TWO MORE DAYS. I’ve been counting down the days until our little gang makes our way to New York and reunites with Hailey. And now, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Hailey planned our NYC eating itinerary over a month before she officially became a resident. That means she planned our restaurant list TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond excited; I’ve already perused each restaurant’s menu countless times and know exactly what I’ll be ordering.
As a way to hopefully prevent some of the damage I’m sure to do against my waistline, I’m doing a make-shift “master cleanse” this week. (I have a protein smoothie for breakfast, master cleanse for lunch, and a salad topped with lean protein for dinner). I’m currently on day two of this “cleanse,” and honestly, the only thing that keeps me from raiding the candy dispensers at work is thoughts of the lobster egg benedict at Jane Restaurant brunch.
I made these carrot cake bars over the weekend as a healthy alternative for my ever-present sweet tooth. Since I’m not a fan of carrots and dislike dates, you would think that I would hate these bars; but, I actually really enjoyed them. The best part? They are vegan! Just remember to pit your dates before you blend the ingredients, or you might end up with a “pit”iful toothache. 😉
1 Cup of Almonds
1/2 Cup of Shredded Carrot
1/3 Cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup of Raisins
10 Pitted Dates
3 Tbsp. of Honey
Place almonds into a high-powered blender and blend until it reaches a crumbly consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until mixed. Press mixture into the bottom of a lined, 9-inch pan and chill for at least an hour. Cut, and wrap bars.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Over the weekend, I finally made the “big move” into the new apartment. (There was nothing big about this move as I only moved down the hall and in with my friend Marta). It was quite the ordeal though, and three days later I’m left with large piles of stuff (a mixture of clothes I forgot I owned and miscellaneous niknaks that didn’t fit in my chaotic version of organized packing), two freaked out cats that haven’t left the bathroom cupboard since the “big move,” and the realization that I’m not as good as I originally thought at putting together Ikea furniture.
This move brought on a lot of realizations… mostly that I really need to hold an intervention … for myself. You see, while moving over the contents of my pantry, I realized I’m a dried goods hoarder. Not only do I have five bags of sugar (in all its forms), but two bags of flour, three different types of salt, two boxes of assorted teas, instant and regular coffee, three jars of rice, two containers of pasta, a dozen or so cans of soup and much, much more. It gets worse when you get to the fridge, where I realized I have FIVE boxes of organic butter. Who needs that much butter?!? Unless I plan on opening a pastry shop or go on a week-long baking spree, I think Marta and I have a pretty stocked emergency kit in case of any future earthquakes.
With the move taking up my whole weekend, I didn’t have time to prepare anything. I made this dessert a few weeks ago for a coworker who wanted his birthday dessert to reflect his Canadian heritage. He actually asked me to make him a cake with a Maple leaf on top, but as my artistic skills are not up to par, I decided that Nanaimo bars would be a good compromise. According to the city of Nanaimo’s website, the origin of this sweet treat is disputed, some saying that the first recipe appeared in a cookbook in the 1950s. The one thing that is not disputed is that this dessert is distinctly Canadian.
I hope you enjoy this no-bake, three-layer dessert!
Nanaimo Bars (Recipe Courtesy of The City of Nanaimo)
½ Cup of Butter
¼ Cup of Sugar
5 Tbsp. of Cocoa
1 Egg, beaten
1 ¼ Cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs (see here for our recipe)
½ Cups of Almond Slivers
1 Cup of Shredded Coconut
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, sugar and cocoa together. Remove from heat and stir the egg until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir in the graham crumbs, almonds and coconut until fully mixed. Compact completely into the bottom of a 8” x 8” ungreased pan and set aside.
½ Cup of Butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. of Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. of Organic Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture looks like a light, fluffy frosting. Spread the frosting over the bottom layer and set aside.
4 Oz. of Chocolate
2 Tbsp. of Butter
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.* I found that due to the added fats in the butter, you don’t need to use a double boiler, but feel free to use one to be on the safe side. Let the mixture cool slightly, but while the mixture is still a liquid, pour over the middle layer. Chill the dessert. For best results, allow it to sit overnight before cutting into bars.
*Note: I had to add extra butter and sugar to fully cover the middle layer.
**I do not try to claim that these are in any way healthy.