Nothing more I love than a delicious, healthy treat!...
...except maybe a good ghost story. How about both?
I don't really have a ghost story, more of an ongoing strange occurrence.
We've lived in our current home for a little under two years, but it's only been within the last six months that our shih-tzu Gus has been acting a bit odd.
His in-house bed resides near the fireplace, by which also sits our family room TV, a couch, and a standing lamp.
His bowls of food and water are also in this region, but over the stated time, he has become quite squeamish about this area of the house.
He takes bites of his food warily, always backing up a bit after doing so, and he constantly moves his bed away from this particular corner, all the while glancing over his doggy shoulder as though something is scaring him.
I very much believe in the intuition of animals and have not known what to make of his behavior.
It really began after I rearranged the furniture, placing the floor lamp near his turf, so I'm not sure if he's picking up on some sort of electrical malfunction or if perhaps it's originating from the fireplace...
It has definitely been noteworthy to both my husband and myself, and it makes our home feel a bit ominous at times...
Another Gus quirk is to sit and stare longingly at whatever food I may be preparing that day in the kitchen.
I often shoo him out, as begging is not appreciated, but sometimes I enjoy his company and indulge him with a few scraps.
One food he always comes running for is chocolate, which is ironic considering the toxicity it poses.
On the day I made these delicious treats, he was by my side, beseeching a chocolat-y crumb to fall into his open mouth...alas, his dreams were dashed by my meticulous kitchen habits.
Call it pregnancy cravings or the like, but I've recently had a hankering for Hershey's beloved Cookies 'n' Cream bar, thus inspiring my own healthy creation of the sweet.
With an underlying soft and fudgy cookie layer topped by a sweet, smooth 'cream' layer, these bars offer all of the taste and satisfaction without the guilt and sugar!
No-Bake Cookies and Cream Bars (Vegan)
- CHOCOLATE COOKIE LAYER:
- 1 c . raw walnuts
- ½ c . oats (I use Country Choice Organic Oats)
- 5 T . cocoa powder
- 1 c . soft dates (about 10-12 Medjool dates)
- ¼ t . sea salt
- 1 t . vanilla
- water , as needed to bring everything together (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- CREAM LAYER:
- 4 T . coconut oil , melted
- 2 T . milk of your choice (I use my homemade coconut milk)
- 1 T . maple syrup
- 6 drops liquid stevia
- ½ t . vanilla
- ⅓ c . oat flour (I make my own by grinding quick oats in a coffee grinder)
- a couple dashes sea salt
- 2 T . cacao nibs , optional
- For the cookie layer, pulse the walnuts and oats a few times until broken down a bit.
- Pulse in the cocoa and salt.
- Add in the dates and vanilla.
- Process until combined, adding a bit of water as needed to bring everything together (I need about 1-2 tablespoons).
- Press the dough into a small glass dish (I use a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
- For the cream layer, MAKE SURE THE INGREDIENTS ARE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, or the coconut oil cause yucky clumping.
- Whisk all of the cream layer ingredients together until smooth and well combined (sprinkle the optional cacao nibs atop, if desired).
- Pour atop the chocolate cookie layer.
- Freeze until the top layer is set.
- Cut and serve!
For a nut-free version, you can replace the walnuts with pumpkin seeds.
These are definitely hard to resist, as evidenced by this cute photo...
Have you ever had any eerie encounters?