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Baking for Smiles

Well …Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice evening – whether that entailed staying up way too late and getting a little silly, or falling asleep before the clock struck 12. I fell asleep after 2 glasses of wine. Woke up at 11:55 to toot a few horns, then retreated to my slumber. I’m wild ya’ll. Wild.

So. I do have a number of “meatier” posts on the go that I shoooould be getting up, but with all the other excitements going on lately…. I really just wanted to shut my brain off and bake. And look at salivating photographs.

So let’s do that, shall we? Happy 2016 – lets get your taste buds tingling.

No Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Bar

I ended my holiday at home by making full use of my parents’ newly renovated kitchen.  Making a mess in the kitchen is fun at any rate, but even more so when it isn’t your own. Not to mention all the fancy new appliances and counter tops and organized pantries……ahhhhh. Le sighhhh.

One day.

It was the funnest (and most delicious) day I had all holiday. Seriously. A little hands on creativity rewards my soul with like 1000 mario stars. Or brownie points. Girl guide pins? ….. it helps.

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Traditional baking is wonderful. You have to have traditional short bread or fudge at Christmas.  After all the company dinners and dessert plates, perhaps most people are feeling sick of baking and would rather not step within ten feet of the oven. Totally understandable. But being around all this baking only left me ansy to get into my own gum boots apron and get creating myself.  So I decided to show my family what “real” baking is all about.

Raw Mint Nanaimo Bars (with spinach) were the first weapon of choice. I had made these before using CCK’s recipe and did so again, adjusting the quantities slightly.  I added cocoa to the base and went an easier route for the topping by simply melting dark chocolate with coconut oil.

Nanaimo Bar Spinach Collage

These are SO FUN to make. And I am in no way over exaggerating when I say these were the best bars I have ever made. Or eaten.  Just ask my mom. Like… wow. These are beyond delicious.

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You need a food processor, yes. You need to buy nuts, yes. There are three layers so they are a tad more labour intensive than your average cookie, yes.  But oh my gosh they are soooooo worth it.

And – not to mention wonderfully healthy. Nuts, dates, spinach, coconut oil. Cashewwwwws. Sooo many good things for your body. Healthy fats are needing to make an increase in my meal plan, so… can I just eat these every day?? Seriously. Nothing to provoke any guilt here.

Gluten free and vegan, too.  Just to throw that in there.

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My other choice were Amanda’s No Bake Pretzel Bars. I had these guys bookmarked since she posted them. Chocolate covered pretzels are possibly my favorite snack, so as soon as I saw this recipe I snatched it as a “must make.”

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Like all her recipes, these were impressively simple. Pretzels, oats, peanut butter and chocolate. How can you go wrong?

No Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Bar

And yet still, all good solid ingredients that you can feel good about using.

No Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Bar

No Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Bar

No Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Bar

Oh food photography. Why are you so beautiful and so satisfying?

Taking this day to bake and create really did turn my mood around. It was quite fascinating. I find it therapeutic to be using my hands and I love creating things – in any form. It quiets my thoughts and helps me focus. Most of all,  I just have so much fun doing it. So these are the vibes I’m choosing to take with me as I start this new year.

Now I just need to get rich so I can buy a house with a massive kitchen of my own, complete with island, massive pantry and allllll the counter space.

Thanks for salivating with me.

No Bake Recipes to die for! Nanaimo Bars and Pretzel Bars. Turn your mood around with some… Click To Tweet

Why do you like to bake?

Favourite recipe you’ve ever made?

 

 

 

 

 

21 COMMENTS

  1. cookiesnchem | 1st Jan 16

    Oh my gosh, those mint chocolate bars look too delicious! Can I have one? Okay, more like five? The colour is so vibrant and gorgeous – plus, what’s better than chocolate with mint? Other than peanut butter, of course. I love this post so much!
    I like baking because it’s therapeutic! I like measuring and putting everything together and seeing something amazing turn out. I always get so giddy when the oven beeps and something delicious emerges from the oven. My favourite thing about baking, though, is spending time with my mom in the kitchen. 🙂

  2. YourBFFLJade | 1st Jan 16

    These are just GORGEOUS. I want to jump through my computer and eat them all up 🙂

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      I would not stop you!! Thank you for commenting – means I found your blog!!

  3. Ellie | 2nd Jan 16

    I am not the most creative baker and I have burned my fair share of things. However, I do love anything sweet and that sometimes overtakes my laziness 😉 I think my favorite recipe is chickpea blondies. They are so easy (three-four ingredients) and all my favorite things: dense, chewy, rich, sweet.
    This is so funny, because I am eating a Nanimo bar right now! We have them at work and before this post of yours, I’ve never seen anyone else mention them! I actually now know the history of the treat because customers asked so much. Fun fact: they are a Canadian delicacy! Pretty great eh?

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      What do you use for your blondies?? I’m not sure I’ve ever made any with only 3-4 ingredients, and I’m a sucker for that. I always forget that Nanaimo bars are Canadian! That really means I should eat them more often. Well done 🙂

      • Ellie | 4th Jan 16

        It’s like chickpeas, peanut butter and maple syrup. The fourth ingredient is usually chocolate chips =P

  4. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) | 2nd Jan 16

    All those bars look SOOO good! I would love to try some of these this week! 🙂

  5. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 2nd Jan 16

    I’m glad you got your groove back and even happier you found it in the kitchen. Food photos have a way of making you super hungry.

    Amanda’s bar recipes couldn’t be easier to make. I’m a huge fan of her blueberry ones too since I’m kind of fruit obsessed. even more so lately and I didn’t think that was possible.

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      Oh I’ll have to look up her blueberry ones. I always just revert to anything chocolate… maybe I can add chocolate to them.

  6. alyssac1129 | 2nd Jan 16

    those bars look so good!! happy new year love, can’t wait to read more of your blog in 2016 🙂

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      Alyssa! Thank you! I’m super happy I’ve now found your blog and am very much looking forward to now connecting more!

  7. Gail | 2nd Jan 16

    Holy moly those nanaimo bars look delicious! I think I’ll try adapting to accommodate the allergies. And the photos – pure food porn!

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      Mmmmmm food porn. May be a little difficult lady – the base is pretty much all nuts. I almost brought one over for you, but alas…. #ahnuts 🙁

  8. kyrabocha | 3rd Jan 16

    Yummy! I have a feeling that I willl be making those raw mint nanaimo bars very, very soon 😀
    Not gonna lie, I sometimes bake even when I’m stressed out and there’s ‘no time’! i.e. when I have lots of studying for finals, hehehe. It makes me feel so accomplished and relaxed, too, to have made a new cookie recipe or warm bread. Especially when it uses awesome and unique ingredients like bean flour or spinach! <3 Love your blog, I'm so glad I found it. Happy new year!

    • mylittletablespoon | 3rd Jan 16

      When I’m stressed and have no time is when I most NEED to bake. I think it is more important for me to take time away from what I’m “supposed” to be doing and recharge myself through something creative (ie. bake) in order to then go back and be productive. It’s such a recharge for me, and yes, makes me feel so accomplished. Praise to bean flours and spinach. Can’t wait to swap recipes with you!

  9. Shannon | 4th Jan 16

    Those mint bars look so good! I love baking. It is almost therapeutic for me. It is kind of like a science experiment too trying to get the right proportions!

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