Blondie & Cacao Cookie Dough Bites or Bars. No-Bake. Vegan. GF.


Back in the kitchen. My first time in ten days. Easy no-bake recipe. I started off with, well, cookie dough. Gluten free, vegan, raw, no-bake cookie dough bites with a melty (non-raw) chocolate drizzle on top. These bite-sized or bar-shaped sweet treats are filled with spices, nuts, sweet dates and cacao or maca. They are perfect quickie snacks for boosting your energy and satisfying hunger pangs. Go-to snacking for nibblers like me. Store them in the freezer and grab one or a few as a high-energy, healthy-delicious snack. These bites are also great served as an after school treat for kids. What kid wouldn't want to come home to a plate of cookie dough?

I have two flavors to share today, Double Cacao and Classic Blondie cookie dough.

Plus my latest update on little Nelly (follows the recipe)...

First off. It is SO hard acting "normal" (aka blogging recipes) with a kitty cat with CANCER. I hate that word so I tend to shout it now. I really don't want to be cooking right now, I'm not really, but quickie recipes like this provide a brief kitchen distraction and make me feel a bit less swamped in sadness. And the recipe provides a wonderful grab-n-go snack for my busy kitty caretaking schedule. But seriously guys, I'm SO SO SO in denial. It is impossible to switch back over to dreary sad Kathy with a kitty that looks gorgeous and fluffy-furred and acts normal right now. Each day like THIS is precious. Read more below the recipe to see how Nellster is doing.

Nelly yesterday, in her fave late afternoon spot..


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But for this moment of acting normal.. Distraction recipe, and GO.

Cookie. Dough. Always. Please. Some very tasty bars and bites for quickie snacking. Busy schedule people, get excited. (Photo Note: these guys were not fully frozen/chilled when photoshot. Just a good hour in the fridge and they firmed up to a chewy-delicious bar-like state.)



Chocolate-Drizzled Cookie Dough Bars.


Or Bites:




Cacao or Blondie versions:






Simple:


Or chocolate-splashed:


Other cookie-dough inspired recipes:

* Cookie dough pumpkin cheesecake.

* Or use these cookie dough bites in quickie cookie dough ice cream or blizzard:


Recipe first. My latest Nelly update follows the recipe.

Blondie-Spice Raw Cookie Dough Bites
vegan, makes about 20 balls or 10 bars

1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup warm water
7 large Medjool dates, pitted - lightly soaked in hot water
1/2 banana
2-3 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed/raw - softened or melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp real vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (pod scraped of seeds)
1/4 tsp orange or lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt
dash of cayenne (optional)
1-2 tsp maca powder (optional)

Warmly Spiced Cacao Raw Cookie Dough Bites
vegan, makes about 20 balls or 10 bars

1 cup raw almonds
2-3 Tbsp warm water
10 large Medjool dates, pitted - lightly soaked in hot water
1 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed/raw - softened or melted
2 Tbsp raw organic cacao powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp real vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (pod scraped of seeds)
dash of cayenne (optional)
1-2 tsp maca powder (optional)

Toppings - Also for both recipes:
* vegan chocolate chips
* optional chocolate drizzle 3 parts chocolate chips + 1 part coconut oil - melted until smooth.

Directions:

1. Tools: I actually made these using my Vitamix. You have to add a bit more liquid (water or oil) than if you made in a food processor - so as not to overheat the motor - but it does work. Either appliance will work. If you have a powerful food processor, use that, or try a high speed blender - adding more liquid if needed. Tip: the coconut oil is what helps these balls firm up when chilled, so don't be afraid of adding more oil if you want them more rich and decadent - just do not omit the oil or you will be left with a very soft paste that never fully chills/hardens.

2. Pit your dates and soak them in some warm water for 1-2 minutes. Melt or soften coconut oil. Add the nuts to your appliance and grind until fine to slightly chunky (depending on your tastes.

3. Next add in the remaining ingredients and process until smooth yet chunky.

4. For bars: Oil your freezing container with coconut oil. (brownie or cake pans or glass square dishes work well - freezer friendly only) - spread mixture in dish. Place in freezer until firm enough to slice. Serve or store on parchment paper. Add chocolate drizzle to cold bars if desired - the chocolate drizzle will firm up quickly upon contact with the cold bar.

For balls: Freeze until cool and firm enough to handle. Using your hands or a cookie dough scooper, mold into balls. Add vegan chocolate chips on top and line up on a plate. Freeze until you are ready to enjoy.

5. Serve straight from freezer or warm at room temperature for a few minutes to soften. Store in fridge or freezer. Freezer is best in my opinion.

Also try this bar recipe - Almond Butter Energy Bars





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NELLYcat update - 9/3/13 (updating you on info from this post)



Nellycat. Right now a perky little Nellster is rolling around inside the giant box that our new IQair air purifier came in. She looks as happy as can be with her arms sprawled across the cool brown surface, and her black tail flapping back and forth as her fuzzy face rests on her paw, her winter white whiskers stretching across her dark fur. Her green eyes half-open as a calm and content kitty expression lays on her face. I loudly giggled at her cuteness and in response she stretched out her arms, white paws reaching as long as they could go, claws stretching gracefully as she rolled on her back just before plopping down in a long full-body sprawl, soaking into the luxurious, velvety brown cardboard.


So with that, and everything else. Day-to-day Nelly is GREAT. More than great. It is the not so distant future that leaves my frozen.

Thank you for all the loving comments on this post. I continue to read each and every one of them and I am so touched by the amount of people who are thinking of Nelly. I am also thankful to all the people who have shared with me the stories of their own very special animal-human bonds. Some of your stories leave me glowing in hope and others weeping in sadness for the losses you have suffered. These little creatures are pets who are not just "pets" but truly members of the family and for some, angels in disguise. These sort of bonds are such gifts to have in a lifetime. I feel so much less alone and frightful about the future thanks to you guys reaching out and sharing. But I am still scared shitless.

I am scared to death of what happens when Nelly's health starts to decline - and I am praying the doctors are WRONG about how soon that could be. Sometimes I don't know if I can handle what is to come, but I know I have to dig up some strength and remember the words and comfort you all have sent me, if you guys can get through it, so can I. I think. I will. I will for Nelly, Nelly the brave.



(It is not easy to write all this stuff. It makes it all REAL. And painful. But hopefully blogging my family's journey of this kitty cancer will help someone going through similar events. Hopefully you will feel less alone. I hope my sharing helps someone.)


Holistic Vet. Since chemo and surgery are not options for Nelly, yesterday we had an appointment at the Holistic Vet in west LA. Dr. Marc Bittan is simply amazing. Such a smart, honest, compassionate doctor who clearly knows his stuff when it comes to sick (and healthy!) animals of all sorts. He sat and talked with us for over and hour and shared much of his experiences with cats like Nelly.

Sadly though he was very honest about what he can and cannot do to help.

Scenario A) Some miracle happens and when Nelly gets her follow-up chest Xray in two weeks, the "cotton ball-like" formations in Nelly's lungs turn out to be not cancer or simply stop growing and multiplying. If this miracle scenario happens, then there is hope for Nelly since half of her liver is still functioning and we could "possibly" slow or stop the tumor growth in the liver via the natural meds Dr.Bittan prescribes. Chinese medicine, homeopathic and more.

I believe in miracles and "cancer doing strange things," as one doctor said. So I still cling to this scenario with all my heart.

Scenario B) Predicted by the doctors. Everyone seems to think that indeed the stupid liver cancer has metastasized to Nelly's lungs and when we get our Xray the ball formations will have either grown or multiplied, eventually making it harder and harder for Nelly to breath. :( God I hate even thinking of this right now.

And Dr.Bittan says if this is the case, there is nothing he can do since cancer that has spread to the lungs is fast-acting and cannot be stopped. Heartbreaking. Nelly's primary cancer is liver cancer, but the lungs are actually the bigger problem now.

Which scares me to death.

She seems to be breathing perfectly fine now, with a few rare dry coughs that she has been having for years. Hairballs? We rush ordered an IQair air purifier just to keep things extra allergen-free in here. I also tossed ALL of her silica crystal cat litter. I started reading that silica dust is incredibly harmful to humans so I can only imagine what it does to kitty cats. I am now using Nature's Miracle. She tolerates it quite well and it is dust free. Plus I like the name. I haven't changed her food, she has always eaten natural, high-quality brands, so I'm safe there. Nelly's pill and meds schedule is intense. Insulin, denmarin, B12, herbals and more. I am so in awe of the fact that she isn't hiding from me at all even though I'm sure I'm annoying her a little with all the caretaking duties. Such a brave and strong soul she has.

Fast and Horrible. I keep wondering how all this happened so fast. We had just taken her in a few months ago for blood work and a checkup and everything was fine! Even her liver numbers. Then suddenly last week, they skyrocketed. How did her liver cancer start so suddenly?? Too many questions swirling around in my brain right now. But I guess that is just the evilness of cancer. It starts in a sneaky way and suddenly shows its black claws and takes over the body. Sometimes slowly and sometimes very quickly.

Carefree Time. The past year has been so awesome for me and life in general. Now this turns everything upside down. It reminds me to appreciate every second for what it is and realize that life can go from perfect to horrible in a flash. Just a few weeks ago I had a photo shoot done for my bio pics. I was SO freaking happy that day. I rushed home after the shoot to my husband and kitty and everything was perfect. This Kathy now seems like lightyears away...


So after all this with Nelly. How am I doing? Well.

Last night I lost it. I was doing so well being positive - happy, in denial Kathy. But I was also so hopeful that the holistic vet would give some better news. But his honest response that there is nothing anyone can do once it enters the lungs really dove a knife through my heart. Just writing that sentence kills me and brings tears to my eyes. So that evening when my husband got home from work, I was curled up with Nelly (we have such wonderful days lately with her still feeling fine) such a blessing. But one small bit of stress (I was having trouble giving her usual evening insulin shot because she had just had enough poking and prodding and pilling - she kept crying at me) - and I just lost it.

Sobbing. Crying. Shouting into my pillow that this just isn't FAIR. How can such a sweet innocent creature who still has so much life left to live and love yet to give be struck down by such a sudden life-taking disease? How can this fuzzy little ball of light who has never done any wrong in her life leave me with cancer growing inside her, taking over her precious body. And I started thinking of all the pets out there who have to die not knowing what is happening to them, their owners left broken and hollow inside.

Yeah, so I totally lost it. Once you lose your grip and stop the constant juggling, all the balls fall down and it is hard to pick them back up.

NellyLove. But is amazing. In those moments when I was sobbing, Nelly strolled in from the other room, came right up to my face and looked me in the eyes as she meowed to me again and again as if to ask me why I was upset. Or maybe she knew. I keep telling her that this is not her fault and I would do anything to fix this if I could. I know she can't "understand" my words. But I know she understands me on an even deeper level. Dr. Bittan remarked how truly unexplainable the strong, deep bond is between some humans and their pets. I have never had such a profound bond with any of my other cats or pets as I have with Nelly.

So what next? Well I have been a crazy lady caretaking this kitty. Meds, feeding small meals all day long, fur brushing, cat-nip rolling, scratchy post playing, window sunbeams, Reiki music sunbeam naps and more. I know I am just LOADED with adrenalin and stress hormones lately that keep me going at full speed. I know its not healthy, that my body can only take so much, but I can't help it. I just can't let up. I have to keep going. Giving her every chance she has. Every shot at staying well for as long as possible.

We will go in for a chest Xray in two weeks. That will be the final say test that crushes all my hope.

But I'm still being POSITIVE LOVING AND BRAVE for Nelly. Even though she is sick, she makes me so happy every second I am with her.

The most frustrating thing about this is that with ALL the pumped up wellness things I've been doing for her lately, supplements, oils, green mush and more her fur is crazy gorgeous, and she has great energy and appetite. She is doing SO well on the outside. It just doesn't make any sense what is going on inside her gentle body. It just breaks my heart.

xo ~k

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