Coconut Date Breakfast Bars

Coconut Date Bars

My neighbors have a table. I was debating on writing about this for a while, but as I sat typing out seemingly meaningless tidbits about coconut sugar, I heard a phone ring. A rather loud conversation followed, and I thought, well, there’s a sign.

I enjoy sitting outside on my balcony this time of year. Truth be told, I enjoy sitting outside any time of year, weather permitting. The only thing that ruins this for me is loud noise piercing the somewhat surprising – for a city at least – silence.

Usually, it is those loud leaf blowers that send me scurrying back inside. I loathe those things and feel badly for the landscapers who have to wear them around on their backs in 90 degree heat. I consider those monstrosities such a nuisance that I would ban them if I had that kind of power. Our yards might suffer, but our peace of mind would improve.

As you may have guessed, I do not care for a lot of loud noise. Unless I am jamming to some tunes or sitting in a stadium cheering on my team, I like the quiet. So, the fact that I am overhearing a phone conversation that is practically a shouting match two balconies over right now is trying my patience. Seriously, I can even hear the voice on the other side of the line.

A feeling of lingering annoyance stayed with me a few weeks ago when I walked by the offenders’ apartment. To my surprise, the door was wide open with no one around. As I peered inside, I saw two sets of sandals by the door, a folding table, and two chairs.

Coconut Date Bars

That was it. No couch to stretch out on. No comfortable chair to curl up in. No television to turn on to pass the time. There was nothing else in that apartment but those shoes and a meager table and chairs. What really hit me about this scene was that the modest folding table was covered with a tablecloth. It felt like someone was making the best of a kind of sad situation.

Who knows what these people are going through? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Maybe the movers have not yet come to deliver their belongings. All I know is getting a glimpse into how these people who annoyed me with their loud voices were living put me back in my place in a hurry. I guess it is true that we just never know what people are going through.

So, here I am with my seemingly insignificant coconut date bars. They are not all that simple to whip up, but they do make for a filling breakfast or snack.

The original recipe boasted five different types of coconut, but I ditched the unsweetened shredded coconut and unsweetened coconut flakes to use up the sweetened shredded coconut I had on hand. The other two forms of coconut are coconut oil and coconut sugar, and you should probably consider sticking with those.

Am I telling you that you have to buy coconut sugar? Well, you do not have to, but I have not tried the recipe any other way. You could probably get by with brown sugar, but again, I have not tested any sugar substitutions.

Bon Appetit provides a nice primer on baking with different sugars, including coconut sugar, so you might want to check that out for substitution ideas. Cooking Light also provides a nice visual on how the same cake recipe differs when baked with six different sugars. Because, you know, every situation is different, even when we forget that truth sometimes. Enjoy.

Coconut Date Bars

Coconut Date Breakfast Bars
 
Author:
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces Medjool dates (about 12)
  • 1¼ cups almonds, divided
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup coconut oil, room-temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2½ cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates and then bring them along with one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is almost completely evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. While the plumped dates cool, pulse one cup of the almonds, whole wheat flour, oats, salt, and baking powder in a food processor until the almonds are very finely ground, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the coconut oil, butter, coconut sugar, and two tablespoons of the honey and pulse to combine.
  6. Next pulse in one cup of the shredded coconut.
  7. Transfer this mixture to an 8x8" baking dish lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and lined with parchment paper along the bottom and sides (leave a bit of overhang on all sides).
  8. Pack the mixture evenly across the bottom of dish (the layer will be thick). Don't be shy about really packing it down (the bottom of a measuring cup works well for this), as the more compact, the better it will hold together once baked.
  9. Pulse the cooled dates, the lemon juice, and the lemon zest in a food processor until smooth.
  10. Spread the date purée evenly over the crust, leaving a narrow ½" or so border around the edges.
  11. Chop the remaining ¼ cup almonds and mix them together with the remaining 1½ cups shredded coconut and two teaspoons honey.
  12. Scatter this topping evenly over the date purée and gently press it in to the top.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees F until the top is browned and the edges are very firm, about 40–45 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.
Notes
The bars can be stored airtight at room temperature for up to three days. Instead of honey, you can also agave nectar. Instead of lemon juice and zest, the original recipe called for lime juice and zest.
 

Green Goddess Potato Salad

Green Goddess Potato Salad

Hey guys, guess what? In only seven months, it will be Christmas! What do you say we enjoy the summer first?

With June 1 and the unofficial start of summer just one week away, many of you are probably gearing up for a season of barbecue. To help you get your game face on, I teamed up with several bloggers to bring you 50 recipe ideas for a smashing summer shindig.

I brought a potato salad tossed in green goddess dressing to the table. Green goddess is made from a mayonnaise and sour cream base cut with a splash of vinegar and lemon or lime juice and as many herbs as you like tossed in.

The dressing was invented in 1923 at the luxurious Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Legend has it a hotel chef invented the dish in honor of actor George Arliss who stayed at the hotel while performing in the play “The Green Goddess.” 

Green Goddess Potato Salad

The original dressing called for scallions (or chives) and parsley, but the current hotel recipe adds chervil and tarragon to the mix. The version here takes a cue from both, using scallions, parsley, and tarragon.

In addition to potato salad, the original recipe suggested pairing the dressing with fried oysters or raw endive. It can also be used as a salad dressing, but you will want to blend it smooth and thin it with a bit of olive oil first.

I took my version of the potato salad a step further and added a few bacon crumbles on top. Because I had bacon grease from cooking the bacon, I tossed the potatoes in that, instead of olive oil, before roasting. Those were good potatoes.

Be sure to check out all of the recipes for our Great Blogger BBQ below. Enjoy!

Green Goddess Potato Salad

 

Green Goddess Potato Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Potatoes
  • 2½ pounds red potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • For the Dressing
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Optional Garnish
  • cooked and crumbled bacon
Instructions
  1. Cut the potatoes into quarters and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees F until fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes bake, stir together all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.
  4. When the potatoes come out of the oven, transfer them to the bowl with the dressing and stir to coat.
  5. Allow the potato salad to stand for 15 minutes to absorb the dressing. Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired, and serve at room temperature.
Notes
The potato salad can be made up to two days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Instead of roasting red potatoes with their skins on, you may also peel and boil the red potatoes. Place the potatoes in four-quart stockpot half-full with salted water. Cover and cook until just fork-tender, about 6-7 minutes. Drain well before tossing with the dressing.

For the dressing, feel free to substitute chives for the scallions. You can also add ½ teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 minced anchovy fillets to the dressing. If you are interested in using the dressing for salad, place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in some olive oil until the dressing reaches the desired consistency.
 

50 recipes for the perfect summer get-together! Whether you're planning a barbecue, picnic, or outdoor party, check out everything from appetizer recipes, entree recipes, cocktail recipes, dessert recipes, side dish recipes and more to go with your BBQ! #greatbloggerBBQ

50 recipes for the perfect summer get-together! Whether you're planning a barbecue, picnic, or outdoor party, check out everything from appetizer recipes, entree recipes, cocktail recipes, dessert recipes, side dish recipes and more to go with your BBQ!

Appetizers

Korean BBQ Tofu Sliders with Kimchi Slaw by Hello Little Home
Corn, Black Bean, and Feta Dip by Lizzy is Dizzy
Crab, Bacon & Guacamole Crostinis by That Square Plate

Cocktails and Drinks

Blackberry Gin Slush by The Speckled Palate
Homemade Lemonade by Winstead Wandering
Blood Orange Mocktail by Body Rebooted
Fleur Collins Cocktail by Hungry Girl por Vida
Fourth of July Sparkler by Mixplorology
Black Stripe Cold Rum Cocktail by Honey and Birch
Fresh Watermelon Mojito by Twin Stripe
Mint Hibiscus Lemonade by The Little Epicurean

Entrées

Salt Plate Shrimp by The Mexitalian
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burgers by Simple and Savory
Roasted Vegetable Grilled Pizza with Garlic Herb Oil by Ciao Chow Bambina
Memphis Style Pulled Pork by Two Places at Once
Balsamic & Honey Chicken Skewers with Strawberry-Kiwi Salsa by No Spoon Necessary
Amazing Basic Spice Rub for Grilling by An Oregon Cottage
Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs by PasadenaDaisy
Smoked Porchetta Pork Loin by Tasty Ever After
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork by Appeasing a Food Geek
Peach Barbecue Sauce by The Beach House Kitchen
Tuna Stuffed Sweet Peppers by SugarLoveSpices
Herb Marinated Steak Gyros Plates with Tomato-Onion Salad and Green Tahini Sauce by Feed Me Phoebe
Marinated Skirt Steak with Sweet Corn and Cherry Salad by Domesticate ME!
Sweet & Sour Chicken Kebabs by Tastefully Frugal

Side Dishes

Caprese Pasta Salad by Club Narwhal
Cranberry Almond Broccoli Salad by Two Sisters Kitchens
Coconut Milk Mac & Cheese by A Little Gathering
Cherry Quinoa Salad by Food Lovin Family
Cheddar, Corn and Bacon Potato Salad by Family Food on the Table
Lemon Rocket Pasta Salad by Lauren Caris Cooks
Green Goddess Potato Salad by Love & Flour
Red White & Blue Watergate Salad by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Zesty Potato Skewers by Pamela Salzman
Quinoa Tabouli by A Fork’s Tale

Desserts

Banana Pudding Ice Cream Cake by Feast + West
Strawberry Beer Floats by bethcakes
Cherry Cheesecake Dessert by The Little Blonde Baker
Light Berry Angel Food Cake by The Creative Bite
Lemon Cream Tarts with Berries by Girl Heart Food
Fresh Strawberry Muffins by Spiced
Lemon Pie Sundae by Flavours & Frosting
Strawberry Lemon Shortcakes by Dash of Herbs
Grasshopper Pie by 2 Cookin’ Mamas
Berry Mango Smoothie Pops by HÄLSA Nutrition
Mixed Berry Vanilla Bean Cake by Cake ‘n Knife
No Churn Cookies and Cream Strawberry Ice Cream by The Secret Ingredient Is
Coconut Blueberry & Vodka Ice Pops by Nik Snacks
Strawberry Key Lime Margarita Greek Yogurt Ice Pops by Beer Girl Cooks
Cherry & Rhubarb Tart by Crepes of Wrath

Three Beer Cocktails – 2016 Edition

Beer Babes 001

I held on to this one for a while, feeling blah on writing and creating in general. Finding myself caught up in other minutiae. Justifying procrastination with a nagging awareness that people tend to enjoy my food recipe posts much more than reading about my exploits around town. Today I finally decided to get some words down, and wouldn’t you know, it’s American Craft Beer week!

Some of you may remember that last year I attended a brunch featuring beer cocktails with the Charlotte Beer Babes. We did it again a couple of months ago at one of my favorite Charlotte restaurants,  The Liberty. (Side note: I wrote about The Liberty along with some other local favorites on Chrissie’s blog).

This year, we enjoyed a second-round of cocktails from our friends at Sierra Nevada and Bell’s and were happy to see local Birdsong Brewing in on the action. Birdsong brews my favorite beer in town, the Doin’ Thyme Witbier.

Our first beer cocktail featured nearly everyone else’s favorite Birdsong beer, the Jalapeno Pale Ale. Mixed with a small portion of Bloody Mary mix, the beer was transformed into a Bloody Mess cocktail with “garnishes fit for a queen.”

That phrase was actually printed on the menu, and can you argue? The cocktail was served with an angus slider, a devil on horseback (bacon-wrapped date), soft pretzel bite, celery stalk, and crisp dill pickle. All it was missing was a crown.

Beer Babes 002

Next up was Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez gose-style ale mixed with a splash of ruby red grapefruit juice. This course was paired with a pork belly bao bun stuffed full of scallions, cilantro, pickled jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, and carrots.

Like respectable diners, we ended our meal with coffee and dessert. A coffee stout cocktail counts as coffee, right? Bell’s treated us to their Kalamazoo Stout chilled with iced Vietnamese Coffee cubes. Served alongside a pecan pie bread pudding with Chantilly cream and salted caramel, dessert could not have been better.

While I can not offer you recipes for the delicious food we enjoyed, I can tell you how to craft your own beer cocktails. Depending on where you live, the beers I mentioned may not be available in your area. I have tried to accommodate that reality by calling for a general jalapeno pale ale or coffee stout for the Bloody Mess and Iced Coffee Stout. A jalapeno beer might be hard to find, but a chili-infused brew will likely bring the right amount of heat. Just stick with the pale ales or even the IPAs; I don’t imagine a dark stout or porter will work all that well in a Bloody Mary beer cocktail.

The exception is the Citrus Gose, where I left the specific beer in place. I am not sure the best substitution for the Otra Vez – the goses I have tried vary on the salty-sour scale – and the cocktail we tried was created to compliment the prickly pear cactus and grapefruit used to brew the Otra Vez. Because Sierra Nevada beers are distributed in every state and in DC, I am hoping you have luck finding it near you if you are eager to give the cocktail a try. Oh, and when you ask for it, gose is pronounced like go-zuh, not like the word go with an “s” on the end. Cheers!
Beer Babes 003

 

Beer Cocktails
 
Ingredients
  • Bloody Mess
  • 1 ounce Bloody Mary mix
  • jalapeno pale ale
  • Citrus Gose
  • 2 ounces ruby red grapefruit mix
  • Sierra Nevada Otra Vez gose-style ale
  • Iced Coffee Stout
  • 3 cups hot brewed coffee (bold roast preferred)
  • 1, 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • coffee stout
Instructions
  1. To make the Bloody Mess, pour the bloody Mary mix into a pint glass filled ⅔ of the way with ice.
  2. Fill the rest of the glass with the jalapeno beer and give it a quick stir to mix.
  3. To make the Citrus Gose, pour the grapefruit juice into a chilled glass.
  4. Fill the rest of the glass with the gose.
  5. To make the Iced Coffee Stout, stir together the coffee and the condensed milk.
  6. Transfer the mixture to ice cube trays and freeze at until set.
  7. Place three frozen coffee cubes into a pint glass and top with a coffee stout.