Dark Chocolate “Healthy” Brownies

These are the easiest and healthiest brownies I have ever made.  Usually you make a healthy brownie and you spend all that time putting it together and baking it. Then when you finally get that moment of pure bliss and take your first bite and it ends up “OK”.  Nobody wants an “OK” healthy brownie, right?  I made these and my mind was blown when I took that first bite.  So good and I don’t feel bad eating the entire batch on my own (ok, maybe I feel a little disgusted about my lack of self control).

Alright, enough messin around lets get to the nuts and bolts of this delicious and heavenly dessert.

I literally just dumped everything except for the chocolate chips in my Vitamix (have I ever said “I love my Vitamix?) and give it a good mixin.

 

Now mix in your dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa) and semi sweet chocolate chips.  Let me just mention that using half dark chocolate chips makes a huge difference for me.  It makes your brownies so much richer and decadent.  Just trust me on this.

If you like nuts in your brownies now would be the time as well.  The hubby is allergic to most nuts so I just leave them out.  I don’t think they need it anyway.

Ok, dump everything into a 9×9 glass baking dish that has been greased and pop them in the oven.

Hang in there.  The time staring into the oven is well worth it.

 

Toda!

Chocolate BrownieChocolate Brownie 2

Dark Chocolate "Healthy" Brownies
 
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A healthy dark chocolate brownie you won't regret after your done eating it. It's dense and chewy texture will completely satisfy your chocolate craving.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12 bars
Ingredients
  • ¾ C. Oat Flour
  • ¼ C. Cacao powder (this is not cocoa powder)
  • ½ C. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ripe avocado (peeled and pitted)
  • ½ C. Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • ¾ C. Pure Maple Syrup
  • ½ C. Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend all ingredients together except for the chocolate chips.
  3. Once everything is incorporated stop blending and stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon into a 9x9 greased baking dish.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before cutting
  7. To keep longer store in air tight container in the refrigerator

 

 

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Quinoa Protein Bars

I love experimenting with different flavors for granola bars and protein bars.  I recently got sent some puffed quinoa and I immediately thought of protein bars.  I got a free sample sent to me from Arden Mills and I love the flavor and texture.  It’s like a puffed rice cereal but miniature.  It’s perfect for protein bars.

I think you could really get unique with these bars.  Whatever sounds good to you like macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc can be added to these.  They remind me of a healthy scotcharoo.  Here is what I put in my first batch and you can take it from there.

I dumped my dry ingredients into a bowl.  1 cup nutty rice (I get mine off amazon since the local health food store stopped carrying it), 1 1/2 cups puffed quinoa, 1/4 cup hemp seeds, 2 tbsp chia seeds.  Mix all of these dry ingredients to combine and set aside.

Now you will make your “glue”.  In a heat safe glass bowl add 1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup “real” maple syrup, 1/2 tsp salt.  Put this in the microwave for about 20 seconds until it’s warm and pourable.   Add to dry ingredients and mix till everything is nice and coated in the “peanut butter glue”.  Pour into a parchment lined baking dish and press into dish till everything is nice and flat and compacted.

Next you need the best part.  The chocolate topping.   Now this is your own personal preference but for me it’s dark chocolate.  I use at least a 72% dark chocolate.  You will need roughly 6oz. of chocolate.  If you want a thicker chocolate layer just melt a few more ounces.  Chop chocolate into small pieces so it melts quicker.  Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds then add 1 tbsp. Peanut butter and melt another 30 seconds.  Stir till everything is combined and pour over quinoa bars.

Let sit in the fridge for about an hour to set or if your like me cut yourself a chunk and THEN put it in the fridge to set ;).

Enjoy!

 

Quinoa Protein Bars
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Serves: 18 bars
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Nutty Rice
  • 1½ cup Puffed Quinoa
  • ¼ cup Hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup Maple Syrup
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 6 oz. Dark Chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. Peanut Butter
Instructions
  1. Combine all dry ingredients together and mix well.
  2. Melt 1 cup peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt into microwave safe dish and heat in microwave for 20 seconds till runny.
  3. Pour over all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Press into a 9x9 baking dish lined with parchment paper
  5. Melt dark chocolate and peanut butter in microwave and then pour over pressed quinoa bars.
  6. Set in refrigerator for 1 hour then enjoy

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Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

Move over pumpkin spice latte.  Here comes the next best thing.  This ice cream tastes like you are eating a piece of pumpkin pie.  It is also so much better for you than a piece of pumpkin pie.  It was super easier to mix up and an easy dessert to curb your sweet tooth.

I started by soaking 1 1/2 cups of cashews in boiling water for 2 hours.  I know torture right?  It will really make a difference in the creaminess of your ice cream so it is well worth the wait.  I just put my cashews in a bowl and add some boiling water out of the kettle and then cover and let sit for 2 hours.  After sitting for 2 hours drain the excess water out of the cashews.  Add the cashews to a vitamix, food processor or blender of your choice.

Next comes the pumpkin pie filling. We grow tons of pumpkins so I always have this in my freezer but this specific pumpkin was freshly baked earlier this morning.  It is so easy to make your own pumpkin pie filling and tastes WAY better than the can.  Just quarter a pie pumpkin (you know the smaller ones you see in the grocery store for decoration).  Turns out they aren’t just for decoration.  This is where you get your pumpkin pie filling.  You can use a normal pumpkin but they are a bit more bitter in the final product.

pie pumpkins

Just quarter up a pie pumpkin and scrape the insides out.  Put into a glass casserole dish and cover and pop into the microwave for 10 minutes.  Let set 2-3 minutes and then scrape the flesh out into a blender or food processor.  I add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 1 tsp. clove to my filling and it’s really for freezing or using right away.  This is identical to the expensive stuff in the can.  If you want to skip this step just add a 15 oz. can of canned pumpkin, I wont’ judge.

So you have your cashews and your pumpkin filling in your blender now.  Drop in 1 cup almond milk (coconut milk is fine if you like the hint of coconut flavor), 3 tbsp. coconut oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 cup REAL maple syrup, 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar).

Blend all this up for a couple minutes until it’s nice and smooth.

I then dumped this into my ice cream maker which is my bowl attachment for my KitchenAid mixer.

You can skip this step if you don’t have an ice cream maker and just put your mixture into a freezer safe container and let chill for a couple hours.   I mixed mine up in my KitchenAid ice cream maker for about 5 minutes then I dumped it in a silicone mold and popped it in to the freezer for a couple hours.

This ice cream is a light and fluffy texture and tastes exactly like eating a pumpkin pie.

You can even add nuts, chocolate or whatever toppings you would like but I think it excellent on it’s own.

Enjoy!

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Allergen Free Banana Sugar Cookies

Allergen Free Banana Sugar Cookies

Allergent Free Sugar Cookie

Ok, so I was out on this impossible task of needing sugar cookies and I couldn’t use a huge handful of ingredients including eggs, flax, apples, wheat, and milk.  YIKES!

I started browsing different recipes and they all seemed to have 1 ingredient I couldn’t use so I decided to just try this random idea and it worked out great.

My secret ingredient is banana.  Your sugar cookies will have a slight banana flavor but I really didn’t mind this because I like banana.  I was very surprised at how amazing these turned out and they didn’t crumble as soon as you took a bite either.  They were very moist and had a great consistency.

The key is really using a great gluten free flour that you like and has worked for you.  I have made these a couple times now with 2 different gluten free flour options and by far the best to hold it’s shape and be very moist is The Naked Oat Gluten Free Flour.  As you may notice it contains a gluten free oat along with tapioca flour.  If you are sensitive to oats I wouldn’t recommend using this flour.  You can use equal parts brown rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch flour if you prefer that.

So the amazing thing that I sort of stumbled upon with these cookies is that I had some left over peanut butter frosting and the light bulb went off in my head to frost them with the peanut butter frosting.  It was so amazing.  Who doesn’t love banana’s and peanut butter.

Allergen Free Sugar Cookie

Allergen Free Banana Sugar Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 C. Earth Balance soy free butter
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 C. Gluten Free Four of choice
  • 2 tbsp. rice milk (or milk of choice)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional: different flavor extracts as desired
  • Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 1 C. Earth Balance Butter
  • 1 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 4 C. Powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Rice Milk (or milk of your choice) coconut milk adds for a creamier frosting
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Whip your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add your banana, milk, salt and vanilla. Add your flour and mix to combine.
  2. It is super important that you let this firm up in the fridge. I just dump out my dough onto some plastic wrap and wrap it up and put it in the fridge for AT LEAST an hour. Once your dough is firm you can roll it out and cut your shapes. Make sure you flour your work surface with your gluten free flour of choice. Roll out to about ¼-1/3" thick.
  3. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until they just start turning golden. Do not over bake these. Let cool on baking sheet a couple minutes before removing to cooling racks.
  4. Frosting:
  5. Cream the butter and peanut butter. Add salt and powdered sugar. Add the milk in between the cups of powdered sugar till creamy.

 

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Vegan Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Vegan Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I absolutely LOVE Nestle’s Coffee Mate vanilla coffee creamer.  It is the perfect cup of coffee in the morning.  I typically go overboard with it as well.  I am not a black coffee drinker by far.  I have recently had it pointed out to me the amount of chemicals and things I cannot pronounce in my creamer.  This started to worry me and I have been thinking of how to get my yummy cup of joe WITHOUT the added crap that I don’t want to put in my body.  So here is the best option that I found and I am loving it.

Start out with 1/2 cup dates.  YES, I said dates.  Dates are the best thing ever I have come across in the last year and they have so many wonderful uses and benefits.   I bought a 2 pound bag of dates on Amazon (I also buy my nuts and canned items as well, it’s awesome).

I soak my dates for 10 minutes in water so they are easier to puree.  Discard water and put your dates in a high speed blender (I use my Vitamix).  Add 1/2 cup warm water,  3 tablespoons coconut sugar and puree scraping down the sides as needed so you get a smooth date puree.

Date puree

Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1 16oz. can of coconut milk (make sure this isn’t fat free of “light”).  Slowly increase the speed of your blender and puree for about 2 minutes to make sure everything is well blended and smooth.  You don’t want any bits of date in your coffee.  You should have something like this.

pouring coffee creamer

So yummy, I store this into a quart size ball jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  I usually go through this a lot quicker than that since I typically use a lot of creamer.  You can play around with different sweeteners if you like.  If you like honey, xylitol, etc. you could use that and even add cinnamon and nutmeg if you like a more spiced creamer.  I think that would be amazing for fall.

Here is my yummy cup of morning coffee with no added chemicals and no dairy.

vegan coffee creamer mug

Enjoy!

Vegan Vanilla Coffee Creamer
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 quart
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 16oz. coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Soak dates for 10 minutes then drain. Puree dates and ½ cup warm water in high speed blender till smooth. Add vanilla extract, sugar and coconut milk. Blend for 2 minutes until well incorporated. Store in glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Gluten and Dairy Free Corn Dogs

Gluten and Dairy Free Corn Dogs

Gluten and dairy free corndogs

These are amazing!  Not sure what else I need to say about these.  One of the best gluten and dairy free comfort foods that I have imitated.  I honestly don’t notice a difference and I prefer these to the frozen store bought kind now. Continue reading

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

So this is a build on my past post about homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread.

I discovered this one day when I was making a double batch of bread and thought wait a minute, why not?

I just whipped up my bread recipe (click on the link above for that recipe)

At the point where you roll out your bread to place in the bread pan you just pause at the point of rolling out your dough.

Slather on 1 stick of softened Butter or Earth Balance Butter.

Spread your brown sugar (about 1C.) all over the butter

Sprinkle your cinnamon all over your sugar and then add your raisin’s.  Use your discretion here if you like raisin by all means pour them on.

Here is your finished product

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Roll this bad boy up and tuck in your ends.  Insert into greased bread pan.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes till golden brown.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This recipe is good for so many things

Perfectly crisp toast with yummy melted butter

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Toast

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, YUMMM!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread French Toast

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Gluten and Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

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Gluten and Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce

One of my favorite things that I miss being gluten and dairy free is alfredo sauce.  Who doesn’t love that comfort food of starchy noodles with a delicious creamy sauce just like macaroni and cheese.  Continue reading

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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I’m just going to come out and admit it “I can’t make bread”.  Yes, I am a cake baker and love all things baking but I have always had the worst time baking bread for some odd reason.  Either it was too dry, too wet, didn’t raise, or just tasted like crap.  Until now!

I just want to give a huge shout out to my good friend Amanda who gave me this recipe out of the kindness of her heart.

One night over dinner she had admitted she didn’t have a Kitchenaid mixer and my heart sank.  I was like who doesn’t own a Kitchenaid?  I think my life would end without it.  Ok, it wouldn’t END but it would really really REALLY SUCK. Continue reading

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Crochet Gerry Giraffe

Crochet Gerry Giraffe

This is one of my favorite things to crochet.  I am not much of a stuffed animal fan but this guy immediately stole my heart when I stumbled upon him.

I was in search of something to make for a friend of mine who was having a baby shower.  I wanted to do something different when it came to crochet because I had recently made a lot of baby hats and such so was sort of bored of those.

Continue reading

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