No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies [V + GF]

I gotta be honest people, it’s really starting to annoy me that I can’t eat the sweets that I absolutely loved to eat anymore.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
I used to go through life seeing any kind of food as something that was completely available to me. I was living in an age where the world of gastronomy had so much to offer and there was nothing limiting me from choosing if I wanted to venture into that area of cuisine or if I wanted to eat that particular food product.

Nothing was stopping me and therefore I never felt the need to take advantage of my impenetrable stomach because it didn’t seem necessary. Life would go on, I would eat what I wanted, whatever came my way and that was that. My youthful stomach always prevailed no matter what I put in it and therefore I was indifferent.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
Now the landscape of my life as an omnivore has completely changed. Food isn’t an allotted freedom and convenience that America’s advanced yet monstrous food industry has gifted me (which I’d take full advantage of and didn’t ask any questions as to how such an industry exists).

Now every time I go to a supermarket or look at a restaurant menu a limitation always presents itself. Before there had always been a sense that my overly-zealous stomach could conquer anything on that menu. There was always a feeling of exhilarating freedom coming into that supermarket seeing all the countless aisles of guaranteed delicious and salivatory food and it was completely available for my taking – only if I wanted it or not.

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Blueberry Poppy Seed Almond Cakes with Lemon Coconut Cream

Every girl needs to have some cake every now and then. And this is how I felt when I made these little cute and delicious blueberry cakes. They are cakes specifically designed for the girl that deserves to have her cake!

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First of all when the madness of Black Friday happened and all the ridiculous deals that followed afterwards, I was literally overwhelmed with all the gorgeous and wonderful things that had all of a sudden been miraculously marked down. And this cake stand was one of them!

I just fell in the love with that beautiful circular blue pattern on the top and that sort of thing I can just stare at for days. I love when things are intricately done and I am just a sucker for abstract and bold patterns and I had to snatch this up. But of course my main thought when I bought this is all the fabulous cakes I have to bake to accompany it.

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And mini cakes just seemed like the perfect thing. I mean mini cakes are just so ADORABLE. I’ve realized that most of the baked goods that I usually love seemed to be so much better in a mini version, like mini pound cakes, mini bundt cakes, mini tarts, mini donuts. It just keeps on going.

There is something nice about the idea that you are not only controlling your portions but it is also a guarantee that most of the time your like mini bakes will turn out lovely (and instagram-worthy) with not as much effort and stress.

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Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

I am very much in love with gratins. When I first realized gratins exist and that I could actually make them at home instead of going to some fancy French restaurant, I was a very happy little lass.

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
So now it’s one of those dishes I make a lot now and have a lot of fun cooking as well. Certain recipes are very therapeutic as they take a little longer to make but not too long where you are breaking your back in the kitchen. And also putting together all the beautiful ingredients to make something even more wonderful is really rewarding and bittersweet in the end.

Usually when I make gratins, I jam pack them with a decadent cheesy sauce (like my beloved gruyere potatoes au gratin, you are so delicious my friend). But lately I have realized that dairy is doing nasty things to my stomach and I thought it was time to give my gratin a makeover.

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
And thank the universe for cauliflower! You wonderfully white cruciferous vegetable. Oh how you have made my life so much easier! I can still enjoy my creamy vegetables and not feel the pains of my stomach playing a symphony of embarrassing gurgles and growls!

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Super Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

This past weekend wasn’t just Thanksgiving but it was also my birthday! Now for some people I’m sure the thought of the double festivities would mean double the fun and all special attention. But actually it has now become pretty daunting for me.

No-Bake Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars No-Bake Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars Now what I mean by this is that sometimes things happen. The fact that it is both Thanksgiving and and your birthday makes you more fragile to certain unfortunate things that may occur like in relationships, family, your job and such.

The lesson I really got from my past experiences was that on my birthday I should be completely selfish. It should be a day about me and what I want to do. And more importantly to not depend on other people to bring you happiness on that day, because you can find all the happiness in yourself.

No-Bake Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars No-Bake Chewy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
I don’t know if what I just wrote sounds completely narcissistic (and you know what it’s okay sometimes) but this year I really made sure that on my birthday I did and ate the things that I wanted.

I had a lovely custard berry cake and ate one of my favorite meals, this spaghetti with pesto and I even included some of the leftover rosemary and thyme in the mountain of herbs I usually put in this. But when it all came down to it, I really wanted to eat these chewy almond butter chocolate chip granola bars (seriously sooooo chewy).

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