gluten-free, refined sugar free
I have been largely absent here - for reasons good and less good. A little bit lazy, a lot of busyness that is pure and simple of little interest to anyone, not even me. One of those periods in life where every day speeds by and at the end of it you wonder what it was that you did. This silly fire thing drags on - more boxes come back from the restoration company but little else happens. We still have no laundry room and the house still has a lingering odour of electrical fire. The smell is masked when I cook and we are strangely accustomed to it but when I return home and the house is quiet that unpleasant, sharp smell is easy to identify. You would think it would be motivation to cook a little more but the boxes that are stacked in corners, the bare floors, the disorganized pantry all leave me feeling like we are simply stopping here and so we eat meals that are healthy, simple and fast - but uninspired.
I spent several days last week unpacking the last 33 boxes. Many of the boxes contained treasures that I had forgotten we had - I am scratching my head over where the cleaners found some of it and then scratching more over why it was deemed worthy of restoration. Boxes of memories ... photos and old handmade Mother's Day and birthday cards from my kids that made me laugh out loud, the contents of Merin's dance bag that I cannot bear to part with - all two dozen bodysuits (or more!) plus tattered warm-ups - that I wept over. Toys and tiny clothes, study aids from school in Japan, box after box. All unpacked now and safely put away, the memories and the goods. It was cathartic - not particularly easy but in the end good.
In the middle of the unpacking and muddle I felt a Pooh-bear like need for a little something. Honey is good but it wasn't quite the something that my particular tummy was wanting. Chocolate however was just the thing. A couple of weeks earlier I had tried a beautiful bar that was almost perfect. Well, really it was but I just had the urge to fiddle a little and so I fiddled and I think it was perhaps just a little more perfect. Licking the spoon I knew that Merin would have loved these and I smiled. It was a good end to a bit of a hard day. (after 3 1/2 years I am surprised at the tenacity of grief - that and the oddness of what triggers the longing. I am content, even happy, but I realize more and more that I will simply miss the joy Merin is until I see her again)
These bars are very, very good as soon as they harden but if you can give them a chance to 'cure' they are even better. A day is good - three best. Just tuck them at the back of the fridge and hope nobody (including yourself) notices they are there. Both times I made them I thought they got significantly better with a period to cure. The recipe is originally from a blog that is new to me and I am so happy to have come across it. Lots of great ideas and very pretty pictures. Seriously - I dare you to scroll through and not want to make every single recipe she has posted. I certainly can't find one that I don't want to try!
quinoa cacao bar
( from Wholehearted Eats, with a little bit of fiddling)
3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups puffed quinoa
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachios
Line a 9x9" pan with a parchment paper sling and set aside.
In a medium saucepan melt together the coconut oil and the almond butter. Stir in the coconut flour, cacao, maple syrup and salt. Add the puffed quinoa, cranberries and pistachios. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Add another couple of tablespoons of cranberries and pistachios to the top to make it prettier, pressing them into the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until hardened. Wrap for easy grabbing when on the go - you won't regret the time.