Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars with Crumb Topping

Perhaps it’s a combination of stress of an 18-credit graduate school load, figuring out my summer practicum, some pressing family issues, or the mundaneness I sometimes feel after working on something (whether it be school work, work work, projects, or applications for practicums) from morning til evening with little relief.

Once I cross one thing off my list, it seems, 6 more pop up.

VEGAN Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal crumb bars

Yesterday I took a break and got brunch at Mathew’s with my good friend Raag. The outing provided not only a delicious meal and good conversation, but a much needed break, some peace of mind, and a fleeting moment or two of comfort.

But today, I was back on the grind. And today, comfort came in the form of Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars.

Vegan Strawberry Chia Jam

I love a sweet but not-too-sweet breakfasty nibble, filled with oats, nut butters, and sometimes fruit to snack on in the afternoon with tea and to have to pack for snacks during the school week.

I wanted something with a soft bottom, a yummy fruity center, and a scrumptious oatmeal crumb topping. Crumb toppings are one life’s finest pleasures, as far as I’m concerned.

Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars Spread 2

I was trying to decide what to bake when I remembered the clearance frozen strawberries I purchased at the store yesterday, and the idea for a Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Bar with an oatmeal crumb topping came to me. And just like that, I knew I had to make some.

Easy Cegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars + Crumb Topping

So I set down my laptop, turned on some YouTube (currently obsessed with Buzzfeed’s Worth It), turned off the universe, and got to baking.

Vegan Gluten-free Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars**

Few things provide me with such consistent mental release as baking does. I crave creating, and baking is a low-pressure low-stakes way to allow the creative juices to flow.

Because I adore the chewiness and flavor of oat flour, I used it to I made the bottom layer. You can substitute your favorite flour in it’s place, with varied results, if desired.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars*

The middle layer was a play on this Easy Homemade Chia Seed Jam, swapping blueberries for strawberries, but you can use whatever fruit you’d like.

The top is a classic cinnamon oatmeal crumb topping, swapping butter with almond butter for an extra nutty scrumptious taste.

vegan strawberry crumb bars with almond butter

All together these Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars are a perfectly easy, scrumptious, nutritious nutty and chewy delight.

I hope you make these and I hope you love them! If you do make them, let me know in the comments below or on Insta (@katherinebaker4@)! I love hearing from you.

Delicious Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars

Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 12-inch square pan

Ingredients – Soft Bottom Layer:

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or other nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients – Chia Jam Center:

Ingredients – Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • dash of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare a 9×9 inch pan by greasing generously or lining the pan with parchment paper.
  3. Prepare strawberry jam by thawing frozen berries, and mashing with a fork. Add chia seeds and stir, and allow to thicken for at least 10-15 minutes. If non-chunky jam is desired, process in food processor or blender until smooth.
  4. Mix oat flour, baking soda, sugar, almond butter, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Press into prepared dish.
  5. Spread jam over bottom layer.
  6. Place bars in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare topping. Combine oats, oat flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix well. Add almond butter and use a fork fingers to form small crumbs or lumps within the oat mixture
  8. Open oven and sprinkle oat crumble over the jam layer and continue to bake an addition 10-15 minutes until golden and a fork or knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean upon removal.
  9. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Better yet, store in the freezer and thaw or warm in microwave for 30 seconds before enjoying.

 

 

What You Need To Know about Vitamin B-12, Especially if You’re Vegan

It’s funny. When people find out you’re vegan or vegetarian, suddenly everyone and their mother becomes your nutritionist, wondering if you get enough protein, if you take supplements and get enough Vitamin B-12, and if you’re malnourished and falling over yet, etc.

No one bats at eye or comments at people who sustain themselves off pizza, burgers, fries, and chips, but so many feel entitled to scrutinize the nutrient-content of plant-based diets.

But I digress. This post is about the main nutrient of concern for vegetarians and vegans. No, it’s not protein (which in fact, most people over-consume). It’s Vitamin B-12. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, have chronic bowel issues, and/or are over the age of 50, you should assess and consider if you are getting enough vitamin B-12.

nutritional yeast

I don’t very often flex my MS in nutrition muscles on the blog. I always intend to, but I find my brain so exhausted of academic/science writing from school that much of the time the blog is filled with recipe and lifestyle posts because those are fun and relaxing to write.

But I really do want to make an effort to communicate more nutrition info here on kbaked.com. Let me know if you like this kind of content and/or what other topics you’d like to see covered! Without further adieu…here’s what you need to know about Vitamin B-12.

What is Vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B-12 (also known as cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin and was the last vitamin discovered. It’s found in various forms, including cyanocobalamin (often found in supplements and fortified food), as well as methylcoablamin (a methylated form) found in animal products.

Cyanocobalamin needs to me methylated for your body to make use of it. Both are well-absorbed, and it’s currently unknown if there’s a “better” or more bioavailable form to consume.

Why is Vitamin B-12 important?

Vitamin B-12 is an essential micronutrient (meaning you can’t make it, you have to get it from the diet) responsible for many vital functions in the human body.

Vitamin B-12 is necessary for proper DNA synthesis, formation of red blood cells, and neurological function.

Vitamin B-12 acts as a cofactor for methionine (an amino acid) synthase, which catalyzes the conversion of homocyestine to methionine. This is important for a few reasons.

First, high levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. The exact reason for this association (notice the word association, not causal relationship) is unclear. But it is well observed.

Second, the formation of methionine is important, as it is required for the formation of S-adenosylmethione (or SAM), which is considered a universal methyl-donor for a multitude of substrates, including DNA, RNA, proteins, hormones, and lipids.

How is Vitamin B-12 absorbed?

Vitamin B-12 absorption, like many things in nutrition, is a highly complex, intricate process. Vitamin B-12 found in foods is bound to protein, and needs to be released by hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach. Vitamin B-12 in supplement form does not require this separation.

Next, free vitamin B-12 must combine with intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein secreted by the stomach’s parietal cells. The intrinsic factor-vitamin B-12 complex can then travel to the small intestine. Most absorption of B-12 occurs in the distal ileum (aka further part of your small intestine) via receptor mediated endocytosis. Some is also absorbed by passive diffusion.

There’s a limit to how much can be absorbed at once. Usually no more than 1.5 micrograms per 5-50 microgram absorption can be absorbed from a single dose. Disorders that limit the amount of intrinsic factor can also limit B-12 absorption.

What are symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?

Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 can seem vague or non-descript. For example, many people with Vitamin B-12 deficiency may experience  weakness, fatigue, lightheadness, pale skin, pale skin, diarrhea or constipation, tingling or numbness (especially in hands and feet), depression, memory loss, behavioral changes, depression, and vision loss.

Many of these symptoms are also symptoms of other conditions, so detecting Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be difficult without a test.

These symptoms may arise months or years after low B-12 consumption. It was formerly believed that vitamin B-12 could be stored in the liver for up to 20 years, but the scientific opinion on this is changing, and many believe it to be far less time. Some estimate 10 years, while others estimate 2.

For now, the exact amount of time between inadequate B-12 consumption and signs and symptoms of deficiency is unknown, but if you’d like my personal opinion I believe it is far less than 2-20 years and that it varies greatly between individuals.

The point is, you may go vegan and not notice symptoms right away. But do not ignore these symptoms if they begin to creep up, especially if you’ve been neglecting monitoring your B-12 intake!

Who is at Risk for Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?

Vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, and people who don’t eat a lot of meat should all monitor their Vitamin B-12 intake.

But it’s not just vegetarians and vegans who are at risk. Because Vitamin B-12 relies on proper function of intestines and stomach for absorption, those with stomach and/or intestine distress may be at risk for Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Individuals with IBD, Chron’s disease, IBS-D, atrophic gastrtis, celiac’s disease, parasite infection, and/or intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Additionally, individuals who take proton-pump inhibiting medications (often taken for acid reflux/heartburn) may be at risk, as these medications can decrease acid produced in the stomach, which is essential for B-12 absorption.

Exposure to nitric oxide (aka laughing gas) at the dentist can also halt B-12 absorption and multiple exposures can lead to deficiency.

Interestingly, high levels of serum folic acid can make B-12 deficiency. As folic acid fortification is mandatory in the United States, some scientists find this is an area of increasing concern. In fact, some are calling for a reassessment of the folate fortification level, and/or an addition of a B-12 fortification.

With age, the body is less and less able to absorb Vitamin B-12. According to national dietary surveys and blood level tests, 10-15% of the elderly population in the United States is B-12 deficient. As cognition also tends to decline around this time, this is a concern.

Those with prenicious anemia are also B-12 deficient, due to an autoimmune reaction that attacks the stomach cells that make intrinsic factor necessary for B-12 absorption.

How much Vitamin B-12 do I need?

The current  recommendation dietary allowance (RDA) of Vitamin B-12 for healthy adults is 2.4 micrograms per day. That’s a teeny tiny amount.

Pregnant women are advised to consume 2.6 micrograms, while breastfeeding women should consume a recommended 2.8 micrograms each day.

What foods contain Vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B-12 is found mostly in animal products, including fish, meat, eggs, poultry, milk, milk products, algae products, nutritional yeast select fortified breakfast cereals, and other fortified foods.

Clams and beef liver, in particular, are very rich in Vitamin B-12, with 84.1 micrograms and 70.7 micrograms per 3 ounce portion, respectively.

Trout, salmon, and tuna can also be good sources of Vitamin B-12, each with over 100% of the RDA per 3 ounce serving.

A single egg contains 0.6 micrograms of Vitamin B-12, however, due to some of the proteins found in egg, much of the B-12 found in eggs isn’t well-absorbed.

Milk contains about 1.2 micrograms per cup, while chicken contains 0.3 micrograms per 3 ounce portion.

Some breakfast cereals, plant-based milks, and vegan condiments like nutritional yeast are also fortified with Vitamin B-12 (see section, below).

What are vegan sources of Vitamin B-12?

Vegan sources of naturally occurring Vitamin B-12 are few and far between. Certain types of algae are known to contain Vitamin B-12, and some studies have found these are well absorbed when taken in supplement form, but there is debate on whether or not algae foods alone can provide enough B-12 in one’s diet.

Outside of algae, vegans need to rely on fortified foods to reach their B-12 requirements. Below is a list of vegan Vitamin B-12 containing foods:

  1. Total Cereal: 100% RDA per 3/4 cup serving
  2. Silk Soymilk : 50% DV per 1 cup serving
  3. Marmite: 0.5 micgrograms / 15% DV per 35 gram serving
  4. Trader Joe’s Original Coconut Milk (the refrigerated one in the carton): 50% per 1 cup serving
  5. Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast: 40% per 1 tablespoon serving
  6. Trader Joe’s Nutritional Yeast: 130% per 1 tablespoon serving
  7. Malt-O-Meal High Fiber Bran Flakes:
  8. Kellogg’s All Bran Cereal: 100% per 1/2 cup serving
  9. Cheerios: 25% per 1 cup serving
  10. Kellogg’s Special K Cereal: 50% per 3/4 cup serving
  11. Nasoya Tofu Plus: 20% DV RDA per 3 ounce serving
  12. Corn Flakes: 15% per 1 cup serving
  13. Tempeh: amounts vary; the viability of tempeh-produced vitamin B-12 is, however, debated in literature and it is generally agreed that this should not be an individual’s primarily source

This list is by no means exhaustive. It’s simply meant to give you a few ideas next time you’re at the store, and/or inspire you to check products/compare brands of similar products. If you find any B-12 gems out there, let me know in the comments!

Also, none of these are affiliate links. I do not generally sponsor posts and am always 100% transparent when I do, as I want to instill trust in my readers.

Should I take a Vitamin B-12 supplement?

If you don’t eat fortified foods daily, I would suggest vegans, vegetarians, the elderly. those with malabsorption issues, adding a Vitamin B-12 supplement to your diet.

Importantly, many supplements come in mega-doses.According to the IOM, there is no known adverse outcomes associated with over-consumption of B-12.

Still, there’s no need to take a pill that gives you 50000% RDA Vitamin B-12 per day. You can easily halve or quarter supplements to not only meet your needs, and extend the life of your supplement bottle in the process.

Some supplements contain animal-derived sources of Vitamin B-12 and/or gelatin (usually the gummy varieties). Certain brands are vegan-friendly, and their packaging will usually let you know. If you’re concerned, I suggest searching on Amazon for vegan-specific vitamins.

Long Story Short:

You’re not invincible. Pay attention to your B-12 intact if you are plant-based or not a big meat eater or have digestive health issues! Supplementation can’t hurt.

Vegan Hemp Parmesan

True story: I grew up with a tiny Silician grandmother (“Oma” who loved to feed me lots and lots of yummy food. My favorite forever and always was her pasta with homemade sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. The lady also made the most amazing salads. No other food has ever tasted as good.

Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parmesan

The woman had a gift: she could make the simplest ingredients taste phenomenal. No recipes, just all by look and feel. Bless her genius culinary skills.

Oma always had Kraft parmesan out on the table. Yup, the totally American, shelf-stable stuff in a blue shaker jar. According to my mom, it was the ‘only game in town’ for a long time before importing foods became more mainstream and better options were available. Regardless, Kraft parm will always remind me of her.

Hemp Hearts

I was never big on melted cheese, but I always did love me some parm on top of pasta or salad. Since going dairy-free, I’ve ventured into the world of making my own parm.

For a very long time, I’ve pulsed up walnuts or cashews and added nutritional yeast as the base for parm. While this works well, I recently brought a bag of hemp seeds and thought the shape, size, and nutty flavor would work perfectly for vegan parm. Turns out, I was right.

Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parm

Hemp seeds/hearts have recently entered my life and I can’t get enough. And they’re one of those hype foods that’s actually quite good for you. 3 Tablespoons packs 10 grams of protein, 20% DV iron, and 3 grams of fiber.

On top of that, they are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and contain a decent amount of omega-3s, as well. If you are plant-based or don’t eat a lot of fish, making friend with omega fatty-acid-rich foods is a wise idea for optimal brain health and neurological function.

Wow so that was a fun 5 seconds of my academic voice coming out there^.

Easy Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parmesan

Paired with nutritional yeast, which is rich in many B vitamins including the difficult-for-vegans-to-consume B12, protein, and other important trace nutrients, you’ve got a plant-based nourishment slam dunk. Also, importantly, it tastes good!

Anyways, behold the easiest vegan Parmesan you’ll ever make. It’s also nut-free for those with allergies. It’s delicious on salads, pasta, Mexican dishes, or in any recipe you’d use traditional parm.

Easy Delicious Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parmesan

I hope you make this vegan parmesan and I hope you like it! Champagne wishes and vegan parmesan dreams!

Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parmesan Cheese

Vegan Hemp Parmesan

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: about 1/2 cup vegan parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds or hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl. Toss.
  2. Serve on pasta, salads, roasted vegetables, or wherever you would use dairy parmesan. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Helloooo my favorite snack ever! If you’ve known me for any length of time you probably know that my favorite food on earth is the wonderful sweet potato. Regular. Japanese. Red. Purple. I’ll take ’em all. Carb me.Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

I am a sweet potato maniac. When I was a kid I would walk around with a baked sweet potato in my hand, eating it as if it were an apple. I was cool. Between that and being the only elementary school kid drinking soy milk (because milk did and does give me the worst gas ever) I had a lot of friends. I promise.

Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is with almond butter. Something about the nuttiness of almond butter plays so well off the savory sweetness of sweet potatoes.

Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Lately I’m very into making sweet potato wedges. For years, I pretty much exclusively made baked sweet potatoes and ate them whole. But lately I’m on a wedge kick. Bonus: sweet potato wedges are perfect for dipping, in my case in AB.

Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of meal prep, but potatoes I don’t mind making in larger quantities because I literally am always in the mood for them, and they’re nice to add to salads or pair with a sandwich or to just eat as a snack. Plus, given the fact that I have a couple late nights a week, it’s nice to have some food ready to go for my hangry ass.

Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

I like to make a big batch of these and let them cool completely before eating them. For some reason, I think sweet potatoes have a more vibrant sweet flavor cold. So I make a batch using 2-3 giant sweet potatoes, and store them in the refrigerator for snacking over the course of 2-ish days. I don’t like to prep potatoes more than 2 days out because potatoes actually go bad pretty quickly.

Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

You’ll notice I don’t use a ton of oil for these wedges. This isn’t because oil is bad, but mainly because oil prevents things from burning, and I like my potatoes a bit burnt. If you desire slightly less cripsy wedges, add a bit more oil, and decrease bake time.

Delicious Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

These wedges are perfect dipped in almond butter, but they’re also fabulous plain with sea salt, and/or dipped in hummus, maple syrup, or guacamole. Potatoes.are.bae.

I hope you make these potatoes and I hope you love them! If you do give me a holler. Leave a comment below or HMU on Insta.

Happy potatoeing my friends!

Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 2-4 servings, depending on hunger

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 420°F.
  2. Slice sweet potatoes into wedges shapes by cutting in half lengthwise, placing the flat surfaces downwards on the cutting board, and cutting lengthwise again. Next, cut each remaining chunk into thirds. This tutorial is helpful if you’re interested.
  3. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, foil, or parchment paper. Arrange potatoes evenly on the baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between them so the wedges are not touching.
  4. Drizzle oil on potatoes, and use hands to toss potatoes, so wedges get lightly coated.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes until edges are browned and potatoes are soft to touch, flipping halfway through.
  6. Remove wedges from oven and salt generously. Enjoy with almond butter, guac, or hummus.

Adopting Millie + Millie FAQs

Ahhh! Four years ago today I adopted Millie. That’s crazy to me. In some ways I feel like it hasn’t been that long, but it many others I simply can’t imagine my life without her.

Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 3.08.34 PM

I get a million questions about Millie so I thought I’d address them here!

1. How did you adopt Millie?

img_1499the very first photo/selfie of us together!

Senior year of collage my roommate needed to move and we ended up breaking our lease and because no one needed a roomie in the middle of October I ended up living alone. I didn’t mind it, but I also desired companionship and have always been an over-the-top animal lover so I began exploring different pet options.

For a while, I toyed with the idea of a cat or a some sort of rodent. I was still a college student and lived in New York City and had no idea where I’d be living after graduation, so I kept convincing myself a dog was impractical.

img_1500

But the more I thought about other pet options, the more I yearned for a dog. Cats are fine, but I knew adopting one meant my sister who is extremely allergic could never visit me and I also know I didn’t want to deal with litter boxes or cleaning cages.

Plus, I’ve just always been a dog person. I grew up with them and always took fondly to them.

img_1497Millie’s first birthday!

After I stopped my dog-desire denial, I began the obsessive shelter website stalking. I kept looking for ‘the one.’

If you want to know the truth, I didn’t pick out Millie. After a few months of looking and visiting a few dogs that on paper looked perfect and not feeling a ‘click’ or arriving to shelters only to find out the dog I had inquired about had already been adopted, I grew disheartened.

img_1495NYU graduation

I also had an added complication of being a college student – a status which disqualified me from adopting from many New York City shelters.

I finally did find a rather sketchy looking rescue organization that didn’t seem to check student status. The organization drove bus-fulls of dogs from high-kill shelters in Tennessee up to nyc for fostering and adoption.

I scoped their site and inquired about a boarder collie lab mix puppy (in retrospect, a rather unwise idea).

img_1491

After filling out form after form I was all set to foster the puppy….until, the night before, I received an email stating that the puppy had been adopted. My heart sank.

The rescue organization proceeded to send me a photo of a dog named “Grace,” (Millie) who was “on death row” and in need of a foster home.

Rather reluctantly, I agreed. But a small dog? I had never wanted one of those, and was convinced that I would never want or own a small dog.

img_1494

But the photo – I’ll never forget it. Grace was a different dog than Millie is today (not literally, figuratively). There was so much fear and a deep sadness in her eyes. Her stance was guarded, and she looked troubled.

Obviously I couldn’t let the dog be put down, so I agreed to foster her with zero intentions of adopting.

On February 8, 2014, I took the subway to the Upper West Side where the rescue organization had told me they’d be camped out, and Millie was placed in my arms out of a sea of dogs in a van, wearing a too-small Super silly Pom Pom-hooded sweater. I’ll never forget having her put in my arms, and loading her into a carrier to take her back to my apartment.

img_1490

We road the 1 downtown and got off at Astor place. She took a very long pee.

We walked around the east village. The first place we went was Mud Coffee, where my friend was working. I showed him Millie and he gave me a free iced coffee.

And Her first poop was on second avenue between 10th and 11th, in case you were curious.

We made it back to my east village apartment and the second she set foot in the studio, she made herself at home, going straight for the bed, and rolling on her back, asking for scratches.

img_1489

It was a crazy day. We got to know each other. I learned rather quickly that she was quite fond of eating, and that the baby gate I purchased was worthless cause she could sail straight over it with an effortless hop.

We walked around Thompson square park and I still remember her tugging – it was clear to me she was unfamiliar with walking on a leash.

I was quickly relieved to realize she was potty trained (bless) and not much of a chewer. Her bark was surprisingly loud, and when she was happy, her whole body showed it.

Slowly, over the next few weeks, we bonded.

img_1503

But for some dumb reason, I didn’t immediately adopt. I remained foster parent status for nearly two weeks until the adoption agency began pressing me, saying Grace had several inquiries on her adoption profile. I realized the idea of giving her to someone else was unbearable, and I signed the papers, paid a fee, and formerly adopted her.

Shortly thereafter, I named her Millie (which means gentle strength) because Grace just wasn’t a fitting name for her strange and spunky personality (Grace remains her middle name).

And four years later, here we are! Having a dog (and a sassy one at that) isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.

img_0480

She has brought me so much join, entertainment, comfort, and love. And taught me so much about responsibility, compassion, putting another’s needs above my own, and importantly, that a preconceived ideation of what you can love is easily shattered when you go beyond surface characteristics or physical attributes.

So that’s my adoption story of Millie, and if you’re still reading, a few other FAQs!

2. What kind of dog is Millie?

Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 3.08.25 PM

Because Millie is a rescue, I’m not exactly sure. When I adopted her, I was told she was a “cheweenie” aka a chihuahua dachshund mix.

But based on her personality, energy level, insane jumping abilities and head shape, I’m almost certain Millie is some sort of Jack Russel dachshund Mix.

She’s got a Jack Russel howl and is extremely agile and energetic. Her long body, stubbornness, strange vocalizations (she groans and sighs a lot) and fondness of burrowing make me also think she’s got quite a bit of dachshund in her.

I’m not saying it’s impossible that she has some chihuahua in there, but for the most part, my best best is jack russel dachshund Mix. And google image has more or less validated this for me (haha!).

Bottom line: whatever she is, she’s perfect to me!

3. How old is Millie?

Mil Dawg

Millie will be 5 in April! They grow up so fast 😭😭😭😭.

4. Is Millie vegan?

img_1505

No! Millie is a carnivore. She does love her fruit and veggie snacks though!

The brand of dog food she eats changes (I like to mix it up for her) but it’s always a higher-quality food since the super cheap stuff gives her the squirts.

5.  What do you do with her when you travel?

img_0692

Most of the time I bring Millie along. I carry her onboard with me (for a lovely $95 fee), and she has to stay in a travel case under the seat in front of me. It’s not her favorite, but she goes along with it.

No, I don’t give her anything to put her to sleep. She usually whines during take off and touch down, but naps for a majority of the flight time on most days.

6. Do you think I’m ready for a dog?

img_0550-1

Because I’m still at a life stage where not too many of my friends have dogs, I get asked this question a lot. I respond by always saying that’s a question only you can answer that question. To help guide you to your answer, ask yourself:

  • Am I willing to arrange my life around another’s bathroom schedule?
    • Having a dog means you have to continuously account for the last time your dog has peed, pooped, and eaten. No spontaneous ‘crashing’ at other places, and/or being gone all day and night!
  • Do I have $1,000 to spare this year (This obviously varies, but I spent over 1K in Millie’s first year between vet bills, food, and supplies)?
  • How much do I travel and if I do what will I do with my dog?
    • I travel with Millie, but you gotta have a plan that works for you!
  • Most importantly: do I have the time and energy to ensure the dog gets enough attention, exercise, and love?

7. Does Millie have an Instagram?

Why yes, she does. Follow her! @millie_the_nugget

That’s my Milie story! If you have any other questions, leave them below or HMU on Insta!

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Don’t you love it when you turn on the oven, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, hope for the best, and the result turns out amazing? Same here. And that’s exactly what happened with these Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies today.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

So this blog post is rather spontaneous. To be honest I’m in the middle of a few others that are more intensive in terms of scope and research required (think nutrition and sustainability).

But I’ve done so much grueling brain-sucking work this weekend I decided to take a break and make some cookie muffin things and they turned out so yummy I decided I’m extend said break by snapping a few phone photos (I need to get out my real camera…I’ve just been so damn busy the past few weeks) and toss them (figuratively) on the blog.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

The plus of spending so much time on the grind this weekend for work/school is that I suppose I learned a lot. Including that school is hard, I have a lot of self-reflection to do with professional development/relationships, having a working kitchen is very therapeutic to my existance and that people definitely notice dog hair in jam photos. Oops.

But back to the baked goods hand: these are basically pancakes/muffin tops in cookie form due to a lack of other equipment available in my apartment. I had muffins in mind, but presently lack a muffin tin, so here we are.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

I used some random pancake mix I had taking up space on my shelf. It’s not that I don’t love pancakes (I do), but I just usually feel silly making pancakes for myself unless I have others to share with. This is completely absurd and silly and I am worthy of pancakes but for some reason I feel like pancakes always seem too fancy for flying solo.

Anyways, here we are with pancake-mix cookie things. If you don’t have almond butter, go ahead and use melted non-dairy butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil. All will work swimmingly.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

These are perfect not-too-sweet mid-morning snacks. If you want them a bit sweeter add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, agave, sugar or honey. I’m fine and dandy with them smothered in almond butter and/or some homemade chia seed jam.

Now it’s back to work for this sad old grad student. But at least this time, I have muffin cookie things! Hooray!

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: about 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pancake or waffle mix
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (or softened non-dairy butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Combine flax and water and set aside. allow to sit and thicken, at least 10 minutes.
  3. Combine pancake mix, almond butter, rolled oats, non-dairy milk, chia seeds/flax, and fresh or frozen blueberries and mix until just combine.
  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter (it will be thinner than normal cookie dough) onto prepared sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and fluffy.
  6. Enjoy!

Easy Homemade Chia Jam

I love me a PB&J. Or an almond butter and J. Both are wonderful. And something I feel I appreciate more as an adult than as a child. Anyone else? Okay, maybe just me.

Easy Homemade Chia Jam

While I’m a nut butter fiend, I also appreciate a scrumptious jam or jelly. The issue, I find, with many at the store is that they’re so darn sweet.

Chia Jam Recipe

I’m all about desserts, but when it comes to breakfast foods like yogurt, jams, and oatmeals, I’m very turned off but overly sweet things. Hence, I seek out sweetened-with-only-fruit jams (Crofter’s Organic is my favorite brand, and Trader Joe’s has some good options, as well) or I make my own homemade chia jam.

img_1277

 

Chia seed jam is the easiest thing ever. All you do is add chopped up fruit, chia seeds, and a hint of lemon juice if you’re feeling fancy. If you want to up the sweetness factor, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of sugar, honey, or syrup.

Chia Jam

I find the chia seed jam perfect tangy and sweetened with only fruit, but you do you boo boo. Live your best jam life.

Easy Homemade Chia Jam

You can use pretty much whatever fruit you want for this recipe. I like to use frozen blueberries and/or strawberries the best. Just thaw and chop them up a bit, or mash at them with a fork. I like to leave some chunks in, but if you like smooth jam, I would suggest processing in a blender or food processor until desired consistency is achieved.

This recipe also rocks because the chia seeds add a little boost of omega-3 fatty acids to your day. If you don’t eat a lot of fish or flax or hemp seeds, chia seeds can help you add some of these essential fatty acids to your day, which as a vegan, I appreciate.

Easy Vegan Chia Jam

This jam goes wonderfully on sandwiches, oatmeal, toast, and yogurt. The possibilities are endless! It will have you saying #ThatsMyJam.

Easy Vegan Chia Jam

I hope you make this jam and I hope you love it! If you do let me know. Comment below or hit me up on Insta (@katherinebaker4).

Have a good weekend everyone!

Easy Homemade Chia Jam

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Fridge Time: At least 60 minutes
Servings: about 1 cup jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped or mashed fresh or (thawed) frozen fruit of choice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave (optional)

Method:

  1. Chop or mash fruit until desired consistency is reached. I like my jam a bit chunky, so I leave chunks in. If you desire smooth jam, process in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
  3. Allow jam to thicken in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour, ideally 4-6 or overnight.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Enjoy!