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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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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Coconut Blackberry Pops

I’ll get right to the point–homemade COCONUT BLACKBERRY POPS. Dairy free. Refined sugar free. Full of cool, creamy, coconutty/blackberry deliciousness. Ridiculously easy, inexpensive and insanely good.

We made them. We ate them. We love them. You will too. PROMISE.

Summer is coming (yay!). Be prepared.

And…ENJOY. 🙂

Blackberry Coconut Pops
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 13.5 oz. Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1, 13.5 oz. Can Lite Coconut Milk
  • ½ c. Sucanat, or sweetener of choice (xylitol, truvia, erythritol, stevia etc)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ t. Coconut Extract (optional)
  • ½ c. Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  • 2 c. All-Fruit Blackberry Jam
Instructions
  1. In a high speed blender, blend both coconut milks, sucanat, vanilla extract and coconut extract until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and stir in shredded coconut.
  3. Pour coconut mixture into popsicle molds, about ⅔ of the way full.
  4. Freeze for one hour.
  5. Top with a couple tablespoons of blackberry jam and insert popsicle stick into middle.
  6. Freeze overnight.
  7. Run warm water over popsicle molds for a few seconds and then gently remove popsicle. Eat immediately.
Notes
Makes 12 pops

 

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Alphabet 2nd Birthday Party!

Believe it or not, I have ANOTHER kid…who I’ve never blogged about. 😀 Until now! I’m still in the process of digging up his first birthday pics but in the meantime we’re just gonna skip ahead to his SECOND birthday.

We did an alphabet theme for this one because the child knew his alphabet forwards and backwards way before he turned two. And boy themes are TOUGH…farm animals, cars, jungle, cartoon/tv shows…ugh. Not my style so much but the alphabet theme turned out cute! Here are a few pics from our fun day…

It was a fun party with beautiful weather and awesome friends! And a certain two year old ate WAY too many chocolate letters off of the chocolate chip cookie bars while mom wasn’t looking but hey, it was his birthday and c’mon chocolate is just GOOD. 😉  We love you E!

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Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

It’s fall which of course means pumpkin EVERYTHING. And I love it! Pumpkin has so many great uses in baking, especially when it comes to baking something HEALTHY. Sadly, I don’t have many healthy pumpkin recipes up to this point on my blog, but I do love this Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip and just made these Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies with PUMPKIN instead of the butternut squash and they were amazing!

So, I’m excited to add these Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites to the mix. These little gems are so tasty and so very good for you! I don’t mind giving these to my kids for breakfast one bit. They’ve got fiber, protein, good fats and some great nutrients! Oh and the best part…DARK CHOCOLATE. 😀

They only take a few minutes to whip up–give ’em a try!

Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Oats
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling (prefer organic)
  • ¾ c. Roasted Almond Butter (no salt, oil added...just roasted almonds)
  • ½ c. plus 2 T. Agave
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 T. Ground Flaxseeds
  • ¼ c. Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 c. Raw Sunflower Seeds, toasted
  • ¾ c. Chocolate Dreams Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together oats, pumpkin puree, almond butter, agave, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, ground flaxseed and shredded coconut until well combined.
  2. Stir in sunflower seeds and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Roll into balls of about 1½″ in diameter.
  4. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and place in the freezer for one hour. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 45.

 

 

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Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather Roll-Ups

Apple picking this year was so fun now that the kids are a little older (2 and 4) and I loved all the healthy recipes I got to make. I mentioned before that I updated my mom’s AMAZING German Apple Cake to be super healthy, came up with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars and got to have a little more fun with these Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather Roll-Ups!

I had the idea to try to adapt my recipe for Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups into something apple-ish and it worked out fabulously! They were easy and delicious! Not to mention so much cheaper than buying them in the store!

I’m honestly not sure who loved them more in our house…the adults or the kids! I think you’ll love them too. 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather Roll-Ups
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 10 c. (about 9-10 medium) Chopped Apples (I used Fujis...no need to peel if you have a high speed blender)
  • ¾ c. Water
  • ⅓ c. Sucanat
  • ¾ t. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine chopped apples and water and cook over medium-high heat until apples are tender and soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Once soft, drain liquid and transfer apples to a high speed blender along with the sucanat and cinnamon.
  4. Blend until apples are completely smooth.
  5. Divide mixture evenly between the two baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to spread the mixture as evenly and thin as possible without the white of the parchment paper coming through. Spots that are not thin enough, may not cook/dry completely (which isn't a big deal..it will still be edible and delicious!).
  6. Bake in the oven, rotating pans every hour for 5-6 hours or until just slightly tacky. Remove from oven and let air dry on the baking sheets for at least 8 hours.
  7. With the parchment paper, lift and move the fruit leather sheets onto a cutting board. Using a pizza slicer (or sharp knife), cut the sheets into 6 strips each (for a total of 12 strips). Starting at the edge of one sheet gently peel the leather away from the parchment and roll up. Wrap a piece of parchment around each roll-up and secure with string or tape. Store in and air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12.

 

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

In the last week we’ve made not one but TWO trips to the apple orchard because they are just SO good right now and there are new varieties every day! Our first trip we picked tons of Jonathan and Grimes and the second time it was all about the Fujis!

So, needless to say we’ve been eating a LOT of apples. And of course I’ve done a little baking…I gave my mom’s German Apple Cake a healthy makeover and it turned out DELISH. But I think our favorite thing so far has been dehydrating apples and making dried apple slices! The kids can’t get enough. And the Jonathan’s are perfect for dehydrating because they’re actually super sweet with a little tartness. Yum!

So with all the dehydrating, I was super excited to stumble upon this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Pie Energy Bites that utilizes dried apples but I knew immediately I wanted to take the recipe a step further and make them into Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars! And with a little adjusting of ingredients, that’s what I did and the results were DELICIOUS.

All the flavors of apple pie, a touch of salt, tiny chunks of almonds and dried apples, minimal ingredients and no added sugar, make these perfect for snacking or even breakfast! We love them!

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ c. Dried Apples, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 ½ c. Raw, Toasted Almonds (you don't have to toast the almonds but I prefer the flavor it gives them)
  • 1 ½ c. Medjool Dates, soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes
  • 5 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1½ t. Apple Pie Spice
  • ½-¾ t. Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil or parchment paper
  2. Blend almonds and dates in a high powered blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. You can get it as smooth as you like..I left a few bits and pieces of almonds in mine because I like the texture.
  3. Transfer the almond/date mixture, along with all other ingredients to an electric mixer. Beat on low speed until everything is well combined and blended. Adjust spices, etc to taste.
  4. Press into your lined pan and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow mixture to set. Remove from pan and cut.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN* in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

*Updated recipe to reflect that I tried pumpkin in them and prefer them that way.

Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Pumpkin Puree butternut squash and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together pumpkin puree, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Chia Bars

I’ve been incorporating chickpea (garbanzo) flour into lots of things lately, mainly because it has a fairly neutral flavor once it’s been cooked and adds a good amount of protein and fiber to food. My favorite thing right now is to mix it into my kids oatmeal…they don’t even know it’s there! So when I saw these chia granola bars used it, I HAD to try them.

Aaaaaand…they turned out great!  I was expecting a crunchier bar but mine remained soft which is ok because we still loved them. Looking back over the original recipe, I actually missed the step about pressing them down again after they have been baked so that might have been my problem with them not being crunchy!

They are slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty and quite yummy! Love the good fats, protein and fiber from the chickpea flour and chia seeds and the little crunch from the crispy rice cereal is perfect. Great for breakfast or a snack!

Original Recipe: Power Hungry

Chia Bars
Author: 
Category: Bar
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Rolled Quick Oats
  • ¾ c. Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • ⅔ c. Chickpea Flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour)
  • 3 T. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Melted Coconut Oil
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, rice cereal, chickpea flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together agave, coconut oil, sucanant and vanilla until blended,
  3. Add agave mixture to oat mixture, stirring until completely coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Spray you hands with non-stick spray and press mixture down gently but firmly to compact into pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (I did 20) or until light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or dish to press down granola bars again. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then use parchment paper sling to carefully lift granola bars out onto a cutting board (you can leave them sitting on top of the parchment paper). Cool for 5 more minutes and then cut into bars. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Avery’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

I created this chocolate chip recipe for my daughter awhile ago and had completely forgot about it until recently when the ONE and only friend I had shared it with (I’m a recipe hoarder…I can’t help it!), said she had made them with her kids. So of course I immediately dug it out and got to work on making some.

I had actually forgot how GOOD these cookies are and why I gave them the title of Avery’s “favorite”….because they are addictive and you seriously can NOT eat just one! They’re soft, chewy and have a perfectly rich, buttery, slightly sweet flavor with ZERO butter or refined sugar and to top it off they are vegan with a little help from aquafaba (check out my first time using it here!)! Win-win-win!

I’m completely ashamed to say that are little family of four polished off all 16 of these in about 3 days! Thankfully they are “healthy” as cookies go and will be an every now and then treat from now on! As they should be. 😉

Avery's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Palm Oil Shortening (I used Nutiva which is a blend of palm oils and coconut oil)
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Xylitol
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Agave
  • 3 T. Aquafaba (chia/flax egg or normal egg would work also)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅓ c. Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Chocolate Dream Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, xylitol and agave on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add aquafaba and vanilla. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and slowly add to the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop dough into 1½" balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Allow to cool on pans for about 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 16 cookies

 

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One Bowl Gluten-Free, Vegan Banana Bread

We do gluten-free around here every now and then and it’s not because anyone has any type of allergies but more so because I truly love a lot of recipes that use almond flour. I can’t say I’ve had much success with coconut flour (as in ZERO) but almond flour never lets me down and it surprisingly makes the most moist and delicious banana bread I have EVER had.

My go-to and favorite banana bread recipe for years had been this one but I prefer this gluten-free version WAY more and it is honestly so much better. Plus, it’s VEGAN which I totally love seeing as how we’ve recently decided to eat plant-based in our every day lives.

The original recipe calls for one egg but I have recently discovered the magic of aquafaba. What’s that you ask? It’s bean water! More specifically the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas. Crazy, right?! Well this stuff is magic! It’s a GREAT egg replacement for so many things. I am still learning and experimenting but it works wonders in this banana bread and helps take it to the next level of super healthy deliciousness! I’m pretty sure you’ll never go back to a regular ‘ole oil and sugar filled banana bread after you try this version!

One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Medium VERY Ripe Bananas (I use 4)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 T. Aquafaba
  • 3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ¼ c. Xylitol
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 3½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Almond or Cashew Milk
  • 2½ c. Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1¼ c. Gluten-Free Quick Oats
  • Handful of Chopped Walnuts (optional but delicious!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat ripe bananas until mashed. Mix in all other ingredients through the milk and combine. Add almond flour and oats and stir to combine. Add chopped walnuts (if using).
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (mine took 1 hour and 5 minutes), until a tester comes out clean.
  4. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a super decadent, rich, absolutely DELICIOUS and most importantly HEALTHY chocolate cake–look no further! I can honestly say this is maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and I can only guess it has something to do with the crazy amount of avocado in it! Yes, avocado!

I just love avocado. Although you’d NEVER guess it was in this cake. All you’ll taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Oh and some strawberry. 😉 Avocado is so great for chocolate desserts, like this Chocolate Avocado Pudding and I’ve also seen chocolate frosting recipes that use it in place of butter although I have yet to try it myself! It really is the ultimate super food!

What makes this cake even better is the fact that it is totally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free! Enjoy a big ‘ole slice without any guilt!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Author: 
Category: Cake
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3 c. Chopped Avocado (4-5 large), pureed
  • ¾ c. Xylitol
  • ¾ c. Sucanat
  • ¼ c. Agave (optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or use another ½ cup regular)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Espresso Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks (optional)
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1, 14.5 oz. Canned Full-Fat Coconut Cream, chilled in fridge (unopened) for at least 5-8 hours or overnight
  • 2-3 T. Refined Coconut Oil, softened
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. Agave
  • 2 Packets Truvia (or use couple teaspoons of powdered stevia, etc)
Other
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • ½ c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks, melted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, round 9x9-inch pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the avocado puree, xylitol, sucanat and agave until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans--it will be VERY thick. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  1. Place the metal bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (if you don’t have an electric mixer, a bowl and whisk should work as well).
  2. Place the thick cream part of the chilled coconut milk (you can just discard the liquid if there is any or save for smoothies, etc) into the chilled electric mixer bowl and whisk the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, agave and truvia on medium/high speed until fully combined and thick. Refrigerate or use immediately on cake.
To Assemble
  1. Remove chilled cakes from pans and peel away parchment paper. Put one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Spread ½ of the whipped on the first cake layer.
  2. Top with the second cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped Cream
  3. Place strawberry slices around the outer edge and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

 

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