I truly don’t know how she’s done it, but somehow Bigg Sis has managed to have our mutual vacation scheduled to include her birthday for the last few years. It’s genius really if you think about it. Lots of people who love you on hand to accommodate your birthday desires, and an adventurous sister on deck to make a birthday dessert that meets the dietary requirements of the whole crew. And, really, what could be better than being at the beach with your beloved little sister on your birthday?
As you’ve likely guessed our vacation is over, and Bigg Sis and I have returned to our respective parts of the U.S., a little more relaxed, a little more brown (in spite of copious zinc oxide), a little better rested, and with a slew of happy memories to sustain us until we’re able to get together again. Bigg Sis’ birthday fell right smack in the middle of our week, and WOW what a week it was. Our weather was simply stunning. No rainy days, and only one day of slight chill. Every other day warm and sunny but not oppressive. Perfect beach days for toe dipping, castle building, and nature watching.
The weather and great company was a balm for my soul. My beloved furry companion Buster passed away in the early part of our trip (at a ripe old age of 16). Spending time with my feet in the sand and looking for shells with my sister proved to be just what the doctor ordered. On her birthday, however, I was determined to celebrate her fabulous self. We hopped in our cars and headed back up the coast a bit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park and played on the biggest, most other-worldly dunes I’ve ever seen. Really amazing, really fun, and perfect fodder for wild pictures.
After a quick smoothie stop, we went back to the house and whilst the others returned to the beach, I lingered behind to whip up a little gluten free, dairy free, chocolate laden (admittedly in part to bolster my own mood) birthday yum. While I hadn’t planned ahead (shocker, I know), a perusal of a Dreena Burton cookbook I’d brought along quickly yielded a totally do-able recipe with the ingredients I had on hand (I admit to being anything but a light packer). I made a couple of substitutions and was off to the races, and now you get to eat some too.
Cocoanutty Good Bars adapted from Leslie’s Bad But Good Bars in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
- 1 c nuts (I used salted cashews and sunflower seeds)
- 1 generous c oats, chopped slightly in food processor or with a knife
- 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 T cocoa powder
- 1/3 c maple syrup
- 3 T coconut oil (melted)
- 1 c non-dairy chocolate chips (or regular if you don’t care about that)
- 2/3 c extra firm tofu
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 T peanut butter (or whatever nut butter you prefer)
Combine first 6 ingredients (through coconut oil) in large bowl and mix until combined. The mixture will be crumbly, but should hold together when pressed. Scrape mixture into pan (I used a nonstick springform pan as that’s what was in the beach house, and I was going for a birthday cake look. The original recipe suggests an 8 inch square lined with parchment. Press mixture down evenly.
Melt chocolate chips however you like (double boiler, bowl over pot, or microwave). Combine chips and remaining ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Scrape out onto base layer and spread evenly. Place in fridge for at least two hours to allow chocolate to set. Cut as you like (squares if you’re reasonable, slices if it’s a party) and serve. We had ours with a variety of ice creams (dairy and non-dairy). Super delish and just the thing to celebrate my fabulous Bigg Sis who I love so much, I’ll share my heart with her, or at least a picture of the heart I found in the strawberry I ate in the garden this morning. Love ya Sis.