Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallows

  
Happy Holidays everyone! I have two parts to this post. First of all I would like to announce that Ben and I are engaged! So actually we have been since the first of November but I was waiting to make it official until we told all of our family and friends in person. Also I didn’t have my ting yet, but anyway yes, this is my good news!    
Now on to the absolute easiest Christmas treat recipe you’ll ever find. For these easy chocolate peppermint marshmallows you will need:

  • Dark chocolate or semi sweet chips
  • Crushed up peppermints or candy canes
  • Large marshmallows (I used my favorite vegan brand Dandies

Just melt your chocolate chips in a double boiler or the microwave. (30 seconds at a time) Then dip half of each  marshmallow in the melted chocolate. Next press the chocolate top down into a bowl of crushed mints and put on wax paper to dry. It’s that easy! 

  

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Homeade Butter and Honey Butter

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I had a super busy weekend and was able to get lots of work done, and still made this butter!  It’s super simple and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realize how easy butter is to make.  It’s just one ingredient, heavy whipping cream and you can either shake it in a jar for a long time or use a food processor.

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I used the later and it took about 5 minutes on high.  I also added some salt to mine for taste.  You will be able to tell when it’s done because there will be no more liquid and you can use a rubber spatula to scrape it out.  I put it in a bowl and folded in some honey to make honey butter because, well honey butter!  I also want to try to make some mulberry butter this summer after my mulberry trees have berries.  The possibilities are endless, enjoy! Let me know how it turns out.

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Avacado Egg Salad

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This has been one of my go to recipes for a few years now.  Even if you don’t like egg salad, don’t knock this one until you try it.  The avocados and spices give it a whole new flavor, and it’s much healthier than regular egg salad.  I got the original recipe from a blog on pinterest called {Never} Homemaker, but as I tend to do I changed some thinks around to my liking and to make it my own.  So you can read the original and mine and possibly even tweak it some more if you’d like! Ingredients:

  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 diced avacado
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • handful of chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

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Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir everything up. I like to eat mine on a tortilla with some fresh kale, but Ben likes his on bread.  Try it however you like, I’ve also just ate it before. 😉

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Roasted Chickpeas

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I know my last post was a recipe, but these are so addicting and easy to make I had to!  Ben actually came up with this recipe too so I’m taking it from him.  This is the first version he made and I think this is my favorite flavor combination but it’s fun to experiment also.

To begin, drain the water out of a can of chickpeas and rinse them off in a colander.  Then pat them dry with a paper towel and put them in a mixing bowl.

Add about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 2 teaspoons of curry powder.  We eyeballed ours, but add enough to evenly coat the chickpeas.  Mix everything up evenly and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 40 min.  Some of the chickpeas will pop which is fine, I like the crunchy burnt ones but they should all be crunchy when done.  Enjoy!

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Honey Tahini Almond Cookies

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This is one recipe that I tried from pinterest that I will definitely be making again!  Not only are they healthy but they are addicting.  These cookies are packed with nutrition and naturally sweetened with honey.  I also added a little agave nectar to mine for a little extra sweetness.

I got the recipe from a blog called http://www.anjasfood4thought.com/2014/03/honey-tahini-almond-cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Combine the almond meal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Next combine the honey, vanilla, tahini, and agave.  Slowly stir in the dry mix until everything is mixed up.  Roll into quarter sized balls and roll into the sesame seeds, coating the balls.  Press them down on your lightly greased cookie sheet so they are about 1/4″ thick.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  and bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.

Enjoy!

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Vegetable Bean and Lentil Stew

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It’s been raining here by Chicago all week and with the dreary cold weather it’s starting to feel more like fall.  I decided it was time to make my Vegetable bean and lentil stew for dinner.  I call it this because it’s the best name I can think of because I pack it full of all kinds of good stuff.  I never measure stuff out when I cook so it comes out a bit different every time but I’ve tried to put together a recipe if anyone wanted to try it for themselves.

Usually I use a little of whatever beans and lentils I have in our pantry.  For this batch I used:

  • Black beans, pinto beans, great northern white beans, and lentils.  Use enough of whatever your mix is to fill the crock pot up 1/4 of the way.  Fill it up with vegetable stock so its up above the beans about an inch fill with water about three more inches.  I add 1 Tablespoon of chopped garlic and about 1/3 cup of chopped onions.  I use a pinch or two of salt and some thyme.
  • Here is a picture of everything else I added.  Also not pictured, kale and onions.  I let the beans and lentils cook for a bout an hour or two first before I add everything else.

DSC_0035DSC_0017Next I chop up a few carrots, stalks of celery and two or three potatoes.  I add a handful of kale and let let simmer until everything is cooked.  Usually a couple more hours.  I let it cook all day to let the flavors cook in.  It’s good for a Sunday around the house.  It makes quite a bit so you’ll have leftovers too!

enjoy!

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Vegan Coconut Cupcakes with Peach Frosting

DSC_0397I’ve been searching for the perfect basic cupcake recipe for a while.  I wanted a basic go-to recipe that I could use to base other concoctions I try out.  I found one at handletheheat.com that had a good, easy, basic recipe and it showed what happened if you subbed different ingredients out for others.  I love trying to make dessert recipes  healthier, and I’m not vegan, just vegetarian, but I try to limit my dairy so I wanted to try and make a go-to vegan cupcake recipe.  I like to see if I can make desserts still as tasty while switching the ingredients. 

I listed the original recipe along with the things I switched out such as almond milk, flax seed for eggs, and coconut oil for butter.  The next batch I make, I’ll probably use coconut or rice flour to see if I can make it gluten free too.  I have a niece who has Celiac disease and can’t have gluten, so I like to make sure she can still enjoy as many of the same treats as everyone else. 

For the icing I wanted to use something I had already and had bought peaches the day before so I decided to try and make some vegan icing with coconut oil and powdered sugar.  This one I made up as I go, but the measurements should be pretty close.  Just eyeball it!  Also make sure to keep these refrigerated so the icing doesn’t melt. 😉

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Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1 egg or 1 teaspoon flax seed + 2-3 teaspoons water (enough to make the consistency of an egg)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk and it turned out fine)

Combine all dry ingredients and then add wet.  Mix with a hand mixer and then scoop into lined muffin tin.  The batter will be a little thicker than regular cake batter so don’t worry. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Makes 12

Icing:

  • 1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil melted
  • 1 peach blended in a blender, bullet, or food processor 
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk (again I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (you may have to add more if it’s too watery)

I also added a little flour to mine to thicken it up.  Add all ingredients and blend with a hand mixer. Next let it set in the fridge for about an hour or about 20 minutes in the freezer to thicken up the icing.  And again since it’s made with coconut oil you’ll need to keep these refrigerated so the frosting doesn’t melt.

Also I used whole wheat flour in my cupcakes because that’s what I had but for the next time I think I would use either regular flour or coconut flour.  The wheat flour gave the cupcakes a kind of muffin taste, which wasn’t bad but if you’re going for a more traditional cupcake taste I’d use something else.  Enjoy!

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