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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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Campbell's Skillet Sauces: Toasted Sesame Stir Fry with Brown Rice

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Campbell's Dinner Sauces. All opinions are my own. 

Fact: Everyone loves a quick and easy dinner.

I hope I'm not alone when I say that on some days, I walk through the door, throw my bag on the ground, and just plain want food.  At those times, it's no fun to have to prepare a nice dinner... but that doesn't mean I don't want to be eating delicious food!

The solution: Campbell's Skillet and Slow Cooker Sauces

They comes in several varieties, which is awesome because it means there's a flavor to satisfy everyone.  The skillet sauces come in Marsala, Toasted Sesame (that's the one I'm sharing a recipe with today!), Scampi, and Thai Green Curry, and the slow cooker sauces come in Tavern Style Pot Roast, Sweet Korean BBQ, Apple Bourbon BBQ, Hawaiian Luau, Mexican Red Chile Taco, and Moroccan Spiced Stew.  See?  Tons of awesome flavors!

Anyway, I bought several of the skillet sauces from the store (this was before I had my slow cooker), with not so high expectations.  It wasn't that I thought they would taste bad, it's just that packaged foods have a tendency of being too salty or a bit bland.  I was pleasantly surprised when I gave the first sauce a try.

It was the Toasted Sesame flavor, and not only was it not too salty or bland, but it was super delicious! And that's actually saying a lot because I made a vegetarian meal with it, and in vegetarian meals the sauce has really got to shine because there's no meat to take the spotlight.  The Toasted Sesame flavor totally rose to the occasion.

As for the time it takes to prepare a meal with one of these sauces, well, it's practically nothing.  In the stir fry I made first (recipe below), all I had to do to prep was chop up some carrots, onions, and broccoli, and throw some rice in the rice cooker.  After that, I simply threw my veggies in a pan along with some edamame beans and the sauce and let it cook for a bit.  Less than 15 minutes later it was done and ready to be served with rice.

That's under 30 minutes for a whole meal!

After my success with the Toasted Sesame flavor, I couldn't wait to try the others.  So far I've only given Thai Green Curry a try, but it sure didn't disappoint.  Full of flavor and spice and a great addition to meal of tofu and greens.

Next step: Go to the grocery store and buy some of the Slow Cooker Sauces.

Toasted Sesame Stir Fry with Brown Rice

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 12-ounce bag of frozen edamame, shelled (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 package of Campbell’s Toasted Sesame Skillet Sauce

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat.

Add carrots and onions, and stir fry for ablot 7-8 minutes, or until carrot begins to sften.

Add broccoli, and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.

Add edamame and skillet sauce.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until broccoli and carrots are tender.

Serves 4.

This post brought to you by Campbell’s Dinner Sauces. Weekend-worthy dinners with only weekday-level effort needed! Learn more at

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