Garden City Granola Bars and Getting Back to Food Blogging!

I know, I know. Taking my dang time posting new recipes, aren’t I?

But here I am, living in Cape Town, South Africa (things have changed up a bit since my last post which was…EEK…in October). I’ve been neglecting my poor Mile High Pie for job and grant applications. But recently my dairy allergy (I am super sensitive to the protein called casein found in cow’s milk) has been acting up like crazy! So I’ve been making a lot of my own snacks, as dairy is difficult to avoid in store-bought items here. Case in point: I cannot buy non-dairy yogurt other than shelf-stable soy stuff which is way overpriced. It’s awful because I love yogurt, so I’ve been cheating and eating bulgarian yogurt a bit…needless to say it’s uncomfortable!

But back to baking. Seeing as I’m here for the next few weeks still and have had some interesting culinary experiences, I figured it’s about time to pick up the figurative pencil and write down a couple of my recent recipes.

First things first: Garden City Granola Bars. These are an adaptation of a few recipes I’ve found online, with my own influence (yes that means chocolate) thrown in there.

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I absolutely love them for hikes, days exploring the city, or mid-morning munchies. I actually came up with the recipe at 4am one day when I just couldn’t sleep and needed something semi-productive to do. You know how that goes, right? No? Just me at 4am? I guess I forgot to mention that I live above a club and when it closes at 4am and all the happy (and occasionally angry) drunken souls pour out, it’s difficult to sleep. I have become remarkably good at turning city noise into white noise though! Back to the recipe…

Garden City Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • ½ cup puffed rice cereal
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts
  • ¼ cup diced dried fruit
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ heaped cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs water
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

  • Toast the oats, puffed rice, fruit and nuts in clean pan on stove top (just until the mixture begins to brown and smell delicious), empty into bowl and set aside.
  • In same pan, melt all the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate) together. Heat until bubbling.
  • Turn off heat and mix in dry ingredients.
  • Pour out mixture onto a cookie sheet pre-lined with baking paper. Spread out and into ¼-½ inch thickness (rectangle shaped for easier cutting).
  • Let cool for a few minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut into bar shapes. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Immediately after taking out of oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. They will melt on a bit and be secured as they cool!

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Roasting the dry goods before mixing creates a distinctive, nutty flavor and makes your kitchen smell divine!

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What the mixture should look like as it cools, after you shape it.

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Baking complete!

 This is of course not the only bar I was able to make. I also made Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars by Chocolate Covered Katie. These were TO DIE FOR.

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The recipe has three layers and quite a few ingredients which makes it seem complicated – but it actually isn’t too bad. One thing that was very interesting though was figuring out the mint flavoring. In Cape Town, at least so far, I have been unable to find mint extract or flavor. I had to actually buy those mint oil capsules (you know, the ones for indigestion!), and cut them open to get the oil! Mission accomplished, and I got my mint chocolate deliciousness. Check out her recipe. Definitely recommend.

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Center layer consisting of soaked macadamia and cashew nuts, peppermint oil, coconut oil, vanilla, sweetener and (gasp!) spinach.

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Top chocolate layer, which contains cocoa powder, coconut oil and honey.

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Crust layer of coconut, dates, cocoa powder and walnuts.

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These buddies are amazing. I keep them in the freezer until an hour or so before I want them, when I pop them in the fridge. After that time lapses, the centre layer takes on an ice cream like smoothness. And they’re totally dairy free. I’m in heaven.

Alright that’s it for now. I’ve been experimenting with coconut yogurt recipes and falling flat on my face. I think the probiotics I’ve bought are either dead, or totally different than what I need. Anyone have advice? Until next time!

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Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread

It’s been far too long since I wrote a post! This has been a busy month, from traveling to Yellowstone and Grand Teton to North Carolina and Virginia, to getting ready to move to Austin in 10 days…oi! But it has also been a fun summer, of course, and one full of food and drink! Just ask Cooper…

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Time to relax after a day of exploring Yellowstone!

I haven’t been baking as much lately because we don’t run the AC all too often, and the heat from the oven makes quite a difference in a two bedroom apartment. No one wants that after a day in 90 degree, super dry Colorado. But I had a craving today, so I battled through the heat. We’ve been buying peaches and berries a lot more lately, missing the wild berries that grow back home and the peaches of the south. When I worked at Great Harvest Bread Company, we would make these huge wheat muffins with blueberries in them, and a slice of peach sitting temptingly on top. We don’t have a muffin tin (I know, I know), so I went the muffin-bread route. It worked out beautifully! There’s very little sweetener in this other than that of the fruit and a bit of agave. You could use sweeter milk, or increase the agave by a tablespoon and I’m sure it would be amazing. I love it with just a bit of strawberry jam spread across it! My boyfriend likes it with butter. I bet it would make awesome french toast…

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Ingredients

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Ready to bake

  

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Waiting to cool is always the hardest part

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Serving recommendation 🙂

 

Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup high altitude whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet instant oatmeal (any flavor!)
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • ½ cup organic light soy milk
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs agave nectar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 small peach, peeled and chopped small

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly grease loaf pan.
  • Mix all ingredients but fruit together. 
  • Fold in fruit, careful to not break blueberries.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean!
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Hope you enjoy!

Cookie dough doesn’t always have to be raw…

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Every morning I wake up at 6am to workout. Today, I decided to forgo that venture in order to post this recipe. It’s. Just. That. Good. In the span of four days, I have made these twice for birthdays (the first time was mine!), and gotten rave reviews. Some of you may know that I love unusual recipes and ingredients, especially in baked goods, which rank as my favorite food in general. For example: Black Bean Chocolate Cookies and Raw Dark Chocolate Brownies. And if that strange ingredient allows my recipe to have few total ingredients, I love that even more. Like Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Cookies or Power Pancakes. So when I stumbled across Texanerin’s Cookie Dough bites, I had to make a version of my own!

Just like my Black Bean Chocolate Cookies, these use beans as a flour alternative. Except this time it’s chickpeas (garbanzo beans). They leave the cookies incredibly moist, which gives the impression that you’re eating slightly undercooked dough-which is THE BEST! I know I’m not the only one who loves cookie dough-which is why this must be shared!!

 Even a couple days after I made them, they were still super moist and flavorful. But let’s be honest, they won’t last more than a couple days anyway!

I ended up using maple syrup instead of honey-but you get the idea.

I ended up using maple syrup instead of honey-but you get the idea.

The original post had a few helpful tips. Make sure you use natural peanut butter, so that your cookies don’t end up overly oily. Because, ew. You could try honey, maple syrup, or agave as a sweetener. I just love the taste of maple, and I was low on honey.

Chickpea wash!

Chickpea wash!

You won’t quite use a whole can of chickpeas, so you will have some yummy protein to snack on while you bake!

Processed dough

Processed dough

The original post said this dough isn’t good uncooked-and I totally disagree. I loved it! When you are rolling it into balls, you will probably get some on your fingers. Lick clean, please! (As long as you aren’t going back into the dough..unless this is a batch just for you!)

Chocolate PB love

Chocolate PB love

The consistency of the dough is a bit on the soft/stick side compared to typical cookie dough. Hence the need to wet your hands when shaping the balls.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Finished cookies

Finished cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and paper towel dried
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, or agave)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup bitter or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put all ingredients but chocolate chips in food processor, blend until smooth. Make sure to scrape sides a few times, to avoid leaving whole beans.
  • If dough warmed during process, put in fridge for a few minutes. This will avoid melting chocolate.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Wet hands and shape into small balls, place on cookie sheet. You can flatten them down if you wish, they won’t change shape much during cooking.
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes (you can really cook as long as you like, there’s nothing in them that would make you sick if raw!).
  • Enjoy!
Snack time.

Snack time.

My patient, ever-watching companion. (I'm only half in the kitchen! Can't get mad!)

My patient, ever-watching companion. (I’m only half in the kitchen! Can’t get mad!)

Power Pancakes

**Thanks for all the shares! This post has just hit 300 shares on Pinterest. If you like this one, check out Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread, another great breakfast option for the health-and flavor-conscious. If you’re all about simple recipes, check out my post on 3 ingredient cookies and simple seasoned pretzels here.

***Check out my absolute favorite recipe here – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. Made without flour, actually good for you and soooo delicious!

OK, now back to the pancake recipe you came here for! 🙂

I love pancakes, but I hate the sugar/fat/carb load that goes along with them. This morning I was planning to take Cooper on a long trail run, and knew I needed some good energy before. I have written before about the blender/food processor I bought, and I love how it turns oats into oat flour, makes me healthy frozen yogurt out of bananas and strawberries, and purees any ingredient into smooth silkiness. 

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So I decided I would try to mimic all those “two ingredient” pancake recipes out there (bananas and egg, usually) but give them a bit more kick.

You see, oats are great for you. They reduce bad cholesterol. They are one of the highest on the satiety index (keep you full longer). They help with blood pressure. Basically, they are awesome.

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So I figured, why waste a meal on something that won’t keep me full (a banana and an egg??)? Why not add some filling ingredients, and make something that is DELICIOUS, keeps me full until lunch, and gives me all the power I need to run Cooper ragged on the trail? Behold: Power Pancakes. Egg whites, oats, banana. Topped, of course, with blueberries and just a bit of peanut butter and maple syrup (feel free to add or top with whatever-these are even great alone!!). These are seriously some of the most delicious, dairy free, naturally sweetened pancakes I’ve ever made!

PS. If you haven’t tried Earth Balance Coconut & Peanut Spread, PLEASE do. It will change your world.

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Power Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 1 ripe banana
  • cinnamon (if you like)
  • frozen or fresh blueberries, peanut butter and/or maple syrup to top

Directions:

  • Begin heating skillet over medium – medium/high heat.
  • Blend oats in food processor or blender until fine.
  • Add banana and eggs, blend until smooth. 
  • Blend in a dash of cinnamon, if you like!
  • Let sit while skillet continues to heat. It will be ready when a drop of water immediately begins to evaporate upon hitting the surface.
  • Pour on by the ½ cup full. Cook until the batter begins to set/bubble a bit.
  • Sprinkle with blueberries, and flip. Cook on other side for 2-3 minutes.
  • Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Layer pancakes and top with a spread of peanut butter (try the coconut peanut butter-it’s amazing!!) and syrup
  • Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!
  • **Best eaten at least an hour before a work out. Provides long lasting energy and keeps you truly sated until lunch!

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Gotta love the blueberries!

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Perfectly browned on the first side.

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And I only used 1TBS of peanut butter and 1 TBS of syrup…that’s all you need!!

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I might have to make these for dessert now…

Light and Refreshing

It’s officially summer. OK, not officially in the solstice sort of way, but in the “I’m going to lay out in the backyard with a Coors Light in my hand and probably sweat a lot” sort of way. In three days we celebrate Memorial Day and honor our vets and military, and run in the annual BolderBoulder 10K. It was 85 degrees out today. I can’t really comprehend it; It’s been winter for eight months here and I’d nearly forgotten what warm weather even felt like!

This morning we went on a beautiful hike through Green Mountain, just west of Boulder. It was a strenuous and satisfying two hour hike, and after we had salad and pizza at a local joint called Beau jo’s. After lunch I was craving something sweet. Not just anything, but a summery sweet something. Being a long time resident of the south, the first thing to come to my mind was Key Lime PieI had never made it myself, so I decided to look into a few recipes and attempt to create something straddling the southern goodness / healthy light line. Which is difficult. If you need to eat pie, this is probably one of the lighter options. Unfortunately so many of the recipes I came across had sugar as an ingredient, or heavy cream…I wanted to cut back a bit!

The result was the recipe you’ll find below. It was the perfect compliment to our dinner of grilled brats and beans. And so refreshing!! Needless to say, by the end, we had consumed ⅓ of the pie between the two of us after dinner. Hey-it’s worth it. Happy summer!!

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Key Lime Pie (“Light”)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 14 oz can fat free condensed milk
  • ¾ cup egg whites
  • zest of two regular limes, or 3-4 key limes
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • whipped cream to garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In medium bowl, whip single egg white with whisk until frothy. 
  • Mix in graham cracker crumbs until evenly coated.
  • Add tablespoon water and mix.
  • Add melted butter and combine. 
  • Press mixture into greased pie pan, coating bottom and up sides (wetting fingertips for this step will help form crust).
  • Bake for 8 minutes, remove to cool while preparing filling (leave oven set to 350).
  • In blender, combine condensed milk, lime zest, juice, and egg whites. Blend until smooth (about a minute).
  • Pour into prepared crust.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.. The pie will still be jiggly in the center, but will set as it cools.
  • Let cool on counter for 45 minutes, chill in fridge for 1 hour. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream!

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Pizza night and Mother’s Day

Tim’s mother and granny are visiting us from Virginia. They have graced us since Wednesday, and unfortunately have to fly back tomorrow. Luckily we are spending Mother’s Day with them currently, which is a treat! Since they have gotten to spend a few night with us, we have had some fun cooking for 4 rather than 2. Last night we were talking about ordering pizza, when I realized we should just make our own! I had gotten a new bread cookbook yesterday morning at one of the many garage sales we visited, and was anxious to adapt a recipe to my own.

The crusts on these pizzas are part whole wheat, part white flour. All high-altitude flour, which is a great thing for us! We decided on chicken as a meat topping, but couldn’t agree on what kind-so we made two different ones! The first is sweet italian chicken sausage, portabello and green pepper with a tomato sauce base. The second is barbecue chicken with barbecue and olive oil base. Both were amazing, though I was personally partial to the sausage. I adapted a version of an “in a rush” pizza crust, which turned out beautifully when slowed down a bit (the rushed version calls for the oven to be preheated to 250 for 5 minutes, and the dough rises in the previously warmed oven for 30 minutes-I just left it on the counter for an hour). 

I also have been off dairy now since February, so I put Daiya cheese on the slices I planned to eat!!

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day!!

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The Sweet-Italian Sausage, Portabello and Pepper Pizza

Half-Wheat Pizza Crust, “In a Hurry”

(makes 2 pizza crusts)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm (110-115 degree) water 
  • 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (plus a dash more for kneading/correct consistency)
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions:

  • You can either do this by hand or with a mixer and bread hook. If using mixer, place yeast and water in mixing bowl off the start. If using hands, just use a large bowl.
  • Put the warm water in bowl, sprinkle yeast over top and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add flour and salt, either mix with hands or turn to moderate speed on mixer.
  • Once the mix becomes roughly incorporated, either mix by hand or on low setting for 5 minutes until smooth. 
  • At this point I added a bit of water because my dough was dry, but that might not be necessary for you!
  • Form into two balls, let rise about 1-1 ½ hours until doubled.
  • Use as directed below!
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Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, Portobello and Pepper Pizza

Two Variations of Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Full recipe of Half-Wheat Pizza Crust.
  • Corn Meal for dusting pan
  • One small can tomato sauce
  • .5 lb Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, out of casing and cooked to brown
  • Sautéed portobello and green pepper (we used two small portobello caps and ½ a green pepper)
  • .5 lb chicken breast or cutlets, cubed and cooked through
  • Mozzarella cheese (mozzarella style daiya cheese for me!

OR

  • Any toppings you like!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Sprinkle two baking sheets with corn meal.
  • Take your risen dough and use a rolling pin to spread just under the length and width of the pan. Mine was an inch from the sides of an average cookie sheet.
  • Spread tomato sauce on one dough, all the way around but leave ¼ inch on rim to act as crust.
  • Mix a ratio of 1:3 olive oil:barbecue sauce for the second dough. Spread in same was as before.
  • On the tomato based pizza, spread the chicken sausage evenly, then the portobello, then the green pepper. Top generously with cheese.
  • On the barbecue based pizza, first mix the cooked chicken with enough barbecue sauce to coat generously then spread the chicken on the pizza. Top with cheese.
  • Place pizzas in oven for 7-11 minutes, or until bubbly and beginning to brown!

OR

  • Follow first few steps and top with whatever you want, and bake at same temp for same time!

YAY!

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My daiya cheese slices!

 

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Monday Funday

First of all, apologies for this being a short post (and a huge gap since the last one) but I’m exhausted! Of course, we had a delicious dinner, so I need to share. Better yet it was a delicious and incredibly easy dinner (like, less than 30 minutes of actual work and 45 minutes of wine/crafting while the oven did it’s thing). So I have to post, right?!

Yesterday we found a nice 50% off package of organic lean turkey meat when shopping for a pre-planned dinner of barbecue and black bean topped sweet potatoes. Naturally, we couldn’t leave it there for someone else. We agreed that Monday night would be ground turkey night. What to do with it though? We’ve gotten some good practice with turkey meatballs, but I wasn’t really feeling pasta. After this weekend I needed a bit of healthy in my life (not that pasta can’t be healthy, in moderation, but I don’t have time for moderation right now-just give me good for me, and give me a lot of it). I sent this link for ideas, but could’t find one I liked. But what I could do was take some inspiration.

Have you been tempted by the healthy spaghetti alternative, spaghetti squash, yet?? I have, but hadn’t committed. 

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Until tonight.

I biked home from work, and made a pit stop at the grocery store. Lucky me, squash was on sale. So was the pasta sauce I love, the organic store brand option! With those items in hand – and ONLY those items (believe me, I was proud of my willpower in a store that sells FOOD) – I headed home to create. The results were tremendous. I didn’t need to use  any oil in this recipe, the turkey cooked up great in my nonstick skillet. The spaghetti squash cooked perfectly in the oven, no real attention needed. It is incredibly easy to make this squash super tasty, and it’s healthy!! One cup of it contains 10% of your daily vitamin C, 9% of your fiber, other minerals and vitamins, and is only 42 calories/10 carbs!! Yes please!

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Browning the turkey and adding the mushrooms-already drooling.

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Wine and tomato basil sauce? Sure.

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Stuffed.

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Baked.

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Destroyed.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Serves 3-4

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (2 or 3lb) spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • Red wine (to drink, and to splash in the sauce)
  • Handful of cheese (or daiya cheese, in my case!)

Directions:

  • Turn oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut squash long ways, clean out seeds, place cut side down in roasting pan (I lined mine with foil).
  • Drink wine.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Kill 30 minutes drinking more wine and playing with your dog (or making crafts!)
  • Heat skillet to medium. 
  • Cook ground turkey until almost all brown. Add in mushrooms. Season if needed.
  • Add pasta sauce and splash of red wineand heat through.
  • Remove squash from oven, flip over halves so they are squash bowls.
  • Scoop turkey mixture into squash halves. You will likely only need half the mixture. We reserved the remaining turkey sauce to put on the spaghetti squash we couldn’t eat, for leftover lunch. You could also cut the squash in half after baking and add more sauce if you are serving 4 people.
  • Top with cheese if you like, and bake for an additional 7-9 minutes.
  • Cut in half again to share, or simply eat out of a half all by yourself! We started on a half each, and had leftovers of course!
  • Drink more wine.
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Peanut Butter + Banana = Bliss

As I’m sure many of you do, I often find myself having a banana with a bit of peanut butter as an afternoon snack. Or as a breakfast option. Or between some whole wheat bread with honey and toasted. Or for dessert. 

You probably get it, I love the combination of peanut butter and bananas. 

Tonight I was craving this combination, but not in the normal direct-peanut butter to banana-banana to mouth sort of way. I wanted cookies. I wanted peanut butter and banana cookies. I wanted, healthy peanut butter and banana cookies.

I scoured pinterest for the perfect recipe but only got inspiration. So many recipes included refined sugars, or too much brown sugar/honey as a replacement for white sugar (somehow we have gotten to a place where anything brown trumps and becomes healthy compared to anything white-how did that happen?). I didn’t want a whole lot of sugar, or honey, or butter, or dulce de leche added to my cookies. We’re talking peanut butter and bananas after all, they’re perfect as is and could anyone argue that they’re sweet enough? 

So I made up my own recipe, and I’m quite content with the results. And guess what? I can share them with almost all of my friends because they are: gluten and dairy free! Sweet. Literally. 

These cookies have home ground oat flour (super easy with a blender or food processor), bananas, peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and corn starch. Cornstarch may take you by surprise-but it really softens the dough and allows for a super fluffy, melt in your mouth delicious cookie. I also added a few blue berries to half of the batch, which was a wonderful idea. 

Coconut oil: it’s rich, it’s lucious, it’s satisfying. And if you only use a little bit-it’s really not all that bad. Moderation, people. I wouldn’t recommend taking a tablespoon of it to the face, but I LOVE what it adds to these cookies. Because it’s only 2 tablespoons, it adds a nice aroma without interfering with the taste of the PB, banana and oats. But don’t take my word for it-whip up a batch of these babies yourself. It only takes 20 minutes (prep, bake and cleanup!!). 

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Blending the oat flour.

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Ready to bake!

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Out of the oven and oh so tempting.

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Yum. I’ll take them all, thanks.

Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 TBS peanut butter 
  • 2 TBS coconut oil (make sure it is the consistency of butter-you don’t want it too hard or runny)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Optional blueberries (or chocolate chips)

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mash ripe bananas with a fork. Add PB, coconut oil and honey and blend with fork.
  • Using food processor, turn oats into fine flour consistency (takes just a minute).
  • Add in remaining dry ingredients and blend until combined (do not add blueberries or other topping yet).
  • Add oat mixture to banana mixture and mix to combine.
  • Spoon by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. 
  • Press in blueberries or chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Say, “YUM!”

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies

Seriously.

I should probably rename this blog My Mile High Chocolate Pie because… I. Love. Chocolate.

Today, I decided to be exceptionally weird with my cookie baking experiments. I found a recipe that incorporates black beans into the batter! Yes, black beans, as an alternative to the flour you typically see in cookie recipes. Best part about this recipe is the strange main ingredient. Second best part: they can be made vegan (use carob chips in place of chocolate chips) and healthy! At only 120 calories a cookie (or so), I had two. But let’s be honest, I had to hold myself back. After all, I baked them for a healthy work potluck and it wouldn’t look too good if I showed up with just 4 cookies for everyone, now would it?

A couple of days ago I got a new hand blender from Bed Bath and Beyond. Clearly from the Beyond section. It’s made by Calphalon and has two options: “blending wand” and a mini food processor! (They call it a chopper… but it works just as well as a processor for small batches). Anyway this is worth mentioning because I have never owned a food processor, and this was my first baby step towards the real thing. And let me tell you, I can do SO MUCH MORE with this puppy! This recipe requires you to whip the ingredients into a mousse like consistency, which can really only be done with a food processor. You need to be patient as it take a couple minutes of blending the beans, oil, milk and nut butter to get them smooth.

I had to pry the bowl out of my boyfriend’s hands, or he would have eaten all the batter before it met the oven. Great success all around-can’t wait to share at the potluck tomorrow!

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I use Hungarian Whole Wheat Flour, designed for high altitude. The coconut oil I picked up at Target, surprisingly, for just $6. For you Target fans-I was only surprised because the grocery selection is typically limited, so finding organic coconut oil felt like a score.

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Pre-processor joy.

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Post.

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One of the finalists. These little guys are so soft, it’s almost a crime.

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBS peanut or other nut butter
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBS coconut milk
  • 3 TBS whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup + 1 TBS packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • ½ cup chocolate or carob chips/chunks

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Put beans, nut butter, oil and milk in food processor. Blend on high setting until smooth.
  • Add all remaining ingredients but chocolate chunks. Blend until mousse-like in texture.
  • Fold in chocolate chunks.
  • Spoon by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet (will make 16 cookies).
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Marvel in what beans can do.

Raw – Chocolate – Yum

I wanted to make this a separate post from my earlier soup recipe, because these brownies deserve a page to themselves. This recipe is entirely raw, vegan, and gluten free. And AMAZING. There is no butter, white or brown sugar, eggs or flour in them. The ganache is made with avocado. Seriously…can it get better than healthy that tastes guilty as can be? I submit that it cannot. I dare you to make these and give them to a bunch of guys watching NASCAR, and see if any of them think they’re healthy for a minute. I doubt they will!

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Raw Dark Chocolate Brownies with Ganache

For the brownies:

  • 2 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 TBSP honey or agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt

For the ganache:

  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • Slightly more than 1/2 cup honey or agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder

Directions

  • Begin with the brownie base.
  • Using food processor, pulse walnuts to fine crumbs.
  • Add cocoa powder and honey and blend.
  • Add dates, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides as you go.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients until smooth.
  • Spread evenly in 8X8 pan.
  • Clean out food processor to use for ganache.
  • Place all ganache ingredients in food processor, blend on high setting until smooth. Check for avocado lumps and reblend if necessary.
  • Spread over top of brownie base.
  • Chill in refrigerator for an hour, and cut into pieces and serve!

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