homemade granola bars. oil free, refined sugar free / vegan

Granola Bar Addict? Yes I admit that is one of my many titles (along with frozen fruit obsessor).

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It’s so hard for find granola bars that are good for you in stores without being super overpriced. I’ve heard amazing things about KIND bars, along with other brands, but they’re just more expensive than I would want to pay for a granola bar. And so, this is where this recipe steps in.

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Vegan, oil-free, and sweetened with only the natural taste of nature – these granola bars will satisfy your tastebuds just as they did for mine.

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you will need:

  • 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used organic sprouted spelt flour)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup whatever dried fruit you want tbh (maybe dates)
  • apprx. 1/4 cup water**

the process:

  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. prepare a baking pan with parchment paper
  3. put flour + oats into a medium sized bowl
  4. chop up your nuts + dried fruit if they aren’t chopped already and add to the bowl
  5. add 1/8 cup of water and mix the mixture with your hand
  6. keep adding water until it’s not too dry and the batter is one big ball
  7. add the batter onto the prepared pan and press firmly down until it’s flat
  8. use a sharp knife to cut the mixture into squares in the pan
  9. bake for around 20-25 minutes
  10. bake all the way through. it’s supposed to be a little soft and not completely hard. this will vary with each person’s ovens so make sure to check your bars at around the 15 minute mark.

**note: the amount of water you need depends on the mixture you have at hand. if you think it’s too dry, add a bit more water. only do a 1 tbsp. increment at a time so you don’t add too much.

 

 

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all the same / smoothies (v, gf)

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though all my pictures are of different smoothies, because they all have one key ingredient in common (spinach), they all look identical – hence the title of this post. it’s true I didn’t make many changes and that they were all edited the same way. otherwise, there would be some discrepancies with the shade of green.

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for this basic green smoothie, i always use banana as a base and then whatever fruit i have on hand. most likely i’ll also blend in some strawberries, and if i want to thicken up the mixture, i’ll pop in a tablespoon or two of greek yogurt as well.

14107598681_2946efd252_ofor a basic green smoothie recipe that’s incredibly build-able, you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1/4 a cup of water or non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberries**
  • any other fruit you’d like to include

the process:

  • pour in the liquid and put your sliced banana chunks on top; then blend.
  • add your spinach and blend until it’s smooth.
  • add in whatever else fruit you want and blend to your preferred consistency.

as you can see, this recipe isn’t really a “recipe” but more of a list of ingredients to give you an idea of what to put in your green smoothie. I honestly have no set measurements and I just kind of throw ingredients in as I go. the ingredients listed above are what I almost always have in my green smoothies. like i said earlier, sometimes I’ll add greek yogurt to thicken it up (avocado would work too) and maybe some medjool dates to sweeten the smoothie even further. sometimes i’ll toss in some tangerines, oranges, apples, kiwis, etc. if I have them and blend them all together. as long as you taste it while you go, you won’t be surprised at the end result and you’ll probably really like it as well!

 

seed me no more / smoothie (v, gf)

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new blender means quicker smoothies. and a shopping trip to costco means huge boxes of strawberries and blackberries. both of these things makes me a very happy girl.

because the blackberries have a lot of seeds, when I blend this smoothie, it actually doesn’t get ground up and instead stays in the mixture. I don’t really mind it as much because it gives it an interesting texture. but if you think you’d mind the little crunch, then you are forewarned.

you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 handful spinach (yes this is a “green” smoothie in disguise)
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • a splash of water

the process:

  1. i like to put a bit of water in first to get my blender moving.
  2. then add the banana, chunk by chunk.
  3. blend until smooth.
  4. add the spinach; blend until smooth.
  5. add strawberries and backberries
  6. blend until smooth, or to the consistency you wish.

variations: by using frozen berries or bananas instead of fresh ones, you can thicken up the consistency.

banana “nice” cream / recipe (v, gf)

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if you are a frequent visiter to instagram (and perhaps tumblr as well), then you are probably well aware of the phenomenon known as nana ice cream. it’s refined-sugar-free, raw, vegan, and super simple to make! i recommend having either a high-speed blender or a food processor (neither of which i have) to make this as it will make things easier on you and speed things up. if you don’t have either, it’s okay as this recipe is still doable – it will just take some patience and time.

many people choose to use extremely overripe, spotty bananas to make this “ice cream” because that’s when it’s at it’s sweetest. however, if you don’t like the banana taste as much, I recommend using just spotted bananas (so not extremely brown and overripe).

banana “nice” cream / serves 1

you will need:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk or water
  • medjool dates (opt.)
  • toppings of your choice (ex. fruit, granola, etc.)

the process:

  • slice up your ripe bananas into coins and freeze them for at least 24 hours beforehand.
  • place a bowl in the fridge to chill while you’re making the nice cream
  • pour in your 1/4 of liquid into your food processor or blender
  • soak your dates in water if they’re hard
  • put in your coins, a couple at a time, into your device and pulse on high
  • continue to blend/process until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth with a soft-serve texture
  • it may take a couple of tries and you may have to take a spoon to push the mixture around to get things moving
  • de-pit your dates and cut them up into small pieces
  • place them into the mixture and mix as well (I recommend doing this towards the beginning of this procedure)
  • add in any thing else that you would like as flavoring: cacao powder, different frozen or fresh fruit, etc.*
  • pour mixture into a chilled bowl and place in the freezer for another 20 minute or so for it to firm up**
  • top with whatever you want and enjoy!

*more flavoring ideas: cinnamon, vanilla extract, nut butters, mint extract or mint leaves. you can even add spinach to make it a green ice cream!

**note: you can leave it in there for a shorter or longer duration of time, depending on the consistency of your nice cream. however, don’t leave it in for too long because ice crystals will form on the top as there are no additives to keep it that from occurring.

 

berrylicious watermelon smoothie (v, gf)

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what does a girl do when she has a huge bowl of freshly cut watermelon and a bunch of berries? make a smoothie of course!

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i almost always make my smoothies with almond milk or just plain water, but since I had so much watermelon in my fridge (summer fruit time – yes.) I decided to add that to my blender for the water content. and what a good idea that was! because I didn’t strain my watermelon “juice,” it was still pretty chunky and thick so my smoothie wasn’t really thinned out. i added approximately 1/4 cup of watermelon juice. and i’m using approximately very seriously here. In reality, I probably blended around 2-3 cups worth of watermelon, but I poured out most of it into the cup you see above, and left around 1/4 cup of substance in my blender.

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then i just added my normal ingredients (bananas, berries, etc.) and pressed blend! honestly, with smoothies, i find it best to just throw stuff in and go. you never know what kind of flavor combinations you might chance upon. i just kind of take what i have and just toss it in. the more variety, the better in my opinion! this is a pretty sweet smoothie, and it had a very pleasant consistency as well. i also used it as a topping on / used it to make my overnight oats and it complimented the taste perfectly.

berrylicious watermelon smoothie / serves 1

you will need:

  • 1/2 cup watermelon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 4 medjool dates (or less, depending on level of sweetness you prefer)

the process:

  • cut your watermelon into chunks and soak your medjool dates in water if they’re hard
  • blend the watermelon first until smooth (you may strain the mixture to get “true” watermelon juice, or just leave it all in there like i did).
  • add in your frozen banana slices and blend
  • cut up / tear your softened dates into small pieces, add, and blend.
  • add your berries, a little at a time, and blend.
  • keep blending until it gets to the consistency you like.

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I used this as a “topping” on my overnight oats, the actual base of my overnight oats, as well as just enjoying it on it’s own. you can even add some spinach or other greens to make this a lovely green smoothie! I just thought the pink color was too pretty to ruin with the green heh. I hope you enjoy this smoothie!

 

avocado + hummus on toast (vegan)

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I know I say this a lot, but this is seriously one of my most favorite combinations ever. whenever I have avocados and bread in my house, I just have to make this combo because it’s too good not to. i normally eat it as a spread on toast (like an open-faced sandwich), but recently, I’ve been arranging it like an actual sandwich and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good this way too.

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fun fact: many people call this “smashed” avo on toast because of the lines the fork makes when you mash the avocado onto your piece of bread. i actually didn’t mean to put avocado and hummus together, but one day I had an abundance of both that I needed to get rid of eat quickly, so I just decided to slap this combination together as a quick breakfast. little did I know that i would fall in love with this savory combo.

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like i said, you can eat this in sandwich form, or just as a “spread” on a piece of toast type of breakfast. either is super yummy!

avocado and hummus sandwich / serves 1

you will need:

  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp hummus (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 pieces of whole grain bread
  • salt or pepper, to taste (opt.)

the process:

  1. pop your bread into a toaster
  2. slice your avocado in half (we’ll only be using half for this)
  3. take a fork and start mashing up the avocado inside it’s “shell”
  4. spread a tbsp. of hummus on one of your pieces of toast
  5. spread half your mashed avocado onto the same piece of toast, on top of the hummus
  6. repeat with the other piece of toast
  7. either eat separately, or layer on top of each other for a sandwich.
  8. you may also add salt and pepper or lemon juice to give things more flavor if you wish.

4-ingredients, vegan banana pancakes (v, gf)

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pancakes. ah. one of the major, classic american breakfasts. i’ve tried pancakes multiple times in the past (you can see two of my attempts here on my blog) and though my most recent attempts haven’t failed, I hadn’t found the combination that I really loved either. but today, for “pancake sunday” on instagram, I think I have found the recipe that works for me.

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granted, it’s incredibly simple. it only has 4 ingredients after-all, but I actually do enjoy the taste! and like I always say, that’s the most important part. the taste of your meal will always be, in my opinion, more important than the presentation – though, of course, having a nice plate isn’t something I readily dismiss either. now all i need to do is work on my pancake presentation skills, but at least I’m set for the actual flavor.

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simple, 4-ingredient banana pancakes / serves 1 (makes around five 3-inch diameter pancakes)

you will need:

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 ripened banana (and more for garnish if you wish)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (because I like my pancakes fluffy!)

the process:

  • mash up the half of your banana in a small bowl
  • combine the oat flour and the baking powder in separate bowl
  • pour half a cup of almond milk into the flour mixture**
  • stir so that all the flour is covered by the milk
  • add the mashed banana into the mixture and stir until just combined
  • heat a pan on high heat (until hot enough so that the oil sizzles when you spray it on)
  • grease well or spray with nonstick spray
  • put about 2 tbsp. of batter on at a time
  • wait for around 1 minute or until the batter starts to bubble and the bottom firms up
  • flip your pancake and wait for it to finish cooking on the other side
  • serve with the toppings of your choice

**note: I know putting wet into dry seems counter-intuitive, as most recipes require you to put the dry into the wet mixture, however it does work and the pancakes do turn out alright.

for some topping ideas, for this particular stack, I used kiwi, banana, and my peanut butter yogurt spread (post / recipe here). between each pancake lies a layer of the pb-greek yogurt blend with some banana slices on top. i also cut up a kiwi to have with this stack as well.

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comforting peanut butter and banana oatmeal (v, gf)

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though  california is going to be experiencing a mini heat wave next week (highest temperature is going to be 97 degrees!), it was pretty chilly this past week – hence this warm bowl of oatmeal.

if you’re ever on Tumblr or Instagram, you may see that pb & bananas are considered quite a classic combination. I personally love the two together myself in any form. I love having peanut butter and banana slices on toast, frozen banana slices topped with peanut butter, and even peanut butter-banana smoothies. so naturally I had to make peanut butter and banana oatmeal as well.

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if you’re a pb and banana lover like I am, trust me, this bowl of oatmeal will seriously satisfy your tastebuds. I actually used frozen banana slices to make this, but obviously fresh bananas can be used as well. in fact, I normally use fresh too, but on that day I just thought “why the heck not” and decided to go with the pre-cut frozen banana slices I had in my fridge.

peanut butter and banana oatmeal recipe / serves 1

you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2  cup non-dairy milk (almond, soy, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp. natural peanut butter**
  • 1 ripe banana
  • opt: more toppings of your choice, dates, etc.

the process:

  1. first combine the water and milk in a small saucepan and wait for it to simmer
  2. once it starts to simmer, pour your oats into the sauce pan, change to a low-medium heat setting, and stir
  3. slice 1/2 (or more, depending on you) of your banana into thin slices and leave the rest for garnish. put your banana slices into the oatmeal and stir continuously – this will help dissolve the banana slices and create a soft, whipped texture.
  4. after oatmeal has thickened to your preferred consistency, turn off your stove and prepare your oatmeal
  5. add your peanut butter and the rest of your banana slices, mash up and enjoy!

note** you can also substitute the peanut butter for other nut butters, or even sunflower butter if you’re allergic to nuts.

and although it’s fun creating “pretty” looking oatmeal, there is a reason why there is no aftershot once everything is mixed in . . .

 

14155309244_f036a2fc1a_o. . . because it looks like this. but hey, the most important thing is that it tastes good!

 

the color purple – in oatmeal (v, gf)

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what does one do when you have a bunch of ripe fruit ready to eat, and there’s no way to eat it all? freeze them. toss ’em into a smoothie. attempt to finish them anyways. or, cook them in oatmeal!

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it turned my oatmeal this gorgeous purple color and excited me to no end. sprinkled with dried figs, more chopped up dates & frozen blackberries plus some peanut butter seriously made some pretty bomb tastes explode inside my mouth.

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on a slightly unrelated note, I can’t wait until I get to the bottom of my peanut butter jar for two reasons. 1 – I can finally buy a new jar! maybe I’ll try a different brand. but what to get? creamy? crunchy? roasted? raw? the choices, the choices. 2 – I can use the rest for overnight oats oh ho ho ho. its been a dream of mine to make overnight oats in that almost empty nut butter jar, and hopefully the day where it comes true won’t be too far away.

{recipe}

you will need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 dates (some to cook with, some to top it with)
  • 5 blackberries
  • dried figs, frozen fruit, whatever toppings, etc.

instructions:

  1. make the date oatmeal i posted earlier here
  2. just make sure to add in the blackberries when you add in the dates and stir thoroughly! you want to really mash up the berries and make sure their flavors seep into the oatmeal and it’ll get that nice purple color
  3. add whatever toppings you want and serve

notes: you can use also use blueberries instead of blackberries. i’ve never tried this with strawberries before, but if you do try it with other types of berries, be sure to leave me a comment on how it tasted! and of course, y’all have complete creative control: go crazy with the add-ins and toppings. this is just a base for you to build on!

 

oatmeal with caramelized dates (v, gf)

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remember how I promised a recipe for the oatmeal made with dates a couple of days ago? well here it is! as I mentioned before, cooking the date in the oatmeal gives it a really nice sweet taste and it almost caramelizes. i topped my oatmeal with a bunch of blackberries and organic strawberries that i purchased from costco (woo!) a few days before.

{recipe}

you will need:

  • 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 – 2 dates (your preference)
  • toppings of choice; fruit, more chopped up dates, nuts, etc.

instructions:

  1. combine water and milk in a small saucepan until it boils
  2. de-pit your dates if they don’t come pitted already.
  3. chop up your dates into smaller pieces so it cooks more easily
  4. after your water and milk mixture boils, turn the heat on medium and add in your oats
  5. stir your oats occasionally and add in your dates around 10 seconds after
  6. continue to stir your oats
  7. add in whatever else you want to and wait for oats to thicken to the consistency you enjoy
  8. once finished, scoop it out, top with the fruit and enjoy your warming bowl of dated oatmeal!