Easy Vegan Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

So I have this weird habit of making some recipe, taking photos of it, uploading the photos onto my computer, putting them in a folder on my desktop, and then forget to ever post the recipe and photos. Like, it happens way more often than it should. WTF.

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Or maybe I didn’t post this recipe because the photos aren’t great. I took some on my phone (ie one above) and forgot to DSLR anymore of the finished project. Probably cause I was eager to eat them. Sometimes I wonder why I pour so much time and energy into the stuff I do for other platforms that consistently under or don’t pay me and so little on my own site. I am actively changing this RIGHT NOW. So I’m gonna creep around my desktop, find some old (but new to you) recipes, and post ’em. Starting with this one.

I made these on Easter when I had a baking bug in my pants and wanted a sweet treat but was limited on baking supplies. I also didn’t feel like going to store, so I crept in the freezer, found a bag of frozen strawberries, and got busy.

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I was craving a sweet, oaty bar, and googled “oatmeal strawberry bar,” and was directed to one of Ree Drummond’s recipes. Related: low key love watching the Pioneer Woman. Yes, I know I’m a non-meat-eater of 17 years and the Drummonds live on a tycoon cattle ranch and raise animals for the purpose of human consumption. And yes I know Ree makes a bunch of stuff I would like, never want to touch with a 10 foot pole.

But you can’t deny there’s something eerily enchanting about that show. And that the violin theme song is perfect. And that you love  learning what’s happening on the ranch that day. And most importantly, you can’t deny that Ree has some good trips and tips for cooking, no matter what your dietary pattern or preference.

So these easy bars were inspired by her. I looked at her recipe, adapted it, veganized it, healthified it a little, and proceeded to watch The Pioneer Woman while baking. It was a lovely Easter indeed.IMG_3756

These bars are lightly sweet, oaty, chewy, and gushing with strawberries (in a good way). I made the jam for the filling using only frozen strawberries and chia seeds. This works tremendously. You just let them jell up. It’s wonderful.

Anyways, enjoy this recipe. More life update type post tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

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Easy Vegan Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Adapted from pioneerwoman.com

Prep Time:   10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: about 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 8 ounces non-dairy butter
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor until a fine powder forms)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Thaw frozen strawberries in the microwave by warming for about 1-2 minutes until soft. Mash with a fork. Add chia seeds, mix well, and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 12×12 pan.
  3. Combine oat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  4. Cut cold non-dairy spread or butter into small bits. Then add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, back of a fork, or your fingers, crumble butter into mixture until coarse crumbs form.
  5. Divide mixture in half. Pack slightly more than half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Spoon strawberry jelly mixture over the packed flour mixture into the pan.
  7. Crumble and sprinkle remaining flour mixture over the top half of the strawberry mixture.
  8. Place pan in oven for 35-40 minutes, until lightly golden.
  9. Allow to cool, slice, and enjoy.

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

Hello! It me. I bring to you another dessert recipe from Wisconsin since my flight to NYC was canceled this morning due to the wind! Blah. I suppose this means even more time to experiment with dessert recipes since I will no longer have the opportunity to stuff myself with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream this weekend (my absolute fav).easy-vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

Now I will preface this recipe by acknowledging that I’m aware I did not break any culinary boundaries in creating these. And that’s fine. But these bars are beauties because they’re super duper easy and super duper delicious. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, if you’re into that kinda thing.

They’re also highly addictive. My mom ate like 3/4th of the tray in one sitting. We are definitely related. Chocolate is a food group, according to us. vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

So a lil history on these bars: they came about because as a constantly-on-a-budget TJs fanatic, I am always looking up ways to create cheap after-dinner sweet snacks. In grad school I starting buying bags of chocolate chips for $1.99 (yup, TJ’s chocolate chips are vegan) and boxes of TJ’s Joe’s O’s (which are the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Cheerios) also for $1.99. I would mix chocolate chips and Joe’s Os in a wee little bowl and nibble on the mixture while studying.

The mix is a bit sweet, a bit carby, chocolatey, and crunchy. It’s highly satisfying, easy-to-prepare, and cheap as can be! It really stretches out a bag of chocolate chips, and has the added bonus that Joe’s O’s are decently not-too-shabby-for-you, making it a snack that’s easy to eat every night without feeling icky.

Then one day last month, I  was making puppy chow for my sister when she was in town, and I ventured to the grocery store to get a box of Chex. And then I got home and saw my Cheerios and I was like…I wonder if….!

And so this month, I tried it. I basically used the puppy chow idea (melted chocolate + pb) with Cheerios in place of Chex, but pressed them into a pan instead of coating them with powdered sugar.vegan-gluten-free-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

The result is a crunchy, easy peasy snack that satisfies any crunchy chocolate peanut butter craving. They’re just damn good and damn delicious.

Anyways, without further audieu, I present to you…

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Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie with Coconut Almond Cream

Are you sitting down? Because if not, I think you should for what I’m about to say: this pie was possibly one of the best pies I’ve ever made, let alone eaten. This is a serious statement considering how many pies I’ve sampled and/or birthed in my lifetime. It was that good. Like, need-to-keep-eating-past-uncomfortably-full-ness-good.

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Creamy. Silky. Chocolately. Coconutty. Almondy. A little crunchy thanks to the graham cracker crust and the shredded coconut. Yet fluffy thanks to the whipped topping. Sweet, yet rich and bitter. Delectably chocolately. Thick. Luscious. Smooth. One of those pies where you finish your slice and wonder where it went and proceed to lick your plate and fork and the serving utensils and then go back for another slice. What dreams are made of.

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Here’s a plot twist to make this dessert even more flawless: it’s one of the easiest pies you can possibly make. It’s no bake, minimal ingredients, minimal mess, and few ingredients.

And just when you thought this pie could not be any better, it proves you wrong. It’s like this pie the Beyonce of pies. Okay are you ready for this? It’s ridiculously healthy. And you’d never guess. Ever. I make a lot of “healthier” versions of desserts or meals or snacks and a lot of the times they do taste, well, healthier. I like this, but not all people do. You could feed this to the most anti-health-food glutton and they’d never know it was healthy, let alone vegan, or in a million years guess a main ingredient is tofu. You really really can’t tell. My mom agreed: she said she would have never guess and that it was one of the best pies she’s ever had.

I made this pie spontaneously for Thanksgiving. No it is not a typical Thanksgiving pie. This year, it was only my mom and I for Thanksgiving and so we did our own atypical vegan Thanksgiving and made some traditional food like rolls and Brussels Sprouts and roasted vegetables, and some interesting other random stuff, like an Italian-Asian Braised Boy Choy dish and Rosemary-Infused Cranberry Sauce and tempeh.

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We had already had a “classic” style Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings a few weeks earlier, so this was more our play-time and excuse to try new things.

So since I had already made a pumpkin pie this year (I made a pie inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie and it turned out great), but with graham crust because I love graham crust and have always thought it’d go well with a pumpkin pie. So since pumpkin and apple and pecan pies have already been on my plate in the past few weeks, I wanted to try something else. And yesterday, I really really wanted chocolate. And graham crust. And a layer of fluffy whipped goodness. With coconut. And almond. I wanted all these things. So I combined them into this perfect, precious, beautifully delicious and wonderful pie.

Protein and fiber and B vitamins from the tofu. Extra protein and fiber and flavonoids from the cocoa powder. MUFAs and PUFAs from coconut fat. The almond extract and sugar don’t add much nutritional value, but they add boat loads of flavor and taste, and compliment the rest of this basically-super-food pie. Ugh. Stop being so flawless, pie. I can’t stop staring/eating.

You must make this. Like I said, it’s the Beyonce of pies. Ridiculously delicious. Coincidentally healthy, and vegan, and almost too easy to make to believe. But one bite, and you will believe. And come knocking at my door thanking me for this recipe, which might be one of my favorites to date.

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Enough talking, I need to polish off the remaining sliver of pie currently sitting in my fridge. Wouldn’t want that one piece to be lonely, now would I? And with that, I leave you with this message: EAT ALL THE PIE! 😀

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 0 minutes, but needs at least 1 hour to set in the refridgerator

Level: Easy

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Ingredients – Crust:

  • 10 graham crackers (about 1 + 1/2 sleeves)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Chocolate Filling:

  • 12 ounce package silken tofu
  • 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder (I used Godiva)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Ingredients – Coconut Almond Cream:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, left in refrigerator overnight (if you’re short on time and/or not vegan, using a container of regular or non-dairy cool-whip topping would also work well)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut shreds, divided (1/4 cup for topping, 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (omit if using cool-whip topping)

Directions:

1. Break graham crackers into small pieces and create crumbs from the crackers by either pulsing them in a food processor or mashing them with a large spoon in a plastic zip-lock bag. I like to leave mine a little crumbly, instead of pulsing to a fine powder. I dig texture/the crunch. But you can do what you want. Dump graham crumbs into a small bowl. Melt coconut oil for a few seconds in the microwave and add to the graham crumbs. Add sugar, and mix until all crumbs are moist and the mixture adheres to itself. If you need to add more melted coconut oil, go for it.

2. Press crumb crust mixture into a lightly oiled pie pan, covering the bottom and the edges. Set aside.

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3. In a food processor or blender, combine tofu, cocoa powder, sugar, and almond milk. Puree until smooth. Pour into pie pan on top of crust. Cover and set in the refrigerator.

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4. Open can of coconut milk. Drain off top half and save for another use (great for smoothies, stir-frys, on oatmeal, etc). There should be a solid mass at the bottom of the good fatty stuff. Remove this and place in a bowl. To this, add almond extract and powdered sugar. Whip with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes. Spread fluffy mixture all over chocolate pie. If you are using a cool-whip substitute instead of coconut milk, simply fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes and almond extract. This option will also be tasty.

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 5. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup coconut shreds, and extra shredded chocolate if desired. Eat pie. Try to remember to breathe. Eat more pie. Enjoy life. 🙂