December 21, 2011

fruit and nut bars


Need a break from Christmas cookies?  Not yet? Me either, but if you do these bars are a great alternative to cookie cravings.  They are just the right amount of salty and sweet.  Did I mention they are also ridiculously easy to put together?  There, I just did.  Now go on, go make some and enjoy.

Fruit and Nut Bars
Adapted from Cave Women Cafe

1 cup of almonds
1 cup of cashews, raw and unsalted
½ cup of nut flour, (I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal)
½ cup of unsweetened dried coconut
½ cup sun butter (or your favorite peanut butter)
½ cup of coconut oil
¼ cup of honey
2 tsp of pure vanilla
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dark chocolate chips 
½ cup raisins 

In your food processor pulse together the almonds and cashews until they are a coarse meal and stir into the nut flour in a medium bowl.

In a microwave safe bowl, warm up the coconut oil and sun butter for about 20 seconds, in the microwave and stir them together well. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt then mix till all creamy. Fold the nut mix into the honey mix then add the fruit and chocolate chips. 

Pat into an 8 x 8 baking dish and stick in fridge for 1 hour or more till nice and solid. Cut into squares or rectangular bars. 

I wrapped them individually and kept them in the fridge (if you leave them out they will get soft); these made a great breakfast and or snack before running.  

Merry Christmas ya'll!  

December 13, 2011

morning glory bread

I have a group of gal pals back home in Seattle (plus the one that resides in Vancouver, B.C.) that I chat with almost daily via group email.  There are six us total, we are all so very different and have been besties since for-evah, we share everything with each other and would do anything for one another.  That's how this recipe came about, one of the gal pals asked me to come up with a muffin that tastes like the morning glory muffin from The Macrina Bakery in Seattle (one of my absolute favorite bakeries in Seattle) that is without sugar, white flour or butter.  

I got to work right away, making these reminded me of when I lived in a little Victorian one bedroom apartment on top of Queen Anne Hill,  I would meet one of my childhood friends in the morning at the bus stop and we would walk to our respective offices downtown Seattle, stopping for morning glory muffins and coffee along the way.  It was usually raining,  you could smell the warm sweet fragrance of the bakery blocks before arriving there.  There was always a line out the door, the muffins would be warm and the coffee would be topped off with a scoop of vanilla sugar (they keep it out on the counter for everyone to use). I miss home. 

I first made this recipe into muffins, top them off with a little raw sugar and when you close your eyes you'll swear you are sitting in the Macrina Bakery.  They were so good I thought I would make a loaf of bread, just to see what happens.  The bread was equally as good and did not last long at our house. 

Morning Glory Bread (or muffins)

2 cups almond flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt 
1 Tblsp cinnamon
3 ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 cup raisins + 3/4 cup raisins for adding into the mix
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
In a food processor, combine 1 cup raisins, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and blend until completely combined
Fold in carrots, remaing 3/4 cup raisins and coconut
Pour mixture into parchment paper lined bread pan  (or paper lined muffin tin)
Bake at 350° for 60 minutes (for bread) 25 minutes for muffins







 

December 9, 2011

baked tofu and peanut sauce

Do you have one of those go to quick fix weeknight dinners?  Well this here is mine, its about as easy as pie to make, actually even easier.  I like to make this medley with enough to take for lunch the next day.  The flavors get even better the day after making.  Even my meat loving hubby enjoys this meal. 

Baked Tofu and Peanut Sauce

1 block extra firm tofu (not silken)
1/8 cup gluten free Kikkoman soy sauce
1 package A Taste of Thai Peanut Sauce
1 can coconut milk (full fat if you want the sauce to be thicker)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower chopped into bit size pieces
1 small red onion sliced or chopped (your preference)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons oil olive
1 box quinoa (pre-washed)

Pre-heat oven 375

Slice tofu into 1 inch cubes.  Brush cubes on all sides with soy sauce and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, turning halfway through until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, chop up your broccoli, cauliflower and onion, in a large skillet over medium high heat saute your vegetables with two tablespoons olive oil until tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  In a medium size bowl whisk together the peanut sauce packet with a can of coconut milk.  Pour mixture over vegetables, bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add in your frozen peas, raisins and baked tofu to the peanut sauce vegetable mixture.  Let simmer for 1-2 minutes (until peas are warmed through).  Serve over quinoa or brown rice.  


It's Friday! Looks like mother nature decided to paint the sky this morning in celebration of the weekend.

December 7, 2011

pesto zucchini and squash "spaghetti"


A couple of my friends are doing the Paleo Diet I've heard of it but never really investigated it.  I tasted some muffins a friend made this weekend and thought, I need to check this out.  The muffins were mighty taste and gluten free.  After a bit of research it appears the Paleo plan is naturally gluten free and has an emphasis on whole foods and no processed sugars.  Turns out, unbeknownst to me and the hubby we already eat a Paleo Diet, give or take a few things.  I'm rambling. 

The whole point of this is that while I was researching this eating plan I discovered a recipe for "spaghetti" made of zucchini.  We generally use spaghetti squash in place of noodles so I thought I would attempt this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint.  It was also very easy to prepare and was just as satisfying as a plate of pasta without the carbicide bloat. 

Pesto Zucchini and Squash "Spaghetti"
Adapted from Perry's Plate

4 medium zucchini, julienned thinly (I did this by hand so my pieces are far from uniform, a mandoline slicer would have been the ideal gadget to use)
2 medium yellow squash, julienned thinly
1 package hot/spicy ground sausage
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onions sliced thinly
4 Tblsp prepared basil pesto (or more to taste)
1/2 cup goat cheese (optional)
3 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Thinly slice zucchini and yellow squash.  Place zucchini and squash strips in a colander over a bowl or in the sink.  Sprinkle zucchini and squash with salt and toss to combine.  Let the veggies sit for 15 minutes while the salt extracts the moisture.  Drain excess water, squeezing zucchini and squash if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook ground sausage in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, turn frequently.  Once the sausage has cooked through toss in the onions, broccoli, mushrooms and cook until the veggies are crisp-tender. 

You can cook the bacon at this time with the sausage; I prefer to bake my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, set aside and crumble into the mixture after it is prepared.

Remove sausage/veggie mixture from the pan, set on a plate with a napkin to drain any excess oil.

Return pan to medium heat.  Add zucchini and squash with 2 Tblsp. of the pesto tossing to combine all the ingredients.  The mixture of veggies only needs to cook for about 4 minutes.  Once cooked, add back your sausage and veggie medley plus the additional 2 Tblsp pesto, crumbled bacon and 1/2 cup goat cheese.  Toss until all ingredients are mixed evenly.  Serve warm! (Serves 4). 


December 1, 2011

cranberry sauce muffins (gluten free)

I made a boatload of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  I might have been a bit overzealous about our guests appetite for this delicious sauce.  My husband saw the vat of sauce I was making and informed me that I would most likely be the only one eating it.  Did this stop me? Nope. Now to be fair, some of our guests did enjoy the sauce but the hubs was correct that I made way to much. I didn't know what to do with the extras until I spotted a box of King Arthur's Gluten Free Muffin Mix in my pantry.  I figured, why not?  Let's just see how this works out and low and behold the muffins came out light and fluffy with just the right amount of tart and sweet.  I added a little turbinado sugar to the top of the muffins while they baked and it created the prefect little crunch, let's be real here, who doesn't enjoy crunchy little sugary bits on top of a muffin? 

Cranberry Sauce

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 3/4 cups agave
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup raisins 

Cook the cranberries, Agave, and 1 cup of water in a sauce pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open.  Add the apple, zests and juices and cook for 15 more minutes.  Remove from heat and add the raisins.  Let cool and serve chilled.  

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

1 box King Arthur's Gluten Free Muffin Mix 
1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce
3 eggs
6 tablespoons melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup almond milk
Follow directions on the box and add in your cranberry sauce, top them with some turbinado sugar.  Pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes and enjoy!

November 30, 2011

a homemade thanksgiving

My husband and I decided to host Thanksgiving this year and make everything from scratch.  Now maybe this isn’t a big deal to some but we both come from families that believe in short cuts, usually involving packaged items.  No disrespect to our mama’s of course, when the hubs and I get an idea we give it 150% no matter how much lunacy is involved.  We prepped throughout the week, tested our recipes which involved the hubs eating about 6 buttermilk biscuits in a row, set the table with some sparkle and I even whipped up a batch of homemade cloth napkins for the occasion, overboard?  Maybe. Worth it? Yes!  We were blessed to share the holiday with family and some of our dearest friends.  

Test run of the buttermilk biscuits, hubs decided he would need one fixed with an egg and bacon to determine if they were truly worthy of our Thanksgiving table.
Cranberry sauce above and fried turkey below, we're converts to the fried turkey - it was the best turkey we've had! 

We ended a good night of fellowship and the giving of thanks for all the blessing we have by the fire with dessert and wine.  A perfect ending to our first round of hosting Thanksgiving together.

November 3, 2011

our nations capital

Washington, DC is amazing. Barnone (to borrow a phrase from my grandma).  I had the good fortune about two weeks ago to meet up with my husband who was in our nation's capital for work, I came up for a weekend of playing tourist.  We must have put ten miles a day on our feet, there is just so much to see and do and of course taste.  The trip was a whirlwind but we did manage to dine at some classic DC eateries, The Old Ebbitt Grill, where we had a late, late night dinner of crab cakes and wine, Filomena for Italian food that felt like it came straight out of grandma's kitchen (if she were Italian).  The place just oozed kitsch, warmth and Italian goodness, it just worked and at the end of the meal they bring you sambuca and amaretto to top off your meal.  In addition to tasty meals we checked out just about every memorial, monument and museum that we could squeeze into a two day visit.  Exhausting but well worth it! 

Vietnam Memorial

Is that you Jump Master Bohannon?
Capital
Lincoln Monument

Cross at Arlington
Arlington

Outside an Arts Building
Northbound Train


The Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most beautifully heartbreaking places I've ever been, I could not help but think of all the sacrifice that has been made by our soldiers, that brought them to this final resting place.  My husband has witnessed fellow Rangers and brothers in arms be put to rest here and has spoke of how awe inspiring it is to see first hand the care, love and honor that is taken with the soldiers.  We were able to watch the changing of the guards while we were there, the precision and timing were impeccable.  I'm ready to go back and explore further, it felt like I had just a small taste of all that the city has to offer. 

PS. More pics are available via my flickr account on the right side bar for viewing. 


October 31, 2011

halloween sunrise

Happy Halloween!  This is the sunrise this morning from our back deck, what a treat!  Its probably the only treat I should enjoy after my weekend of stuffing my face with mini 100 grand bars and bite size milky ways (my favorite).  Hubs and I dressed up for Halloween and gave out candy at the trunk or treat at our church.  My dog Peanut and I were Bee's, what...its totally normal for a grown woman to dress in the same outfit as her dog, right?  Don't judge me.  Hubs costume was much more unique, he decided to go as our very own Pastor Bill which required him to shave the top of his head bald, sport some reading glasses and walked around eating candy talking to everyone.  Thankfully, Pastor Bill enjoyed the Hubs creativity. 



Speaking of Hubs, its his birthday today.  Happy Birthday to the love of my life, I am so very blessed to be share my life with you.  Cheers to many more birthdays celebrated together.  PS.  Peanut says happy birthday and he would like a treat in your honor.






October 20, 2011

grilled shrimp tacos with roasted cabbage

Roasted cabbage is a staple in our house.  My mom is actually the one who suggested I roast a batch.  When my mother recommends a recipe, I have to try it; my mother is one of the most talented, creative people I know, but the lady doesn’t like to cook and makes no qualms about it. The fact that she recommended this to me meant I just had to do what she said and it turned out that we now eat this at least once a week as a side and I mix it into all kinds of recipes, including this one for shrimp tacos.  Most shrimp tacos have some kind of crunchy cabbage slaw, I figured crispy roasted cabbage would be just as good if not better.  Hubby says these are his favorite tacos now and requested I make them twice in one week.

shrimp tacos with roasted cabbage

1 lb or package of frozen large peeled & devined shrimp (I have limited fresh seafood options so I use frozen)
3 tablespoons seafood seasoning dry rub (I used Tom Douglas Seafood rub)
4-6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water before grilling
1 small head purple cabbage (or regular)
1 medium onion, sautéed
Goat cheese crumbles or queso fresco (I only had goat cheese on hand but the queso is awesome with these)
1 container greek yogurt (optional)
4-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Corn or flour tortillas
Pinch salt & pepper
Sriracho hot chili sauce (optional)

Here’s what you do:
*I found that prepping much of the ingredients even a day ahead of time made this for an easy and quick meal despite the lengthy looking process below.

Heat oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking pan with olive oil to prevent sticking.

For the cabbage:
Chop cabbage in half, laying center flat on cutting board, slice into thin strips, and lay out evenly on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15-25 minutes, flipping each piece half way through roasting.  (I prefer mine crunchier and usually leave it in 25 minutes until the edges brown).  Set aside after cooked.

For onion:
Chop onion into thin slices and sauté on low-medium with olive oil or a pat of butter (butter substitute) on stove top for 20 minutes or longer if you want to reduce them down over low heat.  Set aside after cooked.

For the shrimp:
Take the tails off your shrimp (I prefer it this way but you could leave them on), soak your bamboo skewers in water for a few minutes before using them.  Skewer your shrimp onto the bamboo skewers, sprinkle with rub on both sides.  Fire up your grill, either charcoal or gas and cook 3 minutes on each side.  Set aside after cooked.

Now that all your ingredients are roasted, sautéed and grilled, you can begin the fun part – assembly!  Warm your tortillas on a griddle/pan or wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave for a few seconds if using corn tortillas.  Layer with a tablespoon of greek yogurt (in place of sour cream), grilled shrimp, onions, sprinkle of bacon crumbs, cabbage and goat cheese.  Top with Sriracha and enjoy!  


October 19, 2011

chattanooga



It’s been settled.  The hubs and I are moving to Chattanooga…someday.  We went to celebrate our friends wedding and discovered that we both adore this little gem of a city.  Chattanooga offers up everything we love, plenty of outdoor activity from running spaces, kayaking and biking, water views, and loads of eateries, art, shopping and tucked away neighborhoods to explore. If we could, I think we’d pack up tomorrow and move. 

For now we’ll just enjoy planning another weekend getaway in the near future. We arrived on Friday evening and took a stroll downtown, with time to kill before dinner we headed over to The Meeting  Place for appetizers and cocktails. Two words here...duck wings.  Probably the best appetizer me or the hubs have ever enjoyed, they were so good we ordered a second plate after slamming down the first round in 2 minutes flat.  They were crispy without being greasy, the flavor of the meat was subtle and the spicy sauce on them made you crave more.  Ah-maz-ing.  

After a couple of beverages, we walked a few blocks over to Alleia for dinner.  Alleia is housed in an old building with brick walls, huge expansive ceilings and concrete floors.  I liked how they took an industrial space and warmed it up with natural elements.  Huge wooden lamp shades hanging over the communal table, reclaimed wood tables, candle wax dripping display.  It was warm and cozy, we each had a glass of pinot noir and shared muscles, pear salad and a pizza.  Full and happy we walked back to the hotel to meet our friends for catching up.




Saturday morning was a perfect fall day, we started with coffee and then later went out for a run.  We may just be oddballs but every city we go to we like to run the neighborhoods, get some exercise and check out the city from another perspective. Then it was up to Signal Mountain to take in the view, up on the mountain we found a festival and stopped to check out the offerings.  I found this miniature planted landscape (pictured above) and fell in love with it.  The fruit and veggie displays were calling my name as well.  Later we headed to Urban Stack Burger for lunch, hubby had a meaty burger of sorts and I had a homemade veggie burger with pickled beets, both were delish.  We sat outside and enjoyed the cool air before heading to the wedding for more fun and finally at 2am we called it a night.  Wish we could have stayed longer!








October 7, 2011

road trip

 
Oh happy day, its Friday! We’re road tripping this afternoon and Peanut is assuming his usual pre-road trip position in the front entry of our house.  He plops down on the floor to take in the hubs and I scurrying back and forth from the house to the car, packing, organizing and trying to make sure we have everything we need, which by the way, we never do.  We always forget something.  

 Is it just me or does he look slightly bored by us?

We're off to beautiful Chattanooga to celebrate the marriage of our friends from Jackson, Wyoming.  Nooga-bound!

Happy Weekend.

October 5, 2011

zucchini pineapple quick bread (gluten free & vegan)

My grandma makes the best quick breads on the West Coast, it’s the truth, and she doesn’t measure or follow a recipe.  The woman has talent, she’s 85 and been making the same recipes for so many years that she can just whip up a batch of bread while giving you the overview of her latest world travel, last year it was touring Turkey for a month. 

There are days when I crave a thick slab of her pumpkin date bread and a cup of coffee in her kitchen.  I started thinking about that bread and it got stuck in my head, being that we live across the country from each other right now and my pantry had no pumpkin or dates in it this week, I decided to make the next best thing which in this case meant zucchini pineapple bread.  Pumpkin date bread, I will make you soon!

Don’t tell grams but I used a mix for the bread, I had a package of The Cravings Place Quick Bread in the cupboard and to be honest I am short on time this week.  Every night this week is packed full.  I grabbed the package for the bread, surveyed the pantry and the zucchini and pineapple were starring me in the face.  They practically told me they were going to be in the bread and I am so glad I listened.  This bread, while not my grandmas was delicious.  In fact, it was so good; I ate two slices of it standing up in my own kitchen before I realized I hadn’t even fixed my coffee. 

Zucchini Pineapple Quick Bread (gluten free & vegan)

1 package The Cravings Place Quick Break & Muffin Mix (not presweetened)
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or sweetened if you like)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can unsweetened crushed pineapple + juice from the can
1 ¼ cups agave
1 cup water
2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar (optional)

Here’s what you do:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and prepare 2 baking pans 9 x 5 x 3 with gluten-free cooking spray

In large bowl combine dry mix, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup oil, 1 can crushed pineapple, 2 cups zucchini, 1 ¼ cup agave, 1 cup water, stir until thoroughly mixed.  Pour into prepared pans.  Sprinkle with raw turninado sugar (optional).

Bake for 60 minutes, the top will be golden brown, cool on wire wrack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, leave on wire rack for at least one hour after out of the pan.  This bread is easiest to slice when completely cooled. 

Serve it up with a pat of Earth Balance butter substitute (or butter) and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite baked goodie from your grandma?

October 3, 2011

dark chocolate cherry no bake cookies (gluten free & vegan)

Want a chocotastic (yes, that's a word) treat?  Then whip up a batch of these babies, vegan, gluten free and packed with stuff that is good for you - hello dark chocolate and antioxidant rich cherries.  I found the inspiration for this recipe from these Banana No Bake Cookies by the lovely gal at Back to Her Roots 

 

Saturday my hubs and I woke to a brilliantly cool fall morning.  This is a big deal around these parts, cool weather has not been felt since last April, or was it March?  The South takes its heat quite seriously; it was a perfect morning to run in the Mogadishu Mile Memorial Race.  The race honors the 6 fallen soldiers of that tragic day 18 years ago and helps raise funds for the Ranger Assistance Foundation (a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our wounded Rangers and the families of those soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice).   All that running and good fellowship with our Ranger family made me want a sweet chocolate treat in the afternoon so out came the dark chocolate cherry no bake cookies.  Easy to make and even easier to devour! 

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry No Bake Cookies

Inspired by Back To Her Roots
Makes 18 large cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup soy-free, dairy-free dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sunbutter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups rolled gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine banana chunks, chocolate chips, sunbutter, cocoa power, non-dairy milk and salt. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to bubble.
  2. Using a fork, mash the bananas in chocolate mixture until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add in vanilla, almond extract and dried cherries.
  3. Stir in oats until well-coated.
  4. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper and let cool. Chill in fridge or freezer for a more solid cookie (I stored mine in the fridge for a cool fudge cookie treat, perfect with a glass of almond /milk). 
Me and my Ranger in all our sweaty glory after the race

Mog Mile Oct 1 2011

Mog Mile Oct 1 2011
Our buddy Sgt. Johnson leading his men

September 27, 2011

carrot cake breakfast bars



If you have a fondness for carrot cake and granola bars these breakfast bars will make your taste buds happy.  I made a huge tray of them and brought a stack of them to my manafrienger (manger + friend) who just so happens to be pregnant.  I figure if the pregnant lady likes them, then I would have a winner.  Preggo approved! 

I originally started out with the intention to make some gluten free granola bars as a snack to have before my Monday night women’s running group.  I need something between lunch and our Monday evening meet ups to give me some energy for running in 90+ degree weather.  I researched granola bars and found a recipe from Simply Gluten Free to try, which looked lovely.  As I gathered up my ingredients I found I had a bunch of carrots and assorted dried fruits in the cupboard and thought, well…why not, let’s try and make these taste like carrot cake and see what happens.  Now these did not turn out like a granola bar, definitely a breakfast bar.  They have just the right amount of chew, texture and fruit flavor, perfect with a cup of coffee. they remind me of the vegan oat bars I use to get from Cafe Ladro in West Seattle, one of my favorite treats!

carrot cake breakfast bars
adapted from: Simply Gluten Free Granola Bars

3/4 cup Sunbutter (or peanut butter)
1/2 cup agave (or brown sugar if you prefer)
1 medium banana, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup earth balance butter substitute (or butter)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats (I used bob's red mill)
1 cup dried unsweetened pineapple (chopped fine or throw in food processor and chop)
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup pitted dates (chopped or food processed to bits)
1 cup raisins
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes/shreds 
2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar (optional)

Here's what you do: 
Prep all your dried fruits, either chop or pulse them in the food processor before you begin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sunbutter, agave, mashed banana, melted earth balance (or butter), vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until very well combined.  Stir the remaining ingredients until they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar (optional).  Press mixture firmly and evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool completely.  (I cooled mine overnight and the flavors really came together).  Cut into bars and wrap in plastic.  I wrapped mine individually and put them in a jar on the counter.  They will keep for about 5 days at room temp or up to a week in the fridge.  

These bars would easily make a good cereal or topping for yogurt, ice cream...you name it.  I crumbled up a couple of the bars and topped it off with some more coconut shreds and almond milk for Sunday morning breakfast. 
 

September 23, 2011

little happies

It's Friday and  Fridays are all about little happies!  
my little happies: 
my pup Peanut (also known as Nutter), how can that face not make you happy?! 
good coffee
clean sheets
phone calls with my sister
fresh fruit 
back to back episodes of house hunters international
sunday morning service
a good workout
and smoothies, I love smoothies, a little bit obsessed.

What are your little happies?








September 20, 2011

chocolate pb & j pie



My husband recipe tester claimed my chocolate peanut butter & jam pie to be the best natural pie I’ve ever made.   This coming from the man that rolls his eyes at my tofu sweet treats but digs in anyway.  To my surprise, hubs enjoyed this one and unless you say there is tofu in this, no one will guess.   The filling would even good on its own like a pudding if you don’t want to fuss with a crust.  Enjoy!

chocolate pb & j pie

Crust:
2 cups pitted dates
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raisins

Blend all in a food processor until it forms a dough like consistency, I had to blend mine for a couple of minutes to get everything combined.

Line a round 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper.  Press crust into pan lining the bottom and sides of pan, set aside.

Filling:
1/2 package extra firm tofu
1 package tofutti better than cream cheese
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (or sunbutter)
3 tablespoons of your favorite jam (I used my grandmas home made strawberry jam – best jam ever)
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (depending on how rich you want the chocolate flavor)
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon vanilla

Here’s what you do:
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth (taste along the way to be sure you have the right amount of sweetness from each of the flavors, add more as desired if you prefer a stronger flavor from the peanutbutter, etc).

Once combined pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  The filling will become thicker and have a cheesecake texture. 

The pie is very tasty on its own, however I believe in dressing up for a party, well ok there was no party, I just love bananas and peanut butter together so I
added banana slices, a drizzle of dark chocolate and chocolate shavings.

The outcome: imagine eating a chocolate peanut butter and jelly sammy in cheesecake form!  The chocolate, peanut butter and jam were all subtle enough to not compete with each other; they blended into one big happy bite of creamy deliciousness.  I think there could be a lot of adaptations to this recipe; I will be playing with this one again. 

PS. I am still learning how to use my camera, this is the only decent shot I got and the banana slice is flying off the end of the pie. 

September 16, 2011

friday has arrived...

And this is where I plan to spend my weekend, on the Chattahoochee river which just happens to literally be my backyard.  Sunset kayak ride + good bottle of wine + bonfire with hubs = one happy girl.

What are your weekend plans?

September 15, 2011

crockpot indian chicken curry


I love my crockpot. 

Wednesday nights are busy in our house, by the time my husband and I get home from work there isn't much time to cook a meal before heading back out the door for our weekly community group.  If I'm super organized I'll plan a crockpot meal, this week, gold star for me for being organized.  

We love Indian food and so I hunted down this recipe from over at A Year of Slow Cooking, which by the way is full of wonderful crockpot recipes.  I did adapt this recipe to include more curry, because I prefer a strong curry flavor and added a bit of greek yogurt which gave it creaminess and just the right amount of tang.

crockpot indian chicken curry

1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (don't use the light, it doesn't taste as good)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
1 T tomato paste
2 T Greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods yogurt which is gluten free)
4 T curry powder (not a typo, it's a lot, but it's good. Curry isn't spicy, just flavorful)
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
1 inch peeled and grated ginger
few dashes of hot sauce (I used Crystals)
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 or 3 cloves of smashed and chopped garlic
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 of an eggplant, chopped (I didn't peel)
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 cup peas / raisins each (added last 30 minutes - optional)

Here's what you do:

Assemble all of your spices, coconut milk, hot sauce, tomato paste, greek yogurt . Combine the sauce ingredients in the bottom of your crockpot. The sauce will be a lovely yellow.

Add the chicken, flipping it over a few times to coat it nicely. Pour in the garbanzo beans.

Wash and chop all of the vegetables, and then add to the crockpot. Don't worry about stirring them in the sauce. Let them sit on top of the chicken and steam away.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, last 30 minutes of cooking throw in your peas and raisins if desired.

Stir carefully to mix flavors. 

Serve over quinoa (or rice if you're not gluten free).

The outcome: melt in your mouth goodness, the flavors all came together and balanced each other and the raisins added just the right amount of sweetness.