Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Cups

I made these chocolate peanut butter cups a couple of¬† weeks ago and never got around to posting the recipe. That turned out to be a good thing, because with the leftovers, I made chocolate peanut butter banana ice cream! That’s right, folks. This is a two-for-one post ūüôā

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Cup

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Cups

1/2 c cashews

1/2 c Brazil nuts

1/4 – 1/2 c water

1/4 Р1/2 c cocoa powder

1/4 c maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c natural peanut butter (organic preferred)

Dash salt if peanut butter isn’t salted

Blend nuts, water, sweetener, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a bullet style blender. Put container in the freezer for a few minutes while you assemble the bottom of the peanut butter cups.

In a mini muffin tin or mini cupcake silicone molds, add a dollop of peanut butter. Once all cups are filled, remove chocolate mixture from freezer and top each cup with desired amount of chocolate goodness. Decorate cups as desired.

I added some mini chips to a few of peanut butter cups and some sliced almonds to a few others. I think some shredded coconut would be a nice topper too.

Freeze cups until firm and store in the freezer to maintain desired consistency.

And if, like me, you need the freezer space for more goodies, turn your chocolate peanut butter freezer cups into chocolate peanut butter banana ice cream!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

4 frozen bananas, chunked

6 or more Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Cups

Splash of non-dairy milk

Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Eat immediately or store in the freezer.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

I used my new Vitamix¬†to make this ice cream, and I found the Vitamix’s¬†nemesis – frozen peanut butter! You may want to let your Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Cups warm up a little bit before you try to blend them.¬†I stalled out the motor on my new toy…twice!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Sunday was clean out the fridge day, and since I’d been eating high raw all week, the only thing in there that needed to go was some cauliflower that somehow got hidden in the crisper. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it until I remember the one butternut squash I had chillin in the basement pantry. And soup was born.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash

1 head cauliflower

1 box (about 4 c) veggie broth

1 med onion, minced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

4 med carrots, chopped (about 1 c)

Salt & Pepper

Roast butternut squash. (I precook¬†my squash in the microwave, whole, for a few minutes, so they’re easier to cut. Then, I lay them cut side down, without scooping the seeds, on a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I roast the squash on 425F for 45-60 minutes – depending on the size of the squash – until it’s fork-tender. As soon as I pull it out of the oven, I¬†use two forks to flip the squash over and scrape out the seeds. This is the easiest method I’ve found yet for cooking squash.)

Boil cauliflower in broth in a soup pot with the lid on. Boil until the cauliflower is very tender. Remove from heat.

While the cauliflower is boiling, saute onions, garlic, and carrots until tender. (I don’t use anything to saute with if I use a non-stick skillet. The natural water from the veggies will release and help them from not sticking.)

Add squash to cauliflower and puree with an immersion blender (or add in batches to a blender). Blend until desired consistency is reached. I left mine a little rustic. Add sautéed veggies and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup...with a secret ingredient!

I didn’t run the numbers on this, but I’m guessing it’s pretty low cal. Mine made three servings, which will feed me for the work-week. Not bad for cleaning out the fridge ūüėČ

Roasted Chickpeas

I finally made roasted chickpeas! It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years. Literally. It was worth the wait. Enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas

1 can (about 1.5 cups) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2  c nutritional yeast

1 TBSP granulated garlic

1/2 TBSP onion powder

1/4 -1/2 tsp fancy salt (I used pink)

Set your oven to the lowest temperature possible (mine only goes down to 170F). Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper or a silpat.

Mix damp chickpeas in a bowl with the nutritional yeast, granulated garlic, onion powder, and salt. Toss to coat.

Place chickpeas on baking sheet. Spread out – use all of the cookie sheet. Bake until chickpeas are crisp. Mine took quite a while – about 5 or so hours.

Remove crunchy chickpeas from the oven and, while still warm, toss with a bit more nutritional yeast (about 2 TBSP). Cool completely before storing (or they’ll get soft).

Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe Review: Flax Bread

I love trying new recipes. And since I’m trying to be a lot more gluten-free, I’m always on the lookout for vegan or easily veganized¬†gluten-free recipes that don’t need a flour or nut meal I don’t yet have in my pantry. So, when I came across this recipe for gluten-free flax bread a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to try it.

Flax Bread with Avocado & Tomatoes

I love flax (or so I thought), and this looked pretty easy. When I finally got around to make it, it was easy, and I had high, high hopes (even though I had concerns about the coconut oil), but this recipe fell short. The flax flavor was just too much for me, and the coconut oil, plus the natural oils from the flax, made this bread greasy¬† – almost to the point of being soggy. In the recipe’s defense, though, I did veganize it, adding even more flax (Flax eggs) to replace the chicken eggs, which could have taken it over the flax edge. But I doubt it.

Ready for the Oven

The bread is very pretty. And it smells good. I made great sandwich bread when I cut the slice in half. I had high, high hopes. I wish I liked the taste of the bread. I really wanted to enjoy it. I swear I did. But I didn’t.

Flax Bread Sandwhich

I hate publishing bad recipe reviews. I know some (or maybe even a lot!) of my recipes don’t taste good to some people, but I share them anyway. I even share recipes that don’t quite do it for but get rave reviews at work or, on the even rarer occasion, at home. (Mr. M¬†won’t¬†eat many of my recipes except for the soups – and even then it has to meet his specifications.) So please don’t let my review stop you from trying this recipe. If you LOVE flax, go for it! If you are an experienced bread connoisseur, go for it. If you have¬† a bunch of flax meal about to hit its experation date, give this bread a whirl. I’d love to read about your review ūüôā

White Bean Hummus Burgers

I don’t know about you, but I always have left-over hummus¬†in the fridge about to go bad. It doesn’t matter if I make it or buy, I can’t quite make it through a container by myself. Maybe that’s the problem; I’m the only one who will eat it at home unless it’s from a specific restaurant. But even then, Mr. M won’t touch it if it smells like garlic when he opens the container. He’s not a big garlic fan. I, on the other hand, love the stuff! And, I love hummus, so I hate when I have to throw it away, which is what I was about to do last Sunday when I thought, “Why not use hummus as the liquid in my ‘4 Ingredient Bean Burger’ recipe?!” So I did.

White Bean Hummus Burger

White Bean Hummus Burgers

1 can white bean of choice, rinsed and drained (I used navy beans) ~ 1.5 c

1/4 c hummus (any flavor, but I love extra garlic flavor)

2 T nutritional yeast

1/4 c (heaping) quinoa flakes

Seasonings: granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper

Puree beans (I love using my mini-chopper for this). Remove and add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix throughly. Divide mixture into 4 or 6 equal parts (I like bigger burgers, so I go with 4). Scoop out mixture and form into a ball. Place on foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and flatten slightly. Repeat until all burgers are formed.

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes. The smaller your burgers, the less time they’ll take to cook. Burgers should be a little crusty to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, or until they’re firm enough to move to a cooling rack.

I love freezing my extra burgers for quick work lunches. I package them in individual zip top bags and thaw on a plate covered with a paper towel for about a minute and a half.

These white hummus¬†burgers are mild enough to be eaten on a bun with your favorite toppings. I’m not much of a bun person, so I loaded mine up with all the fixin’s minus the bread. Add a side salad or a cup of soup, and you’re all set! From ready-for-the-garbage to quick-and-nutritious lunch¬†in about 30 minutes. Love it!

Basic Granola (GF)

I made granola for the first time tonight…and it turned out awesome!

I read a few different recipes and even had a friend share her tried-and-true recipe, combined all of those, and came up with my own, versatile recipe.

Basic Granola (GF)

Veggie V’s Easy Granola (GF)

2 c oats (I used GF old-fashioned)

1 c puffed cereal (I used puffed brown rice)

2/3 c nut mix (I used 1/3 c almond slices and 1/3 c whole almonds)

1/8 c (heaping) flax meal (I used golden flax)

1/4 c oil (I used coconut oil)

1/3 c liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)

2/3 c dried fruit (I used 1/3 c raisins and 1/3 c craisins)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Combine oats, cereal, flax, and nuts in a large bowl.

In a separate, small, microwave proof bowl, microwave the coconut oil and brown rice syrup for about 45 seconds until coconut oil is melted. Swirl together to combine.

Add melted oil and sweetener to oats mixture. Stir to combine.

Place oat mixture on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring¬†half way through. (I set the timer for 10 minutes, stirred, returned to oven, and set the timer for another 10 minutes so I wouldn’t get sidetracked.) Once time has elapsed, remove baking sheet from oven, remove oat mixture from baking sheet (or as much as you can) to the original mixing bowl, and add dried fruit and cinnamon. Stir¬†to combine,¬†and return mixture to cookie sheet to cool.

Allow mixture to cool for a couple of hours. Store in a glass container. (To keep baked goods crisp, store in glass; to keep baked goods soft, store in plastic.)

Enjoy!

I have all kinds of ideas for this granola: add coconut, add cocoa nibs, add chia seeds, change-up¬†the nuts, change-up¬†the cereal, use maple syrup as the liquid sweetener, add nut butter, change-up the dried fruit (dates, prunes, dried banana chips, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)…the possibilities are endless.

As I was making the granola, Mr. M came into the kitchen to investigate¬†and promptly made a declaration¬†that making granola is more expensive than buying it. Um. No. I didn’t have to make a special purchase for any ingredient in my granola. The ingredients I used can be found in any well-stocked (or even not-so-well-stocked) pantry. Even non-vegans are likely to have the above items in their pantries – the recipe is crazy versatile. Plus, you control the sugar! And the fat. And the salt. (I didn’t use any extra salt, so the only sodium in my granola is naturally occurring¬†– bonus!) Plus, I know my granola is truly¬†gluten-free¬†because I used (trusted) gluten-free ingredients.

I’m not sure how long this granola will keep, but I’m pretty sure I’ll eat it all before I have a chance to find out ūüėČ

Warm Rice Salad

I don’t eat many grains, but when I do, I try to balance them out with a lot of veggies. Last weekend, I was in the mood for wild rice (which, incidentally, is a grass, not a grain) and the rainbow chard looked good at the store, so some kind of rice salad was on the menu. Add in some mushrooms and a few seasonings, and this is what¬† I came up with.

Warm Rice Salad

Warm Rice Salad

2 cups cooked rice (I used wild rice)

2 bunches greens (I used rainbow chard) – about 4 c chopped

1 med onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)

Cook rice according to package directions while prepping veggies.

Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in a splash of broth or water, OR begin saute by salting onions, garlic and mushrooms and covering pan with a tight fitting lid until veggies begin to sweat. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Add greens in batches, stirring to incorporate. To help wilt, cover pan for a few minutes between batches. Add rice to mix after all greens have been incorporated. Season as desired. (I used tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.)

I got three pretty good-sized servings from this combo – enough to eat for lunch all week. Paired with a veggie burger and a piece of fruit, and I was stuffed until dinner.

If you wanted to make this more of a main dish, add some beans, tofu cubes, seitan, tempeh, or your favorite meat substitute for a protein punch.

My New Toy

I did it; I bought a Vitamix!

I’ve been wanting, wishing for, and dreaming about owning a Vitamix¬†blender for years and years. So, one lonely¬†Sunday evening while Mr. M was in bed, I ordered one…from QVC. Ha ha ha. That still makes me laugh. I guess it’s not that random; they sell everything; I used to order from them all the time, and I love absent-mindedly¬†watching the different “programs” while I’m doing other things (like blog posts!). Anyway, this particular night, the programming was focused on the daily special – a Vitamix…for $100 off the retail price. That alone was enough to make me hunt down a credit card. But, get this, there was a choice in base colors, and one of the choices was red. Woohoo! That was all I needed. The universe has spoken, and it said, “Order me.” So I did.

A week or two later and this baby was mine.

My New Toy!

Mr. M was reluctant. How could a blender be worth $500?! Then, we made whole fruit juice: pineapple (with the core) orange (lazily skinned). Yum! Next, we made whole fruit/veggie green juice: a green smoothie made with green grapes, lazily peeled Meyer lemons, parsley, tons of kale, a handful of ice cubes, and an apple. Liquid delight and a satisfied¬†husband. Any machine that can turn whole leave kale into silky smooth liquid is apparently approved for residence in our home. Good to know, especially since I threw away the return label because I knew I was keeping it ūüėČ

Whole Food Juice/Kale Smoothie

Chocolate Pomegranate Microwave Mini Sponge Cake

I feel guilty. I don’t like feeling guilty. It’s normally not an emotion I subscribe to. But I can’t help it. I feel guilty for only posting once a week. I feel guilty for not updating the theme like I’ve been meaning to. I feel guilty for not updating the banner like I’ve been meaning to. I feel guilty for not replying to comments in a more timely manner. I feel guilty for not converting to Recipage live I’ve been meaning to. I just plain ol’ feel guilty. But I’ll get over it. Chocolate cake helps.

Ever since we watched POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Mr. M has been obsessed with pomegranate¬†juice. So far, he’s brought home at least three different brands and some seeds (which he decided he doesn’t like). I’ve had a little sip of each, and, well, it’s OK at best. I do kind of like the dry feeling it leaves in my mouth like red wine (which I haven’t had since 2008), but if I had to choose a juice, pomegranate wouldn’t be my first choice. But, since there has been a large bottle of it occupying my fridge for the past couple of weeks, I decided to incorporate it into a recipe. After all, it is¬†almost Valentine’s Day, and pomegranate juice is red…and sweet…two major requirements for a Valentine’s Day treat. This is what I came up with.

Chocolate Pomegranate Microwave Mini Sponge Cake (GF)

1/4 c Gluten Free Flour mix (I used Bob’s)

1 T GF Oat Flour

1/4 tsp Pysllium Powder*

2 T Cocoa Powder

1/2 t Baking Powder

Dash Salt

1 T Maple Syrup (or more if you want a sweeter cake)

1 t Vanilla Extract

2 T Pomegranate Juice

1/4 c Applesauce

Wisk together dry ingredients. Add wet. Stir to combine. Place all ingredients into a shallow, microwave safe dish, or separate batter into three microwave safe silicon muffin molds. Microwave cake for about 1 minute on high; microwave cupcakes one at a time on high for about 30 seconds. Eat immediately.

*The psyllium¬†powder is a replacement for xanthium gum. It worked nicely and added a little extra fiber. I’ve also read that flax or chia meal works as a substitute.

Quick Chocolate Pomegranate Frosting

1 T cashews

2 T pomegranate juice

1 T cocoa powder

1/2 tsp maple syrup

Blend ingredients for about one minute in a small, bullet-type blender.  

This cake is spongy, hence the title. It might be too spongy for some people. I made it a couple of times with a different mix of ingredients, and it always turned out spongy. (I’m blaming it on the GF flour mix.) I got used to the sponginess because I really wanted a gluten-free microwave cake. I’ve been trying to eat as little gluten as possible, and I’ve a huge novice working with gluten-free¬†flours (except for oat flour and almond meal, which I’ve had some experience with, but not much). When I add in the desire for my baked goods to be fat-free, I’m really giving myself a challenge!

Since Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, and week¬†nights are crazy busy for most people, a five-minute¬†cake from cupboard to stomach – including frosting – might be the answer to your gluten-free, oil-free last-minute special treat. (Or quick breakfast…go ahead…treat yourself!)

I’m sharing this recipe¬†at Wellness Weekends.

Coconut Lemon Bars

I’m sorry my posts have been few and far between lately. My course load this semester is a quite a bit heavier than I expected (although my pay isn’t…of course), and it’s taking up a lot more time than I anticipated. I hope to add a few more posts during the week as I get settled into a routine. I hope ūüėČ

Luckily, I’ve been able to keep my Sundays free for cooking and recipe¬†development,¬†and Sunday I came up with a delicious treat: Coconut Lemon Bars. If you like coconut and lemon, these bars are for you. Even if you’re on the fence about coconut (or, as Mr. M mockingly says, you don’t seek out the coconut), you’ll probably like these rich, little treats. They were a HUGE hit at work. I need to make them again just so everyone who wanted to¬†can try them¬†– and so the people who got to try them can have some more. Yup. They’re that good.

Coconut Lemon Bars

Coconut Lemon Bars

Bar Base

3/4 c almonds*

1/4 c sunflower seeds

1/2 c dates

1/2 c prunes

2 TBSP coconut butter**

Blend/food process nuts, seeds, and dates until they form a sticky crumble. Press the mixture into a small pan, or make mini bites by pressing the mix into mini-muffin tins or silicone molds. You can also form the bars into the shape of your choice on parchment or wax paper (Valentine hearts?!).

Coconut Lemon Bars Base

Coconut Topping

1/2 c coconut butter**

2 TBSP maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of your choice)

Juice & Zest of one organic lemon (about 2 TBSP juice & 1 TBSP zest)

Water as needed by the tsp

Blend all ingredients into a thick, frosting like consistency. If your mixture is too thick, add water by the teaspoon-full until desired consistency is achieved. Spread over bar base and freeze or refrigerate bars until coconut topping is firm/solid. Cut into bite sized pieces. (Mine made 20 one inch by one square bites.)

Bite Sized

*Try replacing the almonds with pumpkin seeds (pepitas). I meant to try this myself, but forgot. Oops! It’s my plan for the next batch ūüėČ

**Make your own coconut butter! Add two bags of unsweetened, desiccated¬†coconut flakes (or shreds) to a food processor and run on high until a thick, creamy butter forms. Depending upon the power of your processor, it should take about 8-10 minutes. My old, wimpy¬†food processor took about 10 minutes, and my new, heavy-duty¬†one takes about 8. Store your super cheap (less than $2.50 from my local Kroger) coconut butter in a glass container and keep it in a cool, dry place. DO NOT put it in the refrigerator. I did that, and it turned into a coconut rock. But…it returned to its soft, buttery state after a few minutes in a warm water bath. So, if someone accidentally refrigerates your coconut butter, just warm it up, and you’ll be good to go.

I couldn't resist a bite of my own ūüėČ

I’d love to know how these bars turn out for you if you try them. I was shocked by how many of my coworkers liked them. I guess people occasionally like something other than chocolate for dessert. Who knew?!

I’m sharing this recipe with the awesome readers of Wellness Weekends¬† at Diet Dessert and Dogs, Allergy Friendly Friday at¬†Cybele Pascal’s Allergen Free Cuisine,¬†and submitting it to the Valentine’s Day Bake-Off at Forks and Beans.