Double Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

It's been the longest night of the year, and I have no words. 

All I have is love and healing and I am sending those out into the world with all my strength. 

For now, I have cookies for you. They are decadent, chocolatey, festive with a hint of candy cane and perfect for this holiday season. I hope you can enjoy them with the people that you love. That is all I need right now, to be with all of the people that I love and support and to love and support them to the best of my ability. 

Happy holidays to everyone! <3 <3 <3 

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double chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies

Makes 20 - 24 cookies

A quick note about the sugar in this recipe. I choose to use organic golden cane sugar. You can definitely use refined white sugar, coconut sugar, or whichever granulated sugar you prefer. To be honest, I am of the opinion that sugar is just sugar and you can decide to use a less refined version but in the end it really comes to the same thing, babes. So instead of spending upwards of $10 on a bag of "healthier" sugar, I prefer to limit the quantity I consume. Just a thought, but I would be curious to hear your opinions!

Also, if you are not a fan of peppermint, you can just omit the peppermint extract and add more vanilla. It would be lovely topped with chopped nuts! 

* Aquafaba is the liquid inside a can of chickpeas. It works as a binding agent. Here is more info on it

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Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (both virgin and refined work)
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba*
  • 1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • Optional: crushed candy canes to garnish

Chocolate Ganache

  • 100g semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

 

Notes

Make the ganache. Place the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Put the coconut milk in a small saucepan over high heat and just bring to a boil (little bubbles are starting to form) before removing from heat. Pour the hot coconut milk over the chocolate and stir until smooth and combined. Place in the fridge to set and thicken.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 

Add the coconut oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat when just melted. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, peppermint, vanilla, and aquafaba. Whisk to combine. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Place the dough (still in the bowl) into the fridge and let rest for 10 minutes. 

To make the cookies take 1 tbsp sized scoops of dough and roll them into balls. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet and press down with your thumb in the centre of the cookie to create an indent. Bake for 10 - 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling the centres with chocolate ganache and serving! Top with crushed candycane and enjoy :) 

Easy Jar Lunch w/ French Lentils, Roasted Veggies + Quinoa

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea that "you are what you eat" (from your head to your feet - heh). I've known that in a general sort of way for a long time, but the concept really hit me earlier in the semester when I started taking biology and learning more about cells and nutrition. I feel like the easiest way to break it down is to just say that the food you put into your body is LITERALLY what is feeding your cells and giving them the energy they need to make proteins and enzymes and all that good stuff that makes your body work. You are physically made up of what you eat, drink, breathe, and even the products you put on your skin. This is a quote that my nutrition teacher shared with the class and it helps to explain what I am saying: "The cause of nutrition and growth resides not in the organism as a whole but in the separate elementary parts—the cells.” Theodor Schwann. If any science-y people are reading this, I apologize for the simplicity. I know there is a lot more to it than what I have said, but sometimes the simplest version of an idea is necessary to actually understand why knowing more about that topic is important. At least I think so. 

Anyways, part of the reason I've been thinking about this is because I haven't been eating the best food for my body lately. Working late hours (usually 3pm - 11pm) means that I need to come prepared with dinner. I fluctuate between being super on top of it and making healthy take-away dinners (like the one in this post), and buying shitty dinners while on break (READ: crackers, carrots and hummus OR tea and a bagel). It is not just about an abstract idea of "eating healthy" and I would never shame anyone for the food that they decide to eat, but I notice a really big difference in my energy levels and mental capacity when I eat a proper meal vs. snacks. Especially as I finish the second half of my shift, what I have eaten becomes more and more important - and apparent if it wasn't enough to sustain me. 

So, this post today is really about my ideal take-away work dinner (or lunch). This easy jar meal is filled with healthy calories, protein from the lentils and quinoa, roasted veggies, and a good tomato-y sauce with plenty of ginger and garlic. I can't even explain the satisfaction of pulling this out at my break and really enjoying a well prepared dinner. It means so much. My suggestion (for myself as much as for you) is to prepare the ingredients in large batches so that you don't have to make a lunch/dinner every day. I like to cook a lot of quinoa to keep in the fridge and try to have at least one kind of legume either cooked from scratch or in a can. Roasting the veggies hardly takes any time and then there you have it, a delicious and satisfying meal you can take to work or school with you! 

I hope you try this out, and I would LOVE to hear how you prepare food for the work week. What are your go to lunches/dinners? How do you stay on top of healthy foods at work? Love you babes xxxx

Easy jar lunch w/ french lentils, roasted veggies + quinoa

This works best if you prep enough ingredients for a few days worth of lunches. From there it is just pack, grab and go! The grains and veggies are my personal favourites and also what I had on hand, but feel free to substitute anything you like. The quinoa could easily be replaced by rice and most of the veggies are totally interchangeable. Customize this recipe and make it your own go-to easy lunch! 

*If you don't have cooked quinoa (or other grains) on hand, I recommend making at least 1 cup dried quinoa and storing the leftovers in the fridge for the next day. To do this place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups cold water in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes. 

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Ingredients

Lentils

  • 1/2 cup french (or du puy) lentils
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, diced

Roasted Veggies

  • apprx. 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red potato, sliced into tiny cubes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • olive oil, salt + pepper

To Serve

  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa*
  • optional: arugula or spinach to garnish

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400. Chop all the veggies and place them on a large baking sheet. Drizzle on olive oil and season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until veggies are crispy and browned, rotating halfway. 

Place lentils in a medium sized pot and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking covered for about 20 minutes, until soft. Drain the lentils and return the empty cooking pot (dried) to the stove. Drizzle about 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil in the pot and heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the oil is hot. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and stir (sizzling) for about 5 minutes, making sure nothing burns. Add the lentils back to the pot and pour the crushed tomatoes in. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until hot. 

To serve (if taking to work for lunch) layer quinoa, lentils, and veggies in a jar or thermos. I like to do 2 of each layer (see pics) so that I don't have to try to mix everything when I finally want to eat it. This way you are guaranteed to get a bit of almost everything in each forkful. Enjoy! 

Earl Grey Waffles w/ Sweet Lucuma Coconut Cream

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I am writing to you from the middle of the night. This feels strangely similar to last week, and all I can say is that I have been very busy. Working a physically demanding job is definitely taking a toll on me. I am used to going to bed relatively early and waking naturally around 7am. This is not the case anymore and I routinely find myself rolling out of bed at 9:30am! I guess it is just a good example of when to listen to your body's needs, and to make sure you get as much sleep as your body requires (which admittedly I am doing a bad job of right now).

This past weekend my brother came over in the morning and I made these waffles for us to share. It was so nice, sitting in the late morning light sipping on coffee and sharing pieces of waffle. We all had our laptops out, working on various school projects, and it was cozy in a studious and slightly stressed kind of way. 

I never really post link roundups over here, but I thought I would share a quick few things that have been getting me through this busy end of semester time:

I just started reading NW by Zadie Smith and it is beautiful. I always fall into her novels in a way that I have found harder with fiction lately. They are captivating, chilling, and so human. I also listened to this interview with Zadie Smith and highly recommend it if you are interested in her work. 

Re-listening to this book series on audiobook is keeping me calm and filled with magic and adventurous feelings!

Ashlae's Easy No-Bake Cookies are practically a staple around here, especially when the need for a quick chocolate snack is on the rise ;) 

I've known for a while now that I want to move to BC, but Jodi's Instagram + blog have got me hooked. All I want is to be surrounded by that intense natural beauty! 

I have struggled with skin issues since I was a teenager, usually the worst around my period (hormonal acne = THE WORST). Rosehip Seed Oil has literally changed my life. I started using it a couple of months ago and am in love. My skin has really never been better, and that makes it worth the slightly pricey little bottle. 

Lastly, have you seen the movie Moonlight? It is stunningly dark, emotional, beautifully shot and will leave you in tears. It is the kind of movie that doesn't leave you after you exit the theatre but hangs in a kind of impermeable cloud, not letting you forget the feelings and visuals that took place. 

Here are some cozy waffles to make on a snowy weekend morning. They are infused with earl grey tea and topped with the fluffiest decadent sweet lucuma cream. They are entirely vegan AND gluten free. I don't think I need to convince you, just try them out <3 <3 <3 

earl grey waffles w/ sweet lucuma coconut cream

Makes 2 waffles

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Ingredients

Waffles

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (boxed not canned)
  • 1 tbsp honey, agave, or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Sweet Lucuma Coconut Cream

  • 1 can coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave

 

Notes

Preheat your waffle iron as per its instructions. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, tea, baking powder, nutmeg salt). Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour half the batter into your waffle maker and cook according to the instructions for your machine. 

To make the lucuma cream open the can of coconut cream and discard any liquid (I like to open my can upside down so that I can easily pour out any liquid). Scoop out the coconut cream and add it to a mixing bowl with the lucuma powder and vanilla. Whip the cream with handheld electric beaters until smooth. Keep in fridge.

To make the chocolate sauce place all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk until melted and combined and removed from heat.

To serve place a generous amount of sweet lucuma coconut cream on top of each waffle and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve immediately! 

Savoury Butternut Squash & Beet Crumble w/ Sage Leaves

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There is a particular kind of stress that comes with being a student - guilty stress. There is constantly the feeling that you should be working. Weekends are reserved for spending eight hours in the same cafe and then trudging home through the first snow of the year just to set up at your desk with a cup of tea and start all over again. 

Winter has come and with it a positive avalanche of final assignments and exam prep. It is half exciting and half totally physically and mentally draining. I am sitting here writing this at 12:30am after working an 8 hour shift and looking forward to a biology quiz tomorrow afternoon (on this super interesting crazy cool video). I totally recognize that I have it easy, too. I am super privileged in countless ways (including being in university at all), so this isn't so much a complaint as it is a reflection of the different ways in which we push ourselves and the different kinds of stress we face. 

Montreal is looking like a perfect holiday card and this colder weather is bringing out the baker in me (or is it just late night stress baking?). I know this recipe isn't exactly baking, but it is definitely the beginning of a few cozier recipes I have coming your way. I was talking with a friend after work today and we both agreed that this colder weather makes us want to hibernate in our apartments and just do nice things for our bodies and minds. Lots of baths, cups of tea, reading, drawing, cookies (!!!), TV, face masks, blankets... I think I could go on forever! 

This savoury Butternut Squash & Beet Crumble w/ Sage Leaves is such a winner. It came to me so suddenly and clearly while out for a walk last week, and I knew that I couldn't wait to share it. There is something meditative about peeling and cubing the vegetables, picking the sage leaves off the stem, and squishing the moist crumble topping between my fingers. It is repetitive and soothing. I've been listening to Blonde on repeat and creating my own food and art projects inside my warm bright home. 

The earthiness of the sage leaves and beets pairs perfectly with the bright sweetness of the squash. I love the way the beets half dye the orangey-yellow squash so that the baked crumble looks like a sunset inside. I know that American Thanksgiving is coming up and I think this would be the perfect vegan centrepiece. Make this for friends, family, or just yourself. Hugs! xo 

PS. Sorry for the photo heavy post, I couldn't choose! 

savoury butternut squash & beet crumble w/ sage leaves

Serves 4

If you can't find sage leaves I think that thyme would work really well here too. For gluten free options, use gluten free certified oats and your favourite gluten free flour blend (I also think using chickpea or brown rice flour would work well). 

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Ingredients

Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp miso (optional but delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for drizzling)

Crumble Filling

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (about half a large butternut squash)
  • 1 cup cubed beets (about 2 - 3 beets)
  • 4 sprigs sage, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste (pinch of each)

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 375.

Make the crumble topping by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing until crumbly and moist. I used my hands to fully incorporate the olive oil, squishing the mixture between my fingers. 

Toss the cubed butternut squash, beets, sage, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and then transfer to a 6 x 10 (or equivalent) baking pan. Top with the crumble and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the crumble.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the squash is soft. Check it at around the 30 minute mark and place a small piece of tinfoil over the top if it is browning too quickly, to prevent burning. Serve warm! 

Mucho Mac & Cheese // A Gilmore Girls Party!

a gilmore girls party!

One week to go! Do you know what I am talking about? I assume so if you read the title of the post, but I digress. The Gilmore Girls revival is coming out in just one week and I couldn't be more excited/ nervous! 

I am definitely a purist when it comes to older TV shows, meaning I am not usually so stoked about revivals or renditions. However, I have so much hope! Gilmore Girls is a thing in my life that provides consistent and immediate comfort. I equate it with the Harry Potter books and The Lord of the Rings movies; stories that are always there and available when I seek them out. Sometimes I worry that I am boring or not opening myself up to new experiences by having this roster of comfort media that I surround myself with, but sometimes the sparkles and wavers of the world require something familiar to curl up to.

Almost like a warm drink or a bowl full of chilly, these stories alight a kind of nostalgia boarding on memory. I've experienced the plot lines and characters so many times and so fully that I am completely absorbed into the world. 

A few weeks ago I reached out to my friend Liz of the amazing blog Pumpkin and Peanut Butter to ask her if she wanted to co-host a Gilmore Girls virtual viewing party with me. She responded immediately with a resounding YES! We gathered up a group of our best blogging pals and each created a recipe that reflected some food moment, story line, or general Gilmore Girls themed idea. Now you have a handful of healthy but decadent recipes to make for your Gilmore Girls viewing party! 

I couldn't be more excited about all of the amazing bloggers and recipes that are in this round-up, and only wish that we could all be together IRL to celebrate and share our recipes on the release day <3

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gimore girls viewing party snacks & treats

Pumpkin and Peanut Butter - Roasted Tomato Margarita Pizza

Fooduzzi - Upside-Down Tequila Slammer with a Twist

Fork in the Kitchen - Mocha Brownies with Espresso Ganache

Joy Food Sunshine - Dessert Sushi

The Food Wright - Brown Butter Maple Chipotle Snack Mix 

Nourished The Blog - Peanut Soba Noodle Bowl with Veggies

This recipe is pretty singularly inspired by one of my favourite characters in Gilmore Girls - Paris

For some reason, this scene always stuck with me and makes Sebastian and I crack up every time we watch it. Something I love about Paris is how she is always so earnest while still maintaining a constant persona of sassy intelligence and ego. She is just the greatest!

So, I give you Mucho Mac & Cheese! This is a super classic cheesy bowl of goodness (although vegan style, naturally). The sweet potato gives it a warmth and creaminess reminiscent of every childhood mac & cheese bake, and the crispy gluten free panko topping is savoury and delicious. 

Now, I know what you might be thinking: "The Gilmore Girls would never eat something vegan OR gluten free!" 

I am totally with you there but come on, we all need to have our Gilmore Girls style comfort food and really what can be more fitting than this (am I selling it?). 

Let me know if you try out this recipe, or even better if you make it for the Gilmore Girls release!

Love you babes xo 

mucho mac & cheese

Serves two or three - can easily be doubled :)

*For this recipe I used gluten free panko instead of regular bread crumbs and brown rice pasta to make the whole dish gluten free. You can opt to use regular pasta and regular bread crumbs if you prefer! The arrowroot powder in the cheese sauce is optional, but I do recommend it as it adds thickness to the sauce when cooked.

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Ingredients

Mac & Cheese

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice pasta* + water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder*
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Crispy Panko Topping

  • 1/4 cup gluten free panko*
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper

 

Notes

Preheat oven to 375. Cook pasta as per instructions on package. Once cooked drain the water and place the pasta back into the cooking pot, off the heat. 

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in an upright blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Do a taste test for seasoning and adjust to preferences. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot and mix together until evenly coated (reserving a few tbsp of sauce to pour on top before cooking).

Combine the ingredients for the panko topping in a small bowl and stir together until crumbly (I used my hands for this). 

Pour the pasta (with the sauce on it) until small oven proof dishes such as french onion soup bowls (what I used), large ramekins, or even just a medium sized baking dish. Anything that you like! Pour the extra sauce over each dish and top generously with the panko mixture. 

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling. Enjoy hot! This will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, but is really best when first made.

Warmly Spiced Tahini Breakfast Cookies

This post was created in partnership with Farmer Direct Co-op

*** There is a super awesome giveaway at the end of this post! Make sure to check it out ***

Hello dear friends! I am writing to you on a crisp November day from a cozy cafe in Montreal. This weekend has been lovely. Two of my close friends are visiting Montreal right now and their company, laughter, and love have been so welcome amidst the busyness of school and work.  

Wintry days are nearing, and even though I am rejoicing in a new found love of November (cool days & bright skies) I am also preparing for the start of winter hibernation. Montreal winter is COLD. I often find myself bundled tight in every sweater, jacket, and scarf I own wondering repeatedly why I decided this was a good place to live. Then I get home, pull off my wet socks and wool hat, warm my hands with a mug of tea, and eat one of these breakfast cookies (at least this is the scene I am imagining for the coming months). But, we aren't quite there yet. There are still a few days (weeks?) left of this milder weather and I am soaking it all up. 

Today I am bringing you a recipe very dear to my heart. These cookies are cozy, lightly spiced, not too sweet, and sponsored by a really awesome company! I think I should probably mention here that my uncle is the founder of the company sponsoring todays post - Farmer Direct Co-op (FDC). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

FDC is an organic and fair trade company with an emphasis on sustainability and fair working conditions. I think it is so important to support fair trade in particular, because it is a way to ensure that people are not being exploited or under valued for their work. 

In these cookies I used FDC's Regular Rolled Oats and Quick rolled oats (to make the oat flour). I also used maple syrup from Maple Valley Cooperative. Maple Valley and FDC are both part of the P6 Cooperative Trade Movement -- a movement that works to connect farmers, producers, retailers, and consumers in equitable and fair relationships. You can check out more about this here

Friends! This is important and exciting stuff. I hope that by participating in this giveaway (and making these cookies!) you and I both will educate ourselves a little more about these issues. 

So much love, respect, and good vibes to all of you <3 <3 <3

A little more about these cookies!

I am so stoked to be sharing this recipe because it is truly so easy and satisfying. I made a batch early in the morning and was able to share them over coffee, chats, and cozy breakfast vibes. 

I eat oats *basically* every morning, so these were really inspired by that bowl of creaminess I am so accustomed to. Pretty much everything I put on/in my bowl of oats is in these cookies. 

Think of them as baked oatmeal bowls with some added sparkles and fun!

I choose to bind them with tahini because I love the nuttiness that it lends to everything. Combined with warming spices, dried fruit, seeds, and CHOCOLATE, you really can't go wrong. 

If you make these take a pic and tag me @spiceandsprout on instagram! 

warmly spiced tahini breakfast cookies

This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-op. All opinions are my own and I think that their products and company are totally awesome! 

Makes 12 - 14 cookies

The ingredient list may look long, but really it is mostly spices and delicious add-ins like dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and chocolate! Seriously SO worth it. If you prefer a sweeter cookie, you can up the maple syrup to 1/3 cup. I find them perfectly sweetened for a breakfast treat, but it is all about preference. 

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Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup oat flour 
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Add-ins

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 50g chopped dark chocolate (about half a regular chocolate bar)

 

Notes

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the flax egg by combining 1 tbsp ground flax seed with 3 tbsp water and whisking together. Let sit for 5 minutes until thickened. 

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together to incorporate. Add in the wet ingredients (including the prepared flax egg) and mix to combine. Stir in the chia seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and chocolate. 

Make approx. 2 tbsp sized balls of dough and place them on the baking sheet, pressing down slightly to flatten. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until just golden brown on the tops and around the edges. Let cool on a wire rack and then eat! Will keep for about 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature. 

a giveaway!

I am so excited to be giving away 2 bottles of Maple Valley maple syrup + maple candies, 1 bag of FDC regular rolled oats, and 1 bag of FDC quick rolled oats. These are super awesome, wholesome, and delicious products. I can't wait for one of you to win this and show me what you make!

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what your favourite way to use oats is. For additional entries you can like FDC and Spice + Sprout on Facebook. This giveaway is open to Canadian and US residence only. The giveaway will run until November 16th. I will contact the winner once it closes <3 

The giveaway is now closed! Thank you everyone for participating, I will contact the winner in the next few days :)