"Happy birthday to my blog! Happy birthday to...oh wow. FOUR years?!" Those were the thoughts that coursed through my mind while getting ready for this post. I cannot believe I have been blogging about my baked goods (and sometimes my life) for four years. It doesn't seem like four years. It seems like two and a half. It's been so fun and cathartic and, well, delicious!
I must admit that I was a little saddened to read last year's blogiversary post...and the year before's post...and the blogiversary post from 2009. Besides travelling more (yay!), it seems like not much has changed in my life over four years except for the apartments I live in and my hair. (Which is nice and "long" now compared to when I had a pixie cut.)
(Yes, that IS me eating a fried oreo in Little Italy.)
Besides these two things I'm still working the same day job, I still sing operatically, I still run (well, I did until my injury last week), and I still love hanging out with my friends whenever possible. (And sometimes I do more than one of these things at a time!)
It's not that I was expecting some drastic change in my life within the last fours years, and quite frankly I can be very thankful that nothing drastic HAS happened. Whew!
But then I realized that one thing has changed (besides me joining pinterest...). It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me so maybe that's why I didn't think of it right away, but, in the grand scheme of my blog, it IS rather important:
I enjoy eating healthy!
Yes, ever since Feb, 2012, I've incorporated more fruits, veggies, and nuts in my diet. There are also many weeks when I do a raw foods diet.
Don't worry. I still love desserts and still completely believe that life IS too short to skip dessert. But my taste buds have become a little more picky and I prefer artisnal, lightly crafted desserts more than the heavy, super processed, and preservative heavy desserts. The fact that there is an abundance of blogs out there with posts on those kind of desserts makes me feel ok about the lack of them on my blog. (Mind you, I'll still bake them from time to time...especially around Christmas time.)
I've actually been enjoying baking vegan, gluten-free, raw, or just healthy desserts recently (which I'm sure that you, my awesome readers, have noticed.) It's so fun to make up my own recipes as well, like the recipe for this post. I loved my raw and gluten free magic bars so much that I've been making single serving parfaits for myself each day this week.
Besides this "hits the spot" recipe, some of the other recipes I loved/am proud of that I made this last year are:
•Overnight Coffee Loaves I was so proud of myself for making these. They were perfect, just perfect (and even more so when eaten right after they came out of the oven.) I hope to make them again when I have more time to take better photos of them.
•Homemade Donuts This recipe pushed me out of my baking comfort zone which resulted in amazing donuts. Once again, I was very proud of myself for the success of these donuts.
•No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Granola Cookies These were an instant hit and it's hard to eat just one. I'm currently wishing I had one to eat right now...maybe I'll make a healthier version of them soon...
•Raw & Gluten Free Honey Bunches of Oats Bars I made up this recipe after making my own almond butter for the first time. I was proud of my own recipe and happy with the yumminess of the bars.
•Heart Shaped Italian Macarons This recipe required a lot of attention and I'm happy to report that both times I made macarons in the last year they all turned out to be scrumptious. These heart shaped ones were so cute! Next time I'll try to make some without splits on top.
•Cherry Poppyseed Cake I'll just reiterate what I wrote about this cake back in summer: This cake is so lovely, especially for summer seeing it's somewhat light in consistency and uses cherries. I added a nice whipped cream that helped bring out the flavors of the poppy seeds and the cherries. I highly recommend making this cake.
•"Almazing" Almond Bars I am dead serious about these bars being amazing. I'm craving one right now just thinking about them!
•Cherry Lemonade Bars with Lavender Frosting Thankfully I decided to enter a baking contest this year. While I didn't win, this is hands down my favorite recipe of the year. I made it three times within a week since it was so amazing. (And part of the recipe is mine!)
There are plenty more recipes I loved this past year, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind the most.
Hopefully my next year of blogging will be just as successful when it comes to baking. I can't wait for another delicious year!
Raw and Gluten Free Magic Bars (an Erika Beth original recipe)
1 cup raw & pitted dates (I used medjool dates)
2 Tablespoons of nut milk (I used a mixed nut milk)
1 Tablespoon of raw honey
1 cup pecan butter (I made my own - feel free to substitute a different nut butter)
1/2 cup of gluten free dried oats
1/4 cup of unsweetened, dried, and shredded coconut
2 Tablespoons of cacao nibs
In a medium bowl, stir the honey into the nut milk and then soak the dates in the mixture for an hour. Then put the dates and the milk into a food processor and process until the mixture becomes sticky and like caramel. Mix the pecan butter with the oats and spread evenly on the bottom of a small square container (about 4x4 inches. *see photo below). Once an even layer is on the bottom of the container, spread the date "caramel" evenly on top of that layer. Then sprinkle the coconut on top of the caramel layer. Then sprinkle the cacao nibs on top of the coconut. Refrigerate for at least an hour and then cut into small squares and enjoy.
Bake well and prosper!