Another 11 Hours

Somehow I actually slept another 11 hours last night.  I couldn’t tell you the last time that I slept 22 hours in 2 nights (not including the almost 2 hour nap I took yesterday)!  I guess my body knows what it needs and the answer is SLEEP!  I wish it were an 11 mile pace run, but sadly, NO : (

 

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Since I woke up at 9:30, there was no way I was making it to 10am yoga and the thought of downdog had my sinuses aching.  I had leftovers for breakfast and a few hours before the start of BEARS game.  Although spending one’s weekend in a medicated haze (I love you Musinex cough syrup), isn’t ideal, I decided to use it my advantage, getting things done in the house that I have been wanting to and needing to do, ie laundry, blogging, and paying bills, all from the comfort of my couch (dressed in my BEARS shirt, of course).

 

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I also had this huge bag of apples that I have been meaning to introduce to my crockpot and haven’t had the time.

 

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make applesauce or apple butter, but decided on this recipe for Naked Apple Butter from Oh She Glows!

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I was thrilled to find out that I could leave the skin on the apples (who wants to peal that many apples?) and even happier to hear that it added nutrients.  So, I washed my hands REALLY good and got to work on chopping apples.

 

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Thank goodness for this apple slicer and the awesome new cutting board from my Mom.

 

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I didn’t weigh the apples, but there were enough to almost fill the crockpot.  You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking, but I just sprayed the pot with cooking spray really well.

 

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I set the crockpot on high for 4 hours and stirred every hour.  I needed the break from the BEARS game after watching Cutler hit the ground for the 400th time, so the stirring was a welcome interruption.

 

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The most wonderful thing about this recipe is the baked apple smell circulating throughout our house!  It’s even better than a fall candle!

 

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Around half time, lunch (Chinese food) was delivered.  I ordered soup, which definitely hit the spot!

 

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Another disappointing BEARS quarter later and my apples were soft and fragrant.  Perfect to mash up into applesauce with a wooden spoon.

 

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I have never had homemade applesauce before, so I couldn’t proceed without sampling a small bowl.  OMG!!!  It was incredible!  I’m not sure how I have never made crockpot applesauce before! 

 

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I loved the plain apples with just a sprinkle of cinnamon, but I see endless possibilities for a fruit cobbler or Thanksgiving Day side! 

 

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While the apple mixture cooled, the BEARS came back creating an exciting and nail biting 4th quarter…ending in A WIN!!!  I can’t believe they pulled that off…WOW! 

 

I debated using my hand mixture to smooth out the applesauce, but in the end went with my food processor. 

 

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I processed the apples for a few minutes…

 

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And had a magnificent applesauce.

 

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So it was another few minutes in the processor until I had a thicker butter like sauce.

 

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Which went right back into the crockpot for another hour.

 

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During this time, I got myself outside for a stroll.  The fresh air felt great!  It was a gorgeous fall day and would have been perfect for an end season bike ride!  I walked in the door just in time to add some apple pie spice to my apple butter.

 

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I used a little more than 1 tsp in my entire batch.  These apples (I think they were Gala) were sweet enough that I didn’t need any extra sweeteners.

 

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I love cherry, pumpkin, apple, fig and sweet potato butters, and my first batch of homemade apple butter was a HUGE success!

 

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It’s a good thing I hang on to all my old jelly/jam jars!  I plan on giving a few of these out as fun fall gifts.

 

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I think that I am better today than yesterday and because I don’t like to be sick, I am planning on being EVEN better tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your kind get well wishes! Feeling crumby is a bummer! The only good thing about being sick was spending 48 straight hours with the BOY and catching up on DVRed shows and magazines! 

 

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And of course making this amazing sugar-free apple butter!  I can’t wait to smother it all over my oatmeal!

 

 

Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter

From Oh She Glows!


Ingredients
(varies)

Apples, an equal mixture of sweet and tart apples (I used Gala, I think)

Ground cinnamon or other spices like nutmeg, ground cloves, etc, to taste

tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, to taste (helps to preserve), optional (I didn’t use)

 

Instructions

1. Slice apples. There is no need to peel the apples. In fact, your apple butter is much healthier with the peel left on. Tip: If you have an apple slicer, now is the time to use it. I love my OXO apple slicer. Add apple slices to slow cooker.

2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours, covered with lid. During those 4 hours, give it a few stirs as the apples tend to stick to the bottom a bit. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking. If you’d rather cook it longer on a lower heat, you can do that too.

3. Mash apples and turn off heat. After 4 hours, most of the apples are soft enough to mash up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. After mashing, we now have applesauce (with the peel of course)!

4. Cool slightly and scoop into high-speed blender. With a big ladle, scoop the apple mixture into a blender. If you have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches. Make sure lid is secured tightly.

5. Blend the mixture. Start on a low setting and go faster until you reach max speed. You may need to let some steam escape through the top hole if there is one. Puree mixture until super smooth and buttery. If it’s still chunky, keep blending.

6. Pour the apple butter back into the slow cooker. Turn heat on HIGH and cook down, uncovered, for another 45-90 minutes until it’s as thick as you desire. After 45 mins, I was left with 5 cups and the consistency was very similar to my pumpkin butter. Keep in mind it will thicken slightly once chilled overnight. (I kept mine in for about an hour).

7. When ready, add cinnamon to taste (or other spices if desired) and a very small amount of lemon juice if desired.

8. Cool completely and store in an air-tight jar for up to 1 month in the fridge. Or you can try canning as well.

Crazy for Quinoa

Warning: This post is meant to show you how you can enjoy one batch of quinoa throughout the week…not encouraging you to eat quinoa for EVERY meal!  It is possible to get too much of a good thing : )

 

I’m back on a quinoa kick!  I blame the HUGE Costco sized bag about to expire in my pantry and the quinoa filled recipes spreading across the blog world!  This morning, I whipped up a pan of cooked quinoa.  If you are new to quinoa, you can find cooking instructions here.  Once you have a large pot of cooked quinoa, the possibilities are endless!

 

Starting with breakfast…

 

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I’ve had this recipe for pancakes from Everyday Food tucked away from a few years ago, yet I’ve never made them.  I rediscovered it flipping through my recipe binder this morning searching for a Sunday Pancake Day worthy recipe!

 

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Sadly, my pancakes never quite stack up quite as nicely as the Door County rock piles.

 

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Despite their odd shape, the pancakes, served drizzled with agave and sprinkled with diced strawberries, were awesome!

 

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I’m a huge fan of a breakfast that will fuel you through your morning (in today’s case…that was Hot Yoga).  Since quinoa is packed with protein, these pancakes are satisfying and filling!

 

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When I walked out of yoga, the rain was coming at me horizontally.  It’s amazing how (almost) overnight, the neighborhood started to look like fall!

 

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On a day like today, there’s only one thing will do…

 

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Make chili!  Have you ever tried quinoa chili???

 

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I have seen a few different quinoa chili recipes on the web, and this one from Manifest Vegan definitely caught my eye.

 

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I followed the recipe as written, but ended up with a much soupier version than I expected. I added in some extra white beans and quinoa (since I had it), and then skimmed off about 2 cups of liquid.  The result was a thick and flavorful bowl of heart warming chili.

 

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I diced up some avocado and crumbled some crackers to make a hearty and fulfilling lunch.

 

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The chili was delicious!  The perfect combination of fall flavors with some pumpkin spiciness!

 

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Does anyone else’s kitchen look like this on Sunday afternoon?

 

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Slightly embarrassing…I know!  I must say that by the time my chili cooled off, it had thickened up quite a bit, but I would still decrease your liquid (as seen in the NOTE below) for a thicker chili.

 

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As I am housesitting and heading back into class for the week (this is the last week and then I will have my certification), I am thrilled to have lunch for the week.  This is a new household favorite!  A must try!!!

 

Which leads me on to the last, but not certainly not the least exciting quinoa recipe, Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies.

 

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I have had this recipe for about a year, but I’ve never actually made it as written.  Instead, I modified it to make these Afternoon Energy Bars.  With a tornado warning raging at our back door, I had the full hour to let the cookies sit in the oven.

 

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And it was well worth it!

 

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These healthy cookies are fabulous!  They will store in your fridge or freezer for up to a week!

 

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And even though they are considered ‘cookies’, these make a super healthy snack.  Or, my plan is to freeze them to bring to my classmates for breakfast on Friday (along with this tasty bread).

 

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One food really goes a long way!  Everything, the pancakes, chili, and cookies can all be frozen for a later date, so cook and bake away while planning to share with friends or freeze for later.

 

CLICK HERE for more Quinoa Love!

 

What is your favorite quinoa recipe?  Links Welcome!

 

 

Quinoa Cakes (For One)

Recipe inspired from Everyday Food, November 2010

 

Ingredients

 

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Agave and fruit for topping

 

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, and baking powder. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and cinnamon until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.

Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning). Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit or preserves if desired.

 

 

Pumpkin Quinoa White Bean Chili

From Manifest Vegan

Makes 8 servings

 

Ingredients

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 to 4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Dash nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup shredded carrot

2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin puree (solid packed works great)

4 cups salted vegetable broth

3 cups cooked cannellini beans

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa

1/2 cup scallions, chopped

1/2 to 1 teaspoon additional salt to taste

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

 

Directions

Place the onion, garlic, and red pepper along with the olive oil and sea salt into a large stock pot and sauté over medium-high heat until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.

Add in the spices, carrot, pumpkin puree and vegetable broth and simmer over medium heat for 11 minutes. Stir in the cannellini beans, coconut milk and quinoa and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through and thickened slightly. Fold in the scallions and then top each individual serving with ample avocado and cilantro. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving; the chili will thicken about standing.

 

Important Note: I followed the recipe as written and ended up with way too much liquid. I was able to add some quinoa and beans, but still needed to skim off some of the liquid.  I would recommend using 3 cans of beans and only 2 cups of vegetable broth.

 

 

Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies

From CHEW

Ingredients

1/2 Cup natural Almond Butter

1/3 Cup Raw Agave Nectar

2 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed

2 Cups cooked Quinoa, completely cooled

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup Dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs (I used chocolate chips)

1 Tsp Sea Salt

 

Method

Preheat the oven on its lowest setting.  For me, this was 170 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, seal salt and ground flax seeds. Mix in the quinoa, oats, and coconut. Fold in the cacao nibs. This mixture should be pretty clumpy

Mold into mini patties, place on non-stick cookie sheet and throw into oven for 1 hour-ish.

Store in fridge (or freezer) and consume within a week.

Autumn Medley-Fall Crockpot Recipe

As many of you know, I LOVE my crockpot!  So, when the weather started to get cool, I pulled one of my favorite crockpot books off of the shelf and began reading through the recipes.

 

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I’ve tried a few recipes from this book, and I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve eaten!  Typically, I am a soup and stew girl, but when I saw this side dish loaded with sweet potato and parsnips, I added the ingredients to my grocery list.

 

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That was last weekend…

 

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And today, I finally had time to chop up some veggies and throw everything into the crockpot.

 

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I followed the recipe, but added in some cinnamon.  And instead of apple cider, I used water and sugar free cider packets (2).

 

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Which worked out perfectly!  I know this isn’t the best picture, but I wanted to show you how soft and mushy all of the veggies get after spending the day in the pot.

 

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The veggies have the perfect balance of flavor…not too sweet but with a hint of cinnamon and apple.

 

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I was so excited when it was finished that I almost didn’t read the rest of the recipe to see that you are supposed to use your immersion wand.  I liked the chunky veggies (even the celery root), but the blended version is even better!

 

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It was the perfect compliment to my delicious dinner (leftover grilled salmon and roasted broccoli).

 

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I think I have a new favorite side dish!  This is so good that you could serve it for your Thanksgiving, and it makes enough for leftovers later in the week.  And, I think there is potential to throw in some of your other favorite root veggies and squashes.

 

Here are a few other fall crockpot favorites…

(I told you I was a soup and stew girl!)

Ultimate Vegan Chili

2 Ingredient Pulled Chicken

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Root Vegetable Tagine

Red Chicken Chili

Basic Beef Crockpot Chili

 

Do you have a crockpot? How often to you use it?

 

 

Autumnal Rich-Roots Medley:

Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Celeriac

From 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth

8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch dice

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch dice

1 small celery root, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch dice

2 red cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup apple cider (I used 1 cup water and powdered sugar free cider)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

(I also added in some cinnamon)

 

Directions

Combine the sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery root, and apples in slow cooker.

In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, cider, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, and pour over all.  Cover and cook according to slow cooker instructions, until vegetables are tender.  Partially puree with an immersion wand and adjust the seasonings to taste.  The celery root will be firmer than the other veggies, but should not be crunchy.

Pancake Palate

I woke up this morning after 10 glorious hours of sleep.  I wish I could say that it was uninterrupted sleep, but our neighbors apparently had an outdoor party at 3am which involved some screaming and singing.  I can’t really blame them for wanting to be outside, and 3am is probably the only time cool enough to enjoy yourself.  However, the thought of blasting some music or slamming some doors early this morning when I got up for my yoga did cross my mind.  Instead, I threw in some ear plugs (which I always have handy because the BOY snores) and fell right back asleep.

 

When I woke up again, I had a wicked craving for pancakes, but ran into a few speed bumps when I saw that we were out of milk, almost out of baking powder, and had no overripe bananas (for OMG. pancakes!).  My tummy was rumbling, and I just knew that eggs or cereal weren’t going to hit the spot this morning.

 

I decided to use RECIpage to find some good breakfast options.  If you’ve never used this website, it is a free place where bloggers can compile their recipes for easy searching.  You can get everyone’s recipes all at one site and have tons of options to choose from.  For example, there are over 300 pancakes recipes!!!

 

All of the pancake pictures were making my mouth water, but I had a few ingredient restrictions and I wanted something on the healthy side.  It occurred to me that vegan pancakes might be a good way to go with the lack of milk in our house and all.  I kept finding attractive recipes that were created at the same blog called Peachy Palate which was new to me.  Before looking any further, I decided on her Vegan Carrot Cake Spelt Pancakes.  Not the most summery of options, but I didn’t care!

 

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Initially, I started following the recipe, but that didn’t last long.  My spelt flour expired a few months ago (oops!) and had to be thrown away.  Instead I subbed in some sprouted whole wheat flour (and acknowledged from what I know about the sprouted whole wheat bread that I eat that my pancake texture would be a lot denser).  But it sounded more exciting than plain whole wheat flour.

 

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Due to the baking powder situation, I cut the recipe in half and continued along.  Xantham Gum?  I definitely don’t have that in the house…wonder if it is important?!  I can leave it out.  When I was finished and ready to stir in my raisins and walnuts, I didn’t have anything resembling a batter.  It was way too dry!  As I looked back through the recipe, I was trying to figure out what other wet ingredients (besides applesauce) there were.  Is Xantham Gum a liquid?  That would explain a lot!

 

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I didn’t have a lot of options, so I added in a bit more applesauce and then added in one egg white, which means that these pancakes were no longer vegan, but it did make them pancake-like enough to go on the stove.

 

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When I pulled them off, it was obvious that they were not the fluffy stack of pancakes pictured on the website, but they definitely looked edible.

 

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These pancakes don’t look like pancakes, but then again, mine never really do!

 

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I think they are a mixture between a pancake and a muffin top or maybe a scone. Hmm…there could be a new hearty breakfast in here somewhere.

 

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Because of their dry consistency (from the spouted flour no less), I topped my stack with some agave and applesauce, which were the perfect accompaniments. I could have also added some more shredded carrot, but I ate the rest of my carrot while I was cooking this morning because I was so hungry.

 

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I wouldn’t serve this batch to company and call them pancakes, and they definitely needed some more spice (bring on the ginger!), but I really did like my dense pancake/muffin/scone breakfast.  And it was filling enough to get me through 90 minutes of challenging HOT YOGA!

 

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Even though my breakfast did not turn out up to pancake par (this was totally user error on my part), I am sharing with you the original recipe from Peachy Palate because these carrot cake pancakes look amazing.  They took a few attempts for the author to get them right which makes me feel a little better about my edible failure.  I just might make sure you have Xantham Gum in the house before attempting!

 

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Vegan Carrot Cake Spelt Pancakes

From Peachy Palate

 

Ingredients

 

Pancakes

60g (1/2 cup) wholegrain spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of ginger

125ml (1/2 cup) spelt flour

1 small carrot finely grated (about 2 tbsp)

1 tbsp walnuts chopped

1 tbsp raisins

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp applesauce

 

Toppings

1 tbsp chopped walnuts

1 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp finely grated carrot

1 heaped tsp desiccated coconut

Maple Syrup to drizzle

1 tbsp finely grated carrot mixed with 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

 

Instructions

Mix together all pancake batter ingredients with the exception of the walnuts and raisins.

Blend until smooth. Stir in raisins and walnuts and set to one side.

Heat a non stick pan over a medium heat and place 1/4 cup (1/5) measures of the batter in to the pan (I made three in one go, and followed with the remaining two). Cook for 2-3 minutes on either side, flipping when the edge become solid and bubbles form in the soon to be pancake.

Serve stacked one on top of the other, soy yoghurt on top, raisins, walnuts and coconut sprinkled and maple syrup drizzled. The sweet carrot on top or the side is a nice little extra.

 

 

What is your favorite pancake recipe?

No Bake Doughy Delights

I thought about calling this post Blogger’s Balls, but somehow that just didn’t sound right…LOL!  We are heading up to Wisconsin for the weekend, and I wanted to bring up some treats.  Last time we went, I made Angela’s Vegan Cookie Dough balls and they were a HUGE hit, so I decided to bring them again.

 

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This time around, I quite possibly made my best batch of Vegan Cookie Dough Balls ever!  These guys looked and tasted so incredible, it took all my will power not to dive head first into the bowl of ‘dough’.

 

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If you have never tried these no bake delights, you must!

 

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And I highly recommend doubling the recipe.  Trust me on this one!!!

 

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These store perfectly in the freezer which makes them easy for transport or a road trip on on a hot summer day.

 

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And since my food processor was out, and I was stocked up on cashews, I decided to try another no bake dough ball that I have been eyeing over at Averie Cooks.  The fun addition in this recipe…coconut!

 

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This was my first time attempting this recipe, so I followed the instructions, except that I didn’t have any coconut oil to use.  I was a big fan of pulsing the chocolate chips in the food processor to create some smaller pieces along with the bigger chunks.

 

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Upon inspection, this ‘dough’ looked super duper sticky (I might use a little less syrup next time), and I was a little skeptical that I would be able to form it into balls.  However, a quick taste test (or two) determined that the combination of coconut and chocolate was superb!

 

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Seriously, these guys taste like candy bars!!!  I did the best that I could with the rolling, and I would recommend spraying your hands with PAM before attempting or you will just end up with a big sticky mess on your fingers.  Which is not the worst thing that could happen (actually spilling Mexican vanilla into your utensils drawer at 10:30pm is much worse than licking your fingers clean), but you will need the cooking spray trick (which also works for rice krispy treats) to even try forming these into a circular shape.

 

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Obviously, I did not check to see how many balls this recipe was supposed to make because I only got about 9, and this was not because I ended up eating half the dough off my fingers.  I stuck my almost ball shaped balls into the freezer over night.

 

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And immediately this morning went to check them out.  The balls were much less sticky, but still soft and easy to eat out of the freezer (which I did for breakfast).

 

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These guys are rich in coconut flavor, and I am a big fan!  This recipe is definitely worth doubling because they will disappear quickly!  That Averie, knows what she is talking about!

 

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Happy No Baking this Summer!!!

 

 

Vegan Cookie Dough Balls

From Oh She Glows!

1/2 cup unsalted cashews

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I use regular whole wheat flour)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1.5 tbsp natural cane sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp pure maple syrup (I used 4 tbsp for a double recipe)

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Directions:

In a food processor, add the cashews and oats and process until it forms a fine crumble. Now add in the salt, sugar, and flour and process for a few seconds more. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and process until combined. It will be sticky, but this is normal! Add in your chocolate chips and stir by hand or process. Form into balls. Store in freezer.

 

Note: this recipe easily doubles which I typically do this because one batch is NEVER enough!

 

 

No Bake Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

From Averie Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 c cashews (unsalted, and raw if possible)

1/4 c coconut flakes (unsweetened or sweetened)

2 tbsp oats (whole, rolled not quick cook)

3 tbsp agave or maple syrup (or combination)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coconut oil (optional, and if using it and batter gets too wet after adding, add a pinch more dried coconut flakes, oats, or cashews and re-blend)

1/4 to 1/3 c chocolate chips or chunks

 

Directions:

First add cashews, coconut flakes, and oats to Vita-Mix or food processor and grind into a fine powder. Then, add the agave, vanilla extract, and coconut oil, and blend again. Finally, the chocolate chips and either stir in by hand or barely blend/pulse until incorporated. Retain some texture to the chips or chunks.

Remove the dough and form into cookie bites. If dough is soft or hard to work with, refrigerate/freeze for 20 minutes prior to forming into bites.

 

Yields: approximately 16-18 bites (I made bigger balls and only got ~9)

Note: I did not use the coconut oil because I didn’t have any in the house!

 

 

And just in case you are brave enough to turn on your oven for some REAL cookies, I also whipped up a batch of these Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.  It’s going to be a GOOD weekend!