Fudgesicles

Coconut Fudgesicle

Coconut Fudgesicle

One of my favorite treats as a kid was a fudge pop. Back then they were sold as the low-fat, low-calorie version of ice cream.   Not that any of that mattered to me , I was 7!  I just really enjoyed the creamy chocolate treat!  Back then fudgesicles contained 3 or 4 key ingredients, Milk, chocolate, and cream.  That is a far cry from the ingredient list we see today on a fudgepop box.  When formulating this recipe, I wanted to stick to what made fudgesicles great when I was little, a few ingredients and not much else.  I switched out the milk for coconut milk, and added some coconut cream for richness, the result—-Heaven–creamy fudge heaven!  I didn’t add any extra sugar to this, for my palate it didn’t need it.  My daughter and husband both loved these without any added sugar as well.  However, if you like fudgesicles on the sweeter side, add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to the mix before freezing.  Although I used coconut milk and cream as a base for these, you can use milk and cream, or just use milk.  You can also use my recipe for Chocolate Tofu Pudding just freeze and enjoy!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Freeze time: 4-6 hours

Makes 4-6 pops

Ingredients: 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chopped

1 tablespoons of unsweetened  cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of coconut milk

3/4 cup of coconut cream

Special equipment: Popsicle molds

Directions: Add the milk, cream and cocoa powder to a sauce pan over medium heat, and whisk until well combined and mixture is just below a simmer–DO NOT BOIL!!! Remove from heat.  Add in chopped chocolate, and whisk until all the chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla extract. image Divide the mixture evenly among the popsicle molds image Freeze for 4-6 hours or until solidly frozen. Follow your popsicle molds instructions for removing pops from molds and enjoy!   image

Strawberry Apple Fruit-roll ups

 

Strawberry Apple Fruit Roll-Ups

Strawberry Apple Fruit Roll-Ups

Now that summer has arrived we are constantly on the go.  Which means that we spend much more time in the car.  My daughter does surprisingly well on car rides, however, she does better if I am armed with plenty of games to fill her time, and of course snacks don’t hurt.  She is extremely fond of apple strings–apples that I run through my vegetable spiralizer on the spaghetti attachment, however they oxidize so quickly after making them, I like to save those for home snacks.  Enter fruit roll-ups, she loves them and they are extremely travel friendly.  If you follow this blog, then you know I have several recipes for fruit rolls ups my tropical punch fruit roll-ups are my absolute favorite, but the pineapple, or strawberry fruit roll ups are equally as delicious!

 

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Ingredients:

10 ounces of strawberries stems removed

2 medium sized apples, cores removed

Directions: Place the strawberries and apples in a blender and blend until smooth.

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Pour the mixture out onto a parchment lined sheet and smooth into a thin layer.

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Place in a dehydrator on 134 for 4-6 hours, or in a oven on the lowest setting for 4-6 hours.

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Fruit roll-ups are done when you can peel them off of the parchment without them sticking.

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Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cookies

 

Flourless Chocolate Merengue Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cookies

 

This heat has definitely made me a Starbucks fan. Everyday I find myself going there to buy a shaken green iced tea, and since I’m there, I pick up  a treat–their flourless, gluten free, chocolate cookie. It’s probably the healthiest treat option in their refrigerated showcase, and my daughter and I love it. However, this afternoon tea and cookie thing is getting expensive, at $5 a day–$7 when we indulge at Disney–it’s getting a bit out of control. I love treating myself, but I hate mindless spending too. I’d much rather spend that $200/month on a new kitchen gadget–like a Searzall, or a chamber vacuum sealer to go along with the new immersion circulator that my husband got me for Mother’s Day.  So what’s a girl to do? Buy a box of organic green mint tea, and make the meringue cookies myself, of course!  The best thing about these cookies is that besides the cream of tar tar, I already had all of the ingredients.  These cookies are chewy, gooey and light all at the same time–just like the Starbucks cookies, but unlike the Starbucks version, these contain no added oil, so they are super low-fat, low-calorie and gluten free! Score!!!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time : 10-12 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 egg whites

5 ounces of bitter sweet dark chocolate (60%)

1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar

3/4 of powdered sugar(I used maple sugar see how to powder it here)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

 

Directions:  Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Melt the 5 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler and set aside.

 

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Add the two egg whites to a stainless steel bowl and beat on low until bubbles form, add the cream of tar tar and beat on high, add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and beat until peaks are stiff and fluffy—-  you can turn the bowl upside down with out the mixture running.

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Pour in the melted chocolate and fold it into the egg white fluff–be gentle– fold until the white streaks disappear.

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Fold in the chocolate chips, then spoon onto  a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes, the cookies should be soft and pliable.

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Let them cool for 10 minutes, then move them to a cookie rack to continue cooling 5-7 minutes.

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Serve and enjoy with an ice cold glass of mint ice tea;-) Share with me some of your favorite afternoon snacks.

 

Homemade Ranch Yogurt dip and salad dressing

Ranch yogurt dressing/dip

Ranch yogurt dressing/dip

So now that you’ve made my Dry Ranch Seasoning mix, it’s time to have some fun with ways to use it. The uses for my ranch seasoning are nearly endless, but this yogurt dip/salad dressing is a really easy way. This single dip is responsible for my daughters newfound love of carrots! She loves dipping carrots in this. Frankly she likes the ranch dip more than the carrots, but as a mom you pick your battles. Luckily this is a win-win for both of us, since this dip has no added oil and is made from yogurt and herbs, there really isn’t any thing wrong with her love for it. Most ranch dressings contain mayonnaise as a base. Organic Greek yogurt is great for this if your main use for it is as a dip for veggies and chicken wings. I prefer Bulgarian yogurt, it’s more tart than Greek and not as thick, it’s the perfect texture for both a salad dressing and a dip, but go with a yogurt that you love. It’s important to pick one that you love, because this is the base of your salad dressing or dip and you want the base to taste good.

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Ingredients:
1/2 cups of Organic Greek or Bulgarian yogurt
3 tablespoons of butter milk (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of my Dry Ranch Seasoning, or the fresh ingredients below:

If you have fresh herbs you can skip my ranch seasoning and use the below:
1 tablespoons organic parsley chopped finely
1/2 teaspoons of organic dill weed chopped finely
1 clove garlic grated
1.5 teaspoons of onion powder
sea salt to taste
pink peppercorns ground ( you can sub black pepper) to taste

Add the ingredients to a mason jar or glass bowl and mix well.
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Cover the bowl and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld for at least 30 minutes. Serve with veggie sticks, over salad, or with my recipe of Lime and red pepper flake wings. You really can’t go wrong! I have a few upcoming recipes that I’ve made using the dry ranch mix, stay tuned!

Homemade Granola Bars with Cranberries & Walnuts

Homemade Granola Fruit and Nut Bars

I don’t know about you, but around this time of the year, I start to scale back on my weekday cooking in order to prepare my refrigerator for all of the things I am making for Thanksgiving. This year my self imposed scale back has nothing to do with needing room for my thanksgiving dishes, instead I’m scaling back in preparation for not being home. We are joining millions of travelers this year, we are going to visit my in-laws in Nevada for Thanksgiving. Since we’ll be in the car for more than 3 hours, I decided to prepare some healthy snacks for us to munch on during the drive. This granola bar fits the bill perfectly. It has nuts, 3 kinds of fruit, and no refined sugar!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter plus more for oiling the baking dish
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups chopped nuts I used walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of dried fruit, I used a mixture of sour cherries, cranberries, and raisins
1/3 cup creamy almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup of Coconut flakes unsweetened  for topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over low. Cook, stirring, until the oil melts. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and pinch of salt. Drizzle maple mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Place the oats in large bowl, add dried fruit and mix well. 

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. 

In saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup, almond butter, and honey over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir until combined; transfer  mixture to buttered baking dish. With a spatula, firmly press granola into dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, then cut into bars or squares.





What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Since I’ll be visiting family next week, I am not sure I will have time to post. My daughter is turning 2 on Thanksgiving day, so when we return I’ll be focused on celebrating this major milestone with her. Happy cooking, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Nut and fruit snack bars


I love Kind bars, but they can get a bit pricey at almost $2 a pop. I know how easy these type of bars can be to make, so I decided to make my own. The only real work involved is mixing the ingredients. The great thing about these is that you can use your favorite nuts and dried fruits. I happened to have some Hawali dates that I got from the farmers market, so I added those, and some raisins. You can add whatever you have, and make these your own. These are a great snack, I usually have one for breakfast, or a afternoon snack. You can’t really go wrong with these since they are pure protein and fiber.

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup of Organic almonds chopped
1/2 cup of organic sunflower seeds
8-10 dates chopped
3 tablespoons of organic raisins chopped
3 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup of brown rice syrup, or honey

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl and mix well:

Spread mixture out evenly onto a lightly greased foil lined 9 inch pan:

Bake on 325F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes, just long enough for it to cool, but not completely cool. After ten minutes, cut into bars, and let cool completely before eating. If you use honey after cooling place in the refrigerator, so that the bars set completely. If you like these you will probably like these Granola bars

Graham Crackers

Cinnamon Graham Crackers

Going into the store now a days is quite a test of wills between me and my daughter. She is always asking to have the box of cookies/crackers/treats with the picture of Elmo on it.  I find myself trying to avoid that aisle all together, but the marketers have this kind of stuff all figured out–smart bastards– they put those products on the same aisle as the children’s vitamins and hygene products, so it’s almost unavoidable! Luckily for now my daughter has a short attention span, so I find that if I just let her play with the box while we are in the store, and give her an apple just before we leave the store, I can get out of the store without buying the box of treats, which she probably won’t eat anyway. It’s tough but us moms have skills too you smart alec marketers! Have you ever read the ingredients on some of these snacks? If you have then you probably know that they’re full of things that are hard to spell, and that probably aren’t good for you.  I wanted to buy my daughter some healthy graham crackers to go along with some marshmallows that I made. But I read the ingredients on a box at the store, and not one of the boxes contained actual graham flour. Weird, considering the crackers are named for the use of that very flour.  So I bought some graham flour, and set out to make my own.  You can find graham flour at Whole foods, or on Amazon. It’s pretty inexpensive, about $3 for enough flour to make at least 10 batches of these crackers. If you consider that 1 box of graham crackers is $4 then you know you’re saving! You can play around with the use of the second flour in this recipe, as I did.  I made these with all purpose, coconut, and spelt flour.  I can tell you that the difference in taste is hard to decipher.  The coconut flour definitely took some fidgeting with, because it absorbs so much liquid, so I had to add much more water to that batch. But whatever flour you decide to use, just know that the final product will still be delicious.

Makes 75-100 mini crackers and 24 large crackers
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of graham flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of spelt or all purpose flour
1/4 cup of coconut sugar, or maple sugar, or organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons of  chilled butter, cut and cubed
3 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of molasses
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the dry ingredients into your food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until mixture resembles corse corn meal.

Add in the wet ingredients and process until dough becomes a ball.

Roll dough out between to pieces of parchment paper until dough is about 1/8 inch thick.

Remove top layer of parchment and cut out shapes or use a pastry flute or knife to cut out 2.5 inch squares.

Remove any excess dough and set aside so that you can roll it again. Place the parchment paper with the cut out crackers onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, turning them mid way, bake until they are golden brown and the edges are firm. Be careful to check on these often they burn easily. Repeat this process with any remaining dough. Let the crackers cool on a cookie rack, and then enjoy!

Okay give me your best grocery shopping with little ones tips, I really need them!!

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Cauliflower Hummus, It’s Paleo and Oh so delicious!

Our staff Certified Nutritionist Justice De La Torre is back with an AMAZING recipe for Cauliflower Hummus in this weeks blog.  Justice is a strong proponent of the Paleo way of eating.  The Paleo diet, if you don’t know, is simply a diet that consists of eating as humans did in the Paleolithic era.  This means eliminating legumes of all sorts, including peanuts, which funnily enough are considered legumes, cereal grains, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt and dairy.  A lot of people mistake the paleo diet with the Low Carb diet, but the low carb diet never excluded legumes and dairy.  So there you go.  This recipe for Cauliflower hummus is so yummy.  My daughter had a taste of this Cauliflower hummus, and kept coming back for more, and more, and more!

Here’s what you need:
1 small head of Cauliflower
1/2 cup of Tahini paste
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Lemon juice
2 teaspoons of cumin
Sea Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of Olive oil
Dash of red pepper flakes

Directions:
Steam your Cauliflower until you can pierce it with a fork easily.

In a separate pan, add oil, toss in your cloves of garlic and heat until you can smell the garlic, 10-30 seconds.

Add the heated garlic and the tahini to a blender and blend for 1 minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and enjoy with grilled meat, or veggie sticks, or both!

What is your favorite kind of hummus?

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Coconut Kettle Popcorn

It’s movie night here in our house, and a snack is definitely in order. Unfortunately our cabinets are missing some key snack items, so I had to make do with what is on hand:  A bag of double organic popcorn, a new bag of organic coconut sugar, and some coconut oil. Luckily for me these ingredients make for the perfect snack and in 5 minutes! Low in fat, check! High in fiber, double check!  This coconut kettle corn is addicting so if you have multiple grubby hands in your household, as I do in mine, then make a double batch! Now that I’ve had coconut kettle corn I may never go back to the other stuff!

Here’s what you need:
1/4 cup of organic corn kernels
3 tablespoons of  organic coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons of coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions:
Add all of the ingredients except for the sugar to a pan with a tight lid. Place on high heat until the corn starts popping. Once the popping is active, turn off the heat and allow the corn to pop on residual heat, shaking occasionally. Once the popping stops sprinkle with the coconut sugar, shake to coat and then transfer to a bowl and enjoy!

What’s your favorite movie snack?

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Gluten-free guiltless almond flour banana nut muffins

If your house is anything like my household, mornings are hectic!!  Breakfast is always a chore to make! Certified Nutritionist Justice De la Torre comes to the rescue with this protein packed, gluten and grain free muffin. This muffin is moist, and quite frankly, the best muffin I’ve tasted in quite some time! Trust me when I say that you want to make this muffin! In addition to being delicious, this muffin is good for you.  It’s high in fiber, iron, potassium, and Vitamin E! With the addition of 1 scoop of protein powder, each muffin has 5 grams of protein. If I were you I would make a double batch of these, because they are just that good. This recipe uses Almond flour, also known as almond meal. You can find almond meal in the flour section of almost any supermarket now days. This is a great muffin to start the day with. But, it’s also great as a high protein snack for those middle of the day cravings. My daughter loved this muffin, as I’m sure will you too!. This is a great alternative to  sugar laden banana breads, this muffin contains no refined sugar!

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Here’s what you need:

cups  almond flour/meal
tsp  baking soda
1/2 tsp  sea salt
1/2 tsp  baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
3  eggs
2 1/2  very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup or xylitol
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
tsp  vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Equipment:
Muffin pan
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line a 12muffin tin. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a fork, add in your wet ingredients, and mix well:

Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir just to combine.

Fill muffin cups. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Bake about 20 min. (tops will be set and spring back when lightly touched)

What is your favorite muffin? If you share I’ll pick one favorite and revamp the recipe to make a healthy alternative like this one.
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