These bars are favorites in our house for the occasional treat…my nephew ate three of them the last time I made them and was going for a fourth when I had to rain on his parade and say “NO MORE” (while inside I was secretly jumping for joy that they were such a hit!). Since they are sweetened with brown rice syrup, they are technically healthier than other bars, but please remember that they are still treats.
cinnamon to taste (optional…I left it out this time)
Lightly grease a bread pan or casserole. You can really use any pan you’d like. If you like to have thicker bars, use a smaller pan. I chose to use a large casserole so I would have thinner bars.
Grease the Dish
Pour the puffed cereal into a large mixing bowl.
In a saucepan combine the rice syrup, nut butter, coconut oil, and cinnamon (if using). Whisk the ingredients together on low-medium heat until everything melts together to form a sauce. You do not need to bring the sauce to a boil, simply warm it.
Coconut Oil, Nut Butter, & Brown Rice Syrup
Pour the sauce over the puffed cereal and stir to combine.
Pour Sauce into Puffed Cereal
Mix to Combine
Once evenly combined, add the shredded coconut and combine well.
Add Coconut & Mix
Next, add the nuts and do the same.
Add Nuts & Mix
Finally, add the carob chips and combine well (the mixture should be cooled enough by this point to prevent the carob chips from melting).
Add Carob Chips & Mix
Pour the mixture into the greased casserole and press firmly to pack it in evenly throughout the casserole.
Pour into Casserole
Press Firmly & Evenly
Place the casserole into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm-up.
Refrigerate to Firm
Once firm, cut into bars. I often make a large batch and wrap each bar separately for storage in the freezer.
Homemade almond milk is sooooooo creamy and NOTHING like the almond milk you buy in the store. Today I made some plain almond milk and when my son came home from school I used it to make him strawberry almond milk, which is one of his favorites. As we were sitting around the kitchen island drinking the strawberry milk, I mentioned that I was going to post my recipe for plain almond milk and my husband told me that I NEEDED to post my recipe for the strawberry milk as well (he was literally telling me this while drinking the tiny amount of strawberry milk that was left straight out of the blender container). I hope you enjoy the strawberry milk as much as we do!
INGREDIENTS FOR PLAIN ALMOND MILK
2 cups raw almonds
4 cups filtered water
INGREDIENTS FOR STRAWBERRY MILK
1 cup plain almond milk
1 ½ – 2 cups frozen strawberries
2 tsp. raw agave syrup (adjust depending upon the sweetness of your berries)
Place the raw almonds in a container and fill the container with filtered water. Place the container in the fridge overnight to soak.
Soak the Almonds in Water
Almonds Soaked Overnight in Fridge
NOTE: The almond milk can be made without soaking the almonds, but I strongly suggest that you do. Soaking the nuts will make the milk more creamy, but the main reason you want to soak the nuts is to destroy the enzyme inhibitor. Nuts were created with an enzyme inhibitor that prevents them from prematurely sprouting. This inhibitor also makes it hard for many people to digest nuts well. When you take the time to soak the nuts, the inhibitor is neutralized and the enzymes come to life…per my earlier post enzymes are very beneficial to us.
Rinse the soaked almonds under cold water. At this point you may remove the almond skins if you’d like. I personally don’t mind the skins and keep them on when I make my milk.
Rinse the Soaked Almonds
Remove the Skins if You'd Like
Place the clean soaked almonds in your Vitamix or blender with 4 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth (2-3 minutes).
Place Rinsed Almonds in Vitamix w/ Water
Put the nut milk bag into a large bowl. Pour the almond mixture into the nut milk bag and squeeze the liquid into the bowl. Once all of the liquid is out of the bag your plain almond milk is complete.
Place Nut Milk Bag in a Large Bowl
Pour Blended Mixture Into Bag
Only Pulp Remaining
Reserve the nut pulp for another recipe. I put my pulp in a bag and lay it flat in the freezer until I am ready to use it in a recipe.
The plain almond milk is now complete. I prefer to store the almond milk in the fridge in its plain state (great with cereal)…that way I can embellish however I’d like.
Plain Almond Milk
Store Plain Almond Milk in the Fridge in a Mason Jar
Sometimes I will add some stevia for a sweeter taste or add some chocolate syrup and make chocolate milk (warmed-up it makes a very yummy hot cocoa), but our family’s FAVORITE almond milk is the strawberry…
Rinse out your blender. Pour 1 cup of the plain almond milk into the blender. Start the blender and add the frozen strawberries one at a time through the opening in the lid. Blend until smooth. Add the agave syrup and blend again. Taste the strawberry milk and add more sweetener if needed. Drink immediately as this is when the flavor is best. It will not store well, so it is best to make it in small batches that you will drink right away.
Our family eats a lot of bananas, but ever so often a few get to the point where my kids find them too ripe to eat plain… I then know it is time to whip-up some banana bread (click here to see another use for ripe bananas). This recipe has been my tried and true recipe for a while.
My daughter has a wheat allergy, so a few years ago I began experimenting with alternative flours. I know I have a winning recipe when my husband (who does not have a wheat allergy) gives them the thumbs up.
This recipe tends to be healthier than most because it uses nut flours as the base (coconut and almond) which are much lower on the glycemic index than regular flours. I also do not use sugar in this recipe. The bananas in themselves are very sweet since they are so ripe. I do add some Somersweet (which was created by Suzanne Somers). Somersweet uses inulin which comes from chicory and is a pre-biotic. If you do not have Somersweet on hand, you can substitute sugar (coconut sugar or brown sugar). Coconut oil is also a very beneficial and nutritious.
Grease the bottom and sides of your muffin tins with coconut oil (I use a mini crumb cake pan).
Grease the Pan
Combine all of the dry ingredients (except for the coconut oil, pecans, and chocolate chips) in a bowl and whisk them to incorporate.
Whisk All of the Dry Ingredients
Once the dry ingredients are well mixed, add the coconut oil into the mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender. You want the coconut oil to break into lots of tiny pieces so that when you add the wet ingredients you won’t have large chunks of coconut oil throughout your batter (this step is very important).
Blend in the Coconut Oil
Slice the bananas into a separate bowl and then mash them being sure to leave some chunks.
I Use a Potato Masher
Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the bananas and mix well.
Add in the Wet Ingredients
Next combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix to combine. The batter will not be runny, but will hold together fairly well.
Once the batter is fully mixed, add in the pecans and chocolate chips.
I use an ice cream scoop (approximately 1/3 cup) to fill my muffin tins and make them uniform so they cook evenly. Once you have filled the muffin tins, push them down to flatten.
Using and Ice Cream Scoop
Flatten the Muffins
If you have any remaining batter, put it into a zip lock bag, flatten it, and remove all of the air bubbles. This batter freezes well.
Freeze Remaining Batter
Bake the muffins for 30-40 minutes (depending upon your muffin tin). Turn the pan 180˚ halfway through the bake time.
Once they are nice and brown and the middle of the muffin is set, remove from the oven.
Nice & Brown
Let the muffins rest for 5 minutes and then transfer them to cooling racks. It is very important to allow the muffins to cool so they firm/set-up. The texture of the muffin won’t be at its best until it is room temperature (not that my kids ever wait that long).
Today I went to a raw cooking class at Jenny Ross’s 118˚ in Costa Mesa and had a great time. This was my first official raw foods cooking class. I have a few raw foods dessert cookbooks (Ani Phyo’s and Kristen Suzanne’s) that I cook from, but nothing can quite compare to a class where there is interaction and discussion. I loved being able to bounce questions and ideas off of the creator and chef of 118˚, Jenny Ross.
All of the ladies in the class (there were 8 of us) were really interesting. Among us there were vegan chefs, a nurse practitioner, a woman who is a two time cancer survivor and has made the switch to vegan/raw in an effort to remain healthy, myself, and others interested in learning more about raw vegan food.
We all met at the restaurant which is located in the shopping center called The Camp and then made the short walk over to the Seed Market where the actual class took place which is right above Patagonia. I have never been to this area of Costa Mesa and really look forward to going back to explore…it has a Sant Cruz kind of vibe.
The class began by making three different dessert sauces; caramel, coconut cream, and chocolate sauce. Chef Jenny made the sauces and then put them into squeeze bottles that she bought at Sur La Table (she said they sell BPA free squeeze bottles). That is such a great way to store the sauces and it makes them easy to use on their own, i.e. with fruit or to squeeze right into the dessert recipes she uses the sauces in.
Next we moved onto dessert crusts and made a walnut based crust and a pecan based crust (that we later embellished to make raw brownies). Below you see me making the walnut crust with Chef Jenny.
After making the crusts we moved on to making apple cobbler, avocado orange bars, chocolate brownies with chocolate fudge, macaroons, halvah with apples, drunken fruit, and fruit fondue.
By the end of class we all had a lot of desserts to take home. When I got home my kids decimated the brownies…so good!
All in all it was a lot of fun and VERY educational. I learned so much more from her about how to use my Excalibur dehydrator more effectively and different twists on making raw pie crusts, etc. I can’t wait to whip up some more raw desserts…I am sure the kids won’t object.
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
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