I’m not generally much of an in-between kind of girl. My hair is black, or it’s white. (Or, currently, it’s black and magenta, which is, again, kind of serious looking, in a really fun and unserious way.) Either I’m working 20 days in a row, or I’m twiddling my thumbs for equally as long. I’m in love with and deeply attracted to extremes, in all facets of life. In line with my character, I vacillate between making the most ridiculously complex food ever, and the simplest. Lucky for you, dear reader, today I came up with a granola bar that is stupid easy and also AMAZINGLY tasty. Better yet, it’s gluten free, grain free, paleo, high protein, and vegan. These would be good with any nut or seed butter, but the chocolate Nuttzo adds a killer dessert-y flavor, plus a bunch of nutrients and omegas via flax seeds.
To make these awesome little guys, throw all of the below in a bowl, stir until combined, pour in a pan, and put in the fridge or freezer. Get back to it in an hour, cut into bars, and knock yourself the hell out never buying granola bars again.
1 cup nuts (I used raw almonds), whole or broken, doesn’t matter
1 cup coconut flakes (exchange for dried fruit if you don’t like coconut)
1 cup sprouted dried buckwheat (buckwheat is a seed, not a grain, fyi, and it’s now delightfully inexpensive sprouted and dried in the bulk section of health food stores)
3/4 cup chocolate Nuttzo
3/4 cup date puree (puree dates, or buy dates pureed)
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup coconut nectar, honey, or maple syrup
3 scoops protein powder of choice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Like I said: mix together until it’s all gloppy and uniform, spread in a pan, and refrigerate. That’s it. If you have no patience, like me, put them in the freezer and they’ll be ready in a half hour. If you have patience, put them in the fridge and it’ll be more like an hour or two. Keep them in the fridge so they stay hard until eaten, or keep frozen if you plan on having one as a grab-n-go snack later in the day.
The buckwheat gives these a Rice Krispie treat texture, so I wouldn’t omit that, but beyond that you can basically change out any ingredients here you want to keep flavors current. Add dried fruit, add more nuts, change the nuts, change the protein powder, add cocoa powder, do whatever you want because you’re not baking these so you’ve got nothing to worry about. What you see is what you’ll get when you make the batter, only it will firm up a bit once cold. If by some change you add too much stuff and the mixture isn’t spreadable, just add more nut butter until it is, and taste to make sure they’re still sweet and salty enough.
Maybe it’s the anticipation that the all-too-brief cherry season is about to hit, but I’ve been on a major kick with dried and frozen cherries lately. I am loving the “black forest” flavor of cherries and chocolate, as evidenced by my last blog for cookie dough balls. While I always try to incorporate as many detoxing and antioxidant rich foods into my diet, that’s especially important now, as I’ve recently embarked on a healing journey from chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and it forces toxins out of your cells as it forces oxygen into them. Unfortunately, even though I have my Chronic Lyme Disease in remission, it still inhibits my body’s ability to detox, so toxins being pushed into my system = me feeling even worse. Therefore I am embracing antioxidant and detoxifying foods with extra vigor… but of course I still want them to taste good. With this smoothie, I’ve combined red kale with organic frozen cherries, protein, and cacao powder into a shake that tastes more “dessert” than “detox.”
Note that while I’m big on drinking smoothies, I am less big on making them, and I like to use a lot of ingredients, so I generally make enough for 2-3 servings at least. This recipe yields 36 oz, enough for two meals and one snack.
Black Forest Bliss Smoothie:
1 cup milk of your choice
1/2 head red kale
6 oz frozen cherries (a little over 1/2 a 10 oz package)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/3 of a medium banana (enough to add texture and flavor, not enough to make the smoothie a sugar factory)
3 scoops chocolate protein powder
3 tbls cacao powder
1 tbls coconut oil
1-2 droppers chocolate-raspberry stevia
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
In the VitaMix, prior to blending
I tend to get complaints that I put a whole lot of different ingredients into the foods I make. The main reason I don’t consider this a problem, or much work, is of course bc I am the one who already has all these ingredients in my kitchen, on hand. Also, my way of cooking is to rapidly throw stuff together and hope it magically works (usually it does), and some people need more structure and time than that. For those people, I imagine my recipes look like a lot of effort, regardless of how many times I advise, “Just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl! It’ll be great!”
This week my VitaMix broke, and as I await replacement parts in the mail, life is weird, bc it’s something I use more days than not. My mom sent me a blender that goes with the mixer I have, and it arrived yesterday. Excited to make a smoothie this morning, I tried to fit the blender onto the base only to discover that they are not a match. This blender top may go with SOME mixer out there, but it isn’t mine. I was already geared up for a smoothie and am out of sprouted buckwheat, my other go-to breakfast (a new batch is in the dehydrator right now). I glanced from the freezer to my mini-Cuisinart, and decided to have some quick morning fun. The end result- and by END, I mean about 60 seconds later!- was delectable.
Easy Breakfast Porridge That Takes Longer to Detail Than It Does to Make:
2/3 cup frozen berries, blended on high for 30 seconds in mini food processor
1 scoop protein powder
2 tbls hemp seeds
3 tbls milk of your choice
1 tbls almond butter
dash of stevia if desired
Stir all ingredients together and enjoy! Crunchy, sweet, filling, and gorgeous.
Note: you can buy berries in season, toss them on a baking sheet, and freeze them individually. They last very well that way. When buying berries, ALWAYS choose organic! They have more pesticides per acre than any other food.
I tend to go through phases with breakfast, eating the same thing daily for a month or more before moving on. Generally I eat a raw breakfast, a raw lunch, raw snacks, and a cooked dinner, and try to include as much nutrition in breakfast as possible. My last phase before this one was over the summer, when I made an intensely superfood-filled smoothie that took up the whole VitaMix, then processed it through my ice cream maker to turn it into a delectable ice cream that made enough servings for a week or so. Ice cream for breakfast every morning is FUN, and makes me feel sort of conspiratorial and guilty-pleasure-ish too. The fact that my ice cream was full of things like kale and lucuma powder made it actually healthy to have such a thing for breakfast.
It’s winter now, and though in L.A. that means 65 degrees and sunny, it still isn’t exactly ice cream weather anymore. I’m not usually one for hot breakfasts- honestly, I think my uncaring attitude about food temperatures are part of what makes it so easy for me to have been mostly raw for years now- and this one satisfies all my childlike cravings. It’s been many years since I’ve eaten any sort of commercial cereal, and raw granola (the clumpy kind, like RnR used to make) is something I have eaten mooooore than enough of by now, since it was always around my commercial kitchen (here’s lookin’ at you, Kanga Krunch). So I deconstructed it, and I absolutely adore the results. I vary the milks I eat it with: I’ll go through a spell of keeping homemade nut or hemp milk in the fridge, then drink Organic Pastures raw dairy milk for awhile. It’s important for me to get some amount of raw dairy because I’ve found that I don’t get enough long-chain fatty acids, and that has led to numerous health issues. I have also found that my health, which is pretty shaky, worsens with any attempt at veganism, and have had to reconcile that I need to eat some amount of raw/organic/grass-fed animal products in life. (I’m fully envious of those who thrive on entirely raw and/or vegan diets, and eat 80-90% raw vegan myself, with a strong focus on fresh vegetables.)
The below crunchy, tasty, decadent cereal is made of the following, all of which are organic: sprouted/dried buckwheat (which I make myself, but you can buy if it’s too much of a pain), cacao nibs (they’re scrumptious, and give you a total boost of energy), hemp seeds (I omit these if using hemp milk), lots of cinnamon (buckwheat is technically a seed, but it’s a carby one so the cinnamon offsets blood sugar effects), himalayan salt, stevia powder, and a dash of protein powder (I’ll detail what I use for protein in a future post). Sometimes I add chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds too. I haven’t done that in this bowl because lately I have also been eating two homemade flax crackers alongside this cereal, to thoroughly cover my omega bases. You could also add dried fruit- I don’t because if I eat sugar in the morning, I crave it all day. There’s no real recipe, but be careful to not go too overboard with the seeds or it’ll be so filling, you won’t be able to finish a bowl of it. I recently got a private chef client hooked on it, and I imagine that if you try this, you’ll be in little kid cereal heaven too… only a much, much healthier and life-giving version of it!
It may look a little health foody, but it tastes like happiness. =)