Walnut Berry Ooey-Gooey Delicious Cakes with a side of Homemade Blueberry Jam

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I had intended for this recipe to be banana nut muffins. They could still constitute as such, but when I think of a good muffin, I think of an exaggerated, size-of-your-head kinda muffin with a huge muffin top (ha ha muffin top). After these were made, I went to the gym with Becky. I figured since these little dudes are jam packed with goodness, she’d want one after her workout. She loved them, and I asked her if she thought people would think they’re too moist inside and if I should make them more muffin-y. Her answer: “No, not if you call them ooey-gooey delicious cakes.” So there you have it, walnut berry ooey-gooey delicious cakes.

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These mini-cakes are loaded with energy-boosting ingredients. Bananas work wonders for pre- and post-workout sessions (as well as hangovers). These yellow goddess fruits help sustain blood sugar levels for those strenuous workouts and have tons of potassium which help those sore or dehydrated muscles regain strength. Need more reasons? Check out this website on 25 powerful reasons to eat bananas.

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The walnuts and almond meal contribute high amounts of omega-3 fats and antioxidants, just to name a couple, which benefit a smorgasbord of health-related issues such as weight gain and heart health. Eating the skins of walnuts is important because it contains about 90 percent of its antioxidants. I’ve already gone off on a tangent about chia seeds in earlier posts, but these little pearls are loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, fiber, protein, and healthy fats (among others). Eating just one of these small cakes filled me for a couple of hours and assisted me during my morning run.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (found in most super markets)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 chia egg (1 Tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1/4 cup water – let sit for 10 minutes to thicken)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups mixed berries (I used frozen)
  • coconut oil for greasing
  • optional – extra oats and walnuts for topping

Steps:

  1. Make the chia egg and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a high speed blender/food processor, combine all ingredients except walnuts and berries.
  4. Pour ingredients into a mixing bowl and add in walnuts, mixing gently. Then add in berries, mixing gently.
  5. Lightly coat a cupcake pan with coconut oil and fill mixture to the top.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes. Let cakes set for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.
Chia egg after sitting for 10 minutes
Chia egg after sitting for 10 minutes

This jam is so very easy to make and is for anyone who likes eating jelly/jam, but doesn’t like corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup and other additives. It’s made with 3 simple ingredients and takes minutes to make.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries (or berries of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

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Steps:

  1. In a medium pan, heat berries and syrup for 5 minutes on medium heat, continually mixing and crushing the berries with a fork.
  2. Turn the heat to low and add the chia seeds, continuing to mix for another 10 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes. How simple is that?

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Banana Bon-Bons

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Peggy Bundy would be proud. I’ve envisioned making these for the past few months. Like when I was proctoring the state tests and couldn’t do much more than stare out the window, or when I was sitting on the lifeguard chair staring at the ocean and thinking about the exact ingredients I would use and if everything would stick together like they did in my mind – they did by the way. Yea, I know I sound like a huge food geek. And although I had every intention of creating a delicious dinner and writing about that, I just couldn’t resist trying these out, and when I did, well I obviously had to change my plans a tad…
The richness of the cacao and the nutty flavor of the almonds brings out the sweet flavor of banana – which tastes about three hundred times better when it’s frozen, making it creamy and refreshing on these humid June days in New York. Ingredients (makes about 8 bon-bons):

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  • 1/2 ripened banana
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder*
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

*I recently ran out of cacao powder and bought a different brand at Whole Foods on a whim. This new powder is a lot less strong and I need a lot more to achieve the same taste. So, depending on the cacao powder you have, try one half to one whole tablespoon and taste the mixture to see if it’s enough. I usually order Healthworks brand on Amazon and absolutely love it.

Steps:

  1. Dice one half banana into 1/4 inch coins.
  2. Place on a plate in a single layer – do not pile on top of each other.
  3. For easier handling, freeze for about thirty minutes.
  4. In a blender, mix almonds, coconut, and cacao powder.
  5. Pour into a bowl and add the maple syrup, mix well.
  6. Cover each banana piece and shape into a ball; do not pile covered bananas on top of one another.
  7. For best results, freeze for at least one hour, but best after two hours.

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Blueberry Banana Granola Cups

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One thing I’ve learned from baking vegan desserts is that less is more. When I used to bake “conventional” desserts, I’d think nothing of adding more sugar, butter, or whatever because, “It’s dessert” and it’s supposed to be bad for you. Well, thanks to my blogging community and my love of testing out different recipes, I’ve learned that nothing is further from the truth. Before I actually put these luscious cups together, I was thinking about how I would bake them. I thought maybe I’d put coconut sugar atop the banana and let it caramelize underneath the broiler. Or maybe blend the fruit with maple syrup or coconut yogurt for a dynamite filling. But after test tasting these, guess what? The filling didn’t need any extras like sugar, syrup, or yogurt.

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Another thing I’m learning during my vegan journey is that because so many foods can be deliciously and naturally nutritious, there’s no distinction between breakfast and dessert! Well, these fruit cups are certainly no exception. The oats and nuts are loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, making it a substantial and nourishing breakfast, and the sweet fruit filling make for one hell of a dessert.

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Ingredients (makes about 12 cups):

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats (use 1 1/4 cups for a thinner, but less substantial crust)
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • about 3-4 shakes of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ripened bananas
  • about 1/2 cup blueberries

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a blender/food processor, combine the oats and walnuts. Blend until you have a powder.
  3. Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl and add the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In a greased cupcake pan, fill each cupcake pan about halfway.
  5. With your fingers, press the mixture so that it is even on the bottom and the sides. The oats will expand a bit while baking.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. While the crust is baking, mash up 2 bananas with a fork.
  8. After the 15 minutes, remove the crusted cups and add the banana filling, placing blueberries atop bananas.
  9. Cover with foil and place back in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy…for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert!

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