Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Navy Bean Peanut Butter Bars

All that tempting gooey chocolate and peanut butter.

Sometimes you want a warm and gooey dessert that won't make you feel gross after though, right?

Okay, desserts don't usually make me feel gross regardless, but it's still nice to have healthier options. These bars are really tasty, but have no flour, refined sugar, oil/butter, or eggs! Plus, look at all that protein and fiber! They are good warm or cold. To make them vegan, just use all maple syrup.

Peanut Butter Bars 
How I Did It:

1 can Navy Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup peanut butter 1 tbsp + 2 tsp honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease an 8x8" baking pan.

2. Add all ingredients (except the chocolate chips)to a food processor and process until combined and smooth.

3. Pour into a bowl and mix in chocolate chips.

4. Pour into prepared baking pan and spread out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges start to firm up and the center looks just set. It's better to slightly under cook than to over cook.

5. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Coconut Delight Bars

If you like coconut, you will love these coconut bars. I found them at Chocolate Covered Katie awhile back and I recently made them to the delight of my family. I don't really like the taste of agave on its own, but it works well in here. I think anything else would be too sweet and noticeable. The other good thing about using agave is that it makes these bars friendly to some people who can't handle most other sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup). So easy to make and so easy to eat! If you want, after freezing them, you could dunk them in melted dark chocolate and then freeze them again. I say that because I always have chocolate on the brain, but to be honest, these really don't need it. They are perfect as is.

Coconut Delight Bars
How I Did It:

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup agave
2 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well-combined. This will only take ten seconds or so.

2. Pour into the bottom on a loaf pan and press down evenly.

3. Cover and place in the freezer for 20 minutes before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nutella Swirl Blondies

Even without the Nutella I think these were the best blondies that I have ever made. Bold, I know. They have great flavor and such perfect gooey and chewy texture. And then you add the Nutella....oh my.

Nutella Swirl Blondies
How I Did It:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 8x8 pan and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted stir in sugars until combined and sugars are somewhat melted. Remove from heat, but do not let cool completely or it will harden.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Slowly pour in the butter/sugar mixture and whisk until combined.

5. Add in flour and whisk until just incorporated.

6. Pour into prepared baking pan. Using a teaspoon, drop Nutella around the top (about 10 - 12 spoonfuls) and then using the back of a spoon swirl the Nutella to spread around and make an repeated "S" shape.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges start to crack and bit and the center is firm to the touch. Let cool fully before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bars

Let me first clarify that I am not posting a picture of a moldy brownie. This was my first attempt at making zucchini brownies and I didn't think to peel the zucchini first. On the plus side, it was quite the conversation starter and they taste the same, but we got added fiber! With that said, if you plan to bring these somewhere peeling the zucchini might be a good idea. Or you can share that there isn't any oil or butter in them and that they are a better version of chocolate zucchini bread!

Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bars
How I Did It:

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened plain applesauce
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups grated zucchini (for visual purposes, I recommend peeling it first)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8x8" baking pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and applesauce. Set aside and let sit while you are mixing together the dry ingredients.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. Add the dry mixture to the wet in three parts, mixing just until combined. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips so they are somewhat evenly distributed.

5. Pour into prepared baking pan and even out with the back of your spoon.

6. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the edges have hardened a bit and the center has set. Let cool before cutting into squares. Anything not eaten that day should be refrigerated in an airtight container.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips

Sometimes you just want something to crunch on. I get it. That's where oil-free sweet potato chips come in. It's just like eating a sweet potato, but in a tasty form. I never used to like sweet potatoes at all, and then I came to realize that sweet potato fries are actually really good and then I was introduced to sweet potato chips...also very good. And I don't mean that in the, "well, these have a few more nutrients in them, so I don't feel as bad eating them" so of way. Sweet potatoes taste fantastic when fried. I like them so much that I recently tried them again chopped up in a meal...ehhh. So to trick myself I decided to try to make "chips" and see how they turned out. All I did was slice the sweet potato as thin as I possibly could, lightly sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary, and then microwaved it. They were just as good as I hoped - maybe even better. I have to remember to buy more sweet potatoes. If you're more in the mood for fries, try my healthier version.

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Fries
How I Did It:

1 sweet potato
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed rosemary

1. Using the sharpest knife you have, slice the sweet potato as thin as you can.

2. Place a sheet of parchment paper in your microwave and lay the slices flat out on top. They can be touching, but don't let them overlap too much. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary (keep it light as when they shrink up, the flavor will become more intense).

3. Microwave for 5 to 8 minutes, making sure to really keep an eye on them. Take them out once they start to crinkle up and a few start to lightly brown. Do not let them over-brown.

4. Remove and let cool completely (so they can get crunchy) before enjoying.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

I don't remember how I stumbled upon these, but I had them bookmarked to try for awhile now. They are very interesting. They weren't nearly as peanut-buttery as I was expecting. Even my Dad who doesn't like peanut butter liked them. They were very easy to make though. Even though it says no bake you do cook the ingredients on the stove-top. This is good news, trust me. It makes it pretty easy to combine ingredients when you have them all heated up! I didn't have enough quick oats, so I used mostly regular rolled oats (my sister and I smashed them up a bit). I don't think this hurt the cookies, but I'ms sure the texture would have been a bit different (better?) with all quick oats. If I make the again I would use all quick oats, less butter and sugar and more chocolate and peanut butter. Definitely more peanut butter.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies
How I Did It:

Adapted from All Recipes

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tbsp unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder (I used 50/50 - natural unsweetened/dutch process)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup quick oats
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Lay out a large silicon mat or a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter for later use.

2. In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and immediately stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla.

4. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared mat/parchment paper. Let cool and harden before eating or transferring to a airtight container. Store at room temperature.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Diary-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me start by saying that while these cookies do not have any butter, they are not vegan. This is the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I grew up making with my mom. She took the chocolate chip cookie recipe that you can find on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chips package and altered it a bit. At the time I think she subbed in oil for butter with the thought that butter isn't so great for you, but now it is a tradition and everyone expects these cookies at holiday gatherings. You end up with a thicker cookie and as I have found, if you cook it right (not too long!) then it is turns out thick and chewy and honestly, pretty darn good. Plus, not having to cream the butter and sugar (read: you don't need a beater at all for this!) makes these much quicker and easier to make.

Diary-free Chocolate Chip Cookies
How I Did It:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (remember: they better they taste, the better the cookie tastes)

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

3. Combine oil and sugars together and mix well until well incorporated. Add in vanilla and eggs and stir until almost creamy.

4. In three sections, add in the flour to the wet mixture. Stir between each addition.

5. Add in chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed. You many find it helpful to start with a spoon and then finish mixing them in with your hands.

6. Drop dough onto cookie sheets. Don't try to form into balls first - dough will be very wet and sticky.

7. Cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges and almost set looking in the center. Remove from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.