Chocolate zucchini cupcakes & chocolate bacon frosting

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAToday we got a taste of spring sunshine and I was really in the mood for a picnic. Sadly it was still too cold to actually sit outside so my daughters and I had an indoor tea party with all of their little Russian dolls and these yummy chocolate zucchini cupcakes.

The best part of zucchini cupcakes  ( besides being delicious) is of course getting a little extra veggies in the kiddos diet without a fuss. Luckily my kids love veggies but even they can be stubborn about eating sometimes.  These are lightly sweet and oh so yummy and the frosting has a hint of salty bacon in it making them a little extra special.

What you need

Cupcakes

  • 1 medium-large zucchini
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Frosting

 

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of bacon grease ( you can use chopped cooked bacon for ‘sprinkles’!)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • A few drops of water as needed

 

How to make it

Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • in one bowl mix flour, cocoa powder,  baking powder & soda and salt together and set aside
  • Grate zucchini finely
  • in a bowl mix zucchini, eggs and honey
  • Melt coconut oil
  • Add coconut oil to dry ingredients and mix well
  • add zucchini mixture to flour mixture and mix well
  • add batter to a greased muffin tin
  • reduce oven to 300 and bake for 15 minutes or until done

Frosting

 

  • In a kitchen aid or in a bowl with a mixer whisk together cocoa powder and corn starch until fully blended
  • add coconut oil and honey slowly and whisk in
  • whisk in bacon grease
  • add a few drops of water if needed until consistency is like frosting
  • Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
  • (coconut oil may clump together once cooled, just whisk again to blend or not if you don’t care )

 

 

 

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Easy sugar cookies and Utah love from Revolutah

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I am hosting a giveaway with Revolutah over on my other blog (Giveaway HERE)  and they were kind enough to send me this adorable cookie cutter to show off. What better way to show my Utah pride than with some delicious cookie love?

Sugar cookies are the easiest cookies to make and you can really do anything with them. Sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, drizzle chocolate, add sprinkles,  whip up some colorful frosting or pipe on pretty designs, the possibilities really are endless.  These cookies are a breeze to whip up and roll out very nicely without getting sticky.

Use any cookie cutter you can dream up but if you are a lover of all things Utah, like myself, then head over to Revolutah and pick one of these gems up for yourself!

What you need

  • 3/4 C unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract ( or vanilla)
  • 2.5 C flour
  • pinch of salt

How to make it

  • preheat oven to 275
  • Cream together butter and sugar
  • add eggs and vanilla and whisk together well
  • in a separate bowl mix together flours, baking powder and salt
  • slowly add flour mixture until it all comes together
  • put in the fridge for at least a half hour
  • separate into 3 balls
  • roll out one ball at a time and cut out your cookie shapes
  • sprinkle with sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes until  light brown on the edges
  • eat up!

Chocolate, coffee crunch bars

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When you need chocolate you NEED chocolate so it’s always a good idea to store some for those days when the craving hits hard. This is one of those recipes born out of desperation, during a particularly fierce chocolate craving I gathered up some baking supplies and whipped this up. To my surprise ( and relief) these bars came out amazing and are now my new favorite treat.

This recipe makes quite a lot especially if you cut them into  2 inch squares. Store them in a bag in the freezer for emergencies  but remember to hide them behind the veggies so no one else eats them.
What you need

  • 1 c dark chocolate chips ( Or carob to make this vegan!) plus a handful for good luck
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 6 cups rice krispies cereal, you can get it in bulk at Winco for so cheap!
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of fine ground coffee, espresso grind is best
  • coarse sea salt

How to make it

  • Melt chocolate and coconut oil together
  • in a big bowl mix together  rice krispies , ground coffee and melted chocolate mix until mostly coated
  • throw in your handful of chocolate chips for good luck
  • press into a baking dish lines with wax paper.  I used a deep baking pan for bars but you can do a baking dish for thicker slices.
  • Using a sheet of wax paper, press your bars into the dish gently to help it all stay together
  • sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt
  • put into the freezer for half hour to an hour until hardened
  • cut into pieces and devour!

Blueberry coffee cake

Our morning coffee ritual is  a very important part of our marriedlife. Every morning my husband puts the kettle on, grinds coffee and brews a fresh cup in the french press and we enjoy our coffee together before the kids get up and he has to go to work. It is precious time we have together  and  of course the coffee is fantastic as well.

Some days I like to include my daughters in the ritual and when the kiddo wakes up we put on dresses and walk around the corner to our favorite neighborhood cafe for hot cocoa. These little moments are the ones I cherish the most so when father’s day rolled around I wanted to make our morning ritual just a bit more special.

My husbands absolute favorite food in all of the universe is blueberries. Any kind of blueberry concoction will do, pie is his favorite, fresh jam second best  but my newest recipe might just be a  new top fave.

Coffee cake is the perfect sweet treat to go with morning coffee and adding blueberries makes even better. This cake is super moist inside and crispy and sweet on the outside. The blueberries sink to the bottom creating a  gooey layer  of berry goodness.  It is a nice light cake that wont weigh you down first thing in the morning

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWhat you need

  • 1/2 c vanilla yogurt, I like Nancy’s sweetened with honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbs real unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 c FROZEN blueberries, you can use fresh but you might get a soggy cake, use frozen for best results
  • For topping
  • 1/4 cup each of butter, flour and sugar

How to make it

  • preheat oven to 350
  • in a mixer whip together butter and sugar
  • add eggs and yogurt and whisk until completely blended
  • in a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda/powder and salt
  • toss frozen blueberries in the flour until completely coated
  • fold in wet mixture
  • pour into a greased springform or cake pan
  • for topping, crumble together flour, butter and sugar and sprinkle on top of cake batter
  • bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and a fork comes out clean.

Almond & flax meal chocolate macaron

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I was having a baked sweet treat craving, I wanted cupcakes or cake or pie or something warm out the oven…and then I realized I used the last of the flour to make baked donuts the other day. I tried eating a spoonful of honey but it didn’t do any good, I needed to bake and I needed to bake now.

Thanks to Google I found one treat I could make without flour, macarons! But, of course I only had a handful of almonds, could this baking misadventure get any worse. Finally I stopped pouting, put on my apron, and got to work. After a bit of experimenting I made these scrumptious almond & flax meal macarons with a yummy chocolate cream cheese filling.

These may not be the most beautiful designer macarons but when something tastes this good, you don’t need perfection. Perfect as a light snack or midnight sugar craving or really any time of the day…do you need an excuse for chocolate?

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 cup + 4 tbsp of powdered sugar for filling ( make it yourself it’s easy!  sugar + corn starch  in blender voila!)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder + 2 tbsp coco powder for filling
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp regular sugar
  • 1/4 c cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp milk

How to make it

cookie

  • Put almonds and flax meal in a blender, blend until fine
  • add powdered sugar  and cocoa ,  blend for a few minutes until nice and fine like flour
  • In a mixer or with a hand blender beat the egg whites until they rise and get fluffy and stiff
  • beat in the regular sugar
  • gently fold in the flour/sugar/cocoa mix
  • fold until there are no egg white streaks
  • put into a pasty bag or zip lock bag
  • pipe the macarons onto  a baking sheet lined in parchment paper, about a tbsp per cookie
  • tap the baking pan to remove bubbles and flatten
  • bake at 300 for for about 15 minutes
  • remove from baking sheet right away so it wont overcook

Filling

  • In a bowl mix together cream cheese, cocoa, milk and powdered sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy
  • spread onto a cookie and top with another
  • enjoy!

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Gluten free chocolate cakey brownies

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When I think of gluten-free the first thing that comes to mind is cardboard. I have tried several gluten-free brands  at the grocery store and after the first bite my daughter and I give each other a “what the  heck were we thinking”  look and spit it all out.

One time a friend made me gluten-free brownies and I thought that since they were home-made they would be delicious but when she handed me a dense chocolate mass that looked suspiciously like cardboard I had my doubts and my doubts were spot on. I politely chewed and chewed and chewed for eternity until I finally worked up the courage to swallow so when I got my hands on some quinoa flour I was determined to make something edible. If you add enough chocolate even cardboard is edible right?

I gathered up everything that makes baked goods fluffy- baking soda, baking powder a couple eggs…a couple more eggs. I was determined to make this gluten-free good delicious and I was also determined to make these brownies look the opposite of cardboard. Much to my surprise,and relief, these turned out really good! The brownies turned out to be more like a nice moist cake so perhaps I was a bit too generous with the eggs, either way it was not only edible  it was go back for seconds yummy.

I am quite proud of this recipe especially since it means I can now make tasty things for my friend who has Celiac disease! I hope you enjoy this yummy treat either as a brownie or cake but either was it’s perfect with ice cream!

What you need

  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1/4 c yogurt
  • 1/4 c coffee (as in the kind of you drink, I made mine dark in the  french press )
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1.5 c quinoa flour, I used bob’s red mills
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to make it

  • In a mixer or with a hand blender whisk together the butter, cocoa, yogurt, vanilla, sugar, eggs and coffee
  • in a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and soda and salt
  • fold wet ingredients to dry ingredients until combined
  • bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until fork comes out clean from the middle

Fig, raspberry & goat cheese pastry

fig, raspberry goat cheese pastry

I have been on a sweets kick, that and every time I try to photograph my savory dishes I can’t seem to get a good photo.  I don’t know why but when ever I try to photograph dinner it just does not look as pretty as it tastes. Perhaps it is the time of day and the light  or my family pacing behind me waiting  patiently to eat; What ever it is, it stinks and I wish I could have shown you all the salmon, goat cheese and chard tart I made for late lunch but I can’t.

At least I was able to snap a few photos of this pastry before it was devoured by the girl child and the mischievous dog! This pastry was a last-minute sweet tooth concoction and It was so yummy. This is a good quick sweet treat and would be so good with a scoop of yogurt for breakfast  or ice cream for dessert… or in bed  while watching reruns of  project runway in your jammies.

What you need

  • puff pastry or handmade if you are  champ try this recipe
  • 1/4 c  figs
  • 2 tbs raspberry jam
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 c goat cheese
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 egg  white
  • a few tbsp of raw sugar or regular sugar

How to make it

  • thaw pastry dough or make your own like a boss…or someone without hungry kids
  • finely chop figs
  • mix goat cheese and honey together
  • add orange zest and juice
  • mix in jam and figs
  • cut pastry dough into  4 inch long rectangles
  • place a heaping spoonful of the mix into center of dough
  • fold over and press edges with a fork
  • brush egg whites onto top of pastry
  • sprinkle with sugar
  • bake at 300 for about 10-12 minutes

Whole wheat baked donut holes

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I know I know, I am a health food junkie,  a lover of all things real and pure and good for my body  so what the heck am I doing posting a recipe for donuts ? The truth is, even though I love health food sometimes a girl just has to have a donut and  no matter how many spoonfuls of honey  you eat,  you STILL want a friggin’ donut.

I have been craving donuts for days-sweet, sugary  and fried bites of clouds. I didn’t want to walk down to topper bakery or fry anything in my house so  I skimmed through some recipes and after seeing how long they take I started to feel a bit defeated. Finally when the craving was too much to bear any longer I sucked it up and started my project.

At first I tried a recipe I found on a food blog and it failed miserably. I check the recipe over and over to see where I went wrong, I was substituting whole wheat flour but it shouldn’t have bombed that badly.  I had a mound of dense rock hard dough on my counter…useless. I tried the recipe again making some tweaks just in case it was my high elevation that was the problem….rock hard again.

Finally, I tossed the recipe and started from scratch.After a few tantrums and a bit of sobbing and yes begging the flour to produce a donut (just one donut PLEASE! ) I finally came up with a recipe that produced the fluffiest whole wheat donut holes I ever devoured in 3 seconds flat.

These donuts are heavenly and perfect and so good it hurts…especially if you eat 7 in a row.  They do take a little while to make but the end result is so worth the wait. I made these with both cinnamon and sugar and for the adventurous  foodie – cinnamon , sugar, cocoa and  a pinch of cayenne. They are best hot and fresh but I certainly would not say no to cold ones later in the day.

What you need

  • 1 c warm milk
  • 3 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon sugar & melted butter for topping

How to make it

  • Whisk warm milk and yeast in a standing mixer until dissolved
  • whisk in 1/2 c of the flour
  • let sit for 10 minutes
  • whisk in eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar
  • whisk in butter
  • slowly add the remaining flour little by little until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides
  • the dough will be  a bit sticky, as long as it forms a ball this is ok
  • put in a greased bowl and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size
  • put in the fridge or freezer if it is too sticky to handle, I found that 20 minutes in the freezer worked wonders
  • Roll of on a floured surface 1/4 inch thick
  • use a cookie cutter or measuring cup ( like me) to cut into small circles about 1.5 inches
  • place on a cookie sheet and let sit for about half hour until it double in sizes again
  • bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, do not over cook, these cook quickly and only need a bit of baking to retain their fluffy insides.

Topping 

  • Melt butter in a bowl and put cinnamon sugar in another bowl
  • brush donut holes with butter and drop in cinnamon sugar bowl until coated
  • enjoy!

whole wheat baked donut holes

Super food parfait

super food parfait: chia, quinoa, yogurt, cashew butter and more

My friend Shae just came back from a trip to Austin, Texas raving about a frozen yogurt hemp seed amazing parfait concoction. I knew as soon as she described it that I had to have one so I set out to try to make one myself. I didn’t want a sweet dessert but a super food parfait sounded like the perfect breakfast.

The great thing about a parfait is that you can literally put ANYTHING you want into it, whatever you have on hand! I happened to have a ton of  dried fruit, nuts and grains on hand since I just did our monthly shopping haul at Winco.  This was a little labor intensive this first time around since I made home-made coconut whipped cream, frozen banana puree and raw cashew butter from scratch but now that I have them on hand it will go a lot quicker tomorrow and the next day and the next. Yup, this is now my go to breakfast treat and I just can’t get enough.

Here are the ingredients I used but feel free to mix it up anyway you want with different fruits, nuts or grains! Let me know how you made your super food parfait! Next time I am going to try a green parfair by adding some spinach or kale to the banana puree and maybe some  mango when it’s in season!

*The night before or at least 4 hours prior to making this put your bananas and can of coconut milk in the freezer if you are using them

What I used

  • Yogurt- I used Nancy’s  vanilla yogurt
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • home-made raw cashew butter , just throw some cashews and a tiny bit of water in a food processor, voila!
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 frozen bananas pureed
  • handful of almonds, crushed
  • a few tablespoons date pieces
  • a few tablespoons dried cranberries

How to make it

  • Cook quinoa with half the can of coconut milk plus 1 cup water and a few tablespoon sweetener of choice, I used honey.
  • when done add chia seeds to quinoa and let cool
  • In an electric mixer ofr with a hand blender whip the rest of the coconut milk with a bit of tapioca powder and honey
  • put it in the freezer until your parfait is complete
  • in a bowl or glass layer the quinoa, yogurt, berries, banana puree, cashew butter and dried fruit
  • top with coconut  whipped cream and crushed almonds
  • Enjoy!

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.