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No-Bake No-Problem

So, we’re about to open another post talking about the weather.  We hate to be repetitive or predictable, but really, the weather has so much of an effect on what we eat that it really must be mentioned!  At least in this post, anyways.

Because today we’re talking about these:

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No-bake peanut butter banana granola bars!

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You see, we try to always have quick snacks in the house that we can toss into our lunch bags when we go to work.  Lately, though, we’ve been on a huge muffin-kick.  Remember these?  So what do muffins have to do with the weather?  Nothing.  Except that they require an oven…

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And you might recall us mentioning a couple times the heat-wave we experienced a few weeks ago.  Definitely not muffin-baking weather.  Which is where these granola bars come in.

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Our first attempt at these granola bars was made during said heat-wave.  Unfortunately, while they tasted really good, they fell apart very easily and so we knew we needed to give them another try before we gave the recipe to you guys.

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But then the heat wave came to a very abrupt end (as in the temperature literally dropped by about 20 degrees Celsius overnight), and suddenly not using the oven wasn’t such a priority.  But we had already made one attempt, and we knew we couldn’t back down from the challenge!

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On the second attempt, the stars aligned and they turned out just the way we wanted!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

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Confession:  The first time we made these they had chocolate chips in them.  The second time around we went to put chocolate in them again and realized we were all out- yes, it was a shock to us too- so these ones are chocolate-free.  But adding chocolate chips is highly recommended.

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So we’ve put muffin-mania on hold for a few days, because right now we’re all about the no-bake granola bars!  Our oven could use a little vacation, anyways 😉

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1.2 c. peanut butter (we used all-natural)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Grind one cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until it is a fine flour.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oats with the remaining 2 cups of whole oats, chia seeds, salt and chopped peanuts.

In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and stir until it is smooth and fully mixed.  Pour the peanut butter banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain.  You may add the chocolate chips at this point if you are using them.

Line a 9×9 inch square glass dish with wax paper.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to firm up.  When they are ready, use the edge of the wax paper to gently lift the un-cut bars out of the dish.  Cut into 12 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*You can use ground flax seed in place of chia seeds, however we have not personally tried this and cannot guarantee the bars will stay together as well.  If you decide to give this a try, please let us know how they turn out!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite no-bake treats?  Have you ever tried making no-bake granola bars?

Pesto to the Rescue

Every summer, we grow our own vegetable garden, and along side the garden we grow herbs in pots.  And every year we have grand ideas of how we are going to use these herbs in all of the dishes that we make.

And every year we end up with several pots of herbs that we barely touch.

This summer we are on a mission to change that!

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What requires a whole bunch of herbs, but is still easy to make and doesn’t require cooking (It’s hot. Who wants to turn on an oven, or even a stove-top!)?

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Pesto, that’s what!

And since we’re really indecisive and couldn’t decide which herb we wanted to include, we threw a few different ones in and hoped for the best.

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Lemon Basil, African Blue Basil, Sage and Arugula.  You want flavour?  You got it!  Paired with some toasted walnuts, garlic and a little lemon juice to finish it off- you will want to spread this stuff on everything.  But be sure to make a double-batch, because we’ve got a delicious summer meal coming your way that features this magnificent spread, and you’re going to want to use every last drop! 😉

Don’t have lemon basil or African Blue basil?  No problem!  Regular basil works just fine.  Don’t have an herb garden?  We’re betting you have a neighbour or two who would be happy to share their bounty with you 🙂

So go ahead and use 10 minutes to make this- then go and enjoy that summer sun!

Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Time: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1/2 c.

Ingredients:

1/2 c walnuts, toasted
1/3 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. sage leaves
1/3 c. arugula
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Directions:

Put the walnuts, basil, sage, arugula, salt, garlic and lemon juice into a blender or food processor.  Blend on high until the mixture becomes mealy and starts to form a paste.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil.  If your pesto is still too thick after adding all of the olive oil, add the tablespoon of water.  Blend until the mixture is somewhat smooth. (it will still have some texture).  Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have an herb garden?  How do you use up all of your herbs?

Summer Prep

Summer has arrived and while there have been a lot of days so far that hasn’t exactly felt like it, we have finally had a few hot ones over this past week.

And you know what that means?

Healthy no-bake treats, of course!

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Because who really wants to turn on an oven when its 30 degrees outside?  No one, that’s who.

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And like we said, when we had those few hot days last week, we were ready for them!  Because our freezers were full of chewy chocolate-peanut butter Rice Krispie treats.

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These bars are not crispy-crunchy like a traditional Rice Krispie square.  They are dense, they are chewy, and they are full of chocolate-peanut butter amazingness.

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You can keep your fluffy marshmallows- we’ll take our chocolate and peanut butter, thank you very much!

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We have also finally opened our pool, so between that and these freezer treats, we are set for summer to begin!  Now if only it would stop raining…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Freezer Bars

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Makes: 16 bars

Ingredients:

1/2 c. all natural peanut butter (you can use regular if that’s what you have)
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
5 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Topping:

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

Add the banana, peanut butter and yogurt to a blender and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.  (If you prefer, you can skip the blender and simply mix it all by hand, just be sure to thoroughly mash the banana before mixing in the other ingredients!)

Transfer the peanut butter, banana and yogurt mixture to a bowl and add the honey and cocoa powder.  Stir until the mixture is smooth and all the cocoa powder has been absorbed.  Add the Rice Krispies 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition to ensure you get an even coating.

Line a 9×9 inch square pan with wax paper.  Press the mixture into the pan and smooth out the top. (Don’t press too hard, there’s no need to pack it in too much).

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about 40 seconds-1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds or so.  Add the coconut oil and stir until the coconut oil melts into the chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over top of the Rice Krispie mixture and place in the freezer for 2 hours before cutting into bars.  Store in the freezer in an air-tight container.

~twosaucysisters

Has summer weather arrived where you live?  How do you like to beat the heat?

Chocolate Lavender

Last Monday was the 3rd installment of Heather’s Meatless Monday round-up.  It was for the letter D and in this case, D stood for dark chocolate.

And we missed it.

How could we miss the week that was using chocolate as the main ingredient?!?

We knew we had to make up for it this week, so we called out to our facebook friends to give us a little inspiration as to what we should make.  After all, we knew we had to do something pretty spectacular to make up for missing dark chocolate week!

One very devoted follower found a recipe for a dark chocolate tart that looked incredible, and so we set to work make our own Saucy Sister (aka-healthy) version.  We decided while we were at it, we might as well make it with gluten-free and vegan options because nobody is going to want to be left out of this one!

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On top of that, the weather is warming up quickly over here (woohoo!) so we decided in the spirit of summer, we would make this a no-bake creation, becuase who really wants to turn on their oven when it’s hot outside?

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You also might notice the sprigs of lavender on the top- that is no accident!  You see, we are in the midst of preparing our vegetable garden for another season, and we have purchased a number of herbs to plant in pots on the back porch.  One that we are particularly excited about is our lavender plant, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fresh summer herbs into our dishes!

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So we give you a No-Bake Chocolate Lavender tart.  The perfect way to start off a summer of baking dessert-making.  And yes, we realize that we failed to follow the rules and make something from one of the participants last week.  Heather, we are very sorry, but we just had to share this recipe!  And I guess we sort of used Laura’s chocolate-avocado idea, didn’t we?  That must count for something, right?

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If you don’t have lavender, you can leave it out and just add a little more water or sweetener, but it really makes this unique, so we highly recommend trying to get your hands on some!

And of course, head over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies to see what everyone else made this week!

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

2 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1 large avocado
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. hot water + 2 sprigs of lavender
dash of salt

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the oats and nuts and cocoa powder.  Blend for a couple of minutes until the oats and nuts are finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of dates left.  Add the water and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together and sticks together when punched between the fingers.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with wax paper.  Dump the crust mixture into the plate and press firmly, making sure to press some of the mixture up the sides as well.  Set aside.

Place the lavender in the 1/4 c. of hot water and allow to steep for several minutes.

In your food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and 2 tbsp of the lavender water.  The rest can either be discarded or kept used in something else.  Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Allow to set in the fridge for at least a couple hours before cutting.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of lavender if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had chocolate and lavender together?  What are some of your favourite chocolate desserts?  Are you planting a vegetable garden this year?

The Last of the Carton

We have finally made it to the end of our eggnog carton.  So you know what that means?  This will be our last eggnog post.

For now… [insert evil laughter here]

But we think this third eggnog-inspired breakfast is a great way to round out our breakfast trilogy.  So far we’ve made pancakes, and pancake-in-a-jar, so this time we decided to branch out a little and go in a slightly different direction.

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Now we know what some of you might be thinking. What!?! This one looks exactly the same as the last one!  Another jar? What gives?

To the untrained eye this may look like another jarred pancake concoction, but we assure you it is not.

So what is it, then?  Overnight oats, of course! 🙂

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Eggnog overnight oats layered with cranberry-banana soft serve and topped with warm cranberry jam.

This parfait has so much Christmas flavour it will have you dancing around the kitchen to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in red and green fuzzy slippers with your jar in one hand and a spoon in the other!

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And yes, for those of you who picked up on it, Christmas is no longer just a holiday- it’s a flavour, too 🙂

Eggnog Cranberry Overnight Oats Parfait

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Prep time: 10 min + overnight
Serves: 1

Ingredients:

For the Oats

1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tbsp chia seeds (or 1.5 tbsp ground flax)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c liquid (1/2 eggnog / 1/2 water)

For the Soft Serve:

1 frozen banana
1/4 c. frozen cranberries

For the Jam:

1/2 c. cranberries
3 tbsp pomegranate juice (or orange juice)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

The night before, mix oats, chia, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a container.  Add Eggnog-water mixture and stir until everything is moistened.  Cover and place in the fridge to sit overnight.  When you wake up in the morning, the oats and chia will have soaked up all the liquid and you will have and oatmeal-like texture.

In the morning, place the frozen banana and cranberries in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

For the Jam: place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, crushing the cranberries as they heat up.  Allow to cook until thickened slightly.

For the parfait: starting with the oats, put a couple spoonfuls into the bottom of a jar or large glass.  Then place a few spoonfuls of the soft serve on top.  Continue layering like this until you run out of oats and soft serve.  Top with warm cranberry jam and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

Green with Spinach

This past Wednesday  we taunted you with three different kinds of hummus, and today, we bring you the first of those 3:

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Spinach Hummus.

We got the idea when we were at Nates while cat-sitting (yes, you read that right!) for our coach a couple of weekends ago. This place is seriously amazing! For less than $10, you get a giant shishkabab of choice (we both chose chicken- oh.my.word. was it ever good!), a pile of rice, and your choice of salad (there were so many delicious options!). And just when you think that’s everything, they bring you over to the other side of the bar where they have 5 different hummus! Regular, roasted red pepper, spicy, dill and spinach. As soon as we ate the spinach hummus, we knew we had to re-make it at home!

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This hummus is smooth, creamy and packed with flavour, not to mention spinach! Just another way to sneak some greens into your day without really noticing them. 🙂

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Please don’t be afraid of the green colour! We promise that (other than the colour) you won’t even notice the spinach there! It does not taste spinach-y in the slightest. 🙂

It just tastes delicious.

Spinach Hummus

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Total time: 10min
Makes: ~2c.

Ingredients:

2 c. chickpeas
1c. spinach, packed
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. + 1tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. tahini
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

optional: water, up to a 1/4 c.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high-power blender and blend until smooth and creamy. The water is optional b/c sometimes adding water will keep the hummus creamier even after a day or two in the fridge.

-twosaucysisters

What’s the most interesting hummus you’ve ever tried? 

A Protein-Filled Mess

Before we get on with today’s recipe, we’d like to draw your attention to a little addition that we have made to our blog, that we are pretty excited about!  If you look on the right-hand side of your screen, somewhat near the bottom underneath the foodie blog-roll you might notice a new logo that looks like this:

We are now a part of the Petit Chef community, which is basically a website for bloggers to share their recipes and posts with one another, ask each other questions and share ideas.  It’s a pretty cool site, and anyone can go on and look at the thousands of recipes and forums, so if you’ve never been, you should click on the link and check it out!

And now on to today’s recipe!

We are pretty excited to share this recipe with you, as it’s one of our favourite snacks of all-time, and why we’ve waited this long to post about it is beyond us!

That being said, we believe this recipe should come with the following warning:

“This snack should not, under any circumstances be eaten in a public setting.  It should not be consumed in front of anyone you are trying to impress, and most certainly not on a first date”

Yes, people, this snack can get messy.  But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So without further ado, we give you the Protein Peppermint Patty!

This snack accomplishes three things at once: It provides a nice big dose of protein to fuel your hard-working muscles, satisfies any chocolate craving that you may be experiencing, and gets your face and fingers covered in chocolate in mere seconds!

The other great thing about these delicious treats (other than the fact that they require only a few ingredients and minimal prep) is that since your fingers (and face) are so covered in chocolate, it is impossible to multi-task while eating them, which means all you can do is sit there and enjoy the luxurious, chocolate-y treat that tastes so indulgent, but is actually so healthy. 🙂

Read that textbook? Not if you’re planning on trying to sell it next year!
Send that email? Only if you don’t mind chocolate smeared all over the keyboard.
Help fold that laundry?  “Sorry, can’t.  My fingers are covered in chocolate”. 🙂

They’re the perfect high-protein snack.  But don’t try to eat these in public.  You’ve been warned.

Protein Peppermint Patties

Total Time ~1-1.5 hours

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 scoops (about 1/2 c.) of chocolate protein powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4-6 tbsp milk
1 scoop (about 1/4c.) vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp plain yogurt (optional, can be replaced with more milk)
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Directions:

Mix together the protein powder and the cocoa powder.  Gradually add milk until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency. Divide half the mixture evenly into the bottom of two ramekins that are lined with wax paper. Reserve the other half.  Freeze for 20-30 minutes, or until the mixture is mostly firm.

Mix together the vanilla protein powder, yogurt, milk, and peppermint extract.  Once the chocolate layer is firm, divide the peppermint layer in half and spread over the frozen chocolate layer. P;ace in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes, or until firm.

Once both layers are firm, add the final layer of chocolate on top (the leftover mixture from the base), and freeze for another 20-30 minutes, or until firm.

When ready to eat, allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften slightly.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a favourite messy snack?  What is your favourite high-protein treat?