Grain Free Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies

I love coffee (decaf – caffeine free since ’95, baby!). The aroma. The flavor. But I always forget to put it in things. Why? Why do I forget?! It’s soooo good with chocolate. Guess what…I remembered this time!

Grain Free Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies

Grain-Free Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies

(vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, oil free, refined sugar-free, soy free, peanut free)

1/2  c almond butter

3 TBSP cocoa powder

1/2 TBSP instant coffee (I used one full packet of instant decaf granules)

1 flax egg

1/2 tsp baking soda (add more if you want fluffier cookies)

1/4 c maple syrup

1/4 c chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla

dash salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix everything together until combined. Drop by small cookie scoop or teaspoon onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies begin to firm. Remove from the oven and allow to sit on hot cookie sheet for a few minutes (up to 5). Remove parchment or silicone mat from baking sheet and allow cookies to continue to cool for an additional 10 minutes or so. Remove cookies when firm enough to do so and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 16 medium-large cookies

Notes:

These cookies are chewy. Like stick to your teeth chewy. I love that! But, if you don’t get them off of the parchment/silicone mat as soon as they’re transferable, they’ll stick a little. You can still release them by sliding a knife under each cookies, but you’ll lose some of the cookie as it sticks to the knife. (Which was A-OK to me…I thought of it as ‘cookie paper’ [think ‘cheese paper’ from those back-in-the-day fast-food runs].)

If you’re almond butter is dry (Why is my almond butter always so dry?!), heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave. This is a tremendous aid in string!

I made my flax eggs with 1 TBSP water + 2 TBSP water. I also use golden flax for its milder taste.

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I’m sharing this recipe with the readers of…

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Whole New Mom

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert and Dogs

Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love @ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery

Allergy Friendly Fridays @ Cybele Pascal – The Allergy-Friendly Cook

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Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I’ve been on a smoothie kick lately, so the fact that I had a couple super ripe bananas lying around the other day was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by without some kind of fan-fare. A peanut butter banana muffin fan-fare.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffin with a peanut butter middle

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

(gluten-free, oil free, refined sugar free, soy free)

1 c (heaping) oat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

dash salt

1 heaping tsp chia seeds

1 flax egg (I used golden flax)

1/2 c banana puree (I blended 2 medium bananas in a bullet style blender)

1/4 c peanut butter

1/4 c maple syrup (or your favorite liquid sweetener)

Optional Add-ins: 1/2 tsp PNB dropped into the center of each muffin, 1/2 tsp jelly dropped or swirled into each muffin, chocolate chips in the batter or spinkled on top, etc…

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (I used a fork to make sure everything is thuroughly combined.) Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir to combine. Fill muffin liners about 3/4 full. Add add-ins if using. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. (Check at 12 – toothpick inserted in middle should come out clean.) Allow to cook before consumer if you don’t want to be hyper aware of the chia seeds. (They’re a little crunchy in the fresh maked muffins but soften and become barely noticable in the cooled muffins.)

Servings per batch: 8

Notes:

Oat flour: I make my own oat flour by filling my largest bullet style blender cup with gluten-free oats and blending until they turn into a fine powder. It only takes a minute or two. I’ve found this to the be easiest way. I store the extra in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.

Flax egg: I’ve been using a 1:2 ratio (flax:water) for my flax eggs recently, so 1 TBSP golden flax meal + 2 TBSP water. Allow mixture to sit about 10 minutes to form a jell.

Baking powder: I doubled the normal amount of baking powder (normally 1/4 tsp to 1 c flour) because of the heaviness of the peanut butter.

Chia seeds: I added the chia seeds to add omega 3’s to help counteract the omega 6’s in the peanut butter. I’m sure the muffins would be fine without them if you want to omit.

Baking time: Our oven runs a little cool, so most of my baked goods take a little longer. Unless you’re new to your oven, you probably know if your oven runs hot or cold.

Naked Muffin!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of banana in things, but these muffins hit the spot. None of the ingredients are overpowering. I thought the peanut butter might not be noticable enough, but it stands on it’s own. And, the oat flour make the muffins very moist. I think these could easily be frosted and considered cupcakes. Peanut butter frosting maybe?!

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I’m sharing this recipe:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Whole New Mom

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert and Dogs

Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love @ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery

Allergy Friendly Fridays @ Cybele Pascal – The Allergy-Friendly Cook

Celebrating Life

Today is the first day of spring, and I’m celebrating life. Not just my own, but those of my mom and grandma, too. Both had birthdays last week, and although both are not longer with me in body, they are always with me in spirit and memories. So, today, I’d like to share a few memories about my favorite ladies with you.

We never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day when I was a kid. I was in college before I heard of kegs and eggs or knew green beer existed (and no, I wasn’t sheltered – lol). We didn’t celebrate because (a) we aren’t Irish (not even a little bit), and (b) March 17 was my grandma’s birthday. She hated St. Patrick’s Day themed birthday items (much the same way I hate Halloween themed birthday items – and am not a big fan of the holiday, either). Sometimes, to be funny, my dad would get my grandma a St. Patrick’s Day card for her birthday and then laugh when she scoffed at it in discuss. Memories like that are fun, hu?

Not related to our anit-St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but oddly so, my mom’s birthday was March 16. She would have been 67.

I say would because she passed away a couple of years ago. Even typing that brings tears to my eyes.

I think about her everyday. She influences everything I do.

My mom was my biggest cheerleader. She was my best friend. When I discovered (via a trip to the ER) that I was highly reactive to MSG, my mom became an obsessive label reader. When I decided to go vegetarian (although I’d already moved out of the house), she excitedly made meat-free dinners to lure me back home. (It worked!) So when she rather suddenly passed away (even though she suffered from a long-term illness), I was devastated. Time helps, but it really doesn’t heal all wounds.

With the passing of my mom, and, soon after, my step-dad, I was left with very little family. My remaining blood relatives could easily fit into a compact car, and I’m not close to my step-family (or my blood relatives, which I’d like to say is due to distance, but that’s doubtful). I think that’s why I constantly encourage Mr. M to stay in contact with his family.

I hope all of you enjoy a beautiful spring day celebrating life!

Memories of My Mom

I am my mother’s only child. She gave birth to me after a long and uncomfortable pregnancy that, in its self, came as quite a surprise. She reminded me, on frequent occasion, how she spent a month in the hospital before my birth, then labored for more than a day before I finally decided to make an appearance. I was a good baby though; I didn’t even cry when she fell asleep feeding me, and I slid off of her onto the floor;-)


For most of my childhood, it was just my mom and me. We spent all of our time together outside of my going to school. We talked and shared ideas and stories; we even shared a chair when we watched TV; although I wasn’t allowed to change the channel when her soaps were on. I tried often, when I thought she was sleeping, but as soon as the sounds of cartoons, Reading Rainbow or Laverne and Shirley came out of the TV, I heard the familiar, “Turn that back. I’m not asleep; I’m just resting my eyes.” Money was always tight and material things were scarcest as I was growing up, but my mom made sure I had an abundance of love and attention. We went to my grandparent’s house every day, even if it meant asking for a ride because we didn’t have a car. We ate dinner together every night as a family – me, my mom, my grandma, and my grandpa. I was always sad to leave their house, but she promised me we would come back again the next day, and we always did.


My mom indulged my childhood whims by driving me from ice cream stand to fast food place, so I could order a specific item from each. She convinced me one Christmas Eve that a man we saw walking down the street dressed in a Santa suit was the real thing. She let me buy a pair of high heeled sandals to wear to a Girl Scout function then laughed as I sunk into the mud when I tried to walk across the wet lawn. She got sick every time I went to the doctor because she was nervous for me. She cuddled with me and held my hand when she visited me daily at my grandparent’s after she married my step-dad and moved away for a brief time. She cried when I cried. She let me drive her car to school, encouraged my desire to be a professional student, and proudly attended my graduations. She delighted in my dreams, successes, and failures, offered advice that usually went unheeded, and calmed me down when I was upset. She made friends with my friends, listened to their sorrows and joys, babysat for their children,and became their surrogate parent.


My mother was a great person. She taught me to be compassionate and generous with my time. She taught me to be respectful of others and not to judge them, especially by outward appearances. She taught me that giving to others really is better than receiving. We talked everyday, multiple times. We said good night to each other almost every night. She was my best friend.

Recipe Review: Sunny Carrot Pate

I made Eva from Uncooking 101’s Sunny Carrot Pate* a couple of weeks ago. This was the first time I’d made a veggie pate. Shocking, I know. Seriously. Why did I wait so long? It’s so easy!The only change I made to the original recipe was leaving out the oil. I can see where it would make the spread creamier, but I didn’t mind the texture without.

I used my veggie pate to fill a collard leaf for a raw burrito. I wish I’d remembered to take a picture 😉

I also made a raw cheeze sauce to make my burrito more tex-mex.

If you’re looking for a veggie pate to try, thumbs up! I want to try this again with different veggie combos. I’ll let you know how it goes!

*I’m sorry for not supplying a direct link to the recipe, but I can’t find one 😦 I still have the email, so I’m sure of the name, but that’s all I’ve got.  I guess you’ll have to sign up for the news letter 😉

 

 

 

Product Review: Almond Coconut Milk

I don’t do product reviews/endorsements very often, but I couldn’t resist this one. I had seen Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze Almond Coconut milk talked about on a few of my favorite blogs a couple of months ago, but, as usual, it hadn’t showed up at my local grocery store yet. Until last week, that is.

Score!

I debated on buying this product because it needs to be refrigerated, which means the shelf life is usually less than aseptic packaged non-dairy milks, and I don’t go through it quickly. But after all the fuss, I couldn’t resist. I’m so glad I did!

I’ve been drinking this milk straight from the carton. That’s crazy weird for me. It honestly reminds me of coconut flavored cow milk, which would normally send me running to the trash, but for some reason, this really  hits the spot. I’ve been making rich desserts just to have an excuse to drink my new favorite beverage!

Update: After a week in the fridge, this milk is ready to go. Bummer. While the same “use within 7 days of opening” statement is on every carton of non-dairy milk (aseptic packaging or otherwise), it seems as though the shelf-stable cartons stay fresh longer after they’re open. Oh well. I’m still in love with coconut-almond milk and will happily buy it again 🙂

Recipe Review: Crispy Tofu

While I’m currently not eating much tofu, I did recently try a recipe for crispy tofu to use up the last tube I found crammed way in the back of the fridge.

I found this recipe a couple of months ago while reading the Daily Garnish. Emily has written a few times about how much she and her family love tofu, so I thought I’d give her method for cooking crispy tofu a try.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe. I don’t think I followed the same cutting style, but I was happy with my tiny blocks. And, I used sesame oil to “fry” the tofu cubes instead of canola or vegetable oil.

I was really happy with the results and ended up eating most of the block. (That wasn’t the best idea since the reason I’ve stopped eating most soy is because of the unfortunate gastrointestinal side-effects.) If you’re into tofu, give this method a try. I even dipped mine in a little ketchup 🙂

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a follow-up to my Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (almost raw/no-bake), I made a few alterations and baked off a batch. They’re still grain free and naturally gluten-free, oil free, and the only sugar comes from the chocolate chips.

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c almond meal

1/2 c date paste

1 flax egg (1 TBSP flax + 2-3 TBSP water)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash salt

1/4 – 1/2 c chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly scoop onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (I used my new cookie scoop.) Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

These cookies took quite a while to firm up. I think is the first time I’ve tried to bake with almond meal. The flavor was excellent, so don’t be put-off by the longer cook time.

Recipe Review: Oatmeal Bread

As I was perusing the recipe submissions for this week’s Wellness Weekends, I came across a recipe for Sweet Brown Oatmeal Bread and couldn’t wait to try it. So I did! (Have you checked out Wellness Weekends yet?! I love that everything is vegan, and a lot of the recipes are gluten-free, soy free, and even sugar-free!)

At first, I thought this bread was going to be like a sandwich bread. Somehow I missed sweet in the title. Ha ha ha. As I realized this recipe was going to yield a more quick-bread like dessert, I toyed with the idea of putting the mixture in muffin tins instead of a loaf pan, which I think would have worked well, especially if I’d used the large muffin tins (which I bought months ago and have yet to use). But, I stuck to the recipe and poured the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan.

The resulting bread was delicious. I couldn’t wait for a piece to cool (as suggested, but really, who can?!), so I snagged a warm piece and added a smear of Earth Balance. Mmmmm…

 I did make a couple of changes to this recipe, including using oat flour instead of buckwheat flour (I have buckwheat flour, but the recipe said the already milled flour tasted different from fresh milled, and I want to save my coveted buckwheat for buckwheat crisps.) and only using 3 tablespoons of raw sugar instead of the six tablespoons of coconut sugar the recipe calls for. (Although, I did pick up some coconut sugar the other day at a new health food store in a nearby town – woohoo!) Oh, I also used golden flax meal instead of chia meal, which worked perfectly.

I can’t wait to try this bread again, either as a loaf or giant muffins, but switch up the flours. This was the first time I used teft flour, and it was great, but I’ve been building my gluten-free pantry and have collected quite a few gluten-free flours, so I’m anxious to try them. Next time, I’m thinking buckwheat and coconut flour combo with phyllium powder instead of flax. Fiber, baby!

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Recipe Review: Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought I already posted this. I can’t believe I didn’t. I’ve made this recipe three times. Yes. Three times. I hardly ever make desserts more than once let alone three times. So yes, they are that good!

I found this recipe through Pinterest.  I love Pinterest, by the way. Love, love, love it! I keep finding all of these wonderful recipes. (Along with fitness, fashion and decoration inspiration.) The original recipe isn’t vegan, but it easily converted to vegan. All I had to do was sub out the egg for a flax egg. I used golden flax so it matched the peanut butter, and it was totally undetectable. Plus, without the egg, you can worrilessly lick the spoon and bowl 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip CookiesAside from replacing the egg with a flax egg, I also reduced the liquid sugar to 1/4 cup of maple syrup. With the chocolate chips, the cookies are plenty sweet enough.

The first time I made these cookies, my batch only made nine cookies. The recipe says it makes 24, which I thought was weird. Until I pulled the cookies out of the oven. Surprisingly, they expand! The cookies from my first batch were total peanut butter fest. Wowza! Talk about rich. So, the second time I made them, I used my cookie scoop (love my Christmas gift from Mr. M!) for the first time and made 20 much smaller cookies. Ah…much better. I also shared some of this batch with a friend, who raved about them!

Because I had such success with the first two batches, I tried this recipe again, but switched up the nut butter and added some walnuts (because the friend I made them for loves walnuts in chocolate chip cookies). I had a jar of TJ’s sunflower seed butter hanging out in the fridge annoying me (I didn’t care for it – weird), and there was about a cup left, which was prefect. Again, I used golden flax for a flax egg and 1/4 c maple syrup, which was plenty sweet. I ended up using about 1/2 c of toasted walnuts (I spread them out on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet and toasted them while the oven was warming – worked perfectly) and a heaping 1/2 c of chocolate chips since this batch was going to someone used to SAD cookies. The resulting cookies was delicious!

I didn’t think I’d like these cookies because I hate nuts in cookies, and I wasn’t a big fan of the sunflower seed butter in its natural state. But I thought wrong. I had to taste at least a bite of one to make sure they were edible, and I ended up eating two. Ha ha!

Another surprise about these cookies (besides their deliciousness) was the inside – it’s black! Apparently sunflower seed butter turns black when it’s heated?! Or maybe it was from some sort of reaction to the flax?? Whatever the reason, it was a little weird-looking, but it didn’t deter my friend from digging into the cookies, so no biggie.

The thing I love the most about these cookies is that they’re grain free. I’ve been trying more grain-free recipes, and I’m really enjoying them. And, being grain free, these cookies are also naturally gluten-free (if your flax isn’t cross-contaminated). Perfect!

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

I made date paste last weekend for a batch of Pumpkin Spice Muffins, and I didn’t use it all. I meant to put some in my giant green smoothies, but I kept forgetting. All week. Nice self. Real nice. But, it’s all good – and so was the date paste, so I made some cookie balls. And, unexpectedly, the dates added a nice, caremly flavor to the dough. I love surprises like that!

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Almost Raw)

1 c almond meal

1/4 – 1/2 c date paste (depending on how loose you want your dough)

1 TBSP melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

dash salt

1/4 – 1/2 c chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form into balls. (I used one of the cookie scoops I got for Christmas…finally.) Place balls on parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once firm, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the freezer.

My dough made nine pretty-good-sized balls.

If you want to make these truly raw, make your own almond meal (I used store-bought, which may or may not be raw) and your own chocolate chips (with equal parts raw cocoa powder, coconut oil, and liquid sweetener or stevia – mix to combine, flatten onto parchment, freeze, and cut into chocolate chunks. Store in the freezer.). I used store-bought mini-chips for this batch of dough.

I think these might be good baked, too. I’m going to make another batch with a couple more ingredients (to make them oven worthy) and see what happens. I’ll share the results, of course 🙂