a gun to their head making them eat it as fast as possible. I looked ridiculous. Pretty sure I had the hummus dripping down my face at one point.

 

Anyway, here’s what I ate the last couple of days.

Breakfast: banana, avocado, kiwi, green tea

Snack: broccoli, celery, carrots, yellow pepper, russet apple and almond butter.

Lunch: salad, small soup (broccoli on Wed and chicken broth on Thursday), more veggies and hummus, kidney beans, kiwi

Dinner: Wednesday: raw gazpacho soup, sautéed mushrooms. Thursday: cucumber and homemade hummus, sautéed bok choi, Portobello mushroom, toasted cashew and sesame seeds.

I’m so excited, today I think I am going to have some raw fish for lunch!!! Sashimi, here I come. Also super excited for raw seaweed salad. Oh the flavours.

Have a great FRIDAY friends! I’ll update again tomorrow 😉

Cheers,

Steph

Raw Food Reset – Day 2

Woke up in this morning feeling pretty good.  I unfortunately was up at 4am stretching my glutes, hamstring and inner thigh from the run.  I knew I’d feel it later in the day if I didn’t stretch, so there I was at 4am, laying on the carpet at the foot of the bed, stretching.  My cat Art laid down beside me and watched. Cute. I slept till 6 something, hit snooze a few times and hopped in the shower.

I thought I would wake up starving, but I didn’t. I was a little hungry, but I knew I could wait until work to eat my banana. I had a glass of raw apple cider that I bought from the farm on Sunday before leaving the house. So fresh, so sweet.  I don’t usually drink juices so this is new for me. I like it.

Weighed myself this AM as well. I’m down 2lbs. lol. LoosingI the water weight is so awesome.

I forgot my raw collard wrap that I had planned on having for lunch, so I knew I’d have to grab something from the cafe at work because the salad wouldn’t be enough. It was a long day at work, didn’t leave the office until after 6pm, so the 2nd apple I packed myself came in handy. Back to back meetings, busy designing training material I didn’t leave my desk much. Only to refill my hot water and go to the loo.  Productive person I am! (Yoda voice)

Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast: Organic banana, raw apple cider

Snack: 1 Kiwi, assorted veggies with almond butter (ate this throughout the day, not just for AM snack)

Lunch: Salad with apple, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, tomato, cucumber, grated carrots and kale.

Dinner: Made that cleanse gazpacho soup from the DO EAT RAW app. I failed to add the avocado and lemon juice at first when I was blending it and it came out kinda chunky. Like watery salsa. I wasn’t impressed but figured, what the hell.  I managed to find a ripe avocado and a lime and added the juice and the whole avocado. WHAT a difference.  Creamy and delicious. I also added a good pinch of salt and ground chipotle pepper to it for a kick.

The soup doesn’t LOOK that appetizing, but it is pretty good. I’ll definitely make it again. I forgot to add the spinach, so mine only has kale in it. Next time I’ll add that too. My blender just wasn’t big enough and I had to keep doing it in batches until the consistency was to my liking.

Cleansing Gazpacho Soup

Cleanse Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 little red bell peppers chopped
  • 6 green onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 5 leaves kale, chopped
  • Ginger root, 1/2 inch
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • Himalayan sea salt, pinch
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup warm water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until creamy and smooth.  Tada!

So I totally cheated a bit tonight and sautéed (on super low heat) some chopped crimini mushrooms.  I really felt like I needed something more tonight but after eating maybe 2 mushrooms, I had enough.  Weird.  I packed the rest for lunch tomorrow.

I didn’t even eat all the soup that I had poured for myself. I’m hungry but I’m not, and I’m not used to it. I’m so determined to eat clean that even though I want a HUGE hunk of cheese or a toasted bagel with whatever salami I can find with mayo spread all across it, I still wouldn’t eat it if you put it in front of me.

No exercise today, some stretching before bed but that’s about it. I will do sprints tomorrow to prep for the race on Sat, but that will probably be the extent of my cardio this week. Yoga on Thursday and MAYBE spinning on Friday. I hate to say no to a spinning class!

So far.. day 2 is a success!

Thursday and MAYBE spinning on Friday. I hate to say no to a spinning class!

So far.. day 2 is a success!