Peanut butter & chocolate surprise treats (sugar free)

peanut butter and chocolate surprise treats

I love sweet treats but I hate sugar, a real dilemma I know. It isn’t that I think sugar is terrible to eat, it’s that I know if I do eat it I will have to share with my daughter and one bite of sugar in her system and she’s bouncing off the walls for days. Today my chocolate craving hit HARD and I needed a sweet treat to get me through.

I found a few sugar-free chocolate  recipes on pinterest  but I wanted something  more than just chocolate. I thought it would be fun to add a surprise inside  chocolate peanut butter treats and my daughter agreed it was an awesome idea. I had sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, frozen banana and apple slices on hand  and some cute mini cupcake liners to make this fun recipe.

This is a great late night sugar craving snack, a good treat to reward a kiddo or a fun treat for a picnic or party. Let me know what you think and show me your results!

What you need

  • 1 1/3 C organic peanut butter
  • 1/4 c sugar free cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C coconut oil, I used Tropical traditions
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • treats to go inside: fresh, dried or frozen fruit or nuts… I used dried cranberries, apple slices, raisins, frozen banana and sunflower seeds
  • Mini cupcake or candy paper liners like these,ooh pretty!

How to make it

  • melt coconut oil and add to food processor or blender with peanut butter, cocoa powder and honey until blended
  • line a baking sheet with cupcake liners
  • Put treats in bottom of cupcake liners
  • pour mixture into liners until 3/4 full
  • put in freezer for at least an hour, overnight is best
  • store in a freezer bag in the fridge or freezer
  • enjoy!

**full disclosure: I was given a sample of a product used in this recipe. I was in no way obligated to use the product or review it. I only use products I love, trust  and have tested.

Grandway review & discount

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I recently partnered up with Grandway to review some of their fantastic products.WE did a review and giveaway over at Indie Ogden not too long ago so when the opportunity came up for a few bloggers to  try out some more of their products I made sure I got a spot. Grandway is an awesome company for many reasons and they are so much more than just a cute apron company.

Some of Grandway products are made in Honduras and offers employment opportunities to women and  those with special needs giving them a chance to  have a stable income in a place where jobs are rare.  Grandway also picks one  family or individual who has an urgent need  to perform a humanitarian project for each month using profits from sales.

I am excited to say that Grandway is now looking to open a sewing facility right here in Utah as well! Utah has been hit hard with unemployment lately and  this new sewing facility is going to have a big impact on local families; this is just another reason why you should support this awesome company!

Now on to the review! Inside my adorable package tied with a purple bow were 2 oil cloth aprons, 2 cotton aprons, oven mitts, dish gloves,  a magnetic key finder, a dry cleaning/laundry bag and a luggage tag.  Whew, so much cute!

As someone who gets pretty messy in the kitchen I was most excited about the oil cloth aprons. You probably recognize oil cloth mainly as a tablecloth or picnic blanket but as Grandway has shown they also make great aprons. The oilcloth aprons come with 4 pockets and are adjustable to just about any size. These aprons would be great for gardening, cooking , hair and clothing dying and even art projects. The best part of them is that they easily wipe clean with just a little water which means a lot less clean up after a messy project. They are discontinuing these rad aprons so get them while you can! 

The cloth aprons are my new favorite thing, the cutest aprons I have ever worn. It is really hard to feel adorable when you are cleaning or cooking up a storm but these aprons do the trick.  The size is adjustable to just about any size and  there is a big pocket to put your gloves or kitchen tools in.  Grandway has a wide selection of patterns and styles for you to choose from and none of them are even close to boring. Their oven mitts come in just as many patterns to match their aprons and can withstand quite high heats, even a 500 degree casserole bubbling hot out the oven!

As someone with sensitive skin I often have to use those hideous yellow cleaning gloves and when not in use I stash them away where no one can see. Grandway dish gloves are stylish and come in cute colors and I wanted to display them for all to see. Luckily they also sent me a magnetic key finder and since I happen to have magnetic cabinets I used this bedazzled clover to keep my gloves right next to the sink. You could probably even use this magnet on clothing as a pin that wont ruin your dress a well.

I have yet to use the luggage tag or laundry bag but I am taking a trip this summer and know they will come in handy.

Head over to http://www.shopgrandway.com/  and check out all their products and use the code “INDIE” for 10% off one apron!

 

**full disclosure: I was given a product used in this post. I was in no way obligated to use the product or review it. I only use products I love, trust  and have tested.

Vegan veggie mac & ‘cheese’

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My wisdom teeth are out but my mouth is still very much sore and eating  is still hard to do. As much as a I love yogurt and pudding and ice cream galore I needed something a bit more substantial to eat and today I was ready to try to eat food I could chew. My daughter loves mac n cheese but we both have the sniffles and cheese would only irritate  the problem so I decided to play with my old vegan cheese recipe and make a super creamy vegan veggie mac n cheese.

This recipe came out perfectly and I was able to eat it without pain and of course it was also delicious. This would be great with panko  bread crumbs on top to add crunch but since I didn’t want to hurt my already sore jaw I decided to leave it out and instead sprinkled flax meal and nutritional yeast on top. The flax added just enough crunch to satisfy that baked  crispy top I love but it was still soft enough to eat without much chewing.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you try  it let me know, I would love to see your results.

What you need

  • 6 tbsp earth balance
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch or arrow-root
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • half a head of cauliflower
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1.5 cups of nutritional yeast, you can find this in the winco bulk bins
  • 1 cup of a milk of choice (hemp, soy, oat , anything works)
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1 tbsp cracked red pepper
  • 1 box whole wheat macaroni shell pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp flax meal mixed with nutritional yeast and salt for topping ( optional)

How to make it

  • Cook pasta and set aside
  • Steam cauliflower and set aside (you can steam it over the pasta while it cooks)
  • Chop garlic and onion very fine and put in a sauce pan with earth balance
  • Coo until earth balance is melted
  • add flour, cornstarch and nutritional yeast and mix until blended
  • cook for a couple of minutes until thoroughly blended
  • whisk in milk and broth
  • add red pepper and salt and pepper and let come to a boil until it thickens
  • add to a blender with  cauliflower and blend until smooth and creamy
  • Grate zucchini and mix into a bowl with pasta
  • add “cheese” sauce over pasta nd mix thoroughly
  • add to a baking dish and top with the flax and nutritional yeast mixture if you want a bit of crunch on top
  • bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until bubbly

Quick and easy creamy potato soup

soup.jpgI had  all four of my wisdom teeth removed yesterday and with a swollen face and lots of after surgery pain I needed something easy to eat. I probably should have gone grocery shopping before hand but since I was a bit unprepared all I had in my house was a whole lot of yogurt and 1 carton of ice cream my husband ran out and purchased for me. When take out miso soup just didn’t cut it  and my husband was out running errands, I had to get out of bed and find something to make quickly.

This recipe turned out amazing and I ended up eating 3 bowls and feeling so much better. A little but of yummy food can really change how you feel in an instant. If you are sick, just got your wisdom teeth out or just need a  quick and easy soup to make then try this out.

Now I am heading back to bed with a full belly and some ice packs.

What you need

  • 4 red potatoes, unpeeled**
  • 1 whole yellow onion
  • half a head of  cauliflower
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 table spoons sour cream
  • 4 cloves of raw garlic
  • salt to taste

How to make it

  • In a pot add chopped potatoes, cauliflower onion,butter and chicken broth and boil until potatoes are soft
  • add veggies and broth to a blender, add  tad extra water or broth if needed
  • add sour cream, raw garlic and some sea salt
  • blend!

All done! I like to top mine with cold sour cream, I just love Nancy’s sour cream so much.

**why unpeeled potatoes? When compared ounce for ounce, potato skin has more nutrients that the rest of the potato. Potato skin contains B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and other nutrients. Potato skin also provides lots of fiber, about 2 grams per ounce.

PS: I love my new Grandway potholders! Check them out and expect giveaways soon! http://www.shopgrandway.com/

Beet & chicken crock pot chili

BeFunky_DSC09665.jpg  I have had a vintage crock pot for years but I only started using it recently and every time I finish an easy and delicious meal,  I kick myself for not using it sooner. On days when I have piles of laundry and cranky kiddos the crock pot is a life saver.

Beet chili is so yummy (and pretty) and  with chicken added it is a hearty filling meal. This is great for those people who think they hate beets (dad I am talking about you!)  and it is a great way to add some extra vitamins to chili. This recipe calls for lentils but I have also used quinoa in the past for extra protein and it was just as yummy!  For a vegetarian version just omit the chicken!

A lot of people say to use gloves while working with beets but personally I love when my hands get stained pink and really it does come off with soap and water. When I cut off the beet tops I give them to my daughter to make pretty beet art with and usually she ends up covered in hot pink beet juice. A couple baby wipes later and she is all clean!

What you need

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast ( omit for vegetarian version)
  • 4 large beets
  • 1 can organic pinto beans
  • 1 can organic kidney beans
  • 1 cup red lentils ( or quinoa for extra protein)
  • 2.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tsp cracked red pepper
  • salt to taste
  • sour cream, I like Nancy’s

How to  make it

  • cook chicken breast  in a tablespoon of olive oil until it is nice and done, chop into pieces  and add to crock pot
  • chop beets and onions and add to crock pot with minced garlic
  • add cans of beans and lentils
  • add chicken or veggie broth
  • add seasonings
  • turn crock pot on high for 1 hour, med for 1.5 hours, or low for 2 hours
  • make sure lentils are nice and soft
  • serve with a dollop of sour cream!

Easy & healthy gummy fruit snacks

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I have seen several home-made fruit snacks on pinterest and decided it was about time I gave it a try. My daughter loves Gummy fruit snacks and even though I only  buy the all natural kind I knew it  could be healthier and it had to be cheaper than 50 cents a bag for just a handful.

I let my daughter choose the flavor and  after studying the fruit bowl for half an hour she finally picked out 2 oranges, 1 lemon and  handful of strawberries. This recipe is so easy and took  just a few minutes to prepare, I just wish I made more since they were gone just as quickly as they were made.

These are a great treat for kids to help prepare so let them join in the fun! Enjoy and let me know if you try it, I’d love to see your results!

BeFunky_DSC09683.jpgWhat you need

  • 1 cup of berries ( we used strawberries)
  • 1 1/2 C of all natural fruit juice   and at last 1/2 c of citrus, ( we used fresh squezed orange and lemon)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 5 packages of gelatin , the more you use the firmer it will  be, ours were firm but still jiggled a bit. Next time I will use 6 packs.

How to make it

  • heat berries on the stove with honey until honey is melted
  • Pour juice  in food processor
  • Add gelatin to food processor and pulse until mixed
  • Add berry/honey mix and process until smooth
  • Pour onto a baking sheet lined in parchment paper or plastic
  • Stick in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes until it is firm, longer if you can wait…we couldn’t 🙂
  • Remove from fridge and cut into  preferred shapes, I couldn’t find my mini heart cutters so I just cut into squares.
  • Eat up!

Featured on simple dish!

Quick lunch: Beet broth udon

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My daughter woke up with a case of the sniffles and whineys  and I wanted to cheer her up a little.  One of her favorite movies is Ponyo and I usually make her a Ponyo lunch when she is feeling down.

Today I was making a crock pot of beet chili and  since I had an extra beet I decided to experiment a bit with tinting her udon noodles pink. She was quite excited when her lunch came out all pink and pretty and she ate 3 bowls and was back to her chipper self in  no time.

Ponyo lunch is always easy to make and this  beet broth udon lunch is just as easy. It is a quick way to get a full belly and a good excuse to pull out those chopsticks you never get to use. The best part of this lunch is that you can really add anything you like- edamame, chicken, ham or even leeks. Be creative!

What you need

  • udon noodles
  • 1 organic beet,  peeled
  • handful of organic spinach
  • 2 cups  organic chicken broth
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

How to make

  • Chop beet into chunks and boil in chicken broth until soft but still a bit hard, you don’t want them to mush up
  • In another pot boil udon until tender, I usually put the eggs in with the udon to cook as well to save time, drain and rinse in cold water
  • Put udon in a bowl  and pour beet and chicken broth over
  • Add spinach and let wilt
  • Top with beet chunks and hard-boiled egg sliced in half
  • Enjoy!

Whole wheat drop biscuits & turkey gravy

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Biscuits and gravy is a coat your belly, warm your soul, make all your cares go away  kind of comfort food and food that special should NEVER EVER come from a can or a box. In order for comfort food to  work its magic it  must be made from scratch with love.

Biscuits are incredibly easy to make and this recipe always comes out perfectly crisp on the outside  and moist and fluffy on the inside. The chunks of real butter inside create pockets of melted butter , yum! When there are leftover biscuits I like to spread on whipped honey and butter  but of course they are best with gravy and this gravy recipe is perfect.

Make this recipe on lazy weekends or for dinner on days when you aren’t feeling so wonderful for a quick and tasty mood booster.

Turkey gravy

What you need

  • Lean ground turkey ( or pork if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp flour ( I used whole wheat, it doesn’t matter which kind)
  • 1tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • sea salt to taste ( I used 1 tbsp)
  • 2 cups milk

How to make

  • Place sausage in a skillet with the oil and spices and cook on high until brown and crispy on the edges (I like my sausage super chunky and try not to break it up much)
  • Add flour and stir together until the flours is dissolved in the oils, cook for a few minutes until the flour is really saturated
  • With a whisk ( I actually use a pasta spoon because it doesn’t get sausage stuck in it) slowly stir in milk
  • Let milk boil for a couple of minutes then reduced the heat to low and let simmer and thicken
  • Add extra salt if needed

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Whole wheat drop biscuits

What you need

  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 C real butter
  • 1 cup + 4 tablespoons milk
  • pinch of salt

How to make

  • Mix together flour, salt and baking powder
  • Cut butter into chunks and thoroughly mix into flour with your hands, leave some chunks in to melt into biscuits
  • Add milk and mix in with a spoon, the dough will be sticky but still workable
  • Grab handfuls and gently squeeze in your hand to form balls or use a large spoon to drop them on a baking sheet
  • Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until brown on the edges

*They will make 6 handfuls or 12 spoonfuls, I prefer big fluffy biscuits so I usually just make 6. For small biscuits just ladle gravy over and for large biscuits cut in half before topping with gravy.

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Berry, lavender & coconut milk scones

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The weekend is here which means it’s time for a sugary sweet treat in our house. With the sun shining and the weather a bit warmer I was craving a treat  with a bit of lavender. Lavender is one of my favorite ingredients for sweet treats and it adds a subtle floral flavor to  your food and makes the house smells amazing when baking.

My daughter was having a sleepover as well and I wanted to make a pretty treat that the girls could eat with a cup of tea while wearing adorable  dress up clothes. Scones are super easy and quick to make and  with only 3 tablespoon of sugar they aren’t sweet enough to make the kids act like wild things all night long.

I have a yogurt & milk  scone recipe I usually use but since I had a bit of coconut milk left over from our valentines day dessert I decided to use it in place of milk to add a bit of flavor and yummies. This scone is super moist and even more so with the added berries. I guarantee these scones will go quickly, mine were almost gone before I could finish photographing them. Let me know what you think and I would LOVE to see your results!

What you need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup berries  (I used a bicture of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, i like Nancy’s
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, I use native forest
  • 1 tablespoon lavender

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How to make it:

  • preheat oven to 350
  • Mix flour, baking powder and lavender together
  • Cut  butter into chunks and  mix into flour  with your hands
  • Add berries and mix lightly until berries are completely covered in flour mixture
  • mix yogurt and coconut milk together
  • add into dough slowly, mixing with your hands until it is no longer sticky
  • form into a ball and put on a floured surface  and roll out to a 1/2 inch round
  • cut into 8 triangle pieces
  • Place on a greased baking sheet and cook at 300 for 15 minutes or until edges are brown
  • These scones will feel a bit  moist when you take them out the oven but will harden up once cooled

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Popcorn: Honey &curry, molasses & cinnamon, nutritional yeast, sriracha & lime

I Love popcorn, no I REALLY  love popcorn. I buy it so often that while I was browsing the produce section during my last grocery trip an employee stopped to let me know they were out but would be getting a shipment in soon. This incident wouldn’t be strange except that I never asked her, she just knew. I have a problem but at least it is a delicious one.

Eating popcorn so often can become boring so I try to experiment with popcorn flavors. Popcorn can be made virtually any way, I even eat it as cereal some mornings by adding a bit of milk and honey to plain  popcorn. Here are 4 of my favorite recipes for you to try,  and although some may seem strange you just have to trust me, they are delicious!

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Curry & Honey 
Ingredients

  • Coconut oil
  • Curry powder
  • Honey

Directions

Melt coconut oil and drizzle on a bowl of popcorn , shake bowl to distribute oil. Sprinkly with curry powder and honey and shake the bowl again.

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Molasses & Cinnamon
Ingredients:

  • Butter or margarine
  • molasses
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla

Directions

Melt butter and drizzle on popcorn. Mix 2 tbsp of vanilla with 6 tablespoons of molasses and drizzle on popcorn. Sprinkle cinnamon and shake bowl to distribute.

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Nutritional Yeast
Ingredients

Directions

Melt butter and drizzle on popcorn. sprinkle with sea salt and a generous heap of nutritional yeast. Shake bowl to distribute.

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Sriracha & Lime
Ingredients

Directions

Sprinkle lime juice on popcorn while shaking bowl. Drizzle sriracha on popcorn and top with a sprinkle on salt.