Recipe ReDeux: (Not So) Chunky Monkey Jars

I just signed up to be a member of Recipe ReDeux, and when I got the email I found out that I had 3 days before the first link up. AHHH!!! So exciting but AHHH!!

This months theme was “Raising the Bar on Food in a Jar”, and immediately my mind started inventing what I could make. I didn’t want to go the usual OIAJ route (I know I know. Its hardly normal to the “real world” to eat breakfast out of a peanut butter jar. But its too usual for me). I wanted to make something awesome for my first recipe redeux. Also, I wanted to bake (baking therapy is important to me). And I wanted chocolate pudding. So my thought process went a little like this:

Thinking. Thinking. Hmmm I really like the PB-Chocolate-Banana combo -chunky monkey is it?…Now turn that into a jar recipe…..barrel of monkeys…Chunkey Monkey Barrels…Chunky Monkey Jars!

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Well, this is chunky monkey’s health conscious cousin. You know, the one who buys health magazines and owns a gym membership.

She’s not so chunky, but every bit as delicious-if not more so. She is also infinitely more well-put together, and prepared and balanced. She is ready for breakfast or dessert. Or both.

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A dense peanut butter banana muffin, a thick and rich chocolate mousse, and a sweet and sticky peanut butter mousse all layered together with fresh banana slices.

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Decadent enough for dessert, yet healthy and balanced enough for breakfast!

Chunky Monkey Jars

serves 4

For the banana bread layer:

  • 2/3 C whole spelt flour
  • 3 T. peanut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 super ripe, medium bananas
  • 1/2 T. nut butter
  • 1/4 C. nondairy milk + 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 T. raw sugar
  • 3 T. stevia baking blend (or more sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 325. Lightly grease the insides of four small (8-10 oz) jars. In a medium sized bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and powder, and salt together. In a small bowl, mash the bananas then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add liquid to dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Scoop batter evenly into the jars (about 1/4 C per), place jars on a cookie sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes (toothpick test!) Allow jars to cool COMPLETELY before filling with mousses (can put in fridge once they are cool to the touch)

For Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 medjool dates
  • 2/3 c nondairy milk
  • 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 C. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp stevia extract

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Keep in fridge until ready to use!

For Peanut Butter Mousse

  • 1 C. cooked chickpeas
  • 6 oz (1/2 package) silken tofu
  • 2-3 heaping TB Peanut Butter (or almond, sunbutter)
  • 1/2 C. peanut flour/PB2
  • 1 date
  • 1/2 a ripe banana
  • dash salt
  • 3/4-1 tsp stevia extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or peanut butter extract

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth. If it is too thick, add some nondairy milk. Too thin, add more nut butter, peanut flour, or a pinch of xanthan gum. Keep in fridge until ready to use!

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For assembly! Once the jars and muffins are completely cool, top muffins with a layer of one flavor of mousse, then a few banana slices (if you wish), and top it off with the other flavor of mousse (There may be extra of the peanut butter mousse)! Serve right away, or put a lid on it and keep it in the fridge for later!

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These are awesome because they are perfectly portioned for a quick breakfast or a healthy dessert, and can be made a day or two in advance! Also, it comes in a jar, which as everyone knows, means they taste better than your average, un jarred parfait. For bigger portions (maybe more large-meal sized??) split into two or three peanut butter jar sized jars!

Good thing this makes four! I made these for my family of three for dessert, and may or may not have finished the last one the next morning for breakfast 😉 I’m just a crazy monkey I guess!!

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WIAW beginning of the end

Its the last few days of summer….But its also WEDNESDAY!!!!!

On a slightly unrelated note, am I the only one who, when writing Wednesday out, says weD-NES-day in my head?Un-Tangent. On with the eats!!!photo-222Since my breakfasts have still been mostly smoothie bowls, I didn’t take pictures of them. BUT I did take a picture when I DIDNT have a smoothie for breakie!!! Here we have oatmeal topped with grapes, apple and strawberries, all smothered in peanut butter sauce. Basically PB&J but with the whole fruits!! Grapes on oatmeal? Actually pretty good!!photo-224And once I got reeeeaaallllyyy fancy and made pancakes!!! Using Living Intentions sprouted super flour (review coming soon!) I made sweet cinnamon almond pancakes with peanut butter banana fluff and peaches -so good!! Why don’t I make creative (read not oatmeal or smoothies) breakfasts more often??photo-215Monster salads have always been making lunch appearances. Lettuce, all the veggies, a multitude of condiments, beans and world peas, and nutritional yeast 🙂 photo-217I decided to give Kevita another chance…nope still like Kombucha better.photo-227My latest smoothie obsession has been using frozen cantaloupe -so I got two just to freeze….insert inappropriate jokes about melons and balls here. Yes, I am in fact still a teenager. 😉photo-219A delicious vegan meal at Baagan that I shared with my momma the other day -massaged kale salad, mushroom quesadillas and a morrocan millet salad (MUST RECREATE)photo-225Oh wait, no, i can’t go one single WIAW without a smoothie bowl. But I actually didn’t have this for breakfast! This was a really super late dinner that I didn’t feel like cooking for, and it was like dessert and dinner at the same time (don’t let the color fool you, it was sweet and fruity and also our kitchen is yellow so the lighting is icky haha!)photo-220I blended up soy yogurt, bananas, and frozen berries then stuck it in the ice cream machine and BAM instant froyo!! So good, it tasted like Jamba Juice!photo-218Fruit has been absolutely gorgeous lately -I think its my favorite subject to photograph!photo-226Of course, cookies are always pretty too 😉 Oatmeal raisin cookies I baked for my mom’s class!!photo-223Cinnamon espresso ice cream that I made and yet have no recipe for because I was just creating! Sorry!!! But it was good!photo-221And lastly, my favorite food picture of the week.  Cherries. Gosh I love summer!!!photo-214And in other news!! I dropped my little sister off for her first day of kindergarten this morning!!! Ahhh she is getting so big!!! I don’t start school till monday, but I wanted a kindergarten/senior year photo so I wore my senior shirt (yes, I made it). I can’t believe that this day has come-time flies so quickly!!! Today is the last day to enter my Journey Bar giveaway!! I will pick a winner tonight so check back soon!!

Without Context

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Sometimes

A word, A phrase, An idea (a recipe)

will pitch a tent in my mind

and refuse to leave

A guest which outstays its welcome

perhaps.

I think to myself

this would make a good poem

this fragment of a line

and it will not leave me be

until it is permanent

on paper

in what context?

there is none.

just pieces

and bits

of my thoughts

floating on a page

until at last they find a home.

shoes pounding the pavement in sync with the heartbeat of the earth

as I float round the river in my blue froot loop

we wash the live, rich creations of the world off in a sterile, plastic tub

isn’t poetry grand!

when no rhymes are required?

or even if they are?

just thoughts

floating on a page

without context

until I build them a home

with nothing but a pen.

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Cinnamon Sugar Plantains

Because some recipes are so simple, they would rather live with no context.

  • 2 over ripe plantains
  • coconut sugar
  • cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Peel and slice your plantains into coin sized pieces 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon and roast for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, flip, and sprinkle the other side with a little more cinnamon and sugar. Roast 5 more minutes, broiling at the end if you wish. Let cool before serving

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 T. Peanut butter, flour or PB2
  • splash of almond milk
  • 3-4 drops chocolate stevia or 1 tsp cocoa powder plus sweetener of choice to taste

Mix it aaallll together, flavor to taste, and get dipping!!

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WIAW summer (finally!) edition

Happy first WIAW of Summer Break!! Whoo!!! Let’s give a round of applause to the lovely Jenn who puts on this party!!

I’ve made it my goal this summer to try and have one smoothie or juice every day (or at least almost every day), and so I’ve been starting every morning out with a green smoothie! It’s nice to wake up my tummy and body with all those nutrients so easily available, and it has so far seemed to wake me up and prevented bloating through out the day (sorry, I get bloated easily…#addictedtowatermelon #andsquash 😉 )

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The past few days I’ve had it with apple, celery, lemon, ginger, water or coconut water, spinach and ice, and today I exchanged the ice and apple for frozen watermelon and added some parsley 🙂

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After my smoothie its time for breakfast!!! oats with blueberries and peanut butter…

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and stepping way outside my comfort some with a PBB(C)BJ. Hahaha! This was like, 3 fear foods at the same time :bread (more than 1 slice), a banana (one of the still wary fruits for me) and generally a PBJ. And what, pray tell, is the (C)B part??

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Coconut Bacon!! Please, please, please go make this ‘bacon’. It is addicting and amazing and insanely like bacon, as in it has the crunch texture that tempeh does not. I never even liked real bacon before I was vegan (too greasy and often burned) but this, this was delicious. But follow the directions. I know someone who almost shunned the recipe because she used shredded coconut, hot sesame oil, too much liquid smoke, and then burned it. Yeah, don’t do that. Do it this way…

Oh and by the way, the sandwich was delicious 😉 (tangent: Like my blueberry smile? That was a fail at cutting a loaf of bread, I only got the crust haha)

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Of course, I didn’t follow my routine when I made yesterday’s Cake Batter Milkshake for breakfast. Because it felt a little silly to have a smoothie followed by a smoothie ;).

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Lunches have mostly been salads. Obviously! They are such a perfect canvas: This one had lentils, grapes, broccoli, pepper, BBQ world peas, and a creamy dressing out of ketchup and a home made vegan tofu mayo. Plus squash on the side. Why fix something if it ain’t broke?

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Apple, cucumber, honey mustard, basalmic, and sea salt chickpeas that I won from Caitlin’s giveaway. They were kind enough to send me four flavors of chickpeas and one bar, since two of the three bars had dairy.

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They came in the mail right as we were leaving for a shopping trip, so they came in perfect handy when it was snack time! I thought these ones tasted like spicy fruit loops. I think everything with lime in it tastes like fruit loops though haha!

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These were my favorite of the savory ones! I haven’t tried the cinnamon ones, or the trail mix bar yet, but I am soon!! Thank you Caitlin, for my new addiction 😉

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Of course, I have switched it up a bit for lunches too! We made breakfast for lunch one day, with banana cinnamon french toast made with fresh Health Starts Here bread from Whole Paycheck, topped with fresh fruit, and a tofu scramble with more coconut bacon on top:)

One thing I haven’t taken a picture of? The sheer MASS of fresh fruit I’ve been eating. Like, at least my weight in fruit. Cherries, melon, berries, apples, you name it:) Summer, you’re my favorite:)

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I made sun tea for the first time ever!!! This was ginger peach, and it was so delicious!!

photo-129I also had my first evolution juice! It was…saltier…than I expected (celery) but really good!! I want a juicer so bad!!!

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We finished off the last of that raw german chocolate cake from Practically Raw (chef amber shea’s blog). If you have this cookbook, make this now. If you don’t, go get the cookbook (its an ebook) and make it now. Sooo good:)

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And, of course, my Birthday Cake Ice Cream🙂 This is post photo shoot, Yes its in a glass. Yes I licked it anyway. Ice cream tastes better without that pesky spoon amiright???

Don’t forget to check in later for day 3 of Birthday Week!! I have some cookies for youu!!!!!

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How’s your summer been lately??

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

I was never really a chocolate candy kid. Or marshmallows (Peeps are nasty, sorry). Or Jelly beans (except jelly bellys, sometimes). I liked the fruity stuff -skittles, starbursts, ya know. Only liked chocolate if it had nuts, but even then, a little went a long way. Heck, there was one Easter when I confidently started a Snickers chocolate egg, only to save 3/4 of it for later…Lets just say that almost a year later I still hadn’t touched it and now needed industrial cleaning equipment to get the melted chocolate/sticky caramel/bright foil mess off of my dresser 😉

So it surprised me when, the night before Easter, I was hit with a MASSIVE craving for chocolate easter candy. Especially a Reese Egg (The only chocolate candy I really liked). But alas, we had none in the house. I ate a few chocolate almonds, but nope. I searched for something to quell that craving, finally resorting to the second half of an old, refrigerated Vega 1 candy bar. It got the chewy candy craving quieted for the meantime, but my brain had already been turning motors…

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Easter afternoon, I set out to make some. But not just any normal vegan PB cup, I wanted these to be PB to the max. So I used peanut butter, peanut butter extract, peanut flour, and peanut butter cereal to create the ultimate filling. And I didn’t mess around with any ‘equal chocolate to PB’ ratios.

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Nope. A nice thin chocolate coating surrounding a thick Peanut buyer filling. Just the way it should be.

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FYI, Its a very messy process. I left much evidence 😉

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Super Peanut Butter Cups

  • 3/4 C. dark chocolate chips, melted 
  • scant 3/4 C Better n PB or regular PB (I used BTPB because it has an already carmelly sweet and salty thing join on, and we only had bland regular PB 🙂 )
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1/8 tsp butter extract
  • 1/8 tsp Peanut butter extract
  • 1 T. PB2 or Peanut flour
  • 1/4 C. xylitol
  • 3/4 C. crushed peanut butter cereal (PB Toast Crunch)

I used 3 mini cupcake trays with foil liners. Melt your chocolate in the microwave (Safe bowl, microwave for 2 minutes at 50%, stir, then at 50% in 20 second increments until all melty). Put a little chocolate in each liner and use your finger (its messy, but works best) to spread it all around the inside of the liners. Put the trays in the freezer to re-harden while you prepare PB mixture.

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In a small pot on the stove over medium heat, melt the PB and AB together. Add your flavors, sweetener, and PB2. Mix and taste, in case you need to make any changes. stir in the crushed cereal and turn off the heat. Put a small spoonful of PB mixture in each chocolate cup until full and put back in freezer for a few minutes.

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Re melt your chocolate, if needed, and then use your finger again to swirl a coating of chocolate onto of each PB cup. Garnish with a bit of cereal or nuts. keep in refrigerator

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Note, these are really sweet when you first make them, but they totally mellow out and meld together the second day after being kept in the fridge. And no, it doesn’t taste like an unsweetened, nasty, ‘peanut butter cup’ candy thing. It tastes like it should. Got it? Good.

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Craving = Satisfied 🙂

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What was your favorite candy growing up?

Chocolate or fruity? Nuts or no nuts?

Peanut Butter Swirl [black bean] Brownies

See, I can never just follow a recipe…

I always look at it, go mmm that looks really good, I wonder how it would be if I (insert 10,000 substitutions and additions here). Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes not so great. Usually the not so great is at least good enough to just slap a different name on it and call it good though (ie when over spread sugar cookies become ‘sugar cookie crumble ice cream topping’).



And then, there are times (such as this) when I start out following a recipe, then mix it with another, completely different one and blow everyones mind…and then i still change it, based on what sounds good.

But what I love is when I take a recipe and tweak it just enough to make it both my own and completely wholesome but still tasty (and safe) for everyone to eat. No need to thank me, the “ohmigawdthisisamazing:D:D:D” will do.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Swirl [black bean] Brownies

vegan, sugar free, low fat, high protein

(inspired by Lindsay’s Black Bean Brownies and Katie’s Genius Blondies)

For the brownies:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C. dates, pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 C. + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa (i like Hershey’s special dark)
  • 2 T. unsweetened Carob powder
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 C. old fashioned oats
  • almond milk, as needed
  • stevia (or other sweetner) as needed

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 13×9 inch pan, set aside. In a food processor, process the dates to a paste, adding almond milk as you go a little at a time until you get a smooth consistensy (dont add much, you dont want it over-liquidy). Add all ingredients (except oats and stevia) to food processor and blend until smooth, scraping sides down as neccessary. Taste, and adjust sweetness and consistensy as you like (with milk and stevia), then add oats and pulse them until mixed. Spread your batter into the pan and set aside. Don’t forget to eat any and all extra batter from food processor (so you can check for poison 😉

for the peanut butter blondie swirl:

  • 1 can garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C dates
  • 1/4 C nut butter (i used almond, because my mom can’t have peanut oil, but regular peanut butter is highly recommended) or 2 T. nut butter + 2 T. canned pumpkin or cooked sweet potato
  • 1/4 C. PB2 or peanut flour, or to taste (helps with PB flavor if not using real PB)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tsp peanut butter extract (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch sea salt (i like pink sea salt, because its more ‘buttery’)
  • 1-2 T. ground flax plus 1-2 T. oats
  • 1/3 C. chocolate or carob chips (i used 1/2 and 1/2)
  • stevia or other sweetner, to taste
  • almond milk, as needed

Follow same proceedure as for the brownies, (you know, except for the oven-heating and pan-greasing), pulsing in chocolate chips at end so they are mixed in but not chopped up). Scoop the batter on top of the brownie batter, spread it out lightly, and then swirl them together (or if you fail at swirling, like i did this time, just mix it together in the pan and call it good). If you want, sprinkle the top with crushed pretzels (like I did), more chocolate chips, peanut butter chips (if you’re not vegan), or anything really, get creative! (a drizzle of caramel sauce would also be good, or peanut butter, or…..see what i told you?!?!)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean (or until your mom freaks out “it smells like burning” and your like “It didn’t burn!!!!! just the stuff on the sides got crispy!!”). ignore the fact that you just have to wait until they come out of the oven to get a good picture…

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares…

or eat ooey gooey from the oven. I wont judge:)

Yum. That was good.

Options:

  • make it cookie dough-swirled brownies by ommitting PB2 and peanut extract, and using almond or cashew butter in the blondie batter (this is what we did the first time)
  • use above cookie dough option, but add coconut and a little butter extract, plus sprinkles to make it cake-batter swirled brownies. Also, add extra sprinkles. You can never have enough sprinkles.
  • make a grahm cracker crust, put chocolate chips in the brownie layer, and add extra vanilla and marshmallows to the cookie dough blondies to make smores flavor. top with marshmallow cream, chocolate sauce, and crushed grahm cracker for a really decadent treat
  • play around with different extracts and ideas of your own until you come up with completely different (and amazing) recipes all your own!

I’ve learned that it is perfectly fine to take a recipe and make it your own, experimenting is always the best part of any baking experience (besides licking the bowl). Just make sure your oven is always clean. If not, it might set on fire during preheating, forcing you to make cookies in muffin liners in the toaster. been there. done that.

But thats another story for another time…