Homemade Larabars

Being back in classes has been a huge adjustment. I’m used to the usual three-month summer break between school years, but I just went nine months without being in school. While it’s really nice to have three hours in the middle of the day to do nothing, I’m also up way later than usual doing homework (so much homework…) and getting organized for the next day.

A few things that have been keeping me going and making my transition easier:

1. Candles. I have so many soy candles in my room and I am obsessed with them! I burn them all the time and they really help calm me down when I’m super stressed out. My current favorites? A coconut lime candle that I got from Mark, and a macadamia nut one from my mom!

2. TONS of water. I have been drinking about 12 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. I don’t drink coffee and I try to only drink tea when I really need it, so water is what wakes me up and keeps me energized! In the morning, I’ll usually squeeze half a lemon into my water bottle, and after lunch I’ll either put sliced cucumber or fresh mint in for a little extra flavor!

3. To-Do Lists. I am  the queen of making lists (in case you couldn’t tell from this post…). Especially to-do lists! I’ve been taking blank printing paper and writing out huge to-do lists with everything I need to get done during each week… so helpful!

4. Chocolate Strawberry Shakes. Technically, this is a smoothie (and how I start most of my mornings…) but it tastes so indulgent and decadent that I like to think of it as a shake! I’ve been including frozen banana slices, frozen strawberries, chocolate almond milk, and vegan protein powder in mine!

5. Homemade Larabars:

Since I’m back in classes at Drexel, I needed some really easy snacks (that I wouldn’t get bored with) to take with me to my classes. Last weekend, I made OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites without the chocolate chips, as well as her chia crackers. Once I realized just how easy Larabar-type breakfast bars are to make, I was on a huge bar-making kick!

These keep me full for hours and on top of that, are SO delicious! I have two varieties for you… I would suggest making both 😉

Coconut Cream Pie Breakfast Bars

inspired by OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites & Larabars

Ingredients:

  • 8 Pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/2 C Unsweeted Shredded Coconut
  • 3/4 C Raw Almonds
  • 1/4 C Raw Cashews
  • 3 tsp (solid) Coconut Oil

In a food processor, process the almonds until completely chopped. You do not, however, want it to be an almond meal.

It is ok if a few larger chunks remain. Once chopped, add the cashews and the dates, and process until completely combined. Add the coconut oil and process until a dough starts to form, about 1 minute. Spoon the mixture between two pieces of wax paper and roll out until the top is smooth and the mixture is at your desired thickness- I usually let mine be about half an inch thick.

Cut to desired size (mine are about half the size of actual Larabars).

Gingersnap Breakfast Bars

Inspired by OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites & Larabars

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C Raw Almonds
  • 1/4 C Raw Pecans
  • 8 Pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1 heaping tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tiny pinch of ground cloves

In a food processor, process the almonds and pecans until mostly chopped (again– do not let it become a floury meal). Add the dates and process until a dough forms. Finally, add in the spices and process for an additional 30 seconds.

Once again, spoon the mixture between two pieces of wax paper, roll out, and cut to desired thickness.

These bars give me lasting energy– enough to get through seven hours at the library 😉 Both varieties are pretty rich, but they’re a perfect pop of flavor to help wake me up early in the morning!  They’re so unbelievably easy to make and absolutely delicious!

No-Knead Fruit & Nut Bread

Good morning and happy Monday!  I had an amazing and relaxing weekend… thank goodness, I needed it. I spent tons of time in the kitchen working on recipes for you, and caught up on some much-needed sleep.

One goal that I have for some point in the future is to bake all of my own bread. It’s so much more cost-effective and it’s so easy that there’s no reason not to do it. My prior experience with bread baking was limited to dinner rolls and pizza crust, but after having some amazing fruit and nut bread from Whole Foods in London, I knew that I had to find a way to recreate it at home.

My only requirement was that the recipe be easy (and, of course, vegan!) I took a basic no-knead bread recipe that I’ve had sitting around for a while and edited it slightly to make a crusty bread full of raisins and walnuts. This bread is a little dense, perfect for breakfast.

No-Knead Fruit & Nut Bread

Ingredients:

3 C All Purpose Flour

1/4 tsp Instant Yeast

1 tsp Salt

1.5 C Warm Water

1/2 C Raisins

1/2 C Chopped Walnuts

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt and stir. Slowly pour in the warm water, stirring continuously. The dough will become very sticky, so use your hands if need be. Once the dough has formed, add the raisins and walnuts and mix in, trying to get them evenly spread throughout the dough.

Cover with a towel or foil and let rise for at least 8 hours.

Once eight hours have passed, form a ball out of the dough on a well-floured surface. You will need a pot with a lid– the lid is important to trap steam, which is needed to form a crisp crust. Also, make sure your cookware is safe at high temperatures– for instance, do not use cookware with plastic handles.

Lightly grease the pot that you are using and lay the dough in the pot. Place the lid on, put the pot in the oven, and set the oven to 450 degrees. You do not need to preheat the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes and remove the lid. Continue to bake without the lid on the pot for 15-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. I let mine cool overnight.

This bread is dangerous… I ate almost half of it for breakfast.

It has a thick, crispy crust…

…and a dense, chewy center filled with sweet raisins and crunchy walnuts.

This bread takes hardly any active preparation. The dough can be thrown together in minutes. It’s so easy to prep on a Saturday night and then toss in the oven on Sunday morning for fresh bread for breakfast.

It’s delicious topped with vegan cream cheese, jam, or hummus. I see myself making a loaf of this every weekend to enjoy throughout the week.

It would also work with various other combinations of add-ins– I’m excited to try it with extra olive oil and dried rosemary, and with garlic and oregano.

Have a wonderful Monday!