Fruity Snack Balls

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

These are such a great snack and take minutes to make! I LOVE these (and so will kids). They come from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and the only thing I added was about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I try to throw chia seeds in all kinds of dishes, especially breakfast/fruity/smoothie things. Check out these 10 reasons you should eat them. You can use just about any dried fruit or nuts for these, such as apricots, apples, raisins, even dried blueberries. I also think mixing in a tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter would be dee-licious! The original recipe says it makes a great crumbled cereal topper as well. The recipe also says it makes 2-1/2 dozen, but I got exactly 2 dozen–just depends on how small you make them.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 C dried cherries
1 C dried mango
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 C sliced raw almonds
2 Tbs chia seeds

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

DIRECTIONS:

Toss the first four ingredients into the food processor and blend for a full minute.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the almonds and blend again for another full minute.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the chia seeds.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Take small handfuls and squeeze, then shape into a ball. Repeat. Enjoy!

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean VeganThese are packed with nutty love! They’re also simple to make and grab while you’re on the go. You can sub in your favorite nuts, dried fruit, or even some chopped coconut. Go wild!

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C quick oats
2 Tbs brown rice flour
2 Tbs quinoa flakes
1/2 C nuts, chopped (I used peanuts and pecans)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C chia seeds
2 Tbs flaxseeds
1/2 C dried fruit, chopped (I used Craisins)
1/2 C dark chocolate chips
3 Tbs almond butter
1 small avocado, pitted
2 Tbs brown rice syrup
3 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, quinoa flakes, nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate chips.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Using a fork, mash up the avocado. Add the almond butter, almond milk, syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. Lightly oil an 8″ baking pan and press the mixture evenly in the dish.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Cool the pan on a rack, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean VeganI came across these all natural energy bars on Oh She Glows. I made a couple of alterations like using almonds and sunflower seeds instead of walnuts, and using brown rice flour instead of kamut flour. They are chewy, crunchy, a little bit sweet, and ideal for on-the-go. They’re also great for munching on while you’re hiking. The only thing I found was that they didn’t hold together very well for cutting them up. I think part of it, is that I used too small of a pan even though I went with the size recommended in the original recipe. I suggest using a shallow baking sheet, not a 8″ baking dish.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 C brown rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C brown sugar
1 C almonds, toasted
1/2 C sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 C dried cherries or craisins
12 dates (about a cup), pitted and chopped
1 C apricots, chopped
1 flax egg: 1 Tbs flax meal + 3 Tbs warm water
1 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9″x13″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Toast the almonds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden brown. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the nuts and fruit.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the flax mixture with the vanilla and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the flax meal and almond milk to the dry mix and combine well. Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. You can press down pretty hard—I would say until the mixture is about a 1/2″ thick.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 33-35 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool for 10 minutes.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Return it back into the pan and place in the freezer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer, cool for 10 minutes and then cut into squares. I’m not sure what the rationale behind this cooling process is, especially since they still fell apart a little when I cut them, but that’s just what the recipe says to do . . .

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

No matter how they’re cut, they’re delicious. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Espresso Balsamic Granola

Chocolate-Espresso Balsamic Granola -- Epicurean VeganOh, my. This is good. This is similar to my original granola recipe, but tweaked a little. Flavored oils or balsamic vinegars are ideal for granola. I don’t care for overly sweet granola, so this Chocolate-Espresso balsamic vinegar adds just the right amount of sweetness. Great for cereal, on top of yogurt, or with ice cream. A new olive oil/vinegar shop recently opened up downtown and a friend and I spent at least 45 minutes tasting all their different varieties. I found what I was looking for. A little pricey at $15, it will be slowly savored.

INGREDIENTS:
2 C oats
1 C coconut, shredded
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C each: walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds
1 tsp salt
1/4 C flavored balsamic vinegar
1/8 C brown rice syrup
1/4 C almond milk
1/8 C olive oil
6 to 8 oz dried fruit, such as craisins or cherries

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 300. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and mist with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, oil, brown rice syrup, and almond milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. Spread the granola mixture on the prepared baking sheet; spread it out evenly.

Chocolate-Espresso Balsamic Granola -- Epicurean VeganBake for 35-40 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the dried fruit. Once it has cooled, store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Quinoa-Couscous Cereal with Dried Fruit

This may take a bit longer to make than regular old oatmeal, but it is so worth it!  Not only is it good for you, but is quite filling–perfect to keep you going all morning!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 C unsweetened apple juice
1 C water
1/2 C quinoa
2 Tbs dried cranberries
2 Tbs dried apricots, chopped
2 Tbs dried blueberries
2 Tbs raisins (I like the golden variety)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 C couscous
1/2 cup soy, rice or almond milk

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, combine apple juice and water. Bring to a boil and in the meantime, rinse and drain quinoa (or use an already rinse kind) and put into a small saute pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until grains begin to pop, about 2-3 mins. Add the quinoa, dried fruit and spices to the liquid in the sauce pan, stirring occasionally for about 12 minutes. Stir in couscous. Remove pan from heat and cover with a lid. Let stand for 5 mins until liquid has been absorbed.  Stir and serve with soy milk. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Recipe source: Shape Magazine, 2006