Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

I’m not much of a lunch person.  Bring on breakfast and dinner, but as for snack and lunch, I’d rather pass.

However, I typically need a little something midday to keep me going and power me through workouts, writing, baking, and blogging.  It’s just, I’m not sitting down to a giant salad with chicken and quinoa without feeling like I ate a house and wanting to skip dinner.

Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

Before you say how unhealthy this is, fasting is actually very good for your body.  There’s all this science behind it on how it helps give your system a break and reset you.  Sounds good to me.

I typically only fast all the way from breakfast to dinner a couple days a week, sometimes with a coffee in the middle because coffee is my new thing.

On the days I don’t, I reach for a healthy, satisfying “lunch.”  Usually fruit, vegetables, or a Larabar.  Just enough to keep me going until dinner, my favorite meal.

Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

One of my favorite lunches is these Frozen Paleo Banana Bites.  They are easy to make, full of great nutrition, and super satisfying.  Kind of like eating dessert without … you know … eating dessert.

With bananas full of potassium and resistant starch, coconut oil with healthy fats, and powerhouse toppings, these vegan, gluten free, Whole30 bites are sure to become your go to snack, lunch, or dessert.

The snap of the coating is so satisfying and reminiscent of a candy bar.  The toppings add crunch and even Mom admitted the creamy banana was pretty awesome.  With these for lunch, I am more than ready to tackle everything life throws my way.

Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

Paleo Frozen Banana Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

2 bananas, cut into 1 inch slices and frozen
¼ cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons carob or cocoa powder
Toppings like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and nuts

Instructions

  1. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave until liquified. Stir in the carob or cocoa powder. Dip a banana slice and dip it immediately into the toppings of your choice. Place on a plate to set. Repeat until all the bananas are dipped.
  2. Serve immediately or store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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Tropical Fruit Salsa #SundaySupper

Tropical Fruit Salsa

Mom always says everything looks worse when you’re tired.  While I have learned that Mom is pretty much always right, I had an epiphany about this the other night, when I was very, very tired.  By the way, I don’t mean that in a snarky way … Mom really is almost always right.  Seriously, it’s kind of freaky.

Back to the epiphany.  I began thinking about her statement and I have my own spin on it.  Maybe we just see the truth, a harsh reality when we’re tired.  We see things with eyes that don’t have the energy to rose color our surroundings.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

There’s nothing wrong with trying to put a positive spin on things, see the good in the bad, find the hope in the dark, but maybe sometimes we need a wakeup call, and that is what being tired, really, really tired brings.

It shows us our faults and those of our surroundings.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We can all use to take a harsh look in the mirror sometimes.  That glimpse of reality, even if it is short lived, can stick with us, and teach us how to make things better.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

We can’t change what is wrong if we never see it in the first place.  Or worse, if we don’t see it until it is too late.

So the other day and night I was wiped out after the Bon Jovi concert (more on that next week – it was worth every lost moment of sleep), I learned a little more about me than I had known before and found some of the drive to fix things the next day.

And also to make this Tropical Fruit Salsa.  Full of fresh, vibrant colors and flavors, don’t you just want to dive right in to this healthy, vegan, gluten free, Whole30 dip, snack, salad, side?  I love mixing fruit and vegetables, sweet and spicy, and this salsa has some of my favorites.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

Tomatoes.  Pineapple.  Onion.  Cucumber.  Jalapeno.  Mango.  Serve this with fish, beef, pork, chips, or just a fork.  And then solve the problems of your world.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

Tropical Fruit Salsa #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

2 1 inch thick slices of pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 mango, cut off the seed, peeled, and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together pineapple, mango, tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and cucumber. Add the lemon juice, pepper, and salt, if using. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Rini from Healing Tomato for hosting!

Sunday Supper Recipes Using Fresh Tomatoes

Chicken Recipes

Main Courses

Pizza, Pies, and Pastas

Side Dishes

Snacks

Soups and Salads

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

My Whole30 is over, but not really.  I never thought I’d say this, but I think it changed my life.

I was hesitant about this whole Whole30 fad.  All those restrictions.  Life is too short.  But in a push to take back control of my life and my body, I gave it a go and fell in love.

Yes, it’s restrictive, but it also opened me up to new meals, ideas, and foods I used to love but thought weren’t healthy.  It showed me how important protein is and how fun it is to cook new and exciting meals.

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

I didn’t get bored, well, except now, as I take reintroduction very slowly and am nearing a Whole60.  With Thrive Market and Barefoot Provisions having tons of Whole30 approved products, my pantry is stocked, and that is the only way to survive on this program.  By the way that isn’t a paid advertisement, but I totally wish it was.

I feel better.  So does Mom.  I actually think Mom got even more out of this than me.  And she was way more hesitant than me.

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

When it came to reintroduction, legumes and dairy couldn’t have gone better, but things were more problematic with grains of all kinds.

Mom had been struggling with debilitating back pain that just went away during the Whole30 without either of us really noticing.  A few rice cakes for breakfast and it was back with a vengeance.  Gluten bothered her stomach and all the grains left both of us feeling bloated and not our Whole30 best.

Because flukes happen, we’re going to give it another go after having been back on the full plan for almost a week.

People don’t realize how powerful food is.  It heals and hurts so much more than we know and by doing a Whole30 it shines a light on that.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating how I was before and that’s okay with me.

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

Partly because real food is tasty.  Just look at these Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls.  Bob’s Red Mill sent me some Hemp Hearts awhile back and though I was suspicious at first, I have really grown to love them.

Here the hemp hearts partner with chia seeds, warm spices, sweet dates, rich carob powder, and the new love of my life: coconut oil for a decadent treat that is packed with nutrition.  These Bliss Balls are healthy, gluten free, and vegan.  Forget brownies (well, maybe not forever) and pass the Bliss Balls.

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

Hemp and Chia Bliss Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 balls

Ingredients

¾ cup almond meal
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup dates, softened in hot water
2 tablespoons carob powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons hemp hearts
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3-5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Additional cinnamon, carob, hemp hearts, and chia seeds for rolling

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond, meal, coconut flour, carob powder, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, hemp hearts, and chia seeds. Stir to combine. Add the dates, draining off most of the water, and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  2. Combine the mixture, using your hands to break down the dates and form everything into a Play-Doh like concoction. If the mixture is too dry, add more coconut oil until it comes together.
  3. Form the mixture into about ping pong sized balls. Roll each ball in your desired toppings. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. These are amazing cold!
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Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

There would be hurricane force winds, they said.

And sporadic power outages, they said.

Despite one local station’s promo that declares how accurate their meteorologist was, no one saw this coming.

The high wind warning began at 10 am Wednesday and our power couldn’t even hold out until then.  At about 9:40, the lights fought and flickered and then turned off.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

I finished breakfast, trying to play it cool with restoration estimates at noon, but as time wore on and the estimates switched to 4 pm, I began to panic.  I kind of became unhinged.

Losing power is a big deal for me.  There’s tons of food in my refrigerator and freezer that I don’t want to have to throw away.  It was getting cold in the house despite the fact that it was 55 and sunny.  Prospects for warmth didn’t look good either with terribly cold temperatures the rest of the week.  And let’s face it, I am a TV addict.

Mom and I turned on our trusty battery powered radio to learn that a record breaking wind gust of 68 miles per hour was recorded at our local airport and by the end of the day this had become the largest power outage the area has ever seen with just about one million people out.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

In the middle of the day we did get a call from an automated energy company lady reassuring us there was “good news.”  A crew had been dispatched to our outage and it would be restored by 11:30 pm THE NEXT DAY.

Apparently I sounded like a dying animal, worried I’d have to go to a hotel, which is about the last thing I wanted to do, but it did come right before freezing to death.  We would have to act fast, by nightfall, there were no hotel rooms in the area.  None.

Four pm came and went as we headed for round three of Monopoly Empire, a surprisingly fast and relatively boring version of the classic.  I picked up a coloring book I’ve been meaning to use for a year and Mom called Dad, in the light and heat of work.

Then it happened.  I saw the light.  Well, the lights.  They came on.  And I cried happy tears for the second time in my life.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Being one of the first outages benefitted us greatly with the energy company reporting thousands of downed wires, we would have otherwise been out for a long time.  They hope to have 90% of customers restored by Sunday night.  At least I found the silver lining in this wild week.

Comcast was out for an additional 18 or so hours, and that didn’t make me too happy.  But we are all back up and running and I hope everyone else in the area is soon as well xoxo

After the drama, I needed a quick and easy, healthy, restoring, satisfying meal.  So I made Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad.  Kale is my comfort food – it always makes me feel good!

This salad is full of nutritious green ingredients for a heathy St. Patrick’s Day.  The kale drinks up the light vinaigrette, the onion provides crunch, the pear adds sweetness and a burst of juice, and the cucumber is supremely refreshing.  The Brussels sprouts are added to the salad while warm so they soak up some of the dressing and wilt the kale ever so slightly.

Gluten free, healthy, vegan, and Whole30 approved, I could happily eat this by itself, but I paired it with some Tonnino Tuna which I am currently obsessed with.  Here’s to salads, St. Patrick’s Day, and having the lights on.

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed
2 cups kale leaves, roughly torn
½ large white onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together lemon juice, oil, pepper, and salt. Add kale, onion, cucumber, and pear. Stir until well coated.
  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, place the Brussels sprouts. Add about ¼ cup water to the bowl and microwave on high about 3 ½ minutes, until tender.
  3. Half the large Brussels sprouts, leave the small ones whole and add to the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting.

Best Breakfasts

Must Make Main Dishes

Scrumptious Salads

Stunning Sides

Dreamy Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

I have these distinct memories that come to me now and then.  They are nothing remarkable, not life changing events, but there they are like they happened yesterday, my very own movie playing on the screen in my brain.

One of these memories that has been on my mind recently is of Christmas break my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I can’t be sure which.  My dad was working the afternoon shift, so it was just Mom and me at home each evening.

Wild Rice Soup

This particular week, relieved to not have to go to school (I hated school if you don’t know that about me), I remember being happy.  And even happier to be watching the premiere of a new show NBC had probably been promoting forever: Deal or No Deal.

That’s right, the memory that has been on my mind and bringing me an unreasonable amount of joy is primarily about a TV show.

If you’ve never seen Deal or No Deal you are probably even more confused.  Yes, it was a game show, but like most game shows it wasn’t just about the game.  Though it really was fun to play along, choosing one of the briefcases that could contain a million dollars.

Wild Rice Soup

It was about the people playing.  Their stories.  Their friends and families.  Cheering them on.  Wishing the best for them even though we didn’t know them and likely would never hear about them again.

And the memory is about more than wasting my break watching TV and being crazy excited about it.  It’s about spending that time with Mom, relaxing, having fun during a time in which that was incredibly difficult for me.  It was one of those moments it felt like the whole world stopped and we were all watching this new game show.

Sometimes I miss days like that.

Wild Rice Soup

And that’s when I make soup.  I love homemade soup so much, and it’s really not that difficult to make.  I had a bag of wild rice in my pantry just begging to be used and so I turned it into a healthy, gluten free, vegan if you use vegetable stock, vegetable filled soup because that’s what we do with things that need to be used up.

While the vegetables are interchangeable, mushrooms add a great meatiness, carrots a slight sweetness, and fennel and onions provide that flavor base.  Kale is always my go to green for soups since it holds up to cooking, and even freezing and reheating.  Oh, and the addition of fresh dill is such a pop of flavor and a sign that spring is on its way.

Wild Rice Soup

Wild Rice Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 large onion, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced
12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, broken into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup wild rice
32 ounces low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
16 ounces water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
½ bunch fresh dill, stems removed

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil followed by the carrots, onion, fennel, and mushrooms. Add the coriander and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown.
  2. Add the wild rice and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover. Cook according to package instructions on the rice. Mine took about 40 minutes to become tender and plump.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, add salt and kale. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. Serve immediately with dill. Soup may also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.
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Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

The only thing that makes winter bearable are all the award shows that are on.  The Golden Globes, People’s Choice, and Screen Actors Guild shows are all past us, but we still have the Grammys and Oscars to look forward to!

The Grammys are actually this weekend. I never miss the show and have so many fond memories of the great performances.  It’s like watching the best concert of the year right from my home.  And with James Cordon hosting this year, I know it’s going to be better than ever.  I mean have you guys seen Carpool Karaoke?  OMG!  It’s the best.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

I have my favorites – Adele! Mike Posner! Lucas Graham! – that I will be cheering for all night long.  Luckily I have this handy ballot from SkinnyPop so I can keep track of all the awards I get right and many I will no doubt get wrong too.  Save the ballot and print it to play along while you watch the Grammys.

SkinnyPop Grammys Printable

I am not a huge snack person, but when I watch award shows and am in amped up party mode, seriously, award shows do something crazy to me, I enjoy a couple healthy snacks that I can feel good about eating and won’t leave me feeling stuffed and unable to sleep later.  I leave that to the songs stuck in my head.

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Snacks that are easy to prepare are paramount too.  I put together a vibrant spread full of colors and flavors that tons of nutrition.  I always have tons of fruit on hand, so it plays a prime role in my spread along with SkinnyPop Naturally Sweet popcorn which is always in my pantry, some crunchy walnuts and chewy, tart dried cherries.  Dried fruit is so underrated.

Of course you can mix up your snack platter with whatever fruit, nuts, and dried fruit you have on hand.  Whatever you choose, get excited for the Grammys with this fun ballot and your tasty, healthy snacks!

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Healthy Award Show Snacks

Spicy Balsamic Roasted Vegetables #SundaySupper

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables - vegan and gluten free

I cook most nights.  We’re talking like 29 out of 30.  In the summer it’s very slightly less, but still, that is a lot of meals to cook.  Eating out can be fun, but I really like the food I make.  It’s fresher, healthier, and I can control the quality of ingredients and what goes into my food.  That’s a big deal to me.

But I like to keep things fresh, change things up, and sometimes I can’t get to the grocery store to load up on fish or meat, which are super perishable.  While I try to stock up once a week to keep the refrigerator and freezer full, it’s still constantly challenging to not fall into a rut and to plan ahead.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables - vegan and gluten free

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables - vegan and gluten free

While I do try to eat protein most nights of the week because it is obviously super important in our diets and I freely admit I do not eat near enough, meatless meals are great.  They allow me to prepare dinner quickly when I don’t have or want meat of fish or in the rare instance the meat or fish doesn’t turn out.

So this Sunday Supper’s theme might be holiday side dishes, but I often turn side dishes into a meal.  My secret?  Eggs.  Eggs can turn anything into a meal, are sooooo easy to make, and can be made in a variety of different ways for totally different experiences.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables - vegan and gluten free

These Spicy Balsamic Roasted Vegetables are perfect for a side dish for any meal.  They are easy to prepare and super flavorful.  I love to get them super brown for all those complex, caramelized flavors to come out.  Plus, the vegetables you use are totally up to you.  I used onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and fennel, but potatoes, parsnips, beets, mushrooms, and more would be totally great.

The flavoring on the vegetables is simple and classic: olive oil, salt and pepper, red pepper, and balsamic.  You get the sweet, salty, spicy thing going and no one can turn that down.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables with a soft boiled egg

More often than serving these as a strict side dish, I pair them with an egg or two, soft boiled is probably my favorite, and make a simple dinner.  This dish is that versatile and is something I have been making for years.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables with a soft boiled egg

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables #SundaySupper

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

2 large sweet onions, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 bunch carrots, peeled, washed, and cut into matchsticks
1 large bulb fennel, cleaned and cut into large pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed of outer leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place onions, carrots, and fennel on a large nonstick baking sheet. Coat with oil, pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Add the Brussels sprouts and balsamic to the sheet with the other vegetables and roast for about an additional 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until vegetables are tender and caramelized. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave about 1 minute.
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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thank you to Caroline from Caroline’s Cooking for hosting!

Fruity Side Dishes

Other Side Dishes

Potato Side Dishes

Vegetable Side Dishes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Cappuccino Overnight Oats #SundaySupper

Cappuccino Overnight Oats

I’ve been on the overnight oats bandwagon for quite some time now.  Despite all the recipes that I see on blogs, it was actually Mom’s hairdresser that finally got me to make a batch.

And now, they are my favorite quick and easy breakfast.  They are healthy, vegan, gluten free, and ready to go in the morning when I know I’ll busy and don’t want to spend tons of time thinking about what I’m having for breakfast or making it.

I always start with gluten free oats and almond or coconut milk, but from there, the sky is the limit.  Sometimes I add cinnamon or ginger.  Vanilla is a great go-to.  So is carob or cocoa powder.  Oh and dried fruit is fun too because it adds some sweetness and the fruit becomes so plump and juicy.

Cappuccino Overnight Oats

The sky is basically the limit with overnight oats and the different flavor possibilities.  So when this Sunday Supper’s theme was coffee and I didn’t want to bake something, I thought coffee would be a welcome addition to overnight oats.

And it is, but milk and sugar are musts because the bitterness is intensified by soaking overnight with the oats.  So if you love coffee, you will love these, and if not, maybe mix your oats with something different.

I am on a huge coffee kick, so I really enjoyed kick starting my morning with some caffeine and this healthy, hearty dish!

Cappuccino Overnight Oats

Cappuccino Overnight Oats #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

½ cup brewed coffee, cold

½ cup almond or coconut milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

In a medium bowl stir together oats, coffee, milk, syrup, and vanilla until well combined. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, divide into two bowls and add an additional ¼ - ½ cup coconut or almond milk to each bowl. Top with fruit and/or nuts and serve immediately.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/cappuccino-overnight-oats-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Beverages

Breakfast

Dessert

Main

Sides

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars - vegan and gluten free

Have you ever been to the state fair in your state?  I hadn’t until this weekend.  The Michigan State Fair has a long history and was originally in Detroit.  After funding evaporated it disappeared for a bit until it was reinvigorated at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

I’ve been on a kick of doing everything I can this summer and Novi is not terribly far from home, so we headed to the state fair.  We weren’t sure if we would enjoy it, but we didn’t have anything else to do, so we went in with an open mind.

Once we found a parking spot, which was a but challenging and hilariously made Dad super impatient, we headed inside to get our wristbands and explore the indoor portion of the fair.

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars - vegan and gluten free

There were tons of vendor booths with locally made products and local business owners.  While a few of the vendors were a little too pushy in trying to sell their product or service, most of them were very nice and we picked up some local honey and some roasted lentils for snacking.  There was even a mini farmers’ market which was cute.

There was a showcase of things that had won fair prizes from paintings to quilts to floral arrangements to baked goods.  I really enjoyed exploring the wonderful things people had made.  Of course, the animals made up a large portion of the indoor exhibit.  There were giant cows, tons of adorable goats, baaing sheep, and some pigs that we didn’t get a good look at.

We headed outside on what I am fairly certain was the nicest Labor Day weekend ever weather wise.  It was seriously perfect out – 80s, sunny, a gentle breeze.  We explored the numerous food stands with all the classic fair foods: hot dogs, fries, ice cream, cotton candy, funnel cake, roasted corn, before walking around the rides, games, and more animal exhibits with adorable bunnies and beautiful birds.

It was a lovely day and I really hope if you have the chance to explore a state fair near you, I really hope you go.  It’s such a fun, relaxing summer experience that really is quintessential.

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars - vegan and gluten free

You know what else is quintessentially summer?  These Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars.  I made a purely peach version last summer, and I only improved them by adding blueberries.

These are vegan and gluten free and kind of healthy, loaded with oats and fruit and nuts.  And they are crazy delicious.  I want to sit down and eat the whole pan.  They have this almost fritter thing going for them with the glaze and gooey interior, but they are much, much healthier than fritters.

I’m not letting summer go and you shouldn’t either.  We have Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars and fairs to keep things sunny!

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars - vegan and gluten free

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Bars

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

1 ½ cups gluten free flour or all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Scant 1 cup olive oil

1 cup walnuts

3 cups chopped peaches

1 ½ heaping cups blueberries, picked over

Glaze

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. oil a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the vanilla and oil and stir to combine. Add the walnuts, peaches with their juices, and blueberries and stir until the mixture is combined and no dry spots remain.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown and mostly set on top.

Make the glaze. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice, adding more sugar or lemon juice as necessary until a drizzleable glaze is formed. Drizzle glaze evenly over hot bars.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Bars may also be individually frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Nutmeg Nanny and How Sweet It Is

http://piesandplots.net/peach-blueberry-breakfast-bars/

Summer Fruit Crisp #SundaySupper

Summer Fruit Crisp - a vegan and gluten free dessert the whole family will love!

A couple weeks ago, we were having a normal summer day.  Mom and I spent some of the day chilling and watching a movie (A Hologram for the King with Tom Hanks if you are wondering, and it was rather good), then we made dinner and ate and as we were cleaning up the house seemed suddenly rather hot.

The air was running but upon further investigation, it was only the fan and not the actual unit that was running.  I’m not certain about this sequence of activities since I am unfamiliar with how an air conditioning unit works, but that’s what I’ve been told.

Summer Fruit Crisp - vegan and gluten free

It was around 8 o’clock at night and with temperatures in the 90s still, we weren’t really keen on spending the night without ac.  #firstworldproblems, I know.

So we got to Googling and phone booking.  Yes, we still have phone books in the house.  Mom called around five places and only one could come out.  You would think there would be more 24/7 service out there, although since this incident I’ve seen numerous commercials for such heating and cooling places.

Summer Fruit Crisp - vegan and gluten free

So, the technician, who had finally been relaxing at home after a long day at work, got the call and arrived at our house around 10.  Within an hour, he had mercifully fixed the seventeen-year-old machine.  In fact, he seemed like a pretty smart guy.  He didn’t have the necessary part but managed to use other parts to make it work.  We ae very thankful to him.

Within a few hours, the house had cooled back down and life easily returned to normal.  What is so interesting to me, is that I love summer.  Love it!  If you know anything about me, you know this, but if you know me personally, you also know that I love air conditioning.  In fact, if you ever come over to my house, bring a jacket, you’ll probably need it.

Summer Fruit Crisp - vegan and gluten free

Of course, if you come over to my house, you’ll also be given dessert of some kind.  Like this Summer Fruit Crisp.  It’s every summer fruit I love packed into one gluten free, vegan dessert.  We’re talking peaches, nectarines, plums, blackberries, cherries, and blueberries.

Because I don’t want to say goodbye to summer desserts just like I don’t want to say goodbye to summer, I freeze desserts like this crisp regularly.  In fact, I freeze almost all of the desserts I make.  Most of the time they come out as good, if not better, than when they were fresh.  Only very, very rarely do I find one that just doesn’t make the trip to the deep freeze and back well.

Crisp is something you might not think to freeze, but you totally should.  I freeze it in plastic Glad containers.  It keeps for up to three or even four months.  When I am ready to eat it, I definitely enjoy sampling it cold, but I also really love placing it on a plate and warming it in the microwave.  A little ice cream on top doesn’t hurt either.

Summer Fruit Crisp - vegan and gluten free

A tip about freezers and why I think the things I freeze survive so well is that I keep my freezers (yes I have two), super-duper cold.  My upstairs freezer is set at -6 and the one downstairs is set on the coldest setting, which I think is even colder than -6.  This allows foods to freeze quickly and stay very frozen and therefore super tasty.

Don’t let summer go.  We can still eat Summer Fruit Crisp when it is snowing out!

Summer Fruit Crisp #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Topping

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)

¾ cup oat flour (gluten free if necessary)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup pecans

5-7 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Filling

6 cups mixed summer fruit (peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, blueberries, and blackberries in any combination)

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, salt, sugars, cinnamon, and pecans until mixed. Add 5 tablespoons of coconut oil and stir. Add additional oil 2 tablespoons at a time until all ingredients are coated and clumps form. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a large bowl, stir together fruit, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar.

Pour the fruit filling into an 8-inch square pan. Top evenly with the topping. Place on a lined baking sheet in case it bubbles over and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown on top and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The crisp may also be frozen in plastic containers. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

http://piesandplots.net/summer-fruit-crisp-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Condiments

Main dishes

Sides

Snacks

Dessert

Beverage

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