Archive | recipes RSS feed for this section

Chocolate Un-Peanut Butter Treats

8 Aug

 

peanut-butter-eggs-2-550

So I’ve missed a few holidays in the recent hype of our busy, bustling lives.

Way back – Easter brought with it Bells, a visiting sis who then lived in Brooklyn, and some natural treats worth noting. And making year round. Super yum. Good enough for me to post about them now, months later.

If you’re like me, the thought of chocolate and peanut butter together elicits drooling and high-powered cravings. Imagine the horror of realizing, like me, that peanuts (and most nuts) are no longer something my body likes to digest. In the past couple years I’ve developed some kind of nut sensitivity….and have thus transitioned entirely over to a nut-free diet…but thank GOD—there’s a loophole in the peanut-butter-chocolate universe.

In some recipes, many actually, it’s possible to substitute sunflower seed butter for peanut butter with pleasing results. Of course, the flavor is slightly different, and in my opinion, that has much to do with the brand of sunflower seed butter itself. My top three brands, in order?

1. A mystery brand that eludes me. It had a white label. Had it once on vacation and it was THE BEST ever.

2. Sunbutter brand

3. Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter

4. All others stink.

I’m just being honest! Challenge me if you may, or enlighten me if your favorite brand did not make my list.

 

Either way, make these Chocolate Un-Peanut Butter Eggs (or any non-denominational ballish shape you please) soon, even though in the summer they are not exactly seasonally appropriate. But frozen – ohhhh la la good luck keeping them around for long.

PS- the challenge with Bells around is all must be gluten free. Imagine two sisters, craving a treat from childhood, one no longer able to eat graham crackers (the darn gluten!) and one no longer eating nuts. The two MAIN ingredients. Luckily, we’re resourceful when the motivation is treats.

 

Un-Peanutbutter Balls (GF) 

Ingredients

2 c. crushed gluten-free cereal of your choosing (usually, graham crackers) 
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. sunflower seed butter
1 bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Mix the cereal crumbs, powdered sugar and sunflower seed butter together with a wooden spoon.
  2. Roll into balls.
  3. Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 15-30 seconds, taking care not to burn.
  4. Dip balls in chocolate and lay on waxed paper covered cookie sheets.
  5. In the summertime or warmer months, place in freezer to harden.
  6. DEVOUR. Try to eat just one.

We decorated with Easter-colored sprinkles and the like. Make sure to do that when the chocolate is still soft and a bit sticky.

Too bad these don’t pass as a durable trail treat. I’d eat them on a mountaintop ANY day.

 

A Lotta Ricotta: Cheese for Breakfast & Dessert

11 Nov

IMG_5829

IMG_5813

I rejoined Costco lately, once I discovered they actually have quite a few organic and healthful offerings nowadays. Now, I need to get used to shopping there again, ’cause the last time I was associated with a membership was when I lived in a sorority house with 18 other girls and we went through a case of Light ‘n Fit yogurt in 3 days.

IMG_5812

Times have changed…and HT is a hungry man, but he is not 18 hungry (possibly hungover) sorority girls. So I may have overbought ricotta cheese. Now, my mission is to use it up mindfully before the clock strikes expiration (I hate wasting food). Here’s the plan, ricotta cheese 3 ways:

1) Ricotta Blueberry Muffins (For breakfast and to freeze, and I just bought a huge ‘ol bag of whole wheat pastry flour at Mrs. Greens.)

2) To-Die-For Cannoli Ice Cream (Only two servings, we can’t be trusted with this stuff.) SORRY, no pictures!

PS- The Duchess of Ridgefield is supervising. Apparently I can’t be trusted in the kitchen.

IMG_5830

“Ricottaberry” Muffins

Adapted from The Muffin Myth WW Ricotta Muffins with Cinnamon Roasted Apples

I love muffins, but they’re fattening and carby. So, I look for ways to lighten them up ’cause they really are a great breakfast on the way out the door when you don’t have time to get fancy. Thanks Muffin Myth for the idea, I love that these are whole wheat without being dense, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Huge success.

IMG_5808

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 25 min

Serves: 12 (10 for me, see below)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (I had only salted butter, so note I omitted salt below)

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted, as I was using salted butter)
1 cup cinnamon roasted apples, or other seasonal fruit (I used frozen organic blueberries)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with liners. My trick here is to use two muffin tins and fill only every other well with muffin batter. I like to over fill the wells and make slightly fewer muffins than an original recipe calls for because I like a muffin with a large top and a slightly bigger size (if it alone, will be called “breakfast”).

In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, ricotta, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with baking power, baking soda, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mix until just barely combined, then carefully fold in the roasted apples (or blueberries or other seasonal fruit). The muffin mix will be quite thick. (It really is!) Don’t worry, it should be.

Spoon equal amounts of the muffin mix into 12 (or 9-10) muffin cups. Slide into the oven, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the pan once part way through. Muffins are done when they are puffed and golden, and a toothpick or small knife comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

IMG_5826

“Hardtack’s Cannoli Ice Cream”

Adapted from Giada Ricotta and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 

Hardtack LOVES cannolis, but as he’s become quite the health-conscious guy, he’s not interested in the full-sugar, full fat version anymore. I am hoping this ice cream satisfies the craving without the calorie commitment of the “real thing”.

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 30 min

Serves:
12 (or 6 like Hardtack)

Ingredients:
1 (15-ounce) container (organic) whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup whole milk (I used 1% and a splash of organic half and half)
1 cup simple syrup, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and milk until smooth. Add the simple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Pour the ricotta mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

As I don’t have an ice cream freezer (boo), here’s where I improvised. I froze the liquid ice cream mixture right in two Magic Bullet blending containers. Then, once fully frozen, I microwaved the containers for about 20 seconds and began to test out blending the mostly-frozen ice cream with a repeated pulsing action on the Magic Bullet. The result was an icy but creamy soft ice cream (eat immediately!) with amazing flavor. Depending how solid your frozen cream has become, you can experiment with adding a tiny bit of skim milk to the frozen mixture instead of microwaving. Also, a regular blender should work too, and a VitaMix, even better. 

Note: this refroze pretty well but microwaving for 15 seconds was required again as it refreezes quite solidly. It’s probably best eaten after the first “blending”. Honestly, the flavor is so good I’m not sure how ours lasted past then, anyway.

Simple syrup:
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar (I subbed 1/2 cup agave here and had total success)
In a saucepan, combine water and sugar (agave) over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar (agave) has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

Try these. Enjoy them!

 

Adult Summer Turns to Fall (I’m Back!)

9 Oct

I had a realization sitting in awful traffic yesterday—I haven’t blogged in months and it’s uncool. There are a few reasons why—a big job layoff and subsequent job searching, moving, travel and otherwise awesome business. Excuses aside, here I am, now. 

103111candy_corn

This I can say…I had a pretty awesome “adult summer” that is now shaping up to be a pretty awesome fall. What have I done with my (supposed) free time and freedom?

1. Oregon. Yes! The trip I gushed about months and months ago actually happened! I’ll blog in full about it soon because the pics are worth it.

2. Ithaca. Family lakehouse, relaxation, deep breaths and lake swimming. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

3. Indian Lake. Kayak camping on islands with the three important men in my life just as summer began to cool off to make way for autumn. Spectacular. Stay tuned for a post on that too.

4. Cohabitation. That’s right. Hardtack and I (and the Duchess) have officially shacked up. It means better meals for all, a fuller fridge for HT and less living out of a backpack for me. Plus, he cleans the kitchen. So far, so great.

I can’t wait to get back in a routine of sorts this fall and take on some delicious fall recipes, hikes and gear reviews. HT and I have both just gotten our hands on some new gear and I’m stockpiling fallish crockpot recipes so I’ve got plenty to share.

Good to be back. Happy candy corn season to all!!

Blue Bin Signature

Eat: Award-Winning Coconut Mango “Nice” Cream

25 Mar

cream
OK, it hasn’t won any awards yet, but it could.

Yesterday as Hardtack devoured this homemade treat, HE was the one to say this recipe deserved a blog post.  Sometimes, my concoctions turn out average, or “edible”. On rare occasions, I really hit a home run. I think this is one of them, especially if you are in search of a treat that is:

dairy free & vegan • low glycemic index • fresh & unprocessed • seriously delish

Before I jump into the recipe…I have been experimenting a lot lately with a very particular list of ingredients that are part of the Recipes for Repair anti-inflammatory diet. A big part of the diet is keeping your food intake gluten free and low, low sugar (low glycemic if at all), unprocessed and fresh. So needless to say, we have been lacking good treats. This recipe was a Race Day experiment (HT watches NASCAR—I cook) that ultimately earned a culinary victory lap.

Coconut Mango “Nice” Cream

Makes 2 generous servings (3-4 smaller portions)

Ingredients

1 1/2 small cans light organic coconut milk, separated
1 Tbsp. organic vanilla extract
1 Tbsp organic agave nectar
1 Tbsp organic maple syrup
8 oz. frozen organic mango
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch (trust me.)
 
 
I’m a big fan of the VitaMix so I use it for just about everything…if you have an ice cream maker this whole thing could become EVEN easier.

IMG_2102

Continue reading

HIKE & EAT: Sleeping Giant & (GF) Quiche Fit For a King

11 Mar

IMG_0240_1 2

image-12

We just had the most beautiful weekend weather, so we set out in search of a sunny day hike, less likely to be snow-covered at this point in the season. HT suggested Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, CT (literally across the street from Quinnipiac). This hike is a little different than our usual trails because it’s a lot closer to civilization and therefore more populated, but the trails are unique, views are great (even if you’re looking out over suburbia) and the biggest draw for me—the terrain is interesting and varied. image-4

The trails start out at well marked trail heads with plenty of parking, maps and all-season composting toilets (bonus!). We wandered our way into the woods with much less of a plan than we usually do, but it didn’t concern me, considering the “contained” nature of this set of trails. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: