Save Some Calories with Sugar-Free Oat Bars

OatbarsOatmeal bars so good, they make you wanna high-five your oven mitts!

Wholesome, chewy, and  crunchy all at the same time, these savory squares are ideal for a quick breakfast or mid-day snack. Oh and they’re about as healthy as can get! I mean, it’s easy to cave into temptation and buy a triple chocolate chunk cookie from the coffee shop down the street. But with that come triple the calories, triple the sugar, and well –triple the agony when those already snug skinny jeans fit a little tighter. WOOPS! So here’s a much better alternative to keep you full and the cravings at bay:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups of oats (Robin Hood brand is fantastic for baking!)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup hemp hearts

3 tbsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 cup milk

4 drops Stevia concentrate (as a natural sugar alternative)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven at 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Mix all the dry ingredients: oats, seeds, cranberries, hemp hearts, and cinnamon, in the same bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and stevia. Add it to the dry ingredients and stir.

4. Pour the batter into a greased, square pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the edges and top are golden brown.

5. Slice into squares

Style is served!

Sweet Potato Cranberry Salad

SweetpotatosaladWhen you think of sweet potatoes, the first thing that may come to mind is a certain fall feast, with an abundance of pumpkin pie and turkey set out on the table. But guess what? This veggie can work just as well in other seasons. The trick is to opt for eating it cold –whether in combination with quinoa or as my recipe suggests, cranberries!

This salad will satisfy your hunger, all while providing a hefty serving of health-boosting nutrients. Try to find one bad ingredient, I dare you! And because it’s on the sweet side, you can forget about dessert. Here’s how to make it:

SaladprepIngredients:

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 dried cranberries

1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Wash and peel your potatoes, then cut them into medium cubes. They shrink in the oven so you don’t want to be left with nothing.

3.Place them into a baking sheet or dish, and sprinkle the salt along with the olive oil. Toss with your hands.

4. Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes, until they have softened but are not entirely mushy. We’re not making mashed potatoes here!

5. Once cooled, add the cranberries and sunflower seeds and a tablespoon of olive oil, toss & dig in!

Who said sweet potatoes are a one-season veggie?

Style is served!

Care for some Orange-Almond Cranberry Clusters?

Orange-almond cran clusters

I’m not going to lie, these cookies turned out to be pretty good! No no, they’re actually GREAT and all because I couldn’t find the bag of golden raisins in the cupboard. That’s right, I was going to make raisin cookies. You read it correctly –r-a-i-s-i-n-s. The tiny little things that try to pass for chocolate chips but when you take a bite, it’s more often than not a bite of disappointment.  We all know how the saying goes: “raisin cookies are the reason I have trust issues”.

So anyway, it was time to improvise: what did I happen to have at home? Dried cranberries? Check. Almond slivers? Check. Oranges, sugar, vanilla essence? Check, check, and check! I mixed these together and popped spoonfuls into the oven, only to have the house fill with the scent of citrusy goodness –ah, the smell of success!

These clusters flew off the plate, and were equally popular with friends at school. After bringing some to lecture, this is the text message from one of the taste testers(and I quote):

“OMG THESE COOKIES THOUGHHH. So delicious!!! :’(“

But enough with the bragging! Here’s how to make your very own batch:

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

170 grams of unsalted, softened butter

1 large egg

1/4 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

1 cup of toasted(optional) almond slivers

Grated peel of 1 orange

Almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
  2. OPTIONAL: Spread the almonds evenly on a pan on the stovetop over medium heat, and let them toast until they turn a light golden brown(5-6 minutes), while mixing frequently with a spatula. Toasting them adds an extra bit of flavour rather than when they’re raw.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: the flour, with the baking powder, and salt. I usually sift the flower into the bowl to get rid of any lumps
  4. Then add the sugar and stir, followed by the softened butter, egg, and milk. Mix all of these together (either by hand with a spoon, or the a food processor)  until the dough is smooth
  5. Add the cranberries and almonds into the mix until fully incorporated, along with the grated peel of the orange
  6. Place spoonfuls into a greased or parchment covered baking pan about  2 inches apart and flatten them
  7. Bake  for 10-12 minutes (or longer, or less -baking time depends on your oven so just keep an eye on them)

Try these cranberry-almond orange clusters, you won’t be disappointed.

Style is served!