Category Archives: Nuts

HOW TO MAKE DAIRY FREE KEFIR

A few weeks ago on Intstagram I shared that I have been making my own almond milk kefir and a few people asked me to write a post about how I make it.

I am a fan of eating probiotics because they do wonders for you gut.  A few months ago I tried adding dairy based lactose-free kefir in to my diet and to be honest it constipated me in the worst way.  Because of that I began to research dairy-free kefir alternatives and came across The Cultured Food Life blog which is a wealth of information.

I was and still am shocked at how easy it is to make kefir if you follow a few key steps and avoid using anything metal.  When I first started making kefir my results were hit and miss and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that I was either stirring the mixture with one of my metal chopsticks or using mason jars with metal lids…I later learned that using metal is a no no because the kefir culture reacts poorly to it.

In order to avoid metal lids I ordered THESE jars from The Jar Store (such good prices) and haven’t had a problem since, though I will say that pouring the kefir out of these jars can be a little messy (live and learn).

Almond Milk Kefir How to Recipe Numbered

METHOD

 (IMAGE 1) Pour 4 cups non-dairy milk (I use almond milk) into your glass vessel along with 1 packet of freeze dried Kefir starter (like THIS one) and 1 tsp of sugar.  Since we are not using dairy based milk that contains sugars, you need to add some, but don’t worry about any extra carbs because the culture will eat the sugar.  Stir using a wooden or plastic spoon.

 (IMAGE 2) Place the lid on the vessel and allow it to sit on the counter for 12-24 hours until it looks like image 2.  How long it takes for the kefir to mature will depend on how warm it is, etc.  Once the kefir is done place it in the fridge.

 (IMAGE 3) This is what the kefir looks like after it has been in the fridge for a day (it thoroughly disgusts my kids!).

 (IMAGE 4) Stir-up the kefir and you are good to go.  I use it mostly in smoothies, but have also used it in my homemade protein bars.

 

It is really simple to make more kefir.  When you have about 1/2c of kefir remaining, add 1 tsp of sugar, 4 cups of non-dairy milk, and leave it out on the counter again.  It will take a few hours more for the kefir to cure since it started out cold from having been in the refrigerator.  I can make kefir this way 5-6 more times before starting the process all over again with a new packet of freeze dried starter.

I have used several brands of yogurt/kefir starter and they all have worked well.

I am interested in trying to make kefir with real kefir grains because once you have those you can use them indefinitely.

Happy culturing!

 

 

image above of different types of non-dairy kefir is from Cultured Food Life.

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Filed under Breakfast, Drinks, Gluten Free, Nuts, Recipes, Smoothie, Smoothie / Shake, Vegan

PB CUP / FUDGE RECIPE – Healthy Halloween Candy

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pumpkin PB 4

I teamed-up with Nuts.com in an attempt to make Halloween less scary for your waistline.  Nuts.com has been working hard on their Healthy Snack Page and I am happy to help spread the word.

Of course when you think of Nuts.com you think of nuts.  One of the world’s best flavor combos in my opinion is PB and C.  Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate (other than my very own daughter…what???).

I set off on a quest to make a healthier peanut butter cup / peanut butter fudge and the results taste amazing if I do say so myself.  My son offered to eat all of them (such a kind boy).  What’s even more awesome is how quickly these come together.

It’s up to you whether or not you add chocolate.  These cups / fudge taste great either way.

INGREDIENTS – Makes 10 

40g dark chocolate

2Tbs (28g) raw cacao butter

1/4c (64g) peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1/4c (24g) peanut butter powder

1/2 dropperful Liquid Sweetleaf Stevia (English Toffee flavor is my favorite)

Method

If using the chocolate, place 4 grams of chocolate into each of the 10 candy molds (I used THIS one).  Microwave in 15 second increments to melt (you have to be REALLY careful not to burn the chocolate in the microwave).  Once sufficiently melted, spread the chocolate and place the mold into the freezer.

In a double boiler melt the cacao butter, chocolate, and peanut butter powder stirring constantly with a whisk.

Once melted, remove the molds from the freezer and divide the peanut butter mixture evenly between the 10 candy molds.

Place the candies in the fridge to set-up.  Store uneaten candies (if there are any) in the fridge or freezer.

Nutrition Information:

Per Candy (Chocolate & PB) – 82 cal / 2.7C / 3P / 6.8F

Per Candy (Just PB Mixture) – 75 cal / 1.8C / 2.8P / 6.3F

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Pumpkin PB 5

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holiday, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipe Redux, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

SRC – PB BANANA BON BONS

After a one month break from the Secret Recipe Club (SRC) I am thrilled to be back.  I have so much fun participating in this wonderful group.  For those of you unfamiliar, the SRC is a club that was:

“[B]orn from an idea that it’s founder Amanda had one day while trying to come up with ways to bring more exposure to her cooking blog, Amanda’s Cookin’. She thought it would be fun to make a recipe from a friend’s blog and that friend could do the same. But instead of just the two of them, including several others would be even more fun. Plus, it would also help give added exposure to their food blogs. And so it began…”

Their first month yielded 19 participants and now there are hundreds. The concept is simple really. Each month you are “assigned” a participating food blogger to make a recipe from and it’s a secret until reveal day.

This month I was assigned the blog, Baking and Boys, penned by an amazing baker, Katrina.  In her words, “It’s a crazy house full of boys around here with me trying to keep it all together. Ya gotta love it! Welcome to Baking and Boys.”

It didn’t take me  long to choose which recipe I was going to make.  As I explored her blog I zeroed in on her recipe for Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles which she found on a coconut recipe website.  I made this recipe as a surprise for my children during the last week of school.  They were thrilled to come home to it.

But you know me…I had to switch it up a bit by adding some sliced banana and turning these into frozen treats akin to a healthier bon bon.  The other changes I made were to eliminate the added salt and sweetener.  Since the banana slices were nice and ripe, they had a natural sweetness all their own and the chocolate coating was sweet as well.  I also upped the amount of chocolate slightly since adding the banana slices meant the bon bons were slightly larger than the original recipe, meaning more chocolate was needed for coverage.

This recipe came together so quickly, uses simple ingredients, and was a resounding success!!!


INGREDIENTS – Makes 20 bon bons

6 Tbs. organic peanut butter
¼ cup coconut flour
6 ounces Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
1 banana
.

METHOD

Slice the banana into 20 slices and place them individually on wax or parchment paper.

In a bowl combine the peanut butter and coconut flour using a spoon and eventually your hands.

Using a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, form the peanut butter mixture into half circles and place one on each banana slice.

Freeze for 30 minutes to one hour.

Once the banana and peanut butter is frozen, heat the chocolate and coconut oil together over a double boiler until completely melted OR in the microwave at 30 second intervals (stirring in between) for approximately 2 minutes.

Insert a toothpick in the top of the bon bon and submerge it in the chocolate.  Shake off the excess and place the bon bon back on the waxed paper.  Continue with the remaining bon bons and place back in the freezer to set.

Serve straight from the freezer.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

CREAMY SMOKEY SPANISH DRESSING

I have been missing Spain lately and wanted to create a dressing/dip/sauce (It is very multi-functional) that would remind me of our summer there and the wonderfully flavorful meals we enjoyed.

This dressing/dip/sauce makes me smile every time I eat it.  I have been enjoying it on salads, brown rice bowls, and as a dip for veggies, gluten-free crackers, you name it.

In my never-ending quest to try and eliminate oil from my diet (click HERE to find out why), I used nuts as the base and thickener for this recipe.  You will be amazed by the wonderfully creamy texture you can achieve using nuts.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted nuts (any variety)
1 ¾ cups filtered water OR for a creamier dressing, So Delicious Milk of choice
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos
Heaping ½ tsp hot pimenton…more if you like spice (Spanish paprika)
Heaping ½ tsp sweet pimenton (Spanish paprika)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs maple syrup
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Place all of the ingredients in your high speed blender (I use my Vitamix) and blend until very creamy and smooth.

NOTE – The dressing will thicken when refrigerated.

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE. .

Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Dip, Nuts, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH BITES – Vegan and Gluten Free

Gingerbread seems to run along the great divide…people either love it or hate it.  I love it!  You all know how fond I am of my cookie dough bites.  This is my gingerbread interpretation of a cookie dough bite.  I created these for a food demonstration I taught as part of NEXT week where I made my PB & C Cookie dough bites, Mexican Wedding Cake bites, and Gingerbread Bites.

As with all of my other cookie dough bites, these are easy peasy to make.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted cashew butter
1/3 cup Yakon syrup
¼ cup Somersweet
4 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup pecan meal

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On the stove over medium-low, toast the pecans (watch carefully to prevent burning).  Once toasted, remove them to cool.

Place the cooled toasted pecans in the food processor and process into a meal.

Cream together the cashew butter, Yakon syrup, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.  Now add the Somersweet and incorporate well.

Once the mixture is creamed, mix in the toasted pecan meal (I use my hands while wearing non-latex gloves).

Form the dough into small rounds (about 1Tbs. each).

Place in the refrigerator to firm-up.

The cookies should keep in the fridge for a week.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holiday, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Ultimate Energy Bar Formula – The No Meat Athlete

I have been following Matt Frazier’s blog, the No Meat Athlete for some time now.  Matt is a running fanatic who is fueled exclusively by plants, thus the title, No Meat Athlete.  Matt ran his first marathon on 2002, but it wasn’t until he became a vegetarian that he qualified for the Boston Marathon.  He has since moved on to ultrarunning…we are talking 50K, 50 miles, and beyond (all fueled by a plant-based diet)!!!  If that is not inspirational, then I don’t know what is. Matt has great tips on his site for running and athletics in general as well as product reviews and recipes (He also sells really cute shirts).  Today Matt has graciously agreed to share his go to formula for energy bars.  We have all bought them, but did any of you realize how easy (and how much less expensive) they are to make at home?  Matt’s sister-in-law came-up with the winning formula.  What’s great about using a formula versus a recipe is how easy it is to customize it to each person’s taste…some people would go gaga for a chocolate peanut butter energy bar and other people would prefer a cranberry walnut bar…to each their own. Today’s Guest Blog will not disappoint.

The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound can of beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • ½ cup binder
  • ¼ cup sweetener
  • ¼ cup soft sweet fruit
  • 1 teaspoon of extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dry spice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats (you can toast them if you want but I can’t tell the difference)
  • 1 cup dry base ingredient
  • 1 cup stir-ins

In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.  Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.  Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.  If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient. Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

Recommended beans

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Adzuki beans

Recommended binders

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of ground flax seed mixed with ¼ cup water
  • Pureed pumpkin
  • Mashed avocado

Recommended sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey (if you’re not vegan)

Recommended soft, sweet fruit

  • Applesauce
  • Mashed banana (about half of one)
  • Chopped dates (remove the pits!)
  • Crushed pineapple

Recommended optional extracts

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Coffee

Recommended dry spices

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  •  Instant coffee

*For stronger spices like nutmeg and cardamom, use just a ¼-½ teaspoon and combine with less intense spices like cinnamon. Recommended dry base ingredient (a combination is usually best)

  • Protein powder (we’re fans of hemp, rice, and pea protein)
  • Brown rice flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Cocoa (max ½ cup)
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Buckwheat flour

Recommended stir-ins

  • Shredded coconut
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Dry cereal
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Chocolate chips

So that’s the basic formula! To help get you started, here are three variations Christine came up with.  For each of them, follow the same procedure from above for mixing and baking.

Example #1: chocolate black bean happy bars

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup cocoa + ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup shredded coconut + ½ cup raisins

Example #2: cranberry-pistachio protein bars

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup binder: ¼ cup of ground flax seed with ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup pistachios + ½ cup dried cranberries

Example #3: maple pumpkin health bars

  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • ½ cup maple syrup (Christine used more maple syrup in place of the sweet fruit here, for more maple flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisin bran cereal

So there you go, three examples to get you started.  But really, the point is for you to create your own, using the basic formula as the framework.  So I hope you’ll do that, and let us know what you come up with! Photo courtesy of the No Meat Athlete. Click here to read the original post.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Breakfast, Dessert, Energy Bars, Gluten Free, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – Julieanna Hever and Chef AJ

I am always looking for fun ways to dress kale because it is soooooo good for you, but can be a very strong taste on its own.  The other day I received a blog post in my inbox from The Plant-Based Dietitian (I am a subscriber) and it was an episode of The Chef and the Dietitian wherein they demonstrated how to make Chef AJ’s  “Hail to the Kale” dressing.  I decided to give it a try and loved it so much that I contacted Julieanna and Chef AJ to see if they would allow me to share the recipe with all of you.  Both were so responsive despite the fact that they were out of town at Vegetarian Summerfest (I would have LOVED to be there too!).  This is an absolute winning recipe!

Before we get to the recipe, I want to give you some background on Julieanna Hever and Chef AJ…

Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T. , The Plant-Based Dietitian, is a passionate advocate of the miracles associated with following a whole food, plant-based diet.  Julieanna is the nutrition columnist for VegNews Magazine, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking (click here for more info).  Julieanna maintains a private practice in Los Angeles and lectures throughout the U.S. As co-producer and star of the “infotainment” documentary, To Your Health, Julieanna interviewed a host of the plant-based world’s most respected doctors and researchers to bring this important information to a broad audience.  As Executive Director of EarthSave, International, Julieanna has had the opportunity to bring nutrition to the forefront of efforts to improve the current global health crisis.  To learn more, visit Julieanna at her website (click here) and her blog (click here).

Chef Abbie Jay (otherwise known as AJ), is a graduate of The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and has been a vegan for 30 years.  At the age of seven she received an Easy Bake Oven as a gift and hasn’t stopped cooking since.  Teaching both vegan cooking and raw food prepartion, AJ’s passion is showing people how to incorporate more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in their diets in ways that are easy, delicious and fun.  Chef AJ is also the author of the book, Unprocessed (which I can’t wait to review for you!).  She especially loves showing others how to make decadent, delicious desserts with out using white sugar, white flour or artificial ingredients.  Chef AJ, has cooked for many celebrities, and has volunteered at The Braille Institute for 2 years teaching healthy cooking to the blind who have lost their sight due to type II diabetes.  Many of her students have decreased their need for insulin through switching to a healthier diet.  One of her creations, Rockin’ Nut Crunch, will soon be sold at Whole Foods Market.

I also learned a new tip from Chef AJ in the video episode (click here) which has been a HUGE time-saver for me when prepping the kale from my garden (my latest harvest is in the picture above…it is the most gorgeous greenish-blue!).  She shows us a really fast and simple way to remove the hard center stem from the kale.  How did I not know this before?

You must make this dressing…it is that good!

~

INGREDIENTS – Enough to dress two heads of kale

1 cup raw almond butter (unsweetened and unsalted) *
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup fresh lime juice and zest
2 cloves garlic
Fresh, peeled ginger (approx. 1” or ½ ounce)
2 Tbs. low sodium tamari
4 pitted dates (soaked in water if not soft)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes **
* I used a combination of almond and cashew butter
** I used ¼ tsp. since I served it to children

 

Place all ingredients in the blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth…it’s that simple!

When the dressing is nice and smooth pour some over your prepared kale and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Since I made a smaller salad, I did not use all of the dressing.  To store the remaining dressing, I poured it into a mason jar and placed it in the fridge.  I ended up using it as a dip as well…it was great with all kinds of crudités (carrot, celery, cucumber, belle peppers, etc.)

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Books, Guest Blog, Nuts, Raw, Recipes, Salad, Salad Dressing, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

PATRIOTIC CHEESECAKE – Vegan and Gluten Free

This recipe is my entry for the Spunky Holiday roundup.  I recently came across the blog, The Spunky Coconut, and am so glad I did.  I have already made several of the recipes from the site and my family has loved them.  I really like the idea of a recipe round-up and the sense of community participating in one creates.  I had a lot of fun creating this cheesecake for the round-up and my family and I have had even more fun eating it!

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INGREDIENTS

CRUST
1 ½ cup Gluten Free graham style crumbs (I used kinnikinnick foods)
1-2 packets stevia
6 Tbs. Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread
.
BASIC FILLING
2 cups raw cashews (soaked 6-8 hours)
1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts (soaked 6-8 hours)
2 tsp probiotic powder (I used New Chapter All Flora)
½ cup filtered water
1 Tbs. meyer lemon juice
1/3 cup So Delicious Vanilla coconut creamer
1 Tbs. vanilla flavor (mine is by Frontier)*
4 Tbs. agave or maple syrup
4 stevia packets
Pinch of salt
*Do not use vanilla extract.  Since this is raw the alcohol will not cook out and will taste bad.
.
Blue
½ cup frozen organic blueberries
1 cup Basic Filling
All natural blue food coloring (optional)
.
White – Basic Filling (as is) OR
1/2 cup sliced bananas
1 cup Basic Filling
 
Red
½ cup sliced organic strawberries
1 cup Basic Filling
All natural red food coloring (optional)

.

Upon first glance this cheesecake recipe seems much more time consuming than it really is.  This is how I easily tackle this recipe…

In the morning put 2 cups of raw cashews and 1 cup of macadamias in a container and cover the nuts with filtered water.  Place the container in the fridge to soak (click here to see how I did just this for raw vegan goat cheese).

In the afternoon or evening take the container of cashews and macadamias out of the fridge and drain and rinse the nuts.  Place the drained and rinsed nuts in your Vitamix along with ½ cup filtered water and blend VERY well.  This process will take quite a few minutes and your Vitamix will be working very hard!  Make sure you use the center agitator to help it along.  You want to mixture to be very, very, very smooth…it will be warm from all of the blending.

Once the mixture is smooth, place it in a bowl and combine with the probiotic powder.  Mix well.

Place the mixture in a cheesecloth lined colander and cover it.  Place the colander in a bowl (in case any liquid leaks out) and leave it out at room temperature for 12 hours to cure (overnight).  You can also place a plate and pie weights on top of the cheesecloth to encourage the release of moisture.

Meanwhile make the crust by combining the graham style crumbs with the melted Earth Balance and Somersweet.  Once combined, press the graham crust into the bottom of a springform pan or create individual cheesecakes by using a mini crumb cake pan and filling each with 1 Tbs. of the graham crust mixture and pushing it down (in a crumb cake pan the bottom of each cake lifts-up to help unmold the cakes).  Place in the fridge to set-up.

In the morning place the cured cheese mixture in a bowl and use a hand mixer to blend in 1 Tbs. lemon, 1/3 cup So delicious, 1 Tbs. vanilla, ¼ cup agave, 4 stevia packets, and a pinch of salt.  The Basic Filling recipe is now complete.

Create the blue layer by blending 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of frozen blueberries (optional blue food coloring).

For the white layer, either use the Basic Filling as is or blend 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of sliced bananas.

Create the red layer by blending 1 cup of the Basic Filling with ½ cup of sliced strawberries (optional red food coloring).

Pipe a small layer of the blueberry mixture onto each crust.  Smooth the layer to make it level and follow with a layer of white, and then a layer of red.  Place in the freezer to set-up for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Remove from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the cheesecake to thaw slightly.

Top with your favorite non-dairy whipped cream and fresh berries.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Note – I am a Vitamix affiliate and whole-heartedly endorse the use of this wonderful machine!

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Filed under Cheesecake, Dessert, Gluten Free, Nuts, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

MEXICAN WEDDING CAKE BITES

I can remember the first time I tried a Mexican Wedding Cake cookie.  If I remember correctly, my mom was baking holiday cookies and got the recipe for them from one of our neighbors.  I was an instant fan.  I loved the intensely pecan flavor of this cookie and its sugar-coating.

I recently held a vegan cooking (although there was no “cooking” involved) demonstration as part of NEXT Week.  I am a Brand Ambassador for NEXT by Athena and the company put on a great event.  During NEXT week there were tons of free classes held at the Swimspot store at the Irvine Spectrum… everything from pilates, yoga, Pure Barre classes, to my cooking demonstration.  I decided to keep the cooking demonstration easy and made three varieties of my Cookie Dough Bites; PB and C Cookie Dough Bites (click here for the recipe), Mexican Wedding Cake Bites, and Gingerbread Bites.

My kids love my cookie dough bites.  Most everyone I know likes to have something sweet from time to time and these are great for those occasions because there really isn’t anything in them that is too “bad.”  Yes, you do want to make sure you don’t get too much fat in your diet, but I would MUCH rather have the fat in your diet come from nut butters than animal products.  While my version of these Cookie Dough Bites does not have the traditional powdered sugar-coating, you could definitely opt to do so.

Falling back on my simple is best philosophy, these are crazy easy to make and come together in a snap.

The Mexican Wedding Cake Bites are my son’s favorite Cookie Dough Bites, so without further ado…

~

COOKIE BASE
1 cup roasted cashew butter
½ cup Somersweeet **
2 tsp Frontier vanilla flavor ***
1 cup toasted pecans (blended into a meal)
 
** As an alternative you can use sucanut, coconut sugar, date sugar, or powdered sugar
***DO NOT use vanilla extract.  Since these are not cooked, the alcohol in the extract won’t taste good.
 
SUGAR COATING
¼ cup Somersweet **
¼ tsp cinnamon

On the stove over medium-low, toast the pecans (watch carefully to prevent burning).  Once tasted, remove them to cool.

Place the cooled toasted pecans in the food processor and process into a meal.

With a hand blender, cream together the cashew butter, ½ cup Somersweet and vanilla flavor.  Once the mixture is creamed, mix in the toasted pecan meal (I use my hands).

Once the mixture is creamed, mix in the toasted pecan meal (I use my hands while wearing non-latex gloves I bought at Costco).

Form the dough into small rounds (about 1Tbs. each).  In a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup Somersweet with ¼ tsp. cinnamon.  Roll the rounds in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator to firm-up.  The cookies should keep in the fridge for a week.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

PB BANANA BITES

Snacks don’t need to be complicated.  One day last week my kids came home from school and were greeted by the snack you see pictured above.  Both my son and daughter loved it!  They were so excited by how “fancy” these PB Banana Bites were and I was so excited about how easy it was to prepare.

Simply spoon some peanut butter (approx 2 Tbs. per large banana) into a piping bag and pipe away.  I find that this is a less messy and much less time consuming way to make this snack than my old method…spooning PB onto each piece of banana.

My kids also love to eat this snack with almond and cashew butter.  A super special decadent treat for them is to make this snack with Justin’s line of chocolate nut butters…yum!  I love to use their Chocolate Hazelnut Butter as a vegan Nutella substitute.

For more info on Justin’s product line click here.

Justin’s image courtesy of sixtimestheyum.com

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Filed under Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Product Reviews, Raw, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian