Snack bars revisited – this time with Millet!

31 01 2012

Do other people who blog about the food they make ever feel like “hey, sometimes I wanna revisit stuff I made a while ago and I don’t wanna feel bad about that”?

I made these ages ago and I really loved how complex the flavour was, you were hit with sweetness and bitterness from the agave and the coffee, the molasses adds a nice depth of flavour and then… THEN you taste some chocolate. It’s like a diversity party in your mouth.

Last time I made these with less sauce and with amaranth. It was different this time but it was a good kind of different. (Let’s revisit the diversity party idea, again.)

Millet Snack Bars

1 cup coffee

3 Tbsp molasses

3 Tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 cups puffed millet

1/2 cup almonds, chopped or slivered

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup dried cranberries

Prepare a 9″ x 9″ pan, either greasing it or lining it with parchment paper. I normally go with greasing the pan because folding parchment paper is a lot like work.

Chop pecans and almonds, then place in a large bowl – I didn’t toast like I did last time. Measure all other dry ingredients (except cocoa powder) into the bowl with chopped nuts: puffed millet, unsweetened coconut, and cranberries.

Heat coffee in a saucepan on medium-high heat in order reduce. You want to have roughly 1/3 cup coffee after reducing. Remove from heat and add molasses, honey, vanilla, cocoa, and peanut butter, stirring until mixed.

Pour coffee-peanut-butter mixture over millet-nuts-n-coconut mixture, stir until all the dry ingredients are lightly coated.

Scoop mixture from saucepan into 9″ x 9″ pan, pressing bar mixture firmly into pan. Place in fridge or freezer and allow to set for at least an hour before cutting into bars and trasferring to an air tight container and storing in the fridge.

Beware: these do not travel well because they have to stay cold, but they are delicious and totally worth having to keep them at home and never share them with your work colleagues. Totally worth it.


Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf… with some pecans

21 01 2012


This is another modified creation from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.  First, I thought putting pecans on the top before baking would look pretty and taste delicious.  I was wrong, the pecans got a little overdone and, although I enjoyed picking them off and eating them, this would have had better presentation without burnt pecans on top.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead.

It also called for a lot more sugar, which I replaced with less sugar and some protein powder.

The end result is, perhaps a little dry, but totally delicious.  Spreading applesauce on each slice helps with any moisture issues without adding any fat.  Genius.


Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf

2 cups flour (I used a combination of spelt and buckwheat)

1/2 cup protein powder (no protein supplements? just add 1/2 cup extra flour)

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups puréed butternut squash

1 banana

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp stevia powder

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat over to 350ºF.  Lightly oil a large loaf pan and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, protein, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.

In a blender or food processor, blend squash, banana, oil, water vanilla, sugar, and stevia together until smooth.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed.  Fold chopped pecans into batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.



The best thing I ever put in my mouth

21 12 2011


At Christmas I bake like a mad woman who bakes a lot of cookies and this year was no exception.  The exception this year is that after madly baking all the cookies I ship off and send to friends and family, I baked some more for SO and I.

These crazy little cookies are so heavenly that after, the holiday season, I’ll probably take a stab at making these bad-boys in a less devil-may-care-holiday kind of way and a more holy-crap-spring-is-coming-faster-than-I-thought-it-would-and-I-need-watch-my-winter-weight kind of way.

In the mean time, it’s Christmas and for me that means it’s a time to enjoy the foods I avoid (consume in moderation) throughout the rest of the year.  So, tip up a mug of boozy coffee, grab some cookies, and enjoy the morning paper – it’s Christmas!


Apricot Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup Earth Balance or margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 flax egg (1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar, for rolling

1/2 cup apricot jam

Preheat over to 350ºF and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combing flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the almond butter, Earth Balance, and brown sugar together until creamy.  Add the vanilla and flax egg, continue to cream together.  With your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the creamy mixture.

FYI: I refrigerated my dough for about 2 hours so that I could go do other things, this isn’t necessary but it’s possible.

Pour sugar into a bowl.  Scoop our tablespoon scoops of dough, roll into balls, and then roll balls in sugar bowl.  Place your sugared balls on the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

Using your thumb (or other suitable thumb substitute) make indentations in each cookie before baking for 12 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if your thumbprint virtually disappears when the cookies bake – that’s normal.  You can counter the disappearing thumbprints by pulling the cookies out 5 minutes early and, using a measuring spoon, re-indenting you cookies, and then returning to the over for the final 5 minutes.

After baking, allow cookies to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before adding a dollop of apricot jam to each cookie.

Try and eat just one.  I dare you.


Thanks Giving Muffins

20 10 2011

SO grabbed one of these off the stove and headed to his favourite chair to begin his morning review of webcomics when I heard, “What the — did you put in these that tastes so tart?”

Cranberries.  Fresh cranberries.

“Oh… They’re really good.  Can you bring me another one?” he replied from the living room.

From inauspicious beginnings, these muffins quickly turned their fortune around and then just as quickly disappeared from my counter forever.

Thanks Giving Muffins

1 cup oats

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling!)

3 flax-eggs

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp pumpkin spice

1/2 cup almond or soy milk

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/4 cup raisins and/or pecans (optional)

Preheat over to 375ºF.  Line muffin pan with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.

Combine oats, pumpkin, soy milk, flax eggs, and oil.  Mix until combined.

Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Use your trusty ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  (You can also you spoons or other kitchen implements, but I really do love my ice cream scoop.)  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

They taste best while still warm from the oven but can be kept for several days in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

14 10 2011

Growing up, my mom used to make these enormous cinnamon buns.  In the morning, we’d cut them in half, cover them in butter and sear them in a cast iron skillet.  Growing up, I hated breakfast and every morning it was a chore for my mother to figure out what I was willing to eat.

When there were cinnamon buns available, it was never a chore to get me to eat breakfast.

This past weekend some friends were hosting lunch.  I brought this festive rendition of a classic mom dish to share.  I didn’t hear any complaints, just a lot of hmmmms.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 pkg), regular not fast acting

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp Earth Balance or coconut oil

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance or coconut oil

3 – 6 Tbsp cinnamon (I ♥ cinnamon!)

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup raw or brown sugar

6 Tbsp melted Earth Balance or coconut oil

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Mix the yeast with the water.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Mix again.  If you have a Proof option on your oven, use it to get your yeast going.

Beat pumpkin, salt, sugar, and Earth Balance into yeast.  Beat and work in enough flour to form a soft dough.  Ad more flour if necessary.

Turn out on a floured board.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has more than doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.  Not sure where you should let the dough rise?  In the oven on the proof setting or in the oven with the light on are two really great places.

Punch the dough down and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.  Roll out on a floured surface to form a 9 x 14 rectangle.

Brush the dough with the melted Earth Balance.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough.  I LOVE cinnamon and normally go overboard, using 6 or more tablespoons but that’s just me and that’s how I roll.

Roll up the dough lengthwise to form a long rope.  Slice into 12 equal pieces to form the buns.

Mix the brown sugar and melted Earth Balance together.  Spread over the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet or ceramic pan.  Sprinkle pecans evenly over the bottom.  Arrange the buns in the skillet about equal distance from each other.

Redampen the cloth, cover the buns, and allow them to rise in a warm place – not the oven – until proofed, 30 – 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Bake the buns until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Invert a large plate over the pan.  Reverse the pan and plate so that the rolls will come out in a single cake, covered with syrup and nuts.

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 10 2011

I had bananas that were going brown and a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies. That’s right, I like oatmeal raisin cookies and I’m proud of it.

My Aunty Dee used to make these wicked amazing oatmeal cookies and, despite her best efforts, my mom could never them quite right. I’m pretty certain that the key ingredients were love and fat. This recipe has lots of love, no fat, nor does it include eggs or sugar. Well, no refined sugar, there’s only a little bit of maple syrup.

Having shared these with a picky SO, a yoga instructor, a kettlebell instructor, a nurse, and a 2-year old, I feel pretty confident that these cookies are a taste sensation that will rock you nation. These cookies are chewy and subtly sweet, with a nutty crunch.

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup soy milk

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2 ripe bananas

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cups raisins

Preheat over to 325ºF. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure oats, soy milk, and vanilla together into a mixing bowl. Set this aside and let the oats soak in some of the milk and vanilla for 5 minutes or more.

Mix bananas and maple syrup into oat mixture. Once the sweetness has been combined with the oats. stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Lastly, stir in your toasted walnuts and raisins.

In 1 or 2 tablespoon balls, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets and squish them down a little bit – they won’t spread out in the oven.

Bake for 14 minutes.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Or allow to cool before devouring straight from the cookie sheet.

Chocolate Cake… shhhh, it’s got chickpeas!

1 10 2011

I have been on a mission to make a high protein, fat-free, low sugar cake.

There were a few attempts with lack luster results.  So far, this cake is the winner.

Even SO, the critic, said this cake passed the taste test.

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Chickpea Chocolate Cake

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

2 bars dark chocolate (Lindt Excellence is excellent)

1 pkg soft tofu

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp vanilla

1 tsp Stevia

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan.

Roast the chopped walnuts.  This can be done in a dry frying pan or in the oven while it’s heating up.  Do not walk away from you toasting nuts or they burn, I guarantee it.

You gotta melt the chocolate, so grab a pot and stainless bowl.  Place the chocolate in the bowl and the bowl over the boiling water.

Purée chickpeas, tofu, maple syrup and vanilla.  Once these wet ingredients are smooth, mix in cocoa, cinnamon, Stevia, and baking powder.

Mix everything together: the melted chocolate, the nuts, and the puréed chickpeas.  Once everything is combined, place the batter into the pan, spreading it into the corners.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely, when it comes out of the over it will seem underdone – once it cools it will be firmer and have a brownie-type consistency.