Healthy Date Squares (sugar free, gluten free, vegan)

Date squares are one of those recipes that make me think about my grandmother, she would always have date squares, fig bars and jam cookies at her house and as a snooty little kid, I always wondered what her deal was. ¬†I mean where is the chocolate? why is she always shoving a jam like spread in all the sweet things and why can’t we just dip this in chocolate? I remember never wanting to try her “healthy” weird things, but when I got older I tried a date square and man oh man! did I love it! the sweetness of the dates with the buttery crust had my head spinning in a whirlwind of love. ¬†Back in the day I classified that as me being healthy, and with such large quantities of sugar and butter, you know its really not that good for you.

As I’ve been trying to eat my large quantities of dates a day for an easier labour ( I’ll let you guys know if it works) I’ve gotten really tired of eating it in oats or smoothies. ¬†I just started not being able to hit my date quota, so these little healthy date squares are my solution! ¬†They are a tasty healthy treat filled with good for you ingredients, made with a small amount of sweetener in the crust, because come one guys! Dates are sweet enough! and coconut oil instead of butter. ¬†its the perfect little grab and go snack that everyone will love.

HEALTHY DATE SQUARES16 squares

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats ( gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds ( I just add flax seeds to the rolled oats while blending it to give it a nice roughage kind of consistency)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp xantum gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Directions

In a bowl add the dates, 1 tsp vanilla and boiling water.  Stir around until covered.  Let sit.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ or 180 degrees C.

Add the oats, flax seeds, cinnamon ¬†and salt to a food processor. ¬† Process until you’ve reached the consistency of a wholewheat flour, not to flour like.

Add the sweetener, xantum gum, vanilla and coconut oil.  Pulse until it forms a dough.

Grease a pan.  Take 2/3 of the dough and press it tightly into the pan, making sure its nicely pressed.  Wipe down your processor and add the dates mixture,   Pulse until smooth.

Spread the date mixture over the oats mixture, spreading evenly.  Take the rest of the oat dough and spread it over the date mixture and keep pressing it down.

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Bake for 20 Р35 minutes or until lightly golden all over.  Remove from oven and let completely cool before cutting.  Serve.

Smoked Paprika Black Bean Burgers

Ever since making these black bean burgers I’ve been craving them nonstop, that’s how good these yummy little things are. ¬†Surprisingly we had some burgers left the next day and ¬†I decided to ¬†crumble it into a kale salad, ¬†let me tell you guys something it was like heaven in my mouth! They were even better the next day and they made my daily salad go from bleh salad, to Damn! That’s one great salad.

This recipe all started when I made red lentil fritters one night and couldn’t stop thinking that it would make the perfect add along to a veggie burger, with the memory in the back of my mind and two tins of black beans in my basket, I decided it was time to get experimenting. ¬†The smoked paprika adds a little oomph to these burgers that will make you feel like you’ve just taken this burger right off the grill and if you forger the last couple of burger in the pan and its just a tad burned the feeling will intensify. ¬†I decided to give a burger bun a skip and just have it just like that loaded with salad, cucumber, tomatoes and avocado with a perfect dill pickle sauce to take it over the edge, but feel free to enjoy it anyway you want.

SMOKED PAPRIKA BLACK BEAN BURGERS – serves 6

Black bean Burger

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup split red lentils, covered in water to soak for one hour.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and washed
  • 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more if you want added spice
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced

Directions

Drain the split red lentils and place in a food processor with the 2 cloves of garlic. Blend until coarsely blended.   In a bowl, mash the drained black beans and add all the spices.  Stir in the red lentils, onion and panko.

Refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes.  Form the mixture into six patties.

In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of oil.  Add the patties and cook for 4 Р5 minutes on each side or until browned on both sides.

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Serve with sweet potato and butternut fries.

First couple of days in Cape Town, South Africa

Its H-O-T, hot, hot, hot here! We’ve been melting from the heat here. ¬†We came in here thinking, oh, its fall, it wont possibly be that hot here. ¬†Boy, were we wrong! on the plus side my hair looks amazing. ¬†The abundance of vitamin D seem to be making my hair shinier by the day! Carl, on the other hand is suffering from a light sunburn.

It’s been fun to walk around a different city, we been drinking water like fiends trying to hydrate as much as possible, thanks to the insane heat, but the skies are bluer than blue and the water looks like a blue carpet with diamonds strewn across it. ¬†Can’t be mad at that!

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^^ This little guy was such a little poser.  Maybe he was expecting food?

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^^ A clear day and beautiful Table Mountain.

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^^ Carl looks like he has a skip in his step and a swing in his arm.

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^^ The waterfront is filled with beauty.

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^^ I don’t know what’s the deal with this ice cream cone, but I like it.

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^^ Carl’s beard is growing at record speed again. ¬†The lack of vitamin D in Dublin, made his beard stop growing. ¬†We googled it, its a real thing!

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^^ Green juice break.

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^^ This sushi was amazing and was at the Food Lovers Eatery.  If you are ever in Cape Town you have to check it out.  They even had Dr Pepper!

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^^ The land of proteas.

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^^ I’m not sure what this means, but my guess is that its got something to do with sea point. ¬†You can’t see it in this photo, but their hair connects.

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^^ Lighthouse in sea point.

Give me more blue skies.

Butternut Biscuits

Yes, a biscuits recipe and its not even anywhere close to thanksgiving or Christmas! Well if you do that whole Christmas in July celebration than this is the recipe for you! or you know what? Just enjoy it now, its so good and goes perfectly with a gravy, and lentil meatloaf. We started eating it as is, without anything on it and its was darn good!

Feel free to add things like sage, or rosemary to this, I didn’t add any of those things, because I wanted a simpler, lighter biscuit, without an explosion of taste in my mouth.

BUTTERNUT BISCUITS 8 biscuits

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut, cut in half and roasted until soft. Flesh scooped out and purreed. 1 cup of purree
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 356 degrees F/ 180C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add all the ingredients incorporating until you have a thick dough, its should be slightly sticky.

Drop large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet, until you have used all your dough.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

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Deconstructed Sushi Bowl with a Ginger dressing

A love a good salad bowl, this one sure is filling and bursting with flavour.  Its also a snap to put together, and its a great way of getting rid of leftover rice.

Now I’m not a big fan of leftovers or rice, I actually might have a phobia towards rice, thanks to my Aunt, that always told me if I ate rice I would get big boobs. ¬†For some reason this traumatized me for years. ¬†Apparently not eating rice works too. ¬†The leftovers thing, well I just don’t like having a lot of food clutter in my house, by food clutter, I mean ways of getting me to over eat and regret it, so I like to make perfect amounts of food, so I don’t pig out in a day. ¬†So obviously rice is the one thing, that can clutter up my house and I won’t eat it, unless its jazzed up to be a delicious and easy sushi bowl.

This is a versatile recipe, that can be made to your taste.  I added avocado to my bowl, after I took a photo, and it made a delicious sushi buddy.

DECONSTRUCTED SUSHI BOWLserves 1 or how ever many you want to make.

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Ingredients

  • leftover brown rice
  • grated carrot
  • chopped cabbage
  • chopped cucumber
  • red pepper sliced
  • green pepper sliced
  • fried tofu
  • 1 nori sheet, chopped
  • fresh coriander, chopped
  • flax seeds or sesame seeds – optional

Ginger dressing

ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Place everything in a jar and shake until combined.

In a bowl add rice and arrange the vegetables on the top.  Sprinkle with sesame or flax seeds.  Pour over desired amount of dressing.  Serve Immediately.