Welcome to my food blog!

Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas.

Soft Oat Flour Pumpkin Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 29-07-2009

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies

I got the inspiration to make these pumpkin cookies after receiving some delicious maple products from Coombs Family Farms, a thorough review and giveaway coming soon which you don’t want to miss because this stuff is AWESOME!  I always get excited for the next season after enjoying the current season for a month or so.  And my way of doing that, of course, is through food!  Speaking of…I’m already kinda craving Thanksgiving dinner.  But that’s a couple of seasons away so I’ll focus here.  I’ve been craving nutty pumpkin bread, so that’s what I tried to do here with these cookies, and succeeded!  Actually, I should really try making this into a bread since you never see bread with 100% oat flour.  If you’re looking for gluten-free oats in Omaha, they are in the gluten-free section at Whole Foods, not with the rest of the oat or flours. You can grind the oats yourself in a food processor or blender (which doesn’t work as well) or buy some online. 

With these cookies, the pumpkin flavor stands out and the maple flavor takes a backseat.  The walnuts give it a great crunch and the chocolate chips always taste great unless you are my husband who once again got upset with me for putting chocolate into something that shouldn’t have chocolate.  I think of pumpkin more as a vegetable and my husband thinks of it as a fruit and we’re both right I think!  Anyway, I had a sneaking suspicion he wouldn’t be too happy and I was right.  He went down the fruit lane and he believes fruit and chocolate should not be combined.  Whatever, I was hoping he’d take the veggie lane.  Having said that, these would be delicious without chocolate chips, there is plenty of flavor to carry the cookie without adding chocolate.  To top these tasty little treats I just sprinkled on some organic powdered sugar, but after the fact, some great cream cheese frosting would have been perfect!


  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour (or you can replace that 1/4 cup with spelt flour for some gluten)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar (I used Coombs Family Farms)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used Coombs Family Farms Grade B) 
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or you could use maple for a stronger maple flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp clove


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Cream butter with maple sugar and maple syrup, add coconut milk, egg, pumpkin and vanilla and mix well
  • In a separate bowl, mix all remaining dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and walnuts, slowly add to the wet mixture and mix well
  • Add chocolate chips and walnuts, mix well
  • By teaspoonful, drop batter onto cookie sheet, you can do this fairly close since the cookies don’t really spread, they puff up.  For this, I use a small OXO cookie scoop from BBB.  These are awesome if you make cookies as often as I do!
  • Bake roughly 9 minutes for the small cookie, slightly larger cookies will take around 11 minutes 

Also, today is the day I’m announcing the Yo Baby Meals giveaway winner!  Congratulations Jen O, you win!  Random.org picked # 6 and that’s you:)

Really Cool Gluten Free Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 18-07-2009

Really Cool GF SF Peanut Butter Cookies

Excuse the long name above but I couldn’t help myself.  These cookies actually have a cooling effect while you’re eating them.  To some, it’s strange, and to some, it’s for lack of a better word…cool!  Everyone that tried them loved the cookies flavor and consistency.  The reason the cookies are cool is because I didn’t mix sugars, I used 100% erythritol.  The company Z Sweet  asked if I would be interested in trying their product, a sweetener made of erythritol, a sugar alcohol, yet enhanced for maximum true sugar flavor.  Erythritol is one of the only sugar substitutes that I feel comfortable using in cooking due to the studies I’ve read so far.  Plus, it really does have practically zero calories per gram (.2) compared with the other brands.  If you didn’t know, the FDA lets companies label their food zero calories if it’s 5 calories or less per serving, so if you have a whole cup of a ”zero calorie” sweetener, it’s really a lot more than zero calories.  I don’t count calories anyway but it’s good information to know!  If you’re interested in reading studies or experts opinions’ on erythritol, click here.

Anyway, I practically live at Whole Foods, and love treating myself to their delicious bakery peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookies.  I’ve been meaning to do a copycat peanut butter cookie but it involves using whole wheat flour and lots of sugar and I just couldn’t get around to making them knowing I’d eat the whole batch.  To lessen the burden on my body, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to try and replicate the recipe!  I’ll tell you these cookies are darn close, yet gluten and sugar free.  Yay me! 


  • 3/4 cups oat flour (gluten free oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter  (you really need to add the creamy to add to the creamy peanut butter flavor of the cookies, just using crunchy isn’t enough because of the little bits of peanuts.  There is less actual peanut butter and the cookies will have less PB flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cups erythritol (Z Sweet), if you don’t want the cooling effect but still want to use natural sweeteners, I think 1/2 cup erythritol, 1/2 cup agave nectar and 1/2 tsp stevia will work, then you can omit the almond milk)  Also, you can try whatever sweetener or combo you prefer.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB almond milk


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Cream the butter and erythritol (or whatever) with beaters, add eggs, vanilla and almond milk, mix well, add peanut butter, mix well
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together with a fork
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  • Drop onto cookie sheet and press down lightly with fork in a criss cross design.  I use the OXO medium cookie scoop - basically a medium ice cream scoop
  • Bake 10-12 minutes
  • Cookies taste best when cooled, and even better day 2!!!

*** My mom was over while baking these cookies and poured the Z Sweet on top of a batch of cookies before baking, I’m talking, a teaspoon almost per cookie!  She says that’s how she does her peanut butter cookies at home.  Needless to say, these cookies didn’t turn out.  The erythritol doesn’t crystallize the same as sugar and they were soft and mushy in the middle and smoked a bit.  Oh well, the other ones turned out fantastically!

Fresh Berry Pie

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 16-07-2009

Fresh Berry Pie

Ever had a fresh berry pie?  They are absolutely delicious!  Best of all, it’s simple to make.  It’s just fresh berries in a sugary plain gelatin on graham cracker crust.  If you can’t eat wheat, this pie would taste excellent on most any crust.   In addition to the currants I received from my Dad last weekend, I just received some delicious raspberries and blackberries from his garden as well.  What to do?  Big smile.  I could eat two of these pies a week!   I’ve had a fresh strawberry and a fresh raspberry pie from a local restaurant, but never mixed or homemade.  So far, this mixed pie and also fresh raspberry are my favorites.  Seasonal, light, refreshing and yummy.

I chose to make my own graham cracker crust because the store bought varieties are made with hydrogenated fats.  Be careful with this because even the regular graham crackers at most grocery stores all have these trans fats in them - you’ll have to buy the graham crackers at the natural foods section or natural foods stores.  You should be able to buy them at Target though- the Back to Nature brand sticks are our favorite.


  •  1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 TB butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups berries (my mix was equal parts raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and currants)
  • 2 packets flavorless gelatin + 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • Grind graham crackers in food processor
  • Mix graham crackers with sugar and cut in butter
  • Form in a pie pan, patting crust firmly
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes
  • Allow to cool, about 30-40 minutes
  • Boil water, with a whisk add gelatin packets and sugar
  • Allow to cool slightly, a few minutes
  • Arrange berries on pie crust
  • Pour gelatin mixture over berries until it reaches top layer of berries.  Depending on your pie pan, there may be extra gelatin leftover, that’s okay, just discard it 
  • Refrigerate until hardened

Dollup with fresh whip cream!  I make mine with heavy whipping cream, a little vanilla, and some sugar to taste.  Just whisk with beaters in a tall bowl until it reaches the desired consistency.

Gluten-Free Apple Currant Crisp

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 14-07-2009


Apple Currant Crisp


It happened again, my dad gave me a huge, I’m talking 12 cup bowl of currants to do something with.  What in the world am I going to do with all of these currants?  Well, there may be more to come with currants but I decided that apple currant crisp with a nutty crispy topping would do the trick.  YES!!!  YUMMY!  Originally, I wanted to put pecans in the topping but realized that I didn’t have any while making it.  So, I used chopped walnuts instead and they made the crisp extra delicious.  Pecans would’ve been fantastic as well.  I thought about using black walnuts, which I still think would’ve worked, but decided to go with the more crowd-pleasing regular old walnut.  Pink Lady apples are my favorite type to eat on a daily basis, so I used those.  My actual favorite baking apple is the Jonathan, but only during season from the local apple orchards.  I don’t think the bagged ones at the stores taste good at all.



  • 7 apples, peeled and sliced, I used organic pink lady apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 1 TB Vanilla
  • 2 TB sugar, I used white organic
  • 2 TB almond flour
  • 2 cups currants - I used red
  • 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) oats
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (to keep the feel of traditional crisp)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (to off-set the dry almond flour and add extra maple flavor)
  • 1/4 cup erythritol (I used Z Sweet, to lighten it a little)  …you can use 3/4-1 cup of whatever sweetener you prefer
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Grease 9 x 13″ baking dish
  • Place apples in baking dish, sprinkle with vanilla, almond flour and sugar, coat evenly (I had my apples chopped up waiting to go in the pan and squeezed the lemon juice on them because I didn’t want them to turn brown.  The lemon will add a teeny bit of flavor but most likely you won’t taste it.  I was being anal)
  • Add currants and carefully mix to evenly distribute
  • In a separate bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix with fork
  • Crumble mixture on top of apple mixture and flatten slightly for full coverage
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes - if the top gets crispy and golden before the apples cook through, put foil on the top to stop it from burning

By the way, I’ve been having computer problems and haven’t been able to do any posting until just now, so I’ve got lots of things coming that I was waiting to do.   I’m very excited to be able to be working on my computer again!!!

Nutella Crispy Bars

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 23-06-2009

Nutella Crispy Bars

I really do have an obsession with hazelnut and chocolate together.  Really.  I felt like making the peanut butter flax crispy bars but decided to experiment with some hazelnut ones instead and I’m glad I did!  They’re sweet, crunchy, hazelnutty with the undertones of coconut flavor that just gives the hazelnut a little umph to say, “I’m here!”  My personal taste testers all approved, including my cousin, Erica, who is as or more obsessed with hazelnut chocolate than myself!  I first ran to the store to buy some natural marshmallows but unfortunately, the only place that has those is Whole Foods and I didn’t feel like driving there.  I would’ve bought the regular marshmallows at the store but felt pretty miffed that they have to add Blue coloring #4.  Is it really necessary to add color to get them to be as bright white as possible.  Would you not buy them if they were white but not so bright?  Out of personal defiance, I decided to just figure something else out.  (I’ll bet made with marshmallow they would’ve been excellent also!) 

Oh, and I am aware that Nutella is really not healthy, but if you read the About Me page; I mention I throw all that out the window when it comes to Italian foods, but otherwise, I made an attempt at making these as healthy as possible!  I know I can try making my own Nutella, I’ve seen quite a few recipes but I just don’t want to.  By the way, I’ve also tried many organic or healthier versions of Nutella but so far haven’t been impressed.  I’d made it a little more hazelnutty, a little less sugary and milk chocolaty, and it’d be perfect.  Grown up Nutella.  So far, I don’t think anyone has accomplished that so I’ll stick with my kid Nutella- the real deal! 


  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal (did you know they also make brown rice cereal?  yes they do!  try that instead for a little extra boost of nutrition!)


  • Grease 9×13 inch pan
  • Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes - allow to cool slightly and remove some of the skins with a paper towel, the ones that stay on are fine.
  • With a blender or food processor (I recommend food processor because blenders are much harder to clean with nuts), chop until some are finely ground but some are still slightly chunky, like chunky peanut butter size chunks
  • In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, heat brown sugar and agave nectar until it starts to boil - turn down to medium and keep stirring a few more minutes, remove from heat, add coconut, flaxseed and Nutella, stir well.  Let mixture cool for a few minutes, add hazelnuts and chocolate chips
  • In a large bowl, add the crispy rice cereal, then slowly add the hot mixture mixing until all rice cereal is covered (I use a strong spatula to mix and get bits off the side of the pan and bowl) transfer to the 9×13 inch pan and flatten.  If you’re impatient like me, just throw it in the fridge to allow it to set - once cooled, it does not need to be refrigerated

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies With Yogurt

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 16-06-2009

Photo by Roland A Manarin

This year, I’ve been really into lemon anything.  Unfortunately, the majority of the lemon cookie recipes I’ve found aren’t too healthy or they’re full of oats and I didn’t want that.  So, I decided to make up my own healthy version with yogurt!  It worked out well because Stonyfield Farm is hosting this GIVEAWAY for their Greek yogurt line Oikos- 1 free 16oz coupon and 3 free 5.3oz coupons!    More details below.  I made this cookie two ways, with and without coconut.  The coconut flavor is already present and mild from the coconut oil (if you don’t like coconut, use all butter instead or use some organic shortening which doesn’t have the negative qualities of the non-organic kinds).  The coconut made these cookies slightly more moist and thicker.  I think these cookies taste best cooled, and they’re delicious either way.  I decided to use spelt flour for the added fiber and rich color, but if you need gluten-free, I think they’d probably work well with gluten-free oat flour.  They should also work if all you have is white or wheat flour.  The consistency if this cookie is a little crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside with a tiny bit of a crumble (due to the coconut oil).  An easy and fairly fast lemon poppy seed cookie that’s healthy.  Yes!!!!


  • 2 lemons (juice of two lemons and zest of two lemons)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (if you don’t have this, use honey)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 5.3oz container vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm Oikos)  …or you can use a scant 1/2 cup of your preferred Greek yogurt
  • 1 3/4 cups spelt flour (or whatever flour you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Over a low boil, heat the lemon juice, zest and agave nectar stirring constantly with a whisk until half the liquid remains (a little less than half a cup) liquid will thicken to the consistency of the agave.  Let cool, mixture thickens to more of a thick honey consistency
  • In a large mixing bowl blend the butter, sugar and coconut oil.  Add the yogurt and lemon juice mixture
  • In a smaller bowl, blend the flour with the salt and poppy seeds with a fork
  • Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet.  Add shredded coconut and blend well.
  • Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet and bake about 8-9 minutes, the bottom of the cookie will brown

Oikos photo courtesy www.oikosorganic.com

To win the Oikos giveaway, all you have to do is comment below.  I don’t care what you say, just make your presence known!  I’ll pick the winner at random via random.com by assigning each post a number.  Easy.  No pressure!  I’ll pick the winner June 21st, Father’s Day!  If you don’t win, you can still get a discount with these coupons.  If you’re looking for something else to make with your Greek yogurt, you can try out my most recent Sonoma Chicken Salad recipe, where I discuss in detail on some of the health benefits.  Also, you parents stay tuned, because soon we’ll be doing a YoBaby giveaway!

Oh, and I feel that I should mention, if you’re looking for a good lemon cookie recipe that is not healthy in the least bit, I highly recommend this.  They’re very time consuming and tricky, but when done right, delicious.

Bethenny Frankel’s Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 04-06-2009

Bethenny Frankel's Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever watched Real Housewives of New York City?  Or…I guess just watched or looked at any entertainment anything and you’ve probably seen her.  Bethenny Frankel is the single skinny Housewife that is a natural chef.  Guilty pleasure, I watch the show sometimes and think her sarcasm is hilarious.  When I saw she was coming out with a book, Naturally Thin, I was hoping there’d be recipes!  I already eat pretty much like she suggests, just more than she does.  I’ve made these quite a few times and let me tell you, do not use the Silpat!  It makes for flatter softer cakey cookies.  She suggests using wax paper and really, it’s the only way to go.  With wax paper, the cookies didn’t spread and they have a nice crunch on the top.  They’re still more cakey cookies, but hey, they’re a healthied-up version and it’s something I feel good about giving to my toddler, who loves them.  He’s getting taller now so he tends to get on his tippy toes when I’m not looking and steal them.  I have to remember to push them further away from the edge now.  This recipe only makes 10 big cookies which will probably be gone in no time if you’ve got someone to share them with.


  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (I used heaping 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp canola oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1/3 cup soymilk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup banana puree (1 medium-sized banana)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 375, combine all dry ingredients, combine all wet ingredients.  Mix together
  • Use medium-sized ice cream scoop (I used large but didn’t fill it all the way, Bed Bath & Beyond is always out of the medium sized when I try to buy them!) to scoop onto cookie sheet covered with WAX PAPER!  Bake 12 minutes rotating the pan 1/2 way through cooking (I don’t do that part) or until the edges of the cookies are light brown.

Hazelnut Meal-Flour Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Breakfast Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 24-05-2009

Hazelnut Meal/Flour Cookie

So many people stumble upon my blog looking for hazelnut meal/flour recipes and since I’m equally curious about making something with hazelnut flour, I decided to go ahead and try something new…again!  I’m so glad I did.  These are truly amazing.  The toasted hazelnut is the star flavor in this cookie with some sweet to enhance and of course some chocolate to enhance even more.  I found this recipe from a girl from Spain, which includes almond flour and white sugar which I omitted both in place of all hazelnut flour and agave nectar and less sugar and chocolate.  I love the flavor of almonds, but I didn’t want anything getting in the way of the delicious toatsed hazelnut taste!  The recipe originally comes from a gluten-free cookbook entitled, “Cookies For Breakfast” by Michael Perlman.  Unfortunately, these cookies are so delicious that I had a few for breakfast, as the book title states.  Oops.  Well, they are much healthier than sugary cereal I guess.  They are so darn good I couldn’t think of eating anything else this morning!


  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c agave nectar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c oat flour (if you’re going gluten-free, just make sure your oat flour is certified gf)
  • 1 heaping cup toated hazelnuts
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips


  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Toast hazelnuts until lightly browned, about 8 minutes
  • Remove from oven and with paper towel, remove as many skins as you can, the ones that stay on are just fine.
  • Put hazelnuts in food processor or blender, grind until a fine powder or a little chunky, I kept some tiny chunks so the cookies would have a nice crunch.  Allow to cool before adding to cookies or the hot hazelnuts will melt the butter and flatten the cookies
  • Cream agave, brown sugar, and softened butter, add egg and vanilla and blend
  • Mix oat and hazelnut flour with baking powder and salt, add to wet mixture and stir, add chocolate chips and stir
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, I made smaller cookies so they were done in 7-8 minutes (my hot oven is finally fixed so it’s normal!)

These cookies are sensitive to the type of cookie sheet you put them on.  The picture above is the prettiest cookie, baked and pictured with the Paula Deen pan with the silicone (Silpat like) sheet on top.  I also made these with a dark sheet and they were nice and fluffy but the bottoms browned faster, and I also made them with a lighter cookie sheet with a Silpat.  Those turned out flat.  However, they are ALL equally delicious no matter what type of cookie sheet you bake them on and how browned the bottoms may get.  The flat ones are chewy and a little more candy-reminiscent, so my husband likes them better.  Maybe I do too?  None are burnt, just the hazelnut is even more toasted.  Wonderful!  I think the next time I make these, and I definitely will soon, I’ll either buy a bigger Paula Deen cookie sheet, or I will use my nice dark sheet but turn the temperature of the oven down to about 335.   Pretty cookies are nice to share.  Speaking of…here’s a really cool blog post  about how cookies should be refrigerated before baking and shows pictures of various refrigerator times and how the cookies turn out showing the optimal pretty cookies.  I love that post.

Fudgy Gluten-Free Caramel Brownies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 19-05-2009

Photo by Roland A. Manarin

My mother-in-law makes the best caramel brownies with the caramel sandwiched between two layers of brownie.  Everyone requests them for any type of special occasion and she graciously makes them every single time.  I’ve made them before but they are time-consuming and not at all healthy, so I usually just chow on hers when she makes them!  This past weekend, she made them for my brother-in-law before he goes away for the summer.  As I ravenously munched on one…I realized, I can make this healthy and organic!  Well…healthier anyway.  The original ingredients are: a German chocolate cake mix, a stick of butter, 50 caramels (or a pound), 2/3rds cup evaporated milk, and 1 cup of chocolate chips. 

As I said, the original recipe is delicious but full of processed foods with hydrogenated fats and who knows what else.  For starters, I decided to add some Salba(or chia seeds) to mine to kick up the nutrition.  I borrowed the caramel recipe, consisting of organic honey and organic cream, from 101cookbooks.  I think it tastes better than any store-bought caramels anyway!  This version is dark-chocolatey but sweetened up with the caramel layer, it’s ooey, gooey, and delicious!  If you could see me right now, I’m dancing all over the place.  This is a little time-consuming and messy, but well worth it if you’re able to come up with the time.  I think I’m in caramel brownie heaven.


  • 15-16 oz bag of bitter-sweet chocolate chips.  I used Ghiradelli 60%
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 5 Tb ground Salba or Chia seeds, I grind mine in the coffee grinder, but buying them pre-ground would’ve been less messy
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tb vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond flour, packed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or, instead of almond and brown rice, use 3/4 cup of whatever flour/flour mix you like…using coconut flour you’ll have to add lots more eggs.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup heavy cream (for caramel)
  • 1 cup honey (for caramel)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for caramel)


  • Click here for instructions on how to make the caramel.   …make caramel.  The caramel cools while you’re putting together the brownie ingredients so you may not need to put it over ice.  I did not.  I let mine get to 230 degrees and took it off the heat -I didn’t want the caramel to harden quite as much as if it were to be on an apple.  If you want less caramel, you can just use whatever ratio you prefer (3/4 cup cream to 3/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13″ pan
  • In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips over medium, remove from heat when melted.  Add Salba, brown sugar, stevia, salt, vanilla and applesauce.
  • mix together brown rice flour, almond flour and baking soda 
  • Make sure the chocolate mixture is not too warm, then add eggs, easiest to use a fork or a whisk to get them incorporated
  • Add flour mixture, stir well
  • Pour half of the brownie mixture into pan.  To be on the cautious side, pour a little less than half.  Put in the oven and bake 6-7 minutes
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool a couple of minutes
  • Pour caramel mixture into the pan, spread it around to cover bottom brownie layer completely
  • Slowly piece together pieces of the brownie batter and flatten it and put on top of the caramel.  It’s more like a spoonful at a time, slowly making sure that all of the caramel is as covered as you can get it.  I was able to cover up all of the caramel 
  • Put in oven and cook another 18-20 minutes
  • Allow to cool completely, if you’re impatient like me, I put mine in the fridge to cool off.  These are too good to wait for!

If you don’t have Chia seeds or Salba, I think you can probably just omit it.  Here are a few resources if you’d like to read more about the health benefits.  Just hover over the word:  Salba brand, some chia info,  this one quotes Oprah’s Dr. Oz…of course, they’re touting their product, and here’s a not-so-biased information set.

…A note on the chocolate.  As we all know by now, dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate.  I find the darkest chocolate too bitter, I can comfortably go up to 63% where I think it tastes the best, but much more darkness and my enjoyment factor is gone.  If you can go darker, do it in this recipe!  If you don’t like it at all, just use milk  chocolate chips or semi-sweet, which are sweeter than 63% or bittersweet.  I had a good time one day about 8 years ago buying all kinds of percentages of fancy chocolate and having my own little taste test.  If you’re not sure what you like best, try that out!

Monkey Bars

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 09-05-2009

Monkey Bars

Just for kids!  I would not make these for myself, but of course, since they’re around, I eat them.  These bars are full of banana flavor with the additional nutritional bonus of sweet potatoes!  These are based off of Missy Chase Lapine’s book, The Sneaky Chef.  I love her book but my problem with it is, I don’t want to make a puree of something and keep it in the fridge, and then have leftovers if I don’t use it all and toss it out.  It’s all too much possible waste for me to handle so I never really attempted making her recipes.  Then I decided, that’s dumb.  Like usual, why not just throw in what I feel like putting in if it’s close and it’ll probably work.  It usually does!  I’m actually really excited to try her PB&J muffins my way. 


  • 5TB butter (I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 jar stage 2 organic sweet potatoes (I used Earth’s Best)…Stage 2 is closer to the amount you want, 1 is too small, if you have stage 1, just use 1 1/2 or 2 jars
  • 2 large mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3-1/2 cup oat flour or oats…I used oat flour this time because I ran out of oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 325 and spray 8″ square pan or 11×7 pan
  • Melt butter & coconut oil if you are using it over medium heat along with agave nectar and stir with whisk.  Remove from heat and let cool while doing the next step
  • In a large bowl, mash bananas, add the beaten eggs, baby food, and vanilla.  Add the slightly cooled butter and agave nectar mixture
  • Add oats/oat flour and spelt flour and salt.  For less moist bars, add more oats.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until they don’t jiggle in the middle anymore and turn slightly brown around the edges
  • Allow to cool and then melt chocolate chips and spread on top.  You may also drizzle but to be honest, I think spreading is much easier.  I always make my drizzle chunk or somehow lose control of my hand and make a gorgeous splot on top of whatever it is that I’m making.  I prefer not drizzling but wish I had the skill.  Drizzles are pretty.

My toddler loves them!

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