Broccoli Bites

TOTAL: 4 Hours 15 Minutes

YIEDS 36 Bites

Broccoli is the star ingredient in this take on the traditional Middle Eastern falafel. A great do-ahead recipe – shape into traditional rounds, into patties, or any shape you like. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to dehydrate or form into desired shape and store in the freeze for future use. I should note, while these broccoli bites are dehydrating, the aroma that drifts through the air is a delicious fragrant backdrop to any get together.

These little crowd pleasers are perfect served as an appetizer accompanied with hummus. Wrap in lettuce leaves with tomatoes, onions and tahini sauce for a substantial meal, or enjoy it alone as a quick and healthy snack.

Note: The dehydration time suggested is based on my personal preference on texture. Feel free to adjust dehydration time to suit your preference.

2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
In a coffee grinder, grind sunflower seeds to a breadcrumb like consistency. Add ground sunflower seeds and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor. Process until the mixture turns into a paste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate at least a half.

Scoop out a teaspoon of mixture, roll into a ball with the palms of your hands. Place on a dehydrator tray then place in the dehydrator. Remember to turn midway through dehydrating.

Dehydrate 4 hours.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

I haven’t indulged in peanut butter cookies in a long while. The dehydrator has been humming with various cookie experiments and these peanut butter sandwich cookies are one of those experiments.

The cookies alone have a subtle peanut taste so to heighten the peanut flavor I added raw peanut butter between two cookies. Not only are these healthy good for you cookies, they are filling, so one goes a long way.

Making raw peanut butter is easy. Add a couple cups of raw peanuts to a food processor and process. It will break down the peanuts and within a couple minutes you’ll have fresh homemade peanut butter.

Raw peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats, rich in oleic acid [the healthful fat found in olive oil], as well as a good source of antioxidants.

1 cup quinoa, sprouted
1 tbsp lecithin
½ tsp sea salt
2 cups raw peanuts
1/3 cup agave
2 tsp vanilla

In a food processor, process sprouted quinoa, salt and lecithin into a powder. If there is still moisture in the sprouted quinoa it will process into a dough-like mass. Place quinoa mixture into a bowl, set aside.

Using the same food processor, process peanuts into peanut butter. Add agave and vanilla and process to mix.

Add the quinoa mixture to the peanut butter mixture in the food processor; process until the mixture forms into a ball.

Freeze dough for an hour. Take a rolling pin and roll out dough and shape cookies into desired shapes. Dehydrate for 4-5 hours turn and continue dehydrating for 4-5 hours or until cookies reach the consistency you prefer.

NOTE:

At room temperature the dough is not easy to manage, it is sticky, sticking to your fingers. Freezing the dough at least an hour makes it more manageable. I tried using a wooden cutting board to help thing with the process. I flatten the dough onto a wooden cutting board then place it in the freezer.

After an hour, I placed the cutting board on the counter and working with a rolling pin flatten the dough to the thickness I wanted. I shaped the cookies using a cookie cutter, and used a spatula to remove each cookie from the wood board to place in the dehydrator.

This cutting board technique was useful and it was easy to roll the dough because the dough was already fairly flat. This may or may not work for you, it depends on how much space you have in your freeze to place a cutting board.

Makes [depending on size] 17 – 24 individual cookies or 8 – 10 sandwich cookies

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Wheat Grass

Yes, it is grass, generally grown in indoor flats for making juice and yes, people actually drink it. The juice extracted from the young blades of this super food detoxifier is one of the best sources of living chlorophyll available. Chlorophyll is the basis of all plant life, the “blood of plants”. Another exciting piece of information about chlorophyll, it is the first product of light containing more light energy than any other element.

More exciting news about wheat grass:

  • easily digest with little energy
  • high in enzymes
  • neutralizes toxins in the body
  • helps purify the liver
  • can be used inside and outside the body as a healer

    …. this is only 5 out of approximately 40 benefits.

    Wheat grass is packed with high concentrated amounts of:

    Amino Acids | Beta Carotene | Chlorophyll | Calcium | Iron | Lecithin | Magnesium | Phosphorus | Potassium | Protein | Vitamin A | Vitamin B5 [Pantothenic Acid] | Vitamin B12 | Vitamin C | Vitamin E | Vitamin K

     

    Serious wheat grass aficionados grow flats of it and juice their own at home.

    You could very well head to your nearest juice bar and get a shot of it however, growing flats of wheat grass is very simple, it’s as easy as sprouting. In fact that is essentially the process, we are germinating or sprouting seeds with adequate water and moisture. It takes approximately 6 – 10 days from seed to harvest. I stumble upon this site, The Wheat Grass Grower’s Guide, dedicated to wheat grass; full of information with in-depth instructions on how to grow it.

    Once you’ve got a crop of home grown grass from 6 inches tall or more it is ready to harvest. Cut grass just above the soil then take a bunch and run through a wheat grass juicer. Fresh is best so cut just prior to juicing. It is recommended to go slow, drinking low doses when starting out, as little as 1 fluid ounce = 1/8 cup = 30 ml, and gradually increasing up to 1 -2 ounces per day, or possibly more.

    Wheat grass has a sweet, yet intense distinctly grassy taste. If drinking a shot of it is too intense try mellowing the intense taste by mixing it with other vegetables juices, such as carrot. It tastes great mixed with apple juice too.

    Growing and making your very own rejuvenating super food green drink is one of the best things you can do for your health. Visit Natural Living Cuisine Store and shop for organic wheat grass seeds, trays or a juicer.

Hazelnut Pesto with Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Hazelnuts make a rich, smooth pesto and paired with thinly sliced Brussels sprouts [as pictured], it makes for a hardy and filling meal.

PREP: 20 Minutes TOTAL: 25 Minutes

SERVES 2

1 cups hazelnuts
1 1/2 cup fresh parsley or basil or a mix of both, firmly packed
1 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Place all ingredients in food processor or blender; blend until well incorporated. While the blender or processor is running, pour olive oil in a slow steady stream, continue blending until pesto mixture is thick and creamy.

Prepare brussles sprouts: remove any yellow or damaged outer leaves. Rinse sprouts, cut stem end and either thinly slice each sprout by hand with a knife or use a food processor to shred.Place shredded sprouts in a bowl and mix with hazelnut pesto. Enjoy!

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Tools for This Recipe

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Food Processor or Blender

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Celeriac

Apium graveolens var rapaceum

Celery root, turnip-rooted celery or knob celery are three of many aliases of this interesting globe-shaped root vegetable. Most refer to celeriac as an ugly uninteresting-looking vegetable. Personally I think it is quiet original the artful way Mother Nature packaged it. Celeriac hints at its flavor by perfuming the immediate vicinity with a light fresh scent of celery-parsley.

European and Asian kitchens have long appreciated its crispness and flavor. I don’t have much experience working with celeriac, it is new to me and I am going to have fun thinking of ways to showcase it in recipes.

Varieties

  • Bianco Veneto: Italian variety with fibrous root.
  • Brilliant: European variety.
  • Diamant: Hybrid variety – large round buff-colored roots with celery-like leaves.
  • Giant Prague [also called Large Smooth Prague]: Unsightly root similar to celery.
  • Monstorpolgi: Produce large firm round roots with few side shoots.
  • President: European variety.

Grow Your Own

Celeriac is one vegetable I haven’t tried my hand at growing. It is said to be easier to grow than celery [another garden vegetable that didn’t make it on my list to grow]. One variety, Diamant, stands above the ground for easy picking.

Try growing celeriac click here for more information.

Nutritional Profile

Celeriac is high in carbohydrates, contains moderate protein, fiber and sodium, is low in fat and has no cholesterol. Its major mineral contributions are phosphorus and potassium and it has high levels of Vitamin C.

Dietary Fiber | Sodium | Phosphorus | Potassium | Vitamin B9 [Folate – Folic Acid] | Vitamin C | Vitamin K

In Season

October through February – celeriac is at its best autumn through winter months.

Selecting

Look for firm small – medium sized celeriac roots for best flavor and texture. Choose bulbs free from soft spots [which indicate decay], damage and any sprouting from its root. Avoid larger roots when possible unless you don’t mind more of a woody texture.

Preparing

Trim leaves and stocks if they are still attached. Scrub well under cold running water. Cut a thin slice from each end of the root. Place the root side down and cut around the root to remove the tough skin. The deeper the crevasses and channels the more that will need to be trimmed away. In this case, allow up to ¼ of the weight to be discarded during preparation. Recycle: add the outer fibrous skins to the compost.

When celeriac is cut it quickly turns brown. To slow this reaction, marinate cut pieces in water with a squeeze of lemon juice. A solution of water and vinegar or cold salted water is also helpful or if using in salad, toss with an acid dressing to help hinder discoloration.

Storing

Store unwashed celeriac in the bottom storage bin of your refrigerator. It will keep for 1 – 2 weeks, possibly longer depending on conditions.

Serving Suggestions

Raw celeriac is used in salads, soups, purees, combined with other vegetables or in place of mashed potatoes. Try this recipe:Winter Nori Roll. It is a delicious unique way to make nori rolls.

Kale

The Brassica family produces a group of cabbages that have gained widespread attention due to their health promoting benefits. Borecole, or Kale, as it is more commonly known, is a descendent of the wild cabbage. The chlorophyll rich pigments produce its lovely shade of green and the architectural structure creates a gorgeous leaf texture. Kale has an amazing earthy flavor and nourishes many in salads, smoothies and soups. It is an appreciated wonder vegetable in the world of raw.

Varieties

Visit your local farmers’ market to discover various varieties of Kale.
Here are some varieties.

  • Blue Curl Scotch
  • Cottagers Kale
  • Curly Kale
  • Lacinato or Dino Kale
  • Red Russian
  • Redbar
  • Winterbar

Grow Your Own

Kale is easy to grow and yields a rewarding crop. Visit this wonderful site Veggie Gardening Tips for information on how to grow kale and other wonderful vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Nutritional Profile

Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains:

Beta-Carotene | Calcium | Copper | Dietary fiber | Iron | Folate | Lutein and Zeaxanthin | Magnesium | Manganese | Omega 3 Fatty Acids | Phosphorus | Potassium | Protein | Trypotophan | Vitamin A | Vitamin B1 [thiamin] | Vitamin B2 [riboflavin] | Vitamin B3 [niacin] | Vitamin B6 [pyridoxine] | Vitamin C | Vitamin E | Vitamin K

In Season

Though it is available throughout the year, Kale has a sweeter taste and is at its best mid-winter through the beginning of spring.

Selecting

Look for moist, crisp non-wilted kale with a fresh green color. Avoid yellow, brown or wilted leaves. Small-leaved specimens are best for their tender leaves and stems and mild flavor. Large coarser leaves work fine too once they are minced or chopped.

Preparing

Always wash kale before using to remove dirt or sand that cling to the leaves and stems. Trim off any roots; then separate the leaves. Using a glass or plastic bowl, or large basin, wash kale leaves by submerging in one part vinegar to three parts water. Swish the leaves around in the solution to get to remove dirt and sand from the deep recesses, then lift the leaves out of the water. Discard water. Repeat this technique as necessary, about 2, maybe 3 washes. Finally, rinse well with pure cold water. Dry leaves using a salad spinner or paper towel.

When using young kale leaves the stem will most likely be thin and tender, simply trim off the tips and use the stems with the leaves. If they are somewhat thicker and coarser, remove the leaves from the stem. To do so fold each leaf in half, vein-side out, and either use a paring knife to trim away the stem or pull up on the stem as you hold the folded leaf closed.

What to do with the stems? Compost it!

Storing

Place unwashed kale in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. It keeps for up to a week. Bear in mind that Kale develops a stronger taste the longer it is stored.

For extended storage, wash and dry kale well, next chop or mince kale in to appropriate size, then place in a bag or container and freeze.

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If you enjoy kale try these recipes:

Kale Salad with Tomato Dressing

Winter Nori Roll

Star Fruit

It seems nature loves to dazzle us with stars. There are glowing spheres twinkling in the night sky, star shaped fish swimming in the deep blue seas and then there is an amazing fruit from the carambola tree. This fruit, when cut crosswise, bears a resemblance to, well, a star and it is appropriately called, Star Fruit.

This succulent tropical fruit is grown in Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Florida, Hawaii, South America, Thailand, and throughout Southeast Asia. Its thin skin has a smooth texture and a glossy golden-yellow color when ripe. Inside its beautifully translucent yellow flesh it occasionally contains a dark seed or two. It ranges from 3 to 5 inches long and is easy to identify by its five definitive ribs.

Star fruit is exceedingly juicy and fragrant and depending on the variety, can range from exotically sweet to refreshingly tart. Sweet varieties have thick fleshy ribs and tart varieties often have narrow spaced ribs and as a general rule the narrower the ribs, the tarter the fruit, and the broader the ribs, the sweeter the fruit.

Varieties

Arkin is one of the leading sweet varieties and commercial cultivars.

Other sweet varieties includes:

  • Fwang Tung
  • Golden Star
  • Hoku
  • Maha
  • Sri Kembanqan (Kembangan)
  • Wheeler

Two tart varieties include:

  • Newcombe
  • Thayer

These are many more cultivars. To learn more visit:

California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Wikipedia

Nutrients

This luscious fruit is full of antioxidants, flavonoids and it contains these nutrients:

Beta-Carotene | Fiber | Lutein and Zeaxanthin | Potassium | Vitamin A | Vitamin C

In Season

You can find star fruit in season from summer’s end to mid-winter at your local farmers market, specialty produce market or grocery market.

Selecting and Storing

When purchasing look for firm fruit that has a bright yellow even color. Dark brown along the ribs is normal and an indication the fruit is ripe. Over-ripe star fruit will develop brown spots all over; similar to when a banana becomes over-ripe. Avoid fruits with shriveled brown ribs. Star fruit bruise easily, so handle with care.

Unripe star fruits are green or still have a green color on the ribs. To ripen leave out at room temperature, turning occasionally until the fruit has a fruity scent and the skin is yellow with light brown edges.

Use ripe star fruits within a few days of purchase or refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash star fruit before use. Star fruit is easy to use, there is no need to peel the skin and if it contains any seeds they are easy to remove. If desired, cut off the dark top of each ridge and the stem end of the fruit. Here are 4 easy steps to prepare a star fruit:

Step 1 – How to devein a star fruit

To de-vein a star fruit you need to remove the brown part of the outer edge of the ridges. Place the star fruit vertically over a cutting board. Hold the star fruit and with a sharp knife, cut shallowly just below the surface down along each of the five ridges (or “star points”), removing and discarding the brown outer edge.

Step 2 – How to cut off the stem end

Place the star fruit on its side. One end of the fruit is flatter with a dark spot where the stem was attached, the other end come to a peak. Cut off and discard the flatter end with the dark spot.

Step 3 – How to slice a star fruit

Always check the recipes you are working with for cutting instructions. You can cut slices as thin or as thick as suggested for a recipe or as you desire. To get those gorgeous stars, place the fruit on its side and cut crosswise to desired thickness.

Step 4 – How to remove the seeds

Take the tip of your knife and remove and discard any seeds you find in each individual slice.

What to do with the edges of the ribs, stem end and seeds? Add it to your compost.

Now you can show off those terrific star shapes and now that you know how easy star fruit are to use, try it in chutneys, curries, juices, salads, smoothies, soups, or as a dessert.

Try this recipe:

Star Fruit Smoothie

TOMATO DRESSING

PREP: 5 Minutes TOTAL: 5 Minutes

Try this fresh slightly spicy tomato dressing on your next salad or as a dip with fresh vegetables. The garlic and pepper give it its spicy flavor.

2 medium tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon celtic salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked mixed pepper
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
Put all ingredients into the blender, except olive oil, and blend until mixed. While blender is still running slowly pour in olive oil, blend until mixture is creamy. Store in salad dressing bottle and refrigerate. Keeps about 5 days. Shake well before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

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TIP

Substitute paprika with the fiery flavor cayenne or combine both for a spicier dressing.

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Tools for This Recipe

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Blender or Food Processor

Apricots

I like orange skinned apricots – the ones that are fresh ripe and sweet – but this summer I spotted two varieties that really intrigued me. One is called Angelcot White Apricot and the other Black Velvet Apricot, both captured my curiosity and I had to buy them no matter what the cost, believe me they weren’t cheap.

I couldn’t get home fast enough to try them and when I did, I was amazed. They made quite a tasty impression and both are sweeter and juicier than the traditional orange skinned apricot. Now I am a bigger fan of apricots.

While reading up on these two varieties, I discovered that California produces almost 95% of the apricots grown in the United States, and apricot growers are continually experimenting to produce new varieties. I wonder if any of these clever growers have more mouth-watering apricots coming down the pipeline?

The season for harvesting apricots here in North America usually begins mid-May and lasts until August and novel fruits like Angelcot and Black Velvet – both are part of the Proprietary Class of tree ripened fresh fruits – the season is even shorter so if you see them and haven’t tried them, please do. If you have tried them, I would love to know how you liked it.

Varieties of Apricots

Orange Apricots – these pretty orange apricots range in color from yellow to deep orange, and sometime the skin has red or rosy touches.

Black Velvet Apricots – are the result of a new cross blend of 50% apricots and 50% plums and is exclusively produced from Kingsbury Orchards in California.

Though it is classified as an apricot it has mostly the characteristics of a plum with a faint apricot taste. Its skin has a slightly fuzzy coat, which is probably why the word “velvet” is in its name. It has a tangy sweet flavor.

Angelcot White Apricot – New on the apricot scene, this white apricot was developed by a farmer located in California by the name of Ross Sanborn.

Don’t let its color fool you, it may appear unripe because of its pale flesh, but that is simply its distinct coloring. You will know better once you bite into it and taste its succulent juiciness.

Besides the apricots mentioned here, there exists many different types of apricot each with their own specific characteristics.

Steve Alber at Harvest To Table has a great list of the varieties of apricots with description and harvest times.

Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Apricots

According to the Apricot Producers of California, just three fresh apricots provide 35% to 45% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin A. They are a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Apricots contain:

Beta-carotene | Calcium | Dietary Fiber | Iron | Lycopene | Phosphorus | Potassium | Tryptopene | Vitamin C

Apricots are low in sodium, calories and fat, so eat as many of these healthy fruits as you desire.

Selecting and Storing Apricots

Although apricots will continue to ripen after they are picked from the tree, any that are too firm or have touches of green may not be completely tree-ripened. It’s the tree ripened ones that taste best and have the highest level of antioxidants.

Choose apricots with the best coloring for its particular variety. Apricots should be plump with fairly firm skin and yield to gentle pressure when lightly squeezed, and have a delicate aroma.

The ripe fruit can be kept longer if refrigerated. If you have apricots that need to ripen a bit more, keep them at room temperature or place them in a paper bag with a banana or an apple (the ethylene gas released helps ripen the fruit).

Freezing apricots – cut in half and remove the pit. Dip in a solution of 1 part fresh lemon juice and 3 parts filter water to help discourage discoloration. Place apricot halves in an airtight freezer friendly container or bag. Freeze up to 3 months

Preparing Fresh or Frozen Apricots for Use

Fresh apricots – wash them well before use; pit and peel, if necessary.

Frozen apricots – bring to room temperature and prepared as desired.

Serving Suggestions

Apricots are one of nature’s perfect fruits to eat out of hand, whole and fresh. Black Velvet and Angelcot apricots would make a unique and delightful stand in for the traditional orange apricot in recipes. Serve either of these fresh juicy sweet fruits in one of the following way:

  • Cut up fresh apricots and top on or add to your next breakfast meal
  • Dress up a salad with this luscious fruit
  • Make a smoothie
  • Make fresh homemade apricot juice
  • Treat yourself to an apricot dessert, like a sorbet or a tart
  • Make your own jams and preserves
  • Make your own sulfite free dried apricots

Apricot Crumble Bars

Today, I was on the hunt for fresh apricots and as it was clearly pointed out to me during the course of my search, apricot season ended in July and here it is mid-August.

Before setting out on my mission that almost seemed impossible, I picked up the phone and called my favorite local health food store. I was told they didn’t have any more apricots, they didn’t think they would get any more in, and the season had ended.

Hoping that the odds were in my favor, I jumped in my car and drove to the super market that sells a good selection of organic produce with my fingers crossed that I would find some apricots with my name on it. I must have seriously looked like I was trying to find something because two – not one – but two produce guys rushed over to help. One of the guys said they put in three orders and no apricots had come in, evidently the season has ended.

While driving home, I decided to go ahead and stop by my favorite health food store – the one I called earlier – and pick up a few things. The guy who I spoke with spotted me as he was dashing to the back of the store and hurriedly told me there were apricots in the mark down section. I threw up both my thumbs gesturing my excitement. But where is this wonderful mark down section with my apricots?

I looked around and finally had to ask another guy in the produce section for the apricots in the mark down area. As he escorted me to the “mark down” section, he simultaneously blurted out that they don’t have any more apricots and – you guessed it – apricot season is over. The “oh-I-am-so-sorry-for-you-what-do-you-think-apricots-grow-on-trees-this-time-of-year” tone in his voice made me think I was expecting too much. The next thing I knew he was holding a plastic bag with the last seven fresh organic apricots of the season for $1.49! One or two looked like they had seen better days, but heck, I’ll take it!

Apricot Crumble Bars

Brazil nuts pair nicely with apricots, but feel free to use any nut or seed you like for the crumble. A 9 x 9 or smaller dish/pan is an ideal size for this recipe. These bars are great as a treat, or serve as a dessert with fresh fruit or accompany with a scoop of sorbet.

Brazil Nut Crumble

2 cups brazil nuts
1 1/3 cups organic unsweetened coconut, shredded
½ cup organic dried apricots, chopped
¼ cup agave
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 organic vanilla bean
1 teaspoon organic cold pressed coconut oil
Place the brazil nuts, 1 cup of the shredded coconut [reserve the 1/3 cup shredded coconut for topping (see assembly)] and the dried apricots in a food processor and process until it resembles a crumbly meal. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated.

Makes about 2 cups, firmly packed

Fresh Apricot Jam

3 fresh organic apricots, washed, stone removed
1 – 2 tablespoons agave, optional
Place the apricots and agave in a food processor and process into a smooth jam.

Makes 2/3 – ¾ cups

Assemble

Brazil Nut Crumble
Fresh Apricot Jam
1 fresh organic apricot, washed, stone removed, chopped
½ cup reserved brazil nut crumble
1/3 cup reserved organic unsweetened shredded coconut
Place 1½ cups of the brazil nut crumble in a glass dish or metal pan of your choice. Shape the crumble to the bottom of the dish/pan to form an even base. Spread about 1/3 cup of the apricot jam evenly on top of the base. Sprinkle the chopped fresh apricot evenly over the apricot jam, then sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of brazil nut crumble and the 1/3 cup shredded coconut on top.

Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more before cutting. Keep refrigerated up to 5 days.

Makes 8 3-inch bars