Grief and Date Squares (A Gluten-Free,Updated Version!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Date Square

I mentioned in my last post that there had been a lot of crazy things that had happened in my 6 week postpartum period.  One thing that I have been dealing with, is the loss of my Grandmother. A woman who influenced almost every decision in my life – from the way I part my hair, to the man I chose to live my life with and how I make stuffing for a turkey. She was a woman who I wish all women had someone like her in their lives. Because my Grandmother always made me feel good when I saw her and supported me through and through. She was so much of an influence on me that I named my most recent child after her.

Gluten-Free Vegan Date Square

My Grandmother would be the first person I would call when I had new and exciting news. It is hard for me to think that I can no longer pick up the phone and call her and tell her some good news. I don’t think I’ve ever felt grief like this before. Last year when we lost our dog, I did feel grief for a short period, but not like this. It is that feeling in your throat where you want to clear it all the time, in fear that you may break into tears if you don’t. The simplest thing can trigger it – a song on the radio, a flower at a park, or a glance at your children’s smiles.

So what do I do when the grief begins to take over my day? How am I to cope with this emotion that I have never really experienced before? I have two children that I am responsible for taking care of. My fear is that the grief would take over my day – making each day harder to get through and eventually lead to depression. Some people may cope by delving into work or a bottle of wine. Since I’m on maternity leave and breastfeeding, those are not options for me. But don’t get me wrong, I have consumed a lot more chocolate lately… However, I am trying to recognize the emotions I’m feeling as they come in the day. When the day is hard to get through, or I begin to feel terribly home sick, I reach out to my family and friends for conversation. It may be a quick talk to my husband or a text message to my sister to help me. Usually the conversation ends with a happy memory of my Grandmother which allows me to feel some comfort knowing that she lived a long life and was able to experience all that she did. And how lucky am I to have had a woman in my life who was such a positive influence? She made each of my brothers and sisters and me feel special in an individually unique way. I am go grateful to have had that.

Gluten-Free Vegan Date Square

This recipe was originally posted here on Roll With It on December 3 of 2012 during the ’12 Days of Naughty made Nice!’. It is the number one post that brings people to my site from a google search. When I was dealing with gestational diabetes, there were several recipes that I adjusted so I could still eat some sweets without spiking my sugars. My gluten-free, vegan date square was one of them. I changed what I used to sweeten the squares and what was use to bind them. These changes added more fiber and lowered the carbohydrate amount making them even nicer! Better in nutrition AND in texture. So, you are welcome!

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Date Squares
 
Updated from original recipe posted on December 3rd, 2012.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup dates, pitted & diced
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • zest of ½ lemon, juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup of walnuts, blended in food processor until crumbly
  • 1¾ cup quick oats (gluten-free)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in ½ cup water for at least 5mins
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Combine the dates, water, sea salt lemon zest and juice in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Heat for about 10 mins until soft and paste-like. Set aside in bowl and let cool before using.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, walnuts, brown rice flour, oats, coconut sugar, soaked chia seeds & baking soda to make the crumb.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with some coconut oil. Take half of the crumb mixture and press into pan. Layer on the cooled date paste. Cover with remaining crumb mixture.
  5. Bake in oven for 35-45 mins. Let cool before cutting into squares. Can be stored in the freezer for several weeks or in the refrigerator for one week.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Pumpkin Magic Bars

Gingerbread Pumpkin Magic Bars

Wow! What a crazy six weeks it has been! It is amazing what can happen in such a short period of time. I won’t get into all of it right now. However, having a baby is crazy! But then adjusting to life with a new baby is even more crazy. Throw a three-year old into that mix and you’ve joined the circus.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Magic Bars

My life has become a series of naps these days and I am thankful when I can get sleep (if I can get sleep). Hell, I’m happy when I can get a shower in. The pile of laundry has now become a mountain of laundry which literally has no end – well, that is the way it seems. But I forget all about these things when I look into my baby girl’s eyes and she smiles at me. It’s precious.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Magic Bars

Today I created for you a whole new recipe that is truly a treat. Although this still has sugar and fat, I’ve used coconut flour and chia seeds to add lots of healthy fiber and omega. Compared to the original magic bars, I think this is a great alternative. Way less guilt while eating this for sure! The gingerbread bottom is like a light cake, sprinkled with chocolate bits, pecans (love that combo) and some unsweetened shredded coconut all topped off with a creamed pumpkin purée – oh my heavens this is a delicious fall treat!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Magic Bars
 
Ingredients
  • GINGERBREAD BOTTOM
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup black strap molasses
  • ¾ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • TOPPING
  • 160 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 glass baking pan with parchment paper & lightly oil.
  2. Heat oven at 350 degrees.
  3. Beat together coconut oil, coconut sugar, eggs & black-strap molasses.
  4. Add gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, coconut flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt and add cold water as needed to mix the ingredients together.
  5. Press mixture into baking pan into an even layer.
  6. Bake gingerbread bottom for about 10-15mins until it has set. remover from oven and let cool slightly.
  7. Sprinkle pecans, chocolate chips and shredded coconut over gingerbread bottom.
  8. In separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, pumpkin purée, pure vanilla, nutmeg, and chia seeds together. Let sit for about 5 mins to thicken.
  9. Pour pumpkin mixture over the pecans, chocolate chip and coconut layer.
  10. Bake in oven for about 25mins. Bars will be gooey like a brownie. Cool, cut into squares and enjoy!