Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mmmmmmeal replacement bars: Cacao Coffee Bar

On the go and haven't eaten?  If you have some homemade meal replacement bars on hand, no problem!  
This was my first attempt and, if I must say, they're pretty darn good.  Paying $3-4 for each one (I love you ProBar, but dang) is not feasible at this point in time.  Answer?  The Cacao Coffee Bar.

You can easily make variations of this bar using the same concept, but with other seeds, nuts and even some dried fruit.  Let me know if you develop one of your own that is tasty!  

Supplies needed

Food processor
8x8 or 9x9 pan

Put all dry ingredients in processor and pulse until you reach the desired texture (e.g. fine ground, small nibblets, whatever you like):

1/2 C. organic raw almonds
1/2 C. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C. raw pepitas
1/2 C. golden flax seed
1/4 C. quinoa flakes
1/4 C. organic fair-trade coffee beans
1 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. raw cacao nibs (or cocoa powder)

Add wet ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated: 

1 C. raw cashew butter (or raw cashews^)
6 Medjool dates, pitted
1/4-1/2 C. maple syrup
1 T. honey
2 T. virgin coconut oil (vco)
1 C. ground almonds / almond flour

Dump it into the pan, smash it down as hard as you can. Cover. Put in fridge. Cut. Eat. Ta da!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just another manic Monday

Sometimes the best intentions get vetoed by life.

I am a first-year beekeeper.  I planned on eventually getting to this subject in later posts, but the bees are pretty much demanding all of my attention at the moment.  Point blank: SWARM!

Our top-bar hive had become overcrowded.  The bees did some prep work (that had gone unnoticed by our untrained "newbee" beekeepers' eyes), then 60% of them left Sunday around noon with the queen (the remaining 40% of our pretty Italian bees in the original hive are busy making a new queen).  

They usually swarm in a cluster around the queen on a tree branch.  In this case, it was approximately 30' up.  We managed, rather unexpectedly and while obtaining my first sting, to get the swarm to gather on the side of the very garbage can in which we attempted to catch them.

All of my time right now is going into figuring out what to do about the most pressing situation at hand: the swarm.  I'll be attempting to build another top bar hive today to house the swarm.  Just a bit of labor with not the best tools, so I will post again as soon as possible.

Update:  right before posting this, the swarm took off. They didn't want the Langstroth hive (borrowed last night from a local beekeeper) that we placed very obviously for them to choose.  :-(

I'm forcing myself to make the Small Choice to look on the bright side: I will have more time to construct another top bar hive before the next swarm. 

This has freed up my manic Monday for more calming tasks ...


Friday, June 24, 2011


Ahhhh Saturdays in summer when, all over America, local farmers and merchants gather to offer their produce, meat and wares for a fair price.  This is a great opportunity to support and get to know the people in your community who are producing food and goods in a sustainable manner.

It's also a way to do some smart shopping.  Notice the prices.  These are organically-grown (vendors don't mind you inquiring about their growing practices - use of pesticides, etc).  Organic lettuce in the grocery store in this amount is at least $5.  I just finished a bag of last week's farmer's market lettuce - it was still completely fresh for our salads today, 6 days later.

It's exciting to see what new items make it to market each week.

If you don't know what an item is, ask the vendor.  They will most likely happily share information about the item, as well as how it is typically prepared.

There are items other than food: honey, soap, candles, garden plants, breads, salsa, meats of all kinds ...

By the way, grilling makes local bacon the baconiest bacon you'll ever have.  :-)

I can't wait for tomorrow morning ... supporting the good hard-working people of my community while getting some real food at a fair price is definitely a win-win situation.

Snack away!

Moona's Munchies - Bucket O' Goodness


Dump good healthy stuff into a clean ice cream pail and shake it all up.

(More specifically:
  • Fill 1/3 of the bucket with unsweetened coconut chips.
  • Add whatever nuts and seeds you like and/or currently have on-hand.  
I don't really care for the flavor of raw nuts and seeds on their own, so I put both raw and toasted nuts and seeds of each kind in the mix.  It usually is something like this: pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts - whatever strikes my fancy.  This should make the level of the munchie bucket 1/2 - 2/3 full.  
  • Then drop in some dried fruits, making your bucket's level 2/3 - 3/4.  
I regularly use organic raisins; then dice some dried mango, papaya and apricots (unsulfurized).  Dried cranberries or cherries would add some nice zing.
  • Cover and shake until you just can't shake anymore.  
  • If there's room, add more coconut chips* until the bucket is full.   Cover and shake until mixed thoroughly.  
*Note: Other additions which are tasty, but not necessarily ideal (grains = sugar), would be organic corn flakes or puffed brown rice cereal.  Sometimes I really have some insistent chocolate cravings.  So on those days, I add a handful of fair-traded organic chocolate chips to the bucket.  Bad Moona!)

That's it!  Put in your cabinet.  Any time you are hungry and want a snack, open that bucket and make a better Small Choice than you otherwise would have.  It's a good idea to put some mix in a snack-sized bowl.  A full Bucket O' Goodness on your lap as you're watching a movie would probably not be prudent.