In the warmer months, I’m always looking for easy, throw-together meals that are more about “assembling” than actual cooking.  Smoothies are great, of course, but in looking to change things uplittle I found these amazing breakfast bars. I know they look like candy, but they’re actually protein-packed, whole grain and totally capable of being a breakfast food. (* If you remember, I posted these to instagram a few weeks ago and I promised I'd post it)  You could always omit the chocolate part, but I believe there’s nothing wrong with just a hint of decadence at breakfast.  Not only are they completely addicting, but because they can double as a sweet treat and feed a crowd.  

Puffed Brown Rice Bars with Tahini & Bittersweet Chocolate (gluten-free, vegan) Makes 18 bars - Inspired by Gk stores

  • 9 medjool dates, pitted and mashed
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter(or almond butter!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (I even use my leftover almond pulp, that I dehydrate at 200 until golden brown - works great for this recipe)
  • 1 cup puffed brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces

Using a fork, mash the dates on a plate into a thick paste.  It’s ok if there’s a few chunky bits, but make sure the dates are generally broken down.  Add to a large mixing bowl with tahini, peanut butter, vanilla, and coconut oil.  Using a fork or whisk, mix ingredients until well combined.  

Add sunflower seeds, almond meal, puffed brown rice and cinnamon.  Add a generous pinch of sea salt and mix together until ingredients form a thick, cohesive batter.  

Line a square dish, 8 or 9 inch is best, with parchment paper then add mixture in.  Using the heel of your palm, flatten until it’s in one even layer.  

Double broil the chocolate*. Once all chocolate has melted, spoon over the prepared bars, either coating entirely or in a zig zag shape.  Add another pinch of sea salt over top, then add to the fridge to set for 1 hour.  Cut into 18 bars and serve.  You can store these in the fridge for a week or store in the freezer as a treat.

*Add a heat-safe (glass) bowl fitted over a saucepan with 2-3 inches of water.  Make sure the water does not touch the bowl.  Add chocolate to the bowl and bring to a rolling simmer, stirring chocolate until it melts completely.  You can also melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate melts completely. 


Although tahini is usually paired with my weeknight hippie bowl, I was craving some new options.  After having one too many of these tahini cookies made by a friend, I decided to try my hand at a sweet & savory cookie.  This sesame seed paste is used in mostly savory recipes, including miso tahini dressing and your beloved hummus, but with the addition of chocolate, these flavors just seem to merge perfectly.  It’s my new favorite crowd-pleaser, and one of those recipes I can’t really keep around the house, if you know what I mean.  This sweet / salty / nutty combination just happens to be free of dairy and uses only natural sugars but I promise, you won't notice.  Best of both worlds? I think so.

SALTED OATMEAL THUMBPRINT COOKIES WITH CHOCOLATE & TAHINI FILLING (Gluten-free, dairy-free opt) Makes about 12 cookies


  • 1 3/4 c gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (or regular/coconut/turbinado/etc sugar!)
  • 1/3c + 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, chips or roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the oats until gritty, but not yet flour.  Mix in a large bowl with almond meal, salt and maple sugar.  Stir in all the wet ingredients and mix with your hands to combine well.  Chill dough for 25 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie.  Shape into a disk and press your thumb into the center to make an imprint.  Continue until all cookies are finished.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch.  Press into the centers of the cookies again to reinforce the the dent.   Let cool for 10 minutes.

For filling:  Double-broil the chocolate chips, tahini and sea salt over medium heat, stirring to help the melting process.  Once mixture is smooth, let cool for 10 minutes.  Then, fill each cookie with a teaspoon or two of filling.  Continue until all cookies are filled, then sprinkle sea salt over top and let cool (filling will set).  Eat immediately for an extra-gooey cookie.



I was raised in California, and the closest it gets to cold, wintry weather is dropping below 75 degrees in December.  It's not the most festive place in the world for the holiday months, but we had other ways of making it special.  I always associate banana bread with the changing of seasons, as a seasonal (but not too wintry) way to celebrate Fall.  We always had it in the house during this time & it's the most nourishing snack to have on hand (especially for busy days).  This one is healthier than my family recipe, but you won't notice.   It's the perfect breakfast for the colder months when you need something a little heartier.  

Maple Banana Bread with Hempseeds (gluten-free, dairy-free)

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted & cooled
  • 2 very ripe large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons hempseeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together first nine ingredients until well mixed.  In a separate bowl, add mashed banana, coconut oil, maple, vanilla, almond milk & large eggs.  Beat mixture until well-combined, then mix wet ingredients into the dry.  Using a spatula, mix ingredients until batter resembles heavy cream.

Grease a 8 or 9 inch loaf pan lined with parchment (for easy removal).  Pour batter into loaf pan evenly, then sprinkle hempseeds evenly over top.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Tip: I highly suggest serving warm with a drizzle of warm coconut oil or maple syrup. Game changer!

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