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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Energy Bars

Can you believe July is drawing to a close already?! Goodness, with the almost non-existent summer weather we’ve been getting, it feels like summer has barely even begun!

My globe-trotting mother is currently traveling through Eastern Canada and US, where I’m sure she’s getting her dose of scorching heat! Before she left, I made these Energy Bars, adapted from Mama Pea’s Vegan Energy Bars, for my mom to take on her trip:

My mom and I prefer granola bars that are hearty and barely sweet. I have searched high and low for a store-bought bar that isn’t too sweet, and while I do like the Kashi bars, they’re still too sweet for my mom’s palate. So I used Mama Pea’s recipe as a basis to create a granola bar that suits my mom’s tastes:

Energy Bars (makes 10 bars)

2.5 TB ground flax seeds + 7 TB warm water

2 C quick oats

1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C smooth natural nut butter (I used peanut butter with no sugar/salt/extra ingredients added)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

3 TB maple syrup (*see note)

2 TB lightly packed brown sugar (*see note)

1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

2/3 C roughly chopped nuts (I used a combination of almonds, pecans, and walnuts)

2/3 C dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped dried apricots)

1/3 C sunflower seeds

* Note: Like I indicated, I don’t have a very sweet palate, so if you prefer a sweeter granola bar, use up to 1/4 C maple syrup and/or 1/4 C brown sugar. The great thing about vegan baking is that you can taste and adjust as you go!

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together ground flax and water. Let sit for a few minutes so it “gels up” while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, stir together nut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Add flax+water mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Stir together together dry and wet ingredients. Add shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds. Continue stirring until well combined.

Use a spatula to spread mixture in a 9 x 9 pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Lightly wet your hands and press down firmly on the mixture until it is all evenly spread in the pan. Press down firmly, as this will really help your granola bars to achieve the right texture and stay together after baking.

Bake for 17 – 20 mins until lightly browned. Let cool in pan for about 1/2 hour, then use the parchment paper to lift bars out of the pan. Cut into bars, and let cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping in plastic wrap.

These bars are a good balance of chewiness and crunch, with just the right amount of sweetness. They are the perfect filling snack for when you are on the go. Hope my mom’s enjoying them while on her whirlwind travels!

 

 

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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Banana Blondies

I used to hate baking. I’d occasionally be driven by some desperate craving into making some cookies or something, but then I’d just grumble the whole time as I grudgingly measured and sifted.

Somewhere along the way in the past year or so, that’s all changed. I enjoy it so much more now, and while my first love in the kitchen will always be cooking savoury dishes, I have now found much joy and satisfaction in making my own desserts and bread as well.

And you know to whom I credit my change in attitude? Mama Pea! A majority of my first baking attempts were recipes from her blog that were both delicious and foolproof. And when I say foolproof, I really mean it; if I could get them to work, anyone can!

I was super excited to get a copy of her new book that just came out:

(Source)

I love that it’s not just a typical cookbook; just like on her blog, every recipe in it is accompanied by an endearing story about her family relating to the food. I have found myself just sitting on the couch, reading through the stories, just like I would a novel.

One of my favourite Mama Pea recipes is her “Double Chocolate – Single Chin Brownies” (which is featured in the book). Besides the awesome name, it’s just a super simple, super tasty recipe. Today, I had a sudden craving for it, but alas, no chocolate chips were to be found in the house. So I improvised, and came up with…

Banana Blondies (inspired by this recipe by Mama Pea)

1 C + 2 TB whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 bananas, mashed (just under 1 C)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

1 TB agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 C roughly chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (except pecans).

Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix until just combined.

Fold in pecans.

Pour and spread evenly into a lightly sprayed 8 x 8 pan.

Bake in oven for 18 – 20 mins, until lightly browned and edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool completely. Cut into squares.

I have to confess that I’ve actually never had blondies, so I have no idea how these measure up. But I can tell you they were tasty! These blondies are just the way I like my brownies: moist, cake-like, and not overly sweet. And the fact that these have zero butter or oil in them is a bonus!

Enjoy! :-)

 

Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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