Category: Snacks

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

It’s SUMMER! Summer is finally here! No schedules, no lunch-packing, no nuthin’. I just love summer. It’s a time to be free, to go on fun adventures, replace bathtime with swimtime, and enjoy deliciously relaxed time together. There will be playdates, parties, birthdays, and get togethers. And FOOD. Lots of food.

I love cooking for the season. Not only is it the best way to ensure freshness of ingredients, but it is also a way to help me get into the spirit of the season. Coconut is one of those seasonal summer flavors that always tugs on me. It beckons the waves, salty air, and little happy kids, slathered in sunscreen. Coconut is just the epitome of summertime. It is one of my favorite flavors.

Many restaurants don’t offer gluten free desserts. But, one of my favorite restaurants offers coconut macaroons. So, because I am now gluten free, I tried one (in lieu of a cupcake, a piece of Texas Sheet Cake, or a cookie). I was blown away. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. And dipped in chocolate. I meannnn…..

I HAD to recreate it. So that I could have it at any time. Of any day. At my own whim.

So, I put together this recipe, that is both easy and incredibly flavorful.


First, you mix up some coconutty ingredients. Then you bloop them onto parchment.

Then you bake them until golden brown…

OH, SO GOLDEN BROWN!

Then, you dip those babies in chocolate!

Next, you eat them over the sink. Or in hiding. And relish the fact that not everyone in the family loves coconut, and you can eat their share.

Ohhhh, yes, boy. These are where it’s AT!

I implore you to make these. I’m quite sure you’d love them.

Enjoy!

Kristin

 

Print Recipe
Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Crunchy and chewy, filled with a gooey coconutty texture. These are ridiculously good.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
macaroons
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
macaroons
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brown 1/2 of the package of coconut. Mix that, with the rest of the coconut, and all the dry ingredients together. Mix all the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. Drop two rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto a parchment-lined pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (or microwave). When the macaroons are done, cool for 2 minutes on the pan, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dip the bottom of them into the chocolate, place back on the cooled pan and refrigerate.
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Strawberry, Blueberry, and Beet Applesauce

I love making applesauce! I feel like such a queen when I do. It always comes out so beautifully and I can’t seem to mess it up. I usually make it during the Fall-time, and it perfumes the house with a warmth of cinnamon, and apples; tart and sweet. But, because it’s now Spring and I want to get more veg down my kids’ gullets, I came up with this recipe.

I happen to love beets. I always have. I was the weird kid (#weirdkidsrock) that would eat beets straight out of the can. And alfalfa sprouts with ranch as my after school snack. I meannnnn…  But beets are really quite good for you, earthy  and dirt-tasting as they are! They are great for heart and liver health and full of fiber.

Bonus: you let the crock pot do the dirty work (unless you consider coring and cutting apples dirty work. and then, I can’t help you. *I leave the skins on the apples for extra fiber.).

Once everything goes into the pot, the beets lend their beautiful, jewel-toned ruby-red color to the apples. Then, the entire thing becomes that same gorgeous color when blended together!

I hope you enjoy!

-Kristin

Print Recipe
Strawberry, Blueberry, and Beet Applesauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. After fruit is thoroughly washed, core and cut the apples, cut the beets into quarters, and hull the strawberries. Place them, along with the blueberries (you can add in the beet juice, if you'd like) in the Crock Pot. Add the water, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Turn on to high heat for 4 hours. Once the apples are tender, turn off the Crock Pot. Use a wooden spoon to mash to the desired consistency. You may also use a hand mixer. Enjoy hot or cold!
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Date Paste

I have struggled with sugar addiction for a long time. Perhaps, forever. I like to call it a sweet tooth, because that’s cuter. But, it can get out of hand, rather quickly. I’m on a mission, now, to eat less sugar and find plant based alternatives. I don’t believe in withholding things that make me happy (as long as it isn’t destructive), but I’m so glad there are so many other delicious ways to indulge!

I find myself using more maple syrup and local honey as sugar alternatives, where I can. I’ve also starting using date paste. And I found a way to make it myself. It’s another easy recipe that is full of health benefits. Dates are rich in protein, many vitamins (magnesium being one of them, which helps with migraines!), and aid in digestion (they are full of fiber).

This is good ANYWHERE…spread on toast, mixed into batters where sugar would normally be, stirred into oatmeal, blended into smoothies, baked into Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe coming soon!). It’s so good. And easy!

Enjoy!

-Kristin

Print Recipe
Date Paste
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes (plus, if needed)
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
1/4 C
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes (plus, if needed)
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
1/4 C
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates. Soak them in the water overnight (warm up the water first). Then put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. It will take a while, but it's worth the wait. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, up to 3 months...if it lasts that long!
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Golden Milk

Turmeric. The beautiful golden and aromatic spice that comes from grinding up the root of its mother plant. It’s SO warming. It’s so incredibly beautiful. And, its benefits are many. It can reduce depression (YESSS!!), inflammation, Alzheimer’s effects, it fights cancer, and makes your skin glow. The bottom line is, it’s incredible for your health. I take turmeric capsules every day and make this beautiful Golden Milk quite often. It’s easy to put together and packs a huge health punch. It’s also delicious! Win! This beauty also has cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, and local honey in it, all of which add to the health benefits.

Cinnamon is another ridiculously healthy spice. It’s high in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also is antimicrobial (germaphobe here!), and is great for heart health. The black pepper is necessary because it activates the turmeric. Cayenne pepper adds a nice kick, while stimulating circulation, and helps with digestion and upset stomach. Local honey is great for allergies.

Side note: you can buy turmeric with black pepper already in it!

I have several recipes in which I use Golden Milk, oatmeal being one of them. I’ll post a recipe soon!

Try this beautiful drink and you will feel more healthful!

-Kristin

Print Recipe
Golden Milk
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all of your ingredients in a saucepan. Turn burner on to medium heat. Whisk together and heat for about 5 minutes (don't let it scorch). Pour into a mug and enjoy!
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Halloween Party Kid Food – BONE Appetit!

Are YOU having a Halloween party? Do you still need some food ideas? Boo, do I have some for you! Read below…if you dare…..mwahahahaha!

About a month ago, I received a call from a sweet friend of my boys (who also pretty much has me done in for, precious as she is!). She told me she was throwing a Halloween party and wanted me to be her “Chef”. How amazing is that!? She poured her heart into this party, planning every last detail – the decorations, the games, etc. She even had my husband, who is a DJ, provide the music. This was a party for the ages!

So, as the Chef, I pulled together some menu ideas with her wonderful Mama, and our planner approved them ( 😛 ). Each of the other invitees offered to make the items on our list.  And here they are, in all their Halloweeny glory!

 

Horrors d’oeuvres Time:

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To make this, you simply carve a pie pumpkin to look as if it’s barfed/vommied/puked…the nastier, the better! Put your dip (guacamole worked best for us because…guacamole) in front of it’s gaping barfy mouth.

 

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These are Bugles! And how cute is this sign? A lot of thought was put into that sign.

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This “Pumpkin Poo” went over well with the kids! Also, how can you go wrong with cheese balls? Every party needs cheese balls.

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This sweet and fruity Jack O’Lantern was gobbled down in no time! It’s made with orange segments and grapes. You can use blueberries in place of the grapes or do a mixture of the two.

Dinner Time:

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These Mummy Dogs are so easy to make, and leave quite a spooky impression! All you need is hot dogs and crescent rolls. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Dry hot dogs with paper towels. Cut or rip the crescent rolls into strips. Wrap the strips around the hot dogs in a random pattern. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake until the crescent rolls have become golden brown (as per the package).

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For these cutie Jack O’Lanterns, you’ll need clear plastic cups, a Sharpie, macaroni and cheese, and some celery. Draw the faces on the cups before filling with the macaroni. Once you have added the macaroni, place a small piece of celery in, as the pumpkin stalk.

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These Bat Nuggets are sure to scare! Bake your chicken nuggets, add tortilla chip wings, ketchup eyes, and make sure you eat them before they fly away! Bats fly quickly and erratically, you know.

Dessert Time:

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Nothing will gross you out and make your kids laugh more than these graham cracker bandaids!! All that you’ll need are graham crackers, icing, and red gel. **Yeesh!**

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Our ghostess with the mostess put these donut monsters together, right down to the eyes and teeth! Super scary!

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These were my contribution – Trick or Treat Brownies and Meringue “Ghosties”. For the brownies, you’ll need one box of brownie mix, a bunch of candy (I used Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&M’s), and candy eyeballs. Prepare the brownie mix and pour into a 13×9 prepared pan. Chop up the candy (not the M&M’s) and sprinkle randomly. Bake as directed. I found that my candy sank a bit as the brownies baked, so I chopped up some more and squished it into the freshly baked brownies. Do the same with more M&M’s and the eyeballs. Let cool and cut into squares.

For the Meringue Ghosties, I used the following recipe.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/meringue-ghosts

I used a food-safe paintbrush and hand painted the eyes and mouths, using black gel coloring.

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This party was so much fun, thanks to the wonderful party planning and effort put forth by our cutie gHost! I hope your Halloween parties are as much fun and that you can use some of these ideas!

Happy Halloween!

Kristin

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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I have a very tumultuous relationship with banana bread. I either LOVE it or it just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know what it is. I love a dense cake, but dense banana bread is sort of meh.

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But, I just came across a new recipe…

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And it changed me…

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…FOREVER.

This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread recipe yields the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, chewy and crusty.

You simply MUST try it, especially if you are broken up with banana bread, as I was. Now we’re back on. Here’s to a long and successful future!

Cinnamon Swirled Banana Bread

** I didn’t use the banana on the top, and I also made two smaller loaves**

Kristin

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

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Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( 🙁 ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.

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Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. 😀

I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.

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These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.

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You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I can barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C oats

1/2 C coconut

1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)

1/4 t salt

1/2 C peanut butter

3/4 C honey

1 T  oil (I used coconut)

3 T brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 t oil (I used coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.  Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.

To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.

Cut and serve.

These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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Watermelon & Lime Popsicles

It is hot. Like, bad hot. While it’s still technically “Spring”, it’s been Summer weather here in Sunny Florida for a while. We are constantly trying to beat the heat. I made a fun, healthy treat this week that was both delicious and heat-beating (yes, that’s a thing). Watermelon Lime Popsicles! You need only a few ingredients, and one special tool (maybe two).

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Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Watermelon juice

1 lime

microplane

Popsicle bags (I found mine at World Market)

Cut up a watermelon (you can use whatever size you want) and puree it. Strain it. I kept the pulp and ate it, as a snack, with Tajín (a Mexican spice mix of chile, salt, and lime). Wash the lime. Zest it into your watermelon juice container. Cut the lime open and squeeze the juice from both halves into the same container. Stir the liquid and zest. Use a funnel or a measuring cup to fill popsicle bags. Once sealed, place in the freezer for several hours.

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These were insanely good. You could see the beautiful lime zest in the gorgeous watermelon juice. The taste was out of this world.

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I had only made four (using the leftover watermelon juice from my Watermelon Cupcakes) and my boys keep asking me to make them.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Circus Week – “Magic Bunny” VPK School Lunch

I feel like circuses have magic shows. Do they? Like, with a magician in a tux, pulling a rabbit out of a top hat?

I might be stretching it a little. I only have so many circus-themed cutters.

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I made a magical bunny shaped PB&J and added details for his ears (very instrumental to his magic show), eye, ad nose. I also packed a few banana chips, a few TJ’s organic PB sandwich crackers, two dried dates, an aprium, colby jack cheese, a Tim Tam (thank you Australia!!!), and a homemade granola bar.

And for my Smalls:

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I packed half a PB&J, trail mix, an aprium, TJ’s PB crackers, colby jack cheese, and a cotton candy Oreo. He’s got a granola bar for snack.

I made the granola bars for Teacher Appreciation Week a few weeks back. They were delicious!! I thought I’d make them again for my own family.

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They were super easy to put together…

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…and had ingredients I both had on hand and could pronounce.

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AND they are easy to individually package and freeze!

http://happymoneysaver.com/no-bake-homemade-chewy-granola-bars/

A hint – if you are out of honey, as this recipe requires a LOT, you can use corn syrup as a sub. I don’t love using that, but I do keep it on hand for some recipes.

Do it!

Kristin

Half Whole Wheat Banana Cake Muffins

Have you ever heard of something that is half whole wheat? And that is both cake and a muffin at the same time? Me neither. Until now. These are so good, they’ll knock your socks off! I was inspired to make these for two reasons – 1) I had two completely brown, sad, and huge bananas on my counter (they were so pitiful and self-loathing, that they wouldn’t even hang on my banana hanger anymore), and 2) my oldest son had a craving for banana cake after a classmate brought some in his school lunchbox and who am I to mess with his cake-filled dreams.

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These came out so moist and soft, and with a tender crumb, just like cake should be (unless it’s wedding cake. I adore and crave a dense wedding cake.). I used both whole wheat flour and cake flour. I love when healthy and delicious collide.

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They are full of cozy, homey banana flavor and spiced with warm cinnamon.

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If given the opportunity, I would have eaten the whole pan.

Fortunately enough for me and my waistline, I was not afforded that opportunity.

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I also made a few mini muffins, perfect for little hands.

I hope you make these sweet little things and find them to be as easy and delicious as I did.

Half Whole Wheat Banana Cake Muffins

Recipe makes 12 standard muffins, 12 mini muffins, and a little extra for a tasting (I used a mini spring form)

Recipe adapted from: “Banana Upside Down Mini Muffins”, Weelicious Lunches

2 large ripe bananas (or about 3 medium)

3/4 C buttermilk (I made mine with cashew milk and vinegar)

1 large egg

3 T oil (I used peanut, you can use canola, vegetable, or coconut)

1 t vanilla

1 C whole wheat flour

1 C cake flour

1/3 C packed brown sugar

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake tin.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla, and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined.

Pour into the cupcake wrappers, about 3/4 full.

Bake for 12 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tins.

These are truly bananas! Try them.

Kristin