Bars & Squares, Berries

Blueberry Oat Bars

May 5, 2017

It’s starting to feel a little like spring around here. The snow has disappeared (thank god) though it rains most days, there are some breaks in the clouds with sunshine beaming through.

With spring comes all the spring baking – fruit galore and spring vegetables. Winter dishes are carb heavy and comforting, while Spring brings a lightness with crisp veggies, the return of the green smoothies, and a variety of fruit.

Even in the last few weeks, especially while on spring break (woot), I’ve enjoyed making smoothies, salads, and springy baked goods.

While certain fruits like blueberries, for example, aren’t quite in season – I can’t help but crave them in baked goods. Thankfully, frozen berries are available all year round and we’re always fully stocked in the freezer for things like smoothies, chia-seed jam, berry compote, and of course – baking.

Being pregnant during the winter (and holidays) meant lots of comfort food. Although winter produce is great, you just don’t crave those raw veggies as much. But next week marks 5 months (halfway!!) and I’m determined to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can for baby. And sometimes, that also means fruit in baked goods. Hey – still counts right?

These Blueberry Oat Bars come together quickly, and you probably already have everything on hand. I’m sure you could even try them with frozen raspberries! or even Blackberries!

Bring on spring.

 

Blueberry Oat Crumb Bars {gluten-free}
A gluten-free blueberry oat crumb bar that’s perfect for breakfast, a snack and even delicious enough for a healthier dessert!
 
 Crumble:
 
  1. 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  2. 1 1/4 cups oat flour (can use whole-wheat flour)
  3. 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1 egg, whisked
  6. 1 cup coconut oil, room temperature or slightly melted
Filling
  1. 3 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (can use fresh if you have ’em! reduce to 3 cups for fresh)
  2. 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  3. 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  4. 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  5. 1 tbsp cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Pulse 2 cups rolled oats in food processor or blender to soften, but still slightly maintain their shape.
  2. To make your own oat flour, add 2 cups oats to high speed blender to blend until fine flour forms. Measure out 1 1/4 cups.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line square 8″ x 8″ baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In mixing bowl, add pulsed whole oats, oat flour, coconut sugar and baking powder.
  5. Add coconut oil and egg. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until dough forms.
  6. Dough will be moist and should stick together. If too dry, add more coconut oil or a splash of non-dairy milk.
  7. If using frozen blueberries, microwave for 2 minutes to slightly thaw. Stir in coconut sugar, lemon zest, half of the lemon juice, and chia seeds. The chia seeds absorb the extra liquid and make it jam-like when baking. Mix together well and add cornstarch. Stir again.
  8. If using fresh blueberries, add 2 tablespoons of water to microwave-safe bowl before heating up.
  9. Place 3/4 of the dough in prepared baking dish, flatten with spatula and press with the back of a spoon.
  10. Spread Blueberry Filling on top evenly.
  11. Add a small handful of rolled oats to the leftover dough, and crumble remaining dough on top of blueberries in small clumps.
  12. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.
  13. Store in container on counter, in fridge or freeze for later.
Notes
  1. I prefer these bars chilled from the fridge, or heated up!

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Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake

April 14, 2017

Carrot Cake usually pops up around the same time the flowers do for spring. And is usually a token dessert around Easter tables. Although truthfully, this carrot cake was made much earlier to satisfy a friends pregnancy craving for a carrot cake without the fuss of nuts, pineapple or raisins (which don’t belong in cakes).

Pregnancy cravings are no joke. While I haven’t had the ‘I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW’ craving – i.e. no 3 am pickles and ice-cream runs for the husband, I have definitely wantedthings.

The other annoying pregnancy craving is the lack-of cravings. More often than not when dinner rolls around I have absolutely no idea what to make. Which is highly unusual for me. My go-to is usually pasta with a basic tomato sauce – quick and easy. I’ve been leaning towards vegetarian options, with little desire to cook or eat meat (unless its already made for me). 

The craving for sweets however, is definitely back after a short hiatus in the first trimester.

Healthier-ish desserts of course are slightly better, though I’ve eaten more Easter candy than I should.

Carrot cake is one of those ‘it has vegetables in it so it’s healthy’ dessert concepts – which means you can eat more, right? Hint: Don’t argue with a pregnant woman.

Just make this Vegan Carrot Cake. Your family will thank you, and so will your cravings.

 

Vegan Carrot Cake
Your favourite carrot cake – made vegan! Spiced carrot cake topped with dairy-free cream cheese frosting. A spring favourite. 
 
Ingredients
  1. 2¼ cups flour
  2. 3 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  6. ½ cup applesauce
  7. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 1 cup sugar
  10. ½ cup melted coconut or canola oil
  11. 2 cups grated carrots
  12. 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
Frosting
  1. 3/4 can of chilled coconut cream (Chill overnight in fridge, or 1 hour in freezer beforehand)
  2. 3/4 package of vegan cream cheese
  3. 1-2 cups icing sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, vanilla, sugar and coconut oil.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in the carrots and stir until just combined.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
  1. Combine coconut cream and cream cheese medium sized bowl.
  2. Using hand-held blender, or mixing-bowl fitted with paddle attachment, whip until smooth. About 2-3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add in icing sugar. You can add in as much or as little as you like, depending on the consistency of frosting you desire. You can also chill the frosting in the fridge if you’d like it a bit firmer.
  4. Spread evenly across cooled cake. You can add chopped walnuts/pecans or toasted coconut on top if you like.
Adapted from  Love and Lemons
Bread, Breakfast

Cinnamon Buns

March 5, 2017

There seems to be a debate on whether or not you call these delicious baked goods rolls, or buns. I guess it depends what your parents called them growing up, or where you live. They could be sweet buns, sticky rolls, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns. Either way, they’re delicious. 

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to call them buns.

Because, when you say you’ve got a ‘roll in the oven’ – it doesn’t quite have the same meaning. 

Yup – We’ve got a ‘bun in the oven’ – and not just the cinnamon type 🙂 

Adam and I are so insanely excited to announce we have a new little baker arriving this august.

It was so hard keeping it a secret for three months. And today, I’m actually four months pregnant. It’s crazy how everything changes once you find out you’re going to be parents. The first few months went by slowly, keeping a secret during the holidays, being exhausted, sleepless nights (hello insomnia) and some definite cravings (toasted tuna sandwiches at 4 am….)

However, the second trimester has brought energy and sleep (thank god for snoogles).

This is also a reason why it’s been a little quieter on the blog front. Not a whole lot of baking has gone down, and even less energy to blog and upload posts. I’ve actually been really lucky (fingers crossed) that I’ve felt pretty good so far. No real morning sickness (thankfully) and no other crazy pregnancy symptoms. I actually didn’t think I was pregnant when we found out – though we were planning on it. I’m hoping this stays the same for the rest of the pregnancy!

I’ll share some pregnancy updates and stories on the blog as we go. And there will be lots of cinnamon buns in the future.

For now, old man winter has decided to stick around forever. It’s currently snowing outside – again. Just when you think it’s over, and spring is around the corner, it snows. Personally I’ve had enough of it. I’m ready for sunny days – heck, even rainy ones. Anything but snow. Enough with the snow.

Snow just means more days cozying up inside baking. These cinnamon buns are a labour of love (pun intended).

If you’ve never made cinnamon buns before, don’t be intimidated by the lengthy process. It’s actually quite easy and the end result, a warm sticky cinnamon scented treat, is well worth the effort. Kind of like babies. 

Make these on the weekend to enjoy all week long.

And pray that winter is over. Soon.

Cinnamon Bun Recipe from Oh, Ladycakes

( I had to re-post this recipe due to site crashing so I lost my recipe insert but it is based off of the recipe linked above!)