Tag Archives: squares

PB&J Protein Squares

A weekend in the mountains works wonders.

I forgot how much I missed not showering. And hiking, and snakes, and fishing for minnows with my hands. And meteors! I could keep going for a long, long time with the list. But yes, all that Appalachian air finally gave my mind some of the clarity it’d been distinctly missing.

Coffee with a view. Serene as heck.

Naturally, I did get to do some cooking on the trip. There was an apple tree right near the cabin where I climbed up and shook down a lot of apples. I wasn’t sure what kind they were, but I sautéed them with maple and cinnamon for a quick treat. Of course there were ample authentic s’mores, which were maybe even better than those S’mores Donuts I made a couple of weeks ago.

Apple pickin’, West Virginia style.

Authentique campfire. I guess all those nature camps taught me something.

But now I’m home, and the baking can begin again! I was seriously protein deprived after a weekend of carbs carbs and more carbs, so I set out to make a protein bar without the use of protein powder (which I’ve sort of given up on, I can’t find a good, cheap vegan one!) but still with natural protein sources. They’re PB&J flavored too- a classic flavor combination made healthy!

Vegan PB&J Protein Squares

Ingredients- Bars
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup peanut butter (or sub. any nut butter)
1/8 dark brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached organic flour (or sub. peanut flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup + 1 tb almond milk (or any nut milk)
3/4 cup rolled oats

In food processor, blend chickpeas until smooth. Add peanut butter and blend. Add brown sugar, flour, and baking powder, and pulse until dough forms. Add in milk and blend until smooth. Stir in rolled oats.

Spread into greased 11″ x 7″ glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until tops form a slight crust. Cool before topping with frosting.

Ingredients- Frosting
1 package light firm tofu, drained (12.3 oz)
1/3 cup jelly/jam, any flavor (I used strawberry)
3 tb chia seeds
optional: mint leaves

In food processor, combine tofu and jelly/jam. Add in 2 tb of the chia seeds, and blend again. If desired, add a few sprigs of mint. Add in last 1 tb of chia, and stir into frosting mixture. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until frosting has thickened. Spread over peanut butter bars and serve. Makes about 12 squares.

Well, now that I’ve got a huge pan full of bars, I ought to go share some. In the meantime, I had a nice moment during the meteor shower last night where this Owen Pallett song kept playing through my head. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was about to be sucked into outer space the whole time I was watching the stars (probably because every lucid dream I have ends that way… more on this strange phenomenon another day). But anyways, here’s to hoping my two feet stay planted on solid Earth.

Happy nomming,


Vegan Lemon Bars with Maple Oat Crust

I hated lemon for 18 years.

I can’t say why. I tried it in all of its manifestations, and still I couldn’t stomach it. I tried a bit in my tea for a “citrus undertone”… a complete failure. I tried lemonade, but found it cringe-inducingly sweet. I even tried lemon drop candies, but thought they may as well’ve been cough drops.

Then, I had the world’s best lemon square.

The absolute best lemon square ever that I tried was from the Danish Pastry House right near my university. I went there on an impulse, and so I was already feeling whimsical. They had a large glass case full of every imaginable pastry or sweet, but my eyes fell on the ones advertised as “World’s Best Lemon Squares.”

Needless to say, I was skeptical. Not if it was the best in the world, just if I would like it at all, in any capacity. So I got it with my morning quadruple espresso (useful for eclipsing other flavors).

It was amazing, absolutely a delight. Not too tangy, not overly sweet- and the crust! To die for. These bars are modeled after the bliss I experienced. That day, a revelation came over me, a citrus flavored revelation.

I’ve never looked back.

Vegan Lemon Bars

Ingredients- Crust
2/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup almond meal
3 tb organic dark brown sugar
1 tsp maple extract, or 2 tb maple syrup
Zest of one lemon
5 tb vegan margarine

Combine ingredients in food processor in order listed. Add in margarine last, cut up into 1″ cubes. Pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly.

Press into 8″ by 8″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Ingredients- Filling
(adapted from Baked Bree)
1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup light almond milk
A few drops of yellow food dye, for color
1 1/4 cup organic sugar (or coconut sugar)
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
4 tb organic unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine all ingredients except baking powder in food processor until smooth consistency, about a minute. When crust has cooled, add baking powder to filling and pulse, then pour filling over crust. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

When bars have cooled, place in fridge for at least 4 hours, or freeze for one hour and then transfer to fridge for 1-2 hours. Before serving, dust tops with powdered sugar.

My mind has been such a whirlwind lately. It’s like I need twice as much time to process events than the time it takes to actually do things. When I don’t have time to think, it all just builds up and I end up mentally clogged, like a dam near bursting. And it picks the strangest times to all come through, like in a subway car traveling through dark tunnels backwards at 50 mph.

Fun fact: citrus smells literally boost your body’s production of serotonin. So when we say lemons are “bright,” or “sunny,” turns out we’re not too far off. A much needed facet, I think.

Happy  (biochemically enhanced) nomming,