Slow Cooker Beef Lettuce Wraps

Another AMAZING slow cooker summer dish is here!! Lettuce wraps are very versatile and can be a great alternative to your traditional bread laden sandwiches or heavier taco wraps in summer. The cucumbers and carrots are in season right now and lend a great vibrant crunch to the beef. And the beef…well, its super tender with a subtle sweetness to balance out the umami flavor. Translation, it is good enough to eat all by itself!

My hubby thought these were the bomb, and even though my kiddos were not keen on the lettuce wraps, they did devour the beef with some brown rice and the veggies on the side! So that is a win win in my book. This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Light magazine. I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe to ensure it was gluten free. And while they had you soak the cucumbers and carrots for 15 minutes, we thought they were much better when they marinated longer. Enjoy!!! nom nom

gluten-free / dairy free 

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours on low

 

Ingredients:

1 large onion, cut into slices

8 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 tsp canola oil, plus more for slow cooker liner

1 (2-3 lb) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat

1/2 cup unsalted beef stock

1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce

11 TBS rice vinegar, divided

2 TBS sesame oil, divided

2 TBS coconut palm sugar (brown sugar works as well)

2 TBS unsalted tomato paste

1 TBS white miso (soybean paste)

3/4 tsp crushed red pepper

16 Bibb lettuce leaves

2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

 

Quick Pickles

3/4 cup thinly sliced english cucumbers

3/4 cup julienne-cut-carrots

1 cup of water

1 TBS granulated sugar (I use turbinado)

3/4 tsp kosher salt

**The quick pickles are best if they marinate overnight. If you don’t have the time, let them marinate for at least 30 minutes.

  • Place cucumber and carrots in a shallow container with a lid. Combine remaining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup of water, and granulated sugar in small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and pour vinegar mixture over carrots and cucumber. If you are marinating overnight or all day, let mixture cool and then place in refrigerator. Remove from fridge about 15 minutes before serving; drain well.

 

  1. Coat bottom and the sides of slow cooker with canola oil. Place onion slices in the bottom of slow cooker; top with garlic.
  2. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chuck roast to pan; cook 2-3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef on top of onions and pour any drippings from pan over the top.
  3. Combine stock, soy sauce, 3 TBS vinegar, 1 TBS sesame oil, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper) in a medium bowl, and whisk together. Pour mixture over beef and onions. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  4. Transfer beef and onions from slow cooker to a large platter; shred with 2 forks. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid and discard  the remaining liquid and garlic. Sprinkle evenly with salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid, toss to coat.
  5. Divide beef and pickles among lettuce leaves, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Buttermilk Pancakes

gluten-free – dairy free option – refined sugar free

Pancakes. Most definitely in my top 5 of all time favorite foods. They are (or should be) little golden mounds of fluffy, slightly sweet heaven. Which you can then drown in maple syrup, slather with jam or just throw on an ungodly amount of butter and eat until euphoria sets in.  I told you I like pancakes….. and without fail at every breakfast outing I would go on, no matter what else I might order, you were guaranteed to see a single pancake next to me. That is until I had to give up gluten (which can make eating pancakes out almost impossible). So, I had to put on my big girl panties and learn how to go without my beloved pancake. Sometimes I am lucky and the restaurant will have a GF option and I will literally have to fight myself not to get up from my chair, kiss the server and do a little pancake jig.

Pancakes are also a big deal in my house. They are pretty much a weekly occurrence since breakfast for dinner is one of the kids most requested meals. I won’t lie, it has been an uphill battle to find a gluten-free pancake recipe that my crew approved of.  I pinned and googled a ridiculous amount of recipes and we began our search. Unfortunately, we had many disappointing dinners where the pancakes were either to dense, to mushy, or simply not the pancakes of days gone by. So after a few failures, the lightbulb finally went off (sometimes it takes a bit ya’ know??) and I pulled out our pancake recipe from the days before allergies and sensitivities and we started to tinker around with it. We had a few false starts but pretty quickly we had the recipe you see now, and they were ok.

HA! Just kidding…but wouldn’t that be some shit???!!! If after reading this whole thing about my weird obsession with pancakes I just said they were “ok”?? They were better than ok, they were actually fantastic!!! Light, fluffy, slightly sweet and the perfect dessert for any breakfast. Enjoy!! nom nom

 

3 TBS butter or vegan butter; melted and cooled to room temp

2 cups of gluten-free flour; I use Cup4Cup brand

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or other unrefined sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk* (see note below)

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

mini chocolate chips (optional) I used Enjoy Life brand mini vegan chocolate chips

**If you want to make a dairy free buttermilk here is how you do it. This will make enough buttermilk for the pancakes. In a liquid measuring cup put in 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar. Add enough dairy free milk to the apple cider vinegar to equal 2 cups total liquid. Let stand for 5 minutes and whisk before using as the mixture will separate a little.

  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients together.
  3. Pour wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients.Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before batter is evenly moistened.
  4. Add the cooled melted butter and mix until evenly moistened.
  5. Let the batter rest while the pan heats up.
  6. Lighlty oil the pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the pan.

*Not everyone in my fam wants chocolate chips in their pancakes (my hubby is a purist). So, I add the chocolate chips to some of the pancakes right after I put the batter in the pan!

 

 

 

Zucchini Patties

gluten free / dairy free option / vegan option

There are two words I would use to describe zucchini. The first is Prolific.. The other would be Huge. I assume you see where this is going and that it goes without saying…. I have a ton of zucchini in my house. Between my mom’s garden and a few friends I find myself staring at the zuchinni wondering how many different recipes I can create or find with zuchinni as the main ingredient. And since zuchinni bread is the poster child of Zucchiniville, and I like to walk off the beaten path whenever possible…. I decided to start off with a savory dish like the patties you see above.

These zucchini patties are crazy good!! And minus the shredding which can be a bit annoying, they are a breeze to make. Both my kids devour them and will even eat them multiple times in a week!!! I mean…that NEVER happens in my house…. not unless its chicken tenders or dessert. And they are super versatile. My hubby and I make BLT  or BELT stacks with them…..ridiculously good. We take one patty and give it a swipe of Veganaisse, top that with mixed greens, bacon, tomatoes and an occasional fried egg and you would give up sex for a month to get another one. I promise. They are also superb topped with a slow cooked pulled pork and creamy slaw or make them mini and use them as a base for your own version of salmon latkes.

I ALWAYS double the recipe so I can make one batch with regular cheese and one with vegan cheese….I live in a divided household when it comes to cheese. For true vegans….I have never made these completely vegan and removed the egg, But I assume a flax-seed egg or other egg alternative would work just fine.

Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini**

1 small onion shredded (grated)**

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, I use Daiya shredded cheese

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1/2 cup gluten-free bisquick (or regular bisquick if you are GF friendly)

salt and pepper to taste

**The quickest and easiest way to shred the zucchini and onion is with a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Make sure you scoop out the seeds from the zuchinni before shredding. Once they are shredded, squeeze all the excess water from both the zucchini and the onion.

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until completely mixed together
  2. Heat enough oil to coat your skillet (I use grapeseed or canola) to medium heat.
  3. Drop mixture by the spoonful to make approximately 6 patties
  4. Let them cook on each side until brown, appx 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain off the excess oil

 

Would love to hear of any awesome zucchini patty concoctions you come up with!

Fruit Cobbler

gluten free / dairy free option / refined sugar free

 

The top three reasons I love summer in order are; 1) warm weather 2) fruit cobbler 3) fresh produce, and trust me, the only reason warm weather comes before fruit cobbler is because without the weather we would not get the fruit. And that my friends, would be a huge bummer. Here is a little cobbler 101…….

Cobbler refers to a variety of dishes, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. They consist of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling before being baked. Some cobbler recipes, especially in the American South, resemble a thick-crusted, deep-dish pie with both a top and bottom crust. Cobblers came into existence with the British American colonists because they were unable to make their traditional suet puddings due to missing ingredients and cooking devices. This particular recipe is my great grandmother’s and uses a simple pie crust as the topper. I significantly decreased the sugar in the filling, and also switched it to an unrefined sugar.

Cobblers are also great for beginning bakers! A fruit pie typically has two crusts and takes a little patience and dexterity to assemble. A cobbler only uses one crust and has a more rustic appearance to it, which makes it easier to hide any flaws in your pie crust. And trust me pie crusts can be tricky. You simply roll out one pie crust, lay it in the baking dish, pour in the filling and fold over the edges of the crust. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream!!  Our personal favorite is blueberry cobbler with a vanilla coconut ice cream.

Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients:

3 cups of sliced peaches or other fruit such as blueberries or blackberries

1/4 cup of organic natural cane sugar

3 TBS butter/ vegan butter

1 TBS.  gluten-free cornstarch

Gluten Free Pie Crust

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. Set aside.
  2. Follow this link to make the  Gluten Free Pie Crust. Roll out the dough to be 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Place the pie crust into a 9×9′ baking dish. Make sure the crust in set down into the pan and the extra pie crust is hanging off the sides.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust. You can trim some of the dough that hangs over the side or you can leave it as is! Fold each side of the pie crust over the filling and make sure to pinch closed the corner flaps once all the sides are folded over.
  5. Brush the crust with milk (we use almond milk) and sprinkle with a small amount of sugar.
  6. Bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly

 

Side Note: If you roll the dough out to be an 1/8 inch thick you will have a good amount of dough hanging over the edges. If you decide to trim the pie crust, then here is what I do with the extra.

  1. Put all the scraps of dough together and form a ball. Roll out the dough, in can be anywhere between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips.
  2.  Melt 1 TBS of butter and brush both side of the pie crust twigs. Sprinkle each side with sugar and cinnamon. Throw them on a baking sheet and put them in the same oven as the cobbler. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping once in the middle. Remove them from the oven and either serve as a garnish for your cobbler or they are a slightly sweet treat all by themselves!

 

 

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

gluten free – dairy free 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5-6 hours on low, 3-4 on high

Whew! I don’t know about your neck of the woods but here in Milwaukee it is H.O.T!!!!! And when it is this humid and muggy the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. I know most of us look at our slow cooker and think about all those yummy, warm winter dishes we make or it gets moved to the basement to take the summer off. But you couldn’t be more wrong!!! There is literally no better way to make dinner on a hot day than with your slow cooker!

I initially came across this dish via Pinterest a couple of months ago, and my mouth was watering looking at the picture. You see, I LOVE creamy anything; cream sauces, creamy desserts, damn I even love cream on my fruit. But (there is always a but, no?) my stomach can no longer handle dairy so in addition to my mission to make all my favorite foods gluten free I now get to add dairy free to the mix. This recipe originally called for heavy cream, so I did a little research and discovered that silken tofu can be a great dairy free substitution for whole milk or heavy cream. As luck would have it, the swap also made this dish significantly healthier as the fat content and calorie count was drastically reduced! With fresh cilantro from my mom’s garden and the swap of silken tofu for heavy cream this dish is made for summer. Pair it with some cauliflower rice and fresh green beans and dinner is served…..without breaking a sweat! Enjoy!! nom nom

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 TBS chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4-1/2 tsp pepper

2 TBS olive oil

2 cups of chicken broth

1/4 cup of lime juice

1/2 cup silken tofu; blended to be the consistency of heavy cream**

2 TBS chopped cilantro; more for garnish if desired

1 TBS cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water

** If you do not have a problem with dairy or want a richer dish you can sub in heavy cream or milk for the silken tofu. The silken tofu makes this dish less calorie laden and decreases the amount fat in this dish.**

 

  1. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil. Place all the dry spices in a shallow bowl. Rub the seasoning into the chicken on each side. Pan sear in the hot oil until each side is brown; 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the chicken broth and lime juice and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours. Right before the chicken is done, carefully remove the chicken and add silken tofu, cilantro, and cornstarch with water; mix well. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and continue to cook until sauce starts to thicken about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Serve over rice or preferred grain. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro if desired.

Biscuits

Take it from a girl from Kansas, where biscuits are pretty much a daily occurrence, these gluten-free biscuits are the bomb!!!!!! Warm out of the oven with a little butter and honey (or jam) and you will be in heaven.  They are flaky and moist with a beautiful golden brown top thanks to the melted butter you brush the tops with both before and after baking. These biscuits have also become a weekly staple in our house so that we can make breakfast sandwiches. They are a breeze to whip up taking only 20 minutes from start to finish. If you want to warm them up from room temp, just pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds or in the toaster on the lightest setting. Enjoy!!! nom nom
2 1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour; I use the Cup4Cup brand
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons cold salted butter  or vegan butter
2 tablespoons melted butter; divided
1 cup buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk substitute
flour for rolling out dough; I use rice flour as the GF flour is more expensive
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet
Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. Work in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk by hand.
Dust clean surface with rice flour. Roll out dough into a disk that is about 3/4-1 in thick. Cut out dough with a 2-in round cookie/biscuit cutter and place rounds on prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits with about half the melterd butter, reserving the rest to use once they are removed from the oven. And sprinkle with salt.
Bake biscuits about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

gluten-free / refined sugar-free / dairy free option

Words cannot begin to express how AMAZING this pie is. So to honor that this is going to be a blissfully short post. The key to making this pie unforgettable is very simple. All you need are local, freshly picked strawberries, some rhubarb which grows rampant in most areas, and a bit of orange zest to tie it all together! There is no doubt in my mind that this pie would still be good in the dead of winter with store-bought produce but it would definitely be the ugly step child in comparison. So much so, that now that I have had the real deal I would NEVER be able to make it otherwise. And because I hate depriving myself of anything this good, I’ve decided I will just have to pick enough berries this season that I can freeze a bunch and make this pie year round!!!

If you are local to the Milwaukee area and want to go pick I highly recommend going to Barthel Fruit Farm. They are located near Mequon, WI and are hands down the best farm in the area!! In addition to strawberries, they also offer a variety of plants and herbs to buy, sugar snap peas which are available now, and apples and pumpkins coming in fall!!

Rhubarb is naturally a bit bitter to taste so the sweetness of these strawberries balances out that flavor profile with ease. And because these berries are SO sweet you can literally cut the sugar down by at least half without even blinking an eye, which appeals to the healthy side of my brain! The orange zest I added to the filling gives you just a hint of that citrus tang through the sweetness of the berries. It definitely gives your taste buds a little zing and gives the pie a more elegant finish.

The only other advice I can offer is to make two pies, because one is definitely not enough!!

Enjoy! nom nom

P.S. AS always, if you do not need to be GF feel free to just sub in your eveyday all purpose flour!!!!

Ingredients

2 cups fresh rhubarb; cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups sliced strawberries

1/2-3/4 cup raw organic cane sugar

1/2 tsp. grated orange peel

1/3 cup GF all purpose flour

2 TBS butter

1/4 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 recipe for Gluten Free Pie Crust; makes (2) 9 inch crusts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare the pie crust by following the link above!
  2. Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange peel, flour and nutmeg in a large bowl. Turn into prepared pie shell.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the filling with them.
  4. Place the second pie crust over the filling. Cut 3 slits in the center to allow for ventilation. Seal and crimp the edges.
  5. Brush with milk or egg whites and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Cover the pie’s edge with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning. Remove for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is a golden brown.

 

Raspberry Chocolate Tart

gluten free / vegan / paleo friendly

This dessert took me 12 MINUTES to make and required NO baking!!  Ok, now that I have your attention……let’s get excited about the summer desserts’ that are coming our way!!! Here in Wisconsin we are all in avid anticipation of the strawberries that will be arriving any day now. A few of my favorite recipes I can’t wait to share with you are strawberry scones, strawberry rhubarb pie and strawberry bread. Follow that up with blueberry and peach season where we will discover the beautiful and simple nuances of the fruit with just a buttery pie crust holding it together. And how amazing a simple muffin can be when it’s jammed full of Michigan blueberries. And last but certainly not least are raspberries! They have a longer season than most berries, ranging from mid July to October in places like Michigan. So you can look forward to raspberry sorbet, jams and my personal favorite, anything chocolate with raspberries! And so we come full circle, to the whole point of this post. The Raspberry Chocolate Tart. I cannot take credit for this particular recipe as I found it via the blog bakerita. so…kudos to her because this tart is phenomenal!! It is not only ridiculously rich and satisfying but it is also…..gluten free, vegan and paleo friendly!!! It is also the PERFECT summer dessert. Easy to make, requires no oven and will impress even the toughest dessert critic! Enjoy!! nom nom

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TBS pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • pinch of coarse sea salt

For the filling

  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
  • 6oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves (100% fruit)
  • 1 pint of raspberries

 

  1. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with coconut oil
  2. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crust and stir together. Press evenly into the prepared tart pan; set aside
  3. Place finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk just to a boil. Pout hot coconut milk over chocolate and let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in raspberry preserves. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
  4. Garnish the top with raspberries
  5. Place tart in the refrigerator to set and cool completely, about 1-2 hours. Slice and serve.
  6. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

 

 

Steak and Sweet Potato Bowl

It is bowl time again my friends!!! And this time we are taking a Latin approach. This recipe is super simple albeit a little putsy with the marinade and dressing. But have no fear, I wrote down a few time-saving tips at the end to make this an easy option for weeknight meals. This has an earthy spice rather than a hot spice so it can work well for the kiddos too!! And if you want to make this vegetarian, it’s easy!! Just double up on the black beans or add in pinto beans for some variety! Add in some extra vegetables like sautéed corn and peppers and voila, a vegetarian bowl!!! This recipe is great the day after for lunch if you are so lucky to have leftovers!!! Enjoy! nom nom!!

gluten free / dairy free / grain free option / vegetarian option

Makes 2 bowls.

Sweet Potato Bowl 

1 cup cooked organic brown rice or Cauliflower Rice

2/3-3/4 cup black beans

1 avocado; sliced

1 cup of sweet potato (approximately 1 large sweet potato); peeled and cubed

6-8 ounces of flank steak; marinated for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking

2 TBS roasted pumpkinseed kernels; usually found in bulk section

4 TBS. fresh cilantro, chopped

2 TBS. salsa verde

Steak Marinade

2 TBS neutral tasting oil, I like grapeseed or EVOO

1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh

2 TBS lime juice; preferably fresh

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 TBS cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp jalapeno, diced (optional)

Honey-Chipotle  Dressing

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS adobo sauce

2 TBS honey

1 TBS fresh lime juice

  1. For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Place meat in large ziploc bag and pour mixture into the bag. Make sure the bag is sealed and massage bag until the marinade has coated the steak evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes though all day is preferrable to ensure the meat is tender!
  2. Preheat oven to 425.
  3. Prepare rice according to package directions. Once cooked, toss the rice with salsa verde and set aside
  4. Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until crisp with slightly dark edges, approximately 20-30 minutes
  5. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the steak to your desired doneness. For medium rare, cook on the first side for 8 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Remove to plate and lest rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  6. For the Honey Chipotle Dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. Once all the components are done you can assemble your bowl!!! Start with the rice as your base followed by the sweet potaoes, black beans, 3-4 ounces of sliced steak, sliced avocado and pumpkin seeds to finish
  8. Drizzle with Honey Chipotle dressing and enjoy!!!

Time Saving TIPS!!

  1. Prepare the marinade and dressing the night before. The steak can marinate overnight and just remove the dressing once you start dinner so it can come to room temperature
  2. Buy the sweet potaoes already cubed!! Either frozen and make sure to thaw them before baking or Trader Joe’s has cubed sweet potaoes in the refrigerated produce section
  3. You can also make the rice ahead of time! We eat alot of rice so we make a big batch on Sunday and use it throughout the week!

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Blondie Bars

gluten free / dairy free / refined sugar free / vegan option

So, last week was my daughter’s last day of K4. It was an emotional week for everyone. I’m talking tears everyday, this is the worst thing to happen to her EVER kind of emotional. And I honestly wasn’t much better…..Amira has been blessed for the last two years to attend the Schlitz Audubon Nature School outside of Milwaukee. It is a truly unique program where they spend the majority of their day out in nature learning about our world and the skills they will need to become active members of our society. To put it in perspective, they spend more time outside in the 9 month preschool program than they will cumulatively until they graduate highschool. This program has taught her to respect all that nature offers and to see what a small but integral part she plays in our world. They learned multiple languages through song, learned how to identify plants and animals and learned all the basics of a preschool program through the lens of nature. Needless to say, she was beyond sad to be done, as was I. So, like any good southern born girl does when she is sad I baked up a storm! And these quinoa blondie bars were one of my faves. The recipe below is based off a traditional blondie bar recipe I picked up years ago. Each time I made them (4 times to be exact) I made an adjustment to make them a healthier dessert option. Whether it was changing the sugar or eliminating the butter and eggs they turned out moist, gooey and delicious!!  And since vegan is the most earth friendly way to eat, they are a perfect way to end our nature school adventure! Enjoy!! NOM NOM

Ingredients

2 large eggs or flax seed eggs if making vegan

3/4 cup almond butter, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or butter alternative, softened

3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of dark chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. The paper should overhang a bit on opposite ends. Coat with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and almond butter in a stand mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before removing from pan. Once it is cool lift the parchment out and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Should be approximately 16 bars.