No-Bake Oat Fudge Bites or Bars (vegan)

Oatmeal has become my thing – savory, sweet, baked, raw, overnight oats, energy bites – I mean really, ALL things oatmeal are my current jam. I can’t get enough!
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These no-bake oat fudge bites are no exception…and it combines two of my all-time favorites — chocolate and peanut butter — along with my new oat obsession for an easy, quick and satisfying treat that’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast! Yes, chocolate for breakfast is way-ok in my book 🙂

You can make bars instead of the individual cups if you’d prefer to slice and serve. I tend to lean towards mini versions of everything – if you can’t tell from my Chunky Monkey Frozen “Cupcakes”, No Bake Mini Chocolate Pudding Tarts and Blackberry Banana Coconut Muffin Bites . The bar version is even quicker since you don’t have to divide up the crust/topping and chocolate layer into individual portions.
oat fudge bites2Funny story when I was making these…it was late…like real late at night. (Quick disclaimer: when it’s past midnight, I go on auto-pilot and I don’t always pay attention to little things.) I reached into the cabinet to get my vanilla bean sea salt flakes to crumble and sprinkle over these fudge bites…but I was only paying half attention to what I grabbed. It was a small bag, dark in color and I thought I read “vanilla bean salt” on the bag. Nope. it was Mexican dried oregano…hmmm, so a couple of these little dudes got a savory sprinkle, oopsi! I even tried to use my tweezers to remove the oregano, ha!

The sea salt isn’t required but it certainly adds that “wow factor” in my mind! Just don’t use oregano and I think you’ll love these filling and fudge oat treats! 🙂 If you can’t tolerate nuts, feel free to substitute coconut butter for an equally delicious option!

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No-Bake Two-Bite Oat Fudge Bars
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, No-Bake, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free option, Refined sugar-free

Ingredients
For the “Crust and Topping”
1 1/4 cup pitted dates
2 cups + 1/2 cup gluten-free quick oats
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder
3 Tbsp (or more) non-dairy milk (or coconut oil for richer option)

For the Fudge layer
3 1/2 oz allergen-friendly dark chocolate chips or chopped bar (Enjoy life chips, homemade chocolate, Lily’s for sugar-free etc)*
3 Tbsp chunky or creamy peanut butter, nut butter or seed butter (for nut free, use coconut butter)
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp sea salt (I used vanilla bean sea salt flakes)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add dates and process until a ball is formed.
  2. Add in 2 cups of oats and vanilla and process until powdery and combined. It will look dry. Drizzle in milk or oil and process until mixture forms a dough.
  3. Add in remaining 1/2 cup oats and pulse a few times (this will make the dough have a nice texture with the pulverized and whole rolled oats). Remove from food processor and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes to firm up.
  4. Remove from fridge and either press all but heaping 1/2 cup of dough into a parchment lined loaf pan OR press roughly 1 1/2 Tbsp (large spoon) of dough into silicone mini muffin pans until forms a little flattened disc or crust.
  5. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate chips/chopped chocolate bar and coconut oil. Stir often until almost melted then add in peanut/nut/seed butter or coconut butter and stir until completely melted.
  6. For loaf pan/bar preparation, pour chocolate over date mixture. For mini-muffin pan preparation, pour about 1 1/2 Tbsp of chocolate mixture over each crust.
  7. Crumble the remaining 1/2 cup dough over the chocolate mixture evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired but I love how it brings out the chocolate flavor). Refrigerate until chocolate firms up, slice into bars (with loaf pan variation) or pop out the fudge bites and enjoy!!!

Makes 15-17 bites

If you cannot tolerate chocolate, carob chips or a chopped carob bar can be used as well! Just watch out for added dairy…so homemade carob bark is always a good allergen-friendly option (just omit the mint in my recipe)!

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ABC Cabbage Salad (Vegan)

ABC…easy as 1-2-3…that’s what this salad and dressing is! If you have these three ingredients on hand, you can whip a quick dressing up in less than a minute, and there’s no need for a blender, just a simple whisk (or a fork if you must!).

A for Almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter)
B for Braggs liquid aminos (or coconut aminos for Paleo, Whole30 and/or soy-free)
C for Apple Cider Vinegar
ABC cabbage salad1 For the salad itself, choose your favorite chopped greens along with some crunchy cabbage for the base. Toss in your preference of veggies, such a sliced grape tomatoes, diced bell pepper and chopped celery and there you have it! You can top it off with your favorite nuts and/or seeds, diced apple or coconut chips for some extra crunch and flavor.

This dressing is simple but SO good! For a touch of sweetness, either add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave or a spoonful of date paste. If you are looking for a quick lunch or light dinner, this is it! You can substitute the greens for chopped kale or swiss chard and keep it in the fridge for longer since it will hold up as opposed to wilt. ABC cabbage salad 1

Toss this dressing into a cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling or add your favorite protein for a hearty main course. I served this salad with grilled salmon burgers the other night, and it was a lovely combination or smoky, sweet, salty and tart. If you like sweeter dressings, dial down the amount of vinegar you use and use two drizzles of maple or agave. 

ABC Cabbage Salad 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sugar-free, Egg-free, Keto-friendly, Paleo-friendly option

Ingredients

For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp almond butter or your favorite nut or seed butter*
2-3 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari)
1 -2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
water to thin, if needed
Optional – for a sweeter dressing, drizzle in a teaspoon or so of agave, honey or maple syrup or date paste to taste. For a lower carb option, add a couple drops of liquid stevia

For the Salad:
1 handful of chopped purple cabbage
2 handfuls of chopped greens
5-6 grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup alfalfa sprouts
Or whichever salad ingredients you enjoy, this recipe is flexible!

Ideas for crunchy toppings
Diced apple
coconut chips
Chopped nuts or seeds

Makes 1 large salad or 2 smaller salads

Directions

  1. For the dressing: whisk almond butter/nut butter through vinegar in a small bowl until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin with a drizzle of water. I like my dressing on the acidic side so feel free to adjust to taste. Feel free to add in a
  2. For the salad: Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with salad dressing until combined, if you like a lightly dressed salad drizzle a little at a time (leftover dressing can be saved). Sprinkle with topping options if desired and serve!

*The choice or nut or seed butter will determine the flavor or your dressing. I’ve tried this with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter and cashew butter along with the almond butter. A roasted nut/seed butter has a lovely depth of flavor that adds to the dressing. If you use a salted version, you may want to adjust the Bragg’s/aminos to your taste. If you use sunflower seed butter, it’s not as sweet as the almond/peanut/cashew options so adding a little sweetener will balance out the flavors nicely! This dressing is flexible so adapt it to suite your taste buds and your tummy!

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Black Bean, Winter Squash and Greens Quesadilla (SRC)

Handheld eats are always a win in my book…they are versatile, they are portable and they are so satisfying! Whether it’s a wrap or a sandwich or a taco, you can pack all the food groups into one lovely bite. This veggie-friendly quesadilla is no exception! black bean squash and greens quesadilla 1

I was assigned Terri’s blog Our Good Life for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal, and I enjoyed perusing through her posts of recipes to crafts and family . I wound up picking her Acorn, Black Bean and Spinach Quesadilla this month for two reasons: I had my mind set on Mexican food and I couldn’t wait to test out a quesadilla using Against the Grain’s new gluten-free pita bread (which doubles fabulously as a tortilla). Terri’s Radish Leaf Pesto will be perfect to whip up this spring, her Oat Congee with Fried Egg and Scallions definitely peaked my interest, and her Apple Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding has been bookmarked for the next stormy day when I’m craving comfort food!

Even though Spring is here (or almost here in Montana), I am still enjoying my fair share of sweet potatoes and winter squash. They are a staple in my kitchen and you can always find an uncooked kabocha squash or Japanese sweet potato on the counter ready to be incorporated enemy next recipe experiment! This recipe for a winter squash quesadilla was a huge hit and without a doubt satisfied my hankering for Mexican food!

black bean squash and greens quesadilla

Now this is an ideal flavor combo for me! The creamy texture of the winter squash and the velvety beans complimented the crisp edges on the tortilla and the salty, stringy melted cheese. The sautéed greens added a nice earthy dimension to the dish along with the brightness from the cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice. I changed up a few things on this recipe based on what I had on hand — I substituted kabocha squash for the acorn squash, I used a gluten-free, grain-free tortilla and I added a bit of cilantro for a bit of brightness. I decided to smash up some of the black beans to help adhere the ingredients together since I stuffed the tortilla with the layers of filling 🙂  Mmmmmm!
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Black Bean, Squash and Greens Quesadilla (recipe adapted from Our Good Life)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free Option, Vegetarian, Vegan Option, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Egg-free

Ingredients

  • 1 c small dice cooked acorn squash, kabocha squash or butternut squash
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 can organic black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small bunch spinach (or your favorite leafy greens), destemmed and chopped
  • 4 gluten-free flour tortillas (I used grain-free Against the Grain pita bread)
  • 6 oz monterey jack cheese or your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro OR 3 Tbsp chopped greens onions

For serving 

  • lime wedges
  • your favorite salsa and/or guacamole
Instructions
1. Line a cookie sheet with nonstick foil or parchment. Preheat oven to broil.
2. Heat the olive oil and garlic in skillet over medium heat. Add spices and stir for 30 seconds.
3. Add the beans and 3 T water until hot. Mash them with a back of a large spoon if you prefer more a refried bean-ish result, then add chopped spinach or greens. Cook for about one minute, or until spinach wilts.
4. Place the tortillas on the cookie sheet. Place 1/4 c acorn squash, 1/4 of the bean mixture, and cheese. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and fold over the tortilla to cover the filling.
5. Broil until the top is golden brown, about two minutes. Serve with salsa and/or guacamole and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Serves 4

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For other recipes in this month’s reveal, click the link below!

 

White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte (Vegan)

Cool fall mornings are my favorite…when my cozy bed tries to lure me back in, yet I slip on sweats and slippers and head to the kitchen to brew a warm cup of tea. I find it energizing and invigorating! While I love my morning smoothies, I need to heat up first with something hot when it’s chilly in the house.

white choc mint tea latte
Why not make something nourishing and comforting at the same time? This minty latte has healthy fats from the hemp and cacao butter, peppermint that is soothing for your tummy and digestion, and contains a little protein and fiber from the hemp hearts. This latte is also caffeine-free (unless you use a green or black tea) so you can enjoy a cuppa as a treat after dinner if you’d like!

This quick and easy drink is ideal for sipping while you’re curled up on the couch reading a book, watching tv or having some downtime. If you aren’t a fan of white chocolate, feel substitute carob powder (for AIP) or raw cacao powder for a darker chocolate version and add a touch of coconut cream for richness.
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White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Caffeine-free option, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly option, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan

Ingredients

16 oz boiling water
2-3 bags of herbal peppermint tea (I have some brands of mint tea that are stronger than others, if you prefer a more prominent flavor, use 3)
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp raw cacao butter*
2 Tbsp hemp hearts (omit for AIP, and substitute 2-3 Tbsp coconut cream)
2 tsp agave, coconut nectar, honey (don’t use if vegan) or a pinch of stevia (adjust sweetener to taste)

Directions
1. Steep tea bags in boiling water until desired strength, usually 3-5 minutes for herbal tea.
2. Add prepared tea along with the remaining ingredients in a blender (I use a high-powered blender such as Vitamix) and blend until smooth. Enjoy while hot or warm!

*For a chocolately version, use raw cacao powder or carob (for AIP and caffeine-free). For a thicker, creamier result add a couple tablespoons of coconut cream.