The first few weeks of spring are one of my favorite times of year. For one, it’s my birthday, and while I’m not big on special celebrations, I’m always down for some good cake. Then, being a good canadian gal, spring means maple syrup and sugar shack season and all the sugar on snow. The days are longer and the sun is warmer and there is a certain smell of mud and old snow and new grass in the air that just makes my step a little lighter.
This spring is a particularly exciting one for us. On the first of May we are off on a 4 month adventure cycling up the west coast of France and then heading north to explore Scandinavia. So, we’re slowly packing up our life here and minimizing our belongings in order to fit everything onto two wheels. While Matt is ordering various bike parts and organizing camping gear, I’m trying to figure out how many jars of tahini I can fit in my bag. (I’m thinking a solid 2 or 3?)
This trip has been a long time coming. We’ve been planning something like this since we met, first it was south america, and then it was a few months on the back of Matt’s motorcycle and then we swapped the bike for some real pedal bikes and decided to venture north. There will be camp fires and struggles and long days under the sun and discovering new places and meeting new faces and so many unknowns that I’m aching to discover. I’m struggling with how ‘connected’ to be during this trip, for sure there will be some fun campfire grub recipes coming at you and don’t worry mom + dad I will be sending update emails every now and then, but – so much of our travels nowadays are spent looking through a lens or on a phone in order to share or blog or instagram about, that we rarely savor moments just for ourselves. I think it will be good, soul good, to simply sit and take life in without trying to capture it in any which way. I think that keeping certain moments for ourselves and just having a story to bring home and show + tell should good enough too. So things might get a little quieter around this happy hearted kitchen during the summer months and I hope that’s ok.
I had a million things to do today, but instead I made cookies and read through my favorite passages from Cheryl Strayed. Good snacks + a little hard core motivation, I’m going to chalk that up as a successful afternoon. In the end, I guess this post was just a good excuse to eat cookies and to throw it out there to all of you that we would be more than happy to hear any of your travel tips or must sees in Norway, Sweden and beyond – we’re just two fools in love off on a journey of a lifetime, who knows where the road will take us. We are open to everything and anything, and have no particular itinerary, so long as there’s sunshine + sweet treats every now and then, we’ll be a couple of happy campers.
MAPLE + DATE OATMEAL COOKIES
Maple cookies to celebrate spring + summer adventures! In France I discovered this glorious nut butter made from skinned almonds which has a much less ‘nutty’ taste than whole almond butter and is a total perfect base for absolutely any cookie flavor (Update: you can find it back home now too!). This recipe works with most nut/seed butters though, so far I’ve tried both almond butters, tahini and cashew butter and they all work great. I made this little homemade jar of mixed spices, something similar to a gingerbread spice, that I love in these cookies, but feel free to use whatever you love or have on hand. The quantities below make 6 snack size cookies, but you could stretch it a little further if you are just looking for a small sweet treat.
Vegan + Gluten Free
1/2 cup nut butter (see note above)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Pinch flaky sea salt
3/4 cups large oat flakes
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
1/3 cup dates, pitted + chopped
1/2 teaspoon mixed sweet spice ( cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, star anise, etc. – whatever you have on hand or personal preference)
Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together nut butter, maple syrup and melted coconut oil until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix. If the batter is totally sticky and unworkable, add another 1/2 tablespoon of flour. The batter should be sticky but not wet and hold well together when rolled into a ball with your hands. Roll into 6 balls, place on baking sheet and gently flatten with your hand. Bake in the oven until just set, about 10-12 minutes, be careful not to over bake or the cookies will dry out. Let cool, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Keep in covered container for a few days, cookie texture will be a bit softer the second day – some might say they’re even better!
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!