I asked, and the people answered.

I’ve been writing a lot of deep and sometimes dark blogs this past year, so going into 2019 I’m glad that people are interested in some vegan recipes. I’ve never considered myself a food blogger nor am I a critic, but since starting my plant-based journey 10 years ago, I’ve slowly become a better cook. Which has been on my bucket list.

I have a recipe box that I continually add to (divided into breakfast, Spring/Summer lunches, Spring/Summer dinners, Fall/Winter lunches, Fall/Winter dinners, and desserts), and some of those recipes have been with me from Day 1, modified over the years. I’m now settling into a pretty good meal and snack routine, so I’m happy to start sharing some of those meals and slowly converting – I mean, encouraging – everyone to eat plant-based, one recipe at a time.

The afternoon snack: Granola bars

I used to buy granola bars back in the day, but when I was told by more than one person (hubby included) about how unhealthy they were, I converted to trail mix, then veggies with hummus/baba ganoush, then a homemade trail mix during my cleanse this year (the worst tasting of them all). When I discovered I was sensitive to peanuts, almonds, and cashews, I started buying hazelnut butter and decided that I could make my homemade trail mix taste WAAAY better AND also be easier to eat (trail mix can be messy AF, am I right?). Then I realized if I cut the hazelnut with sesame tahini (a less expensive and milder tasting product), I can save a bit of hazelnut butter, but still get the taste of it.

2 cups quick cooking oats
1 c nut butter of your choice (I use 1/2 c of Satau’s Nuts to You hazelnut butter, 1/2 c of New World Foods sesame tahini*)
1/4 c pecans
1/4 c walnuts
1/2 c coconut flakes
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/8 c chia seeds
1/4 c + 4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Line an 8×8″ square cake pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture into the pan. Freeze for 45-60 mins. If it’s too hard to cut when you take it out, wait a bit and then cut it into rectangles. Store uneaten bars in the fridge.

*I refill sesame tahini at The Soap Dispensary in Vancouver- it was the only type of spread they had that I wasn’t sensitive to. They don’t have hazelnut butter, but they should.

I find that 1/10 bars is a good snack serving; 10 bars also accounts for 2 weeks worth of weekday snacks. You could also cut into 12, or even 20 if you want just a few bites worth per serving. I warn you though, these can be like crack!! I adapted this recipe from one I found online to suit my own taste, so you can definitely swap the ingredients or sweetener, and adjust the proportions of the other ingredients.

Dare you to tell me this isn’t one of the finest looking homemade bars you’ve ever seen!

Granola bar recipe remixed: The best goddamn granola bars in the world

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell the story of Granola Girl (GG) and proudly being one of this company’s earliest customers. In early 2011, my sister bought me a bag of granola in a white paper bag that said “Granola Girl” and had a “vegan” sticker on it. It was goddamn good. Then in April, I attended the first networking event of what would later be called the Serendipity Collective, hosted and organized by none other than the found of GG, April Bellia. She had the same bag at her home, and often gave them away as door prizes to attendees.

Now, GG is in dozens of stores across B.C. and continues to be hands down one of my favourite (and healthy!) granola mixes ever (it’s on my list of fav food products). So when I got a bag from her at Serendipity’s Good in the Hood holiday event last week, I thought about my recently refined granola bar recipe, and what is surely one of the best granola brands in the world. And voila! Yes, it was goddamn amazing. I wouldn’t eat this on a daily basis, but if you want to treat yourself or your loved ones to some gourmet – and pretty much homemade – bars, you’re welcome.

1 bag of Granola Girl (which contains gluten-free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, cane sugar, maple syrup, goji berries, hemp seeds)
1/2 c hazelnut butter
1/4 c sesame tahini
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Follow the steps in the original recipe above, crushing the granola chunks as you mix, and freeze the mixture for 1 hour. It should still be soft enough to cut into bars when you take it out.

Enjoy the granola life, friends. It’s where it’s at.

– Sandra

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