The BEST Gooey Cinnamon Rolls–Vegan and Sugar-Free!

I’ve been wanting to try Minimalist Baker’s cinnamon rolls forever but never had a great reason to take time away from my normal cooking to make them. Until last weekend! My daughter’s school was having a geography banquet and her state was Arkansas and it just so happens that cinnamon rolls supposedly are a big deal in Arkansas so I got the recipe and went to work.

I modified the recipe a bit to be sugar free, used coconut milk and a slightly different flour. Even with changes they turned out super yummy…hubby said the best cinnamon roll he’s ever had. My daughter liked them all right but surprisingly said they were too sweet and she liked the ones I have done before much better which are actually much healthier than these! Hah! Ok?!

They were good…yeasty, soft, tender and delicious. Put them on your must-make list!

The BEST Gooey Cinnamon Rolls--Vegan and Sugar-Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Rolls
  • 8 T. Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 c. Lite Coconut Milk (canned)
  • 3 T. Xylitol
  • 2 Pkgs (1 pkg=2 ¼ t.) Instant Yeast
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • 6 c. Unbleached Fine Pastry Flour
Filling
  • 8 T. Vegan Butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)
  • ½ c. Lakanto Powdered Monkfruit Sweetener
  • ¼ c. Xylitol
  • 3 T. Cinnamon (or to taste)
Frosting
  • 8 T. Vegan Butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
  • ¾-1 c. Lakanto Powdered Monkfruit Sweetener
  • 1 Pkg (5.25 oz.) Coconut Milk Powder (I used Native Forest)
  • ¼-⅓ c. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 t. Almond Extract
  • Chopped, Toasted Pecans for topping (optional)
Instructions
For the Rolls
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk and butter over medium heat until warm and melted. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl of an electric mixer and let cool to 110 degrees.
  2. Whisk in the xylitol then sprinkle on the yeast and let it activate for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and stir.
  4. With a dough hook, beat in the flour 1 cup at a time on low speed until dough forms a loose ball and starts to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky but still able to be handled.
  5. Coat a large bowl with oil and place your dough ball in the bowl and turn over once. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour until doubled in size.
For the Filling
  1. While the dough is rising, make the filling.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the butter, powdered monkfruit, xylitol and cinnamon. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Once the dough has risen, roll the dough out into a large, thin rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  4. Spread filling to about ½ an inch from each edge of the rectangle. Don't use too much or it will leak out the edges. Starting with the side closest to you, roll the dough away from your body until you get about 1 ½” from the other side and then take the edge of the opposite side and fold it over the side you rolled up. Slice into 16 rolls.
  5. Spray two, 9x9 pans with non-stick spray or lightly oil. Place 8 rolls in each pan and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Let rolls cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the monkfruit, coconut milk powder, vanilla and almond extract.
  3. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy and no lumps remain.
  4. Spread evenly over cinnamon rolls and sprinkle with pecans (if using).
Notes
Makes 15 cinnamon rolls

 

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Mango Strawberry Pineapple Crumble–Vegan, Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free!

A couple weeks ago I bought a huge box of honey mangoes (our fave!) and *thought* they were just on the verge of being perfectly ripe…maybe in a day or two. It turned out I was right but we just couldn’t eat them fast enough so I turned to Pinterest for help.

There were a lot of mango “ice cream” and “mousse” recipes that popped up immediately but I just wasn’t getting any inspiration from them and then I stumbled across a Mango Pineapple Crumble that sounded different and delicious!

And I was right! I don’t know if I’ll ever make a traditional apple crumble again because this more tropical, summery version is just soooooo extremely good. And the sweetness of the fruit means you need to use little to no sweetener. The gooey fruit filling paired with the crisp, salty-sweet topping studded with little pieces of nuts is to-die-for.

We ate it with a little scoop of our homemade vanilla dairy/sugar-free ice cream. So good! And perfect for any Easter gatherings coming up!

Enjoy!

Mango Strawberry Pineapple Crumble--Vegan, Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Fruit Filling
  • 2 c. Bite-Size Chopped Fresh Pineapple
  • 2 c. Diced Honey Mango (or regular mango will work as well)
  • 2 c. Chopped Strawberries
  • 1 t. Lime Zest
  • 2 T. Fresh Lime Juice
  • ⅛ t. Cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. Nutmeg
  • ⅛ t. Ginger
  • 2-3 T. Xylitol (optional...the fruit is almost sweet enough as is or use stevia, erythritol, etc)
  • 2 T. Tapioca Flour
Crumble Topping
  • 1 c. Almond Flour
  • ½ c. Tapioca Flour
  • 1 c. Rolled Oats
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Xylitol (or stevia, erythritol, etc)
  • ½-¾ c. Lite Coconut Milk (canned)
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans or Macadamia Nuts
Instructions
  1. Directions
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and stir well until everything is evenly coated. Pour into a 9x9 pan.
  4. Stir together all the dry ingredients for the crumble and then pour in the coconut milk and stir until well combined and sticky. Spread evenly over the top of the fruit filling.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until hot and bubbly and slightly browned on top.
  6. Serve warm.
Notes
Serves 8-12

 

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Creamy Lemon Bars

I was taking food to a family who had recently had a baby and wanted to treat them to a healthy, yummy dessert. I was kind of over the whole chocolate thing (at least for a couple days haha) and wanted something lighter that reminded me of warmer, sunnier days. Which led to the creation of these lemon bars!

Think salty and sweet pie crust meets a sweet and sour filling that will remind you of the creamiest, dreamiest lemon cheesecake ever. These were absolutely divine and as always vegan! And I went the extra step to make them gluten-free and refined sugar free since our friends were avoiding it.

The winter days are gray and loooooong right now….lighten things up with these yummy bars!

Enjoy!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Creamy Lemon Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1 Stick (1/2 c.) Vegan Butter
  • ½ c. Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener (or xylitol, stevia, etc)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Bob's Red Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
  • 2-3 t. Lemon Zest
Lemon Filling
  • 1, 14 oz. Pkg. Extra-Firm Tofu, liquid drained
  • ¾ c. Raw Cashews
  • 1 c. Fresh Lemon Juice (5-6 large lemons)
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 T. Lemon Zest
  • 1 c. Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener (or xylitol, stevia, etc)
  • 6 T. Lakanto Powdered Monkfruit Sweetener, plus more for dusting bars
  • 3 T. Cornstarch
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, monkfruit sweetener, sea salt and vanilla until everything is smooth and creamy.
  3. Beat in flour and lemon zest. Gently press down into the bottom of the 9x9 pan with your hands.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes then allow to cool. Make filling while the crust bakes/cools.
For the Filling
  1. Place the tofu, cashews, lemon juice, salt, lemon zest and classic monkfruit sweetener into a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered monkfruit and cornstarch and blend again on high until everything is well combined.
  3. Pour evenly onto the prepared crust and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is set.
  4. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Dust with powdered monkfruit sweetener just before serving.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

 

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Strawberry Muffins-Vegan AND Keto!

I whipped these muffins up randomly the other night when I needed something super quick for the kids to eat the next morning. The kids lost their minds over them…to put it mildly…and ate three before the night was even over.

They are a super moist, almond flour muffin…so no gluten (obviously) but also no sugar, no oil, no dairy…100% vegan/plant-based AND Keto AND out-of-this-world yummy! I used freeze-dried strawberries to avoid the issue of too much moisture in the batter and love the little bits of chewy strawberry in every bite. And the almond extract sends it over the top.

So get your weekend baking on and make you family suuuuuper happy with these little muffin gems fresh out of the oven! Do it!

Strawberry Muffins-Vegan AND Keto!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. Almond Flour
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ c. Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener (or sucanat, xylitol, swerve, stevia, etc)
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed, mixed with 6 T. Water (this will be your "egg")
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Almond Extract (or use more vanilla if not an almond fan)
  • ¾ c. Plain, Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 c. Freeze Dried Strawberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners or spray with coconut oil non-stick spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together almond flour, salt, baking soda and sweetener.
  3. On low speed with the paddle attachment, beat in applesauce, flax "egg", vanilla, almond extract and almond milk. Beat in freeze dried strawberries.
  4. Bake for 25-28 minutes until tester comes out clean. They stay very moist in the middle and never really get completely dry and that's ok!
  5. Let them cool COMPLETELY in the pan before removing. Run a sharp knife around the edges then carefully get under with a spatula and nudge out. Mine tend to stick just a bit to the bottom of the pan but that issue may be avoided with liners.
Notes
Makes 12

 

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Valentine’s Day Top 3

 

It’s been ages since I did a recipe roundup and I thought what better time than now–Valentine’s Day–to do one! So here you go….my top three healthy, chocolate desserts perfect for the most perfectly perfect day of love and romance and all things hearts and pink.

First up, these Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups are so stinking easy and soooooo good. They’re fun to make because you can top them with whatever your heart desires…nuts, dried fruit, sprinkles, coconut, etc. So creative! And SO much better for you than anything you could buy at the store. 🙂

Second, this Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake is my all-time favorite cake ever. When I made this, we weren’t quite 100% plantbased, so there is a good amount of eggs in it but I plan on seeing if there are any substitutes that will work for making it completely free of any animal products! If you try to make it vegan, let me know! In the meantime, this cake is waaaaaaaaaay healthier than something you’d get from your local bakery, so make it and enjoy!

And lastly, these Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Brownies are my absolute favorite chocolate dessert on my blog–I have converted many non-vegan, SAD (standard American diet) friends to these brownies. Everyone who tries them loves them because they simply are the fudgiest, chewiest brownies you could possibly ever want.

Ditch the Russel Stovers and get in the kitchen! Enjoy!

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Vegan Baked Chocolate Frosted Donuts

Is it donuts or doughnuts? I literally spell it differently every time I type the word. I have no idea which one to choose. BUT WHO CARES because however it’s spelled we’re talking about DONUTS. Let’s just eat them and feel suuuuuuuuuper guilty later. Or not! Because these are actually healthy donuts!

Yep, vegan, refined-sugar free, oil-free, baked and SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. My favorite donuts are the cake type and this particular donut is just like a piece of moist chocolate cake with finger-lickin’ chocolate frosting slathered all over the top. Aaaaaaaaad it’s even made with BEANS. Yes. Indeed.

So healthy. So good. Make them for someone you love….Valentine’s Day is a GREAT excuse to eat chocolate. 😀 So indulge and enjoy!

Vegan Baked Chocolate Frosted Donuts
 
Ingredients
Donuts
  • 2 c. Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. Plain, Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Xylitol
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 2 T. Agave
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ c. Applesauce
  • 1 Aquafaba Egg
  • 1 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Whole Wheat Spelt Flour
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 c. Lily’s Chocolate Chips, melted
  • ½ c. Plain, Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Lakanto Powdered Monkfruit/Erythritol
  • 2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Fruit Juice Dyed Sprinkles, etc
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray donut pan with non-stick coconut oil spray (you will have enough batter for 12 doughnuts).
  3. Place all doughnut ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Carefully fill each doughnut cavity with the batter and smooth out with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in pan and remove to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
  6. For the frosting, beat all ingredients together in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and stiff.
  7. Spread a layer of frosting carefully onto the top of each doughnut and top with toppings of choice. Store in airtight container in fridge.
Notes
Makes 12 donuts.

 

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crumb Pie Cupcakes

 

It’s officially fall! And apples are eeeeeeverywhere. And I love it! We’ve already made one trip to the orchard and will be making another this week–can’t get enough of them!

These cupcakes we’re inspired by a craving for cupcakes and apple pie so I rolled both into one and voila! Apple cupcake/pie magic!

And these things are INCREDIBLE, if I do say so myself. 🙂 I almost stopped with just the cake part because it is SO GOOD and can pretty much stand on it’s own, but I’d been wanting to experiment a little with frosting and decided to forge ahead.

 

The gluten-free cupcake is without a doubt one of the most moist, delicious “healthy” cakes I’ve created yet! It’s got loads of little apple chunks and just the right amount of cinnamon. I was also pretty pleased with the frosting…smooth, creamy and not overly sweet as I feel most things sweetened with xylitol, stevia, etc tend to be. It does get somewhat stiff when refrigerated so I recommend letting them sit out for a couple of minutes before eating to allow the frosting to soften a bit! And the crumb topping offset the frosting just enough with it’s salty, oaty, apple-crisp like texture and taste.

So basically total apple cupcake/pie bliss!!!

Overall, I ‘d say my first vegan cupcake was a success and I can’t wait to experiment with more sugar-free frosting recipes! Finding subs for powered sugar is TOUGH but I think doable!

Enjoy!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crumb Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Apple Cupcakes
  • 3 c. Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1 c. Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • ½ c. Sucanat
  • ¾ c. Xylitol (or truvia, stevie, etc)
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • 3 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Xantham Gum
  • 1 c. Plain, Unsweetened Coconut Milk Yogurt
  • 1 c. Plain, Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ⅔ c. Almond Butter
  • 1 Large Honeycrisp Apple, finely chopped
Vanilla Frosting
  • 1½ c. Palm Oil Shortening
  • ¾ c. Vegan Butter
  • ¼ c. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ c. Truvia (or stevie, powdered xylitol, etc)
  • 2 T. Tapioca Starch
Crumb Topping
  • ½ c. Oats
  • ½ c. Blanched Almond Flour
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 T. Truvia (or stevia, xylitol, etc)
  • ¼ t. Cinnamon
  • ⅛-1/4 t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. Vegan Butter
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Apple Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 cupcake tins with liners
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, sucanat, xylitol, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and xantham gum.
  3. Add yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, agave and almond butter and beat on low until everything is well-combined.
  4. Gently fold in chopped apples.
  5. Scoop about ¼ cup into each muffin tin and bake for 25-27 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Vanilla Frosting
  1. Beat shortening and butter until smooth.
  2. Beat in vanilla, salt, Truvia and tapioca starch until everything is well-combined.
  3. Place in fridge for a few minutes to allow to firm up a bit. Meanwhile, make the crumb topping.
For the Crumb Topping
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on low until well combined.
To Assemble Cupcakes
  1. Place a couple of tablespoons of frosting onto each cooled cupcake and then top with the crumb topping. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

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Carrot Cake Granola Cereal

I’ve been juicing a lot lately and more consistently which has led me to have an overabundance of shredded carrot/carrot pulp! I’ve managed to use it in quite a few different ways and this raw carrot cake granola cereal is the latest carrot inspired recipe!

I actually make what we call granola cereal (because we could never decide which one it was!) every week on Sunday mornings. I always let the kids pick which kind they want me to make and when I tell you this may be their favorite food EVER, it is not an exaggeration! They will even ask me every morning when they wake up “are we having cereal today?” in hopes that we will!

We’ve come up with just a few varieties over the past few months….chocolate cherry, peanut butter chocolate chip, blueberry chai, loaded oatmeal raisin cookie, pineapple upside down cake…the possibilities are endless! But their favorite HANDS DOWN in the strawberry version with freeze-dried strawberries. They’ll actually ask for it every time almost! But I’m able to convince them to try something different most of the time–as was the case with this carrot cake variation!

So enough about my kids, let’s get to the granola! For this version I deviated slightly from my original master recipe to make it even more healthy! I usually use quite a bit of Garden of Life Protein Powder (sometimes the plantbased meal replacement one or the Protein & Greens) and a hefty amount of melted coconut oil, but I eliminated the oil completely this time and cut WAY back on the protein powder, which you could definitely omit if you want to!

Even with the changes, what resulted was an absolutely DELICIOUS carrot cake granola cereal that my whole family liked better than the original master recipe. I love the fiber and protein you get from the hemp, chia and flaxseed, good carbs from the oats, bits of sweet from the raisins and a little crunch from the toasted pecans! Not to mention a little veggie from the carrots. It truly reminds me of carrot cake in a bowl! Ok, minus the cream cheese frosting but you get the idea. 🙂

Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Granola Cereal
 
Ingredients
  • 5 c. Regular Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. Shredded or Flaked Coconut
  • ½ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • ½ c. Chia Seeds
  • ½ c. Hemp Seeds
  • ⅓ c. Sucanat
  • ⅔ c. Xylitol
  • 1 T. Cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 t. EACH Nutmeg, Ginger
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • ⅓ c. Vanilla, Plantbased Protein Powder (such as Garden of Life--but this is totally optional!)
  • ½ c. Roasted Almond Butter (with nothing added--no sugar, salt, oil, etc)
  • ½ c. Water
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Shredded Carrots
  • 1 c. Raisins
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Place 3 cups oats, coconut, flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sucanat and xylitol in a blender or large food processor and process until mixture is a fine meal. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, remaining two cups of oats and protein powder (if using) and whisk everything together.
  3. Add vanilla, almond butter and water and mix on low speed until well-combined. You may have to scrape down the sides once or twice.
  4. Add carrots, raisins and pecans. Mix in on low speed.
  5. Serve with milk and refrigerate what is left.

 

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Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Apple Nachos

One of the best combos around is apple and caramel and you can’t help but notice those ginormous dipped apples when you go in a store like Wal-mart at this time of year. You know the ones, covered in every sugary things known to man–M&M’s, Oreos, sprinkles, candy corn, gummy bears, three different kinds of chocolate, etc, etc–yeah, those.

The candy is bad enough but the caramel isn’t much better. Let’s take a peak at the ingredients…high fructose corn syrup, milk, sugar, butter, artificial flavors, palm oil and of course tons of preservatives. So essentially it’s crap. But thankfully there are some great alternatives to get your caramel+apple fix and this recipe in my opinion is better than any huge, sugar covered apple you could buy.

The salted caramel sauce has the perfect amount of salt to offset the sweet of the caramel and chocolate and I love the little bites of chocolate chips and pecans sprinkled over all of it. The best part of course is that it’s totally dairy and refined sugar FREE.

It truly is a perfect, healthy fall dessert!

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Apple Nachos
Author: 
 
Ingredients
5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Agave
  • ½ c. Unsalted Roasted Almond Butter
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. plus ⅛ t. Sea Salt
Apple Nachos
  • 3 Fuji Apples, cut into 30 thin slices each (toss with a bit of lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • ½ recipe 5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ⅓ c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips, melted
  • ¼ c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips, for topping
  • ½ c. Toasted, Chopped Pecans, for topping
Instructions
For the 5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk together over medium-low heat until all ingredients are melted together, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
For the Caramel Apple Nachos
  1. Arrange apple slices in a circular pattern on a large plate.
  2. Drizzle with caramel sauce and melted chocolate.
  3. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans.

 

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Bakery Review – Sit By Me Bakery in Branson, MO

 

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done a bakery review for multiple reasons. I can’t say that I’ve really missed my glutinous days of ordering just one of EVERYTHING on the menu (EXAMPLE A, B, C and D) but every now and then I think how fun it used to be to go into a bakery and take in all the different cupcakes, cheesecake, cookies and candies never knowing quite what to expect or how amazing something might be…or completely disappointing. And of course we eat plant-based/vegan/no refined sugar which limits our options even more for finding suitable baked goods when out and about.

That’s where Sit By Me Bakery comes in. I’d been hearing a lot about them in the local vegan group I’m in and had been anxious to try them since they were obviously vegan and not only vegan, but free of the top 8 allergens-wheat, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish-as well as free of gluten, seeds, corn, yeast, nightshades, oats, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors. Phew! That’s an impressive list and leaves one to wonder how they even do what they do!

We took our family on a Saturday and visited their storefront that was inside a small shopping mall. We were immediately greeted by Steve and Angie, the owners, who were extremely warm and welcoming. Angie was even willing to let me look at the kind of sprinkles she uses and what the brand and ingredients were.

After checking out the bakery case for a few minutes, we ended up ordering two cinnamon rolls, a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. Everything was very tasty but our favorite thing hands down were the cinnamon rolls. They weren’t the yeasty kind you’d expect from a traditional bakery but had a more dense, hearty texture that our family is used to and reminds me of the kind I make. And of course they were filled with a proportionate amount of gooey cinnamon and sugar.

The only thing that bums me out is the use of refined sugar in everything but I get how hard it is to substitute sugar in baked goods especially in things like cupcakes and frostings.  I’m sure that we’ll be back for a cinnamon roll in the future, however.  🙂

Overall a great experience at a great bakery with wonderful owners! We can’t wait to go back–be sure and visit if you’re in the Branson area!

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Vegan Key Lime Pie Pudding (plus bonus recipe!)

Last week I was contemplating whether I wanted to make and blog this recipe since I had started to see lots of fall/apple/pumpkin things popping up in my news feeds. Already. I mean, hello, isn’t it still August?? You know…SUMMER. Why yes IT IS so I decided no, I’m not giving in just yet and I’m squeezing in one last summer recipe. I’m DOING IT.

Of course the moment I decide this my husband walks in the door with a pumpkin coffee. Yes, pumpkin coffee. At first I was thinking “are you kidding me?!” but then I remembered how much I freaking love the gas station pumpkin coffee so I drank it. There. Confession.  Back to the pudding…

I got the idea for this pudding from an Instagram post I had seen a couple of months ago. She didn’t have an exact recipe and used a few different ingredients than I did. But I loved the idea of key lime pie pudding because key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts ever. I actually have a GREAT Key Lime Pie recipe and after glancing at the ingredients to refresh myself, I knew I wanted to get it as close to tasting like my pie as possible.

This meant I needed to somehow add dairy-free sweetened condensed milk. But I don’t know of any that is sold anywhere and even if it did exist I’m sure it’s loaded with sugar. So I went ahead and made my own healthier version. It adds an additional step/recipe to the overall recipe so if you really don’t care about having sweetened condensed milk in your pudding, then I would go ahead and forego it and just use a sweetener such as xylitol, stevia, swerve, etc. (although I STRONGLY recommend making the sweetened condensed milk because it is DELICIOUS). I can’t guarantee the taste of the pudding will be as good without it, but I’m sure it will still be yummy.

I REALLY love that this pudding has veggies in it and you’d never know. My kids loved it. We enjoyed it with a little dollop of So Delicious Coco Whip and some Cadia Graham Crackers crumbled on top. Tart, sweet and creamy cold….perfect SUMMER treat.  😀

Enjoy!

Vegan Key Lime Pie Pudding (plus bonus recipe!)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 5.25 oz./1/4 c. Native Forrest Coconut Milk Powder
  • ½ c. Water
  • 2 T. Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Truvia
  • ¼ c. Sucanant
  • ½ t. Sea Salt (more or less to taste)
Key Lime Pie Pudding
  • ¾ c. Lite Coconut Milk
  • 2 Large, Ripe Avocados
  • 2 c. Spinach
  • Zest of One Lime
  • ¾ c. Key Lime Juice (less if you don't want it as tart)
  • ¾-1 c. Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk (depends on how sweet you want it OR substitute Truvia, Stevia, Xylitol, Swerve, etc to taste)
  • So Delicious Coco Whip, Cadia Graham Crackers (optional)
Instructions
For the Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I used a Vitamix) until smooth, creamy and thickened slightly. This will take several minutes. Set aside when done (if using right away....if refrigerating, the mixture will solidify and you can reheat or just scoop from the container).
For the Key Lime Pie Pudding
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until chilled and slightly firm or overnight.
  2. Top with coconut whipped cream and crumbled graham crackers.
Notes
Serves 5-6

 

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Dairy-Free Peach & Raspberry Icebox Cake

I’ve been wanting to do a little something different lately because I feel like I get stuck on things like bars, breads and dips a lot! In all honestly they are EASY to make and I’m constantly just wanting something I can throw together since I’ve got kids! But then came along this recipe from Half Baked Harvest and it gave me an idea.

A few years ago, I made this crazy delicious Blueberry Lemon IceBox Cake and while it was good it was most definitely NOT vegan/plantbased and certainly not healthy so I thought I would give it a little makeover! I did the peach/raspberry combo that HBH did so beautifully with her cake and used Cadia Graham Crackers and So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream. That’s right I BOUGHT the coconut whipped cream! I know, I know I could have just thrown a can of coconut milk in the fridge and whipped it up the next day with some agave and vanilla but I was seriously going for easy here and I’m not gonna lie, I LOVE this whipped cream from So Delicious. Better than my homemade stuff even. 😀

So while not the healthiest dessert due to the sugar in the graham crackers and whipped cream, albeit a small amount, it is an upgrade from my old recipe for sure! And we loved it! The graham crackers get nice and soft and “cake-like” after sitting overnight, sandwiched between the whipped cream. And the raspberry/peach combo is SO good. Simple, delicious and utilizes the last of those yummy summer fruits!

Enjoy!

Dairy-Free Peach & Raspberry Icebox Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 2, 9 oz. containers So Delicious Coconut Whipped Cream (I used the lite version)
  • 12 sheets Cadia Graham Crackers (or similar healthy/low sugar/whole grain brand)
  • 2 c. Chopped Peaches (about two large), plus more for topping
  • 2 c. Raspberries, plus more for topping
Instructions
  1. Line a large, 6½x11x4-inch loaf pan with foil, both ways, letting the foil hang over either end of the pan. Spray lightly with coconut oil cooking spray.
  2. Spread a layer (about ⅓ of a container) of coconut whipped cream in the bottom of your pan. You want to have enough whipped cream left to use some for spreading on the top of the cake after it has set overnight and been flipped out of the pan.
  3. Place 4 sheets of the graham crackers on the top of the whipped cream (they may overlap a bit in the middle and that's ok!).
  4. Cover the graham crackers in another layer of whipped cram and sprinkle the whipped cream with half of the raspberries and half of the peaches.
  5. Gently spread a layer of whipped cream over the fruit. Cover with 4 more sheets of graham crackers, a layer of whipped cream and the remaining half of the peaches and raspberries.
  6. Cover the fruit with another layer of whipped cream and 4 more sheets of graham crackers.
  7. Cover with foil and let set in the fridge for 24 hours or overnight.
  8. Place a plate or cake stand over the to of the loaf pan and gently flip over. Carefully remove the pan and then gently and slowly peel away the foil.
  9. Quickly cover the top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream and sprinkle/decorate with the extra fruit. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 10.

 

 

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Fudge Dip

Full disclosure–this is actually a hummus recipe. Yes, that’s right dessert hummus is a thing and it has been for awhile. I’ve done a couple of variations like this Chocolate Hummus and this Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip but this latest peanut butter and chocolate mix my be the best one yet!

This stuff is MAJORLY delicious and quite healthy! Don’t you just love when those two things get together?! I do.

Plenty of good stuff in this like protein and fiber from the chickpeas and peanut butter and lots of healthy fats! Think school lunchbox…great with apples, spelt pretzels, graham crackers, strawberries or wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla! Also good on pancakes, waffles, bagels….endless uses! Did I mention you only need a blender?! Yay!

And as always 100% vegan/plantbased and no refined sugar. 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Fudge Dip
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. Can/2 c. Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c. plus 3 T. Natural Peanut Butter (no added oil, sugar, salt, etc)
  • ½ c. Agave (or sweetener of choice and less if you don't want it as sweet)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 6 T. Plain, Unsweetened Cashew Milk (or almond, coconut, etc)
  • ½-3/4 c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve with fruit, pretzels, cookies, pancakes, waffles, etc.

 

 

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Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Brownies

I’ve been doin’ this brownie baking thing for awhile now. And with every new recipe I tend to get a little dramatic-y and proclaim in no uncertain terms that the new recipe is my absolute, all-time favorite.

But THIS time, I mean it. I mean, I totally mean it. These brownies are probably my favorite. Healthy, not-healthy, sugar, butter, coconut oil, eggs, xylitol, pumpkin puree…WHATEVER. These blow all that stuff away.

They live up to their name and just happen to be vegan, gluten-free and contain no oil. Yesssss. High-five to that. And did I mention they are the fudgiest, most addictive brownie ever? Because they most definitely are.

Hope you enjoy them and take a couple of minutes to check out some other healthy brownie recipes I’ve done in the past–they are ALL good!

Gluten-Free Brownies, Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies, Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Ultimate Fudgy Vegan Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ⅓ c. Sucanat
  • 6 T. Truvia
  • 1 ½ c. Almond Flour
  • 1 ½ c. Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ¾ c. Almond Butter
  • ¾ c. Agave
  • 3 T. Vanilla
  • ½ c. Flaxseed w/ 1 c. Water (soak for 5 miutes)
  • 1 c. Lily’s Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/spray a 9x13pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together sucanat, truvia, almond flour, cocoa powder and sea salt.
  3. Add almond butter, agave, vanilla and flax “egg” to the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until everything is well combined and smooth.
  4. Pour into pan and top with chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely before cutting.
Notes
Makes 24 brownies.

 

 

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Lemon Coconut Truffles

I was craving something lemon-y and easy to make the other day and found this recipe that I have only made once before quite awhile ago but remember really loving it! They are done in the food processor and come together in no time.

They are a perfect balance of coconut and lemon flavor, not overly sweet and just the right size when you need something a little sweet. And best of all they are healthy!

Enjoy!

P.S. Here are a few more energy type “balls/truffles” I love!

Honey Almond Date Balls

Java Mocha Protein Balls

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

Lemon Coconut Truffles
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • ⅓ c. Raw Almonds
  • 1 T. Agave
  • 2 T. Xylitol, processed in a food processor to a finer "powdered" consistency (or use more agave, etc)
  • 2 T. Melted Coconut Oil
  • Juice and Zest of one Large Lemon
  • Organic Vegan White Chocolate Chunks, melted OR Extra Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
Instructions
  1. Process all ingredients except the white chocolate/extra coconut in a food processor until a thick paste forms.
  2. Roll into 1½" balls.
  3. Dip into the melted white chocolate OR roll in extra coconut (I didn't do either this time but the time before I did the white chocolate).
Notes
Makes 12 truffles.

 

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Vegan Zucchini Bread

 

I’ve made zucchini bread so many times over the years but surprisingly I’ve never blogged about it except for this Chocolate Zucchini Bread which is honestly more like cake. It’s one of my favorite things EVER though–my grandma makes the best I’ve ever had and I simply love sweet breads.

However, most recipes have LOADS of sugar and are definitely not the healthy. So I found a recipe I thought sounded good and adaptable and this one did indeed turn out awesome. I only wish I’d had a can of crushed pineapple to throw in and highly recommend doing so. 🙂

This version is not only vegan but has ZERO refined sugar and oil. My only issue was that the very middle top part didn’t get cooked all the way through and collapsed which wasn’t really a problem since there’s nothing raw in it but I would have left it in for maybe another 10 minutes. All in all though it was a good, solid recipe and we devoured it quickly!

Enjoy!

Vegan Zucchini Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Xylitol (or truvia, swerve, etc)
  • ½ c. Sucanat
  • 1½ c. Sprouted Spelt Flour (or other whole grain flour)
  • ½ t. Pink Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed mixed w/ 6 T. Water (let sit for 5 minutes to create flax "egg")
  • 1 c. Shredded Zucchini, all liquid squeezed out (I use a nut milk/cheese cloth bag)
  • ½ c. Pecan Halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the xylitol, sucanat, flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  3. Beat in the vanilla, applesauce and flax "egg" on low speed. Add the zucchini and beat until evenly incorporated.
  4. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and place pecan halves on top.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes (I did 43 but mine was still a little underdone in the very middle--recommend 50 minutes).
  6. Cool completely in loaf pan. Slice.
Notes
Makes about 8-10 slices.

 

 

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Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chips

 

 

 

I haven’t made this recipe for a little over a year. And there is a very good reason…I can’t NOT eat these.

Self-control practically goes out the window when I make these bars and a year ago I was making them WAY too often and enjoying WAY too many.  One of the problems is that everyone else around me loved them too so I had no excuse NOT to make them for every and any social function. And even worse I never would give out the recipe because there was that tiny little recipe hoarder voice in my head that said “these are good…like, really, really, REALLY good and one day you may went to sell them in your amazing vegan bakery so do not, I repeat DO NOT give away the recipe”.

I listened to that voice for a long time but over the past year I’ve realized that sharing is caring and who am I kidding, I’m not getting up at 3 in the morning, every morning, for the rest of my life to bake and sell anything!

So, I was really excited to make these again not only to eat but also for the blog! They are so stinking easy because you basically put everything in a high powered blender and blend! And of course they are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, no oil and no eggs! Does it get much better?! Don’t be put off by the chickpeas–they make these bars SO creamy and moist it’s unbelievable. And they cut way down on the fat and calories while adding a good amount of protein and fiber!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Flourless Chickpea Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chunks
 
Ingredients
  • 2, 15 oz. Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ c. Aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
  • 1 c. Unsalted Almond Butter
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Xylitol
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Almond Flour
  • 1 t. Sea Salt
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ c. Lily's Chocolate Chips (or other vegan/refined sugar free brand of choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x8 or 9x9 pan with non-stick coconut oil cooking spray.
  2. In a high-powered blender add all ingredients except the chocolate chips.
  3. Blend on high until mixture is completely creamy and smooth. You may have to stop and scrape down the mixture several times to make sure you get all the chickpeas blended in.
  4. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the mixture.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Vintage Race Car 3rd Birthday Party!

 

There was no wondering what the theme would be this year for Eli’s 3rd birthday party–CARS! He is obsessed, particularly with the Cars cars…Lightening McQueen, Bobby Swift…the whole gang. But I wasn’t really down with having a Cars birthday party or even Hotwheels–not my style at all. But after a little Pinterest time,  I stumbled across the vintage race car theme and LOVED it.

I went simple (at least for me) and did a couple of banners for decor, car cake, chocolate dipped pretzel rods that were “dip sticks” and mini chocolate doughnuts that were our “spare tires”. I actually loved how this one turned out and I’m finding that simple can be a lot better sometimes!

Here are some pics from the day…

Dipsticks! (aka chocolate dipped pretzel rods)

 

Spare Tires…

The Vintage Race Car Cake…

Some more of the decor…

And last but not least the birthday boy playing lawn games with his cousins. This must have been a good shot. 😉

Check out the link below for more party inspiration!

Alphabet 2nd Birthday Party!

 

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Rainbow Unicorn 5th Birthday Party!

We recently celebrated Avery’s 5th birthday party and I wanted to share a few pics of the festivities. I went super simple this year especially where the dessert table was concerned. I ended up doing Sixlets in her party colors, white chocolate unicorn pops and a unicorn cake. Time and budget were limited this year but it forced me to keep things simple which was a GOOD thing. 🙂

Here are a few pics! And if you’re interested in her previous parties, I have links to all of them at the end of the post!

 

Birthday Girl! 🙂

More table pics.

Unicorns taking a nap?? Or maybe telling secrets… 🙂

Birthday girl focusing hard on coloring her unicorn.

The pops and another table pic!

Check out previous parties!

Rainbow Sprinkles and Confetti FIRST Birthday Party!

Ice Cream Shoppe 2nd Birthday Party!

Sparkle Princess 3rd Birthday Party!

Kitty Cat 4th Birthday Party!

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Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

I started writing this post and thought “ugh, anooooother banana bread recipe” and really thought twice about posting it. But then I went and did a quick little search to find out how many banana bread recipes I’ve actually blogged about and to my surprise it was only four! Ok, ok not bad…and they all happen to be quite different. A good mix of naughty (see here and here) and nice (this one and that one). And this particular recipe was different because it had BLUEBERRIES mixed in soooo…totes different. 😀

I can honestly say I’ve never even had banana bread with blueberries mixed in let alone made it but dang I was tired of plain, ‘ole banana bread and needed to mix things up a little and since we’ve got bags upon bags of frozen blueberries I decided those things were going in! And I have to say I’m not only addicted but wish I’d been putting blueberries in my banana bread way sooner! So good! Juicy little bursts of blueberry goodness in super tender, moist banana bread. Yummmm.

I also love that this recipe is egg, oil and refined sugar free and TOTALLY PLANT BASED which we are all about around here. 😀

Enjoy!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 5 Super Ripe Bananas, mashed
  • ¾ c. Applesauce
  • 2 T. Ground Flaxseed, mixed with ⅓ c. water (allow to sit 5 minutes to create flax "egg")
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Sucanat
  • ¼ c. Truvia
  • 2 c. Spelt Flour
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Regular Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. Frozen Blueberries, plus ½ c. for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the bananas, applesauce, flax "egg" and vanilla together on low speed.
  3. Add the sucanat and truvia and beat into the mixture on low speed.
  4. Add spelt flour, salt, baking soda and regular rolled oats. Beat on low speed until everything is well-combined.
  5. Gently fold in 1 cup of frozen blueberries and pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining blueberries.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then gently remove and cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days then store remainder in refrigerator.

 

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