What a weekend! It was 55 degrees last Friday and the 2 feet of snow melted to show us the grass again, and then yesterday it turned cold and snowed another 8 inches. Crazy Michigan weather! After about 4-5 inches had fallen late yesterday afternoon, I looked at my husband and said, " I need to bake something!" He was thinking..."why don't you take a nap and relax", but with a napping baby and a beautiful snow-covered yard, I decided...it was a good time to bake a treat. Of course, and who says it is not relaxing idea anyways. Having some warm molasses bars from the oven on a cold wintry afternoon is the perfect combination of rest and comfort.
I have still been thinking way too much about chocolate brownies. These bars will have you thinking you are going to bite into a chocolate brownie because of their appearance, but then you would be pleasantly surprised that it is in fact a sweet, spicy and chewy molasses bar instead. I love molasses. There is 500 mg of potassium in 1 TB of black strap molasses and it has 20% of the daily iron intake. So, molasses is a perfect nutrient for a new mother or any one that suffers with anemia or nutrient deficiencies.
In my opinion, molasses should be considered a superfood sweetener. Yes, it is considered a sweetener because it is derived from sugar cane and sugar beets, but instead of having all the nutrients stripped and refined away it carries all of the minerals and vitamins to naturally be absorbed. That is why I also love sucanat as a sweetener because it is very similar to molasses in flavor, but also it is dried unrefined sugar cane juice. Another great sweetener is coconut palm sugar that is processed in a similar way and has almost the same amounts of potassium, calcium and iron in it as well.
When I first started eating more whole foods I was so confused about if I should just eat NO sugar at all, or if I could have a little. I think that a good question for any person is asking HOW MUCH sugar and sweeteners you are consuming, but also as equally important is WHAT quality you are consuming. The body does crave natural sweets... and you may notice that if you have a balanced plate of bitter, sweet, salty, and sour that you will have a more satisfaction after a meal (which means less snacking). This is very common in ancient dietary structures. To have a balance of tastes to satiate the taste buds and the stomach. This was of course done with bitter herbs, sour citrus, or salty minerals... not with MSG, corn syrup and preservatives.
Today, I think it is a good practice to notice how much of certain tastes you are eating...maybe your craving for "salt" is the fact that your body is in need for more minerals... or sea salt. Or maybe if you body is craving sweets, you should resist fake sugar and eat sweet potatoes, molasses and carrots. It is interesting how our bodies maybe crave what it needs. Not always the case, but interesting to think about at least. I think it is true that women crave chocolate at certain times of the month for a reason... maybe that dark chocolate that is naturally infused with magnesium and iron that your body knows you need just a little bit to "feel" better. So maybe if you are feeling weak or lazy your body may be in need of some iron. Have that spinach salad...but then maybe think about how you could add more molasses to your life. This is all in theory mind you, but still interesting to think about. At least I think so... but I am a food nerd, so that makes sense.
Well, I better get to the recipe... it is pretty simple, but truly a perfect combination of sweet and spicy with the ginger and molasses. If you like molasses cookies, then you will LOVE these. I have fallen in love with them, and think I may have forgotten about chocolate brownies once again. So, I am happy... and so I must share this joy with you of course. I hope you try them, I know you will not be disappointed.
Chewy Molasses Bar Recipe
1 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1 cup of sucanat + handful for sprinkling on top (or use coconut palm sugar)
2 TB of flaxmeal
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
2 ts. of ground ginger
1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup of applesauce
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
2/3 cup of coconut milk beverage, or other non-dairy milk
optional: splash of pure vanilla
Mix all of the dry ingredients together first, then add all of the wet and mix well with a spatula. Make sure to not have any clumps, and batter should be gooey and more solid that watery. Oil a 9x13 pan with either coconut oil, or organic palm oil shortening. Pour in batter and then sprinkle the top with a handful of sucanat, or other sugar like sweetener. Put in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Bake until the top is crisp from the sucanat, and when you use a toothpick in the middle it comes out clean. This is very much like a brownie batter and should appear like it when pulling from the oven. Then let 5-10 minutes to sit and cool before cutting into to avoid crumbles and breakage in bars. Use a clean unserated knife to cut, like you would brownies. They are a chewy bar to be enjoyed! YUM!
Update from my last post: I still have (2) ($1,000) scholarships available for one more week (February 28). This scholarship is towards the tuition of the long distance program to become a Holistic Health Counselor with Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I love the school, and could only recommend it to those interested and serious about health, balance and life.
This is a HUGE offer, and one they do not offer this great scholarship amount much anymore. So, if you have been on the fence about furthering your education, or finding something new and amazing in your life, then I suggest you check IIN out. Their website is...www.integrativenutrition.com. Or call them, and ask for Coach Julia, and tell her that I, Stephanie Laidlaw, sent you. That is the hook up to getting the discount and for learning the most there is to know about Integrative Nutrition. Also, email me or leave a comment so that I can help explain more of what I do, why I like the school, and answer any questions you may have bouncing around in your brain.
Much love to you today, as always!