Peanut butter Granola bars

I know I said the last granola bar recipe was going to be my last granola recipe, but I wanted to really show the versatility in making these.  So THIS is my last granola bar recipe.  I promise.

For this recipe, I replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter and almond butter.  Because all you really need is a fat of some kind.  (You could use butter, bananas)

I soaked my chia seeds this time because I was having an issue with the ones on the outside of my bars falling off.  I seem to have solved that problem this time.

Not only did these come out really crunchy, but they are also the cheapest granola bars I have made to date.  I just kind of threw them together with whatever I had on hand.  (Time to food shop!)

Peanut butter Granola bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds, soaked for a minute
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pepitas and dried cranberries)

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20-30 minutes (it should be nice and browned on the top)  and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Pistacio Snack Balls

chocolate pistachio nut balls

 

These little guys pack a punch, and its as easy as throwing things into a food processor, and then rolling them into a ball.  They are basically raw, except the pistachios I used are roasted…but use sesame seeds or coconut on the outside instead and you have yourself a healthy raw snack.  This is another one that is really versatile.   I think next time I’ll use almond butter and walnuts, with sesame seed on the outside.

There’s no added sugar in these, being naturally sweetened by the dates.  They are also filled with healthy fats, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates for energy.  Plus pistachios are natural mood boosters, so eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Snack Balls

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios,

For the outside:

  • ground up shelled pistachios

Process everything in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.  Roll them into  palm sized balls and then roll them in the extra pistachios to coat them.    Place them in the freezer to set for a half hour.  Enjoy!

These stay good for a up to a week in the fridge, and up to two in the freezer.

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

strawberry granola bars

Okay, so I may be a little obsessed over Granola bars.  I’ve made 3 more batches since my last blog post.  I even ordered a bar pan from pampered chef.  It isn’t here yet, but I’m super excited about it.  I promise, this will be my last post  with a granola bar recipe because I think after this one you guys will get the point about how to make them, and how  customizable they are.  But this one is REALLY good, and I had to share.

I used coconut sugar in this recipe, which has trace amounts of nutrients, and a lower GI then regular sugar, so its at least a tiny bit healthier for you then using brown sugar but it  tastes about the same.  There’s also flax and chia seed in here for added omega 3’s and some weight loss boosters.   The preserve I used are natural, grape juice sweetened preserves, so make sure you read your ingredients,  you don’t want anything with high fructose corn syrup.  And of course, buy organic whenever you can!

Oh and my normal camera’s battery is dead so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, sorry about that.  These guys really deserve better photos.  I’ll take other ones later when the battery charges =)

strawberry granola bars

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pistachios, freeze dried strawberries, flax seeds, and chia seeds)
  • Strawberry preserves

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×10 pan with oil.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the preserves.  I do this by hand.  When its all nicely combined, press most of  it into the pan, reserving about 1/4 of it for the top.  Spread a thin layer of the preservers over the top of the granola mix in the pan, I used the back of a spoon to do this.  Then top with the rest of the granola.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool at least 2 hours, I stuck mine in the fridge over night. Its much easier to cut into bars after it has cooled off.

 

Cut into bars and enjoy!  These freeze great too.

 

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

 

Jackson is 5 weeks old now and I’m almost used to being sleep deprived!  Thank god for my husband, I’m going to miss him so much when he goes underway…which is coming up pretty soon.  Although I have yet to venture into a store with my two munchkins alone (Fred Meyer doesn’t count because they have one hour day care lol) there are certain things that I’m getting really good at, like multi tasking!

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Bath time AND bed time? I got this!!

I’m not really sure what I would do without baby wearing at this point.  I’m actually typing this up while my LO is sound asleep on my chest in my Beco Gemini LOL.  One thing that is really hard though, is dealing with my ravenous hunger.  I feel like a bottomless pit.  (Breastfeeding will do that to a woman.)   At night, when my little guy wakes up at 4 am and won’t go  back to bed, I have a choice…either go downstairs and make myself food (and risk stimulating Jackson to the point of no return and NEVER GETTING BACK TO SLEEP AGAIN) or stocking my bedside table with easy snacks.   I chose the latter.

So today I decided to cook up some really healthy and filling granola bars.  You’ll never buy store bought again when you see how easy it is to make these guys, and you can totally customize them, adding any nuts and dried fruits you want.  Plus, they are totally kid friendly.  Not to mention, homemade are much healthier then store bought, which are loaded with sugars and preservatives.

Oh! And to any other breastfeeding mama’s out there, oats and almonds are great for milk production.  Not that you needed another reason to make these easy treats!

So the first recipe is my Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola, and then just for fun I whipped up Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bars.  Because you can never have too many  healthy snacks.  They are egg free, dairy free, and can be gluten free if you use gluten free oats.

Chocolate Cherry Granola bar

Chocolate Cherry Granola Bar

I sweetened these with farmer’s market honey and organic molasses.   The molasses add magnesium and potassium while giving it a nice rich dark flavor that lends itself nicely to the dark chocolate.  Plus its filled with flax seeds, pepitas, and slivered almonds giving you healthy proteins, and omega 3’s for lasting energy.  Coconut oil is packed with lauric acid, which protects the immune system and is great for nursing infants.   If you’ve followed along with my older blog posts, you know that I’m not big on using a lot of oils in my cooking, even healthy coconut oil, but when nursing, a mother needs all the healthy fats she can get.  Coconut oil is one of the best oils there is for you, plus in these bars it gives an incredible coconuty flavor.    If you would like to skip it though, you can substitute applesauce.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

  • 2 Cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • 1/4 cup organic molasses
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup  almond flour
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • pinch of salt

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20 minutes and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.

Cinamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bar

These next bars have way fewer ingredients, but I was on a role with the first batch and I already had the oven hot, so I figured I’d make another flavor.  Why not, right?  They freeze well and they keep for a long time (at least 2 weeks) so it never hurts to make extra.  I skipped the oil this time and went straight for the applesauce, mostly for the flavor.

Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola Bars

  • 3 Cups rolled oats (I didn’t used gluten free for this recipe, but feel free to do so, it won’t change the flavor or the measurements)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs flax seed
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • pinch of salt

 

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas

 

I was at the grocery store, and I saw a pre-packaged dish called Bombay potatoes and chickpeas.  Its an Indian dish where the potatoes and chickpeas are cooked in a rich tomato sauce.   It looked so good, but of course the sodium was 28% of the recommended daily allowance, so I passed it up.  (Not to mention all the added preservatives and whatnot that are also lurking in it!)  But I had to try it, so this is my attempt to make bombay potatoes.  Amchur powder is a bitter mauve powder made from green mangoes, and it goes really well with potatoes.  The chili pepper that  I used is from Kashmir (hence the name), a place in Northern Indian.  It is VERY hot, so only use a pinch of it in recipes, or exclude it completely if you don’t like spice.   So I have no idea if this dish tastes anything like actual Bombay potatoes and chickpeas, but its really good regardless.    To my credit however, I did research a bit  before attempting to make this and found many different recipes.  The basics are all here, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, ginger and onions….if anyone has ever had this dish before I’d love to hear from you to see if I hit the mark!

Waxy potatoes are always better to use then regular russet potatoes because they are less starchy, plus their glycemic index is less.

Bombay Potatoes and Chickpeas:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Kashmir chili pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp amchur powder
  • 3 waxy potatoes, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • salt

In a wok heath the broth till it steams, then add the garlic, ginger and onion, cover and cook for 4 minutes.  Uncover it, add the  cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili pepper, stirring constantly, cooking another 2 minutes or until its fragrant.  Add the crushed tomatoes, and the amchur powder, and stir it up so the sauce mixes with the spice mixture.  Add in the potatoes, cover it back up and cook 30 minutes over medium-low heat.   The smaller you dice the potatoes the less time it will take to cook.  They are done when they are easily pierced with a fork.  After 30 minutes add the chickpeas, stir it up, and cook, covered, another 10 minutes.   Season to taste with salt.

This dish would be really good with some chutney and naan bread.

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Its a cold rainy day today, the kind of weather you would expect in Autumn, or maybe even later winter, definitely not the type of weather you would think of in late June.  Honestly, though, nothing surprises me in Washington anymore.  This soup is a comfort food of mine, full of protein and fiber, and chock full of nutrients.    Make this over rice for a more filling meal, or eat it as I am, as a soup.

Indian Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

  • 2 cups cooked Lentils (I used Green Sprouted Lentils from TruRoots)
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 can diced tomotes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 can coconut milk

Heat the broth in a pan and when it starts to steam, add the onions, cover and cook 3 minutes.  Uncover and let it  cook another minute, adding the garlic and ginger and stirring until it becomes fragrant.  Drain a little bit of the liquid off the tomatoes, and add them into the onions.

While that’s cooking through, add the coconut milk to the cooked lentils, and heat it up over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion/tomato mixture to the lentils/coconut mixture, and continue to cook over medium heat, uncovered, another 5 minutes.   Season it with salt.

Eggplant and Zucchini Indian Stir Fry

Eggplant and Zucchini Stir Fry

 

I learned to cook this dish from an Indian family that I used to work for as a nanny.  It was my first meal I cooked without oil before I even knew that cooking without oil was a way.  The eggplant and zucchini in this dish cook in tomato juice, and it is simply spiced with just a bit of turmeric, a hint of ginger, and a bit of garlic.  I make this dish over brown rice, and eat it as  a main course, but it could of course be a side dish as well.  One zucchini with the skin has about 2g of protein, 2g of fiber, and a ton of vitamin A.  Since it is a low energy food, it keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps manage weight.

I could only use half the zucchini in this recipe, it was so huge!

I haven’t mentioned what allicin is in a while, so just a reminder as to why we let the garlic sit for 5 minutes:  when garlic is cut it releases healing enzymes called allicin.  These enzymes are antibacterial and help to ward off germs.  Usually these enzymes would be released when we chew but since most people don’t chew thoroughly, it is best to let the knife do the work for us.  Many studies have been conducted on garlic and its healing properties and they have concluded that people who consume at least 6 cloves of garlic a week are much less likely to get sick.  Taking garlic extract pills is also very useful…but why take a pill when you can just make delicious meals with fresh garlic and get the same effect!

 

Eggplant and Zucchini Indian Stir Fry

  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and let to sit at least 5 minutes to release the allicin
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 green zucchini, diced (you can dice them larger then normally if you are having this as a main dish)
  • 1 eggplant, diced (again, you can dice it bigger)
  • (optional) 1 yellow squash, diced
  • salt to taste

Heat the vegetable broth in a large wok with  a lid, and when it begins to steam, add the diced tomatoes and cover it up for 5 minutes, cooking over medium heat.  The tomatoes will begin to break down.   After 5 minutes, add the garlic and the ginger and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the onions, cover it back up, and cook another 3 minutes.  Add the turmeric and stir it all up until it looks yellow.  Next add the zucchini and the eggplant, and the squash if you’re using it, cover it up and cook 15 minutes.  You might not even need to cook it for the full 15 minutes,  depending on how large you made the chunks, how crowded your pan is, or in my case how large the zucchini is!  (I had to cook mine for longer then 15 minutes because the zucchini was so  big that at first it didn’t all fit into my wok!)  Every so often check on it, give it a stir, make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and the eggplant and zucchini aren’t over cooking.

You want the vegetables to become a bit translucent, but not wilt so much that they fall to mush when you stir your dish.

When its done, season it with a bit of salt, and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Island Style Tofu Dippers

 

Island style Tofu Dippers

This is another version of my tofu dippers, a bit less simple but just as yummy!

Island style Tofu Dippers

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, wrapped in towels and pressed to drain
  • 2 egg replacers (3 tsp egg replacer to 4 tbsp warm water)
  • 1/3 cup Gluten free, vegan Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup shredded dry coconut

Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees.  Mix the bread crumbs with the shredded coconut.  Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick strips.  Dip each one into the egg replacer, then into the panko-coconut mix.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and put the coated tofu on the sheet, and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until its nice and crispy and browned.  Make the sauce while the tofu bakes.

 

Dipping Sauce: 

  • 1 can organic pineapple slices in juice (reserve about half pineapples)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup amino acids
  • 2 dashes stevia (you can use agave, or honey here, but not too much, maybe about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

In a blender, blend all ingredients together except the cornstarch, water and  oil.  You need a high speed blender, you don’t want any garlic chunks.  If you don’t have a high speed blender, you could try grating the garlic first.  Take the blended sauce and put it in a sauce pan and while the tofu bakes in the over, reduce this over medium heat.  After 20 minutes, mix the cornstarch in the water, making sure there’s no lumps, and then add it into the sauce, stirring constantly as you add it.  It should thicken up right away.   Take it off the heat, and add the oil.

Serve these with the remaining pinepple slices.  I eat this by placing half a slice of pineapple on top of my dipper, then dipping it in the sauce.  It is so good, and its good for you too!

I bet you’re all wondering what I did with that gigantic zucchini!    That recipe is coming up either later today or tomorrow, and it couldn’t be simpler! Stay tuned! =)

Rajma – Indian Kidney beans in Tomato Sauce

Rajma

This is a traditional Indian dish.  Garam masala is a a sweet spice mixture which usually contains black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black and white cumin seeds and a mixture of cardamon pods.  You can find it in most large grocery stores and its not usually used in cooking, but instead used to garnish a dish.  Indian cuisine is one of my favorites, beside Asian dishes.  There are so many  vegan things you can make and its so aromatic and flavorful that its hard to say no to seconds.  This dish is really fast and easy to make, plus its a complete protein when you combine the beans and rice.    Brown rice is gluten free, so anyone can enjoy this dish without guilt or worry!  I make this dish at least once every two weeks, if you have the time you can use dried beans, but of course you need to soak them overnight and cook them for two hours before adding them to the dish.

Rajma – Indian Kidney beans in Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste (or 1 crushed garlic clover and 1 tbsp grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 can orgainc kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2  tsp garam marsala
  • fresh cilantro, plus some for garnish

cook the onion and the garlic ginger paste in the  vegetable broth for 2 minutes, covered.  Add the cumin and coriander, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until its fragant.  You want to cook the spices or it won’t taste right.  Add the sauce and the beans, and let cook, uncovered for 20 minutes on low heat.  When its done, mix in the garam marsala and cilantro and serve with rice.   Garnish with extra cilantro.   I made turmeric rice for this  dish, but you can use plain rice as well.

 

Yellow Rice:

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of salt

Put it all in a rice cooker, cover and the rice cooker will do all the work for you!  Fluff it up when its done.

Spicy Cold noodle salad (vegan, gluten free)

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So I had a lot of leftover pasta from the pancit, so I took them and made a cold noodle salad.   Its really fast to make, and really tasty.  I always try to use up leftovers, there’s usually always something you can do with them if you get a little creative.  And if you hadn’t noticed, I really love noodles.

The red chili peppers contain capsaicin,  which is known to help boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.  Additionally, eating chili peppers is said to boost your endorphins which can make you feel happier and promote serotonin which can enhance your mood and your memory.  If that’s not enough, sriracha can also help the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots, fight inflammation, improve circulation, and help you fight a cold by acting as an expectorant.

There’s also vitamin A from the cucumbers and  carrots, antioxidants, protein from the amino acids and sesame seeds, plus its low in calories.

Spicy Cold Noodle Salad:

  • 1  cup cooked mung bean noodles
  • 1  cup cooked rice stick noodles
  • 1 tbsp amino acids
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (use less if you don’t like things spicy)
  • 2 dashs stevia
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 3 roughly chopped green onions
  • sesame seeds (you can use slivered almonds, or crushed cashews, any kind of nut or seed would work here)

Mix the amino, oil, vinegar, hot sauce and stevia together in a bowl.   Put the rest of the ingredients together, mix them up well, and then pour on the sauce.  Toss to coat it all well and let it chill, covered, in the fridge for an hour.  Enjoy!