Cranberry Nut Bars

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I find we have been buying a lot of muesli bars lately for my kids, who are addicted to the Thankyou cranberry & yoghurt bars. I am happy to buy them because I know the profits are going to projects to help people I developing nations, and I love that! But I wanted to see if I could make something that is raw vegan and tastes similar, so I headed to the kitchen with my little helpers and together we decided what should go in.

We got out the food processor and decided we definitely needed cranberries and nuts, so that was our starting point. My little girl declared that they definitely needed chocolate on top (she is so much like me that it frightens me sometimes, ha ha) so we whipped up some raw chocolate and adjusted it til it tasted just right.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use any ingredients you love, so play around with the flavours to your heart’s content. Here is what we came up with –

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Ingredients:

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup macadamias

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup goji berries

2 medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tsp water

 

Method:

1. Place nuts in the food processor and grind them until they are fine (about 15 seconds or so). I like to use activated nuts but I had only soaked my almonds, the macadamias and pecans were straight out of the packet.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz it til it is combined and starts to clump together. Add a touch more water if you feel it’s not wet enough, but not too much as you don’t want it too sticky – a little bit goes a long way.

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3. Transfer the mixture into a cake pan and press it down firmly and evenly to make a large slice. I left a gap at the edge so I could get my egg lifter in to nudge it out once it was set, but perhaps just line the tin if you’d prefer.

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Chocolate Drizzle:

1/4 cup raw cacao

2 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp. of pure maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and then use a spoon to drizzle it over the top of your slice. It doesn’t matter how neat or messy it is because once it is cut up it will look beautiful and individual anyway 🙂

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Once you are done pop the tin into the fridge and leave it to set for as long as you can. We waited about 1.5 hours and it was fine by then.

When it is nice and cold and the chocolate is set, lift your slice out onto a cutting board and cut it into bars. We made 14 bars.

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For what it’s worth, these bars don’t taste anything like the gorgeous Thankyou bars, but they are a lovely alternative to a muesli bar and they will give you a great boost of energy and keep you going til the next meal.

This was such a great thing to make with the kids because there is no baking involved, no products that could contaminate, and we could all add in our own flavours to make it special. It is super quick (apart from the time it takes to set) so the kids didn’t get bored and saw the whole thing through.

 

Now, my daughter isn’t one to let chocolate go to waste and we had a fair bit leftover in the bowl which was calling out her name. So instead of just licking the bowl with her finger (which I was doing) she decided she would make herself a snack. She got the cashews, lined them up on the counter and then dipped each one in the chocolate bowl. It was too cute not to take a photo of her, although by the time I got my phone to take a piccie she was running out of chocolate, so here is her creation and her recommendation on what to do with the leftover chocolate –

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Enjoy!

xx

Butter Maple Macadamia Ice-cream

Butter Maple Macadamia Ice-Cream

If there is one thing I really miss on this vegan diet, it’s ice-cream. It’s warming up here in Australia and summertime to me means long, lazy days at the beach with my hubby and kids, enjoying ice-cream by the water. But being new to eating vegan (I only converted just under 3 months ago), I was on the lookout for some tasty ice-cream recipes I could make for myself that were easy – 1. because I have very little time I need it to be fast and yummy, 2. because I don’t own an ice-cream machine, and 3. because I really, really, really want ice-cream!

Being that I am also off sugar and processed foods and I realised that finding a recipe that actually tasted like traditional, creamy, sweet ice-cream was going to be a challenge.

However, one of my beautiful friends, Alicia, posted a link to 29 vegan ice-creams just a few days ago and my spine tingled with excitement. I knew out of 29 recipes there had to be at least 1 that I could eat and enjoy…… and I found it! The recipe originally comes from another blog, The Simple Veganista, but I tweaked it slightly to use up ingredients in my pantry because I didn’t have time to go to the shops. So here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

4 frozen bananas
1/2 cup almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have available)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp raw honey
1 cup macadamias (or your favourite nut)

Slice your frozen bananas and throw them in the food processor with the nut butter, maple syrup, tahini, cinnamon and vanilla. Turn on your processor and while it is running drizzle in the raw honey for it to mix through.

Pour the ice-cream into a freezer safe container (I used an old ice-cream bucket I had in the cupboard) and stir through your macadamias.

You can eat it as is, which is like a soft ice-cream, or pop it in the freezer for a few hours and wait for it harden up. The texture will be just like store-bought ice-cream, and believe me – it is worth the wait!

This should make up roughly 1 litre of ice-cream which supposedly serves 4, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide 😉

I’m sorry I don’t have more photos. I will make this again soon enough and will be sure to take some more so you can be even more tempted to make it. For now, check out the link above the recipe, she is a pro at adding photos before she eats the lot, unlike me.

I hope you love it!!

xx

No Added Sugar Granola

I am a big fan of anything with oats in it, and a lot of my favourite food bloggers have their own version of granola which sounds very American, but it’s just like a super yummy muesli with that extra crunch factor.

I always seem to be substituting ingredients in baking recipes and I have found that mashed banana always works well in place of sugar, so I wondered what it would taste like if I made it the base ingredient to granola……. and so began one of my all time favourite recipes which I eat as a cereal with milk, I put it in parfaits, I add it to the top of my smoothies, but mostly I just grab a handful (or six) out of the jar when I stand in front of the pantry looking for something to eat. I adore this stuff and hope you will too.

I’m going to list the recipe exactly as I make it but I urge you to make it your own and add whatever flavours tickle your fancy.

 

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INGREDIENTS:

1 ripe banana

2 cups rolled oats

2tsp cinnamon

1tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 cups of nuts, roughly chopped (I like a mix of almonds, cashews, macadamias and brazil nuts)

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries and apricots work beautifully)

1/4 cup goji berries

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.

  • Mash the banana in the bottom of your mixing bowl, add the oats and mix thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle on your cinnamon and nutmeg and mix through.
  • Pile the mixture on to the baking tray and spread it out evenly, making it as flat as you can so it bakes evenly. Then pop it in the oven for around 10 mins.

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  • Bring the whole tray out of the oven and mix it around gently, bringing the outside edge (where it cooks faster) into the middle and flattening it back out. Make sure you break up any clumps of banana, then mix through the nuts. Place it back in the oven for another 10 mins.

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  • Take the tray out of the oven and mix again, it should be ready but please use your own judgement and alter the time if necessary. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before adding all your other toppings, and mix it through with your hands. Store in an airtight container.

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I find the pouring it into the jar bit a little tricky, but it helps to pick up the baking paper and use it like a channel to guide it into the bottle/container you want to store it in.

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I hope you like this recipe as much as I do, and please comment below with your thoughts or any changes you might make to it for personal preference, I’d love to hear how you go with it 🙂

xx

PS. Please excuse my dodgy photography work, I take all the photos on my iPhone and I try to be as creative as I can, but I hope you get a good idea from them anyway.