Energy Balls

Matcha and coconut and cocoa, Oh My!

If you are low on time, these energy balls are great to have on hand as a snack or healthy dessert. They are kid-approved and last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. So this year, fill your Halloween bag with energy balls coated with your favorite toppings.

S/o to my little brother for being my hand model! 6180853072_img_0040

1 c old fashioned oats

1/2 c cashews

3/4 c dates (chopped)

1/3 c flaxseed

2/3 c shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c agave or honey

1/4 c coconut oil

Preferred Toppings (Pictured: matcha, black sesame seeds, cocoa powder, coconut shreds, flaxseed)

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (oats, cashews, flaxseed, coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg) together in a food processor or Vitamix.
  2. Once the dry ingredients have reached a flour consistency, add the wet ingredients (chopped dates, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil). Blend together. The mixture should resemble cookie dough. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of soy or almond milk.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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Stone Fruit Galette with Banana Ice Cream (DF)

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6241761280_img_0186Crust

I followed Food52’s 7 step recipe.

Filling

3 cups peaches and plums (berries or apples also work well)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut the peaches into roughly 8 pieces. Mix the fruit, lemon juice, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pour the fruit into the center of the dough, leaving 1 1/2 inch border. Fold the corners over the filling. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Sorbet

See my recipe here.

Some more cookies for ya!

Oatmeal Cookies with either raisins or blueberries 

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These are my favorite (relatively) healthy cookies. They are a great snack, dessert, or complement to your afternoon tea. Add pecans or walnuts to make them more filling.

Ingredients:

¼ c earth balance

¼ c peanut butter

1/2 c maple syrup

½ c brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 ¼ c whole wheat flour

1 c oats

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ c flaxseed

½ c raisins or blueberries (fresh is best but frozen also works)

pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat the earth balance and peanut butter together on the stove top or in the microwave.  Transfer to a bowl and combine with the maple syrup, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and flaxseed. Combine the flour mixture with the wet ingredients. Then fold in the raisins or blueberries.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop the cookies into ~15 cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve always loved Matcha Green Tea but it intimated me to bake with it. I finally decided to take a chance and it paid off. These cookies hit my matcha craving. I purposely made them not too sweet, although the chocolate chips make the cookies sweeter than you would expect. If you’re a matcha lover, these cookies are for you! Plus, matcha is rich in antioxidants and boosts memory.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar (add another 1/4th cup if you prefer sweeter cookies)

1/2 cup earth balance (or preferred butter, melted)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 cup chocolate chips

pinch of salt

Directions:

Mix flour, matcha, salt, and baking soda together. In a separate bowl, beat (with an electronic mixer or blender) the maple syrup, sugar, melted earth balance or butter, vanilla, and eggs. Once the batter is light and fluffy, mix with the dry ingredients. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Roll into 1 inch balls. This recipe makes roughly 18 cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Take out and place on wire rack until cool. Enjoy!

Eating my way through Rue Montorgueil

Discover Walks  invited me and a few other bloggers on a food tour along rue Montorgueil. Our lovely guide, Marie, gave us an authentic tour of this iconic Parisian street that is home to numerous cafes, boulangeries, patisseries, and butcheries. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and all the shops were just beginning to open. Our tour concluded in a picnic with all the French staples: bread, cheese, charcuterie, and pastries…

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Marie posing with our baguette 

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Our first stop was a fromagerie called La Fermette. Marie told us that France has 370 types of cheeses so if you’re up for the challenge you can eat a different kind of cheese each day of the year. Roquefort is the oldest (and smelliest). The origin of the blue color is from the limestone in the Roquefort region. We settled with a less pungent Roquefort and a few goat cheeses.

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Next, we headed to a boulangerie Blouet to buy our baguette. Bread is sacred to the French. The French are so reliant on their baguette that there is a French law forbidding boulangeries in the same area from going on vacation at the same time. Nevertheless, I know French families who keep a frozen baguette in their freezer, just in case. There is a competition each year called the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française for the coveted prize of best baguette of the year. In 2015, the winner was Le Grenier a Pain. Originally the baguette was bread for working men who would get into fights with their bread knives. To discourage the use of knives, the longer traditional baguette was created so it could be broken, not cut. This is why now you break your baguette. Do not make the faux pas of cutting a baguette! Fun fact: the croûton or end of the baguette is supposedly the best part. It is always a fight to get it!

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We then stopped at a butcherie to complete our charcuterie board with pâté, garlic sausage, goose rillettes, and saucisson. We went to a park by Les Halles where we enjoyed all the delicacies we bought from the day.

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#bloggers

Let’s not forget dessert. Next we strolled to Sohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris, where the Queen of England visited. They pride themselves on having the best chocolate éclair in Paris. We ended our tour at Fou de Patisserie, which sells all the best pastries of Paris from the most renowned chefs and shops. We sampled lemon Financiers and the Mille-Feuille, consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream. A perfect ending to the tour!

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If you would like to take part in this awesome tour, use my code BLOGLOVE10 to receive 10% off.

Guilt-Free Banana Bread (v +gf)

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons stevia (alternatively use 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave)

2 ½ cups gluten-free flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 ripe medium bananas

1 egg

1/3 cup almond milk

½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

optional

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* To make this recipe vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon flaxseed for the egg.

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the egg, almond milk, and OJ. Mix well.

Combine the two mixtures together then fold in walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take out and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.

Chefchaouen- The Blue Pearl of Morocco

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Chefchaouen 

 

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Chefchaouen, Medina 

 

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View from Salon Bleu in Tanger

We flew into Tangier, a port city on the Straight of Gibraltar. You only need an afternoon here to walk through the Medina (old city) and petit/grand Socca. Do not fall prey to the men who will offer to lead you to your hostel or hotel, as they expect payment. The next day we took a 3 hour shuttle to Chefchaouen or Chaouen, known for it’s blue-washed buildings situated in the Rif Mountains. It is one of most unique and stunning places I have ever visited. It is rumored that Jewish refugees introduced the blue walls to symbolize the sky and the heavens. Now, people also believe that the walls are painted blue to repel mosquitos. Regardless of the reason, this blue city is not to be missed!

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Local paint in Chefchaouen

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On the outer edge of the Medina in Chefchaouen

Now, on to the food! Moroccan cuisine is characterized by ras-el-hanout, a typical North African spice, which is a blend of around 30 spices including cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and cardamom. You must try tagine, a signature Moroccan dish consisting of meat and vegetables cooked in Moroccan spices and served over couscous. Afterwards, enjoy the traditional Moroccan mint tea, made by boiling water with mint leaves and adding a generous amount of sugar. Tip: ask for the sugar on the side. The dishes are also served with bread and olives. The bread is cooked in a wood-fired oven giving it a crunchy outer layer and doughy inside.

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Snack Assada

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Beldi Bab Ssour

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Fresh Moroccan Bread!

Highlights:

Medina (old town): You can spend a whole day getting lost in the maze-like medina, where we stayed. The dazzling blue walls are lined with vendors selling patterned blankets, jewelry, and pastries.

Outa el Hamma Square: Main square where most restaurants and hotels are located. There is always something going on from religious processions to people dancing on the street.

Spanish Mosque: The Spanish Mosque is located about 20 minutes (by foot) outside of the medina and offers beautiful views of the city.

Cascades d’Akchour: A beautiful waterfall hike about 45 minutes from Chefchaouen.

Where to eat:

All the restaurants have a similar menu, but here are the ones I recommend:

Beldi Bab Ssour (Chefchaouen, Medina): A local spot that gets very crowded. It is around 3-4 euros for a main dish. We sat a communal table and met a local artist who gave us recommendations on what to order. The tagine is excellent.

Restaurant Aladdin (Chefchaouen, Medina): Located in the main square and a bit more expensive. The atmosphere and décor alone are enough to eat here. The rooms are lined with with colorful tapestries and patterned cushions. You feel like you walked into another world. Plus they have two outdoor terraces with panoramic views of Chefchaouen. However, the food was mediocre. I recommend going for mint tea or appetizers to enjoy the ambiance.

Snack Assada (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another cheap local spot that offers outdoor rooftop seating.

Restaurant Al Kasbah (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another delicious restaurant off of the main square. They have colorful tables and chairs on the street that are surrounded by plants. You feel like you are eating in the jungle.

Salon Bleu (Tanger, Medina): A beautiful restaurant that has a rooftop terrace with unbeatable views of the city. I recommend going at dusk and watching the sunset. It was our most expensive meal of the weekend, although still affordable—we paid 15 euros for an appetizer, main course, dessert, and mint tea.

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Homemade local pastries in Chefchaouen

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Al Kasbah

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Salon Bleu

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Drinking fresh juice in Chefchaouen!