About this Recipe
Mindful sweets eating… my new meditation. When we are cooking and baking as often as we do in Grandmother’s Kitchen, there are only a couple of ways to truly practice one of our Grandmother’s favorite mottos: Everything in moderation, even moderation. The other way to practice moderation when sweet treats are around is to practice mindful eating, which is fancy word for savouring.
Grandmother's Tips for How to Practice Mindful Eating:
1. Taking the time and attention to notice the visual delight of what you are about to eat..the texture, the color, the way it was cut, the way it was garnished, the way it is being served, the effort put forth by whomever prepared it.
2. Breathe in the smell. Like a wine connoisseur, become a connoisseur to every bite that goes into your belly. Notice the mingling sweetness of the sugar, the nuttiness of the almonds. What else do you smell?
3. Feel the texture as it touches your mouth. The temperature, is it cold, cool, icy? Notice how the crunchy mixes with the creamy.
4. Almost last but not least...taste. Our tongues are covered in tastebuds. What tastes stand out to you the most..? The sweetness,the bitter?
5. Most importantly - appreciate. Bring to mind all the ingredients and how they grew from the soil and all the loving, caring hands that were put into this creation for it to be experienced in it’s final moments.
Finally, you can continue to practice mindfulness even if you have a moment like I do of absolute ‘uggness’ from eating more than I planned, like I tend to do with this Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Notice what it does to your thoughts, your vitality. Usually it makes me want to curl up on the couch, get lazy, sink into the couch. Above all, even if you have a moment of ultra-indulgence … drop the guilt, drop the self-hatred. Pay attention to the feelings you don’t like so that next time you are armed with more ammo to make a more moderate decision.
Enjoying no-bake treats is excellent, especially when you make a lot of them so you can enjoy them for a more longer period of time. However, it’s essential that you store your food correctly so that you don’t find that there is mold growing it. If you make a large batch of these no-bake treats, it’s a good idea to store some in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them. That way, they won’t have a chance to attract mold since mold spores can’t survive in the freezing temperatures. You can also keep treats that you’re going to eat soon in the fridge or make sure you wrap them really well and store them in a sealed container or bag.
Makes: 9x9 inch baking dish - 42 small pieces or you can cut larger
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup sliced almonds
2 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
You will need a double boiler set up for this recipe. We used a medium sized saucepan for the ingredients and a deep frying pan to hold the water.
1. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Put about an inch of water into the deep frying pan and place your saucepan into it to test how high the water rises. You don’t want to have too much water in the bottom pan as once it starts to boil you don’t want it to be splattering out.
3. Place the milk, sugar and butter into the cooking saucepan. Bring the water to a boil.
4. Use a spatula to stir the milk, sugar and butter and keep cooking until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. The mixture will be smooth when the sugar is dissolved and it will take 5-10 minutes.
5. Shut off the heat and use a whisk to stir in the cocoa. Stir in the almonds. Stir in the quick oats.
6. Transfer to the prepared lined baking dish and smooth the top down with a spatula.
7. Place into the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours or longer before you cut it into pieces.
8. Remove from the pan onto a cutting board. It should come out easily because of being lined with parchment paper. Decide on how big you want to cut your pieces. We cut them into small pieces. These No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Squares keep very well refrigerated or can be frozen.
The first way to practice moderation where there are sweet dessert recipes around like this No Bake Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Squares is to share! Share these treats with family, with friends, with neighbors. In Grandmother's kitchen we often bake so that we can give them away. Some desserts freeze really well and so we can bake and freeze them for a later date or an event that we know is coming, like we are saving our Icebox Ambrosia Salad and Frozen Cherry Fluff Dessert for the holidays.
Crunchy, chocolaty and sweet; is there anything more you could ask for in a dessert recipe? The other great thing about this chocolate dessert recipe is that it's also gluten free which makes it safe for anyone with a gluten sensitivity to eat. Instead of flour, there are sliced almonds and rolled oats in the no bake treats which also makes it very satisfying so you may only need one or two to satisfy your sweet tooth craving.
These no bake treats are made with cocoa with sugar, milk and butter to make a nice dark chocolate sauce that's still a bit bitter but with a bit of sweet to it. Then, the quick rolled oats and almonds create a nice chewy and crunchy texture for the chocolate to sink into making it a nice balanced treat. To make the dark chocolate in this easy and delicious dessert, you need some cocoa powder, or you can also use cacao powder if you like.
Cacao powder is the unprocessed form of the cacao bean which includes more vital nutrients than the processed version does. Raw cacao is high in zinc, protein, potassium, dietary fibre, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorus.
A 2018 study in peer reviewed journal, Molecule, showed improvement in health markers after six months of daily intake of 2 g of dark chocolate with a 70% of cocoa. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which in a recent study appears to prevent DNA damage and improve the ingretity of the nucleus of the cells. The reason for this may be because of the antioxidants in dark chocolate that decreases cell stress. In this particular study, other health improvements that were observed were improvements in total cholesterol, triglyceride levels and LDL-cholesterol in the blood, and waist circumference. (1)
So even though you're enjoying a nice treat, you'll also be getting some nutrients as well. As always, enjoy with moderation and serve some green tea with your chocolate almond squares to slow down some of the carbohydrate absorption (2).
When you’ve been busy making a dessert like this one, the last thing you want to do is have a huge mess to clean up after. But inevitably there is always a mess to clean after making any food in the kitchen. Luckily there are some great cleaning tips you can try out in order to make your job a lot easier. You can lay down some parchment paper to protect your counters or the pan you use so that you don’t have a mess to clean up after. Just put the used paper in the recycle bin afterwards.
When there are messes, you need to clean up after, using all natural kitchen cleaners will help get the job done without bringing toxic chemicals into your home and into your kitchen. Mix some vinegar and water together to create your own natural kitchen cleaner. One cup of vinegar and one cup of water makes the perfect cleaner to get any job done. You can even add some natural pure essential oils like lemon or lavender, to bring a nice clean scent into your home.
"(1)Leyva-Soto A1, Chavez-Santoscoy RA2, Lara-Jacobo LR3, Chavez-Santoscoy AV4, Gonzalez-Cobian LN5. Daily Consumption of Chocolate Rich in Flavonoids Decreases Cellular Genotoxicity and Improves Biochemical Parameters of Lipid and Glucose Metabolism. Molecules. 2018 Sep 1;23(9). pii: E2220. doi: 10.3390/molecules23092220.
(2) "Does green tea inhibit nutrient uptake?," Examine.com, published on 4 April 2012, last updated on 22 October 2018, https://examine.com/nutrition/does-green-tea-inhibit-nutrient-uptake/