Korean Turkey Meatballs with Noodles

Korean turkey meatballs are highly seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and a little molasses. Once cooked they're tossed with simply spiced noodles that are seasoned with gochujang.

Flavourful Korean Turkey Meatballs are seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, pepper, sesame oil and a little molasses.

Sometimes my kids whine about supper. (Okay, often.) May be it’s a phase? They’re tired of chicken, say they don’t like turkey meatballs, don’t want to eat fish again….What I have come to discover as they get further into their teens is that more and more they love highly seasoned foods.

My kids clean their plates when I serve these tasty Korean turkey meatballs.

They love garlic and ginger and spices, loads of spices. The more I prepare ethnic foods the less they complain. Needless to say, my cupboard has been filling up with different spicy condiments, including the Korean paste-like sauce, gochujang.

Korean turkey meatballs are highly seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and a little molasses. Once cooked they're tossed with simply spiced noodles that are seasoned with gochujang.

Korean turkey meatballs are highly seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and a little molasses. Once cooked they’re tossed with simply spiced noodles that are seasoned with gochujang. Serve this dish with raw or lightly sauteed peppers for a bright and flavourful meal.

Korean turkey meatballs are highly seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and a little molasses. Once cooked they're tossed with simply spiced noodles that are seasoned with gochujang.

This recipe is slightly adapted from New York Times Cooking.

Korean Turkey Meatballs with Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. rice or cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup chopped peeled pear or apple
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ½-1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari (GF)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup dry bread crumbs or panko (can omit for gluten-free version)
  • 6 ounces udon, soba or linguine noodles* (GF if necessary)
  • 1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
  • 2 Tbsp. gochujang, or 2 Tbsp. ketchup seasoned with 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 3 scallions, cut on diagonal

*Can serve meatballs with rice instead

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Place turkey in a bowl.
  3. Combine molasses, pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, pear, onion, ginger, soy sauce and two cloves of the garlic in a food processor and whirl until well minced. Scrape out of the processor and onto the turkey and stir to combine. Mix in the egg and bread crumbs. Form into 1 ½” balls and place on prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until done. (Careful not to overcook.)
  5. While the meatballs are baking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining.
  6. When meatballs are done, warm a saute pan over medium heat. Swirl in oil and add the remaining clove of garlic. Cook for 30 seconds then whisk in the gochujang or ketchup-hot sauce mixture and ¾ of the reserved pasta water. Simmer until it starts to thicken then add noodles. Toss to coat then add meatballs. (Add remaining pasta water if necessary.)
  7. Sprinkle over the scallions and serve.

 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites

 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites: A wholesome, sweet treat filled with chia, flax, hemp and more.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites: A wholesome, sweet treat filled with chia, flax, hemp and more.

Sometimes you need a sweet treat that feels wholesome. After nibbling through chocolates and ice cream on Valentine’s Day, the craving for sweets doesn’t disappear and if anything, it gets a little stronger, especially with my kids. That’s why it’s good to have sweet snacks on hand that are healthy and satisfying, like these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites. They hit the spot, are filling and full of good stuff. And I almost forgot – they’re gluten-free too.

My daughter, who often makes a conscious effort to complain about healthy food, devoured each and every peanut butter energy bite that I rolled in coconut. I preferred the bites rolled in cocoa powder and almond flour.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites: A wholesome, sweet treat filled with chia, flax, hemp and more.

This recipe lends itself to endless variations. You could use different nut or seed butters and change up the quantities of chia, flax meal and hemp, all depending on what you have in the cupboard. Another option is to swap the honey for maple syrup if you’d like a brighter sweet flavour.

To make these school friendly, substitute sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites will last for a week in the fridge.

This recipe is slightly adapted from the blog Family Bites.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Makes 18 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Shredded coconut, almond flour or cocoa powder for rolling (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until they come together. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the mixture and shape it into balls. Roll in your preferred coating or leave plain.
  3. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional info*:

Per ball: Calories: 88.4, Fat: 4.8 g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbs: 10 g, Sugar: 4.8 g, Sodium: 2.3 mg, Fibre: 1.5 g, Protein: 2.6 g, Potassium: 110 mg, Calcium: 16.7 g

*This nutritional analysis is incomplete. It does not include nutritional impact of hemp seeds or any coating, if used.

Easy Almond Cookies are Healthy and Delicious

Easy almond cookies have a chewy texture and wholesome substance. They're gluten-free, refined-sugar free, paleo and taste like real cookies.

Easy almond cookies have it all: great flavour and texture, low in carbs and calories, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, Paleo.

The original title of this recipe is The World’s Easiest Cookies and they came by that name honestly. With just five ingredients (in my slightly adapted version) easy almond cookies take all of five minutes to mix up, the dough needs no chilling and they bake in 12 minutes flat.

Easy almond cookies have a chewy texture and wholesome substance. They're gluten-free, refined-sugar free, paleo and taste like real cookies.

Once cooled, easy almond cookies have a lovely chewy texture and wholesome substance.  Thanks to the ground almonds they feel more filling than many cookies and they’re also more nutritious (along with being low in calories and fat). But they still taste like real cookies.

One more thing, easy almond cookies are also gluten-free so a nice treat for those of you who are in a constant search of decent cookies free of gluten.

As well, they contain no refined sugar.

Easy almond cookies have a chewy texture and wholesome substance. They're gluten-free, refined-sugar free, paleo and taste like real cookies.

My son is crazy about these cookies so they make a great after-school treat (or a little after-supper sweet).

This recipe is just slightly adapted from the terrific recipe website The Kitchn.

Easy Almond Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the almond flour and baking powder together. Stir in the molasses, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until well combined (batter will be sticky).
  3. Scoop dough into a tablespoon measure and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, an inch apart.
  4. With the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, lightly flatten the tops of the cookies.*
  5. Bake until the cookies are set and the bottoms are golden, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the pan and then remove to a rack.

*For crisp cookies, flatten the dough balls into discs with the bottom of a glass before baking. Adjust baking time accordingly.

Nutritional info:

Per cookie: Calories: 46, Fat: 1.3 g, Saturated Fat: .1 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbs: 6 g, Sugar: 3.2 g, Sodium: 10.2 mg, Fibre: 0 g, Protein: 2.8 g, Potassium: 140.6 mg, Calcium: 40.9 g

 

Three-Seed Gluten Free Granola Bars

Three-seed gluten free granola bars are gluten free and nut free.

Three-Seed Gluten Free Granola Bars are a wholesome treat for snack time.

My kids are obsessed with packaged granola bars.

There is no shortage of baked goods in our house and our cupboards, fridge and freezer are overflowing with lunchbox options. But still my kids say that there’s nothing in the house to eat.

It’s enough to drive me crazy.

They’d walk out of the house with nothing but an apple for lunch if it wasn’t for my husband’s insistence on a compromise. We have found our middle ground but the one packaged food that  irks me most is packaged granola bars.

Three-seed gluten free granola bars are gluten free and nut free.

May be it’s that fact that granola bars are just about the simplest things to make at home and that you can stuff all sorts of healthy and delicious things into a batch.

Then there’s the extra packaging that comes with individually wrapped packaged bars.

Whatever their reasons my kids prefer packaged granola bars, which is why it surprised me when they devoured this batch. And it was my daughter, the pickiest of the two, who kept going back for more.

I suspect they were drawn to this recipe because they’re not as oaty as most that I make, and they’re baked so the texture is a little different than the stovetop variety that’s pressed into a pan.

Three-seed gluten free granola bars are gluten free and nut free.

The chocolate coating is optional, depending on how picky your crowd is. (Just melt chocolate chips and spread it on the cooled bars). Dried cranberries or apricots are another nice addition to this recipe.

The extra bonus with these gluten free granola bars is that they’re nut-free too so are school-friendly.

Looking for more snack ideas? You might enjoy these recipes: 10 Wholesome Snack Ideas for the Whole Family

A special thank you to my friend Linda the Cheese Lady for the recipe.

Three-Seed Gluten Free Granola Bars

Makes 16 generous bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp. melted coconut oil (or grape seed or canola oil)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.  In a medium bowl combine the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Press into prepared pan
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes (you want the edges to be a little brown so they’re crunchy.)
  7. Cool completely before slicing.

Nutritional info: Per bar. Calories: 163.5, Fat: 8.5 g, Saturated Fat: 4.6 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbs: 20.6 g, Sugar: 9.9, Fibre: 2.1 g, Protein: 2.9 g, Potassium 180 mg, Protein 2.9 g

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email..

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Gluten Free Gingerbread

gluten free gingerbread cake recipe is moist and flavourful

If you’re into gluten free baking, molasses is your friend.

Molasses helps to keep baked goods moist, especially gluten free baked goods which can often be dry or crumbly.

I have a few different gluten free flour blends that I use but this particular recipe was made with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose baking flour. It’s a blend that includes ground beans so can be stronger in flavour than other flour blends but that beany taste is masked by the molasses and the spice in gingerbread.

gluten free gingerbread cake recipe is moist and flavourful

In my oldest cookbooks molasses is often served with applesauce or the cake is simply buttered, like scones or biscuits. This recipe is from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, first published in the late 1800s by the Boston Cooking School. (I have my mom’s copy, published in the 1950s.) This particular gingerbread is based on the Fanny Farmer recipe for Soft Molasses Gingerbread. I figured, the softer the gingerbread the better suited it is to gluten free flour. This gluten free gingerbread recipe is also free of refined sugar, sweetened only with molasses. That makes for great flavour and means that there is more molasses to keep this cake moist.

gluten free gingerbread cake recipe is moist and flavourful

Gluten Free Gingerbread (Fanny Farmer Soft Molasses Gingerbread)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ½ cup sour milk
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. Grease and flour an 8”x8” baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat combine butter and molasses and warm until the butter melts. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Whisk in milk then egg. Whisk flour with baking soda, ginger and salt. Stir flour mixture into the molasses mixture. Beat well.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Don’t over bake.

 

 

Wholesome snacks: Naturally Sweetened Coconut Mounds

Wholesome snacks: naturally sweetened coconut mounds

Homemade Coconut Mounds let you feel good about giving into your cravings

Sometimes all you need is a little nibble of something sweet to satisfy a craving and these Coconut Mounds seem to do the trick. They’re really part energy bar, part chocolate bar, so let me give into my sweet tooth without feeling like I have been eating junk.

These Coconut Mounds use natural sweeteners as a white sugar substitute:

Coconut balls usually call for sweetened coconut and lots of icing sugar. This naturally sweetened version reduces the sugar by more than half by using unsweetened coconut and just a bit of molasses and honey to sweeten and bind the coconut. A little coconut oil is essential to holding it all together since it firms up well.

Wholesome snacks: naturally sweetened coconut mounds

I use 72% chocolate as a coating. It’s slightly bitter so a nice balance for the coconut. If you prefer something sweeter you can go with melted chocolate chips.

It takes less than 10 minutes to mix and shape these coconut mounds and then they sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. You can get the dipping chocolate set while they’re chilling.

Naturally Sweetened Dark Chocolate Coconut Mounds

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes about 18 Tablespoon-sized mounds

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups desiccated coconut (medium)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 150-200 grams of dark chocolate for dipping (can use chocolate chips)
  • Extra coconut for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Pulse the coconut in a blender or food processor a few times so it looks a bit like almond flour.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the melted coconut oil with the molasses, honey, vanilla and salt.
  3. Scrape coconut into the bowl with the oil mixture. Stir until well combined.
  4. To shape the mounds, scoop the mixture into a one-tablespoon measuring spoon and press it firmly into the spoon until the top is flat. Nudge the mound out of the measuring spoon and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, flat side down.
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until you have time to do the chocolate dipping.
  6. Melt the chocolate slowly in a double boiler. Drop each mound into the melted chocolate, flip to coat and remove with a large fork. Place on the cookie sheet flat side down.
  7. Sprinkle over some coconut and refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.
  8. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional info – Per mound: Calories: 144.4, Fat: 12.2 g, Saturated Fat: 9.9 g, Cholesterol: .2 mg, Sodium: 15.3 mg, Carbs: 8.7 g, Sugar: 4.8 g, Potassium: 166.9 mg, Calcium: 16.6 g, Fibre: 2.3 g

 Coconut mounds - a step-by-step guide

 

Wholesome snacks: naturally sweetened coconut mounds

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email..

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Gluten free gingerbread cut out cookies

Gluten free gingerbread cut out cookies

Christmas has a lovely smell…

It’s a combination of evergreens and gingerbread that can still make my stomach flutter. It’s a cosy smell that carries with it a lifetime of warm memories and a touch of anticipation.

Take away the gingerbread smell and you lose the feeling. A  Christmas without snow I can handle but a Christmas without gingerbread cookies?

Because everyone has the right to a home that smells like gingerbread cakes and cookies fresh out of the oven we asked blogger and gluten-free baker Jeanine at The Baking Beauties to develop gluten-free versions of our favourite gingerbread recipes for us to share.

 

Here’s what Jeanine has to say about her gingerbread cookie creation:

“This dough makes the perfect gingerbread men. Loaded with all the right spices, these cookies, which hold their shape well during baking, are also still soft and slightly chewy. Would they work to make a gluten free gingerbread house? A small one – Maybe. But for a large house, I don’t think these cookies would hold up to the weight – they are a little too soft for that.”

Gluten free Gingerbread cut out cookies

This dough requires at least 1 hour of refrigeration time after mixing. Take that into account when planning your baking! Adapted from Crosbys.com

Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Visit The Baking Beauties blog for the full recipe, including instructions…

 

Love all sorts of Gingerbread cut out cookies? Try our chocolate gingerbread cookies or our whole wheat gingerbread cookies. Both recipes are perfect for cutting into shapes and decorating. (They’re not gluten free).

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

 

Gluten free pumpkin spice muffins with molasses and candied ginger

Gluten free pumpkin spice muffins with molasses and candied ginger

I’m still finding my way in the gluten-free baking world but must say that it isn’t as intimidating as I once thought.

We were at friends’ for supper over the weekend and had our fill of very delicious gluten-free dishes. We enjoyed pizza with gluten-free dough, baked brie wrapped in gluten-free pastry a dairy-free chocolate cheese cake with a gluten-free crust.

No need to feel deprived in the gluten-free world.

gluten free pumpkin spice muffins with molasses and candied ginger

These muffins are my first bread-like, gluten-free adaptation of a standard recipe. It’s our yummy pumpkin spice muffin recipe made with an easy gluten-free four blend that I discovered in the great cookbook from Cybele Pascal :

The Alergen-Free Baker's Hanbook

Whether you simply can’t tolerate gluten, or if you’re just trying to consume less gluten, these muffins are a great way to get your bread fix in a homemade way.

Gluten free pumpkin spice muffins with molasses and candied ginger

Adapted from Daily Garnish. Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of GF flour blend*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, minced

*Gluten-free flour blend:

From Cybele Pascal’s The Alergen-Free Baker’s Handbook

  • 4 cups brown rice flour (extra fine)
  • 1 1/3 cups potato starch (not flour)
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

 Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (including brown sugar).
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the pumpkin mixture then add the oil, molasses and vanilla.
  4. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until almost combined. Toss in the walnuts and ginger (reserving about 1 Tbs. of the ginger and 3 Tbsp. of the walnuts to sprinkle over top of the muffins before baking.)
  5. Gently fold the walnuts and ginger into the batter.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for about 30 minutes (until a tester comes out clean).

 gluten free pumpkin spice muffins with molasses and candied ginger

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

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Almond butter cereal bars a tasty remake of the 1970s classic

Almond butter cereal bars

Remember cereal bars from the 1970s?

My mom made them all the time. She was forever on the lookout for big batch sweets because there were seven of us kids rushing in the door after school each day, famished and ready to devour anything on the counter.

Almond butter cereal bars

Mom used to buy these huge bags of puffed wheat cereal that were about half the size of our dishwasher.

I swear they took up a full seat in the car coming home from the grocery store.

I wasn’t much for eating puffed wheat or puffed rice with milk (too much floating and the sugar wouldn’t stick) but I loved the big batch cereal bars. A little chewy, they always seemed to last longer than a cookie and mom cut them into nice big squares.

It was likely cereal squares that I made to get my “Baker” badge in Brownies. They’re that easy. Just melt a few ingredients together in a big pot, stir in the cereal and press them into a pan. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool.

baker

The only hitch with mom’s recipe is that they used to stick together in the tin. A thin coating of dark chocolate on the top mostly takes care if that and it dresses them up a bit.

(Did you get your “Baker” badge in Brownies?)

 

There are so many kinds of puffed cereal available these days that you can make a different kind of cereal bar every week, if you like. Here’s a chewy gluten-free version with puffed millet:

Gluten free almond butter cereal bars with puffed millet

 

 

Almond butter cereal bars

Inspired by Aida Mollenkamp and my mom

  • 10 Tbsp. almond butter (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1/3 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ½ cups puffed kamut, rice,  millet or quinoa
  • ½ cup (heaping) of dark chocolate pieces (chocolate chips or 70% bar broken into pieces)
  1. Like an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat combine the almond butter, molasses and honey or maple syrup.
  3. Stir until it comes to a gentle boil.
  4. Let it bubble for 30 seconds to a minute then add the vanilla, salt and pour in the cereal.
  5. Stir well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Scrape the mixture into the prepared plan.
  6. Press lightly to spread and flatten.
  7. While they’re cooling on the counter, melt the chocolate in a heavy pot, in the microwave or in a double boiler.
  8. Spread melted chocolate over top of the squares and refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
  9. Cut into squares.

Best eaten within two days.

Do you prefer your cereal squares crispy? Try our Crispy almond butter granola bars

crispy granola bars 2

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Here’s to eating well, everyday,

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Dark Chocolate Almond Bars Recipe

Dark chocolate almond bars recipe - made with flax and dried fruit. They're moist and wholesome, gluten free and full of healthy stuff

Dark Chocolate Almond Bars Recipe: Made with flax and dried fruit these bars are moist and wholesome, gluten free and full of healthy stuff

I love and lament August.

I love how the most dramatic flowers in my gardens are in bloom and how the sun has a brighter feel and that hot days never feel as sleepy as they do in July.

I love how the farmers’ markets are laden with produce. The blackberries are ripening along the dirt road to our cottage and edible mushrooms have appeared in our woods.

It’s birthday month in our family.

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

Dark Chocolate Almond Bars Recipe: The perfect after school snack.

But the air carries with it a hint of fall. Dusk comes earlier.

There are just three more weekends until school begins. (I’m trying not to count. After all, as Lenny Kravits says, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”)

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

Dark Chocolate Almond Bars Recipe: If it’s still too hot to bake in your kitchen try this easy, wholesome snack.

These one-pan wonders are quick to mix up, bake in 20 minutes, and are moist and wholesome. The recipe comes from my colleague, Jeanette.

These dark chocolate almond bars with flax and dried fruit are gluten free and full of healthy stuff

Dark Chocolate Almond Bars Recipe

Makes 24 squares (or 12 generous bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 6 Tbsp.  desiccated  coconut
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup  Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or cherries

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the almond meal, ground flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  2. In another bowl combine the oil or butter, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry and mix well.
  4. Stir in the dried fruit and chocolate chips.
  5. Press into a 9×9 pan that has been greased or lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  7. Cool before cutting.

Chocolate chip options:

  • Instead of adding the chocolate chips to the batter, as soon as the bars come out of the oven, top with ½ cup chocolate chips. When the chocolate melts spread it evenly over the top.

Recipe adapted from Delightful Taste Buds

Does anyone else have a push-me-pull-me relationship with August?

You might also like our Crispy Almond Butter Bars

crispy granola bars 2

Nutritional info:

Jeanette's granola bars

Crispy almond butter granola bars are no-bake and gluten free

Crispy almond butter granola bars are no-bake and gluten free

No-bake cookies and bars were the first treats I learned to make on my own. The recipes were always extra easy, usually included some kind of cereal and always made a big batch.

I got my Brownie “Baking” badge by making peanut butter cereal squares all by myself and I learned to make Rice Krispies squares over a fire at summer camp.

 Crispy almond butter granola bars are no-bake and gluten free

There is a lot to be said for getting kids cooking at a young age. When you have mastered cereal squares then it’s onto chocolate chip cookies, and may be a cake or muffins….

This is the lasting value of the Brownie “Baking” badge:

  • Once you develop a taste for homemade treats it’s hard not to feel underwhelmed by the packaged version.
  • Setting kids free in the kitchen builds their confidence in the kitchen and that little bit of know-how will stand them in good stead when they’re off on their own.  There’s a chance they’ll do more cooking from scratch, rely less on processed, packaged foods and be healthier over all.

 Crispy almond butter granola bars are no-bake and gluten free

So here I am, back where it all began, making cereal squares.

It had been years (decades?) since I last cooked with Rice Krispies and when I first tasted Vanessa’s squares I realised how much I loved that unmistakable crispy texture. They can transform a granola bar (just ask my kids).

 Crispy almond butter granola bars are no-bake and gluten free

This is one of those recipes that you can adapt to suit your tastes by mixing and matching the nut, seed, dried fruit, chocolate combinations.

Vanessa’s crispy almond butter granola bars

  •  2 cups rolled oats (not instant), gluten free if that’s what you require
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal (gluten free variety)
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (or a combination)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries (or both)

 Instructions:

  1. Line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper or grease it thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine rolled oats, cereal and ground flax.
  3. Measure out the slivered almonds and chocolate chips and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan combine molasses and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves then bring to a boil for 30 seconds to a minute.
  5. Remove from heat and quickly add almond butter. Stir to combine.
  6. Working quickly, pour sugar mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
  7. Quickly add the almonds and chocolate chips, using your hands if necessary.
  8. Still working quickly, press into prepared pan.
  9. Cool and cut into squares. Makes 24 squares

Nutritional information:

Calories 140

2.2 gr fibre

Good source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese

 

If you’re into gluten-free treats try our coconut almond energy balls.

Almond butter energy balls are easy, speedy and gluten free

One-bowl chocolate almond brownie recipe

One-bowl chocolate almond brownies are dense, decadent and gluten free

Dense and rich almond brownies, or cake. You decide.

When you hear “one-bowl cake” what comes to mind? Something cake mix-ish may be? Something easy, but not necessarily from scratch?

What if I told you I had a recipe for a cake that can become brownies on a whim? That you can mix up in a food processor. That’s cake-mix simple. That has the decadent taste and texture of a dense and rich chocolate cake. Oh, and it can be made gluten free with zero effort.

 

Chocolate almond brownies are dense, decadent and gluten free

 

Here it is:

  • A spiced chocolate almond cake that’s dinner-party worthy (sliced into lovely dense, sticky wedges.)
  • Or, gooey and wholesome spiced chocolate almond brownies.

Take your pick, it’s the same recipe.

 

Chocolate almond brownies are dense, decadent and gluten free

 

I have to hide these from my kids or they’d be gone in a flash.

The next time you think to yourself, “I don’t have time to bake,” pull out this recipe. Or, if you want to teach your kids to bake, here you go…

 

Spiced chocolate almond brownie recipe (or cake)

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons flour (gluten-free if you like)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 150g quality dark chocolate, chopped (about 1.5 bars) I use 70% chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Method 1:

In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients. In a small bowl whisk eggs and molasses. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Stir in chocolate. Pour into a greased and floured 8” cake pan (round or square) Bake 30-35 minutes, until batter is set and cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Method 2:

Fire all ingredients into a food processor and whirr until well combined. Add chocolate and whiz just enough to distribute it in the batter. Pour into a greased and floured 8” cake pan (round or square) Bake 30-35 minutes, until batter is set and cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

 

Adapted from the blog Pen and Spoon

 

Molasses helps to make brownies moist but it also helps intensify the chocolate flavour. Try our one-bite brownies, or our deceptively delicious zucchini brownies with molasses and flax.

 

 

 

Almond butter energy balls recipe – no-bake & speedy

almond butter energy balls are no-bake, speedy and gluten free

 

I don’t always have time to bake and sometimes I feel bad about it. Keeping my kids well fed is something I often obsess about but it can be challenging. (Not that keeping cookies in the house means my kids are well fed, but it’s all part and parcel of our wholesome and homemade approach to life.)

Take today for instance…

It’s my anniversary. I have a trunkful of Sauvignon Blanc and delicious dinner aspirations.

My son’s lacrosse game is at 7:15. I’ll spend the evening at the rink and won’t be baking cookies or sipping wine.

This is not a complaint, it’s life and there is always Friday night.

This almond butter energy balls recipe is the sort of recipe that fits into busy days and evenings. It takes may be five minutes to pull together and another five minutes to roll into balls. You could even mix it up in the food processor if you think it’ll save time.

They’re tasty bites that are healthy enough to eat for breakfast and are a great snack on the go. They’re also gluten free (if that’s important to you).

 

almond butter energy balls recipe are no-bake, speedy and gluten free

Joy’s almond butter energy balls recipe

Watch the video: How to make Almond Butter Energy Balls

No-bake and speedy

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if that suits your constitution)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • ½ cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (mini chips or an extra dark chocolate bar, chopped)
  1. Blend and roll into balls.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze

Makes about 2 dozen balls.

A few tips:

To make them more nutritious use an extra dark chocolate in place of the chocolate chips. I like to use a bar that’s 70% cocoa content, or higher.

For the oatmeal use large flake or quick oats, not instant oatmeal. (Instant oatmeal goes gluey and is lower in fiber).

Are you looking for more gluten-free recipes? Try oatmeal flax bars:

Gluten-free oatmeal flax bars