Cinnamon Banana Almond Bars

I’m going camping tomorrow!!!! We are bringing my best friend along (and a seperate tent so my parents don’t have to listen to “whisper whisper whisper *hehehe* whisper whisper *giggle giggle*” all night long;)

So I was thinking, what should I do to get ready???

 Pack???

Nah. I have all day.

Go grocery shopping for what we need?

If only I could drive, because my mom is busy doing something, and does not want to leave yet.

Maybe I should finally start on my summer homework for two of the five AP classes I’m taking come August…

Hahaha nope!! what am I?? A nerd???……Yeah don’t answer that.

I know! How about I make some snacks??

Okay!! But what???

Granola Bars.

Healthy granola bars.

Yes Please!

Cinnamon Banana Almond Bars

vegan, gluten-free, low sugar, oil free, low fat

  • 1 C. rolled oats
  • 3 T. oat flour
  • 1/4 C. brown rice crispies (i used chocolate ones, what we had on hand)
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • healthy shake of cinnamon (or two…)
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1 T. coconut nectar
  • 2 T. mashed banana
  • 1 packet of stevia

optional add ins: chopped almonds, dried banana, other dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. line a baking dish with parchment paper. combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. in a small bowl, combine wet  ingredients and stevia. mix wet into dry until all of the dry is coated. press mixture into baking dish, hard, and shaped into a relativly even (in thickness) rectangle. Bake for 18-20 minutes, let cool another 20 before cutting into bars.

Snacks are covered. Now what?? Pack?

Nah, I don’t think my dog will let me. Besides,  I’ve still got all day…

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Peanut Butter Swirl [black bean] Brownies

See, I can never just follow a recipe…

I always look at it, go mmm that looks really good, I wonder how it would be if I (insert 10,000 substitutions and additions here). Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes not so great. Usually the not so great is at least good enough to just slap a different name on it and call it good though (ie when over spread sugar cookies become ‘sugar cookie crumble ice cream topping’).



And then, there are times (such as this) when I start out following a recipe, then mix it with another, completely different one and blow everyones mind…and then i still change it, based on what sounds good.

But what I love is when I take a recipe and tweak it just enough to make it both my own and completely wholesome but still tasty (and safe) for everyone to eat. No need to thank me, the “ohmigawdthisisamazing:D:D:D” will do.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Swirl [black bean] Brownies

vegan, sugar free, low fat, high protein

(inspired by Lindsay’s Black Bean Brownies and Katie’s Genius Blondies)

For the brownies:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C. dates, pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 C. + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa (i like Hershey’s special dark)
  • 2 T. unsweetened Carob powder
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 C. old fashioned oats
  • almond milk, as needed
  • stevia (or other sweetner) as needed

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 13×9 inch pan, set aside. In a food processor, process the dates to a paste, adding almond milk as you go a little at a time until you get a smooth consistensy (dont add much, you dont want it over-liquidy). Add all ingredients (except oats and stevia) to food processor and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as neccessary. Taste, and adjust sweetness and consistensy as you like (with milk and stevia), then add oats and pulse them until mixed. Spread your batter into the pan and set aside. Don’t forget to eat any and all extra batter from food processor (so you can check for poison 😉

for the peanut butter blondie swirl:

  • 1 can garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C dates
  • 1/4 C nut butter (i used almond, because my mom can’t have peanut oil, but regular peanut butter is highly recommended) or 2 T. nut butter + 2 T. canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potato
  • 1/4 C. PB2 or peanut flour, or to taste (helps with PB flavor if not using real PB)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tsp peanut butter extract (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch sea salt (i like pink sea salt, because its more ‘buttery’)
  • 1-2 T. ground flax plus 1-2 T. oats
  • 1/3 C. chocolate or carob chips (i used 1/2 and 1/2)
  • stevia or other sweetner, to taste
  • almond milk, as needed

Follow same proceedure as for the brownies, (you know, except for the oven-heating and pan-greasing), pulsing in chocolate chips at end so they are mixed in but not chopped up). Scoop the batter on top of the brownie batter, spread it out lightly, and then swirl them together (or if you fail at swirling, like i did this time, just mix it together in the pan and call it good). If you want, sprinkle the top with crushed pretzels (like I did), more chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (if you’re not vegan), or anything really, get creative! (a drizzle of caramel sauce would also be good, or peanut butter, or…..see what i told you?!?!)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean (or until your mom freaks out “it smells like burning” and your like “It didn’t burn!!!!! just the stuff on the sides got crispy!!”). ignore the fact that you just have to wait until they come out of the oven to get a good picture…

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares…

or eat ooey gooey from the oven. I wont judge:)

Yum. That was good.

Options:

  • make it cookie dough-swirled brownies by ommitting PB2 and peanut extract, and using almond or cashew butter in the blondie batter (this is what we did the first time)
  • use above cookie dough option, but add coconut and a little butter extract, plus sprinkles to make it cake-batter swirled brownies. Also, add extra sprinkles. You can never have enough sprinkles.
  • make a grahm cracker crust, put chocolate chips in the brownie layer, and add extra vanilla and marshmallows to the cookie dough blondies to make smores flavor. top with marshmallow cream, chocolate sauce, and crushed grahm cracker for a really decadent treat
  • play around with different extracts and ideas of your own until you come up with completely different (and amazing) recipes all your own!

I’ve learned that it is perfectly fine to take a recipe and make it your own, experimenting is always the best part of any baking experience (besides licking the bowl). Just make sure your oven is always clean. If not, it might set on fire during preheating, forcing you to make cookies in muffin liners in the toaster. been there. done that.

But thats another story for another time…

What I Ate (on my first blogging) Wednesday


So even though this is only my, you know, 2nd post ever, I figured that since its easier to get used to the water by jumping full cannonball into the deep end than edging in step by step until youre on your tippy toes trying not to get your tummy wet (off topic, i think im a little add…maybe…), that this should apply to blogging too! I’ve known about WIAW for a while and realized this morning “Hey!!! I have a blog now too!!! I want to do WIAW!!!! omg lemme get my camera!!! hehehe so excited!!!”. yeah. thats exactly what i was thinking…;)

little did i know that my eats would be a little sporadic. not exactly what i usually have but thats ok, makes for some interesting times.

lets get started!

I hope i linked that right….we’ll find out! And thank you to Jenn for setting this up every week!

I started out this morning with some delicious peach-blueberry oatmeal

(with blueberries, peaches, cinnamon, almonds, and coconut)  with an un-pictured green-tea latte

later (snack) I had a slice of my home-made banana bread. can i just say it was even better today (i like it cold better than fresh outta the oven. only with banana bread though. weird)

I met up at the mall with my best friend ever (i’ve known her since I was 5), and after a late, large lunch from a mongolian bbq in the food court (healthiest, most vegan friendly thing there!) super attractive i know!!! haha bad phone pic, but basically a stir fry with veggies, tofu, noodles, teryaki, and liberally, ahem, “sprinkled” with curry powder.

we hit up the stores for quite an interesting time!!

1. I found out that I can still fit into the princess dresses at the disney store. day=made.

2. I neeeed this siiiggggnnnnn!!!!

3. sometimes, awkward necklaces make even better awkward mustaches

4. my mommy let me get my cartiledge pierced for a late 16th birthday present! (only cuz she was hyped up on caffine from her vegan, mocha ‘frappachino’ the ladies at nordstrom’s coffee house made for her)

I also was the recipient of a cheesy but cute pickup line from a kiosk salesman with an accent (excuse me miss, you dropped something *steps back, sweeps arms* your smile:D), and almost accidentaly stole some   makeup. *heart attack.*

My mom and I went to trade in her car afterwards, and a grumpy 4 hours and missed snack later we finally decided to just go out for dinner. 9:30 is too late to make any effort in making your own dinner..

I couldnt snap a pic (too hungry) but we had side salads, and a beautiful, sizzling veggie fajita plate (asparagus, portabellas, onion, pepper, guac, and tomatos/salsa wih corn tortillas, and a side of rice n’ beans). delicious.

Finally home now, so i decided to finish my day with a late bedtime snack

 apple with vanilla almond granola, and a cup of  creamy  ‘vanilla tea’ (water, almond milk, vanilla extract and stevia. been making this since i was a little girl:)

and i guess that about wraps it up!!! Wooo! first WIAW  check.

Thanks for reading!

Banana Bread and a greeting:)

Hey! Welcome to the first official post of Life Hands you Limes! I figured we would just go ahead and get started here with the first recipe! Whaddya say hmmm?

I say that we had a rather large bunch of ripe bananas on the counter, but already had too many in the freezer. what does that mean? BANANA BREAD TIME!! (more specifically vegan, (almost) sugar free, (almost) fat free, carob chip banana bread). Its good for your health, but more importantly your soul (and sanity)

lets get started!

Good For Your Soul Banana Bread 

(adapted from CCK’s Polka Dot Banana Bread )

  • 2 C. whole spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 C. almond milk (I use unsweetend vanilla)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 C. date paste* (instructions below)
  • 1 and 1/2 T lemon juice
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 1 C pureed banana (in food processor) plus 1 C. mashed banana (measure after mashing)
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seed
  • 1/4 C (or more) plus 1-2 T. carob chips (optional if you want completely sugar and fat free)

*to make cheaters date paste, I put 5-7 medjool dates in a mug with a good amount of water, annd microwaved it for about 2 minutes, let i sit till I remembered i needed to use it. I take the soft dates and puree them in the food processor, adding a little of the soaking water 1 spoonful at a time till I got a good consistensy close to that of agave/maple syrup. not too liquidy, but not to sticky either. i like it juuuusssstt right haha

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (except choc chips). In a seperate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and the flax together until well combined, and then add this to the dry mixture. combine,  but do not overmix. whateve you do. please. Now add 1/4 C of carob chips (or chocolate, whichever, we were out of chocolate) and just make sure its all good and even. Put your batter in the loaf pan, spread it out evenly, and top it with the last tablespoon or so of chips, until its pretty:).

Proceed to clean every baking tool by way of licking.

(Sophie is mad. No banana bread for her on top of her cone collar??? im getting shunned)

Bake for around 50 minutes, until it looks golden and smells like heaven. Once done, let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yum.

So here’s to a great start! I’ve got high hopes for this blog, I hope you join me:)

And remember, when life hands you limes, rearrange the letters and SMILE!!!