Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Raw" Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free)



Okay seriously, I LOVE peanut butter. I have a slight obsession with the stuff. Sometimes after school, I come home and just dip a spoon into the jar. I deserve it---it's exhausting teaching 3rd graders! ;)

This weekend, my sister and her cute family came to visit us. It's her birthday on Wednesday and I wanted to make her something special. Both her and I are health-fanatics and don't eat the regular sweets that people enjoy on their birthdays---cake, ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, etc. I really wanted to make her something somewhat birthday-oriented, so of course my mind went straight to peanut butter! 

And the end result? Raw Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie. (That's a mouthful. Really it was, and it was delicious.) I will post the recipe later this week. Keep an eye out for it! For the base, I made this Raw Peanut Butter Cookie Crust. I had extra so I made little peanut butter cookies with the traditional criss-cross pattern.



Raw Peanut Butter Cookies

vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free

  • 1 cup raw, whole almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • couple pinches of salt (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. If you are using whole almonds, process them until they resemble a coarse meal in the food processor. If you are using almond meal, simply pour the almond meal into the food processor and you can move to step two!
  2. Add the dates, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Process the ingredients until the mixture starts to form into a ball. This will take anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the strength of your food processor). If it isn't coming together, add another tablespoon or two of peanut butter, stir, and process again. You can even add in a teaspoon of water. (That's what I had to do because my dates were a tad dry.)
  4. Form the dough into bite-sized balls and place on a baking sheet (or plate) covered with parchment paper. Press each ball gently with a fork to make the classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross pattern.
  5. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.






Those are my cute little peanut butter crusts just ready to be made into birthday pies!





 Thank you Sweetest Kitchen for the inspiration!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Snowballs


This weekend it's supposed to snow. A lot...apparently. ;)
Snow--please make your way to Wyoming! This girls needs to go snowboarding.


Even if the lack of snow prevents me from hitting the slopes, I will not let it stop me from making Peanut Butter Snowballs! Not on your life.

I found this recipe in a magazine this winter. And I am so glad I did. It has been the hit of many parties. But don't you fret, I "healthified" it. :)




Peanut Butter Snowballs

gluten-free, can be dairy-free


What you need:
  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter (salted)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey, melted (adding more honey will hold mixture together better)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips of choice
    • white chocolate chips for "snowball" look
    • semi-sweet chocolate chips for dairy-free option
    • half milk chocolate & semi-sweet chocolate for pure deliciousness


What you do:
  1. In a bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Take a spoonful of peanut butter mixture and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet covered with wax/parchment paper. Repeat this process until all of the peanut butter mixture is gone.
  3. Place baking sheet in freezer for about 20 minutes, until peanut butter balls are firm.
  4. In a double-boiler, melt together chocolate chips with coconut oil, over medium heat. Stir until smooth. (Don't skip adding in the coconut oil, it is essential for all over melting and effective covering of the peanut butter balls.)
  5. Remove baking pan from freezer. Take a peanut butter ball and roll it in the melted chocolate, (with a spoon) until completely covered. Place peanut butter ball back onto the wax/parchment-covered baking sheet. Repeat this process until all peanut butter balls are covered. Place pan back into the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once "snowballs" are firm, remove pan from freezer and place balls in Ziploc baggies. Store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to chow down!
NOTE: If you use another type of peanut butter, such as Jiffy/Skippy--you will need to add in a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to "firm up" the peanut butter mixture. If you skip this step, you will end up with a gooey mess.




As you can see, these Peanut Butter Snowballs have been quite the party animals. Once you start making them, they will be requested by everyone. Trust me.






Similar to these guys: Healthy Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Deck the Halls with Granola Balls!


Deck the Halls with…Granola Balls…falalala!
Christmas is so close, and I am so…
so…
so…
indifferent.
I just want to feel that magic of Christmas I experience every year.
The feeling of leisure, excitement, and pure happiness.
No school. No pressure to do anything productive.
It's glorious.
But this year, I feel kinda…well to put it bluntly. Crappy.
The snow is missing and all those wonderful holiday feelings are missing along with it.


But you know what has made me feel better?
Chocolate. And lots of it.
Nutella, Ghirardelli, Dove. Dark, White, Milk.
I don't discriminate against any type of chocolate.
You simply can't feel "crappy" when chocolate is around.


Nutella Granola Balls

gluten-free

1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup oats
1 cup Nutella
2-3 tablespoons honey, melted
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together cereal and oats.
  2. In a small bowl, stir Nutella with honey and coconut oil. Add in vanilla.
  3. Pour Nutella mixture over cereal mix. Stir well to combine.
  4. At last, stir in white chocolate chips. Make sure your granola mix is not too warm, as you do not want your chocolate chips to get all melty.
  5. It's ball-rolling time! Get your hands wet with a bit of water. Grab a small handful of granola mixture and roll into a bite-sized ball. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your hands, that way it stays in its shape. Place in a Ziploc bag. Continue to do this until all granola balls are made. Seal the Ziploc bag and store these in the freezer.

DELISH.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

homemade 100 Grand Bars


Guys. Did you know that Thanksgiving is just hours away?! 
I don't know how you feel about Thanksgiving, but I love everything about it.
Food. Family. Traditions. Food.
That's what I am talking about!


This year, Thanksgiving is going to be a very interesting one.
Rather than have a traditional meal of Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pies--we are going to Las Vegas. (Vegas, baby!)
Bring on the casinos, the strip, and the pool hotties! (Haha, just kidding!)


Actually, we already celebrated Thanksgiving this past Sunday.
It was lovely, of course.
But you know... I am so over Thanksgiving that I think I will start decorating for Christmas tomorrow.
Don't judge.


Oh yeah, speaking of Thanksgiving…this treat is sure to please all your guests.
It's super duper easy.
And who doesn't love that chewy, crispy, perfect 100 Grand Candy Bar?



Homemade [Copycat] 100 Grand Bars

gluten-free


30 unwrapped Kraft caramels, at room temperature
1 bag milk chocolate chips (12 oz)
3/4 cup crisp rice cereal


DIRECTIONS

  1. Flatten out all the caramels into small rectangles (about 1/4 inch thick), using your warm hands. Lay out all the caramels onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
  2. Start melting the chocolate chips in a double-boiler, on medium-high heat. Stir until smooth, but make sure not to overheat. If chocolate starts to clump, stir in a teaspoon of coconut oil.
  3. Remove chocolate from heat. Stir in cereal.
  4. Dip each caramel into the chocolate mixture, using a spoon. Make sure to coat well. When done, lay onto cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
  5. Cool until firm. For faster cooling, chill in the freezer.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

vegan cookie dough ice cream [gluten-free, all-natural]


This ice cream dish is one of those things that you (and I) will crave all summer long.
Yes, it's really that good.


On day one, I made Vegan Cookie Dough Bites. I was like, "Holy crap, these are good."
On day two, those cookie dough bites were just begging to be made into ice cream.
And why not? Cookie dough ice cream is so good, it's like legend in the ice cream world.



It's been a long time since I have had cookie dough ice cream (at least 10 years, yes…years, folks).
You want to know how to make easy vegan ice cream? Frozen bananas, non-dairy milk, vanilla, cinnamon. Done. 
Yep, that's it.


Oh, and you may want to add in some more cookie dough bites. 
Just sayin. 


After popping it into the freezer for a little while, it will come out in perfect scoops. 


Top with homemade hard shell topping.
Perfection.



Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream [gluten-free]


Super Easy Vegan Ice Cream

2 to 3 frozen bananas (let them thaw for a few minutes)
1/4 cup dairy-free milk (I prefer almond milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 dashes salt
a pinch of cinnamon (my favorite secret ingredient)
10 (or more) Vegan Cookie Dough Bites
a small handful chocolate chips (optional)

Homemade Chocolate Hard Shell Topping

1/2 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil


DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients for the ice cream in a food processor. Pulse ingredients at first, as the bananas may still be hard. After bananas have broken down a bit, process ice cream until smooth, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides. 
  2. The ice cream will be soft at this point. Pour the mixture into a small glass pan (or medium-sized bowl). I absolutely LOVE chunks of cookie dough in my cookie dough ice cream, duh! At this point, I recommend roughly chopping up additional cookie dough bites and stirring them into your ice cream. Once finished stirring, place ice cream in freezer for about 30 minutes, as you want your ice cream to be "scoopable". 
  3. While the ice cream is cooling in the freezer, make your chocolate hard shell topping. In a microwave-safe container, stir together chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt chocolate mixture for about 30 seconds, stir, then put in for another 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.  
  4. Once ice cream is frozen, scoop out as much ice cream as your heart desires. Drizzle chocolate topping on ice cream. As soon as this chocolate topping touches the cold ice cream, it will harden just like Magic Hardshell Chocolate Topping. It's amazing!


Once again, thank you Lee Hersh, for your inspiration.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

vegan cookie dough bites [gluten-free]

sometimes i feel inspired.


to make cookie dough.


is it so bad that i crave it?
that's totally human of me, right?


ohmygahsh. 
don't that look so tasty?

and maybe try fudge-dipped too?
why not?


pop them in the freezer, and voila! you got a snack to eat on the go. perfect.



Vegan Cookie Dough Bites [gluten-free]


Cookie Dough

1 cup ground oats (oat flour)
1/3 to 1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 to 4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Homemade Chocolate Fudge Topping

1/2 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)
1 tablespoon butter substitute (Earth Balance works great)


DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients together in a food processor with the mixer-attachment (or medium-sized bowl). If mixing in a bowl, use a wooden spoon. Process ingredients together, until smooth. It should have the consistency of regular cookie dough. 
  2. Scoop out small portions of cookie dough. Roll each scoop into bite-sized pieces. Place these on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and cool in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, create chocolate fudge topping by heating chocolate chips in the microwave. After about 30 seconds, give chocolate a good stir. Melt chocolate for another 30 seconds. Afterwards, stir in butter substitute. As you stir in the butter substitute, the chocolate should cool and thicken a bit.
  4. Remove cookie dough bites and dip/cover in fudge sauce. (You don't need to dip all the cookie dough bites, I only covered about half of them.)
  5. Place cookie dough bites back in freezer for about 10 more minutes. When they are cooled, store them in a small tupperware or ziploc bag. Make sure you keep cookie dough bites in the freezer or fridge, as they will soften a bit at room temperature.


This girl was my inspiration for this. Stay tuned for Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream tomorrow. :)


Friday, May 23, 2014

strawberry white chocolate [poke] cake---gluten-free


Have you ever had a craving that you just can't put your finger on?
Like when you are in the aisle of the grocery store and just pace back and forth…trying to figure out what your body wants.
That's how I felt before making this cake. I knew I wanted to make a cake. And I knew I wanted a tasty combination.
Vanilla + Caramel = No.
Chocolate + Caramel = Gross.
Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Not today.
Vanilla + White Chocolate = Getting closer…
Vanilla + White Chocolate + Strawberry = YES.


And is there is a better day to make a cake than on Mother's Day? Most likely not.



We had the opportunity to spend the day with my in-laws. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my in-laws? Well if I haven't, they are the best. I love them so much.
My husband and I made vegetable curry for the family, my mother-in-law unwrapped gifts, we were able to talk to my brother Isaac and my sister-in-law Danielle (they are both serving missions in Panama and Guam), and we ate strawberry white chocolate cake, of course.



My incredibly beautiful mother-in-law.


One of the gifts she received from my father-in-law--jewelry from Sundance.


Step one.


Step two.


Step three.


Step four.



Strawberry White Chocolate [Poke] Cake 

gluten-free

1 gluten-free vanilla cake, baked (your choice of mix, Bob's Red Mill is pretty yummy)
  • If you make a cake from a mix, I would recommend adding 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
  • You can also make your own cake--these recipes are yummy: white cake or yellow cake
1 container strawberries, rinsed, de-stemmed and quartered
White Chocolate Sauce (see below)
Vanilla Whipped Cream (see below)

Directions
  1. Bake the vanilla cake, according to box directions. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  2. With a chopstick, poke various holes into the cake. Pour the white chocolate sauce over the cake and let it run into the holes. 
  3. Spread the whipped cream evenly onto the top of the cake. 
  4. At last, place the quartered strawberries on the whipped cream.
  5. Eat and be ready to be addicted!


White Chocolate Sauce


1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 oz white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Add the cream and butter to a small saucepan.
  2. Place the pan over low heat until the butter melts and the cream comes to a simmer (stir frequently).
  3. Pour in the white chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Stir in vanilla.


Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cauliflower Tabbouleh


The first time I saw Tabbouleh, it was a magical moment. Instantly, my eyes were draw to its vibrant colors and distinct aroma. My stomach told me, "Must consume that, now!" I did, and it was good. Oh, so good.

Of course, my digestive system disliked this wheat-infested dish, and I suffered much pain afterward, but it was all worth it (well, maybe that's going too far). But truly, Tabbouleh is a delicious concoction of ingredients that make it crisp, clean, and refreshing.

And now I can have it whenever I want, because I discovered that Tabbouleh can be made with cauliflower! Yes, it's true. Hoorah! Although it is not "traditional" per se, it still tastes of all things great in traditional Tabbouleh.


You may ask yourself, is this Lebanese dish spelled as "Tabbouleh, Tabouleh, or Tabouli"? Many may argue which is most correct, however I love what someone (named Sebaali) said about that: "What's important is the recipe, not the spelling."



Cauliflower Tabbouleh [grain-free, dairy-free]


Salad
1 medium to large head cauliflower, processed in the food processor (see below)
5 green onions, thinly sliced
4 to 5 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Dressing
2 to 3 lemons, squeezed
--zest of those lemons (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
ground cumin (to taste)


Directions
Cut off the stems of the cauliflower, cut into chunks, and place in the food processor. Process the cauliflower for 10-20 seconds, or until it resembles pieces about the size of bulgur wheat grains. Place processed cauliflower in a large bowl. Add in the green onions, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and mint. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the salad and stir. Allow Tabbouleh to sit and marinate for at least 10 minutes, so that the flavors meld together.




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