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Peanut butter

Mostly Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Snow in the city is dirty. It will soil your shoes, your gloves, your stoop, your snowballs.

Suit up and put your game face on, or that black — and sometimes salty blue — stuff they call snow might stain a piece of your soul, too. It feels little like the soft, white flakes that flow quietly to country lands. Lands where cars stay stationary, kids go sledding and firesides roar.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

Yet snowfall in the city can also be a magical experience. I see this in ways far different than where I grew up. It comes in ways that remind me why I’m carrying out my youthful years in an urban setting.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

For one, while schools might shut down, often the community does not. Where I currently live, on snow days restaurants often remain open. They fill up with afternoon conversation. At the corner of my block, a place lights its fireplace and spreads out its board games. Beer is poured. Coffee is served. Warmth, both literally and socially, can be found in abundance.

My neighborhood’s yoga studio powers through with an evening session taught by a local teacher. I go, as do others, to fill the class, and practice while gazing out the window at the falling white flakes. They remain clean as they hang in the air, and it’s in this moment that I feel like I am “home” again. Back in the country enjoying a piece of serenity.

Following class, I rejoin the bustle. I meet a friend up the street at the fireplace for a beer and a game and good company. And again I remember, this is why I love the city.

Most Raw Curry Sunflower Oat Energy Bars

The start of this year has been a rough one in terms of the weather. I loathe winter. I could do without snow, and even seasons too if I really had to.

Yet, I am constantly reminded of why I still remain on the East Coast, in a state that won’t let me scoot by without being cold, in a city that I’ve grown to love. Surrounded by friends, and not far from family, I’ve learned to survive the cold seasons and even admire some of its parts I hate the most. Snow too has its place, and for now, it seems to be a significant part of my life…like it or not.

So until I get the guts to move far, far away to a new city in warmer lands, you can find me coping in my current city with my baking gear and measuring cups. When snow falls, cooking and tea and adventuring all call — usually in that order, too.

These were whipped up during our last winter storm here in Philly. They make for a healthy snack or breakfast, and are definitely going on my repeat recipe list. Made with antioxidant-rich curry powder and mostly raw ingredients (excluding the peanut butter), their packed with energy. The good kind. The kind you might need to get you through a long winter. Only 31 official days left. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

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Flourless Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin dessert on Thanksgiving is a must. Generally, I’d say there has to be pie, however, no one said you shouldn’t have options – or two desserts on your plate. These pumpkin cookies make a rather fine second choice for the table, especially for vegans and gluten-free’s.

I came upon this recipe and the chickpeas immediately caught my eye. A cookie made of beans and pumpkin? That sounds almost too healthy to be true – and tasty – an inclination I generally get when reading dessert recipes (though not entrees). Luckily, curiosity got the best of me and I went for it…chickpeas, chocolate, pumpkin and peanut butter all piled into my food processor.

Following a previous recipe for disaster that called for black beans in brownies, I had my doubts. After those results, I vowed to stick to sinfully indulgent brownie recipes from there on out. However, it’s possible the success of this one may’ve changed my opinion on health-altered desserts.

Unlike black beans, chickpeas are fairly bland, and you’d certainly never pick up on them in this pumpkin recipe. They give these cookies their oomph while keeping them moist, but it’s the maple, spices and chocolate that lend these their flavor. The results – a nutritious, protein-packed cookie, that while addicting, I wouldn’t feel guilty eating for breakfast.

For a holiday packed with more than enough indulgences, these make a great option that likely no one would ever guess is actually even healthy. On the whole, I’m all about making sacrifices in terms of nutrition when it comes to desserts, because if I’m going to indulge, I want it to be amazing. But sometimes you get lucky and find a recipe like this, where those kind of sacrifices truly aren’t needed for pumpkin perfection.

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Spicy Peanut Sauce with Noodles


As an obsessive peanut butter lover, I’m naturally a diehard fan of peanut sauce too. If you haven’t had it, well, you’re missing out. (Unless you have a peanut allergy, in which case, I’d pass on this one).

Peanut butter creates a naturally creamy base that lathers up pasta and gives it a rich massage of flavor. Toasted sesame oil, the PB’s sidekick in this dish, contributes that classic roasted infusion of Asian flavor and aroma to the sauce. Then some ginger and chili garlic sauce come in to spice things up a bit. If spicy isn’t your forte, simply use less of the chili garlic sauce.

I pair the peanutty sauce with soba noodles, which while aren’t essential, definitely enhance the dish. Soba noodles contain a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour, which give them a nutty taste and a unique, elastic texture. They are the perfect noodle to stand up to the intensiveness of the sauce (vs. white pasta) without taking away from any of the flavor (vs. whole wheat pasta).

Cabbage and red peppers lighten up the dish a bit, packing it with an element of nutritious freshness. While this dish is intended to be served warm, it’s equally as tasty at room temp., or slightly chilled.

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Banana Pops: A Fun Summer Snack

I know I’ve iterated this before, but banana and peanut butter is truly a marriage made in heaven.  The two mates will always have a steady relationship in my eyes, which we all know is a rarity these days.

The naturally sweet and nutty duo creates a rather satisfying flavor combo. that can be utilized on everything from PB&J to waffles to crepes.  I personally harness this flavor fusion most frequently as a snack all on it’s own.

But lately with warm-weathered days touching my skin and ice cream filling my mind, I’ve been taking an additional step to transform my favorite snack into an extra special summer treat.  With summer fruit sadly fading out, this treat is the perfect replacement.

A simple freeze can turn the classic banana and peanut butter into a healthy ice-cream-esque pop.  The protein-packed peanut butter (8 grams per serving) and potassium-filled bananas creates a well-balanced snack or after-dinner dessert that leaves me feeling both satisfied and energized.

For a super easy summer pop, stick with Phase 1.  The simple process of freezing the banana and PB adds a surprisingly special touch to the standard snack.

If you’re looking for an even extra special treat, take it to Phase 2 and add some melted chocolate to the mix.  Select whatever variety of chocolate you desire, but if you want to keep it healthy, go for bittersweet chocolate chips, like pictured above.   The dark chocolate will add a boost of antioxidants to your pops.  Spice it up a bit more with any of the optional add-ins, if you desire.

Click here for Banana Pops recipe…