Homemade Chunks of Energy

Better named “chunks of heaven” versus “chunks of energy”; however, they can be quite expensive. So, in the spirit of DIY, today was my first attempt at makin’ my own. I looked up a few recipes online, went to the store, and absolutely winged it. From the recipes I looked at, I gathered that it didn’t matter what kinds of nuts, seeds, sweeteners, or sticky stuff you used, just that the right consistency and taste was achieved. Below you can see most of the ingredients I chose: raw slivered almonds, raw sunflower seeds, sunflower butter, dates and Endangered Species Chocolate Intense Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs. 

First, I soaked my dates in about a quarter cup of water while I tossed approximately 2 cups sunflower seeds, 1 cup slivered almonds, ¼ cup chia seeds,about 3 Tablespoons fresh-ground flax meal (which I keep in the freezer), 2 Tablespoons honey, 4 Tablespoons sunflower butter, about half the bar of chocolate, then tossed in the soaked dates and water. Blend! I had to stir it around with a spatula between blends because it was very thick. Adjust with water or honey or sunflower butter for proper consistency as needed.

More processing…

Then I plopped it out of the food processor into an 8″ x 8″ pan.

Using a spatula, I squished it down, and because I also love cinnamon (and it is an anti-inflammatory), I sprinkled some on top. Then I put it in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. 

A short time later, I sliced and popped them out of the pan. They turned out delicious! The consistency was little less dense than the commercial chunks, but stuck together just fine. They tasted really good too, but next time I think I will add more chocolate!

Since I’m running the Monument Avenue 10K tomorrow, these will be a perfect post-run high-protein snack! I didn’t do a cost analysis on this, but, as you can see, my recipe made a lot!

Moroccan Stew

I came across a recipe for Moroccan stew a few years ago in a friend’s cookbook, and I’ve been making different versions of it since. Always hearty and spicy, sometimes it has lentils, raisins, squashes, peppers, eggplant; the more, the better!

This time I even had purple potatoes, served over brown rice.

YUM! I received compliments on the delicious scent when I brought it into work the next day for lunch.

Annnnd… I survived another work week. Being silly in my natural environment.

Juice, Potluck, Vinaigrette, Valentines

My new roommate has a juicer! This is the first time I’ve lived with a juicer, and I must say, it is pretty awesome. I never considered buying a juicer before. I just wasn’t a fan because I always thought it was a waste of fiber. I’d always rather just eat the whole fruit or veggie. However, my roomie, Gwen, is not into wasting food either. So! Every time we make juice together (it is a bonding experience) we have to think of something creative to do with the leftover fiber. We’ve made carrot-apple torte balls and we made items for our potluck: pear-grape tart and carrot cake. I still don’t know if I would buy a juicer for myself. I’m not a big fan of non-essential appliances. However, I must say it fun to live with a juicer for a time!

{Photo credit: Gwen Paulson}

We had our first raw potluck in Richmond last night. It was a tiny success! A few good friends came and brought the following yummy raw dishes:

Olive Tapenade over sliced Tomatoes and Avocados
Guacamole with Romaine Leaves to dip
Pear-Grape Tart with Almond Crust
Beet-Carrot Salad
and I made Carrot Cake and Cabbage Slaw

It doesn’t look like a lot in that neat little list, but there were nine full-bellied people in attendance, and there are still leftovers in the fridge. I wish more people had been able to come, but I’d say it was definitely a success. I learned what a tapenade is for one!

At the hospital where I’m doing my internship right now, I can get free lunch. It is a bit scanty on vegan items besides the salad bar and occasional pasta dish, so I get a spinach salad 98% of the time. It is getting really old! So, I think I’m going to make this Fresh Herb Vinaigrette from my favorite vegan blogger and cookbook author, Joy Tienzo‘s, blog to bring with me to spice up my daily lunch salad! I already bring my own fork and (when I remember) plate, so people might not think I’m too much more weird by bringing my own salad dressing, right?

So, V-day is in the air. I am planning on making the bf some brownies for the special day. He doesn’t like cake, (who doesn’t like cupcakes? I found a crazy.) and brownies are his favorite. I just so happen to have a recipe for Raw Frosted Brownies from another great blogger, Dreena Burton. Making these though might be a bit selfish. As a disclaimer, he is a guy who, when he eats something I make, might say, “This tastes… healthy,” as a complaint. I know he would much more appreciate the bleached flour, white sugar, chocolatey traditional brownie. I may have to make “real” brownies for him and just have leftover pear-grape tart myself!

{Photo credit: Gwen Paulson}