Gluten Free, Vegan Twix Bars

I think we can all agree Halloween is the most fun holiday. Everyone gets to dress up, carve pumpkins and eat candy. It does not get better than that. Not to mention we are all still stoked on the seasons changing and all things Fall and pumpkin spice. Hands down the best time of year. For Halloween I usually let my son pick a couple of the items out of his candy bucket to enjoy so he does not feel completely left out, but the truth is he is not allowed to eat junk foods and candy often at all. So, I trade him for organic, healthier treats. This year I made something he would not want to pass up for a trade in, homemade Twix bars! It was really a toss up between Twix and almond butter cups but I wanted to try something new. I am so glad I did, each layer of this faux Twix is flavorful and guilt free if you ask me. These delicious Twix bars are vegan & gluten free and you would never even know it.

Ingredients

Shortbread

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup

Caramel

  • 2 cups of pitted dates
  • 5 tablespoons of non dairy milk ( I used almond)
  • Teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life because they are Non- Gmo, nut free, dairy free, soy free)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all your shortbread ingredients well, add mixture to your pan while pressing firmly and evenly to form to the bottom of your pan.
  3. Pop the shortbread into the oven and let bake for 10-12 minutes, until it is golden in color, then let cool.
  4. While the shortbread is cooling down make the date caramel by tossing all ingredients into your blender or food processor blend until it forms a creamy consistency. If you wish for your caramel to be creamier slowly add a little more non dairy milk or water.
  5. Once the caramel is finished, spread a thick, even layer onto your shortbread, then refrigerate for about an hour or until caramel has firmed.
  6. Now time for the best part, the chocolate. Add coconut oil and chocolate chips to a double boiler and melt down the chocolate chips, poor melted chocolate onto into the middle of your square pan onto the shortbread and caramel, smooth and even out. Let cool in the refrigerator for another hour
  7. Once you are ready slice and portion out into individual bars, make sure your knife is nice and warm to help cut through the hardened chocolate. You can do this by running your knife under hot water or warming by holding it over a warm oven burner. Cut down the middle first then cut 6 pieces on each side to make 12 twix bars. Store in refrigerator.
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Fall Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

It is October 25th and the high today in the Bay Area is 85 degrees, I think mother nature has her seasons a little confused. Where is that Fall weather I was enjoying last week? This heat wave is no joke, it looks like it will be hot all week. With that being said I needed to add some cold items to my weekly meal plan to avoid heating up the entire house (even more) with my oven. But I still wanted something Fall-esque, this salad was the perfect solution. As a matter of fact if the heat continues I will probably be having salads all week, and maybe an ice pop or two.

Shaved brussels sprouts, kale, red onion, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate tossed in honey mustard dressing, I am loving these flavors together. This can be served as a great main dish, starter or side for those warm fall days when mother nature does not want to let go of Summer. This recipe can be friendly most diets, if you are vegan just substitute the honey in the dressing with agave or maple syrup. If you are paleo and want some protein add egg, salmon or chicken. It’s that easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed, chopped & massaged
  • 5 cups (about a pound) of shaved brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 of red onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons of yellow mustard
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon diced shallots or minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash, destem, chop and massage your kale for 3-5 minutes, I know it sounds silly but you don’t want to skip this step. If you don’t massage the kale it will be very rough.
  2. Shred the brussels sprouts, I used the slicing attachment to my food processor which made this step quick and easy.
  3. Whip up the honey mustard dressing, and toss your kale and brussel sprouts in it.
  4. Slice and top your salad with red onion along with the pepitas and pomegranate seeds.

Fennel Fronds Pesto

I received my Imperfect Produce delivery over the weekend, which is always like Christmas for me. Among other great fruits and vegetables in my delivery box it had fennel. Two of them! I personally love fennel. It can be enjoyed raw, sliced thin and tossed in salads or quartered and oven roasted. I usually only eat the bulb of the fennel and toss the stalks and fronds in my vegetable broth for extra flavor. This week I was feeling the need to try something new. So I added the stalks to my vegetable broth bag like usual, only this time tearing off and setting aside the fronds as I went. I am thinking If I can make a pesto out of carrot tops I can certainly make a pesto out of my fennel fronds, right? So that is what I did! The fennel pesto was so vibrant and flavorful. This was my first time making it and certainly will not be my last. I prepared roasted potatoes for dinner and served them with the pesto right over the top. This recipe will also be awesome used as a spread for wraps and sandwiches or as a marinade for wild salmon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fennel fronds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender (I used a food processor) blend until your desired consistency.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

This dish is just screaming FALL! And who doesn’t love Fall? Boots, scarfs, leaves and squash. Out of all the squash in season at the moment Delicata is one of my favorites (along side spaghetti squash) due to it’s amazing flavor and easy preparation. The skin on this squash is edible so no need for peeling or scraping.  Just rinse, roast and enjoy. This recipe makes the perfect side dish or can be served over quinoa or raw spinach to make a bowl or salad.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 delicata squash (I cook for 3 people so I prepared 1 per person)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut or avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Pinch of pink salt

Maple tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 fresh garlic clove diced or 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 3 table spoons of warm water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Rinse squash, cut lengthwise, remove seeds cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Toss with oil and spices and lay out on parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Roast in your oven for 30-35 minutes (until fork tender)
  5. While your squash is roasting, combine all ingredients together for your sauce and whisk until pourable
  6. Remove squash and drizzle with tahini sauc

Coconutty Chocolate Almond Bites

chocolate, coconutty, almond bites
chocolate, coconutty, almond bites

Today is the last day of summer and I am going out with a bang! I was sitting on my balcony enjoying the warmth from the sun on a cool day and thought, the only way this could get better is if I had a snack. So I made one, I was craving something healthy, yet chocolaty and gluten free so it can second as a school snack for my son. I am so thankful I had all the ingredients on hand to make date bites. Between the coconut, almonds and cocoa powder they taste just like an almond joy and the best part is how simple this recipe is. Just three steps, blend, roll, and enjoy. no baking necessary. They are friendly to any diet imaginable being vegan, gluten free, and paleo. If you don’t like chocolate (but who doesn’t like chocolate?) or almonds, maybe you will like these coconut cashew bites.

 

Ingredients **makes about 10**

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1/2 cup of almonds
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of  sea salt

Instructions

  1. Pulse the almonds to into smaller pieces in a food processor or blender
  2. Add all other ingredients and run on low speed until everything is broken down and your mixture looks more rollable. almost like a thick, sticky paste.
  3. Roll into balls, about  1 to 1 1/2 inches in size or your desired size, this size make 10 bites.
  4. I left half of the batch naked and rolled the other half in shredded coconut. They are good both ways so either mix it up, leave them all naked or if you are a coconut lover roll them all in coconut.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I just got back from an amazing vacation with my family, one of the first things I did when I got home was make a fresh batch of almond milk and dehydrated our leftover pulp to make almond meal.  Today I have some over ripe bananas that will be great mixed in with the almond meal to make a delicious banana bread! I love this recipe.  It only takes about 10 minutes to prep and 45 mins to bake. I toss it all in my blender which makes for quick and easy mixing and clean up. This recipe is so flexible and caters to multiple diets. It is Gluten free and If you want this recipe to be vegan, use 2 flax eggs. If you are unfamiliar with flax eggs, making them is effortless, I promise. You simply mix together 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water per egg. You will want this to be one of your first steps so you can set them aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. While your “eggs” are thickening, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toss all other ingredients in your blender. When your eggs are thick and sticky, add them to the blender with all other ingredients and run on low for about 50 seconds or until it’s well mixed. Add the mixture to a lightly oiled pan and sprinkle some chocolate chips, walnuts, or coconut to the top (optional). Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool before slicing.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs (Paleo) or 2 flax eggs (Vegan)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Flax egg ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of water
Flax Egg
Flax Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make your flax eggs by mixing ground flaxseed and water and set aside to thicken for 5 minutes
  3. Add all other ingredients to blender
  4. Toss in flax eggs when they are thick and sticky
  5. Run blender on low for 50 seconds or until well mixed
  6. Add mixture to lightly oiled pan
  7. Add fun toppings such as coconut flakes, chocolate, or walnuts (optional)
  8. Bake for about 45-50 minutes
  9. Let cool

**Skip step 2 if using eggs**

The Best Grain Free Granola

Grain Free Granola
Grain Free Granola

You guys have to try this granola!  I’ve made it a couple times now and it is my new go to. This recipe is completely grain-free and made mostly with nuts, seeds and some coconut! It is sweet, salty with the right amount of crunch that is perfect to add fresh berries to for breakfast or to yogurt for an afternoon snack. Now, this particular recipe is made with honey but can be made vegan with one ingredient swap, maple syrup.  Also, this recipe is Paleo as is.  It’s also a great way to use some of that almond meal we made last week! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. First, add all your dry ingredients to a bowl, followed by your wet ingredients, then, mix well. Spread onto a cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper which makes it easier for transferring into a jar later on. cook for  28-32 mins depending on how dark or toasty you like it! let sit and cook for a couple of minutes before transferring into an airtight jar. Makes about 6 cups.

Ingredients (Organic perferred)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Add all dry ingredients to bowl
  3. Stir in wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread mixture on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes depending on how toasted you like your granola
  6. Let cool for at least 5 minutes
  7. Add in raisins, dried cranberries, or goji berries (optional)
  8. Mix if you added dried fruit
  9. add to airtight container and enjoy

How To Use Your Left Over Almond Pulp

On Monday we made the most delicious almond milk but had all that leftover pulp.  So, let’s use it! Optimizing your food fights waste and gives you the most bang for your buck. Hopefully your pulp drained any leftover liquid because we are going to dry it out to make almond meal! This literally takes zero effort but it does take some time so I would plan to do this when you know you will be home for a bit. Once your almond meal is dried, it will last up to 9 months. The left over pulp should make about 1 cup of almond meal. Store this in a larger airtight container this way you have room to add to it as you continue to make your milk. Almond meal is very versatile and can be used as breading, for pancakes, or baking and is gluten free and paleo.

 

All you need to do is set your oven at the lowest temperature, spread your pulp out on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven. The lowest my oven goes is 170, at this temperature it takes about 3 hours to dry out the almond pulp. I usually mix it up half way through then forget about it again but that is not a mandatory step in the drying process. Once your pulp is all dry, transfer to a food processor or blender and run on low for about 15 seconds just to break up and larger clumps. Lastly, store it away until you are all ready to use for something delicious!

How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp
How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp

Ingredients

•1 cup almond pulp

Instructions

  1. Set oven to lowest temperature
  2. Spread almond pulp onto cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 3 hours
  4. Once pulp has dried, blend for 15 seconds to break up bigger chunks
  5. Transfer to airtight container

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

Happy Summer!! We are celebrating with some warm temperatures here in the Bay Area, I certainly did not want to turn my oven on, but had a bit of a sweet tooth this afternoon. These date bites were the perfect solution to satisfy my craving without having to heat up the entire house by baking. My eight year old son is home for the summer and loves to prepare food as much as I do so this was a fun activity for him, as well as a great treat. Dates help regulate digestion, and boost energy, cashews are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and coconut is high in protein, fiber, iron and zinc. These bites are vegan, paleo, have no added sugar yet they are naturally sweet and delicious. Sounds too good to be true right?  This recipe should yield 10-12 bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut plus set aside about 1/3 cup for coating bites
  • 2 tsp of chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Instructions

  1. Pulse your cashews to smaller pieces in a food processor or blender.
  2. After the cashews are broken down to your desired size (I left mine coarsely chopped) add your pitted dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and water and blend together until the mixture is finely chopped and looks a little sticky and rollable.
  3. Set aside a little bowl with some extra shredded coconut. Roll the mixture into balls 1 to 1.5 inches in size, then roll the bites around in your coconut bowl to coat.

 

Broccoli Slaw with Creamy Peanut Dressing

 

 On a past blog post I talked about a couple different ways to use your broccoli stalks, broccoli slaw tossed in a peanut dressing is probably my favorite! This recipe is simple, yet fresh and flavorful. You can plate the slaw over some quinoa and make a full meal out of it, or bring it to a summer barbecue as a side. The dressing can easily be made paleo with one simple swap by substituting the peanut butter for almond butter. Keep in mind most recipes can be changed to your liking.

 Ingredients

Slaw

  • 1/2 head of cabbage shredded,  4 to 5 cups depending on size
  • 4 broccoli stalks, 3 cups of match sticks
  • 2 carrots 1 1/2 cups of match sticks
  • 1/2 cup of diced green onion

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3- 1/2 water
  • 1/2 tsp diced or grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 lime wedge for juice

Instructions

  1.  Using my food processor attachment I was able to create match sticks with my 4 leftover broccoli stalks and 2 carrots, I flipped my attachment over to shred 1/2 a head of green cabbage. I also had some green onions that were recently regrown so I sliced up about 1/2 cup and placed all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using a separate mixing bowl for the dressing, stir in a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, coconut or liquid aminos, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, squeeze a lime wedge and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Now, it is time to whisk your wet ingredients together. When making seed or nut dressings the sauce can thicken up while whisking if there is not enough liquid, if this happens, slowly add a tad bit more water to help give it that thinner yet creamy consistency you are looking for.
  3. When the dressing is ready, pour over your slaw and toss together. Garnish with sesame seeds or cilantro if you have some and enjoy.