April 28, 2013

Raw "Brownies" or The Best Healthy Snack Bar

Sometimes I wish I was the type of person that went running every morning.  I wish I could eat a salad for dinner and then not crave dessert.  I wish my house was ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.  I wish I knew how to do my hair in a variety of different styles. 

But the truth is, I would much rather sleep in then get up early to run.  I chew flavored gum after dinner to trick my dessert craving.  There is a food processor in my entertainment unit and a box of different types of flours on the dresser in the bedroom.  The dining room table is never actually used for eating.  My desk is covered in post-its with recipe ideas and to-do lists.  And my hair is always up in a pony-tail bun thing. 

But I’m happy to clean up if you say you’re coming over.  I will gladly bring baked goods to any event.  I would go running with you if you asked me to (you’d probably beat me).  You’re welcome to join me for dinner on my cozy couch while watching something fun.  I have the best intentions. 

These raw brownies were full of good intentions.  I wanted to believe that I could replace my regular brownie recipe with one full of healthy ingredients like dates and nuts.  But as good as these bars were, don’t call them brownies.  They are however, some of the best healthy snack bars I’ve ever tasted.

One thing I’ll give these bars is that they are fast!  No baking.  Just press into a pan lined with parchment and refrigerate until ready to cut.  They are also vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free! 

Walnuts and cocoa powder provide the base.  Dates add a caramel sweetness and bind everything together.

Making these will make you feel like a better person.  They can totally calm a sugar craving after having a salad for dinner.  But if someone asks me to bring brownies to a party, butter, chocolate, sugar, and eggs will be on the ingredient list.  That’s just me. 

Raw “Brownies” or The Best Healthy Snack Bar 

From My New Roots

2 cups whole walnuts
1 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao if you can find it)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds (optional)

Process walnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground.  Add cocoa and salt and pulse to combine.  Add dates one at a time through the processor feed tube while it is running.  At the end, the mixture should look like moist crumbs that will stick together when pressed with your fingers.  If they don’t stick together, add more dates. 

Give the almonds a rough chop and mix them into the date mixture.  (I had the almonds in, but next time I’ll either chop them finer or not put them in at all.  I found they broke up the texture too much and made everything fall apart a little too much.) 

Press the moist crumbs firmly into an 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate to make them easier to cut. 

April 25, 2013

Cornmeal and Sundried Tomato Waffles (With Marinated Eggplant and Ricotta)

We’re always working, striving towards the next success.  The problem is, once we achieve something, our idea of success changes.  My grad school work is a perfect example of this.  When I first started my project, I told myself that all I wanted was to express my protein.  I’d be so happy if I could just have that.  And I got that, about 7 months in.  And yet, at that point, I was already working on other things that weren’t going well.  And so my original milestone went by almost unnoticed, overshadowed by the next, greater milestone that I had set myself.  If happiness is on the other side of success, our brains never get there.  

April 22, 2013

Spicy Broad Beans (Baked or Fried)

When I was in Boston recently, I had the chance to meet up with my very first PhD mentor from the very first lab I worked in.  Back then I was scared, inexperienced, shy, and Catherine made it so easy to get started.  She made science cool, and no doubt is a big reason why I am still in science now.  Not only that, but she was instrumental in getting my first TWO peer reviewed publications.  And although I now realize that I did a lot of the repetitive work that she didn’t want to do, I will always appreciate every minute of it.  It shaped me as a person and as a scientist.

There are some memories that I will have forever from that time.  Our daily walk to Tim Horton’s in the morning.  Talking about yoga and sometimes demonstrating poses.  And eating spicy beans.  These things were brought by another co-worker, and they were dangerous.  We must have demolished at least one bag of spicy broad beans a day. 

So when I showed Catherine my food blog and she asked me to post some recipes for vegetarian snacks, I decided recreating the spicy broad beans was perfect.   

April 20, 2013

New York Sour

Alex’s birthday is coming up and it makes me think about how old we are getting.  We are very close to our late twenties.  To some that will be laughable: so young!  To others, it may seem ancient.  To me it means many things depending on the situation. 

April 16, 2013

Boston in Colours

I just came back from Boston on Sunday.  I was attending the Society for Biomaterials conference at the Hynes convention center.  We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel.  We walked down Boylston street.  We met several people who were staying after the conference was over to watch the marathon.  They were really excited.

I was planning on posting all about my Boston adventures with some bubbly pictures of Pinkberry, but that seems inappropriate now.  Instead, I will share some
thoughts on these tragic events.  

April 13, 2013

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

We all need to chill out.  Sometimes things get so wound up.  Sometimes, I realize that things that I started doing for fun are making me worry.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the little things that aren’t working out, that we forget to appreciate the things that are.  

April 08, 2013

Biscuit Sticky Buns

Most of the time, shortcuts are a bad idea.  At work I’ve learned this the hard way several times.  Do an experiment halfway and you’ll just end up having to do it again.  So you might as well just do it right the first time.  

These sticky buns are an exception to the rule.  They are a shortcut you should take.  With no yeast or rise time, they are sticky bun express.  

April 05, 2013

Birch Beer and Bourbon

Most of the time I go to the grocery store with a list.  I am fast and efficient.  In and out.  This isn’t because I hate grocery shopping.  This is so that I don’t buy everything I see, especially when I’m hungry.  It’s like my stomach thinks I will never feed it and insists to my brain that we stock up. 

April 03, 2013

Maple Pecan Marshmallows

Things are crazy over here!  Work is hectic; getting ready to go to a conference and frantically trying to get some more data.  Why does it always seem like it’ll be ready right before you have to go? 

Husband’s birthday is coming up, so plans are in full swing for that.

And I totally saw some buds on trees today!  Take that flurries!

I have definitely been on a marshmallow kick lately, ever since I discovered how easy marshmallows are to make at home.  So of course, now I want to see what I can change and stuff into them.  Totally normal.