I know weather talk is really boring most of the time but this has been a wild weather week for us so, forgive me. It was 55 degrees on Wednesday. We stayed late after school playing soccer, football, and sliding down the slide 1,000 times. Nobody had a jacket on. Then came Thursday. A storm blew in and dumped wet, heavy snow all across the island. Most houses lost power, the ferries stopped running, and school was canceled. Today, the island looks pretty and sparkly with its fresh coat of white but it hasn’t gotten warmer than 25 degrees and I do prefer those jacket-less winter days, however abnormal they are.
If you’re looking for an easy cooking project this weekend or simply want a new snack to toss into lunch boxes next week give these Popcorn “Granola” Bars a try. The list of ingredients is completely adaptable to your tastes and your pantry.
Popcorn “Granola” Bars slightly adapted from Food52
Makes 1 9-inch by 13-inch pan of bars
1 cup almond or peanut butter
1/3 cup honey, agave, or maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or fruit compote
Olive oil, as needed
4 to 6 cups popcorn
1 1/2 cups whole walnuts or almonds or a combination
1/3 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds (I used raw sesame seeds)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper so that you have overhang.
2. In a small pot over low heat, warm the nut butter, honey, and applesauce until melted. You want a sauce that is loose enough to cover the popcorn kernels and become evenly distributed amongst them. You may need to whisk in some olive oil (a couple of tablespoons) to achieve this consistency.
3. In a large bowl, mix together popcorn, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flax seed. Pour over the nut butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Dump into the prepared pan, then use plastic wrap to mush the mixture down evenly. Freeze overnight, then slice into bars! Store in the freezer.
You didn’t think I’d let Gray’s half birthday slip by without some edible celebration did you? I mean, I don’t really need an excuse to eat a cookie (fine, a few) but I do like having an excuse to, especially one that involves one of my favorite people on the planet. I was hesitant to offer such a unique cookie to our crew and try to pass it off as the half-birthday celebration desert (I mean, this is a vegan, gluten-free cookie and looks nothing like a birthday cake) but happily everyone adored these treats and didn’t question the copious amount of seeds and goodness bursting out of them.
So, if you need a solid healthy cookie recipe this is one to try. The fact that it happens to be vegan and gluten-free is an added bonus for those of you who have diet restrictions or party with those who do.
Oat & Flax Cookies (with chocolate)
makes 12 to 15 cookies
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1. First, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the oats, flax seeds, coconut, almond meal, coconut sugar, chia seeds, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt together.
3. In separate bowl, whisk the melted coconut oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
4. Scoop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheet (flattening each with the back of your spoon). Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden with crisp edges. Let cool slightly and dig in.
We bit the bullet and booked a spontaneous family trip to visit Charleston, South Carolina during the last week of February. From all reports, it’s a charming southern city with beautiful architecture, enough fried chicken, pimento cheese, and grits to sink a ship, and lots to do (did I mention it should be in the 60s – practically flip flop weather if I’m concerned). The idea of walking along a snow-free sidewalk gives me goosebumps.
But back to the food. Charleston’s local food scene is already impressive and I haven’t even set foot in the city yet. Nick and I are eagerly planning every meal and I’m sure we still won’t fit in all the recommended spots. So no, this trip is not going to be a light eating experience but will be a memorable one. Before we hit the road, I’m packing in as much work and chores as possible. These overnight soaked oats are my new favorite breakfast for busy weeks- so simple to prepare and perfect for a quick breakfast, the lunchbox, baby’s meal, or after school snack. If you have a sweet tooth, drizzle a little maple syrup over the top before digging in. The best part – you don’t cook anything, just stir all the ingredients together and you’re done.
Overnight Soaked Oats
from Green Kitchen Stories
makes 1 jar, simply multiply for multiple breakfasts
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
a pinch of ground sweet spice (vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom or mixed spice)
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon seeds (chia, flax, sesame etc.)
3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk (almond, oat, coconut etc.)
2 tablespoons fresh or frozen fruit (berries, mango etc.)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a small jar and stir. Pour over chosen liquid and stir again then top with fruit. Screw on the lid and place the jarred oats in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
PS. If you are under feet and feet of snow and craving a warm breakfast you can certainly heat the soaked oats up before digging in.
We’re here on an island awaiting the storm and counting the hours until the power goes out (that is really my least favorite part so I’m unrealistically hoping everything stays on). We are all preparing in our own ways – Nick is reading articles like this on his computer and laughing out loud, Dylan is turning out all the lights and carrying around the cheerfully decorated glass vase and candle he brought home from preschool, I’m cooking like a crazy person, and Gray is running around without a shirt on. We got this.
A couple of mornings ago the boys and I baked these mini muffins in a spontaneous 6:30 am breakfast moment. We developed the recipe as we went and they turned out to be one of the best muffins – flavorful, moist, and full of good stuff. I froze half of the batch for future snacking which just makes me feel so prepared for the blizzard – hello I have 18 mini muffins frozen, what could go wrong!?
Carrot-Banana Super Baby Muffins
makes 36 mini muffins
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a mini muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, flax seeds, and coconut.
3. In another bowl, combine the banana, honey, vanilla, and egg and beat with a hand mixer until combined. Mix in the shredded carrots.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined.
5. Fill the mini muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If you use a regular muffin pan, bake for 20 minutes; this makes 12-regular sized muffins.)