Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Bars

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‘Tis the season for strawberries!!! It’s my favorite month of the year. I love June. The days are longer and the sun is shining, which is a big deal here in Ohio especially after one of the coldest and longest winters ever. I bought some freshly picked strawberries and rhubarb from my local fruit stand a few days ago, so I could make a dessert with one of my favorite combos! This recipe brings back a lot of memories of me growing up, but in my family strawberry rhubarb pie was always the dessert we ate around this time of year. I decided to do something a little different and make a streusel bar. I originally found the recipe on The Kitchn, which is one of my favorite blogs, but I made a bunch of changes and substitutions. I hope you enjoy my version of Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Bars.

Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Bars 

Ingredients: 

  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (only the stalks not the leaves)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter cold (1 & 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8 inch dish with baking spray or coconut oil and set aside.
  • In a bowl combine strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Toss everything together and set aside.
  • Place 1 cup of the white whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 cups of all purpose flour in either a food processor or a large bowl (I didn’t use the food processor when I made these, instead I cut the butter into the ingredients using a fork and 2 knives, but a food processor will definitely be easier).
  • Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to food processor along with the greek yogurt, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Pulse your food processor until this comes together and forms a moist and crumbly dough.
  • Remove 1-2/3 cups of dough from the food processor and set aside, this will be used for the streusel topping.
  • Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla to the food processor and blend until dough forms.
  • Take the dough out of the food processor and press it into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, this is your crust.
  • Strain the strawberries and rhubarb, unfortunately we do not need all that extra fruit juice. Spread the fruit combo over top of the partially baked crust in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping over top and bake again for another 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
  • Let the bars cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting and removing from your baking dish. I was able to get 16 pieces out of this recipe. Enjoy!
  • Store in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave before eating if you’re a warm dessert fan like me.

 

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The baked crust above.

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The finished product.

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Macerated strawberries and rhubarb.

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Serve with a strawberry or some vanilla ice cream.

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Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I’m one of those people at the grocery store who reads every food label. I’m not looking at the calorie count, instead I’m looking at the ingredients. I try my hardest not to buy food with added “hidden” sugars or anything that seems to contain a lot of the words ending in ‘ose’ (glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose) then there’s also ingredients like rice and corn syrup. Don’t forget the higher up the ingredients are  on the list, the more sugar they contain. It’s a lot to think about when you’re shopping and you have to make a conscious effort to read everything if you’re trying to cut out as much sugar from your diet as possible. The majority of my grocery shopping trips result in me buying fresh fruits, veggies, and other essentials while avoiding the aisles with the processed boxed cookies, crackers, granola, cereals etc… even if something is organic or gluten free it most likely still contains way too much sugar. Hey, it’s how those giant companies hook us in and keep us coming back for more and more. Lets face it, we are all addicted to sugar or we are recovering addicts whether you realize it or not.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a normal weight adult should consume 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. The American Heart Association (AHA), on the other hand, suggests women should only consume 20 grams or 5 teaspoons of sugar per day, men should only consume 36 grams or 9 teaspoons, and children 12 grams or 3 teaspoons. Most cans of soda contain at least 40 grams of sugar, which if you follow the WHO or AHA recommendations you are exceeding your daily intake of sugar with just one beverage. I’m not a fan of pop aka soda or fruit juices (unless it’s freshly made juice), instead I stick to tea and water. For me personally, having decreased the amount of sugar I consume has done amazing things for how I feel and think on a daily basis. Of course I’ll enjoy a piece of cake or a nice cocktail at a party or wedding, but it’s not everyday and when I do consume a excessively sugary treat I do not feel well. This is one of the main reasons why I started to create and bake recipes that were a little more health conscious, so I can still enjoy my favorite desserts and not feel like I was just kicked in the stomach with an overly sweet, rich dessert.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one of my favorite cookie recipes of all time. I found a version of this recipe in a magazine over a year ago and I decided to recreate it to my tastes. These cookies can also be considered vegan if you swap out the chocolate chips for carob chips or dried fruit. The best part about this recipe is that while there is some sugar from the chocolate chips, banana, and applesauce there is no added table sugar. Another great thing is that the protein from the peanut butter helps to balance your blood sugar. I think in general it’s a good rule of thumb to pair something sweet like an apple or chocolate with peanut butter or some almonds. Of course, there are tons of articles online that you can read more about how to balance your blood sugar and I’m definitely not a doctor or a nutritionist, but these are just some of the ways I try to eat healthier and live a balanced life – inside and out.

My beau and I traveled last week to Colorado to do a little sightseeing, hiking, and celebrating as one of my dearest and oldest friends got married. I made these cookies to take along with us and I’m so glad I did. Next to my man, they were the perfect travel companion and they were the perfect energy boost after our flight or a nice pick me up after a long hike. I hope you all enjoy!!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts*
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chopped**
  • 4 tbsp ground flax seed***

*You can omit the nuts altogether or use one of your favorites.

**If you want to make these cookies vegan, swap out the dark chocolate for carob chips or if you’re not a fan of dark chocolate use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. You can also used dried fruit as an alternative instead, like raisins.

***I love putting ground flax seed in a lot of my recipes, but you can easily leave this out.

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Mix together in a medium size bowl using a whisk the mashed banana, peanut butter, applesauce, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl combine the oatmeal with the spices and salt.
  • Add the oatmeal mixture to your wet ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Then add your nuts, chocolate, and flax seed.
  • Spoon the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each one.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool.

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 I enjoyed a cookie right out of the oven with a nice decaf Chai Latte. I hope you enjoy.