Thursday, December 17, 2020

Lydia's Chex Mix ( the BEST gluten and dairy free Chex Mix)

 Lydia's Chex Mix

     I have strong opinions about some things, and how Chex Mix is made is one of them. It should be baked in the oven, not the microwave. You need to use different amounts of seasonings than the box says, and also you should make your own seasoned salt. I have been making the Chex Mix in my family since I was a teenager. It was always one of my favorite Christmas treats. We would have it once a year, my mom would make two sheet trays of it and we would snack on it from Christmas until New Years. One year I asked to make it and I tweaked the recipe in little ways that made have a more intense flavor, and didn't leave any piece missing the seasoning. I've had friends and family ask why my Chex Mix was so good, here is my top secret recipe!




Lydia's Chex Mix

Ingredients 

7 TBSP Miyoko's vegan butter ( you can use regular butter if you don't need it dairy free)

3 TBSP Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp  homemade seasoned salt ( recipe at the end )

1/2 tsp onion powder

9 cups gluten free chex ( I like all Rice chex but you can use a mix of Rice and Corn Chex)

1 1/2 cups gluten free pretzels ( my favorite brand is Quinn)

optional ( 1/2 cup of mixed nuts or peanuts)


Gluten Free Seasoned Salt ( Inspired by Iowa Girl Eats)

https://iowagirleats.com/homemade-gluten-free-seasoned-salt-10-ways-to-use-it/

5 TBSP fine sea salt

1 TBSP paprika

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder


Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 250 and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

2) Place the vegan butter, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings in a medium sized measuring cup and microwave in 30 second increments until the butter is melted. 

3) Pour the Chex cereal, pretzels, and any add-ins on the sheet pan. 

4) Stir the butter and seasoning mixture well and pour it over the cereal evenly. Use your hands or a spatula to stir the mixture to make sure it is evenly distributed.

5) Place the sheet pan in the oven. You will bake the mixture for a total of one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.

 Set a timer for every fifteen minutes, remove the pan, stir the mixture, and then place it back in the oven. Repeat until you have reached one hour.

Enjoy!

The Chex Mix will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed container on the counter. 















Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Peanut Butter Truffles (gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free)

Peanut Butter Truffles

     I have always loved the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. My mom always made buckeyes for Christmas. I still love them, but they have A LOT of powdered sugar in them. I wondered if there was a way I could make something similar in texture and taste but without all the added sugar. These peanut butter truffles taste just like a buckeye but won't leave you feeling a sugar rush afterwards!




Peanut Butter Truffles
Makes 20-25 depending on size

Ingredients

1 cup creamy peanut butter ( I use Skippy Natural or Simple Truth Organic for these)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup finely ground gluten free oat flour (you can make this yourself by blending oats in your blender for 2 minutes until very finely ground)

1 package enjoy life chocolate chips

flaky sea salt for finishing

Directions

1) Combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, and oat flour in a bowl and mix until a smooth mixture forms.

2) Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set.

3) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon roll the mixture into balls and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet.

4) Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set.

5) In a deep coffee mug melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. 

Dip the peanut butter balls one and at time with a fork, tapping the fork on the side of the mug to remove the excess chocolate. 

Place the dipped truffle back onto the parchment paper and quickly sprinkle with flaky sea salt before the chocolate sets.

6) Place the truffles in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set. 

Enjoy!

These will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator, or two months in the freezer. 

These also taste great without the chocolate coating if you don't like chocolate! Just make sure to let them set up really well the in the freezer so they don't loose their shape. 







 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Gluten and Dairy Free Oreo Balls

Gluten and Dairy Free Oreo Balls


      The first time I had Oreo balls was in 2006, yes, I remember the year. My friend Lana and I had both graduated from college and she was living with our friend Stephanie. Stephanie and Lana made Oreo balls that Christmas and I thought they were the best tasting Christmas candy I had ever had. I really wasn't into Christmas treats much because I had never been a fan of cookies, but I could eat these all day long! They quickly became a tradition at our yearly Christmas party. There were a few years I had to skip out on them due to dietary restrictions but a few years ago I figured out a way to make them gluten and dairy free so everyone could enjoy them still! 


Gluten and Diary Free Oreo Balls

Makes 20

Ingredients 

1 10.5 ounce package of Glutino Vanilla Creme Cookies ( you can use another gluten free brand just make sure you use the same amount of cookies, about 18)

4-5 oz. Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread

1 package Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet mini chocolate chips

optional- a white chocolate drizzle, Walmart makes a Great Value Brand dairy free white chocolate chip

Directions

There are two ways to make the oreo balls, I prefer mine to have more of a smooth truffle texture, my husband prefers them to have chunks of cookies in them still. Depending on your preference follow the directions that go along with that for step #1.

1) If you want smooth Oreo truffles, place the cookies in a food processor and pulse the mixture for a minute on and off until the cookie crumbs are smooth.

For a more chunky mixture, dump the cookies into a large ziplock bag and hit them with a rolling pin until they are the desired consistency, some chunky cookies, but a lot of small crumbs.

2) Place the crumbs in a bowl and stir in 4 oz. of the cream cheese until smooth. Use your hand to see if the mixture will stick together, if it is too dry add a little more cream cheese as needed. I have found with the gluten free cookies and dairy free cream cheese the amount of cream cheese varies sometimes when I make them. 

3) Place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up so it will scoop out easily.

4) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the mixture is ready, use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to form the mixture into balls. Use your clean hands to roll the balls into a smooth shape. Place the freezer for 20 minutes to set.

5) Warm up 1 cup of the Enjoy Life Chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time in a coffee mug until the chocolate is smooth. I like to use a coffee mug so that the chocolate will be deeper than a bowl and easier to dip!

6) Quickly dip the semi-frozen Oreo balls one at a time into the melted chocolate, drip off the excess chocolate and place them back on the parchment paper. When you run low on chocolate chips add more to your mug and heat in the microwave until smooth and melted. Since the Oreo balls are semi-frozen the chocolate will set quickly but you can place them back into the freezer for a few minutes to set.

7) If you want a white chocolate drizzle, melt 1/4 cup of the white chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Dip a fork into the white chocolate mixture and drizzle the Oreo balls. Place back in the fridge to set.

These will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator, or two months in the freezer. They must be refrigerated, set them out right before serving.

Enjoy! 










My little kitchen helper!


 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Crunchy Peanut Butter Maple Candy or Healthy Butterfinger Bars

 Crunchy Peanut Butter Maple Candy

     The first time I made this recipe I didn't believe that such simple ingredients could taste exactly like my favorite candy bar. I took them to friends and family members and many of them said they tasted even better! You know that flaky crunch you get when you bite into a Butterfinger? This candy has that! The process of boiling the maple syrup and cream of tartar to the perfect temperature and then quickly adding in the peanut butter is what creates that signature crunch. The recipe is very simple, but does require a candy thermometer. I've tried making candy before without one and it turns out so much better when you know the exact temperature rather than just trying to time it. I hope you make these and love them just as much as I do! 




Crunchy Peanut Butter Maple Candy 

Makes about 24 depending on the size 

Ingredients 

1 cup pure maple syrup

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup creamy peanut butter ( you want a smooth PB for this, not a chunky natural one, I used Skippy Natural)

1 cup chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life to keep them dairy free

Coconut oil for greasing the saucepan and a knife

Directions

1) Place the 1 cup maple syrup and 1/8 tsp cream of tartar in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2) Grease the upper part of the saucepan, just above the maple syrup with coconut oil. This will help it not to boil over. 

3) Place a candy thermometer in the mixture. Mine has a clip you can use on the side of the pan, so that the thermometer is touching the maple syrup mixture but not sitting on the bottom of the pan. DO NOT STIR the mixture.

4) Note: You will boil the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It took about 10 minutes on my stove.

5) While you wait for the mixture to reach the correct temperature, measure out the 1 cup of peanut butter into a medium sized bowl. You will want to have this ready because you need to work quickly once the maple syrup is ready.

6) Line a small sheet pan (mine is 8x11) with parchment paper and grease a knife with coconut oil so it will be ready.

7) Once the maple syrup mixture reaches 300 degrees immediately pour it over the peanut butter. You will need to stir it very quickly so that the mixture will combine before it starts to set. 

8) Once it is combined quickly pour it onto the parchment lined sheet pan and spread it with the back of a  spoon or spatula, if the mixture starts to stick you can grease the spatula with a little coconut oil also. 

9) Use your greased knife to score the candy, I made mine into about 1 inch squares but you can cut them as large or small as you would like your candy to be.

10) Place the candy in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until it feels set.

11) In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate chips for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave in 30 second increments until it is melted.

12) Dip each piece of candy in the chocolate and place on the parchment paper. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes until the chocolate has set. 

Enjoy!

This candy will keep two weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can keep them at room temperature but the dairy free chocolate will start to soften, so I prefer to take them out right before serving.  

This recipe was inspired by 
https://www.realfoodwithjessica.com/2020/08/01/paleo-vegan-butterfinger-candy-bars/











Monday, November 23, 2020

French Press Cold Brew Coffee

 French Press Cold Brew Coffee

     I was introduced to cold brew coffee about 15 years ago when I was working at Starbucks. At the time they didn't have cold brew but one of my fellow baristas told me about a local coffee shop, Blue Line, that had started carrying cold brew. She told me the process of "brewing" the coffee without heat created a smooth, less acidic cup of coffee. Being the coffee lover that I am, I went to try it the first chance I could. I was hooked! Since then I have bought different types of systems to make my own cold brew at home. I have a large cold brew coffee system but some weeks I just want enough to last me a week and so I use a French Press to make it. This recipe makes a strong concentrate like you would get at a coffee shop. You use the concentrate and add water to make a smooth cup of coffee to your liking. You can serve it hot or cold, and also use the concentrate with milk to make more of a latte type drink. If you have digestive issues some people, myself included find cold brew coffee to a more gut friendly way to enjoy coffee.



French Press Cold Brew Coffee

Ingredients

4 oz. coarsely ground coffee

3 cups cold water

Directions

1) Place the ground coffee in the French Press.

2) Slowly pour the 3 cups of cold water over the grounds.

3) Stir gently to make sure all the grounds are wet.

4) Cover and let sit overnight or 12-14 hours.

5) Push the plunger on the french press down slowly and pour the liquid into a large jar to store.

6) To serve use a 1 to 1 ratio of water to coffee concentrate for a strong cup of coffee. To make a latte use 1/4 cup of concentrate to 8 oz. of your favorite type of milk. You can also add hot water to make a hot cup of coffee.

The concentrate will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks, if it lasts that long!

Enjoy!




Sunday, October 25, 2020

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Bites

 No Bake Pumpkin Pie Bites 

     Growing up pumpkin pie wasn't my favorite. I loved the cool whip my mother would top the pumpkin pie with, but I would avoid the pumpkin part. That has changed over the years and I look forward to a piece of pie each year if someone in my family (usually me) decides to make a gluten free pie! This year I didn't want to wait until Thanksgiving for my pumpkin fix so I set out to make a no bake dessert I could keep in my freezer to satisfy my pumpkin pie craving! These little bites taste so similar to pumpkin pie, but with the much welcome addition of chocolate! 

Ingredients

1 cup softened dates

1/3 cup coconut butter or cashew butter

3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 cup canned pumpkin ( make sure it's not pumpkin pie filling or it will be too sweet!)

1/2 cup oat flour ( if you don't have oat flour just blend oatmeal or pulse the oatmeal in your food processor until it is a fine flour consistency)

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, I like Enjoy Life to keep these dairy free


Directions

1) Put the 1 cup of dates in a glass measuring cup and cover with water. Microwave the dates and water for 30 seconds and then allow to soak for 5 minutes until the dates soften. Drain the water off and add the dates to the bowl of a food processor.

2) Pulse the dates until they are smooth. Add the coconut butter, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, vanilla, and pumpkin. Pulse again until the mixture is combined.

3) Add the 1/2 cup of oat flour and pulse until the dough comes together. It will still be sticky but that's okay. Remove the blade and stir in the mini chocolate chips.

4) Place the dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set.

5) Use a small cookie scoop to make 18 pumpkin bites. 

6) Place the pumpkin bites back in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes to set. 

Enjoy!

Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I prefer them frozen or just slightly defrosted. 






Nutrient Dense Pumpkin, Kale, and Chicken Stoup

 Nutrient Dense Pumpkin, Kale, and Chicken Stoup

     I have been looking at pumpkin soup and chili recipes for a long time trying to decide if I wanted to try one. None of them had the ingredients I was looking for, or they contained foods I couldn't have. I decided to create my own and this "stoup" isn't quite a soup or a stew, and definitely not chili, hence the name. It is so comforting and full of so many nutrients I could eat it anytime of day, even for breakfast! The sweetness of the sweet potatoes and pumpkin, plus the earthiness of the herbs gives it such great flavor! If you can handle onions feel free to add 1/2 a cup of chopped onion after you cook the chicken.



Ingredients

1/2 TBSP olive oil

1 pound chicken cut into one inch cubes

3 large carrots peeled and chopped

1 sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces 

1 can pumpkin 

1 bunch kale washed and cut into small pieces with stems removed

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp sea salt

Directions

1) In a large soup pot set to medium heat add the 1/2 TBSP olive oil and 1 pound of chicken cut into pieces, sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes until browned and cooked mostly through.

2) Add the 2 cups broth, can of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, thyme, rosemary, sage, and salt. 

3) Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft and the mixture starts to thicken.

4) Add the chopped kale and cook for another 5 minutes until the kale is tender. 

5) Check to see if more salt is needed and add accordingly, serve with an extra sprinkle of sea salt. 

Enjoy!

This soup will keep in the fridge for 4 days and also reheats very well after being frozen in individual servings.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

 Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

     

      When we were dating my husband and I took a day trip to Nebraska City. It is the home of Arbor day, the Apple Jack Festival, and the world's best apple cider donuts! Brian had his first taste of a warm apple cider donut from Kimmel Orchard and that led to him eating six donuts that day. We still laugh about it each year when we visit the orchard. I haven't seen a gluten free apple cider donut at any orchards or pumpkin patches around town so I decided to make my own! The amazing apple cider flavor in these comes from reducing the cider before adding it to the batter. I was surprised how much they tasted like the original, even though they aren't fried! I haven't had a real one in seven years but my son claims they tates just as good. You can easily make these dairy free also by subbing coconut oil or vegan butter, I tested it with Myikono's brand.




Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups apple cider reduced to 3/4 a cup 

3/4 cups coconut sugar

6 TBSP dairy free or regular butter

1 Egg

1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 Baking Flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon 

pinch of sea salt

Topping

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 TBSP cinnamon

3 TBSP melted dairy free or regular butter

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 and generously grease your donut pan with coconut oil, cooking spray, or butter

2) To reduce the cider pour the 1 1/2 cups of cider in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until it is reduced by half, you will want 3/4 cup of cider at the end. It took me about 10 minutes. I emptied the cider a few times into a glass measuring cup during the process to see how much it had reduced. Don't skip this step! This gives them a great cider flavor like the fresh donuts at an apple orchard!

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. 

4) Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

5) In a small bowl mix the gluten free flour, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and salt.

6) With the mixer on low slowly incorporate the dry mixture.

7) Gently pour in the cider and mix a few times to combine.

8) Divide the batter evenly among the donut pan, filling each donut 3/4 of the way.

9) Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

10) Remove the donuts to a cooling rack.

11) In a shallow dish mix the 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon for the topping. Melt the 2 TBSP of dairy free butter in the microwave in a small dish.

12) Brush each donut with the melted butter and then dip in the topping mixture.

ENJOY!

These are best served fresh or the day of. If you are going to save them I recommend freezing them before adding the topping, defrost for 20 seconds in the microwave and add the melted butter and sugar topping right before serving. 

This recipe was modified from 
https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/recipes/gluten-free-apple-cider-donuts/












Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Gluten Free Runza Casserole


Gluten Free Runza Casserole

     Have you ever had a Runza? They are a delicious mix of beef and cabbage baked into a fluffy dough. There is a Runza fast food chain in Nebraska and I grew up eating them. They are also one of the local foods served at Nebraska Cornhusker football games when you visit Memorial Stadium. I know it's not a Husker game for a lot of fans unless they have had their Runza! Over the years I made homemade versions based on a recipe from my mother and they became a staple at our Husker parties each Fall. I struggled to make a good gluten free dough that would hold the mixture well. So I set out to create an easier version that my whole family loves. It doesn't require waiting on dough to rise, and can easily be made gluten and dairy free! I hope you love this Runza casserole just as much as we do! 





Gluten Free Runza Casserole

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef

2 tsp sea salt divided ( use less if using table salt) 

1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ( use less if using fine ground pepper)

1/2 cup diced yellow onion (optional) I leave this out now and no one notices.

8 cups finely shredded green cabbage

1 cup of white cheddar or provolone shredded cheese

1 1/2 cups gluten free bisquick mix

2 eggs

2 cups of non-dairy unsweetned milk, or regular milk ( I use silk unsweetened coconut)

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 350, coat the bottom and sides of a  9x13 glass pan with cooking spray or olive oil and set aside.

2) In a large skillet over medium high heat add the ground beef and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Cook the beef until brown and then remove to a bowl and set aside.

3) In the same skillet ( do not drain the fat it adds flavor!) add the 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion if using, the 8 cups of cabbage, 1 1/2 tsp of salt 1 1.2 tsp of cracked black pepper. Cook the cabbage until it has softened and shrunk to about half it's size. This will take about 5-8 minutes. 

4) Add the ground beef back into the skillet and cook another 1-2 minutes to combine the mixture.

5) In a large bowl mix the eggs, bisquick, and milk with a whisk. 

6) Pour half of the bisquick mixture into the greased 9x13 pan.

7) Gently scoop the beef and cabbage mixture on top of the bisquick layer.

8) Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese on top of the beef and cabbage mixture.

9) Top with the remaining bisquick mixture, use a spatula to make sure it is spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

10) Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is set and starts to brown.

Enjoy!

We like to serve ours with mustard and ketchup on the side to dip it in!

Can be kept up to 4 days in the refrigerator covered. This dish also heats up well in the microwave or air fryer!















 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fig and Walnut Goat Cheese Appetizer

Fig and Walnut Goat Cheese Appetizer

     I came upon this appetizer on a website for my favorite brand of fig jam years ago. The recipe has since disappeared off of their site, so I'm glad I memorized it. The first time I made it was for my cooking club, and we ate all of it! It then became a regular appetizer I would bring to get togethers with my friends. The combination of fig, walnuts roasted with the jam, and the tanginess of the goat cheese creates such a great balance with every bite. It quickly becomes addicting! I will leave notes at the end with suggestions for what type of fig jam or butter to use and also some notes about goat cheese for those of you who think you might not like it. I once thought I didn't like goat cheese either, but now I love it!



Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer

Ingredients 

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

4 TBSP fig jam or fig butter divided ( you will use 2 TBSP at a time)

8 oz. goat cheese log ( or you can use two 4 oz. logs)

Directions

1) Pre-heat the oven to 300.

2) Chop the walnuts into small pieces if they are not already chopped.

3) Mix 2 TBSP of the fig jam with the walnut pieces and spread out evenly on a pan lined with parchment paper. It will stick if you don't use parchment paper!

4) Roast the walnuts for 4-6 minutes, checking after four minutes to make sure they don't burn, you want them to be a little toasty so the fig jam starts to caramelized.

5) Let the walnuts cool slightly.

6) Roll out a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and spread the walnuts into a rectangular shape that will cover the goat cheese log.  There is a picture below of this process. 

7) Spread the remaining 2 TBSP of fig jam over three of the sides of the goat cheese and then place the goat cheese in the middle of the walnuts on the plastic wrap.

8) Using the plastic wrap roll the sides of the plastic wrap up to coat the goat cheese in the walnut mixture.

9) Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. 

10) Serve with crackers. I like to use rice crackers, the lightness of the crackers goes really well with the goat cheese. 

ENJOY!

I have used Dalmatia Fig Jam, Trader Joe's Fig Butter, and Fresh Thyme Fig Jam for this recipe and they all turned out great! My favorite Fig Jam is Dalmatia, but it is the most expensive. It has the most best flavor and is imported so you can find it at World Market or the specialty section of your grocery store.

If you think you don't like goat cheese try a little more expensive brand. I used to only buy Trader Joe's goat cheese, and although it is a great deal it is more tangy than a more expensive brand you can find at most local grocery stores. This is a special occasion appetizer so go for the good stuff! 

                     























 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Crispy Russet Potatoes

 Crispy Russet Potatoes

     I came across the secret to perfectly roasted potatoes years ago.  You know those potatoes that have crispy edges but are still creamy on the inside. The secret is to par-boil the potatoes before roasting them. This extra step might seem a little annoying but it makes a big difference! My parents and friends have raved for years about my roasted potatoes when they come over for dinner. I typically use small yukon gold or red potatoes but one day all I had in the house was russet. I tried them out and they turned out just as delicious, if not more so! The skin of the russet potatoes get extra crispy! I call them breakfast potatoes because I love to serve them with eggs, but you can eat them any time of day.






Ingredients 

4 large russet potatoes

1 tsp sea salt

2 TBSP olive oil

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

2) Cut up the potatoes into one inch pieces, place in a large pot and cover with water. 

3) Bring the water to a boil, once it starts to boil set a timer for 10 minutes.

4) After the 10 minutes drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, cover with a lid and then shake the potatoes five times. This will gently break the potatoes up so they will get even crispier in the oven.

5) Place the potatoes on the parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with the 2 TBSP olive oil and salt. Toss the potatoes gently to coat evenly.

6) Bake the potatoes for at least 40 minutes until the outside is crispy and brown, depending on your oven it might take a little longer or a little less time. Taste the potatoes and add more salt if needed.

ENJOY!

These potatoes re-heat so well in the air fryer or back in the oven again, they will get even more crispy! 




Thursday, September 10, 2020

Scooter's Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Copycat

Scooter's Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Copycat

     In college my friend Sarah introduced me to the Scooter's Coffehouse Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. I had never tasted anything that represented fall in a cup so well, I think this was even before I had experienced a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. My younger sister Elizabeth went to get her yearly Pumpkin Pie Smoothie fix last week and she found out they changed the recipe. Since she used to manage a Scooter's she knew they used to use a family pumpkin pie recipe as the base, now the only use a pumpkin pie flavoring. She told me her life would never be the same when she found this out, not being dramatic at all. he he Elizabeth experimented with a recipe at home and sent me her base recipe, I messed around with it a little and wrote down the recipe to share! Now if you are missing the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, or if you want to try one for the first time you can make it at home! It's a bonus that this has no refined sugars and can easily be made dairy free if you need it that way.







Ingredients

1/3 cup canned pumpkin 

1/2-1 cup ice

1/2 cup coconut, almond, or whole milk

1 1/2 TBSP maple syrup

1 TBSP cashew or almond butter

3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

optional- dairy free whip cream or whip cream and pumpkin pie spice for sprinkling 

Directions

1) Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. If you are using a high speed blender such as Vita-mix you will want to use closer to 1 cup of ice. If using another blender start with 1/2 cup of ice and blend, then add a few ice cubes at a time and blend until it is a creamy and thick texture.

2) Top with whip cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice! 

Enjoy!

Notes: The nut butter helps to add a good texture to the smoothie, you can use a TBSP of vanilla protein powder instead of the nut butter.

You also can add more maple syrup to taste, 1 1/2 TBSP makes for a sweet but not overly sweet smoothie, if you want more of a dessert type smoothie add 2 TBSP. 



 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Late Summer Vegetable Egg Bake

Late Summer Vegetable Egg Bake

     If you are like me at the end of the summer you end up with a lot of tomatoes and zucchini from family and friends. I would like to have my own garden again someday but in the meantime I will welcome any produce that I can get from them! I love zucchini and tomatoes and thought they would be great combined in an egg bake, and I was right! I added some defrosted frozen kale for another level of nutrients and flavor and it was a hit! I love making an egg bake for dinner on Sunday evening, that way I can start the week with leftovers for breakfast for a few days. This easy recipe can be adjusted for just about any veggies you might have on hand. If you are using a vegetable like spinach or kale that will release a lot of liquid during cooking just make sure you defrost and drain well if frozen, or saute for a minute or so and drain well before adding it to the egg mixture if fresh.



Ingredients

6 large eggs

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cracked pepper

1 zucchini thinly sliced

1 small tomato diced

1/2 cup of frozen kale ( I ran mine under warm water for a minute while in a colander and then squeezed it dry by pushing a spatula against the kale and the side of the colander) 

1/2 tsp dry basil

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 and spray a 9 inch pie pan with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2) In a large bowl crack the 6 eggs, add the 1 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, and whisk until fully incorporated and fluffy.

3) Place the defrosted and dried kale in the bottom of the pan. 

4) Pour the egg mixture over the kale.

4) Arrange the thinly sliced zucchini over the top of the egg mixture, and then top with the diced tomatoes. Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp of dried basil evenly over the top.

5) Bake for 20-30 minutes until the center is set. 

Enjoy! 

This keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator covered and reheats well in the microwave for an easy breakfast!

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bars

 Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bars

     I have had this idea for a dessert for years. Something that combined three of my favorite treats, gluten free pretzels, peanut butter, and chocolate. I saw a recipe recently from Trisha Yearwood for some bars that contained those ingredients. They were not gluten, dairy, or refined sugar free, but I knew I could adjust the recipe and they would be just as delicious! When they were set up I took one bite, then got in the car and took a plate of these over to my younger sister's house. I had to share them with her, and also didn't want to eat them all. The consensus from her family ( which includes two picky toddlers) and mine is that they are a new favorite! She text me to say thank you for sending her five bars she she could have two of them. I told her that meant she didn't share one with her one year old son. haha  My son also kept counting how many we had left in our fridge, he didn't want to think he was getting one for dessert and find out we were out of them. Thankfully I cut them in small enough pieces he's been able to have an after dinner treat all week! I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!



Ingredients

PB Pretzel Bar

1 cup gluten free crushed pretzels (the cup measurement is of crushed pretzels, not whole, crush before you measure) I used Quinn Gluten Free Pretzels 

6  TBSP melted dairy free butter, coconut oil, or butter ( if you use coconut oil it will have a slight coconut taste) 

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 

1/4 cup maple syrup

Chocolate Topping 

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life to keep them dairy free

2 TBSP PB

Directions

1) Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside 

2) In a large bowl mix the crushed pretzels, butter, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and maple syrup. Stir until well combined. 

3) Spread the mixture into the parchment lined baking dish and use your hands or the back of a spoon to push down. You want to make sure the mixture is well pushed into the pan so that it will hold together. 

4) In a small microwave safe dish melt the chocolate chips and 2 TBSP peanut butter in 30 second increments until melted. 

5) Stir the chocolate peanut butter mixture and using an offset knife spread it evenly over the PB pretzel bar.

6) Place the bars uncovered in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours until set. You will want to make sure they are well set before you cut them. They set best if left overnight but it's hard to wait to eat them for that long!

Cut bars into 12 equal pieces, or less if you want larger bars. 

Enjoy!

* Make sure to keep these in the refrigerator and serve cold, the bars will start to loose their shape slightly when they get to room temperature. 

* Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. 

This recipe was inspired by 
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/no-bake-chocolate-pretzel-peanut-butter-squares-2254342



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mason Jar Instant Latte

Mason Jar Instant Latte

     When I was in college I worked at Starbucks for a few years. It was a lot of fun, I learned a lot about coffee, and I loved the people I worked with. It also was the first time I drank coffee on a daily basis, and I became addicted! I don't drink coffee daily anymore because of health reasons, at least not a whole carafe black like I used to. When I'm craving a little coffee treat though this is my new go-to. I have never really liked the taste of instant coffee but it's gotten so much better over the years! It's important to use a high quality instant coffee in this recipe so it won't taste as bitter, I will list a few brands in the notes. Funny story about instant coffee, I used to be so addicted to caffeine and strong black coffee that I would bring Starbucks instant coffee packs with me to restaurants, hotels, and even when I stayed at someone's home to add to their weak coffee! I'm glad I'm not quite as addicted as I used to be, but this latte is so good I could see it happening again! 



Ingredients

1 TBSP good instant coffee or 1 packet of Starbucks Via instant coffee

1 TBSP water

1 Cup milk of choice, I use Coconut

1 TBSP maple syrup or sweetener of choice 

1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( optional )

1 cup of ice or ice to the top of the mason jar

Directions
1) In a 16 oz. mason jar add the instant coffee and 1 TBSP of water, swirl to mix until coffee is somewhat dissolved. 

2) Add the milk, sweetener, vanilla extract, and ice.

3) Place the lid tightly on the mason jar and shake! This is optional, you can stir if you don't have a lid, but it helps to dissolve the instant coffee and crates a slight froth at the top of the latte.

4) Top with whip cream or dairy free whip cream!

Enjoy!

Note on instant coffee 

I like Mount Hagen Organic Fair-trade Instant Coffee, they are one of the only decaf instant coffee brands I have found that is Organic and also tastes good!

Starbucks VIA instant coffee is really good, it is strong and finely ground so you will only need one tiny pouch of the instant coffee instead of a TBSP if you use Starbucks VIA.