Pecan Raspberry Pie Squares (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

 
 
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I just crumbled one of these babies on my morning buckwheat bowl, and I'm not complaining. I hope I'm not the only one who adorns their morning bowls with "the works" (raise your hand if you go through an impressive/disturbing amount of almond butter every week!). I get in breakfast ruts, making the same thing every morning for months on end. I'm type-A. I like routine. This is how I stay productive -by "routinizing routine." 

I read this article, Boring is Productive, from the Harvard Business Review blog, about Barack Obama; it's a synopsis of this article (yes, my interests are teasingly diverse -oh, and please note that I'm Canadian, so I'm 100% politically neutral, of course). The article is about how he keeps it all together. Obama doesn't make decisions about food or clothing -he eats the same thing for breakfast every morning, he hits the gym at the same time every day, and he chooses between a grey or blue suit to wear. Decisions take mental energy. They take time. They're not productive. 
 
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I wore a uniform to high school and it was awesome. While I did have to decided between a kilt and pants each day, it was overall, one less decision I had to make. I could focus my attention on other things, like my schoolwork (and also my hair and makeup). My high school had something called, "dress down days," where we could wear street clothes, and let me tell you, I despised those days. They were stressful and all hell broke loose on campus. There was never a test assigned or a major project to be presented on dress down days, because no one paid attention. It was all about the clothes. I wanted a new outfit every time and it had to be COOL.   

When I went to university, it was difficult for me to decide what to wear each day. It was an annoying decision that I dreaded. I love clothing choices and "tough" fashion decisions now, but when you're trying to do something important, such as learn, it's just a hassle. I kind of get why some people showed up to class in pajama bottoms...  
 
 
When I was in my early, early twenties, I couldn't handle nearly as much on my plate as I can now. As I get older, the more comfortable and confident I am with multiple projects, decisions, and problems to solve. I like to be busy 100% of the time, and that's how I work best.    

Something that I often struggle with is coming up with new recipes and things to talk about on this blog. Each and every post is another decision to make and comes with many questions to ask myself: What am I going to make? How do I want to style it? Are my photos ugly? How can I tie this into a health or nutrition topic? Will people think the food I eat is weird? All of these little questions take up a load-o-brainspace. 

I wasn't going to crumble one of these squares on my morning buckwheat bowl, but I did. I broke my routinizing routine ethos, and went against the grain. It was breakfast liberation. It was delicious. It was pie for breakfast. And you know what? It sparked my creativity and helped me come up with some new ideas for future blog posts. Routine is good, "boring is productive," but food should be anything but. I encourage you to break free of your food ruts, make these Pecan Raspberry Pie Squares, and load up your plate with exciting new decisions -with a side of kale.  

Pecan Raspberry Pie Squares (Vegan, Gluten-Free) 

Makes 9 large squares

Ingredients: 
Bottom layer
1/3 cup pecans
½ cup raw buckwheat groats
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup pure maple syrup or agave 
1 tbsp coconut oil

Raspberry middle layer
1 apple, cored, peel left intact, cut into chunks
1 cup raspberries
2 tsp lemon juice

Top layer 
3 tbsp pecans
1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut oil pinch of sea salt

Directions:

To prepare the bottom layer: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal. In a food processor, combine pecans, buckwheat, oats, cinnamon, and sea salt until a coarse flour is formed. Add in maple syrup and coconut oil and pulse until fully combined. With slightly wet hands, press mixture evenly into the bottom of the square pan.

To prepare the top layer: In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until a coarse meal is formed. Set aside.

To prepare raspberry middle layer: In a food processor or Blendtec, puree all ingredients until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. Spread mixture evenly over bottom layer. 

Crumble the reserved top layer evenly over the raspberry middle layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan. Using the parchment overhang, remove bars and slice into 9 large squares (or make them smaller). Store in a container in the refrigerator or freezer.

What routines do you incorporate into your day? Do you like to break those routines once and a while?  

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