Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
~ Robert Brault
It would seem that a recipe such as this would need no intro. I mean what can I really say about brownies other than the obvious? Delicious, chocolatey, sweet, you know…chocolatey…I think I just said that….yup, it would seem they’ve all been said before. Continue reading →
You know it’s a good life when you’ve got great neighbors. Let’s hear it for great friends and neighbors, shall we?
When it comes to our hood, we’ve lucked out to the max, as was evidenced by the large bushel of blushingly gorgeous rhubarb that was harvested across the lane and delivered to my back deck this past week (thanks Brian!).
But before we dive into this gorgeous recipe, I’ve got to say a very special thank you to another kind of friend.
Feel free to pay her a visit to see what was up with this salad I enjoyed this past week. It’s a goodie!
Thanks so much to Sarah for the wonderfully kind invite – and welcome to any Diva readers who may be visiting IPOM for the 1st time!
“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars”
― Serbian proverb
This rhubarb gifting came to me just as I had picked up a magazine dedicated to spring recipes – it’s easy to stumble upon delightful ways to use asparagus, rhubarb, nettles, and the many other wonderful spring foods that come at this time of year here in Canada.
I made a few alterations, based on what I had on hand, and went straight to work – reserving the remaining rhubarb to stew and use later (I grew up eating it with plain yoghurt for dessert).
The result was a beautiful, date square like dessert, with a bright gooey filling and gorgeous light texture.
All over town now, there are shoots of rhubarb plants exploding in backyard gardens everywhere.
I’ve never made space to plant it in my small backyard garden, and I figure as long as Brian’s across the lane I won’t need to
I used real butter in this version as the recipe called for, but I would be delighted to see it veganized with coconut butter too.
There is no other dairy in the recipe at all, so making this adjustment would be easy!
Less far away fruit desserts means easy ways to eat local. Less tough to find ingredients means using what’s on hand, so you can get to work as soon as harvest is done. Less heavily sweet and cakey desserts means savoring without filling up, so you can still feel the pleasure long after you are done.
More rhubarb means more fresh, lively flavor. More local food means less carbon, and less cost to the planet and your pocketbook. More neighborly ways means stronger community, and more yummy desserts means inviting them over is easy.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and get a 9 inch square cake pan ready (no need to oil it).
In a large saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients – rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and flour – and bring to a boil with the lid on. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, partially covered until the mixture is reduced to 1 3/4 cups or so – about 25-30 minutes. Make sure to stir regularly to keep the mixture from burning at the bottom.
Once cooked and reduced, turn the heat off and allow to cool for a few minutes, about 10 – 15 minutes or so.
While the rhubarb cooks, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. With fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter (I always use my hands for this – nature’s tools – but that’s just me!).
Press 2/3 of the mixture into the cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 2 minutes. remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before adding the rhubarb mixture.
Add the cooled rhubarb mixture to the pan and spread until it is even.
Next, add the chopped almonds to the remaining crumble mixture, and gently press together into small clumps. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling and distribute evenly.
Bake at 350 until the crumble is golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
~ Bob Marley
Cut the cold butter into the bowl with a knife. Get ready to mix it all together.
A person’s a person, no matter how small.
~ Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
Crumble it all up until the mixture is well-integrated – making sure there are no large chunks of butter or sugar left straggling around in there.
I get in there like a kid in the dirt. I don’t like to wear gloves to garden either, do you?
Press the 2/3 of the mixture into the pan as tightly as you can. This will be the base for this wonderful yummy filling!
I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.
― Helen Keller
Let this mixture cool before adding it to the base – about 15 minutes or so.
Try not to eat too much of it as it does this (but do be sure to eat a little).
You never fail until you stop trying.
~ Albert Einstein
Any almonds will do for this, sliced, slivered, even chopped whole almonds if that is what’s on hand.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
The result, a beautiful pan of (neighborly) spring goodness. Worthy of stopping to enjoy with friends, neighbors and family.
Serve these with or without vanilla ice cream, and give some to your neighbors (or not).
These guys will keep in a container or tin at room temperature – I am sure they would make a rather smashing breakfast served alongside some cashew cream or thick greek yoghurt.
How’s that for versatility?
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.
I can’t wait for the next harvest from across the lane! Truthfully, Brian has got a pretty sweet garden and so I just might head over there with these bars awfully soon.
They just might be good enough to keep him delivering more of his earthly goodies
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
~ John Lennon
I hope each and every one of you had a fabulous weekend – next up, I’ll share with you a kick ass salad recipe inspired this week by a gift from another great friend of mine!
It features a favorite of mine that I haven’t posted about for a while…yep….it’s kale!
So stay tuned it’s that good.
Are you gearing up to use rhubarb this spring or better yet, do you grow it?
What is your favorite rhubarb or spring dessert recipe?
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did – and thanks again for reading and for your comments! I had a lot of fun with the last post and got more than a few awesome ideas for not only making but seasoning popcorn. Thank you!
Wishing you all a truly fabulous week – PS – I am traveling again (this time to the TDOT aka Toronto) so I might be spotty with my comments – I’ll be back the end of the week though!
Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Happy Monday everyone!
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend – filled with family, good food, and (maybe) (just a little) sunshine!
We enjoyed a few days together and certainly made the most of it: by cleaning out the basement!
Well, not the whole weekend was spent this way, but a needed spring-clean was a feel good way to ring in the season of newness, and clean out some cobwebs (literally!)
It felt pretty good, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.
~ Benjamin Disraeli
A few weeks ago, a reader wrote me asking if I had any recipes for kid’s lunches that are yummy, portable, and nut-free.
I admit I’m a little guilty of throwing a fruit snack or a little piece of chocolate (even a very occasional Oreo) into my kids lunches, as I’ve got at least one very picky eater in my house – the home baked goodies aren’t a guarantee that is for sure!
I’m not a big cookie-maker (or baker in general) – but I do like a good challenge…so I set out to make a treat that was flour-free, kid-approved, and still easy to make and (just a little) healthy.
I’ll let you guys tell me how I did!
No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.
Less flour-based sweet treats means more in tact nutrition, and less reliance on gluten. Less packaged cookies and treats means less waste, less additives & preservatives, and more fresh gooey texture to boot. Less looking for ways to use whole grains means more inspiration that eating this way is easy. Less wondering means more confidence, and who doesn’t want that?
More chewy sweet ways to combine healthy ingredients means more ways to ‘trick’ loved ones who may not be keeners. More millet and oats means more super-powered fuel from clean sources. More homemade sweet goodness means more ways to the hearts of those you love, and who wouldn’t want that everyday?
This recipe incorporates millet, which is actually a highly nutritious seed that dates back to Biblical times. It’s totally gluten-free and high in protein, so if you are new to it – it’s worth checking out for sure! This recipe can easily be veganized too – and I know at least a few of you who are pros at that!
Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars:
(1/2) cup dry millet
(1.25) cups cold water
(1.5) cups quick oats
(1) cup shredded unsweetened coconut
(1/2) cup coconut milk (or nut milk or regular milk)
(1) tbsp butter (or coconut butter)
(1/4) cup brown sugar (or sucanat)
(2) tbsp cocoa powder
(1/4) tsp salt
(1) tsp vanilla
(1) tsp baking powder
(1) banana (fresh or frozen)
(1) fresh egg (or egg substitute)
(3/4-1) cup chocolate chips of choice (I used medium-sized dark for this, 1 cup will make them super sweet)
Start by combining the dry millet and the cold water in a small pot with the lid. Bring to a boil, and cook, covered on low heat for 20 minutes, until fluffy. Once done, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Oil a cookie sheet lightly with butter or oil and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked millet, oats, coconut, coconut milk, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mash the banana and add to the mixture. If you are using a frozen banana, skip this step and instead simply soak the banana in hot water until it thaws and add it straight to the large bowl.
Add the egg or egg substitute and mix. Add baking powder and stir one more time before adding the chocolate chips.
Mix well one last time (don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands!).
Transfer to the oiled cookie sheet and press until you have a layer about 2/3 inch thick.
This recipe doesn’t make quite enough to cover an entire large cookie sheet so I butted it up the edge of one and lt it go from there trying to make the free end as straight as I could. I didn’t mind the jagged edge – the perfect tester piece before cutting the bars!
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into bars either 3/3 inches or 4/4 inches square. Totally your call how you want to cut these! Keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature and eat with 2-3 days.
Moist, chewy, and sweet – these are perfect for the chocolate lover’s post lunch treat! No wrappers or crumbs either.
Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
~ Will Rogers
Serve kid-style with a cold glass of your favorite milk. With these treats fresh from the oven….that’s a match made in heaven!
We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
That’s a sweet way to start the week – even if you are up to your bunny ears in chocolate from the weekend
Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
~Arnold H. Glasow
An even bigger thanks for stopping by regularly and for taking the time to leave your notes and comments. I loved the response from the last post – and the appreciation for the beauty in the little things!
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
~ Mother Teresa
Want to stay sweet?
Life is quick, yes – and so it should be good.
And by good, I mean full of sweetness and joy – not just for us as individuals but for those special people we share our lives with.
Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.
Being good (comes with being sweet) isn’t as easy as we wish it was. Like anything worth doing, being good, consistently, is hard work.
So make it easy for yourself. Start with you!
Treat yourself as you would have others treat you!
Whip up a batch of these delicious bars, throw them in the fridge, and enjoy a healthy feel good treat whenever the mood strikes you.
Share them with friends. Live the sweet life. Never look back.
Less processed foods in your sweet treats means more real energy to infuse goodness into your cellular self. Less flour based treats means easy simple sugars, protein, and whole foods in their pure form that are a snap to break down and provide long burning fuel that doesn’t need baking. Less refined ingredients in the form of oils and less heat from not cooking means your food stays in tact in its raw state. Less ingredients mean your stars can take their sweet spot at center stage.
More real chocolate, nuts, and coconut means more rich satisfying goodness that will feed your soul and your stomach. More super foods and dried fruit means less of the sugared stuff is needed to be satisfied. More sweetness on your tongue means more sweetness where you speak, so whispering sweet words and spreading kindness have never been easier.
Sweet Life Coconut Chocolate Chews:
(200) grams good dark chocolate
(3) cups shredded coconut (part can be roasted lightly)
(1/4-1/2) cup cocoa nibs
(2) cup pitted dates soaked 4-6 hours in cold fresh water
Once ready to make, begin by melting your chocolate using a double method of your choice (I outline mine here).
Grind your brazil nuts using a hand blender grinding attachment, a food processor, or my latest accessory: a hand nut grinder ($12.99)! If you choose to roast a portion of your coconut, heat the oven to 350 degrees and roast the coconut for a few minutes only, 2-3 minutes should be plenty.
Drain the soaked dates (reserve the soaking liquid in case you need any) and add to a blender. Blend the dates on high without additional water until blended (it’s okay if there are a few chunks). If you feel you need to, add a little of the date soaking water to facilitate better blending, just be careful not to make it too wet.
Combine all prepared ingredients – melted chocolate, roasted or raw coconut, blended dates, cocoa nibs and ground nuts – in a large mixing bowl and mix together by hand. Add a little pinch or two of good sea salt to the mixture if desired (you’ll want to do this part but only with really good sea salt).
Line a 9 by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper a little oil or butter inside the pan will be fine). Spread the mixture into the pan and press with your hands to make a firm even layer of yummy. This is like a massage of love onto your dessert and so essential to the taste!
Think good thoughts while you do this (maybe take a few long deep breaths too)!
Once pressed (and blessed), throw the pan into the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove from fridge to cut into whatever shape you desire and store in a sealed container either at room temperature or in the fridge (I opt for the fridge).
Enjoy your sweet treats – you deserve them…really! We all deserve sweetness, whether bestowed on ourselves (by ourselves) or by others.
That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.
~ Emily Dickinson
Wherever you find yourself on this gorgeous March day, I hope your day is smelling sweet, and your kitchen is smelling even sweeter!
As for me, I’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of the soccer field sidelines and reveling in the sweet moments I am collecting to tide me over for my future. My kids won’t be young forever – and neither will I
What are you reveling this fine weekend?
Any good deeds you’d like to share with us?
Go ahead, make our day!
Thanks to all of you for coming back to visit – your support, comments, and blogging inspiration are truly wonderful and I love hearing from you – so wherever you are on this fine day: thanks for being you!
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
I think it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of magic in our household these days.
Evidence of this over the weekend was made by a visit by not one, but two of our (reasonably) regular household visitors – the Leprechaun and the Tooth Fairy (she’s been around A LOT lately).
I would say that one of the best parts about having kids is keeping up with all the magic.
There’s been a lot of other magic around these parts too of late, that being the wonder of the flowers that are (once again) poking their heads out of the cold earth to bring us cheerfulness and a renewed sense of possibility.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
~ Albert Einstein
For those of you who visit IPOM regularly (for which I am so grateful!), you have probably noticed the penchant over here for quotes and inspirational tidbits.
Keeping magic alive is a big part of the mystery (and fun) of life (IMO) and I am always game to look for (just a little) of the make believe here and there.
Part of it has to do with this:
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
~ Sun Tzu
Another part is to do with this:
I mean can you blame me?
I spent the weekend keeping up a bit of magic on St. Patty’s Day, making green chocolate bark (thanks to the ever creative genius of Cara over at Fork and Beans), and enjoying the simplicity of kid friendly snacks, and a long, looooong, walk in the fresh air.
I mean, with all the pressures we face to keep fit and exercise (run! ski! yoga! gym! bike!), the bottom line is our shoes are always there at our back door, ready to be laced up and taken for a walk.
That’s a magical and empowering thought (or reminder) in itself now isn’t it? Something so simple can be so special.
Magic is always just right out your front door.
So with that, dear IPOM readers, I’ll leave you today (I’ll be getting saucy on my next post). What I’d really like to know is:
Do you believe in magic?
What gets your imagination going?
What are you favorite snacks from your childhood?
I’d love to know how you keep the magic alive!
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
~ Dr. Seuss
Thanks (as always!) for stopping in!
If you want to find out how the peppermint bark is made, simply have a gander over to Cara’s website – I made the minty delicious filling to her confection (white chocolate, green food coloring & peppermint extract, that’s IT!).
This week I’ll be posting more magically delicious recipes, starting with Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce (and friends!).
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.