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Welcome to my food blog!

Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas, plus, some toddler food ideas.

PB & Prune Quinoa bites

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 22-09-2009

PB & Prune Quinoa Bites

 

When I went to camp as a kid - I remember thinking how strange it was that the two things they put out on the tables for kids was peanut butter and prunes.  I think the peanut butter was supposed to go on your bread if you didn’t like your bland meal and maybe with the prunes they were worried about stopped up kids nervous being away from home?   Of course I was the only kid who actually liked prunes and ate them.  I can’t remember who exactly did it first, but we discovered that if you put peanut butter on the prune, it tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Lots of brave children tried prunes that summer:)  I wonder if the stigma is still attached to the new wording version of prunes: dried plums?

These peanut butter balls taste richly of peanut butter with a little crunch from the peanuts and the slightly jam/jelly flavor from the prunes.  I prefer my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches open faced, light on the jam.  Have you tried St Dalfour jams?  Amazing, sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, nothing artificial, full fruit and perfect.  My husband likes the four fruits and I like apricot.  For the PB bites, if you’re more of a jam/jelly person add more chopped up prunes!  You’ll notice in the picture above how one is rolled in coconut, one is rolled in powdered sugar, and another has a candy coated chocolate - this is to make them look cool and entice my two year old to eat them (I prefer them plain).  O chose a chocolate candy one and wolfed it down.  He LOVED it!  Mid-way through eating it he wanted another one.  But…then he almost choked on it since he put another one in his mouth before he was done with the first one and now he doesn’t want anymore.  So, hopefully your kid will like them too and nothing traumatic happens so they don’t associate these with choking.  Darn it - should’ve waited to give it to him when he was done with the first!!!  I made these bites pretty small but maybe should’ve made them even smaller for O.  I ate so many of these last night they were dinner, and this morning they were breakfast.  At least they’re rich in protein and fiber:)  Think I need some veggies for lunch today though.  I couldn’t tell you that everyone would like it - but probably if you like pb&j’s and eat somewhat healthy, you will.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes + 4 prunes, chopped - more prunes if you prefer more jelly in your PB&J’s
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts (Or replace creamy pb and nuts with 3/4 cup crunchy pb)

Method:

  • puree 1/2c prunes and dates in food processor or blender
  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Roll into balls - to entice kids, you can try adding or rolling it in all kinds of things!  Candy covered chocolates worked for us:) 

How do you like your PB&Js?

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! 

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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!

Disclosure:  I was provided free product from Z Sweet

Flax Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 07-05-2009

Flax Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

 

These crispy peanut butter rice bars are so easy to make and they taste delicious!  They’re slightly more substantial than your typical rice bars with the addition of flax.  The flax is not overwhelming, however, you can slightly taste that it’s there.  Instead of tasting flaxy, it just tastes heartier.  Rice Krispie bars were one of my favorite snacks growing up.  There’s really not much to them, and they’re generally void of nutrients.  But, they’re so fun to eat and such a simple snack!  Obviously, I love peanut butter, and the peanut butter crispy treats are delicious as well.  I modified this recipe that my friend Jenn made.  Her recipe involved corn syrup which I swapped out for brown rice syrup.  The benefit to brown rice syrup is mostly that it has a lower glycemic index than corn syrup (probably the best substitution would be agave nectar, which I may try in the future) and  it’s more natural than corn syrup.  It’s still a sugar and high in calories so try limit these bars.  Easier said than done.  I could easily eat half the pan in a day they’re so good!  Toddler approved.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice syrup (corn syrup if you don’t have brown rice syrup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup flax-seed meal
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal

Directions:

  • Slowly melt brown rice syrup and brown sugar on stove top on about medium, add peanut butter and flax-seed meal.
  • Put the cereal in a bowl and add the warm peanut butter mixture.  Stir and transfer to 9×13 greased pan.  Flatten with the back of the spatula or use whatever method you like best.  Lots of people spray their hands with spray oil or rub their hands in butter and flatten that way.

Enjoy!  I’d like to mention, to make these foods healthier, I use mostly or all organic ingredients.  I don’t write it down in the recipes because it seems redundant.  But, with less processing and less hormones and pesticides, organic will make things better for you.

If you’re interested in a similar scotcharoos type recipe made healthier, click here.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure I’ll be making them in the future!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 01-05-2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Mmmmmm.  They melt in your mouth.  I didn’t have any crispy rice cereal today so I decided to throw what I had together and I must say…  this time, it worked!  Usually peanut butter balls are made with either powdered sugar or graham cracker crust.  As usual, I wanted to make something a little healthier that I can give to my son without feeling overly guilty.  These are not as sweet as the traditional peanut butter balls and have a slightly different texture…plus, I wanted an excuse to work with coconut flour.  Basically, they’re not grandmas!  If you feel like healthier grandma’s pb balls…well, I may just work on a sweeter healthied up version in the future.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter of your choice
  • 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter of your choice
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup oat flour, you can grind your own oats or you can even grind half and use half oats or all oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour - you can also use shredded low-moisture un-sweetened coconut and grind it
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

  • Mix peanut butters, agave nectar, oat flour and coconut flour until it forms a dough-like consistency.  Add more peanut butter or flour to get the right consistency.  Roll into balls - size of your choice and put on foil.  Melt the chocolate chips with coconut oil - if you want to have the Peanut Butter Balls completely covered with chocolate, double the chocolate and coconut oil.  To not completely cover the balls, use a table spoon and drizzle chocolate on each ball  until you get the amount of coverage you’d like.  To completely cover them, throw the balls in the chocolate and remove with spoon- cool on foil.  Refrigerate if your house is hot but let warm up a bit before eating.

I made smaller to medium sized balls and some with little chocolate, for me, the peanut butter is really the star.  However, most people probably would want to cover them with chocolate if they’re serving them to friends.  These, I made the way that I wanted to eat them, less chocolate… more peanut butter!  Hmmm, I should make puppy chow next:)

  • A note on the ingredient choices…
  • oat flour is gluten-free although many celiacs still react mainly due to how they’re processed…   They are high in soluble fiber which can lower LDL cholesterol.  Anyone seen those Cheerios commercials?  It is digested slowly, thus, no blood-sugar spike (but when you add sugar, it’s a different story, I’m just talking about oats here.)
  • coconut flour is gluten-free, high in fiber, high in protein, low in digestible carbs.  Coconut is thought now to be insanely healthy, check it out if you’re so inclined.
  • agave nectar is made from the same plant as tequila.  Fiesta en tu boca!  It has a lower glycemic index than sugar- so it’s digested slower and that blood-sugar spike isn’t so bad. 
  • peanuts are high in protein, fairly high in fiber, and lots more.  That is, if you aren’t allergic… but if you are you probably decided not to read this anyway. 
  • I could devote pages of health benefits of most of these ingredients but the sugar in the chocolate.  I won’t.  But maybe someday.

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