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Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Hello Baking Friends!

I had some requests for the sharing of a recipe I made last night and took into work today for my unsuspecting coworkers.

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

I have recently discovered I have quite a lot of food ‘allergies/intolerances’, and the closest ‘diet’ that I can follow is the Paleo diet. Knowing that this is something a lot of people are getting into, I have been intrigued by some of the lovely blogs and resources that I have found.

So far, however, my favorite named blog, and inspiration for my Blondies, is Clean Eating With A Dirty Mind. First of all, the name is just giggle worthy. I love it. Next, the author actually responds to comments, which is sometimes rare for some of the more popularly commented on bloggers (due to time). And finally, Vanessa actually discussed some alternatives with me, and gave me her stamp of approval. So of course, I am biased towards her! 😉

So here is the Paleo Pumpkin Pie Blondie recipe from Vanessa at CEWADM. Her blog entry is worth reading.

Now, here is the recipe that I did, which yielded a deep-dish 13×9 pan of Blondie yumminess!

Paleo Pumpkin-Cashew Blondies

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup cashew butter (I used JIF)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s)

1 cup oat flour (homemade is easy, recipe below)
1/2  cup coconut palm sugar (looks like brown sugar)
1 tspn each ground nutmeg, ground cloves and Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tspn each ground cardamom seed, ground ginger, vanilla bean powder and ground allspice
1/4 tspn (or a dash really) Pink Himalayan Salt

Directions:

Step 1: Mix all the wet ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 2: Add the pumpkin and the cashew butter to the wet mix, and whisk until thick but well mixed.

Step 3: Mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk until evenly blended.

Step 4: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture..

Step 5: Whisk until evenly blended.

Step 6: Pour batter into a 13×9 baking pan.

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour, but best if it sits overnight to settle.

Final Touches: Slice into 24-28 pieces, and add a dollop of cashew butter to enjoy to the utmost!

I input the caloric value, roughly, at 28 pieces per recipe, into CalorieCount.About.Com and came up with the following nutritional information (which is probably not entirely accurate, guessing on the high side):
Serving Size: 1 piece + 1/4 teaspoon cashew butter spread on top
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 14.3g
Saturated Fat: 7.8g [I am going to see if I can reduce this in a further rendition of this recipe]
Cholesterol: 6mg
Sodium: 98mg
Total Carbohydrates: 13.2g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
Sugars: 5.3g
Protein: 2.1g
Vitamin A: 11%    Calcium: 2%    Iron: 4%

As promised – if you want to make your own oat flour, all you need to do is take equal amounts (i.e. 1 cup) of raw oats, or 75% oat bran, to what you need for a recipe. Pulse in food processor until completely refined to almost a powder, about 2:00 – 2:30 minutes. I made mine a little thicker, and it came out pretty tasty in the recipe, I thought!

So all of my coworkers who tried it enjoyed it (and no, they didn’t say it just because I was standing there, many actually came and found me to tell me they enjoyed it, so neener to all you nay-sayers who may have wanted to give me some teasing crap on that one, hahaHA!). Favorite way, however, was indeed with a smidge of cashew butter on top!

So go check out Vanessa, and try one of our variations of this recipe (or both), and let me/us know what you thought of it! I look forward to hearing about it!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Easy Mini ‘Forest’ SoufflĂ©s

Hello Friends,

I am back with another installment of healthy and easy lunches for this week. My inspiration from this came almost fully from this EatingWell recipe. Being me, of course, I couldn’t by any means follow this exactly, so I added in a few extras of my own!

chicken broccoli cheese souffle

Easy Mini Forest SoufflĂ©s – YUM!

So here is my version (and it is filling, I promise you, deceivingly so!):

What You’ll Need:

  • 12-16 4-oz ramekins (depending how full you want them)
  • 1 medium-sized skillet with lid
  • 1 medium-to-large mixing bowl
  • Utensils: 1 wooden spoon, 1 paring knife and 1 whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter olive oil plus 1 teaspoon lemon pepper olive oil (chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic!Garlic! and 2 teaspoons Onion!Onion! Mixes (chicken)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 oz bag frozen chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups Skim Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites (plus the above 3 eggs’ egg whites)

So this seems like a lot, I’m sure, however it’s really pretty simple! Observe the building of the soufflĂ©!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. In your skillet, combine Butter & Garlic Olive Oils and the Garlic!Garlic! and Onion!Onion! spices, and chicken over medium heat. Cook approximately 12 minutes until no longer pink at all but is still tender.
  • While chicken cooks, dump your frozen broccoli (chopped into smaller pieces and chunks if needed) into a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes, until a little tender but not fully cooked.
  • Once chicken cooks fully, drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, remove your broccoli and let that cool as well.
  • In your skillet over medium heat, combine the 2 tablespoons of butter olive oil with 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking for 1 minute. Sauce will thicken slightly and be somewhat caramel-colored.
  • Add in 1 1/3 cups milk, 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon Mustard, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk constantly for 2 minutes more. Sauce will thicken a lot more at this point.
  • Remove your your sauce from heat, stir in your 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 3 egg yolks until well combined and no streaks remain from yolks. Dump broccoli into mixture and stir well. Let sit to thicken.
  • Meanwhile, take your 5 egg whites in your mixing bowl (rinsed from the broccoli bits), and whisk constantly for approximately 15 minutes. I recommend a helper for this part. That way you can…
  • Take your chicken and put in blender (Magic Bullet Blender to the rescue!) for 15 seconds on pulse, to make into a shredded texture. Add to broccoli mixture and stir completely. Skillet will start to fill up at this point, that is expected.
  • Once you’re done whisking your egg whites into submission, you’ll notice they are frothy, white, and look airy instead of liquidy now. Once you hit this point, gradually add your broccoli mixture to the egg whites, stirring until fully incorporated.
  • Scoop your “Forest” mixture (hey, it’s green, yellow, white and a little brown from the flavors, so it looked like a forest to me!) into your 12-16 ramekins (sprayed with cooking spray). If you want them full, fill 12 almost to the rim (very little rising will take place). If you want more servings, fill 16 ramekins about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, until set and doesn’t jiggle. Again, the cream of tartar ommission doesn’t make these “rise” like a normal soufflĂ©, which means they also won’t “fall” either. They will expand and set a bit from sitting out of the oven, but not by much. Also, this doesn’t make it taste different than a soufflĂ©, just allows for those who don’t have cream of tartar (or don’t want the rise-and-fall effect) to make a soufflĂ©!

So that is it. It seems like a lot, but I promise it’s pretty easy. Best part is that you cover them with some aluminum foil, refridgerate, and then take into work with you easily for reheating (just remove the foil!) in the dish in the microwave (I suggest 80 seconds on HIGH power). Simple lunch that has minimal clean-up and dirty dish factors involved!

Now just enjoy! Let me know what you think! 🙂

chicken broccoli cheese mini forest souffle

Mini Forest Soufflés!

I input everthing into a CalorieCount program, and this is the nutrition information it gave me back:

Serving Size: 1/16 of entire mixture
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 4.7 g (Saturated Fat 1.0 g)
Cholesterol: 63 mg
Sodium: 130 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 3.5 g (Dietary Fiber 0.9 g; Sugars 1.7 g)
Protein: 11.6 g
Vitamin A: 7% / Vitamin C: 19% / Calcium: 5% / Iron: 2%

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Snickers Brownies

Hello again baking fiends!

I was browsing around Pinterest the other day and found a link to this Snickers Brownie recipe from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy!

Holy droolfest. I love Snickers. To my mind, it has chocolate which is good for your mental state, caramel which is good for your stress levels, nuts which are good for your health, and nougat which just makes it all taste good. (I don’t care what you say, that is my story and I am sticking to it!!!!) And make it into a brownie? Ambrosia!

Snickers Brownie Heaven!

After tricking my coworkers into the Fudgy Black Bean Brownies a few weeks ago, I had to swear on my life that there was nothing ‘weird’ in these ones. I didn’t have time for weird, this brownie had a LOT going on of its own!

Disclaimer: while I stuck mostly to the Jasey recipe, I did make a few changes. Shocking, isn’t it?!? 😉

First:
Take a box of Betty Crocker Fudgy Brownie mix and mix in 2 eggs, 1/4 cup water, 2/3 cup canola/blended oil and 1/4 cup (or thereabouts) of Hot Fudge Sauce (y’know, the ice cream topping stuff? yeah, that.) that is at room temperature. Mix well.

Brownie Batter!

I baked 2 8×8 pans, wanting one for work and one for home. That said, I baked these for 24 minutes, then turned the oven off and let them sit for 3 minutes then removed them from the oven to let them cool completely. Perfecto!

While that is baking, make your peanut butter nougat filling! Take out a saucepan over medium heat and melt 1/4 cup (half a stick) of unsalted butter. Once that’s fully melted, add in 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (2 oz) evaporated milk, stirring until fully incorporated. Next add in 1 1/2 jars of Jet Puffed Marshmallow CrĂšme (7 oz jars), and stir constantly (this will bubble, so the stirring is key). Gradually add in 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. (This differs from the recipe greatly). Stir until completely smooth. Remove from heat and keep stirring. After about 2 minutes of cooling time, pour this into a small mixing bowl, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Peanut Butter Nougat!

Now make your caramel sauce. To do this, put that saucepan (rinsed out) back on the burner set at medium-low (more low), and pour in 1 14-oz can of Sweetened Condensed milk. I typically use the reduced fat or fat free kind. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, and stir every few minutes. This will take about 25 minutes to complete. It should start to gradually boil, and you will need to stir it more for about the last 8 minutes. Taste as this will let you know when it’s perfect. WARNING: It WILL be extremely hot!

Homemade Caramel Sauce!

As your brownies have cooled, and your caramel is going, top the brownies with the peanut butter nougat, spreading evenly. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes to set it.

Peanut Butter Nougat Topping!

Once the 15 minutes is up, your caramel should be about ready. Remove the caramel from the burner and let sit about 3 minutes, stirring once. Take your brownies out of the freezer (nougat will be slightly spongy but firm) and top with a thin layer of caramel sauce, spreading evenly. Stick back into the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Caramel Topping!

For your chocolate topping, rinse out your saucepan again and then set it on medium heat with 10oz bittersweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter in the pan. Stir occasionally until this is a smooth and creamy blend of yumminess, then remove from heat and let sit 2 minutes.

Caramel Topping!

Remove the brownies from the freezer and top with an even layer of the chocolate topping. Cover and put in the fridge overnight, or at least 2 hours, to let set. Keep cool as this will melt and it’ll already be super gooey when it’s just out of the fridge! 😉

Finished Snickers Brownie!

Minus one slice!

Disclaimer: this is VERY thick and VERY sweet, so smaller pieces are best for serving….with a drink handy! Everyone LOVED them at work, though the consensus was that these are high enough in sugar to put you into a sugar coma easily! Hope you enjoy, though, and let me know if you try them, and what you think!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Brunch Stuffed French Toast

Hiya Yummy-Brunch Fans,

I did a brunch with some friends awhile ago, and we all pitched in and brought something ‘to pass’. There were only 4 of us, so we kept it simple. Mimosas, Crab Quiche and Stuffed French Toast. I made Stuffed French Toast because it’s a go-to recipe I have used for years, and it is one of my favorite brunch items to make. It’s simple, delicious, and pretty cheap to make too. All three of these are great things in a recipe!

Cooking Light’s Stuffed French  Toast recipe is a stand-by staple that you can make without feeling all the guilt that usually comes (for me at least) along with making something so decadently delicious. I rarely alter this at all, though I do have a couple things I change, more for personal taste than anything, though!

Ingredients to Serve 8-16 people (depending on how hungry everyone is):
16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

Directions:
1) In one 13×9 cake pan, or 2 8×8 cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray, arrange 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread evenly along the bottom of the pan(s).
2) Combine 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish(es).
3) Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn allspice, 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon, and cream cheeses in a food processor or blender, or you can mix by hand if you want some good exercise; process or mix until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish(es). Top with remaining 8 pieces of cinnamon-raisin bread. Pour remaining milk mixture over bread, spreading evenly.
5) Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
6) Uncover, place in cold oven, set oven to 350°, and then set the oven timer (where it turns your oven off afterwards) for 55 minutes. Let bake completely, and let sit in cooling oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
7) Mix remaining 1/8 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon until fully incorporated, then sprinkle evenly over tops of stuffed french toast. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving or covering.

Note: This works beautifully if you are wanting to take a dish to pass, because you can slice the bread and literally come out with stuffed french toast sandwiches to serve everyone easily! Whole or half sandwiches, they slice easy and serve very prettily!

Glaring Changes:
– I obviously add in the cinnamon and allspice, you don’t need to do that.
– I fully intend to make the next one with a reduced fat flavored cream cheese, in lieu of the 1/3-less fat cream cheese, to add some flavor. Then top with sliced flavor-of-choice fruit or veggies. We shall see how that turns out!
– I have before sprinkled the top instead of cinnamon-sugar, with powdered sugar, or a sugar-cocoa powder mix. Both are just as delicious.
– When layering my bread, I don’t stack it like in the CL picture, because I realized (finally) that laying them flat makes easy-to-cut sandwiches as a result! SO, you can layer it, but I recommend you use a loaf of 24 pieces of bread instead, and use 12 on top-and-bottom instead of the 8 I used! Just so you know!

Enjoy this wonderful and simple brunch with sides of fruit, tea, mimosas or bloody mary’s!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Healthy Fudgy Brownies

Hello Baking Friends!

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted about baking, however I have now twice baked these brownies that I really think you’ll enjoy.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie!

I found this recipe from Baker On The Rise for Fudgy Black Bean Brownies. I know, I know… “Black Bean” + “Brownie” = ?!?!?!?!? I thought so too. But I thought they looked good, sounded intriguing, so I decided to attempt them after finding a few people (including my brother) who said they would try them. Victims volunteering, I just love it!

So here is what I did. And I mostly followed the recipe, you’ll be proud to know!

Drain and rinse out a can of black beans. Twice, maybe three times even. I like making sure my black beans are completely free of anything other than the beans!

Next, I took about 1/3 of the beans at a time and put them through my Magic Bullet Blender with 1 egg, for about 40 seconds. They’ll come out a bit foamy. Dump into a mixing bowl, and start over with the next 1/3 of the beans and egg. Since you need 3 eggs, this makes it very simple to not blow out your blender and also mushify all of the beans to a smooth and even finish. Yes, I did just say mushify, and no, I’m not taking it back. So there.

Mushified Beans + Brownie Mix-ins

Once all the beans are in the mixing bowl, I added 3 capfuls of blended oil, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 quick dash of salt. I mixed this with a plastic spoon for about 2 minutes until smooth.

Brownies + Chocolate Chips

Now take about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and put those in the blender, pulsing, for about 20 seconds until chopped up pretty good. Add those to the batter and stir until it’s not lumpy. Pour into a prepared (sprayed with Pam if you’re like me!) 13×9 pan. Sprinkle with some more (non-chopped) chocolate chips. Bake at 350 Farenheit for 27 minutes, then turn oven off. Let cool in oven 2 minutes, then remove and cool on stovetop for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dry place, with the pan(s) covered.

Brownie Batter

Additional notes:
– You can do 2 thin-layer 13×9 pans instead of 1 thick one and end up with 2 pans of smaller brownies – with 2 pans cooking about 27 minutes. The thinner layers taste more like brownies, the thicker layer tastes more cakey. Depends on what you want for how you should bake them!
– Or you can add coconut, nuts or dried fruit to the brownies’ batter and topping in addition to the chocolate chips.

Nutrition Facts: 
Prepared in 1 pan (15 thick brownies):
128 calories, 5.2g Fat (1.2g saturated), 38mg Cholesterol, 136mg Sodium, 18.2g Carbohydrates (2.6g Dietary Fiber, 12g Sugars), 3.6g Protein, 2% DV Calcium, 8% DV Iron

Prepared in 2 pans (30 thin brownies):
64 calories, 2.6g Fat (0.6g saturated), 19mg Cholesterol, 68mg Sodium, 9.1g Carbohydrates (1.3g Dietary Fiber, 6g Sugars), 1.8g Protein, 1% DV Calcium, 4% DV Iron

So I know this seems like a super big leap in the brownie world, however everyone seemed to really like these that has tried them so far. I’ve made them twice. I didn’t tell my coworkers they had black beans in them, of course, when I made them for them, though! Figured that way they’d actually try them un-biasedly! 😉 Hey I never said I wasn’t sneaky! Anyways, they said they tasted more cakey than normal brownies. However when I did the initial (2 pans of thin brownies) recipe, they actually tasted more like normal brownies and less cakey. Depends what you want, clearly! 🙂

Craft You Later,
Beth

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