Summer

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

I didn’t plan on posting today, or even posting this recipe at all. I had a couple people ask for it though, and I decided that I wanted to link up with the Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck, the only link up I ever participate in! Any excuse for baked goods is a good excuse!

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With an abundance of raspberries in my house these days, it’s no surprise we’ve been creating all kinds of raspberry based recipes.

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This recipe cred actually goes to my mom, the angel that had these delicious bars baked and ready for consumption the moment I arrived home after a morning run in the hot hot sun.

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We made these gluten free, but you can easily sub whole wheat flour if you prefer. Either way, prepare for a raspberry flavor bomb.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars (V/GF)

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Ingredients

For the cake: 

  • 1 1/2 cups GF flour (I suggest Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil cut in pieces
  • 1  chia egg  (1 tbsp ground chia and 3 tblsp of water)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

For the crumble topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp of gluten free flour
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and oil an 8in square baking pan.
  2. For the crumble topping stir together the brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cut in your coconut oil* with a knife and mix-stir until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and oats.  Set aside.
  3. For the cake stir together the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in your coconut oil* until mixture is crumbled. Add chia egg, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into your pan and scatter your raspberries evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the set aside crumble topping evenly over  the berries. Bake until cake is well risen and golden- about 50 minutes.
  5. Remove, let cool, serve, and ENJOY!

Notes: *You don’t want to use melted coconut oil for this recipe, but solid oil can be difficult to cut. Allow your oil to be somewhat softened as if you were using room temperature butter.

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I suggest serving these with a side of more berries, some banana, alongside your morning coffee, or underneath a blob of vanilla coconut ice cream. These were gone in a couple days, and now I need to decide what to make next! Suggestions welcomed! :)

Q: How are you taking advantage of summer berries? We’re on our second batch of fresh picked, local raspberries. We’ve gone through almost fifteen containers.

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Does It Make Me…

Does it make me un-American if I say I didn’t watch fireworks on the fourth of July? I did eat some Mac and Cheese though, which I think balances out the former sentence. Vegan of course, and Brittany-fied.

Tomatoes, jalapenos, broccoli, and avocado added to the mix.

Tomatoes, jalapenos, broccoli, and avocado added to the mix.

Does it make me innovative for chopping up some chocolate salted almonds for my banana/oat cookies because they’re all I had? I totally turned on the oven despite the 80 degree temps. Priorities.

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I just really wanted to use my fancy knives.

Does it make me a lazy runner for switching from a half marathon to a 5K this weekend? I can’t pretend to be Zues anymore, running 13 miles with zero training just isn’t going to work. So I’ll run 3 miles and then eat donuts as if I ran 13. This sounds much better to me.

This has nothing to do with running a race, but they portray why I am not in running shape. Hiking shoes = hiking instead of running.

This has nothing to do with running a race, but they portray why I am not in running shape. Hiking shoes = hiking instead of running.

Does it make me inappropriate for saying that due to the aforementioned comment about the warmer temps, I’ve been sleeping with minimal zero clothing? I want to die every night. 1340852415288_4554643 Does is make me obsessed if I can’t stop eating/thinking about the flat of raspberries in my kitchen? Local, organic, and only $10! 10487574_292625327576383_7410243701857733465_n Does it make me a genius for unintentionally figuring out how to soften dates? I left them in my car and the hot temps made them so perfect. Soft mushy sugary heaven for my crunchy salty rice cake. 008 Does it make me easy to please if my morning cup of coffee at home right now is already the highlight of my day? I’ve been opening at work every day the last week, and coffee on the go is nothing like coffee at home with nothing but empty, quiet space around you. 20140501-072329 Does this make me an acrophile? 1487741_291318497707066_8680488190572085406_o Q: Finish the sentence, “Does it make me…?” atterned-n

The Sun it Shines

The last handful of “big adventure” hikes (anything I have to travel over an hour to get to and consists of at least 4-8 hours of hiking) I’ve gone on have been on cloudy days. Temp wise this is ideal, but for a good view and full proof navigation it’s not.

BIG difference in the view driving up from the last hike I went on. NO clouds. YES!

BIG difference in the view driving up from the last hike I went on. NO clouds. YES!

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You can imagine my excitement when I ventured to Seattle/North Bend on a bright sunshiny day. Bring on the fantastic views!!

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The must see attraction on this hike was Mount Rainier. As the elevation grew, the views became better and better. What first started at just a tiny peak of a view, grew to a mass pile of gorgeous. 

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This hike was rated a 4/5 for difficulty, but once it got steep I personally rated it a 4.5/5. I was also hot and I was tired. As always though, the views from the top were well worth the climb.

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Snow on one side, dirt on the other.

Snow on one side, dirt on the other.

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Due to the activities that took place on my last big hike (getting lost and almost starving to death) I packed my bag full. I had an apple, a plum, two tortillas with an avocado smashed inside, a Vega bar, dry roasted edamame, leftover brown rice noodles with beans and tomato, and a vegan/gluten free berry scone I bought at WF.

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My one and only complaint on this hike was not having a personal zap gun for all the bugs swarming me. It was legit ridiculous. Thankfully as I sat at the peak and enjoyed my food feast, the annoyance of the bugs all seemed to fade away.

20140701-120745-43665394 20140701-120747-43667601I have 4 bug bites that have lasted over a week, but I ate every last morsel of the food I brought. I call that a success.

Blogging has been on the back burner right now due to work, school, and my hiking adventures. I will pop in for a post or two whenever I have some down time to write! As always, you can follow my adventures outside of the blog through my Instagram photos! :)

Q: What’s your favorite hiking weather? I like a slight bit of overcast to keep things cool, but not enough to skew the view! 

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A Much Needed Foodie Adventure

My soul feels rejuvenated after a full day of amazing eats, and even better company. You know your day is going to be great when it starts out with a view like this.

20130811-073119Vegan cupcakes galore at my favorite bakery. I behaved and ate brunch before I got a cupcake, although my meal was more of a snack/treat.

20130811-073126Corn cakes with the most amazing vegan cream sauce and fresh berries. I cannot wait to go back and get a real meal. Any excuse to get more cupcakes…and a ginger molasses cookie.

After a walk, skip, and a jump it was already time for lunch/another snack before dinner. The last time I had a legit vegan pizza was almost three months ago. Vegan pizza by the slice? YES, sign me up. The only thing missing from this pizza was potatoes.

20130811-073148I don’t think they could have squeezed anything else on there if they tried. This slice gave me just enough energy to partake in some shopping, and some berry picking.

20130811-073155I need pie…now. OK OK, now for my favorite meal of the day..summer is almost over and I had yet to make burgers. Better late than never right!?

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers 

Inspired by Edible Perspective

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  • 15 oz black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1  med/large cooked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 6 tblsp rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tblsp olive oil

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  1. Preheat your oven to 375F, once you finish cooking your quinoa and sweet potato.
  2. Mash half of the beans in a bowl until paste-like.
  3. Add in the rest of the beans and give a very light stir/mash to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, mash the sweet tater, but you don’t want it creamy.
  5. Stir in the salt, pepper, cayenne, and olive oil, until combined.
  6. Mix in the onion, garlic, corn, black beans, quinoa, and ground oats, until just combined.
  7. Taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  8. Form into balls, between your hands and flatten into 1/2”-3/4” thick patties.  This should make 8 medium/large patties.
  9. Place on a pan lined with parchment paper [or lightly greased pan] and bake on each side for 15min, flipping once, half-way through. Finish and serve!

I topped mine with tomato, roasted red pepper, avocado, swiss chard, and BBQ sauce. As always I make my burgers and sandwiches so tall I can barely fit my mouth around them.

20130811-073209Bon Appétit!

Oh and I saved the best for last..somehow I managed to save the cupcake I got at brunch for after dinner. Seven hours after purchase I sunk my teeth into the most gorgeous sight.

Lemon Lavender..swoon.

Lemon Lavender..swoon.

Q: What does it take for you to recharge after a long week? Good food, and great company did it for me this week! 

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Love is in the Air

Saturday I went to a wedding. This was my first wedding in two years, and maybe my third wedding total. I went to weddings as a child, but I don’t remember them, so for my adult life we will just count the ones I know of..which makes the total three.

"Hi. I'm Brittany and don't know how to stand for pictures when I am alone. I am awkward."

“Hi. I’m Brittany and don’t know how to stand for pictures when I am alone. I am awkward.”

Shameless selfie/proof I don't always look like a wet running dog.

Shameless selfie/proof I don’t always look like a wet running dog.

Truth be told, I love weddings. I love the energy of a good wedding, and I turn to complete mush during the ceremony. This wedding was different though, this wedding was unique.

The groom(s) yes..plural

The groom(s) yes..plural

This was the most adorable wedding. Backyard, country, relaxed, eclectic themed bliss. The groom on the left has the most amazing decorative eye, and I want him to plan my wedding. Their house is so tranquil it’s like a secret garden getaway.

Random sink coming out of the porch? LET's PUT A PLANT IN IT! Genius..

Random sink coming out of the porch? LET’s PUT A PLANT IN IT! Genius..

Old chair? Blue spray paint and a hole for a plant..LOVE THIS!

Old chair? Blue spray paint and a hole for a plant..LOVE THIS!

20130722-101013This wedding was almost completely DIY and there is something so romantically adorable about that to me. So much love was put into creating such a unique experience.

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The bar, complete with orange solo cups.

The bar, complete with orange solo cups.

Follow the sign, you don't have to tell me twice!

Follow the sign, you don’t have to tell me twice! THE GARDEN in the background..OHH I just swoon.

I couldn’t help but secretly wish I had offered to make cupcakes for them. Not only would I have had an excuse to bake, but to be able to secretly give all these people vegan cupcakes would have been amazing. Owell, next time..

20130722-10082720130722-100836What’s a wedding without a photo booth? I think I prefer this rugged “face in hole” style better. Get you cameras out, this is a snap it yourself photo booth.

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I could not get over the adorableness of his outfit.

I could not get over the adorableness of his outfit.

The altar

The altar

The love and support from the friends and family of these two men was amazing. It’s refreshing to be around people who are accepting of all people, and I feel blessed to live in a state that is allowing everyone to show their love. Equality at its finest.

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Caught laughing

Caught laughing

Q(s):

  • Do you like going to weddings? YES YES YES! 
  • Traditional church weddings, or unique outdoors? OUTSIDE! 

Hot Hot HOT!

The temperatures have been (finally) rising in Washington and we are away from 50-60 degrees and into the 80 degree range. This is nothing for some of you, but for me I die. I die at night when I can’t sleep because it’s too hot, I die in the day when I get into my car and can’t breathe until my AC gets going, and I die when I try to run while it’s still 80 out.

20130629-032348The heat just ZAPS my energy, but I am really loving the fact that this is my “slower” pace lately. My slower pace used to be 10:30-11:00 miles, but for the last month it’s been 9:30-9:40 miles. I can feel the difference when I am running slower, but even this “slow” pace is fast for me. I talk about pace too much, but only because I get so excited!

Check out that vein in my hand...

Check out that vein in my hand…

The real test will be when I start running longer distances again, but I am still content with my 3-5milers. On top of melting out of my own skin, I am 90% positive I had a slight case of strep last week. Aside from having someone in a lab coat swab my tonsils and smear my mouth bacteria on some agar agar, I let the symptoms describe themselves. My tonsils were the size of ping pong balls, my throat keept me awake at night it hurt so bad, and there were small white bumps on my throat. So gross, and def strep symptoms. I rode it out though, and tried at home remedies like ACV and honey with cayenne.

I mentioned in my last post that I just can’t hang when it comes to eating ice cream on a hot day, but give me a cupcake and I will pummel through walls. Even poorly frosted cupcakes get a chance. This frosting melted into a sad puddle, but was delicious!

20130629-032406Much less heavy than ice cream, but still satisfies my ferocious sweet beast. I also like my brownies and cakes cold, so they get put into the fridge immediately. Along with cold cakes my diet has been consisting of cold fruit and cold grains. Starbucks just started selling the most epic salad, and it just so happens to be vegan!! I am so obsessed, man I love my job.

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Gorgeous layering!

Gorgeous layering!

The dressing is delicious, but way too oily so I only use a skosh, just enough to give the kale some flavor. I’m a plain grain eater anyway. Well done Starbucks, well done.

While I enjoy the heat in moderation, I have to admit that I am already looking forward to the fall months. October is my favorite month of the year, and I’m already day dreaming about all the pumpkin and cinnamon I will be consuming around Thanksgiving. Too soon?

Q: How do you handle the heat?? I’m a big wimp, I like 65F and sunny..anything more and I wine like a squeaky door handle. I don’t know how my family in Arizona handles the 120F months. Too hot, TOOOO HOT! 

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Summer Summer Summer Time

Summer has FINALLY come to visit Washington. Starting this past week temperatures reached high 70’s and low 80’s. These temps are heat waves for us rainy state natives.

Someone needs a lion cut

Anyone that lives in Washington knows that weather like this is hard to come by, so we take advantage of nice days when we get them. Last Friday Manfriend and I spent the day at Wild Waves! Half water park, half theme park! Spending the day in the sun causes fatigue fast! To prevent slowing down (I must stay as LONG AS POSSIBLE at theme parks) we had a great breakfast.

Those waffles were so good. They didn’t last very long though. Fortunately I packed a grocery store to take with us. Theme park food is: A) not vegan friendly and B) the cost of one paycheck. Wayyy too expensive.

Bread, two tubs of PB, eight pieces of fruit, 2 bags of nuts, granola, cookies, and jelly! Oh and some sunscreen. When I was a hoodlum child I refused to wear anything higher than SPF 4. I liked to pretend I belonged on the Jersey Shore and tanned like crazy. I’ve grown up a bit and moved onto the SPF 45 and higher. Anything to save my skin from looking like this. 

Ninja shot while backing into a parking spot

After 7 hours, two trips to the car for food and sunscreen reapplication, lots of rides and lots of slides, we left with sun kissed skin and empty bellies. A trip to the Spaghetti Factory was next on the agenda. I didn’t take any pictures of my dinner, I was too busy shoving food into my mouth as quickly as I could. I had a lot of bread, a lot of pasta, and a salad fit for a rabbit. It was a perfect summer day!

In completely random news, Thursday night after spin-class I had my first bowl of froyo in over 5 months. It was amazing, and well worth the “benefits” day. I justified the vegan vacation by having the plain tart yogurt with berries. It.was.so.good.

This hot weather is kicking my backside during my runs. I’m a big wimp when it comes to running in anything over 72 degrees. My mileage has been increasing on the training schedule for my half marathon. This past week I had three 4milers, a 5miler, and a 6miler this Sunday. Running in the heat confirms the suspicion that I was born in the ocean. I dump buckets like I am preparing for a drought. Hopefully these hot runs prepare me to run in L.A. That is all for now.

Q: Do you like theme/water parks? 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a free BondiBand headband!  

P.P.S. I wasn’t really born in the ocean, I was born in a hospital just like all the other boring births. 

Salads

Warmer weather means one thing-BIG cold salads. Washington experienced a heat wave a couple weeks ago and made it all the way up to 82 degrees! This is a big deal. Better than catching your cat sleeping in the litter box (anyone else’s cat do this?) Although I did eat plenty of HOT meals on the hot days, I usually opt for something refreshing. It was time to bring out the big guns.

Not only did this salad fill my belly, but it emptied my fridge. I was able to do a clean up with some left over produce! SCORE. Cleaning out the fridge is better than seeing a naked mole rat. Lots of “better than’s” going on in this post be prepared. I also used plenty of items purchased specifically for this meal, but the best part was the CHARD used from my garden. I love saying, “my garden.” I feel so proper. Almost like I should have a cup of tea with my pinky out every time I say the phrase.

Oh my chard. Simply beautiful. I get chills just looking at this picture. Please raise your hand if you get more excited over produce than you do about going to the mall. You better believe both my hands are high in the sky. Using produce from your own garden is better than a Tasmanian devils squeal. If you want to know what happens when someone trys to stick their fork onto my plate (dad) this is what will go down.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

From the chard working my way around the plate is: Chard, lentils, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, avocado, wasabi almonds, and underneath is a bed of spring mix/spinach/and carrots. Topped with a combination of red wine vinegar and EV olive oil. This is what I call a salad mountain.

Perfect summer salad. Along with this salad, a vegan potato salad was created. Into this mix went a hefty amount of red potatoes, vegenaise (this tastes just like mayo it’s almost creepy), chives, TJ’s spicy mustard, jalopeno’s, basil, and pepper. This was so easy to make, you literally just eyeball everything..add enough “mayo” and mustard to coat the potatoes to your liking and then add the fixings depending on how much you want!

This is the perfect summer side to bring to a BBQ, but don’t tell anyone it’s vegan until AFTER they eat it. I made these vegan brownies for my mom to take to a pot luck and she told everyone they were vegan, and EVERYONE was skeptical. I was shocked! Fortunately this meant she had left overs to bring home, but I swear these are some of the best brownies I have ever tasted..the word “vegan” scares people. I wish I could take credit for this potato salad, but it was all Manfriend’s idea. I knew he was a winner.

Q(s):

  • What are your favorite summer salad toppings?
  • Do you find that people are skeptical when they hear words like “Vegan,” or “gluten free?” Yes, yes..absolutely, yes. People need to open their minds and TRY something new, when I see chocolate topped with more chocolate I don’t care if it’s vegan, gluten free, or vegan AND gluten free, you better believe I am shoveling as much into my mouth as I can fit!