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.

 

 

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.

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!

Easy Homemade Vegan Cream Cheese

On Saturday I stopped into the most adorable Italian bakery (Prato) and bought myself a giant loaf of still-warm multigrain bread. It was so fresh and so tasty and it was the best $3.80 I’ve spend in a while.

Easy Vegan Tofu Cream Cheese Recipe

Naturally, everything I’ve eaten since purchasing said loaf has revolved around things to eat with bread. I didn’t have any avocados (boo), nor vegan cream cheese (double boo) and wanted something savory to eat with my bread.

tofu

So I decided to use some tofu to make a plant-based whipped cream cheese spread. I figured, if delis can make cream cheese out of tofu, so can I. So there.

homemade vegan cream cheese

Now. I whipped this cream cheese up with a whisk because I don’t have my food processor with me in NJ yet. I keep forgetting to bring it out here and am setting a reminder to do so when I come back from spring break.

whipped tofu

Anyways, whipping the tofu gave me a whipped fluffy texture, like a whipped cream cheese.

nutritional yeast

If you like whipped cream cheese, do this. If you want it smooth, process it in a food processor or blender. Either way, YUM.

easy vegan cream cheese homemade

I also only had firm tofu on hand, but I highly suggest using silken for a smoother texture.

easy homemade vegan tofu cream cheese

Lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and a hefty dose of salt give the tofu a tangy salty slightly-cheesy flavor reminiscent of cream cheese.

easy vegan cream cheese recipe

You can certainly add a wide variety of mix-ins to make this cream cheese flavored. I think fresh herbs would be delicious, as would some berry compote, or some maple syrup and walnuts.

homemade vegan tofu cream cheese

This easy homemade vegan tofu cream cheese excellent on bread and bagels with jam or jelly or Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Salt (which I can’t get enough of).

easy vegan cream cheese homemade

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

Easy Homemade Vegan Tofu Cream Cheese

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: about 1 cup vegan cream cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces silken tofu (1/2 a 16-ounce package or 3/4 of a 12-ounce package)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional mix-ins: fresh herbs, walnuts + maple syrup, fruit puree, diced jalapenos, everything bagel seasoning

Method:

  1. Open tofu package and drain liquid. If using a firmer block, press any additional liquid out from tofu by placing tofu on a plate, covering with a paper towel, and pressing down with a cutting board on top of the paper towel.
  2. If using an electric mixer or whisk, mash tofu in a bowl. Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt, and whip until fluffy. If using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and process until smooth.
  3. Enjoy with all the carbs your heart desires. 🙂

Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Bark with Sea Salt

Last night I was cleaning out the fridge/freezer/pantry (party) and started making a bunch of random things to use up odds and ends to help the organization process along.

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

I whipped up some dark chocolate hazelnut bark with sea salt and was SUPER thrilled with the result. Chocolate + nuts + salt = my favorite. So obviously, I was into this.

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

It was a spontaneous creation, but so good, and so simple, I decided to snap some phone pics today to put it on the blog in case anyone needs some #inspo for an easy yet impressive homemade chocolate treat.Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

This is basically a no-recipe recipe. You can use whatever nuts you fancy. Or you can add in some chopped figs/dates if you like. You really can’t mess it up.Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

No matter what you add, you’ll end up with delicious, rich, chocolate bark. It’s impressive to put on a plate at gatherings (so long as you keep it elevated if you have doggos) and/or bring to a party or dinner. It also takes minimal effort and is perfect for using up odds and ends in your baking pantry.

img_0429

I hope you make this bark and I hope you love it. Let me know if you do! Tag or DM me on Insta (@katherinebaker4) or leave a comment below.img_0427

Peace, love, and salty nutty chocolate!

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Barki

Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Bark with Sea Salt

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Freezer Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1-4, depending on how much you like chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dark chocolate (or one bag dark chocolate chips) – I used Dark Chocolate Lover’s bar from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted or raw (based on your flavor preference, I used raw) whole or chopped hazelnuts, plus additional handful chopped for topping (about 1 3/4 cup total)
  • 1-2 tablespoon flakey sea salt

Method:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Melt dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl using medium-high heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until melted. This will take about 90-180 seconds, depending on your microwave.
  3. Stir in 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Chop additional handful for garnish and set aside.
  4. Spread mixture over prepared baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts and sea salt over the top of the hazelnut bark.
  6. Place bark in freezer for at least 20 minutes or refrigerator for 60 minutes to set.
  7. Break bark into rough pieces with hands.
  8. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container in the refrigerator.