Yes I Have a Sweet Tooth

And quite frankly I don’t understand how people can’t!  I wish I could understand that.  When Aaron and I first started dating, I remember him telling me that he didn’t really like a lot of sweet things and I wondered at that point how this relationship was possibly going to work.

Of course I am always trying to find ways to curb it (impossible?) or satisfy more wholesomely, which you can see from this blog.  I have been sharing so many treats that I promise I will post some more real food soon.  In the meantime, I had to share a yummy recipe that I pinned forever ago and finally had the occasion to make.

The occasion was finding 70% dark chocolate Scharffen Berger bars for $3 each at Wal-Mart!!  Yum yum yum.  Apparently they are now owned by Hershey, but they thankfully don’t taste a thing like Hershey bars.  If you haven’t tried this chocolate before, you should definitely find your own occasion to do so.

If the thought of Wal-Mart is too much for you, I have also seen it at QFC.  Or I also love the Endangered Species dark chocolate they sell at Fred Meyer.  Anyone have other favorite kinds of chocolate I should try?  My mom said this one was the best part of the cookie…so she wasn’t a huge fan of the cookie…but don’t let that deter you from making it.

Unless you don’t like bananas.  That would probably deter you from it because these have a STRONG banana taste.  These are a vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free cookie that uses the banana to replace the sugar and the eggs, and some of the butter.  So you could play around if you have a banana hatred (which I know some of you do) and replace some of the banana with more coconut oil/applesauce/eggs.

Personally I thought they were delicious and can’t wait to try some more recipes from 101 Cookbooks.  I will say though that traditionally I lean toward an underdone gooey cookie, but these tasted better with a little crispy edge to them.  So if you are in doubt when deciding to take them out, go ahead and give them another minute.

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.

Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes.

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Dessert Dates

Remember how I used to be a blogger??  Yeah, I almost can’t!  It’s seriously been a long time.  Isn’t that what I was saying in my last post?  This is getting to be like my personal journal–every time I make a new entry I have to apologize for a long absence.  I have three whole weeks at home before heading out yet again, so maybe I will have time to do a little catch-up.

Yet my desire to post here is low, as my desire to eat unhealthy foods is high!  Yes, it happens to the best of us.  Hence the need for a dessert post to at least get my foot in the door so to speak.

I know what you are thinking.  Becca, that doesn’t look like dessert.  That looks disgusting.  This is my attempt to capture in photo how easy this was to make.  It’s one of those fabulous, dump everything in the food processer and it turns into food recipes. 

This is a recipe that I got from my sister who called it the best treat on earth, so I’m not really sure it’s real name.  But since she made it, you can rest assured that it adheres to the Paleo Diet, which I am sure you were concerned about.  It is also gluten, dairy, and sugar (added mind you, dates are FULL of sugar) free, which is why I made it since this was at the time of Aaron’s allergen-free days.  I am SOOOOOO glad those days are over, though I do wish there did turn out to be some end to Aaron’s skin issues

I thought they tasted pretty good, a LOT like a Lara Bar, if you like those.  If you don’t like those, maybe stay away from this one.  But if you need a guilt free treat and just plain fruit isn’t cutting it for you anymore, give it a try!  Costco has some super yummy dates right now.

You notice that I only dipped half mine in coconut, because personally I am not a fan and Aaron is a big one.  Turns out though that I thought these tasted better both ways, so you can experiment.

“Best Treat on Earth”

20 pitted Medjool dates (juicy ones preferred)
1/2 cup almond butter
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut flour (you can use reg whole wheat flour if you aren’t concerned about gluten-free

Blend all in food processor until smooth.  Roll into balls and dip into unsweetened coconut flakes.  Personally I flattened some and rolled some.  Taste wise obviously it’s the same, I guess it just depends on if you want to pretend like you are eating a cookie or a truffle…your choice!

And YES, that IS a rose from my own backyard.  It is a miracle that I have not yet managed to kill ALL my plants. 

 

The Making of an Addiction

I have tried a few times in my life to count calories, while seeking skinniness.  But in the end I usually give up on that, because calories are NOT the only things that matter when seeking to truly improve our health.  Take nuts for example…just because they are high in calories and fat doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat them!

These yummy almonds have been shown to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar & blood pressure, fight cancer, reduce risk of heart disease and birth defects, boost energy, and improve brain power.  So why not buy a big bag at Costco, roast em up, give em a whirl and make them into almond butter?  That’s what I do every week.

Making almond butter is actually SUPER easy if you have a food processor or a Vitamix and it tastes a million times better than the Maranatha brand that they also sell at Costco.  I’m not saying this to toot my own horn because really, it’s  all the machines that do the work.

Just take 2 cups of almonds and roast them at 350 for 10 minutes.  Let them cool for a bit, dump them in your food processor for about 10 minutes, and voila!  It will take those almonds from whole to crumbs ready for deliciously unhealthy English toffee, to almond flour ready for gluten free baking, to a huge ball of almond paste bouncing around noisily inside…then finally butter.

Deliciously creamy, fresh, and ready to slather on toast, sandwiches, carrots, celery, apples, basically anywhere you would put peanut butter and wherever else you can imagine.

Or better still, you can use in these “healthy” gluten-free, dairy-free cookies.  Again, certainly not low calorie, but a whole food approach to dessert with no refined flour or sugar.  Like the protein pancakes you will look at the recipe and wonder how it’s possible to be good; you will even shape the dough into cookies and wonder how it will work, but let me tell you it DOES!!

Let me know how it goes if you try it out!

Life Without Cheese

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that food allergies seem to be taking over.  When I was in elementary school, we all ate peanut butter sandwiches pretty much everyday, but now many kids aren’t even allowed to take them to school because of the severe allergies of kids in their class.  Labels throughout the grocery stores boast of their gluten-free status, and almond, coconut, soy, and rice milk are taking over the “dairy” aisle.

What’s going on?!?!

Well it’s now going on in our home as well since Aaron, born and raised on a dairy farm, was diagnosed with both a dairy, and an egg allergy.

I know it’s very sad.

I’m no stranger to allergen-free cooking, with a sister & brother-in-law that eat gluten and dairy-free, and now a dad that has become vegan after someone suggested it would help his heart.  But that is still not to say that it’s been an easy transition.  A main concern he has is getting enough protein at breakfast and snack times (we try to eat 5 – 6 small meals throughout the day).  So I found a decent recipe for vegan protein bars that have helped fill in that void but I will say they are not definitely not as good as the milk-ridden kind!!

Any of you have favorite books/websites for cooking without dairy, eggs, or gluten?  What struggles and success have you had in allergen-free living?

VEGAN PROTEIN BARS

  • 1 cup dairy-free soy protein powder
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 cups chopped dried fruit, such as raisins, apricots, berries
  • 1 cups plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2/3 cups natural unsalted peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1/4 cup Egg Replacer mixed with 1/2 cup hot water

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9” x 13” baking dish.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the protein powder, oats, flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt. Mix in the dried fruit until evenly distributed. Set aside.

3. In another mixing bowl, mix together the soy yogurt, maple syrup, apple juice, peanut butter and Egg Replacer mixture using an electric hand mixer until well combined. In 2-3 additions, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined spread into the prepared dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting into bars.

NUTRITION: Calories 254 / Fat 7g / Carbs 36g / Sugars 18 g / Protein 14 g / Fiber 4 g