grain free


to be honest september stumps me in terms of cooking. it’s the height of produce season where you get the wonderful overlap of late summer and early fall mixed into one, and it’s almost too much for my brain to compute! do you have the same problem? i get into a seasonal rhythm when i’m cooking breakfast, so when a new season comes along everything kinda gets thrown out the window. i’ve been having cold summer smoothies on heavy rotation, along with almond yogurt with summer berries and almond butter. i’ve also been making amesy pancakes loaded with sliced peaches and/or blueberries.

so whenever i think of shifting to september, when we want a hint of autumnal spice, but we’re not quite ready to go full throttle, i turn to granola. it’s the perfect conduit for touches of cozy that can paired with just about anything. i tend to go for grain-free granola mixes these days, but many-to-most, store-bought varieties tout their “soft & chewy” texture. not sure about you, but i’m team “hard & crunchy” when it comes to grain-free granola. so most times i just make my own.

this granola recipe pairs 2 of my favorite things: seeds and coconut flakes. coconut flakes are the vehicle here for ultimate flavor. when it’s mixed up and baked with a bit of sweetener, spices, and salt, it absorbs all that flavor delivering the most tasty granola. the roasted plums here were an afterthought, but so worth the little bit of time to make them. you just throw them together while the granola is cooling - easy-peasy. they add a perfect little touch of summer’s end.

happy september, sweet friends!

pepita-coconut granola w/ maple roasted plums | gf/v/grain-free


| makes roughly 3 cups granola |

  • 2 cups coconut flakes

  • 1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  • 1 cup chopped almonds

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • a couple pinches fine sea salt

  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, or raw honey

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 4 firm, but ripe plums, halved and pitted

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

  • pinch of salt

  • unsweetened plant-based yogurt or milk, for serving


  1. preheat oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment.

  2. in a large bowl, mix together the coconut flakes, pepitas, almonds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.

  3. in a small bowl, whisk together the coconut nectar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. pour over dry ingredients. use a rubber spatula to mix the granola, making sure everything is mixed thoroughly and evenly.

  4. spread the granola evenly into the baking sheet, pushing it out into a flat layer. bake for 25-30 minutes, mixing it halfway through, until it’s lightly browned, and fragrant. (the color of the granola will also depend on what liquid sweetener you use. mine resulted in a darker color because i used coconut nectar.)

  5. let the granola cool, and raise the oven temperature to 400°F to roast the plums.

  6. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toss the plums together with coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt. roast the plums cut side up for 25-30 minutes, until tender and juicy, and lightly browned around the edges. let cool for about 10 minutes.

  7. scoop your desired amount of yogurt into a bowl. top with a good bit of granola, and 1 or 2 plum halves; drizzle a bit of the plum juices around the bowl, and enjoy!

  8. store the granola in a sealed jar at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. store leftover plums and juices in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. reheat the plums or let them come to room temp before serving.

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies from Simply Vibrant by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

happy valentine's day!  if you've been reading this blog for a while then you probably know, i'm not that into this holiday. sorry to be a bummer. consider me one of those people who always thought it was a hallmark holiday.  but(!) i am finding it easier to get into the spirit now that amesy's old enough to find googly-eyed hearts, or mickey mouse valentine cards funny and interesting.  we're not doing any valentine projects (yet, i'm sure they'll come in time), but there is definitely a bit mote of a fuss over all the silly heart-shaped treats and decorations everywhere.  dare i say that i'm excited for next year when we'll be able to make cards, or decorations together!? we'll see what happens ;) but until then, BROWNIES!

these brownies come from anya kassoff (from the ever inspiring blog, Golubka Kitchen) and her daughter masha davydova (she takes all the stunning photographs!), and their cookbook: Simply Vibrant.  this is their second cookbook that focusses on plant-based, vegetarian meals spanning the day.  the contents are broken into very clever categories: morning meals like porridges and pancakes. then there are: wraps and rolls; noodles, pasta, and pizza; and  fritters and veggie burgers.  the last couple of chapters include sweets, and basics and sauces.  anya, like she does on her blog, makes her recipes so inviting not only with the beautiful photos that grace the pages, but the different flavors and textures she incorporates into each dish.  

these brownies for instance are made lusciously fudgy by using sweet potato - something i would never think of incorporating into a brownie batter.   there's also a good amount of chocolate, but anya instructs you to chop it in the food processor which basically makes the chocolate into a meal,  it's then stirred in with the rest of the batter to form these delicious treats.  and i especially love a dessert i don't have to worry about giving amesy nibbles of.  they're sweetened with dates (and aforementioned chocolate), and i assume some sweetness comes from the sweet potato as well ;)  these are the perfect treat to induge in on this day, or any day, really!  whatever you're partaking in, i hope it is serving you well! 

big XOXO's!

sweet potato chocolate brownies | v & gf

my notes: i used 85% cacao bittersweet chocolate.  next time i would use between 60%-70& cacao chocolate,  as most of the sweetness in these brownies comes from the chocolate.  

recipe from Simply Vibrant by Anya Kassoff

print the recipe!

| makes 12 large or 24 small brownies |

  • 1 cup (200 g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the brownies
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 9 to 10 (140 g) large, soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 medium sweet potato, baked, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond butter


  1. preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, extending the paper up the sides. place the chocolate in the freezer.
  2. spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes.  remove them from the oven and let them cool, then rub them with a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.  reserve a few whole nuts for garnishing the brownies, and place the rest of the nuts in a food processor; grind into a meal.  make sure you don't overprocess.  transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. place the chilled chocolate in the food processor and grind into the smallest pieces possible.  transfer to the bowl with the ground hazelnuts and add the almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  stir to mix evenly.
  4. combine the dates, sweet potato chunks, and almond butter in the food processor and puree until smooth.  spoon this mixture into the bowl with the ground hazelnuts and chocolate; stir to combine thoroughly.  
  5. spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and even out the top with a spoon.  transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top of the brownie is firm to the touch.
  6. remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to room temperature, then transfer the brownie to a cutting board, using the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan.  dust the brownie with cocoa powder chop the reserved whole hazelnuts and sprinkle them on top, if desired.  slice the brownies into bars. 

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hazelnut butter brownies

hazelnut butter brownies

dark chocolate kabocha muffins

dark chocolate kabocha muffins

raw nutella bars

raw nutella bars

"Cheesy" Herb-Crusted Squash by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

the past few weeks have been a little crazy around here.  frank and i have essentially been switching off weeks for work travel, all mixed in with the beginning of the holidays, and family and friends coming in to town.  life seems very, very full at the moment.  i took a trip for work at the beginning of the week with lots of mixed emotions.  it was the first time i was going to be away from amesy and something about not seeing him wake up in the morning, and not being there for his nighttime dinner-bath-sleep routine made me somewhat of a mess.  i think that a lot of times it's the anticipation of things that are far worse than what the reality is.  while i missed amesy dearly, it also felt really good to put my work hat on, be in a different city (that i can't wait to go back to one day!), and let myself sit with the idea that i was okay without him.  something about being a mom for the past 14 months has felt very safe. and so getting outside of that (wonderfully amazing) comfort was a much needed reminder that we as moms can wear two different hats and still be ok. :)

switching gears to squash, and "cheesy", crusty goodness!  so basically this recipe is roasted squash that's breaded with grain-free cracker crumbs, a good bit of nutritional yeast (giving it that cheesy quality), herbs, and seasoning.  there's also a good bit of olive oil that tops these squash chunks making the topping extra crispy and flavorful.  it's a great back pocket recipe to have around this time of year when you need a hearty side dish, or are just looking to up your squash game ;)  i highly recommend serving this with the pomegranate seeds, they definitely offer that little bit of brightness at the end of each bite.

holiday hugs, friends! xo

"cheesy" herb-crusted squash | v & gf

i used grain-free, vegan crackers and made my own crumbs (instructions below), but any cracker crumbs or bread crumbs will work well here. this recipe can also be easily doubled if you're serving more than 2-4 people.

| serves 2-4 people |

  • 1 small-ish winter squash (1-2 pounds)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cracker crumbs (i used these)*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme and sage, plus more thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • fine salt & freshly ground pepper
  • chopped parsley, to serve
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve

*quickly pulse whole crackers in a food processor or blender until you get small cracker crumbs.


  1. preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. slice the squash in half, then slice into quarters.  drizzle a good amount of olive oil into the bottom of a rimmed baking dish (enough to cover the bottom generously).  
  3. whisk together the cracker crumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  4. brush the squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  sprinkle the crunchy "cheese" mixture onto each of the squash pieces, pressing the crumbs onto the sides if need be, and spray the topping with oil (or drizzle with oil)
  5. bake for 35-40 minutes, until the squash is tender, and the tops and sides are golden brown.
  6. serve the squash warm topped with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds.  

more holiday-friendly recipes:

cauliflower kalamata dip

cauliflower kalamata dip

garlic & spice-roasted carrots w/ tahini yogurt

garlic & spice-roasted carrots w/ tahini yogurt

fruity kale salad, for a crowd

fruity kale salad, for a crowd