Apricot Snack Bars

IMG_1104.jpg

These are so freakin' TASTY! They are the perfect afternoon treat (with my third espresso of the day...) They have a ton of fiber and heart-healthy fats that will hold you over till dinner and the optional collagen is a nice boost for your hair skin and nails. Don't fuss over the brand, it's all basically the same product. I use Great Lakes Collagen daily and my skin is getting sick of compliments. Trust me; Get the collagen! Then make these bars. 

RECIPE

Ingredients

makes 32 cookies 

  • 24 dried apricots
  • 3 T. coconut oil
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 3 T. maple syrup or coconut nectar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. cashews
  • 1/2 c. pecans or walnuts
  • 3 T. chia
  • 1/4 C collagen 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300F. Combine the wet ingredients (through vanilla) in a food processor. pulse until well combined and dough-like (It will be gummy/super sticky).

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, processing on high until well-combined and no chunks of nuts are visible. Periodically scrape down the side of the processor to make sure everything is getting mixed. 

3. line a 9 X 9 in. baking square with a piece of parchment paper, sides hanging over. Press the apricot bar dough into the pan, making the top as flat as possible.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes at 300F. Edges and top will begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely, in the pan on wire cooling rack. (This will take TIME!) 

5. Once cool, pull out of pan by parchment paper edges and cut with a sharp knife. 

Store in fridge up to one month, freezer up to 6 months

FullSizeRender.jpg

Pro tip: Cutting triangles helps to keep the lines straight 

A Kale to Action

PT+96qc3SRu+QDFB3d+42w.jpg

Kale is my #1 green. (Don't get it twisted; my #1 lettuce is arugula) I know it's nuts but sometimes I need a break from all the cold weather soups and this salad does the trick. The kale is hearty and the lemon-tahini dressing is the perfect zip up against all the savory + rich winter dishes.

RECIPE

Ingredients 

Salad

  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale, cleaned, de-stemmed and sliced chiffonade 
  • 1/2 pear, sliced matchstick (here I used a red Bartlett pear) 
  • zest from 1/2 lemon 
  • 1/4 c. dried cherries  
  • 2 T pinenuts
  • 2 oz. shaved pecorino romano 

Dressing

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 T. tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, grated 
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of red chili flake 
  • 1 T. maple syrup 
  • 1/4 c. olive oil 

Directions

  1. For dressing, whisk together everything but the olive oil. Once combined, whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Toss kale with dressing, being sure to coat well. Don't be afraid to use your hands! 
  3. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and toss. Serve chilled or room temp. 

Don't get hung up on the specifics; sub the pear for an apple or the pine nuts for pistachios. Pecorino is a bit support but parm works in a pinch. No lacinato kale? Regular is fine too and just as delicious. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

24 Carrot Magic

IMG_0962.jpg

Carrots are a staple on my winter vegetable rotation. They are so versatile and in almost every international cuisine. You can turn them savory or sweet, and when cooked, they blend into dressings and sauces in a oh-so-silky way. They are easy to present beautifully and the health benefits are impressive. Antioxidants help with beautiful skin and a reduced risk of several cancers. The fiber content keeps your digestion happy, and of course, the beta carotene is good for your peepers.

I like cooking with them because they are easy to prepare ahead of time and can be topped an infinite number of ways just before serving.

RECIPE

Here's what you'll need to start:

  • 1.5 lbs baby carrots*, scrubbed clean, patted dry and greens trimmed ~1" above carrot top
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Foil-lined baking sheet

*Baby carrots aren't always available so use what you can find and cut down to ~5" length. Rainbow carrots add more color to your plate and you can always use parsnips the same way.

IMG_0970.jpg
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Trim the carrot tops off, leaving ~1" on top. scrub the carrots clean. Scrubbing vs. peeling keeps more nutrients intact.
  3. Toss cleaned carrots with olive oil and pinch or two of salt and spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Allowing space between the carrots allows them to brown better.
  4. Roast 20-25 minutes, tossing around every 15 minutes or so
IMG_0984.jpg
  • This timing gives a soft, brown roasted carrot. If you prefer something more al-dente, cut roasting time to 10-15 minutes.

If prepping ahead of time, let the carrots cool completely before covering and storing in the fridge. To reheat, pop back in the oven the same way for ~5-10 minutes before topping.

So now you have your yummy carrots ready to top with the good stuff. These combos WORK:

  • ricotta + diced dried apricots + chopped pistachios + cilantro + cracked pepper
  • yogurt + olive oil + curry powder + coriander + cilantro + lime zest + finely diced shallot or red onion
  • dried cherries + mint + walnuts + honey + lemon juice + lemon zest

I love the varying textures of these toppings. Try them out with whatever nuts, herbs or fruits you have on hand. Comment with what you come up with!