I have been thinking about desserts and festive treats, it seems, for weeks. Months, even. Rich desserts, rich appetizers, wine and cocktails and Baileys in my coffee - that has been my focus for the last little while and now, suddenly, I am in desperate need for a fresh start.
Well, that's what January is for, isn't it? Fresh starts and putting the celebratory month of December (and, perhaps, November) behind us. The old saying that it's not what you eat between Christmas and New Year's, it's what you eat between New Year's and Christmas that is important comes to mind. And so, here we are.
The truth is that I have a green smoothie in some form every day, even during the gluttonous festive season. My daily smoothie keeps me grounded, with the thought that no matter what else happens, I have already consumed a whole bunch of liquefied spinach. For the record, my iron levels are great!
I've been hearing a lot about smoothie bowls lately, and I wasn't sure what to think. For me, part of the appeal of a smoothie is the portability, which a smoothie bowl doesn't have. However, what a smoothie bowl does have going for it is TOPPINGS. It's like a sundae bar, but healthy!
This delicious tropical green smoothie bowl will give you energy and fill you up for hours - so go and seize the day!
In a high powered blender, blend spinach leaves with coconut milk and chia seeds until spinach is liquefied.
Add pineapple and mango chunks and blend until thick and smooth.
Serve topped with sliced banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds for more protein.
Enjoy - now you're ready to take on the day!
Yield: 1 large serving
Want more healthy smoothie ideas? Try my Easy Green Tropical Smoothie, my Healthy Breakfast Berry Smoothie, or my Homemade Chocolate Protein Shake.
I know, I know. This whole month is a whirlwind of activities. There are parties to attend, potlucks to gorge at, concerts and performances and tournaments to applaud. Not to mention tree-trimming, shopping, wrapping, and watching Elf for the twentieth time while guzzling wine and wondering how you're going to find the energy to bake something for the class party tomorrow.
We've all had that moment, haven't we, when our children surprise us with a last-minute request for baked goods. The class party you didn't know was happening is one that requires you sending in three dozen treats tomorrow morning, and you wonder if sending a box of stale crackers, or last year's candy canes will suffice.
Don't fret! I've got you covered. This is an easy recipe that takes very little time to throw together, and bakes in as much time as you need to drink a Baileys-laced coffee. I know, I've tried.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
Blend together melted coconut oil and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and flax egg (or egg) and blend.
Mix in the flour and salt until smooth.
Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top, and return to the oven. Bake for about 1 minute more.
Remove from oven, and spread the now-softened chocolate chips over the entire surface.
Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy (with a Bailey's-laced coffee, if I may suggest such a thing!).
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
Need more super-easy recipes for the holidays? Try my 5-minute Peppermint Fudge, my Dark Chocolate Bark, or my Candy Cane Popcorn.
Is holiday baking fatigue setting in yet? It sure is for me. I always spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen, but between November and December, that inordinate amount of time seems to triple. Basically, I'm constantly covered with flour at this time of year. There are just so many things: classroom parties, cookie exchanges, pot lucks, and at least six or seven recipes that I MUST make for my family or all will be ashes and sadness.
And yet there's always one more thing, isn't there? Right now I feel like that airplane heading to Rio de Janeiro in Richard Scarry's Busy Busy World. Do you know the story I mean?
You guys, I am that airplane, and Aunty Ant is a metaphor for requests for baked goods.
Here's the thing, though: I KNOW I'm going to be asked to contribute to cookie exchanges and classroom parties, so the best course of action is to be prepared. The best defence is a good offence, and having a pan of these delectable mint chocolate squares in the freezer is like scoring a touchdown in the last twenty seconds of a tied football game.
Sorry, my husband watches a lot of football.
Speaking of my husband, he says that these squares are the BEST DESSERT I HAVE EVER MADE, and he even held to that opinion when I told him they are vegan, so that's saying a lot.
Chewy Chocolate Bottom Layer
Minty Middle Layer
Chocolate Glaze Topping
Cut into squares. Keep refrigerated, or freeze until needed.
Want more easy festive desserts? Try my Peppermint Crunch Icebox Cookies or my Chocolate Glazed Truffle Cookies. If you cannot stand the idea of turning on your oven one more time, try my Quick and Easy Candy Cane Popcorn.