Zoom Through Your Work Week with These Grape-Nuts Energy Bars

If you know anything about my eating habits, you probably know that it’s quite difficult to find me,  without a box, heck, an entire House of Cards season-worth stash of Grape-Nuts. I mix them into smoothies; sprinkle cinnamon and flaxseed over them with a handful of berries and call it breakfast; and I get weird looks when I drizzle a half cup over fried bananas as my go-to late night snack. Needless to say, when Post Cereal shared this recipe with me for my blog from Kristina Vanni, I knew my quest for the perfect snack bar had ended. Behold! Trust me when I say these energy bars will give you that jolt to make it through the morning grind or a pick-me-up come that 3:00pm hey-why-isn’t-it-nap-time o’clock. National Nutrition Month never tasted so good.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup Grape Nuts
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 flax egg (combine three tablespoons water and one tablespoon flaxseed meal, stir and let sit for five minutes)
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup agave nectar or molasses
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounce package pitted prunes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with nonstick aluminum foil making extended edges, or can use regular foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, combine oats, Grape Nuts, flours, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt; stir to combine.

Add flax egg, banana, honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in chopped prunes, walnuts, chocolate chips, and sesame seeds. Mix well to combine; dough will be stiff.

Transfer to prepared baking pan and pat in mixture evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until edges are browned.

Cool completely on wire rack in pan. Use edges of foil to pick up and flip out onto a cutting board and cut into 24 squares.

P.S. Hate prunes? Swap ’em for dried apricots! Got pumpkin seeds? Throw ’em in. How about some leftover shredded coconut you’re looking to kill? In they go! Feel free to experiment with your mix-ins and flavor the bars to your own personal taste.

For more great recipes check out www.Grape-Nuts.com or www.Facebook.com/GrapeNutsCereal.

Honey-Mustard Glazed Brussel Sprouts Even Vegetable Haters Will Like

 

Growing up, honey-mustard hens served over a bed of pillowy wild rice was always one of my favorite dinners to look forward to. Now, when I need that spicy-sweet fix, I turn to this super simple 3-ingredient recipe to satiate that craving. Honey…I know, I know. Some vegans don’t eat it. And I’ve watched the More Than Honey documentary (well, until I fell asleep two thirds of the way through) on Netflix, read up on the topic, gone cold honey-turkey for a while, but alas…I hope that the fairtrade raw organic honey that I used minimizes my vegan sin committal (Though, you should probably gather from my blog title that I am not the holiest vegan whose path you’ve ever crossed).

Ingredients
15 or so Brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons spicy whole grain mustard
1 (very generous) teaspoon of honey*
1 tablespoon almond slivers, optional
Serves 1 as main, or 2 people for a side

*I’d imagine you can use maple syrup or agave nectar or some other vegan sweetener substitute for similar effects.

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour Brussels sprouts into corningware and spoon honey-mustard mixture over it. Toss to coat evenly.

2. Bake for thirty minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Warning: Crispy-crunchy caramelized bits may look like bacon. Serve warm, or let cool and slice in half to mix into salad.

Easy Vegan Superbowl Chili Everyone Will Enjoy

Ah, gameday. Who wants to labor in the kitchen for hours on end when you can prepare something easy and simple in a snap?

1. Start with a can of preferred beans (I went with  Bush’s pinto beans in a chili sauce, but quickly rinsed them under water to slash some excess sodium).

2. Gather your veggies, for a meaty texture, I turned to eggplant and mushrooms. I also had carrots and onions on hand so I added those to the mix. Feel free to experiment!

3. Chop, chop, chop. 

4. Keep chopping away. Hand hurt yet? Rub a little ground chipotle or smoked paprika to your veggies to infuse a bit of a kick. Or, if you want to keep it milder, try sprinkling some cinnamon on your veggie pile.

5. Sautee veggies on stovetop. Meanwhile, boil carrots in water until tender.When you’re done with the carrots, use the boiling water to get one cup of your favorite rice going (I went with RiceSelect Royal Blend Texmati light brown rice with flaxseed, whole wheat pearl cous cous and black lentils because I had it in my pantry, but any simple rice will do). I have no idea if this adds any health benefits, but since using leftover boiling water from greens apparently does, can’t hurt and it lends a nice flavor to the rice.

6. Combine all ingredients together in pot, mash beans around and mix thoroughly. Go Seahawks!

…and yes, I’m basing my rooting decisions on the fact that I’ve been to the Gorge (Thanks, Jake!) but never Red Rocks (Broncos).  I know…

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever…That Just Happens to Be Vegan and Gluten Free

I know what you’re thinking. The cake pictured above cannot be good for you. And there’s certainly no way it tastes good if it’s vegan and gluten free to boot. It simple cannot. Admittedly, that’s what I feared too. Fortunately, I thought very, very wrong. This practically healthy, fiber-rich cake from baking godsend, Vegan Divas even got my dessert-averse boyfriend and sugar-tooth lacking father sneaking seconds. Since I served the cake at a gathering to celebrate Robert Burns, known as Burns Supper, celebrating his January 25th (1759, folks) birthday, I adorned it with some crafty candles (dork alert). Fair warning: The decadent, dark chocolate-y smell of the fragrant cake might transform your guests into a must-eat-cake coma, so delay serving at your own risk.

Ingredients
6 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups organic coconut milk or vanilla soy milk, gently heated
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
1 14-oz can organic pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cup organic golden brown sugar
1/2 cup GF almond flour 
2 tablespoons tapioca or potato starch
1 tablespoon dry Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon or ginger

Instructions:

Place the chocolate pieces in the Vita-Mix (or a high speed blender container); add the heated hemp milk. Cover tightly- use caution with hot liquids. Turn on the mixer to high. Blend until chocolate pieces are melted. Add the vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Cover. Blend a minute.

Add the brown sugar, almond flour, tapioca, egg replacer, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon or ginger. Cover. Blend on high for a minute. Turn it off (unplug it for safety if you have kids nearby). Open the top and using a plastic spatula scrape down the sides if any flour is sticking to the sides- if you’re using a food processor instead, do the same. Cover. Plug back in.

Blend for another minute or two until the batter is creamy and smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan (valentine’s tin can) ; scrape all the batter out with a smallish silicone spatula. Smooth the top evenly.
Bake in the center of the oven until the cake is firm- anywhere from 50 to 60 minutes. Check the cake sooner if your experience indicates that flourless cakes and pies bake up quicker than 50 minutes; also, if your experience is that these types of recipes bake longer- check at 50 to 55 minutes; and follow your instincts. The center will be the last to cook- it shouldn’t be wiggly.
Cool the cake on a wire rack. The top will collapse a bit- no worries. When the cake has cooled, cover and chill it at least two hours before serving. The longer the better. 

Chilling creates a dense fudgy cake.

Serve with chocolate sauce, a few ripe berries, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or a few fresh mint leaves.

Don’t think you can pull it off yourself? Fear not! Order the delectable cake here for Valentine’s Day, along with a wide variety of other Vegan Divas’ pastries and goodies.

Serves 8 to 10. (Or in my case, devoured by six with a side of So Delicious Dairy Free Almond Milk Ice Cream which I don’t think any of my guests would have been able to guess it was vegan, too)

Whoops, got the candles wrong…

Ah, there we go. Much better.