Friday, December 27, 2013

Asian Sweet Potato Wedges

This is gonna be a short and sweet post; just like the recipe!

I've made these Sweet Potato Wedges three times in the past week.  They are incredible, and super duper easy.

Basically, you cover sweet potatoes in soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil and then bake 'em to perfection.  I'm telling you, something magical happens in the oven.

These wedges are delicious on their own, there's not doubt about that, but if you want them to taste like absolute heaven, I have two words for you: Peanut Sauce.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; Peanut Sauce makes everything better.  These are no exception.

Make them and you just might eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Asian Sweet Potato Wedges

  • 4 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
Preheat oven to 350F.  Place cut sweet potatoes in a large bowl.  A soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil, and toss to coat all sweet potato pieces.  Spread wedges into as even a layer as possible on a baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until soft.  Serve warm and with peanut sauce, if desired.  Store any leftovers in fridge for up to one week.  They probably won't last that long though.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Good Luck" Golden Donuts {The Recipe ReDux}

This months Recipe ReDux theme was good luck food.  I was so out of my element.

At my house, we're not really one for superstitions or traditions (Fun Fact: We had ribs on Thanksgiving).  Because of that, I wasn't really sure what to make that would inspire good luck.  Fortune cookies...?

Luckily, this thing called the internet exists to help educate uneducated souls on the mysteries of the world.  To google I went!

After some research, I decided to make these "Golden" Donuts.  Here's why they're lucky:

  • The round shape.  It signififies the year coming to a full circle and new year beginning.
  • The golden color.  The color is supposed to be a sign of wealth and riches in the new year
I bet you never knew you could eat a donut for good luck, did ya?  Well, now you do.  Grab 2!

"Good Luck" Golden Donuts

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (maple syrup makes them taste like pancakes!  Always a good thing)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg or egg replacement
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Add wet to dry and mix until a smooth batter forms.  Scoop batter into a donut pan (any size is fine) and bake in preheated oven for about 7 minutes.  Time will vary depending on size of pan.  Remove from pan while still hot and store in an airtight container.  For a lucky year, eat on New Years ;)

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

'Tis the season of cookies, so it's only right that I post a new cookie recipe, right?

These cookies are super simple, yet delicious all the same.  Hearty oats, a subtle sweetness and tons of cranberries and melty chocolate in every bite.


When I first made these, I deemed them breakfast cookies.  However, as soon as my mom tasted one, she informed me, with great seriousnesss, that these cookies are not breakfast cookies.  They are most definitely 'anytime' cookies.  To withhold these cookies at all times other than breakfast would be a crime, they're so good.

I have to say, once I ate a cookie myself I had to agree.  And so did the rest of my family as we finished the batch off for dessert, snack, and yes, breakfast.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup dry sweetener of choice (that measures like sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried and sweetened cranberries
  • 1 egg or egg substitute (i.e. 1 flax "egg")
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • If necessary, up to 1/3 cup milk/water
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.  In a large bowl, mix together first seven ingredients (flour through salt).  Add chocolate chips and cranberries and mix to incorporate.  In another bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Add wet to dry and mix until a dough forms.  If necessary, add milk/water 1 tbsp at a time until dough is wet enough to shape into balls.  Take about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough, form into a ball and place on baking sheet.  These cookies will not spread while they bake, you can put them close together.  If you want flatter cookies and not balls, flatten dough before baking.  Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until golden and firm.  Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.  Makes about 20 small cookies.

Happy eating everyone!
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cookie Cake (Version 3)

I'm so so so so so so so so sorry.

I've been gone for ages.  I won't make excuses, but I'm just really sorry for holding out on y'all.  I've still been baking, but I just haven't gotten around to the whole posting thing.  My sincerest apologies.  Really.

But, because sorry can only get you so far, I also make you a cake... that tastes like a giant cookie.  

Cookie cakes are sort of one of my favorite things in the world, so I give you my third version of this masterpiece.  This version is dense, moist, and packed with melty chocolate chunks (they sell them at Trader Joe's know just fyi).  And it just wouldn't be a Mix it Up recipe without secret ingredients, so I also through in some tofu and beans.  It's amazing.  I swear.

Cookie Cake
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package tofu
  • 1 cup rolled or quick oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp peanut buter (or another nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw or another sweetener of your choice that measures like sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in the bowl of a food processor. Mix until completely combined with no bean clumps.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Grease a 9inch round pan and scoop dough in.  Spread into an even layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-25 minutes, until golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.  Slice and serve!

I'll do my absolute best to keep things more frequent in the weeks to come.  However, if I'm unable to make that happen, at least know you can drool over this pie.  Here's one more picture to keep your mouth watering:

Stay tuned for some cookies!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Blueberry Muffins with a Hint of Ginger and Lemon {Monk Fruit in the Raw}

{I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.}

Stories from blueberry muffin baking:

1. Lemons have decided to hate me.  I don't really understand, honestly, we've always had such a great relationship, but the day of these muffins?  Yeah, not so much.  I got squirted in the eye with juice at least 4 times while I was zesting them.  Like, there wasn't even any juice exposed and it still managed to somehow hit me in the eye.  I repeat, they hate me.

2. For some reason, the folks down at Trader Joe's thought it would be a good idea to make curry powder and cinnamon look really similar, so much that I almost put freaking curry powder in these muffins!  The spices in our house are pretty jumbled up and so as I dug through the chaotic plastic bin that is our spice rack I spotted something that looked like cinnamon and grabbed it.  Upon (somewhat) closer inspection I saw that the label had some word that started with a 'C' on it, further confirming that this bottle held cinnamon.  Thank god I caught a whiff of it's very not cinnamon-y smell or these muffins would have been a lot worse and also quite spicy.

3. I hereby proclaim myself a blueberry fanatic.  That's right, it's official now.  After adding 1 1/3 cups of blueberries to this batter (which, admittedly, was probably too much), I came to the realization that I put more blueberries on my oatmeal in the mornings.  Yes, more.  No wonder my family goes through frozen fruit so fast.  I eat almost 2 cups per meal.

4. MONK FRUIT IN THE RAW.  I like this stuff, I really do.  It gives me pleasure to use only a couple tablespoons of "real" sugar per recipe and than still have the result taste perfectly sweet.  I don't know if you realize this, but that's really cool.  Low calorie is cool too because it means I can eat more (!!). Also, when you pour the Mink Fruit in the Raw it looks like little tiny snowflakes (actually, more like fake snow, but whatever) and that makes me happy.

5. Blueberry muffins are good, but blueberry muffins with a hint of lemon and ginger are really really really good.  Really.  (P.S. they smell perfect while they cook.  Don't blame me if you decide to camp out in front of your oven while they're baking)

Blueberry Muffins with a Hint of Lemon and Ginger
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp powedered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 - 11/3 cup frozen blueberries (I used 1 1/3 and it was probably too much, but I love blueberries so I didn't mind.  Use whatever you see fit)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a muffin pan.  In a large bowl, mixtogether all dry ingredients until completely incorporated.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, lemon zest and vanilla.  Let sit a couple minutes to let the vinegar mix into the milk.  After a couple minutes, add wet ingredient to dry and mix just until incorporated. Don't overmix.  Gently add in blueberries.  Scoop about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin hole.  Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, until firm.  Let cool before remiving from pan and storing in an airtight container.  Makes 12 large muffins.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Monk Fruit in the Raw: Frosted Chocolate Brownies

{I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.}

So Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season has officially begun.

And, other than the holidays of course, one of the best things about holiday season is the food.  Specifically, the desserts.

However, with that said, it's also important to stay healthy.  Believe me when I say I want to gorge myself on cookies just as much as the next person, but I don't because a) If I do i'll feel like crap later and b) there are healthier desserts that taste just as good.

Todays recipe is an excellent example of one of those desserts.  I give you: Frosted Chocolate Brownies which are delicious and gluten free + sweetened with only fruit.

What's the catch?

Get this... there isn't one!

When you've got the right ingredients it's east to put together a dessert that's healthy as well as decadent.  I mean, look at those brownies!  Who would have guessed they're made without butter, oil, or granulated sugar?

One of the secrets in these guys is the use of Monk Fruit in the Raw.  It's a zero calories sweetener made from monk fruit (and other natural ingredients).  Now, I'm not usually a fan of artificial or calorie-less sweeteners, but I've made an exception for this brand because it's 100% natural.  The real problem I have with products like Splenda or Equal is that they're loaded with chemicals I don't want entering my body, but with Monk Fruit In the Raw, I don't have to worry about that.  It's an easy way to keep foods low calorie and all natural.  (Just remember that it's only recommended to sub out half the sugar in a recipe for Monk Fruit in the Raw in order to avoid any problems like rising, texture, etc.  In this recipe I used dates as the other sweetener.)

I'm happy to report that my first experiment with Monk Fruit in the Raw worked out perfectly.  You will not believe that these rich and fudgy brownies are actually on the healthier side of desserts.  By all means, feel free to help yourself to seconds.

Frosted Chocolate Brownies

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dates (5 large)
  • 1/4 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 special dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 2 dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 8x8 pan (or a smaller pan, if you want thicker brownies).  In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients for brownies. Blend until completely incorporated with no oat or date chunks.  Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes (baking time may change if you use a different pan), until a toothpick comes out clean.  Once brownies are done, remove from oven and let cool.
Quickly rinse out your food processor and dry (it's not necessary to completely clean it).  Then, to make frosting, combine all ingredients in the bowl of food processor.  Blend until smooth and thick, with all ingredients compeltely mixed.  You should be able to take a spoonful of the frosting and tip it upside down without ot falling off.  Spread frosting on top of baked brownies and chill for at least one hour.  Then, slice into 9-16 squares and serve.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Dip

This Dip.  Just.  This Dip.

I'm at a bit of a loss for words.

It's really good, guys.  Really good.

This is the kind of dip one eats by the spoonful.  You could dip in fruit or cookies, but when you have a healthy chocolate caramel dip sitting in fruit of you, I doubt you'll worry about that.  More likely, you'll go in with a spoon.

I know I did.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Dip

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1-2 tbsp special dark cocoa powder
In a small saucepan, mix together peanut butter and maple syrup.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until mixture has reduced by half.  Lower heat and add milk.  Continue to stir until mixture thickens to the consistency of a sauce.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once cool, transfer to a container and add cocoa powder.  Mix until completely incorporated.  Serve with fruit, crackers, or eat it by the spoonful.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

(Gluten Free) Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix {The Recipe ReDux}

Absolute best gift this holiday season = homemade cookie mix

Seriously, there is no one in this world who doesn't want a mason jar full of something that can quickly to cookies.  What's more, this cookie mix is gluten free and on the healthier side of things.  Oh yeah, and it still tastes amazing.

Talk about the perfect gift.

When I found out that the Recipe ReDux theme this month was some sort of homemade mix, cookies immediately popped into my head.  Let me tell you, the concept is totally as cool as I imagined.

In case you're unfamiliar with Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (which you probably are, because I'm not sure if it's a thing yet), here's the basic rundown.  It's like the dry ingredients for cookies, mixed up already and then put in a super hip mason jar.  So all you have to do to make cookies is add wet ingredients- which in this case are as simple as coconut oil/oil, milk, and optional vanilla- and then mix to get cookie dough.  After that, your cookies can be made in minutes!

Now, a step-by-step guide to giving the gift of cookies:

  1. Buy a mason jar, ribbon, and some sort of label (mine is a brown lunch bag and sharpie, fancy is not necessary)
  2. Use this recipe to whip up the (gluten free!) dry ingredients for your cookies and then place it all in your mason jar.  Stick the label on the mason jar.
  3. Somewhere (like on paper, or card, or something) on the side of your jar, write down the wet ingredients and baking time, which you can find below.
  4. Deliver your homemade cookie mix and watch the recipient of your gift jump for joy!

Gluten Free Cookie Mix
  • 2 cups oats flour (grind oats in a blender/food processor/coffee grinder until they form a fine flour)
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour (grid buckwheat groats in a blender/food processor/coffee grinder until they form a fine flour)
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or another type
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 - 1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl.  Use a funnel to put flour mixture into a 32oz mason jar.  Once all dry ingredients are in jar, place chocolate chips on top.  Decorate jar however you like, with ribbons, a label. etc.  Then, write down the instructions on how to bake the cookies somewhere where the gift recipient will see them.  The instructions are this:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Pour out contents of jar in a large bowl, and mix to distribute chocolate chips evenly.
  3. Add 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted) or vegetable oil and 3/4 cup milk and mix until a thick cookie dough forms.  If you like, add 1 tsp vanilla.
  4. Form balls of about 1 tbsp of dough and place them on prepared baking sheets.  Repeat until all dough has been used.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  Cookies may look slightly underdone when they come out, but that's OK.  Let cool for a couple minutes before removing from pan.  Recipe makes 24 cookies.
  6. Enjoy!
What are other fun DIY holiday gifts?

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cake Bites

I've always loved caramel.

Twix bars, caramel apples, caramel dip, caramel sauce.  Pretty much everything containing caramel is guaranteed to be gobbled up in seconds.

Since I made my diet a bit healthier, my caramel consumption has reduced significantly.  There's still the occasional treat, of course, but caramel is far from a staple in my house.

That is, it wasn't until I stumbled into this recipe for Crazy Caramel Sauce.  It's from the blog The Fit Foodies, and guys, it really is crazy.  The recipe replaces butter with nut butter, sugar with maple syrup, and cream with milk for a resulting caramel that tastes, dare I say it, even better than an original caramel sauce!

Click that link and try it!

Anyway, after finally discovering a healthy caramel sauce (that's not made with dates!), I immediatly started brainstorming recipes to use it with.  I had some leftover Chocolate Avocado Frosting in the fridge and both recipes together spurred the creation of these bad boys:

Chocolate Caramel Cake Bites!  They taste even better than they sound.

Chocolate Caramel Cake Bites
Caramel (recipe slightly modified from this recipe):
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
To Make Caramel:
In a small saucepan (non-stick if possible), whisk together peanut butter and maple syrup until combined. Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and reduced to about half it's original volume. Lower to low heat and add milk.  Stir constantly until mixture has thickened to a caramel like consistency. Let cool and then transfer to a small container.  Set aside for now.
To Make Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan.  Mix together dry ingredients in a medium to large bowl.  Add milk and vanilla and mix until a smooth batter forms.  Pour into loaf pan and spread into an even layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until firm and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  Once cooled, spread the caramel you just made into a layer on top.  Spread the pre-made Chocolate Avocado Frosting on top of that.  Chill in fridge for at least an hour before slicing into small squares.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

Date Caramel + Chocolate Caramel Cookies

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Spiced Banana Bread

Chilly fall mornings call for tea and warm banana bread.

In my opinion, Banana Bread is one of the most comforting foods ever.  It's warm and sweet and this version is full of spices that will just wrap you up on a cold day.

Plus, this bread is super easy and made with natural ingredients which will keep you feeling good all day.  Dig in!

Spiced Banana Bread

  • 2 cups oat flour (packed)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3 large bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan.  In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Set aside.  In another bowl, mix together mashed banana, date paste, milk, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until a smooth batter forms.  Pour into loaf pan and spread into an even later.  Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Slice and serve.  Store in fridge.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Sandwiches

Do you ever have kitchen fails?

Times when something goes utterly wrong?  When you have a picture in your head and the result looks nothing like it?

The brownie part of this recipe was one of those times.  I had mixed up my batter, taste-tested it and everything, only to realize that I just plain didn't have enough.  When I poured it into the pan, it was only about 1/4 inch thick.  I don't know about you, but I like my brownies thick.

What to do?

When you end up with a kitchen failure, there are usually two logical next-steps.  One, you decide that whatever you made is beyond saving and throw it in the trash, or, two, you think long and hard about an ingenious way to save the food.

Luckily, the brownies I made were eligible for the latter.

My solution happened to be using the super thin brownies as the "bread" part of a sandwich.  I can't say I had super high expectations, but the results blew me away.  As it turns out, brownies made into a sandwich with a strawberry yogurt filling beat plain old brownies by a long shot!  The whole batch was gone in less than a day.

Thank you, kitchen failure.

Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Sandwiches

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coffee granules
  • 3/4 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 5 oz (1/2 cup) strawberry yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 2-3 strawberries, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease an 8x8 square pan.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine all brownie ingredients except chocolate chips in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until completely combined, stopping as necessary to scrape down the side of the machine.  Add chocolate chips and process quickly to combine.  Pour into prepared pan and spread it a thin layer.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until firm.
To make filling, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix to combine.  When brownies have cooled, slice into 9 or 16 squares (depending on the size you want).  Spread a thick layer of filling on top of one brownie and top with another.  Continue until all brownies have been used.  Store in fridge until serving time.

Revisited Recipe of the Day:

Extra Fudgy Brownies

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