Banana Chocolate Chip Bars #CreativeCookieExchange

Wow. I don’t know what’s happened to my brain these days, but I am all out of focusing power. Since I have the summer “off” (fellow teachers know that’s a huge lie), I’ve been stuck in the mentality that I’m “multitasking” during the day when in reality I’m doing a lot of things and getting none of them done. It’s been hot as blazes the past week or so too, meaning that the oven is off 90% of the time (which also saves us on energy costs), whatever fruit I glean from the farmers market with the eventual goal of turning into jam is banished to the freezer, and the ice cube trays are getting a workout. That said, I have learned that frozen lemon slices are perfect for chilling large cups of water, T-shirts make great re-usable shopping bags, a pair of socks can turn into an owl and I’m better at altering clothing than I thought.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars



Normally at this time of year I’d also be regaling you with stories about the garden’s glorious bounty. While the produce and herbs are coming along perfectly fine themselves, we unfortunately have attracted a family or two of voles, which have decimated all my early harvest lettuce, kale, heirloom peppers and some of my prized heirloom tomatoes. Until those pests are under control for good, I’ve decided to patrol my little plot every morning, filling in holes and mourning my losses. Needless to say, this year’s haul might be somewhat spartan, and this realization has slightly deadened my usual drive to live the kitchen, heat be damned.

What has convinced me to crank up the oven lately are the almost weekly BBQ cookouts my family has. Voles aside, we have a spacious, well taken care of and (if I say so myself) rather pretty backyard, and now that our gazebo is once again securely anchored and screened in after an early season windstorm, it’s a decently comfortable location for a small group to dine. While mom takes care of making the burgers, corn, salads and fruit trays, she’s often too pressed for time to think about a secondary dessert option. I’m not saying fruit isn’t a good Summer sweet, but one can only have so many slices of watermelon in an afternoon, and when there are kids involved you know eventually one of them is going to pine for “real dessert”! 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

In the interest of pleasing both the sweet teeth of all our guests as well as the goals of many of the adults to stay svelte this season (and their desire to limit the kids’ sugar consumption) I devised these thin, cake-like banana bars. Essentially squares of indulgent chocolate-chip banana bread, they get a dense crumb and light tang from cream cheese that makes them perfect for a backyard BBQ or picnic lunch. The recipe makes a big pan’s worth and freezes beautifully, making the most of your oven time in the midst of the summer heat. With all the chocolate chips peppered throughout, you’d never suspect they were vegan, nut free and full of fibre from oats and whole wheat. If you need to dress it up, just spoon over a handful of seasonal berries and grab a fork! 

For #CreativeCookieExchange this month, we’ve decided that cheese makes everything better – even cookies! Sweet or savoury, you can find all sorts of inspiration here!

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
Makes one 15×10 inch jelly roll pan, 36 pieces
¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ cup cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp Lyle’s golden syrup (or corn syrup)
4 mashed over-ripe bananas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips 

  1. Heat the oven to 350F and line a 15×10″ jelly roll pan with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, beat together shortening, cream cheese, sugars, vanilla, golden syrup and bananas until smooth.
  3. Whisk together the flours, oats, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and add to the banana mixture, mixing to combine.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until firm.
  6. Cool completely in the pan before slicing

 Amount Per Serving
Calories: 104.5
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 20.5 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 1.6 g

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Are you a “chunky” type of chocolate chipper? Growing up, you’d never catch me with chunks of anything other than chocolate in my cookies – raisins, chopped nuts and seeds, granola were verboten by us kids, and my poor chocolate chip-pecan-oatmeal cookie loving mom obliged year after year, batch after batch. Eventually I started to come around to the “heartier” side of things, but I never really liked the semi-bitter flavour that walnuts and pecans brought to the sweet party, not to mention I could barely bring “nutted” goodies anywhere anyway, after the explosion of allergies in schools, camps and even some offices.

Chufa Chocolate Chippers

Luckily, as years passed and I started paying attention to alternative options, I devised a recipe that had all the texture my mom (and many others) desired, but was allergy-friendly too. In the end, the basic formula switched extremes in a way – from being packed with nuts, eggs, dairy, refined sugar and gluten to lacking every single one of those. My secret was a blend of sorghum flour, ground chufa nuts (AKA Tigernuts) and sunflower seed flour for the base “dough” – making for a sweet and earthy cookie – then adding chopped Tigernuts for texture and a stevia/agave mix for sweetening. A few batches in and I was starting to get requests for them – leading to a bag of them in everyone’s Christmas boxes last year!

A note, which applies to almost all gluten free baking and certainly good chocolate chip cookie manufacturing: let the dough rest. In this case, it’s not to relax the gluten (there isn’t any!) but to allow the dough to hydrate – no sandy gluten free cookies!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays (#200!)

Chufa Chocolate Chippers
Makes 24
¼ cup canola oil
¼ tsp stevia extract powder
½ tsp vanilla
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp agave nectar
100g tigernut flour
50g sunflower seed flour
50g sorghum flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ tsp guar gum
pinch nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ cup miniature chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped tigernuts (optional)

  1. In a bowl, beat together the oil, stevia, vanilla, water and corn syrup until blended.
  2. Beat in the flours, flaxseed, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips and tigernuts.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop 1 tbsp balls of dough and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes. Cool on the sheet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 85.9
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 9.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 2.3 g

Extra-Buttery Snickerdoodles

I’ve become addicted to the combination of cinnamon, honey and butter. Ever since  making and sharing my Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter, I’ve been making batches every few weeks, both for spreading on bread and baking with. Since the Ethereal Spice Cake was such a hit – using the spread, cream cheese and aquafaba to boot – I thought the next step would have to be another spiced offering.

Extra-Buttery Snickerdoodles

What better option to showcase the flavours of butter and cinnamon than a snickerdoodle? I came late to the snickerdoodle fan club, but when they’re homemade, I’m totally on board. These ones were customized to my own personal tastes – tender and moist, with a little tang from cream cheese, extra richness from buttery Kamut flour, vanilla and butter extract and a nice hit of butterscotch schnapps! To make them without eggs, I tried my hand at a direct aquafaba one-to-one substitution. It worked fantastically and kept the balance of tenderness and chew (from bread flour) in check. A roll in crushed cinnamon cereal adds an unexpected layer of texture, all while adding to the cinnamon flavour. Perfection for a cinnamon-toast person like me, and the kids who shared in my bounty!

Extra-Buttery Snickerdoodles

Extra-Buttery Snickerdoodles
Makes ~36
¼ cup Scented Cinnamon Honey Butter, at room temperature
¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ cup cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
6 tbsp aquafaba
2 tbsp butterscotch schnapps
1 tsp butter extract
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup flour
½ cup Kamut flour
⅔ cup whole wheat bread flour

Coating: 
crushed cinnamon cereal (I used Nature’s Path Jungle Munch® Cereal) or graham cracker crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Beat together the butter, shortening, cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add the aquafaba, beating until smooth.
  4. Beat in the schnapps, extracts, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the flours, mixing until totally incorporated.
  6. Place the crushed cereal or crumbs in a medium-sized zip-top plastic bag.
  7. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into the bag and shake until they’re completely coated.
  8. Space the cookies at least 1 ½” apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a flat-bottom glass to flatten them.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool them on the pan until they’re firm enough to transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 70.4
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 7.0 mg
Sodium: 18.8 mg
Total Carbs: 8.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 1.0 g

Graham-Like Crackers

I loved deconstructing my s’mores as a kid. I know it’s totally sacreligious to the camping set (of which I am decidedly not a member), but to me, there was nothing better than devouring a slightly charred, ooey marshmallow before licking the chocolate off the cracker and finally biting through the base. I ate my Viva Puffs the same way – nuke them for about 10 seconds, eat the marshmallow, then chocolate, then cookie. The cracker was always the best part of the s’more for me, the perfect light sweetness that just so slightly softened when you bit into it (especially if chocolate had melted onto it!). These days for me, graham crackers and I aren’t the best of friends – but I’m loathe to shell out at the health food store for allergy-friendlier ones (although these ones are delicious!). When my classes were making batches of Key Lime Truffles for mother’s day, the one other celiac in the school tugged on my heartstrings, and I decided that I’d try my hand at concocting my own, gluten free and (almost) vegan version.

Graham-Like Crackers

I started with a solidly awesome recipe from Cara (Fork & Beans) and switched up a handful of things based on what I had around. My modifications resulted in slightly thicker crackers, needing slightly longer cooking time, but they were beyond worth it for the flavour (not to mention the solidity for double-stuffing smores… just sayin’). While they were completely nut free (a rarity I found with GF cracker recipes), the crispy treats were made with a rich-tasting blend of whole grain flours and ground flax for that “toasty, nutty” flavour. Sweetened with decadent honey and molasses, they’re delicious on their own, in s’mores (or camperless ones!) and absolutely perfect for making crumbs!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Graham-Like Crackers
Makes ~40
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup teff flour
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fancy molasses
2 tbsp honey
⅓ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used quinoa / rice)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients together (flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar) in a medium bowl.
  3. With a pastry blender or fork, incorporate the shortening into flour until the mixture has coarse crumbs.
  4. Add the vanilla, molasses, honey and milk and mix to make a workable dough.
  5. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough to no thicker than ¼'”. Place on a baking sheet and peel off the top paper
  6. Using a pizza cutter make cuts to form squares or rectangles.
  7. Dock each cracker 2-3 times with a fork.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until browned.
  9. Cool in the oven for 10 minutes, then cool to room temperature on the pan.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 62.4
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.5 mg
Total Carbs: 11.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.8 g

Aquafaba Meringues

I know it’s coming around to the Summer “bikini season” when the treats in our staff room start getting less rich and more on the “pseudo-virtuous” side of things. While nothing that appears in our small haven away from the children could truly be classified as a nutritious choice (except the veggie tray which appeared – once – and was subsequently ignored), lighter tasting treats like raspberry coffee cake and “low fat” biscotti are cropping up to tempt our palates. With the seasonal change, it was the perfect time for me to try out a recipe that I’ve had saved away for a while now – vegan meringues.

Now, a few years ago, the concept of a “vegan meringue” was only contemplated by molecular gastronomes, if not considered outright laughable. However, a combination of genius, science and experimentation by several people eventually resulted in the Aquafaba (literally, “Bean Water”) Meringue recipe. Since then (early 2015), subsequent other uses for the starchy cooking liquid have been tried and shared on the Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses Facebook page – including a spiced Bundt cake that I’ll be sharing soon!

Whether it’s the (minimal) protein content, the starch, magic or a combination of all the above, the liquid you normally drain away from canned chickpeas and other beans whips up perfectly into a light and fluffy foam that stiffens into glossy meringue with the addition of cream of tartar and sugar – resulting in light-as air, fat free, gluten free, vegan cookies. In my opinion, using aquafaba is actually easier than using egg whites (you don’t have to be as uber-careful about fat, and it’s impossible to overwhip them), not to mention any “common” allergy issues would be null as well.
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“Cake Batter” Flavoured Funfetti Meringues

The question I first asked when thinking about using aquafaba was whether or not the finished meringues, etc would taste like beans. Well, thankfully, nothing I’ve made with it (regardless of the bean type) has tasted remotely of the legume it surrounded – if anything, it’s exceptionally bland, taking on any and all flavourings like a sponge. The first time I whipped up AF meringues, I used the standard chickpea brine, adding pure vanilla and mint extracts and vanilla sugar, while the “cake batter” variety got a pinch of nutmeg and sprinkles with the flavour extract. Black bean aquafaba made its way into brownies (not unlike the ones from this book) and the liquid left over from cooking up some Tongues of Fire beans made a perfect carrot loaf cake. I can’t wait to play some more!
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Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 
 

Aquafaba Meringues
Vanilla-Mint Meringues


Aquafaba Meringues
Makes ~45
2/3 cup aquafaba*
¼ tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp (150 g) superfine sugar
flavouring / colouring of choice
coloured sprinkles (optional, for “funfetti” meringues)

  1. Heat the oven to 215F (190F convection).
  2. Combine the aquafaba and cream of tartar in a stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form – about 15 minutes.
  3. Slowly beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating at least 10 seconds between additions.
  4. When all the grittiness is gone, add 1 tsp of your flavouring of choice (I’ve used vanilla, mint, and even “Cake Batter”) and colouring (if using) and whip to incorporate.
  5. If using sprinkles, fold in by hand.
  6. Drop or pipe the foam onto a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (I don’t recommend SilPat for meringue, it deflates it for some reason).
  7. Bake for 2 hours. Do not open the oven door during this time.
  8. Turn off the oven and cool inside for 30 minutes, then crack the door and let meringues cool to room temperature.
  9. Store the completed meringues in an airtight container.

* Have more or less than 2/3 cup of aquafaba on hand? Use the ratio of 1 part AF : 1 1/3 parts superfine sugar, plus ¼ tsp cream of tartar for every 2/3 cup AF

More info: http://aquafaba.com/

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 13.9
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 3.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies #SundaySupper

I am very leery of declaring that spring has arrived… being an April baby (along with my sister), I’ve heard far too many retellings of the snowstorm that occurred the day before I was born, and definitely remember being snowsuit clad the week my sister entered the world three years later. That said, this weekend has been double-digit (Celsius) for the first time this year, and the rest of the week is supposed to follow suit (fingers crossed). The family has been out gardening, preparing the beds for eventual seedlings and direct-sowing, and I even got my butt in gear to start my tomato, squash and nasturtiums in my indoor greenhouse this week.

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin CookiesNow of course, all this glorious weather has been short-lived, and there’s no way we’ll even be seeing backyard rhubarb for at least another month or two. Therefore, we’re still embracing the freezer stockade of greens, berries and peaches, plus the “storage crops” like carrots, cabbage, onions and potatoes for a lot of our dishes, slotting in (imported) lettuce, hothouse tomatoes, citrus and berries to brighten up the plate. I always think of carrots in the springtime for some reason, probably due to the Easter carrot-cake tradition, and it’s a wonder that I don’t usually turn orange by May after eating them for months!

Ironically, as the days get warmer and sunnier I become more prone to roasting and sauteeing the roots, which brings out the sweetness hidden deep within their cores after months of storage. Since growing my own heirlooms every year, I’m spoiled when it comes to the flavours I enjoy raw – nothing beats the crisp, bright and lightly sugary snap of a bright red (or purple, yellow, white, black orange…) carrot freshly pulled from the (pesticide-free) dirt, rinsed with the garden hose and devoured immediately. So roasting away I go, and often I’ll do a whole 3-lb bag at once to portion and freeze for simple side dishes, sauce extenders or last minute stir fry additions.

When I was given a copy of my school’s “classic” carrot cookie recipe to make for Easter, I immediately started thinking of ways to elevate the recipe from it’s rather spartan, highly sugared, slightly chewy-cakey roots to something worthy of a spring cookie tray. I pulled a couple tricks out of my back pocket that I had learned from years of oatmeal cookie experimenting – namely, chilling the dough as long as possible so as to rehydrate the oats and flaxseed – and used pureed roasted carrots in lieu of baby food for a thicker moisture component. A few extra swaps later and I had vegan, bite sized drop cookies perfect for Peter Cottontail (and his brood).

What I love about this cookie is that it’s a great spice cookie open to possibility in terms of additions and twists. Don’t like raisins? Add craisins, nuts, coconut, white chocolate… whatever floats your boat. Personally, my next step is going to be supersizing the cookies into whoopie-pie like rounds for cream cheese ice cream sandwiches. Oh, to think of ice cream weather!

Spring has arrived at the #SundaySupper table this week, and along with our host Renee from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures our gang is sharing recipes to welcome the season to 2016!

Breakfast:
Appetizers:
Beverages:
Main Dish:
Side Dish:
Dessert:
Plus Spring Vegetable Minestrone and more Spring Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

 
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
Makes 30
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat, unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup pureed roasted carrots or good quality carrot baby food
1 cup flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups thick-cut rolled oats
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
2/3 cup raisins

  1. In a bowl, beat together the margarine, sugars, soy milk, flaxseed, extracts, spices and salt.
  2. Add the carrots and beat well.
  3. Stir in the flours, oats, baking powder and raisins until combined.
  4. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Heat the oven to 375F and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  6. Drop half-tablespoons of dough onto the sheets, spacing about 1″ apart. Flatten slightly with damp fingers.
  7. Bake for 14-15 minutes. Cool on the sheets

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 114.4
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 57.7 mg
Total Carbs: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.2 g

Uber Ginger Cookies

Ginger cookies are one of those “love it or hate it” treats that seems to show up on cookie trays all year. I used to think they were a “Christmas only” special (thinking of gingerbread houses + men), but just because the shapes aren’t popular in July doesn’t mean the flavours aren’t! Ginger has one of those properties of being able to heat you up or refresh you, depending on it’s form and application, so it gets heavy play in my kitchen all year. Of course, I’m spoiled when it comes to willing gingerphile tastebuds around here too, so I’m always looking for ways to “up the ante” when it comes to my baking.

I think, though, that I’ve hit the apex of the ginger cookie curve with these beauties. Not only are these packed with ground ginger and TWO hits of the fresh rhizome, but I went ahead and rolled the sticky batter in instant ginger-honey granules, snickerdoodle-style, before baking them off. The resulting cookies, which got a tender chew from golden syrup, molasses and apple butter, offer pops of vibrant sweet-spicy flavour with every bite. They’re rather “moreish” as well, their texture mimicking that of my favourite Lassy Mogs while their taste reminds me of the cookies we used to get right from the bakery by my grandparent’s house. While I can’t see myself having a glass of milk with them, a frosty ginger ale? You bet!

Uber Ginger Cookies

Uber Ginger Cookies
Makes 24
½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
¼ cup unsweetened apple butter (I used homemade)
⅔ cup sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup (you can use corn syrup too)
¼ cup molasses
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups spelt flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
¾ tsp baking soda
3 packets Instant Ginger Honey Crystals (you can use plain honey crystals or coarse raw sugar if you can’t find the ginger-honey crystals)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or SilPat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening, apple butter, sugar, syrup, molasses, salt and gingers until well-combined.
  3. Add the flours, flax seed and baking soda, mixing well.
  4. Roll into 24 little balls (about the size of a walnut), then roll balls in the honey crystals and place on the sheet 1″ apart.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cool on the sheet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 119.6
Total Fat: 4.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 8.0 mg
Total Carbs: 19.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 1.4 g

Rise and Shine Power Cookies

Sometimes nothing “traditional” quite cuts it for breakfast… cereal, waffles, toast, even scrambled eggs and bacon don’t seem to sit right, especially if you (like me) start work early and your digestion doesn’t seem to wake up until about 10:30! Rather than packing a baggie of plain dry cereal (as a meal, mind you – I eat plenty of Nature’s Path Envirokidz Cinnamon Jungle Munch® Cereal by the handful when I’m peckish), why not opt for something just as portable and convenient, yet more substantial (and definitely “sweet tooth” satisfying)?

While playing around with some of the goodies Nature’s Path sent me a while ago, I came up with a cookie that, for me and many of the people I shared it with, is the perfect “bring along breakfast” solution. Normally, you’d never see a nutritionist advocating cookies for breakfast – and I’m not saying these should be for every day of the week, but having one in my lunchbox for those days when I wake up late (!) or am otherwise rushing around allows me to still have a balanced protein / complex carb meal at my leisure. Gluten and dairy free, they’re also great for sharing (which is what I did at the Rise Up And Shine II Plan Canada Dance Fitness Fundraiser) last month, and my most recent experiments making them with flaxseed and Homemade Egg Replacer were successful too – meaning these could be (almost) vegan as is, and fully vegan using a vegan granola and either agave or maple syrup for the honey.

Rise and Shine Power Cookies

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However you slice (drop?) it, these gigantic, gluten free cookies are 100% a meal in themselves – packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and healthy fats, not much in the way of added sweetener, and a delicious hearty texture from the Qi’a and Honey Almond Granola. If you’re like some of my gym instructors, you’ll enjoy grabbing one to eat after your sunrise bootcamp (and before your next training session), whereas sleepy-eyed students can tuck in at school while their parents nosh on their way to the office. Wherever you enjoy them, they are a delicious way to stay full and energized till lunch!  
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Rise and Shine Power Cookies


Rise and Shine Power Cookies
Makes 14
1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
1/2 cup Go Lo High Protein Almond Butter (or your favourite almond butter)
1/4 cup Truvia Natural Sweetener Brown Sugar Blend
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Natural Traditions Brown Rice Bran and Germ Powder
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup kinako
3/4 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
5 cups Nature’s Path Gluten Free Honey Almond Granola
1/4 cup Nature’s Path Qi’a™ Superfood (Original Flavour)
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the “butter”, almond butter, Truvia, honey, vanilla, eggs and salt until well mixed.
  2. Add the rice bran, flours, kinako, guar and baking soda, beating well.
  3. Stir in the granola, Qi’a™ and raisins.
  4. Cover loosely and let stand 45 minutes at room temperature (or chill overnight).
  5. Heat the oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop 1/4 cupfuls of dough onto the sheets and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes.
  8. Cool on the sheet for 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 422.2
Total Fat: 19.5 g
Cholesterol: 26.6 mg
Sodium: 167.1 mg
Total Carbs: 54.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.7 g
Protein: 10.8 g

Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks #thereciperedux

With only a week to go until Rise Up And Shine II, I’ve been turning my attention towards making some healthy, hearty, “power foods” for both the volunteers and the participants. Of course, Nature’s Path has made things a lot easier for everyone to stay “on their path” by giving me an awesome selection of their cereals (the same ones you’ll get if you win my giveaway!). Granola bars are definitely one of the most obvious “healthy” snacks out there, but they’re usually made with raw oats, not to mention a boatload of sugar and fats. That’s the way the original recipe I chose to tweak was too – and while the sweetness factor is still on the “high” side, by weight my version still has less sugar, calories, sodium and fat than a storebought bar and is full of extra nutrition from the pumpkin, rice bran, natural peanut butter and (of course) the star of the show – a full box of Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola! To play off the “Thai” vibe I was getting from the coconut, peanut butter and pumpkin, I tossed in the leftover dried mango from my “Tablespoon” Trail Mix too. The more the merrier!
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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks

The “puck” shape of these treats makes them the ultimate portable breakfast, although it does take a little finessing to transform the moist, sticky batter from “gluey” to “chewy”. Being thicker than your standard “bar” means that in order to keep the texture consistent, it takes a “two part” baking system: first in the muffin tin until set, but still soft, then free-standing on a sheet tray until the bottoms and sides crisp up a little bit. You’ll never get “crunchy” granola bars, obviously – the lack of added oil and the abundance of pumpkin in these will see to that – but they have a toothsome quality and a definite ability to fill you up before or after a workout without giving you a major sugar hangover! I knew I had hit the jackpot when the photo I posted to Instagram got a like and a recipe request from the @naturespathorganic team – not to mention the craving from my coworkers! 


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Pumpkin-Mango Granola Pucks
Makes 12
½ cup pure pumpkin puree (I roasted my own)
½ cup natural style creamy peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
¼ cup Muscovado sugar
¼ cup golden syrup or honey
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp liquid stevia
¼ cup unflavoured pea protein powder
1 tbsp vanilla
1 box (about 4 cups) Nature’s Path Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola
½ cup large-flake rolled oats
1⁄3 cup stabilized rice bran
½ cup diced dried mango

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F and line a muffin tin with paper liners
  2. In a bowl, beat together the pumpkin, peanut butter, sugar, syrups, stevia, protein powder and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the granola, oats, bran and mango, stirring until everything is well coated.
  4. Pack ¼ cupfuls into the liners, pressing in as well as you can with the back of a spoon or disher.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and press the tops of the pucks down firmly to compact.
  7. Cool 10 minutes in the tin, then move the pucks to a baking sheet.
  8. Bake 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely before eating or storing in the fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 2 months).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 278.3
Total Fat: 10.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 75.8 mg
Total Carbs: 39.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
Protein: 7.8 g