Raw Sesame Ball Bites

sesame ball bites If you like halava you will love this recipe! I broke my food processor when I made my Chocolate Pistacio  snack balls.  It was a sad day.  But all is well now!   My new one came yesterday and its way better then my old one!   Everything always has a silver lining, lol.

These are naturally sweetened, healthy, and totally raw! And if your balls come out more like logs, its okay, no one is judging…right??  LOL

Sesame Ball Bites:

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds for the outside

Put everything in a food processor except the toasted sesame seeds.  Pulse until everything is nicely mixed and grated up.  Take the “dough” and roll it in your hands into palm sized balls.  Roll in the toasted sesame seeds.  Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set, and enjoy!

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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

 

Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

bean and quinoa burger

This burger is another take on my bean and quinoa burger.  This time I flavored it with Thyme and Oregano, smothered it with homemade BBQ sauce, vegan cheddar cheese, and pickles.  Feel free to use tomatoes, lettuce, whatever you like on your burger, but the BBQ sauce is the main condiment, it just won’t be the same without it.  I was going to wait to post this up, but its so juicy and yummy that I had to post this up right away.

This makes about 4 large patties

Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2  tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp daiya vegan cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until it becomes smooth, then mold the mixture with your hands into patties and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

I DID NOT MAKE THE BBQ SAUCE RECIPE UP, THIS IS FROM http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/homemade-barbecue-sauce-just-like-sweet-baby-rays/  – I LOVE sweet baby rays but the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, this recipe tastes just as good, but its healthier =)   I’ve put my notes in italics.

Homemade BBQ sauce:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup, preferably organic
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar    (You can substitute agave or honey or any other sweetener, but it won’t be as authentic tasting)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (or you can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon worchestire sauce (vegan version from Annies is really great)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t like the heat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the water and corn starch mixture in a medium size sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for five minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved. If you like a thicker BBQ Sauce add the water and corn starch mixture. Simmer until desired thickness is reached, but watch closely. It thickens really fast! Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge.

 

Thai Inspired Vegetables

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I love Thai food, but I don’t always have everything I need on hand to make an authentic Thai dish.  This is a Thai-inspired dish instead, taking the inspiration of the four flavors, spicy, sour, sweet, and salty and creating this very delicious (and healthy) vegan dish.  Serve this over brown rice, or as I did, over salad greens.  This dish proves that you can have a good meal in no time at all, without spending a ton of money on expensive ingredients like lemongrass.  Remember, even if a dish is not authentic, we can still take inspiration from that culture’s flavors and turn it into our own.  Once you learn how certain flavors are meshed together in different parts of the world, its becomes easy, and quite fun to try to duplicate the basic idea behind the meal.  In usual Thai cooking, the sweetness is created using brown sugar, which I’ve replaced with stevia, a natural herb that is sweeter then table sugar, with zero calories and no glycemic index.    I’ve also replaced the lemon grass with lime juice, it is not at all the same flavor, as nothing really compares to lemon grass, but in a pinch, the flavor of lime will suffice.

Thai Inspired Vegetables:

  • Half a large eggplant cut into 1 inch squared pieces
  • A handful of asparagus cut into small bit size pieces
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 roughly chopped tomato
  • 10 basil leaves, julienne
  • 2 tsp garlic ginger paste OR 1 tsp ginger chopped, 1 tsp garlic chopped
  • 1 tbls soy sauce
  • 2 dash stevia
  • red pepper flakes according to taste, I used about 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp Lime juice

 

Healthy Saute the asparagus one minute, then throw in the eggplant and the mushrooms.  (Healthy sautee as seen here: https://omgirlsguide.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/vegan-cashew-lettuce-wraps-with-healthy-sauteed-vegetables/)   continue healthy sauteing 3 more minutes then uncover and add the rest of the ingredients.  Saute one to two minutes more, just making sure all the flavors are distributed evenly, server and enjoy!