Banana Chocolate Dream Bars

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I decided to invent these bad boys today. Yes, invent. I am ALWAYS looking for a way to eat healthy, delicious treats. Why? So I can eat double the amount that I would normally eat. Hopefully I’m not the only person who will “accidentally” eat dessert items for breakfast. I know myself, and I know that pre-damage control is always the best plan. You could totally eat one of these for breakfast ON PURPOSE and it would be fine. Seriously. You’re welcome.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Redmill)
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 cup dates
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup pure unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup almond milk
3 large, ripe bananas
2/3 cup raw cacao
1 tspn. Vanilla
Pinch of salt

TOPPING:
Shredded, unsweetened coconut for garnish
Chocolate Chips for garnish (approx. 1/3 cup)

STEP 1:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Blend all ingredients, except for toppings. Grease a large baking dish with coconut or olive oil and pour mixture in.

STEP 2:
Top with shredded coconut and then chocolate chips and bake for about 15 minutes or until coconut becomes a bit toasted.

Cooking is easier when you have thyme!

Yes, cooking is definitely better when you have that thyme. You like that, huh? It’s true though! All you have to do is buy some organic, fresh thyme, wash it, separate it a bit and let it dry on a piece of paper towel. Done and done! Let it sit there forever (although it won’t last long) and add it to savoury meals to add that extra OOMPH! Not only that but thyme has many well-known health benefits and contains some of those awesome anti-oxidants that we all crave. Don’t believe me? Google it!

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Anyways, I love this stuff! I add it to almost everything; mainly soups, stews, quinoa and rice dishes. It really adds something amazing!

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Delicious, vegan, gluten free, “Cream” of Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup! YUMMY!

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So, apparently fall is approaching… However, I wouldn’t know because I have been in California since August! As much as I love the beautiful weather, I miss the smell of autumn and watching the leaves turn from green to yellow to orange to red. At home, my dad would always make soup on the weekends. I would come home from the chilly outdoors and mmmmmmm! The smell of the soup would welcome me right into the house. He would generally make meat-based soups containing whatever random vegetables we had in the fridge at the time. There is something about the smell of his soup that makes me understand the beauty of simple vegetables and ingredients. If someone has caught a chill or needs a pick me up, this soup will make them feel the love, I promise. Right now, I miss home just a tad, so I decided to bring a taste of home into my kitchen in California. (Plus, it’s super healthy and a great way to pack in a ton of vegetables.) Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:
1 Cauliflower
2 Celery Stalks
1 Carrot
1 Large Onion chopped (I used a red onion, however you can use a yellow onion.)
1 Large Potato
1 Sweet Potato/Yam
4 Garlic Cloves
4 cups of Vegetable Broth
1 cup Almond or Plant-Based Milk (If you aren’t vegan, feel free to use skim milk.)
Some dried herbs of your choice. (I used three sprigs of thyme [stems removed], and a couple of dashes of oregano and basil.)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 1:
Cook onions and garlic on low heat until slightly browned. Then add potatoes, celery and chopped carrot. Cook, while stirring, for about five more minutes.

Step 2:
Add the vegetable broth and herbs and bring to a boil. Now add the chopped cauliflower and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender. (This will take about 10-20 minutes.)

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Step 3:
Either use a hand blender, or transfer into a blender and purée. (If you are like me and have had bad experiences with this; do it the safe way… Transfer the vegetables into a blender using a slotted spoon, purée and then give it a bit of an extra stir once you put it back into the pot with the broth.)
***Note: at this point, depending on the size of potatoes, etc. that you used, you may need to add some water to thin the soup out if it is too thick. Add a bit of water to do this, and a pinch of salt if necessary.

Step 4:
Stir in almond or plant based milk, add some freshly cracked pepper, serve and enjoy!

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*Original Recipe credit to this amazing girl: http://www.gluten-free-vegan-girl.com/2013/01/vegan-cream-of-cauliflower-soup.html Please check her out, she has some truly awesome recipes!