Cherry Chocolate Chunk Bars

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I love Lara Bars.  They’re the perfect little package of energizing goodness.  I love making them at home even more.  They’re cheaper and you can adjust the ingredients until they’re just the way you like them.  If you have very specific (ok, OCD might be a more apt description) taste requirements like myself, this is paramount! I decided to do cherry chocolate.  They’re so good!

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If your cherries and dates are on the tough side, it’s a good idea to soak them first.  It will make it easier to blend and will put your food processor through a little less stress.  Mine is on it’s last leg, so I try to treat it kindly.  You can do any combination of nuts you like.  I used what I had on hand.  I try to buy nuts in bulk when they’re on sale. (Ahem, cheapo.)  You don’t need to toast the coconut, but I would recommend it based on the smell alone.  Skip the tropical getaway, I imagine they smell just like this!

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Ingredients

1 c Dried Cherries

1/4 c Dates

1/4 c Toasted Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)

1/2 c Cashews

1/2 c Walnuts

1/4 c Dark Chocolate Pieces

Pinch of Sea Salt

Pinch of Cardamom

Grease 8×8 brownie pan with coconut oil.  Toast coconut flakes at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.  While coconut is toasting, soak cherries and dates in warm water until softened (about 10 minutes). Combine all ingredients in food processor until desired consistency is reached.  I like to leave it a little chunky, myself.  Spread even layer in brownie pan.  Put in freezer for about 20 minutes.  This will make 8 small bars.  I store them in the fridge, but they’re good frozen too.

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Avocado Chicken Salad

 

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I have a love/hate relationship with chicken.  What a tricky bird!  Can we call a chicken a bird or do we have to call it a fowl?  Or is it strictly poultry.  Let’s talk about it later.  Right now I want to address how difficult it can be to avoid dry, bland chicken.  Even when you marinate!  Even when you cook it slowly and lovingly in a variety of juices.  It is exactly this frustrating history that led me to create this decidedly un-dry concoction.

I used shredded chicken I had from a whole chicken I’d roasted earlier in the week.  (Spoiler alert, the thing came out a far cry from moist!)  I added chopped celery, onion,  orange bell pepper and cilantro and then mixed up the following sauce:

1 Avocado

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Tbsp Vegenaise

1/4 c. Plain Greek Yogurt

1 clove Garlic

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Dash of Celery Salt

Dash of Oregano

Blend the above ingredients in a blender/food processor until smooth and creamy.  Add chicken and vegetables.  I put mine over broccoli slaw, but you could also put it in a lettuce leaf/wrap of your choosing.

Blueberry Scones

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I woke up yesterday morning with a powerful craving for scones.  Did I mention that I’m severely, astoundingly pregnant?  It’s true.  I haven’t seen my feet in a fortnight.  I get worried looks from strangers in the grocery store.  Anyway.  If you’ve been pregnant, you know that cravings don’t call for wishing and waiting.  They require swift and very specific action.

It was with this in mind that I came up with the following recipe.  I quite enjoyed it, all 12 of them in the space of two days to be exact.  (Diet starts in 4 weeks…ugh.)

You could substitute raspberries or other fruit for the blueberries if you like.  I used frozen blueberries, but fresh would work as well.  I also think these would be good with a little grated lemon rind.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 c. Almond Flour

1/4 c. Arrowroot Powder

1/4 c. Coconut Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Honey

1 Egg

4 Tbsp. Pasture Butter, softened

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 c. Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine softened pasture butter, egg, honey, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Mix until barely combined.  Add blueberries.  You can roll out into a circle and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter, or separate into little mounds.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Everything in the Pantry Granola

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Sure you could buy granola at the store…but what fun would that be?  Make your own.  Be the captain of your own ship.  Take control of your destiny.  Am I putting too much philisophical weight on this simple but tasty breakfast snack?  Most likely, but who knows?

I went through my pantry and let the creative juices flow.  Actually, I was fueled most by the desire to get rid of certain excess items that were threatening to topple my sense of order.

But I digress.

You will need a good, hearty base.  Oats fit the bill.  I like a variety of seeds and nuts too, as well as dried fruit.  The idea is to get the right balance of flavors, and everyone’s idea of perfect is a little different.  (Ask Kim and Kanye, am I right folks!?)  If you like big chunks of granola, use a little more maple syrup and honey.  The combinations are endless but here is my version, for today anyway:

2 c. GF Oats

1/2 c. Pecans

1/2 c. Walnuts

1/3 c. Quinoa

2 Tbsp. Flax Seed

2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1/2 c. Coconut

1/3 c. Sesame Seeds

1/3 c. Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 c. Dried Cherries

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Cardmom

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 c. Coconut Oil, melted

1/4 c. Honey

1/4 c. Real Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla.  Mix until well coated.  Spread evenly onto baking sheet.  Bake for 35 minutes or so, stirring every 10 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.  This will keep for up to one month.

Can be eaten with anything you feel okay about, including by the handfull straight out of the container.  I like it as a cereal with almond milk, in smoothie bowls, or with fruit and yogurt.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ain’t she a beaut’?

My mom has been making this chocolate chip cookie recipe for like, always.  It’s perfect.  Just the right combination of sweet and salty, with a nice chewy texture.  The cookie is a delight, although maybe not as health conscious as one would like.  So I set out to duplicate it, without the gluten and refined sugar.  I must say, I nailed it!

If you haven’t baked with gluten-free flour before, here’s your chance!  It’s really pretty straight forward.  If you have a personal favorite GF flour combination, you could try substituting it. This combination is one I like.  It’s got a mellow flavor and is easy on the ole’ wallet.  I find the taste of straight Almond Flour to be a bit overpowering.  Am I the only one that feels this way?  Plus, that stuff is pricey!  

This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies and they do contain calories, so maybe share them with the ones you love?  Or don’t.  I mean, you deserve them.

Ingredients:

1 c. Gluten-Free Oat Flour

1/2 c. Almond Flour

1/2 c. Arrowroot Starch

1/2 c. Sorghum Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder (I prefer aluminum free)

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

2 Tbsp. Flax Seed

1 c. Butter, softened

2 Medium sized ripened Bananas

1 c. Coconut Sugar or other sweetener

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla

2 1/2 c. Gluten-Free Oats

1 Package Dark Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Pieces

Pre-heat oven to 335 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together Oat Flour, Almond Flour, Arrowroot Starch, Sorghum Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt and Flax Seed. Smash up bananas with a fork. In a separate bowl, combine bananas with softened (not melted) Butter, Coconut Sugar, Eggs, and Vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Once barely combined, add Oats and Chocolate Chips. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Then, enjoy.