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A dessert for a runner to go bananas over!

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I love sweets. LOVE them. Crave them actually. But I didn’t have any around the house. No candies, cookies or the likes. While musing on my cravings, I checked out Pinterest. I found something there that inspired me!

I used what I had in my kitchen and ended up having a DELICIOUS and nutritious snack for both my husband and I. It’s the ultimate runner’s dessert, I think.

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    Banana-Almond sandwich

1 banana
Almond butter
1 TBSP chia seeds
Cinnamon

1.) Slice the banana in pairs.
2.) Spread almond butter on half of the banana slices.
3.) Sprinkle cinnamon over them. Do the same with chia seeds.
4.) Cover with the remaining banana slices.
5.) Freeze on a plate or tray for 2 hours.
6.) Serve cold.

All ingredients have a remarkable nutritional value, even more so for runners. I can’t wait to make more after my barefoot runs in the summertime! It’s dessert without the junk. Yum!

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A sauce that makes me swoon

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Yet another promising day at the farmer’s market! This time I went to a different town’s, that was located on their commons. It was beautiful, seeing all of those tents with smiling people standing underneath each ones. Watching them share advice, recipes and most of all, their excitement about their food. The strawberries and rhubarb were in abundance! I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up a quart of fresh local strawberries and a pound of rhubarb.

In the kitchen, after washing the red jewels, I took a bite out of one. I let out a prolonged mmmmmm, indicating my pleasure with the fruit. Looking down at the fruit, I was delighted to see how red it was on the inside. Normally when we buy strawberries at the grocery stores, typically imported from California, they have white flesh on the inside. What a difference does it make!

Growing up, my father always cut up strawberries and rhubarb, and threw it in a large sauce pan, pouring in a bit of sugar and water. Then he would leave it on the stove top, cooking as he chopped away, preparing our dinner. The result was a enticing sauce that was absolutely heavenly. A bite of the sauce always forced me to close my eyes, and slowly sway to the music it made. I wanted to create the same moment on my own in the kitchen.

Fresh strawberries and rhubarb cut up, in the pan

Stirring after adding a few ingredients

The sauce of summer that makes me dance

It was very simple to make. I didn’t use any exact measurements, but if I had to venture a guess, the recipe would read as below:

1 pound fresh rhubarb, chopped

1 quart fresh strawberries, cut up

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix all in a large saucepan, and cook on medium heat until throughly mixed. You want the rhubarb soft. This should take approximately 15 minutes. Take care not to burn it! This often happens when my Dad was distracted cooking something that required his attention. My way of knowing that it was ready? When I can’t stop sneaking tastes while making it.

It’s great on its own, over ice cream or enjoy it the way I did: with breakfast, over my pancakes. No maple syrup needed! For the pancakes, I used Elana’s Pantry’s pancake recipes. It’s highly recommended!!!

Pancakes with strawberry rhubarb sauce

Swooning yet? If not, I at least hope you’re running down to the farmer’s market to see what treasures you can uncover!

A surefire way to relax- cook for yourself

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Today was a busy day of studying for an exam I’m taking later this week! So it was all about convenient food the last few days. My favorite of them all? Fruit salad. Make a huge bowl, and you’ve got enough to last a week (or a few days if you’re like me!). Just add ANYTHING you want, and cut it up, and delight in the freshness before you! Then I realized, it was time to stop practicing the questions and find a way to unwind.

Of course, I went straight to my cookbooks. I found this recipe for oat scones in my gluten-free, sugar-free cookbook. Sadly, it did not come out the way I expected, but happily it tasted PHENOMENAL! I have to admit I tweaked a few things… so it ended up being crumbly cookies!

Oat-raisin cookies

Oat-Raisin Cookies (modified from Oat Scones in Gluten-free, Sugar-free Cooking by Susan O’Brien)

1/3 cup olive oil

2 TBSP agave nectar

2 TBSP warm water

1/2 cup instant oats, grounded (in a food processor)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup instant oats

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a saucepan, cook the oil, agave and water until throughly mixed. It shouldn’t take any longer than a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix up the grounded instant oats and baking soda. Add the wet mixture to it. Blend well. Add raisins and instant oats.

In a 9×9 pan, sprinkle more oats to “grease” the pan. Just lightly, you don’t have to douse it (this made 9 cookies for me, hence the tiny pan).

9x9 sprinkled with instant oats and prepared dough

Bake for 20 minutes, then cool completely. It tastes AWESOME. Just be prepared for it to fall apart in your hands. But after doing this, I realized that it’ll be PERFECT as a pie crust (raisins in it, who would have thought?!) or the crust of bars. YUM! I ate four cookies right away. Sshhhhhhhh…. I’ll work out tomorrow.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is to approach cooking as something enjoyable. Not everything will come out perfectly or even as expected. Sometimes it leads to a delightful surprise! Occasionally you just have to spit it out in the sink and wonder what the heck went wrong. That shouldn’t deter you from cooking! It’s all about experimenting with your senses: sight, taste, smell and even touch (especially if you’re stirring or working with your hands). I wouldn’t know about the hearing aspect . . .

But I’ll say one thing for sure… the oat-scones-that-turned-out-to-be-cookies did its job by making me forget about the upcoming exam! All I did at the end was swoon at the taste. And the best part? It was a no-guilt snack for me. I’m not sure where I stand with agave nectar, so try not to wreck this moment for me, please!

But want a surefire way to stress yourself out? Now there are exceptions to every rule, but not in my case… cooking for a crowd! Especially with a timetable. Oy. That’s a good way to alienate people, getting so wired that I snap at people, shooing them out of the kitchen. So… just focus on pleasing YOUR own senses. Maybe a few friends, or that special somebody you want to awe with your culinary talents…