My dad’s birthday would be incomplete without some sort of blueberry dessert. Typically it’s in the form of a cobbler and that’s what it was this year. Last week the whole family got together for a good Italian dinner and followed it up with a delicious blueberry cobbler that my aunt Sharon made. So I think it made sense when I found myself adding blueberries to recipes recently.
The thing about healthy or clean eating is that it’s not all or nothing. Or at least, that is what it has slowly become for me. I don’t subscribe to any form of diet that requires me to give up certain foods all together. “Clean Eating” is a way of eating in which you try to avoid refined sugars, flours and processed foods. But there is no strict rule book that says if you have something with sugar that you lose and it’s over for you. It’s not like that. Life’s not like that.
In a former life, my days were consumed by food and eating healthy. We are talking to the point of avoiding social gatherings, dining at restaurants, and other everyday things that people just do. There is an obsession with being healthy that in the end makes being healthy a very unhealthy thing.
But as I ate dinner with my family last week, I looked around and realized how healthy I have become and it has been in letting go of all the rules and restrictions. The obsession with eating only what I considered on the “healthy” list would have had me in complete turmoil years ago sitting to eat dinner with everyone. But that night, this girl enjoyed every bit of what she ate. And yea, it may just have had refined flour or sugar or other things I try to avoid. But the key word is “try.” It’s about trying to eat whole foods and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it’s also about trying to relax and know that it is not a 24/7 no ands, ifs or buts kind of thing. Life happens. People dine together, parties happen, wine with the girls is a thing–don’t let go of the beautiful things in life just so you can check off that you ate healthily today. In the end, it’s just not worth it!
So back to the blueberries. Yes, the blueberry cobbler with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream was superb. And because of that dessert, I was inspired to make a blueberry treat. I saw these bars and decided that I needed to create my own version. So all this inspiration brought you this simple delicious treat of Blueberry Crumble Bars. These are gluten free, dairy free and vegan. They take very little time to make so a great treat if you are in a pinch. To be honest, these could even be a breakfast treat! Enjoy!
- 1 cup blueberries thawed if frozen
- 1 T 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 T chia seeds
- Juice of 1/2 small lemon
- 1 c raw almonds
- 1 c raw pecans
- 10 medjool dates pitted
- 1/2 T cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 T heaping coconut oil (not melted)
- Dash of sea salt
- In a small bowl, mash the blueberries well.
- Add in the lemon juice, maple and chia seeds and whisk together until well combined.
- Chill for about 30 minutes or until the jam is set.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds and pecans. Pulse for about 5 second intervals until the mixture is a combination of grain like pieces with small chunks. You want there to be some small chunks still so don't over process.
- Then add all other crumble ingredients and process until fully combined and dates are broken down.
- Set aside about 1/3 c mixture for later.
- Press mixture firmly into a parchment lined pan. A 6x8 or 8x8 pan will work, just modify to the thickness you want.
- Remove the jam from the refrigerator and spread evenly over top.
- Finally, sprinkle the crumble topping over the blueberry jam.
- Allow to set in the freezer for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Remove and cut into bars. Store in the fridge.