Chia Seed Jam Oat Bars

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These subtly sweet gluten-free oat bars may be the most popular baked good I have made all year, and they’re incredibly easy–not to mention healthy enough to feel good about serving for breakfast!

I love that the bottom and top layers are exactly the same mixture. This is the only recipe I know of with a crumble topping that does not require different mixtures for the base layer and the crumble.

For the past 24 hours, Zander has consistently requested these bars for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. He is completely obsessed. We took some to the garden this morning to share with our friends, and I had to hold Zander’s hands back to keep him from shoveling them all into his mouth before anyone else could take one.

My favorite question was, “Mom, how did you make the purple stuff taste sooooo good???” The purple stuff, of course, is the chia seed jam, which I have decided is good enough to replace store-bought jam moving forward. I can’t wait to experiment with some other flavors!

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

CHIA SEED JAM OAT BARS
* recipe by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

Chia Seed Jam (makes 1 cup)

  • 3 cups frozen or fresh raspberries (I used 3 cups of frozen organic antioxidant blend from Costco–it’s a mix of raspberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and pomegranate seeds)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Oat Bars

  • 1 chia egg = 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 4 Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup (used for its binding powers)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 1 cup almond flour (this is a great use for leftover almond meal after making homemade almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. For the jam: In a medium pot, stir together the berries, maple syrup, and chia seeds until well combined. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the berries break down and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, until cool.
  3. For the oat bars: In a small mug, mix together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the melted oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. When the chia egg has thickened, stir that in too.
  5. One by one, stir in the rolled oats, almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt until the mixture comes together. It will be quite sticky, but this is normal.
  6. Spoon 2/3 of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and press it down to spread it out evenly. Use a pastry roller to roll it out smooth into the corners. I repeat: the dough will be very sticky!
  7. When the chia seed jam has thickened and cooled, pour all of it on top of the oat mixture and spread it out evenly.
  8. Take the remaining 1/3 of the oat dough and crumble it evenly on top of the chia seed jam.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until the topping is lightly golden. Check after 20 minutes and if it’s starting to brown, cover the top with tin foil for the remaining 5-10 minutes of baking.
  10. Place pan on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then carefully lift out the square and place directly onto the cooling rack until completely cooled. Slice into squares.
  11. Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments

Cheaters’ Minestrone Soup

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Last night’s dinner was yet another idea found in a Whole Foods Market coupon booklet–a quick and easy way to make minestrone soup. I chopped up the fresh veggies for our soup the night before and stored them in the fridge, but you could “cheat” even more if you wanted to dump in a bag of frozen veggies instead.

CHEATERS’ MINESTRONE SOUP
* makes approx. 8 large servings; slightly adapted from Whole Foods Market recipe

Ingredients:

approx. 2 cups cooked pasta
1 jar pasta sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic Garlic Roasted Garlic)
1 can (28 oz) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
5 cups water
3 carrots, chopped (I would have used more carrots, but this was all I had)
1 bag fresh green beans from the farmers’ market, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
a drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

If using fresh veggies, wash and chop your veggies (to save prep time on a busy weeknight, you can do this the night before and store them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use).

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Rinse and drain kidney beans, and dump them into the container with your veggies.

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While boiling your pasta according to the instructions on the package, dump all of the other ingredients into a separate large pot and cook (covered) on medium-high until the veggies are tender. Depending on how thick they’re sliced, this will take about 15-20 minutes for fresh veggies, and probably a lot less time for frozen, pre-cooked veggies.

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When your pasta is done cooking, drain it and set it aside until the veggies are tender. Mix  the pasta into your soup at the last minute, just before serving. Such an easy weeknight meal!

We enjoyed ours with whole wheat sweet potato biscuits. I also cooked twice as much pasta as was needed for the soup so that I could use the rest to make mac ‘n cheese bites!

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Mac ‘n Cheese Bites

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A few days ago, I mentioned that I was going to try and veganize a Whole Foods Market recipe for mac ‘n cheese “lunch muffins.” As it turns out, I didn’t have to, because someone else had done all of the work for me! I found a great recipe by Your Vegan Mom and gave it a trial run tonight after dinner. Success!

I made minestrone soup for dinner tonight, so I started by simply cooking some extra pasta and setting aside 2 cups of it for the mac ‘n cheese. This dish was so easy to make that I was able to whip it all together and pop it into the oven while Zander was still in the bathtub. He is going to be over the moon tomorrow when he finds these in his snackbox for preschool!

Here’s how to make them:

MAC ‘N CHEESE BITES
* fills 12 regular-sized muffin cups; adapted slightly from recipe by Your Vegan Mom

Ingredients:

2 cups pasta, cooked and drained
1 bag Daiya shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Eggy Mixture:

1 package (16 oz) firm silken tofu (I didn’t have any silken tofu, so I used organic sprouted super firm tofu and added about 3/4 cup of water to balance out the moisture)
1/4 cup soy milk (I used homemade almond milk)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (I also added 3 Tbsp of Leahey Gardens Cheese-Flavored Sauce Mix, but if you don’t have this, you could just put in more nutritional yeast, to taste)
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

Optional Add-Ins:

Now that I know how wonderfully this recipe works, I intend to play around with it a bit in the future, adding yummy extras like chopped broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, carrots, veggie meat, etc. Not all of these ingredients at once, of course. ;)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan, or line with unbleached paper liners.

Combine all of the ingredients for the Eggy Mixture in a high-speed blender until smooth.

Pour the Eggy Mixture into a large bowl on top of the pasta and shredded cheese and stir until well-combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the middles are firm.

I’m banking on the fact that these will freeze well and have transferred half of them directly to the freezer. If for some reason, they do not thaw/reheat well after freezing, I will update this post to let you know.

Below is a picture of the super-bland-looking mixture in the muffin pan before baking. At this point, I found myself wishing I had some panko bread crumbs to sprinkle on top with melted vegan butter for a little crunch and color. Then I realized how funny that was, given that I had used gluten-free pasta. ;)

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The good news is that in the end, they don’t look bland at all! They have a nice rich color, and if anything, after only 20 minutes in the oven, I think I could have left them in for the full 25 to brown a bit more on top. Maybe next time.

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Next time, I’m not even going to bother with the paper liners, as they slid right off of the mac ‘n cheese bites when I pulled them from the muffin pan. I love how perfectly these little bites held their form!

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And finally, here is what they look like on the inside–ooey, gooey, cheezy goodness that is a cross between quiche and baked mac ‘n cheese. Alex gobbled one up before they had a chance to cool and gave it a thumbs up. Yay!!

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Tuscan White Bean Hummus

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Years ago, before Zander was born, Alex and I fell in love with the Tuscan Hummus at California Pizza Kitchen. Alex searched online and found a great copycat recipe by CD Kitchen, and we have been making it for ourselves at home ever since.

For tonight’s dinner, I’ll be serving this hummus along with oven-warmed whole-wheat pita bread triangles and the most gorgeous fresh organic corn-on-the-cob from the farmers’ market. I sent some hummus with Zander to pre-school this morning along with a sliced organic cucumber for his snack, and he pretty much licked the container clean.

This is such a delicious and simple dish, and I love that you can make it quickly with canned beans/tomatoes and a jar of tahini, or you can make a “slow” version like I did for this batch.

First, I cooked about 1 1/2 cups of organic dried cannellini beans in 6 cups of water in the crock pot on high for 5 hours, then drained and put the beans in the fridge overnight. When the time came to make the actual hummus, I discovered that we were out of tahini–gasp! So I googled how to make tahini from scratch (so easy!) and made my own by combining 1 cup of raw organic sesame seeds (you can use toasted if you prefer) with about 2 Tbsp olive oil and a bit of water in the blender. Once I had achieved the right consistency, I simply poured the rest of the ingredients into the blender, and voila, hummus!

One final note: it’s better if you let the hummus sit for at least a few hours before eating; I like to make it the night before.

TUSCAN WHITE BEAN HUMMUS
*slightly adapted from this California Pizza Kitchen copycat recipe

Ingredients:

12 cloves garlic
30 ounce can (or approximately 3.75-4 cups cooked from dry) cannellini beans (drained)
½ cup sesame tahini
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp tamari
1½ tsp Himalayan salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup cold water

Toppings:
5-8 roma tomatoes, diced
fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped (we prefer basil)

Instructions:

Combine hummus ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy. Spoon into a bowl or storage container and drizzle with olive oil. Top with diced tomatoes and herbs.

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Carrot Raisin Oatmeal Bites

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Last week, while perusing the Whole Foods coupon booklet, I saw an idea for miniature mac ‘n cheese bites that sounds like a great use for leftover mac ‘n cheese. I plan to try and veganize that one later, but while on the Whole Foods Market recipe page, I came across another adorable idea–oatmeal-on-the-go–and I decided to try that one right away.

The original recipe doesn’t call for any sweetener whatsoever, but I added some maple syrup, which gave it just a touch of sweetness in addition to the carrots and raisins. Zander has been gobbling these up 5 or 6 at a time. He really enjoys them!

Any time I make mini-muffins (we make at least one batch per week, usually zucchini raisin spelt muffins) or in this case, something resembling a mini-muffin, I automatically store half of them in the freezer. If I didn’t, one of two things would happen. Zander would either eat them all in one day, or if I managed to prevent that, half of the muffins would get stale before they could be eaten. This way, Zander can eat the first half while they are fresh, and I can pull out a few for a snack as needed and either let them thaw on the counter or warm them up for 15-30 seconds in the microwave.

Here is the recipe:

CARROT RAISIN OATMEAL BITES
*original recipe by Whole Foods Market; adapted slightly to veganize and based on what was in my pantry

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup almond milk
2 “flax eggs” = 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 6 Tbsp cold water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Grade B maple syrup
1 cup shredded carrots
*next time, I will try adding a tablespoon or two of chia or hemp seeds, which we always include in Zander’s oatmeal; I just didn’t think of it in time for this batch

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with spray oil, or use muffin liners.

Mix ground flax seeds with cold water and let it sit to congeal.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, walnuts, raisins, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, vanilla, and maple syrup until evenly blended. Add “flax eggs” to the liquid mixture, then stir in carrots. Add carrot mixture to oat mixture and stir until evenly blended.

Spoon into muffin cups using a small ice cream scoop. Bake until firm and golden brown on top, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Here’s a photo taken before baking:

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And here’s a photo from after:

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Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

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Lately, I have been sort of addicted to turmeric smoothies. I drink them every single day!

I had no idea how delicious these would taste, but I did know that turmeric is helpful with inflammation and has seemingly countless other health benefits. So when my friend, Lynn, gifted me some of her beautiful fresh turmeric along with a smoothie recipe, I was happy to give it a try.

The timing was perfect, as I am currently recovering from an intercostal muscle strain which requires rest, daily icing of the muscles, and oral anti-inflammatories. I am also currently three days into a two-week juice and smoothie fast, and it’s great to be able to add some variety into my otherwise monotonous repertoire of green juices and smoothies.

I took one of these smoothies to a friend yesterday, and she immediately asked for the recipe. Zander loves them, too! I usually double the recipe to make enough for both of us. This morning, I poured some leftover smoothie into a popsicle mold for Zander, so he’ll have turmeric popsicles for an afternoon snack. He is going to be thrilled!

Anyhow, without further ado, here is the recipe:

TROPICAL TURMERIC SMOOTHIE
*recipe by Ryan Carmody at Heavenly Smoothie Headquarters–lots of other useful info there–check it out!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (I use homemade almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 fresh or frozen medium banana (I haven’t been including any banana–I actually just noticed that it was in the recipe! My smoothies have been delicious without banana.)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (I sometimes include this, sometimes not. I like it both ways.)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I use about an inch of fresh, peeled turmeric root–see photo below–it looks like a baby carrot once it’s been peeled!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (I use about 1/2 inch of fresh peeled ginger root)
  • a dash of sea salt (I use 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt)
  • a little honey, maple syrup, or stevia (I use about 1 Tbsp Grade B maple syrup)

Optional: (I haven’t tried adding any of these yet, but you may want to!)

  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds or chia seed gel
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 Tbsp coconut shreds/flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp maca

Instructions:

Place all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend for around 30-45 seconds or until nice and smooth. If you don’t have a very powerful blender and your coconut oil is in liquid form, you might want to blend everything except the coconut oil first, then drizzle it on and blend for another 5-10 seconds to avoid clumping.

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Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta

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I’m sorry that I never take the time to properly plate/photograph my food. On most days, it feels like a huge accomplishment just to remember to grab my iPhone and snap a quick photo of something before it gets gobbled up. But please believe me when I say that although this may not be pretty, it tasted really delicious! Another great recipe by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows. As I always say, if you haven’t already done so, buy her cookbook! You will not be disappointed. Here’s the recipe:

LUXURIOUS TOMATO-BASIL PASTA
*from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2 hours, or overnight)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
9 ounces uncooked pasta
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced (I omitted, because I didn’t have an onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1/4 cup minced garlic)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned, drain juice if using canned)
3 handfuls spinach
1-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional; I omitted)
1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

Place the cashews in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a high-speed blender along with the almond milk and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Boil water and cook pasta according to instructions on package.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5-10 minutes, until translucent. Add tomatoes and spinach and continue cooking for 7-10 minutes over medium-high heat, until the spinach is wilted.

Stir in the cashew cream, nutritional yeast (if using), basil, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until heated through.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir to combine well, and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. Enjoy!!

 

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Homemade Trail Mix

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In addition to our favorite no-bake granola bars, Zander and I have been going through a lot of trail mix lately. We keep some in the car at all times for post-workout, swimming, or playground energy boosts. I like to buy the ingredients separately in bulk, store them in large glass jars, and mix them as needed using my 1/4 cup metal scoop for quick grab-and-go snacks. I find that a small handful (often consumed while driving from one destination to the other) goes a really long way!

I leave the trail mix in a low cabinet (see photo below) that Zander can easily reach so he can pour himself a bowl whenever he likes. We always use raw, organic, unsulfured, unsalted nuts, seeds, and fruits (scroll down for note on recent Costco discovery!). When I can find them at a reasonable price, I prefer to buy sprouted nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated. Maybe one day, I’ll buy another dehydrator and be able to do this myself.

Here’s our favorite blend (although if it were up to Zander, this would be 100% cashews, or maybe 90% cashews and 10% Brazil nuts–he likes these even better than the dried fruits):

RAW, ORGANIC, UNSALTED TRAIL MIX
*makes approx. 2 cups

1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup Brazil nuts
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice, not cane sugar)
1/4 cup dried wild blueberries

Below is a photo of the trail mix in Zander’s snack cabinet. The larger jar behind the trail mix contains organic spelt pretzels. Zander has a similar space on the bottom shelf of the fridge from which he can pull things like fresh fruit, homemade granola bars, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices when he is hungry. :)

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I have also just discovered this organic, unsulfured, apple-juice-sweetened blend from Costco, which is available for a fraction of the price of these items in the bulk section, and as soon as we run out of our current trail mix, we’re going to start adding this to the other nuts and seeds instead of the bulk dried cranberries and blueberries. Bonus: there are already pumpkin seeds in this mix, too, so we will no longer need to buy those separately!

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No-Bake Granola Bars

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Zander and I make these delicious and nutritious granola bars about once a week. They are an absolute staple in our home, and I cannot possibly recommend them highly enough!!!

Seriously, it is like eating a chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but without the guilt. They are ridiculously easy to make, and you get to control the freshness and quality of the ingredients (we always use organic).

So without further ado, here is the recipe–another classic from Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows. (If you haven’t already, buy her cookbook!) :)

CLASSIC GLO BAR
*makes 12 bars, from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Ingredients:
1½ cups rolled oats
1¼ cups brown rice crisp cereal
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
¼ cup nut or seed butter—I prefer raw almond butter, but you could also use roasted almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup vegan mini-chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)

Instructions:

Line a 9-inch square cake pan with two pieces of parchment paper (one going each way). [NOTE: I use a silicone pan, so there is no need for any parchment paper.]

In a large bowl, combine the oats, rice crisp cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt and mix. [NOTE: I always pre-measure and let Zander pour and mix the dry ingredients. He loves this!]

In a small saucepan, stir together the brown rice syrup and nut butter until well combined. Cook over medium to high heat until the mixture softens and bubbles slightly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. [NOTE: I always use LOW heat and never allow the mixture to bubble, because I don't want to kill all of the good enzymes in my expensive raw almond butter. At first, I was worried that the bars wouldn't solidify unless I allowed this mixture to slightly caramelize, but they're just fine even if you don't heat the sticky ingredients to the point of bubbling.]

Pour the nut butter mixture over oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape every last bit out of the pan. Stir well with large metal spoon until all of the oat mixture is coated in nut butter mixture. If using the chocolate chips, allow the mixture to cool slightly before folding in the chips. This will prevent them from melting. [NOTE: I don't mind a little bit of melting, so I add the chocolate chips into the dry mix before pouring in the nut butter mixture. My chips always seem to stay in tact, but to be fair, that's probably because I just barely warm up my nut butter mixture.]

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer.

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Lightly wet your hands and press down on the mixture to even it out. Use a pastry roller to compact the mixture firmly and evenly. This helps the bars hold together better. Press down on the edges with your fingers to even out the mixture. [NOTE: In the beginning, I just used my fingers to press down the bars, but once I realized how often we would be making them, I invested in an inexpensive pastry roller. I'm glad that I did.]

 

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Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and chill for 10 minutes, or until firm. [NOTE: I place my pan onto a baking sheet to help keep it level, and I leave it in the freezer for 15 minutes.]

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Lift the square out of the pan, using the parchment paper as handles, and place it on a cutting board. With a pizza roller (or a serrated knife), slice the square into 6 rows and then slice them in half to make 12 bars total. [NOTE: I just pop mine out of the silicone mold and use a knife to slice the square in half, then slice each half into six pieces.]

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Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer for up to 1 month. [NOTE: I don't even bother with the individual wrapping. I used to, but now I just layer the bars in four alternating rows of three into a square storage container and put them into the fridge next to my homemade almond milk.]

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Here’s a photo of Zander’s snack from this morning–yum! :)

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Raspberry Limeade (or Lemonade)

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When Alex comes home from work and finds a fresh pitcher of raspberry limeade in the fridge, the smile on his face makes me feel great. Of course, Zander loves it, too, and unlike most store-bought drinks, I can feel good about serving it to him, so everyone is happy!

This drink also takes me back to my childhood when my Aunt Julie served virgin Lime Rickeys to the kids one hot summer day, and I felt so grown up and special. :)

Homemade ‘ades are refreshing, healthy, and really easy to make! We’ve been enjoying them a lot lately; sometimes with limes, sometimes with lemons–they’re delicious both ways. And the best part is that when you’ve emptied your drink, you get to eat the yummy berries at the bottom of the glass!

Here’s the recipe:

RASPBERRY LIMEADE
*makes approximately 4 1/2 cups (I use a 1.1 liter glass pitcher)

Ingredients:

juice of 3-5 limes (or use lemons for raspberry lemonade!), depending on your taste buds and the size/juiciness of the fruit
1/4 cup agave nectar
3-4 cups water (still or sparkling), as needed to fill container (I use a 1.1 liter glass pitcher)
a handful of ripe organic raspberries (for this batch, I used 16 berries)

Instructions:

I usually start by juicing (with a handheld juicer) 3 limes, then add the agave nectar and water, mix, and do a taste test. If it feels as though it needs more zing, I juice another lime and pour it in. For this batch, I used 4 limes. I like to include the pulp, but if you don’t like pulp, just discard it. That’s the beauty of making your own drinks–you get complete control over the ingredients!

Next you simply squeeze a handful of raspberries to release some of their juice into the pitcher, then drop in the squished berries and put the pitcher in the fridge for an hour or two. I used to put the berries in without squeezing them, but one day I realized that doing so really gives an added boost of raspberry flavor. Plus, it’s fun to do, and then you get to lick your fingers. ;)

We typically use still filtered water for our limeades and lemonades, simply because it’s free, but if you would prefer a carbonated drink, use sparkling water instead–it’s delicious!

Add ice cubes, or not–it’s up to you. You could also add all sorts of other things–thin slices of lime or lemon for garnish and added flavor, fresh mint leaves, a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice, other fresh berries, etc. Just remember to adjust the amount of water you pour in to allow room for these additional ingredients–or even better, use a bigger pitcher!

 

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