Larabar

On a dark and dreary day in September, my little and I went on an adventure…to the grocery store. In all actuality I am unsure if the day was dark and dreary, however we did in fact go to the grocery store-in search, once again, of dairy-free snacks and foods to make our lives a little more convenient.

My little loves going and looking at the “protein bar” section, I realize that I should be grateful that he chooses this aisle over the candy aisle. Well on this dark and dreary day he chose a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar; I picked one up too, because you know, Momma has to try it too! Honestly, I was unsure if either of us would like them because the ingredients were extraordinarily healthy…cashews, dates, chocolate chips and sea salt…I mean come on, you can’t get much healthier.

 

Larabar

Well, we loved them! Now Larabar has become our go-to bar. I love finding convenient food that tastes good, and that I feel good about me and my family eating. Plus there is such a variety of yummy flavors, and chocolate! Chocolate is a must. So with our new-found love, I recently e-mailed Larabar to see if I could do a review of their products, and they happily sent me a care package with some samples.

I will admit, these did not last long at all. Thee days tops.

Larabar Side Angle

 

 

I was hoping to share with you my favorite flavor, but I honestly love them all. The Cherry Pie was tart, just like a cherry pie should be, the Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread made me feel like Christmas. There is one flavor that I surprisingly haven’t tried yet, and I say surprisingly because of my obvious love for coconut and chocolate, which is the Coconut Chocolate Chip bar! When I asked the littles what their favorite flavor was, they said the ones with chocolate, it doesn’t matter which one, just one with chocolate, oh and the Peanut Butter and Jelly…genius!

Peanut BUtter and Jelly Larabar

 

So if you dig healthy convenient food, I would definitely encourage you to try out a Larabar, or two or three. You can check them out on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Or order products, learn about the company and sign up for an eNewsletter on Larabar’s Website. Let me know how you like Larabar, and what your favorite flavor is!

Happy Eating 🙂

P.S. I was not paid for this review, all opinions are mine!

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

Okay, I may have a problem….the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and coconut is to die for. Like really, it is my favorite EVER!  I contemplated making an “all the things” meme, that’s how much I love it.

Deep breath…

Granola bars are so convenient, and quite delicious. It’s tough to find some in the grocery store that aren’t expensive and don’t have dairy or loads of sugar. So yesterday I made a batch of granola bars and individually wrapped them for lunches or snacks or like this morning getting tossed in my purse to eat on-the-go for breakfast.

DF Granola BarsNo-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

Makes approx. 12-14

Bars:

2 cups oats (gluten-free)

1 cup brown rice krispy cereal

1 cup shredded coconut

2/3 cups brown rice syrup

1/2 cup (heaping) of creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt

Topping (optional):

1/8-1/4 dairy-free chocolate chips*

 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

1 Tbsp (heaping) shredded coconut

Combine brown rice syrup and peanut butter, heat in a microwave safe bowl for 30 second intervals until peanut butter is melted, or on the stove in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir well.

Add vanilla, sea salt and cocoa powder to the peanut butter and brown rice syrup, mix well. Add in oats and coconut, once incorporated add in the krispy cereal and stir gently until mixed.

Take an 8×8 dish and line with parchment paper. Spoon the mixture into the dish and pack the mixture down with your hand, spatula, spoon…you get the point.

Melt the 2 Tbsp of peanut butter, just enough that it can be easily spread. Drizzle all over the top of the bars. Sprinkle on coconut and chocolate chips! 

Stick bars in the freezer for an hour or until firm. Remove easily from the pan with parchment paper and then cut into bar shapes. 

Store in an air-tight container or wrap individually.

*I typically use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips, but at a local food coop I found a bag of Equal Exchange 70% chocolate chips and used them for these granola bars. Fantastic!

DF Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Granola Bar

Enjoy 🙂

 

Doggy Birthday Cake

Today is a very special family members 5th birthday. We decided to celebrate with a cake of course!

Dog Birthday Cake

Yes, I am one of those dog owners that believes that human food is okay in moderation. And let me tell you, I had a couple of happy pups on my hand!

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Cake

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soft coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 banana
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour

I used a 6×3 cake pan, I feel that an 8 inch pan would be too large.You could also make pupcakes…see what I did there?

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the banana until smooth. Add peanut butter, coconut oil and honey to the banana and mix well. Next, add in the baking soda and flour and mix until it is incorporated into the batter.

Spoon batter into a greased cake pan. This batter will not be runny, smooth out the top if necessary.

Stick in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Let the cake cool and serve it up for your birthday pup!

Pup Birthday Cake

P.S. I tried a little bite, not too shabby 😉

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s official. I no longer have a toddler! What do I classify him as? A child? A pre-schooler? Either way, I am a little sad that he is growing up, next thing I know he’ll be leaving for college…insert dramatic tears.

Those who know this little man, know he is Batman. When you’re Batman, you need a Batman party and thus the vegan chocolate cupcakes began.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes approx. 14-17

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup coconut oil (soft)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Then add in the water, coconut oil and vanilla; once combined add in the vinegar. Grease or line the cupcake tins, fill half way. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

These cupcakes are soft and fudge-y and got rave reviews from those who ate them!

Vegan Batman Cupcake

To turn these into Batman cupcakes, make vegan frosting or use a store-bought vegan frosting, like this one from Duncan Hines. Mix the frosting with a yellow food coloring, until you get a golden-yellow. Frost the cupcakes. Then use a batman cookie cutter, like this one from Etsy and cut out Batman shapes for the top of your cupcakes. Fondant would probably work, especially in black, but I wanted to use something a little tastier. I tried this with fruit roll ups, which worked great but I couldn’t find a color that I liked, so I ended up using fruit leather!

Batman Cupcakes

If you’re wondering how I made the cupcake stand, well shh… don’t let my secret out 😉 I took boxes we had lying around the house, I think the bottom layer was our battleship game…hehe, and I wrapped them with this awesome polka-dot wrapping paper from Target. Then I wrapped a black (thicker) ribbon around the boxes and then a yellow one on top. I cut out the logo from card-stock paper and glued it on with my hot glue gun. Easy peasy!

 

 

Flour-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

I’ve been experimenting with recipes that are free from flour, because honestly, can it get any easier than that?! Sometimes dealing with alternative flours can be a little tricky, and another plus is that you cut out a significant amount of carbs and extra calories.

As you all know by now, I love me some peanut butter! And it was my mom’s birthday, so basically that meant…CUPCAKE TIME!

PB Cup Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Yields 6 Cupcakes

Cupcake:

3 eggs

1 medium ripe banana

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 tbsp honey

3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp baking soda

Filling:

1 tbsp peanut butter

1/2 tsp honey

dash of vanilla extract

dash of almond extract

Icing:

1/4 cup honey

1/8 cup rice milk

1/8 cup Earth Balance

2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract

This recipe uses a good amount of peanut butter and honey, so make sure you have plenty on hand! I first mixed my banana, honey, cocoa powder, baking soda and extracts in my magic bullet so that I could get a smooth consistency and get rid of the banana chunks. I then poured the mixture into my bowl and added the peanut butter and eggs and mixed until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix up the filling, the extracts are optional, I just poured in a little for some extra flavor. You can always taste test! I mixed the filling until it was a fluffier consistency. Add the batter into the cupcake tin (either greased or lined) until it is 1/4 full. Add 1 tsp dollop of the filling into each of the cupcakes. Add the remaining batter on top, which should be about 3/4 full.

Bake the cupcakes at 400 degrees for 9-12 minutes.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, take out a saucepan and stick it on your stove top over low heat. Add the ingredients for the icing, minus the milk. Stir the ingredients until melted and then slowly add the milk in while mixing. During this part it is beneficial to have a whisk, which I don’t have! GASP! I know it’s silly.

Once the cupcakes are done cooking and have cooled, add the icing on top. Then try not to eat them all in one sitting!

Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate, coconut and peanut butter! Does it get any better?

Wild Friends is a new[er] brand of nut butters on the market, and they have great flavors including Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter, which was my muse for these two recipes.

I have been trying to find a protein bar on the market that is not only is dairy-free but inexpensive, and it has become a trying task. So I decided to make my own. These bars are not only simple to make, but it makes a large batch and only used a fraction of the ingredients that I purchased.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Approx. 20 small bars

2 cups oats

1 cup puffed brown rice cereal

3/4 cup Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I used Lundberg’s Organic Sweet Dreams)

2/3 cup brown rice protein powder (I used Growing Naturals Brand in Chocolate)

1 tsp vanilla

I combined the peanut butter and brown rice syrup and heated it in the microwave for a few seconds until it was slightly melted and easier to stir, you could also heat it on your stove top over low heat-this step made the process of mixing much easier. Add the additional ingredients and keep stirring until the mixture is uniformly combined.

I took my 16 cup (12.375″ L X 9.125″ W X 3.5″ H) Sterilite rectangle lidded container and lined it with parchment paper. I added the mixture and pressed it firmly and evenly. I snapped on the lid and stuck it in the refrigerator for about an hour or two (I lost track of time); once they were cooled, I removed the bars easily with the parchment paper and cut them into 20 small rectangular bars. Then I tossed them back into the container for storage. I recommend storing them in the refrigerator, however I did have one in my purse that I forgot about…it was in a Ziploc baggy for a day or so and it still maintained the shape and flavor.

I wanted to touch on brown rice syrup briefly. I have heard controversy over this item due to reports of arsenic in rice. For one, it is an ingredient in almost every organic, natural, vegan etc bar, and two I felt comfortable using this Lundberg brand because they are taking precautions and testing the levels of arsenic in their rice as part of their comprehensive food safety plan.

And now for this masterpiece…

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Pancakes

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter Pancakes

Approx. 4-6 depending on size

2 eggs

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

2 tbsp chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life minis)

2 tbsp shredded coconut

Optional:

Coconut oil for cooking

A little extra coconut and chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (highly recommended)

Mash the banana, then add the eggs and mix well; add the remaining ingredients and mix until relatively smooth. I heated a pan on my stove top to medium-low and added a little coconut oil to keep the pancakes from sticking.  I put about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan; when they have formed bubbles on top that have burst they are ready to be flipped (just like normal pancakes). These don’t take long to cook!

When they are done, grab a plate and stack ’em up. I didn’t add any syrup or additional peanut butter, just a sprinkle of coconut and chocolate chips on top. I’m not even exaggerating, these were like heaven in my mouth. Next time around, I will be making a bigger batch!

Enjoy 🙂

P.S. This post was not sponsored by Wild Friends. All opinions and ideas are my own.