22 February 2012

gluten-free cinnamon buns

eek!  somehow this post got buried in my draft folder!  what a sweet, gooey, cinnamon-y shame.

last month 2 of my friends celebrated birthdays within a couple days of each other.  both anne & ryan love making music and they were putting on a night of feet-moving tunes at our local watering hole to celebrate.  sadly m & i were going to end up missing this party night to get him down to the airport, so instead we had them over for dinner.  the birthday kids are both omnis of the open-minded kind and willing to try anything from my vegan kitchen {which i love!}, so i cooked up my high protein cauliflower alfredo complete with sundried tomatoes to wow them with alongside a huge massaged kale salad inspired by this lovely one from hannah.  i couldn't decide on a cake for dessert, so on a whim i made cinnamon buns!

cinnamon buns usually get relegated to brunch material {and don't get me wrong, i love a sunday cinnamon roll brunch} but they're all kinds of amazing as a dessert too.  especially since like a cupcake you get your very own, which you can scarf down, or eat it methodically, round and round, layer by layer, winding your way to the middle for the most amazing few gooey bites in the universe.

and actually, a little birthday candle fits perfectly when wedged in the middle of the roll!

{birthday girl & birthday boy}

i used this recipe, cutting it in half and making it with gluten-free flour.  the original {full} recipe makes 8 - i made 6 from my half-batch.  they were a little on the small side, but perfect size for dessert!  for the icing i just whisked up a little icing sugar and almond milk and poured it liberally over top of the semi-cooled buns. 

sorry to have held out on these drool-worthy photos, but i figured better late than never.  hopefully you won't mind looking at them on the blog for a little while...

if you don't hear from me for a couple weeks, it's because i'm bound for spain on friday!  actually, on friday i'm bound for london.  once there i'll be meeting up with m now that his uk tour is complete, and then we're headed to spain, where we've got exploring to do, sangria to drink and vegan tapas to {hopefully} discover! 

and i can't wait to tell you all about it when i return. 

17 February 2012

coffee crunch bites

a few months back now, i received a little package in the mail from the very lovely danielle with one of the new cappuccino larabars inside.  i was over the moon at this kind gesture and really excited to try it!  being the coffee freak that i am, i had a feeling i would love it up - and i also had a feeling that i didn't want to share it with m.  so i ate it.  alone.  in the car.  so ridiculous, right?!  hahaha, at least i can laugh at myself...

well, i did love it.  {and i felt a little guilty for not sharing.}  so for both of those reasons, i pretty much immediately set to recreating it in the kitchen.  the end result was very similar in taste, but i wanted to make it my own and i added a nice crunch to it with the addition of cacao nibs.  yum.  so this time i'm sharing.  and actually - i shared this for the first time a few weeks ago on the tie dye files while kaitlyn was away getting her alpen swoosh, swoosh on.  but i thought i'd share them again, this time here on my blog for those of you who missed them the first time around.

coffee crunch bites
makes 9 balls
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup tightly packed dates {about 4 medjools}
1 tsp ground coffee beans
1 tbsp cacao nibs

combine the almonds, walnuts, & dates in a food processor and run until you get a fine crumb that comes together when you pinch it between your fingers. add in the coffee grounds & cacao nibs and pulse to combine.  pour the mixture into a bowl and scooping up 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, squeeze the mixture in your hand until it comes together and roll it into a ball.  repeat with with the mixture until it’s all rolled into scrumptious coffee crunch bites!

*note, if you want these to truly be 100% raw, then you'll have to omit the teaspoon of coffee since it's roasted.*  

i opted for making balls instead of bars because i really find that 2 bites is all i need as a snack, but by all means, turn these into bars if that's your preference.  i find these are sweet enough to quench a little afternoon sugar craving {without any refined sugars i might add!}, hearty enough to keep hunger at bay, and with the healthy fats from raw walnuts & almonds, they're a great grab & go for after a run.

oh and coffee and chocolate.

did i mention they taste like coffee and chocolate??

pack these up in a sealed tupperware container and keep them at room temperature, or if you're partial to a chilled treat, you can opt to keep them in the fridge or even the freezer. 

now go get your coffee crunch on and have yourself a glorious weekend!  do you have anything exciting planned?


14 February 2012

spreading love ...and chocolate

so are you up to your ears in sappy, over the top valentine's day overload yet?  i was planning on obstaining, but turns out i couldn't resist.  although i'm not really one for celebrating this 'holiday' i'll usually accept any excuse for baking.  or chocolate.  preferably baking with chocolate.  oh right, and love too.

and i love spreading love with homemade goodies, so this morning as i sit here on my big red couch sipping on my morning coffee, i thought i'd share a few of my favourite chocolate memories from cupcakes and kale.  maybe it will inspire you to whip up something sweet to spread the love today too...  even if your day is jam-packed and you've no time to bake something for yourself, i hope you take a moment to feel the love.  and maybe eat some raw brownies. 

spiced oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies are a little crispy, a little chewy and lightly spiced.  you can always up the ante and double the spicies though and add in a little cayenne for firey love.

chocolate mocha cupcakes: coffee + chocolate + cupcakes.  need i say more?

really now, who doesn't love brownies?  and if any of you out there just raised your hand, you should give them one more try.  because a pan of these rich, decadent raw brownies come together in no time and are sure to make someone you love smile.

 and even if you have no time at all to bake, throw a peeled banana in the freezer when you get home from work and by evenings end you can whip up a sinfully smooth cacao & pb smoothie.

 and then there's always it's a date granola.  meet my date for valentine's this year.

do you have plans to bake up anything special today?

i hadn't been planning on it given that my love is away again {you can read more about the husband's band here}, but i'm still feeling the love.  in fact - the mail just popped through the mailslot in the front door and wouldn't ya know it, among a pile of bills was a post card from m!  he's been sending me postcards from his travels covered in Xs and Os since we started dating.   set my heart a flutter!

maybe some raw brownies are in order after all....

10 February 2012

easy thai coconut soup

today is a day for a cozy bowl of tangy, thai-inspired soup!  

it's quick to pull together with just a few pantry items too... a little thai curry paste, some coconut milk, fresh ginger & lime and winter squash is all you really need.  some cubed organic tofu would also be a great addition to add a punch of protein!

served piping hot with a handful of fresh spinach leaves and some green onions, it's sure to satisfy hungry bellies.

easy thai coconut soup
serves 3-4
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 big clove of garlic, minced {about 1 tbsp}
2-3 heaping tbsp thai green curry paste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup winter squash, peeled, seeded & cubed {i used butternut}
1 cup coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
2-3 tbsp tamari
fresh spinach & green onions for serving

heat the oil in a medium-sized pot.  add the fresh ginger & garlic and saute about a minute until fragrent.  add in the curry paste and continue to saute while stirring another minute or two.  add in the vegetable broth {careful that that oil doesn't spatter}, coconut milk and the squash.  cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.  stir in the lime juice and tamari and then season to adjust the taste with more tamari.  

divide spinach leaves and green onions between bowls and ladle the soup over top.  
between the tang of this soup and it's playful bright colours, somehow it makes me feel like spring isn't quite so far away...

submitted to wellness weekends

03 February 2012

it's a date granola

last week i realized that i hadn't made a batch of granola since the summer.  i don't even really eat it as breakfast food unless we have guests {i'd much rather sip on a big green smoothie} but i do like to snack on it.  since i store my granola in mason jars it makes it really easy to walk past and grab a handful to munch on.  that's right, no bowl or utensils needed.

my kinda snack food.

i'm calling this recipe it's a date granola because well, there are big chunks of dates floating about in it.  i guess if i was going for the descriptive name thing i could have gone with "it's a walnut, oats, cacao nibs, hint of cinnamon & a date granola".  but, it just didn't have the same ring to it...

not too sweet, this granola is just right.  little pops of crunchy cacao, rich walnuts with a hint of cinnamon.  you should make a date to make this granola.

it's a date granola
2.5 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao nibs
4 or 5 big medjool dates, pitted and chopped

preheat your oven to 300f.  in a large bowl combine the oats, walnuts, flax, cinnamon and salt and mix.  in a small saucepan {or in a microwavable bowl} gently heat the brown rice syrup and the coconut oil until the oil has liquified.  whisk this mixture well and then pour it over the dry ingredients.   working quickly, stir everything up with a silicone spatula, making sure to get things covered {especially the ground flax which probably sank to the bottom of the bowl}.  turn the bowl out onto a baking sheet lined with either a silpat or parchment paper and spread into thin layer.  bake for 15-20 minutes, checking often and stirring gently halfway through.

when you remove the granola from the oven it won't yet be crunchy and that's okay - it will firm up as it cools.  transfer the granola back to the mixing bowl and stir in the cacao nibs & chopped dates and then return back to the baking sheet, spread it out again and leave it to fully cool before packing up in glass mason jars.

also, this it's a date granola might just be my date for valentine's day this year as my sweetheart is away again on tour.  i think i'm kind of okay with that though because,

1) i'll be traveling abroad to meet up with him at the end of the month in spain! and

2) it means more granola for me.

hah, i'm a romantic, i know.

happy weekend!

submitted to wellness weekends

01 February 2012

winter times

happy first of february friends!  although it might not actually look like winter where you are, it's certainly winter here.  no recipes or food talk today for you, but rather here are are few photographs that my dear friend ben took when he was recently up to visit.

we went out on a chickadee feeding mission.  and although there is no evidence of their little feet landing on our hands, a few of them did make that leap of faith, gripping onto my cold fingers to pause and meet my eyes before picking the best seed up for offer and flying away. 

i think another chickadee hike is in order soon.