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Pecan Energy Bars – Take 2

Do you remember when I posted about the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars I made a week ago?

I’d been a little disappointed at the texture.

They were too similar to Detoxinista’s Peanut Butter Larabars, which I like but didn’t want to duplicate.  The only crunch in the first batch came from the chia seeds, so the word “crunch” is really a stretch.  I guess you could say that they were more like fig bars.

Because the flavor had been really good, I wanted to give these another shot, so that’s what I did yesterday.

I’ll admit that I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to using the new Vitamix I purchased in April or May.  I’m finding that I under-blend some things and over-blend others.  There’s definitely an art to it.

With that in mind, I pulsed the dates to prevent the mixture from becoming pasty.

I was also careful after I added the rest of the ingredients.  I wanted these to feel more like store-bought.

Here’s what they looked like before I put them in the oven.

I didn’t cook them any longer than the recipe stated and let them cool almost completely before giving in to my excitement to try them.  I wonder if cooking them for an extra five minutes would make them a little harder.  I may have to experiment.

As you can see, the texture is a lot chunkier than my first attempt.

Biting into my sample bar was more satisfying as well; the crunch I’d been aiming for was there!  Yay!

I’m extremely happy with these.  I think this recipe will be a staple in my house; the bars will be perfect for snacking on in the middle of a day of teaching and will do much to ward off feelings of “hanger.”  My students will be grateful.

Much like anything I do in my life, I’m learning that I’m going to have a lot of fails before I figure things out.

I may be a slow learner, but I NEVER give up.

Cooking All the Things

My summertime running around has been curtailed a bit thanks to a headache that continues to simmer because of my recent run-in with a wall.

That hasn’t diminished my efforts in the kitchen, though.  I’ve been busy trying new recipes and experimenting a little.

Saturday, I found a very, very ripe banana on the kitchen counter.  Coincidentally, I had an email waiting for me.  In it was a recipe for Vegan Banana Pancakes, from LovingitVegan.

They didn’t require many ingredients and were really easy to mix up.  I’ve tried a few vegan pancake recipes in the past and have had issues with them getting fluffy.  This recipe worked well, though.

Later that day, I pulled out something I’d ordered a couple of weeks before . . .

That is the Snack Bar Maker Set, by Pampered Chef.  Someone in the Detoxinista Facebook group had posted a photo of hers, along with bars she’d made in them.  I knew I had to have this.

I love that it’s silicone and can be used in the oven.  I also really like the cover.  It came with a spatula too!

I’d had my eye on the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars that A Couple Cooks, which they had recently posted.

Mine don’t look like theirs, of course, but I think I know why.  I believe that I over-blended the mixture.  The next time I make these, I’ll use my Vitamix to blend up the dates and pecans before hand-mixing the rest of the ingredients.

They look a little like Larabars, don’t they?  The consistency isn’t crunchy, like I’d anticipated, but the taste is wonderful!  There is a tiny bit of a crunch because of the chia seeds, but I’m really looking for more of a granola bar type of crunch.  I found a recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars on the Pampered Chef website.  The Big Man’s World also has a lot of recipes for granola bars.

On Monday, I tried a new recipe, which I saw posted on Instagram.  Dang, that social media and the pressure it brings.

Speaking of social media . . .

Here’s the Healthy Flourless Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Cake – another recipe by The Big Man’s World, which he posted on Instagram (the recipe is on his website too).

I love this one!  The cake is a great texture, and it rose beautifully.  It’s also very moist!  The cinnamon flavor is subtle but still discernible.  Now the icing – well, it’s meh.  I tried his cream cheese option, but it didn’t turn out like I expected.

I made his Paleo version for the Mr. and adapted it for the Mr.’s SCD diet.

I should have left well alone.  The cake looked and smelled delicious, but I worried that the Mr. would want frosting, so I did some experimenting and created my “own” recipe from a combination of a couple of others I found online.

I used dairy-free butter, honey, vanilla, peanut butter, and cinnamon.

It looked pretty, and while the Mr. liked the cake itself, he was not as keen on the frosting.  He said it didn’t have enough flavor.

I really need to stick with coloring inside the lines.

After I’d finished making the desserts, it was time to think about my dinner.  Before heading to the grocery store yesterday morning, I’d flipped through my Instant Pot recipe book and found a recipe for Lentil-Spinach Curry.

The list of ingredients was short (always a win), and I put it together very quickly.  It was ready in about 40 minutes when I factor in sauteeing the vegetables and the actual cook time.

The only thing I had to add after-the-fact was salt and pepper, which the recipe surprisingly didn’t require.

It was delicious, and I ate a bowl of leftover curry for lunch today.  Yum!

Falling for the Hodgepodge

Yay!  It’s time for Joyce’s Hodgepodge!  I love the questions she dreams up each week, and I love reading others’ responses too.  Thank you so much for visiting me and spending a few minutes here.  By the way, I feel the need to apologize.  A few of you left comments last week, and I was completely overwhelmed with work, so I didn’t get a chance to reciprocate.  Please forgive me. ❤

Let’s get to the questions.

1.  What’s something you’d rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

Sleep.

Go ahead and laugh, but it’s something I treasure . . . more so when the school year is going.  It’s something I can’t seem to get enough of, but what little I manage to snag ranks right on up there with the most decadent dessert I’ve ever eaten.

2.  What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?

I’d really suck at at engineering because that requires a lot of math, which I struggle with.  I mean, if I can’t use my fingers, I’m kind of stuck.  The world can thank me now.

3.  When did you last take a fall? What’s something you’re falling for (in a good way) these days?

Really, Joyce?  heeheehee

If you’re new to my blog, you don’t know that I last took a fall on November 13th when I tripped over my dog as I was headed to bed in the dark.  I broke three bones in my ankle in what is known as a trimalleolar fracture.  I had surgery a week later where a plate and twelve pins were used to put my ankle back together, and I have been in physical therapy since the third week of January.  I have a lot of rehab ahead of me and another surgery in November.  I’m trying not to fall any more!!

So, what is something I’m falling for in a good way?  I’d say cooking.  I’ve been a vegan since December 2010, and I’ll admit that at first, I stuck with very simple meals.  I started branching out by learning how to make vegan desserts.  In the last year or so, I’ve found two or three vegan recipe makers who I routinely cook from.  It’s become a lot of fun, and I actually look forward to afternoons in the kitchen, when my ankle cooperates.

Here’s what I made last night – Creamy Vegan Pasta Marinara

I follow A Couple Cooks on Instagram, and they post recipes almost daily (along with pictures of their adorable baby).  This dish is absolutely incredible, and it required very little work.  I cannot believe that I made my own marinara sauce, and that it tastes as good as something I’d get at a restaurant.  My picture does not do it justice (maybe it would have if I’d sprinkled some fresh basil on top).

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America’s best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?

I have not been to any of the festivals listed above.  I think I’d probably like the Wine and Chile Fiesta the best because who doesn’t like wine along with a bit of spice?  🙂

I guess Podunk, USA has some sort of festival, but I don’t attend.  I’m rather anti-social that way.  Bah humbug and all that.

5.  What is your goodbye message to summer?

Dear Summer,

We had a wonderful time together . . . poolside, nap side, Netflix side.  Alas, I did not win the lottery, so I have to bid you a fond, but temporary, farewell.

I’m already counting down the days until June, when we can be reunited.  I’m planning our activities (same as this year except for the physical therapy, I hope).

See you soon!

Love,

Auburnchick

6.  My Random Thought

On Thursday, my classes and I will begin reviewing the answers to the FSA packet the kids completed on Monday and Tuesday.  It was wickedly difficult, but with retakes coming up and increased pressure to pass for my juniors and seniors, this teacher isn’t playing around.

To prepare, I did my own “homework” and marked up the text and the answers . . .

Which of the following characters do you think I’ll resemble while trying to help my precious kiddos?

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