dairy free, events, gluten free, personal, recipes, snacks, Uncategorized

Curate Chicago Pop-up in Kalamazoo!

This weekend I’ll be in Kalamazoo for Curate Chicago‘s Holiday Pop-up shop! My cousin Christina is the talented co-founder and owner, and decided to host her first ever holiday pop-up in our hometown.

I am really excited to be joining her on Saturday and Sunday to sell some of my favorite food “staples” – almond milk, granola bars, and almond butter cups. For those who are or were able to attend, I wanted to share some information about ingredients and sourcing here. Details about the event are also included below. Hope to see you!

Curate Chicago Kalamazoo Pop-up

  • Location: 116 W. South Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • Date: December 1 – December 7
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm

Here’s a list of everything I’ll be selling:

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Cherry Almond Granola Bars 
Ingredients: gluten-free oats, brown rice cereal, slivered almonds, dried dark cherries, cocoa nibs, homemade almond butter*, Fase Apiaries wildflower honey, cinnamon, sea salt. Allergens: tree nuts.

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Toasted Oat Tahini & Hazelnut Bars
Ingredients: gluten-free oats, brown rice cereal, hazelnuts, coconut, raw tahini, Michigan raw honey, Dutch-process cocoa powder, coconut oil, Michigan maple syrup, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract. Allergens: tree nuts.

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Salted Almond Butter Cups
Ingredients: Enjoy Life chocolate chips, homemade almond butter*, Fase Apiaries wildflower honey, organic powdered sugar, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract, sea salt, Maldon sea salt (for finishing). Allergens: tree nuts.

Cinnamon Date Almond Milk 
Ingredients: California almonds**, medjool dates, cinnamon, sea salt. Allergens: tree nuts.

Cacao Almond Milk
Ingredients: California almonds**, medjool dates, sea salt, coconut butter, Dutch process cocoa powder. Allergens: tree nuts.

*the almond butter is made with almonds only – no oil or salt added
**the almonds were purchased from D&S Ranch in Oakhurst, California, and are from a crop harvested in September.

All ingredients and packaging were sourced from small businesses or farmer’s markets in Southwest Michigan whenever possible. For the almonds, I purchased them directly from D&S Ranch in California for two reasons- 1) to support the grower! and 2) freshness matters so much, especially when it comes to the almond milk & almond butter. The almonds are the foundation of every one of these recipes, so starting with a quality ingredient makes for a much more delicious finished product.

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One final note: shelf life! Almond milk is best consumed within 4-5 days, the granola bars will keep in the fridge for at least 3 weeks, and the almond butter cups can be frozen & consumed whenever!

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recipes, snacks, travel

brown rice + almond butter granola bars

bars!

I was having a difficult time trying to figure out what I should call these. I’ve made them so many times, but each time, they’ve been a little different – which is, I suppose, a big part of the reason I love the recipe so much.

Essentially, you can make the granola bar to your taste by mixing in different combinations of dried fruit and nuts (or chocolate). I’m partial to dried cherries and almonds, so that is what I usually start with (and the recipe I chose to include here). In the past, I’ve also included dried apricots and pumpkin seeds – and am sure that dried blueberries, hazelnuts, or walnuts would be equally delicious. The key component that allows for their versatility is the honey-almond butter “glue” that holds them together.

In case the recipes here haven’t given me away just yet, I have a dairy and soy allergy. I have learned the hard way that when traveling, especially during the airport portion, eating can be pretty tricky unless I plan in ahead. Almost all of the time, the seemingly simple things like bread, oatmeal, and even organic whole ingredient snack bars have traces of milk or soy lecithin (if you have to read food labels for any reason,  you can relate). So since Jon and I will be traveling this weekend, I decided to make these to take along. They pack really well and are a good snack on the plane.

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Before you get started, here are a few things you should know about this recipe. 1) If you have the time and equipment, I highly recommend making your own almond butter. It’s very easy, and makes a world of difference in the final product. 2) If you exceed the amount of dried fruit or nuts/seeds listed, you’ll likely have to compensate with a higher volume of the almond butter and honey mixture. The ratio is roughly 3:2 (fruit/nut to almond butter mixture) 3) Toast the oats, seeds, and nuts separately. Each has a different optimal toasting time, and the turning point is often reached quickly, so watch them carefully. They will become fragrant and slightly browned when done.

almonds+seeds

brown rice + almond butter granola bars

(adapted from food 52)

1 1/2 cups gluten free oats*

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup raw sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups dried cherries

3 cups brown rice cereal

1 cup almond butter (see recipe below)

1 cup raw honey

1 tsp. salt (only if almond butter is unsalted, otherwise 1/2 tsp.)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

*This version also happens to be gluten-free, as the brown rice cereal is naturally, and the oats can easily be swapped for a gluten-free variety. Regular old fashioned oats work just as well.

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds separately. The oats should take about 15 minutes, sunflower seeds about 12-14, and almonds about 10-12. Meanwhile, measure the rice cereal into a large bowl. As you finish toasting the oats, seeds, and nuts, add them to the bowl with the cereal. Once everything is done and slightly cooled, add the cherries and mix well to combine.

Prepare a 13×9 pan by greasing it slightly. Alternatively, line the pan with parchment paper to prevent the bars from sticking.

honey

In a small saucepan, combine the honey and almond butter. Heat on low, just until the mixture thins slightly and small bubbles form on the sides. It’s important not to let the mixture boil, it will make it too dry and won’t hold the bars together well. Once it’s heated, add the salt and cinnamon and stir until incorporated. Pour the warmed almond butter and honey over the cereal mixture, and toss gently but thoroughly to make sure everything is combined.

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Pour the mixture into the prepared 13×9 pan, using a spatula to distribute it evenly. Once it is loosely in place, take a sheet of parchment paper the size of the pan and lay over top. Use your hands to press the bars into the corners, smoothing over the top as you go. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day (or at least 4 hours later), cut the bars however you like and store them in an airtight container.

almond butter

3 cups raw almonds

1 tsp. raw honey

1-2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, but not completely. Put all three cups in a food processor, and process to a fine powder. At this point, the almonds will start to break down. Continue to let the processor run, stopping to scrape down the sides every 2 minutes or so. When it’s finished, it will be smooth and creamy, usually after letting the food processor run for at least 10-12 minutes. Add the salt and honey, and pulse to combine. Store in an airtight jar. You will use almost all of it for the granola bars.

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sides, snacks

making wheat thins

I wish I could take credit for this recipe. As an obsessive wheat thin eater, I knew when I saw Deb Perelman’s post on homemade wheat thins from earlier today that I had to try to make them too. (In my defense, while I do eat a lot of these crackers, I hadn’t realized until this was in fact posted today until I went to give her the credit for the recipe.) They taste a lot like the real thing – the thinner you can roll the dough, the crispier they’ll be. But like her, (and knowing myself) the yield to time spent ratio isn’t quite enough to keep me from buying family-sized boxes from the entirely, but I will definitely make these from time to time.

All credit goes to Smitten Kitchen! To read Deb’s post and see her recipe, click here.

*Deb mentioned that her crackers tasted butterier after sitting for a few days – but I noticed that mine tasted quite a bit butterier than the boxed wheat thins right out of the oven. This could be because I used Earth Balance in place of butter (recipe worked all the same.) In addition, I found that while I was rolling out the first half of the dough, the other half started to soften too much and became more difficult to work with. I would suggest keeping it cool in the fridge while you work.

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