Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

While I was living in London, I discovered British flapjacks, often individually wrapped by the checkout counter in grocery stores.  They’re easy to grab and seemingly healthy – like a soft granola bar. I assumed they were a relatively smart snacking choice until, while eating my second (or third or fourth), I realized that they’re no different from American granola bars; sugar with some oats.

 

Isabel visited Boston this past weekend, so we got to do some healthy holiday baking. Inspired by flapjacks and the date and oat slices in one of my favorite cookbooks, Breakfast, Lunch and Tea: The Many Little Meals of the Rose Bakery, we decided to bake our own, healthier oat gingerbread bars.

 

These gingerbread bars have a soft base and topping made from gluten free oats, coconut oil and fresh ginger. Between the oat layers is a ginger spiced chewy date layer, which provides most of the sweetness. Cut these bars into any size (the smaller you cut them, the more crumbly they get) and enjoy for breakfast or an afternoon snack with tea. Or drizzle with a little melted white chocolate and serve for dessert.

 

Crumbly Gingerbread Oat Bars | ourfourforks.com

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Butternut Squash Burgers

Butternut Squash Burgers | ourfourforks.com

Veggie burgers sometimes get a bad rap for being too crumbly, too starchy, too soy heavy, too soggy leftover… the list goes on. These butternut squash burgers are none of these things. They hold together perfectly, are crispy on the outside and taste even better for lunch the next day. I used butternut squash because of my CSA, but I think any squash-like substance would be a fine substitute; sweet potato purée, canned pumpkin, acorn squash…

 

To follow through with the fall theme, I topped these squash burgers with sautéed leeks and apple butter, but traditional burger toppings would taste good too.

 

Butternut Squash Burgers | ourfourforks.com

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Vegan Gluten Free “Fried” Pickles

Vegan Gluten Free "Fried" Pickles | ourfourforks.com
Josh’s mom, Jackie, makes the best pickles I’ve ever tried. At the end of every summer, friends and family drop off their garden cucumbers and Jackie pickles them. Last weekend Josh and I met up with Jackie and received our batch: four huge jars of pickles, each with varying degrees of heat (from peppers) and spices.

 

Though Josh and I have been known to eat through several jars in several hours, we showed enough restraint this year to be able to makes these vegan gluten free “fried” pickles, as per Jackie’s request.

 

These “fried” pickles are my healthy take on the classic appetizer. This version uses only vegan and gluten free ingredients and calls for baking rather than frying: all the flavor with a lot less refined flour and fat.

 

Vegan Gluten Free "Fried" Pickles | ourfourforks.com

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Chewy Apricot Coconut Cookies with Chocolate

Chewy Apricot Coconut Cookies with Chocolate | ourfourforks.com
Josh and I were in France with my family last week for a wedding, which brings me to the topic of food and planes. Even though I’m food conscious when is comes to traveling – planning out where to eat, slightly stressing about breakfast options (I have a serious oatmeal habit), scoping out the local specialities – food is not something I usually bring on planes.  If I pack snacks, I eat them out of boredom rather than hunger and I’m just not that together about it all.

 

If I was more together and not always so rushed, I’d make and pack these gluten free, vegan chewy apricot coconut cookies. They would make a perfect travel breakfast, snack or sweet bite after (or instead of) a meal on the go.

 

Chewy Apricot Coconut Cookies with Chocolate | ourfourforks.com

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Red Currant + Strawberry Oat Thyme Crisp

Red Currant + Strawberry Gluten Free Crisp | ourfourforks.com

When I got red currants in my CSA share, I thought they were poisonous and pushed them to the back of the fridge. I’ve eaten currants before but only the dried, black variety and I had no idea what to do with these. They’re a bit too tart to enjoy raw, but then I remembered that summer is not summer without at least one fruit crisp. This gluten free crisp is the perfect summer dessert (or breakfast).

 

The topping is simple and satisfying (Josh proclaimed it was the best thing he’d ever tasted) and I can’t wait to pair it with fall and winter fruits (think apples, pears and sweet potatoes). Oats, shredded coconut, and almond meal give this gluten free crisp its substance, while coconut oil makes it decadent and buttery (and keeps it vegan). The thyme adds another layer of herby flavor – feel free to omit, but I think you’d like it.

 

I’d assume any summer fruit would be a great substitute here; just remember to adjust the filling sweetener depending on fruit tartness and personal taste.

 

Red Currant + Strawberry Gluten Free Crisp | ourfourforks.com

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