Tag: nuts

Easy Energy Bites

Easy Energy Bites // Serious Crust

So these energy bite things have been popping up in my life for a while now. I’ve seen them everywhere: favorite foodie websites, blogs, Pinterest (duh, everything is on Pinterest), and on my sister’s Facebook. I tried a batch inspired by Sprouted Kitchen that was peanut butter heavy, but they weren’t really my jam (but maybe peanut butter is your jam, or jelly, as it were). After talking to my sister, she inspired me to try her version. And they were great. They were fruity, jammy, chewy, and a little nutty, similar to Larabars.

The beauty of these is that they could not be easier to make. Also, people have found them really impressive, even though they took a mere pressing of buttons to make. The other beauty of these is that you can make them using whatever you’re in the mood for. On this particular day, dried apricots and cherries were calling my name. But I also wanted a little decadence, so I threw in some semi-sweet chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless. And I like that.

Easy Energy Bites

Note: you will need a food processor to make these. You could try them in a blender, but I’m not making any promises about what might happen.


1 cup nuts (I used almond) – toasting optional
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried fruit (I went for half apricots, half sour cherries)
Optional: 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, or cocoa nibs


Get out a large piece of wax or parchment paper.

Combine the nuts, dates, whatever dried fruit, and chocolate (if you’re using it) in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the ingredients, stopping to separate the dates if they clump together. Now, turn the food processor on for 30 seconds or so. Everything should break down every more to crumbly pieces. Scrape down the edges of the bowl. Process again for 1-2 minutes until a paste starts to form and the ingredients clump together into a ball. Dump the paste/dough onto the piece of parchment or wax paper, and press it with your hands until it forms a square, roughly 8×8. Wrap up the dough, and let cool in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

Once the dough is chilled, unwrap it, slice it into bars of whatever size. You can individually wrap the bars if you’d like, but I stacked mine in a tupperware and stored them in the fridge. Note that they don’t necessarily need to be kept in the fridge, but doing so will help them maintain their shape and firmness. Room temperature bars will be softer and pastier.

Kale Stem Pesto

Kale Stem Pesto // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerKale Stem Pesto // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I often find myself frustrated with how much stuff I put in my compost. I guess I should stop right there and say, at least I have a compost, right? The beautiful city of Portland has roadside pickup every week, making it so wonderfully easy to make more environmentally conscious choices. There aren’t a lot of cities that do that. Anyway, I know I could save some bones and carrot tops and onion tops and parsley stems for stock… But I just don’t do it. I mean, I do sometimes… But not as often as I should. And there’s one thing lately that I have always felt guilty after putting it in the compost: kale stems. Jonah and I eat a fair amount of kale – usually sautéed with butter and garlic or something like that, sometimes in a salad. But I always am frustrated at the toughness of the stems, and wish I could do more with them.

After a little research and looking around, I mostly found that people who do use their kale stems either sauté them with their kale, simply adding the stems first so they cook for longer, or put them in smoothies. I wasn’t really into either of these options, so I made myself a third one. With the all-in pesto in mind, and a container of pine nuts whining from my pantry, I got to work making some kale stem pesto. I wasn’t planning on sharing this pesto here, since the recipe is really improvised, but I got so many comments and questions about what it was when I posted pictures on my Instagram and Facebook, that I thought, why not? This pesto is certainly a product of whatever you’ve got around, which is generally my theory about pesto. Herbs are good, parmesan is good, and other than that, you can kind of go crazy. Nearly any kind of nut will work, any greens, and you can really play until you find some flavors that you like. I didn’t do any measuring here – mostly just throwing in handfuls of this or that – but below is an approximation of what I used.

The beautiful thing about pesto is that it can be a complete reflection of your kitchen: if you just went to the market and have some radish greens, use them. If you don’t have any pine nuts but plenty of pistachios or walnuts, use them. If it’s raining and you want something heartier, add more cheese.

We tossed our kale stem pesto with fresh spaghetti (you can find a recipe here) and topped it with sliced grape tomatoes, which added a really nice juicy brightness. I also like to make a thick piece of toast and slather it with fresh pesto.

Kale Stem Pesto


1 bunch of kale stems, plus probably the equivalent of 1 leaf of kale
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup parsley
~ 3/4 cup pine nuts
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil


Fill a small pot halfway with water, salt well, and bring to a boil. Roughly chop kale stems into about 1/2 – 1 inch pieces. Add to boiling water, and cook until stems are easily pierced with a knife. Drain and cool.

In the bowl of a food processor (or blender), combine kale stems, a few small chunks of parmesan, about half the pine nuts, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, and a few glugs of olive oil. Pulse to combine. Add spinach, some parsley, and a hefty sprinkling of salt. The key here is to taste and add. If you want a little more spice, add another clove or two of garlic. If you want it creamier, more nuts, and olive oil. If you want it greener, add more spinach and parsley, or some fresh basil or chard if you’ve got some around.

The Perfect Equation (for Granola, anyway)

The perfect granola equations // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

First, let me apologize for disappearing for a little while. I was laid up in bed with a really terrible cold for most of this week. There was lots of tea, cough drops, movies, tom kha soup, and knitting. But now that I’m back from the land of the ill, let’s talk about granola a little bit.

For a while now, I’ve been making the recipe from Orangette or another friend’s secret granola recipe. And every time I’ve tried to go rogue (aka not exactly following a recipe), my granola ends up too dry, or not sweet enough, or not as crispy as I like it. And I’m not the kind to make the same recipe a thousand times trying to add a teaspoon more of this or up the temperature 13 degrees. It’s not going to happen.

So when I happened upon a granola equation, on Buzzfeed of all places, I immediately wrote it down on a little notepad I’ve started carrying with me wherever I go (can’t recommend that enough). And I’ve used it many times. I’ve made a couple adjustments, and I have a couple of suggestions in terms of which way to lean on some of their more vague instructions, and I want to share it with you.

The Perfect Granola Equation


Dry Ingredients

3 1/2 cups grain This is where most people use oats. I use oats. I guess if you want to use barley or whatever, you can.

1 – 1 1/2 cups nuts I’ve been using mostly a mix of whatever I have around. I like half pecans, half sliced almonds, but I’ve also used walnuts.

1 tsp salt

1 – 2 cups seeds I would suggest leaning towards one cup instead of two. Otherwise it can quickly start to feel like you’re eating birdseed. I’ve been mostly using pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (old habits and all that), but I’m itching to try sesame seeds too.

1 cup coconut If you really dislike coconut, you can go without, but it adds a lovely nutty toasty flavor to the granola that I adore.

Spices You can really add as many as you like, but don’t get too crazy. A teaspoon of cinnamon is always a good place to start, and after that, maybe add a quarter teaspoon of one or two other things. I always use a quarter teaspoon of cardamom, and because it’s the holiday season and I associate nutmeg with the holidays, I’ve been adding a quarter teaspoon of that as well.

1 cup dried fruit I’m personally not a fan of dried fruit in my granola – I’d rather cut in a banana or peach or some berries – but if you are, you can add it after baking. If you’re adding something big like dried apricot or figs (as opposed to something small like dried cranberries or cherries), cut it into a rough dice before tossing it in with the granola.

Wet Ingredients

1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetener I like to do mostly maple syrup, though it can get a little pricy. Sometimes I’ll do half syrup and half honey. Agave is another good option.

1/4 – 1/2 cup oil I used to use solely olive oil – I liked the kind of savory-ness it brought to the granola – but I’ve started doing half olive oil and half coconut oil, and I am a big big fan.

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients, stir until thoroughly combined and coated. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the granola on the parchment. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes (unless you like clumpier granola, in which case stir once halfway through). Remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy.