Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

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These things have become somewhat of a staple around here.  Caleb loves them in his lunch & they’re great for an afternoon pick-me-up when I start to feel a little…..shall we say…. unmotivated ;).  Because I store them in the fridge or freezer, they’re a nice cool treat on these hot, Summer days too.  Oh, and another bonus, they’re no bake, so you don’t even have to heat up your kitchen to whip these treats up!

I’ll warn you, they are a bit rich & extremely filling, so you’ll want to be sure to cut the bars to a manageable size, especially if you have little ones that will be snacking on them.

Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

2 c. rolled oats

1 c. natural peanut butter

2/3 c. honey

1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 c. wheat germ

1/2 c. sesame seeds

1 c. flaxseed meal

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp real vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together.  Line an 8×12 baking dish {a 9×13 would also work, you’ll just end up with thinner bars} with parchment paper.  Press the granola mixture into the prepared dish, pressing together well so that it will hold together.  Place in fridge or freezer for 3 or more hours.  When the bars have hardened, dump out onto a large cutting board & use a knife to cut into bars.  Store in fridge or freezer.

To serve, eat directly from fridge/freezer or allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften {bars will be very solid from fridge/freezer so they may be hard on the teeth}.

Source: adapted from Money Saving Mom

Linking to Tuesday Talent Show at Chef-in-Training


Doughnut Muffins

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Wow!  Two weeks can really fly by fast!  Time flies when you’re having fun I guess:-).

I got the chance to spend most of last week with some family & boy was it fun!  I love somewhat spontaneous family time!  Being gone for a few days can certainly throw things into disarray though, so I’m just now getting back into the swing of things, whew.

Today I’m sharing a recipe that I actually baked up a few weeks ago for our church’s car care Saturday.  It’s a really cool thing they do every few months where a few guys volunteer to do oil changes & minor tune-up type things on the cars of those that need a little assistance.  I’m definitely not of any help in the shop, so baking up a few yummy treats for the volunteers is a little more up my alley!

I decided on making doughnut muffins for these guys.  It’s a recipe I’ve seen around a few times before & have made similar things in the past, but never exactly like these.  They’re a great morning-time treat & for sure easier to tackle than an actual doughnut!

Note- 99% of the time, I bake with whole grains & natural sugars.  I’ll do my best to include substitutions in case you don’t have some of these ingredients on hand, but I’d encourage you to give some of the healthier ingredients a try if you haven’t already.  If you’re worried your family will be turned off by the “healthier” taste, you can work them into it slowly by substituting only part of what the recipe calls for.  You may be surprised, however, at how good things taste by using the less processed ingredients!

Doughnut Muffins

Start by whipping up 1 stick of room temperature butter in a stand mixer…

Mix in 3/4 cup of sucanat (can also use a mixture of brown & white sugars)…

Add 2 eggs & a tsp of vanilla…

Add 2 2/3 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (all-purpose works too), 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground nutmeg & 3/4 tsp sea salt…

Blend together, slowly adding 1 of whole milk as you mix…

Use a large ice cream scoop for fill paper-lined muffin tins approximately 2/3 of the way full…

Bake at 425° for 13-14 minutes (use a toothpick in the center of a muffin to be sure they’re baked through).

While the muffins are baking, melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a small bowl (I don’t use a microwave so I just melt it on the stovetop or use an oven-safe bowl & set it in my toaster over for a few minutes on low until melted).  In a separate bowl, mix together 3 Tbsp of sugar in the raw & 2 tsp of cinnamon…

Set aside.

Remove muffins from the oven & allow to cool for just a few minutes…

As soon as you are able to handle them without burning yourself, begin dipping the tops of the muffins into the melted butter & then the sugar & cinnamon mixture…

Then, set a timer to see how long you can keep from digging into one!  (just kidding)

Enjoy!

Here’s the condensed {non-picturesque} version…

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Doughnut Muffins

1/2 c. butter, room temperature

3/4 c. sucanat (or a mixture of brown & white sugars)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 2/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour (all-purpose flour works too)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 c. whole milk

For the topping:

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp sugar in the raw

2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°.  Whip the butter.  Mix in sucanat.  Add eggs & vanilla & blend well.  Add all of the dry ingredients & begin to mix, adding the milk slowly.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 13-14 minutes, until baked through.

In the meantime, melt butter for the topping.  Mix together the sugar & cinnamon & set aside.

Once the muffins have cooled just enough where you can handle them, dip the tops into the melted butter & then the sugar & cinnamon mixture.  Allow to finish cooling & store in an air-tight container at room-temperature.

Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Tasty Kitchen


Knock Your Socks Off Brownies

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I made these this past weekend…  {my apologies for the less than stellar picture, my ice cream was melting & it had to be eaten fast, there was little time for photo styling!}

If you come to my blog looking for “healthy” recipes, please look away fast & don’t judge me.  While I do my best to stick to my non-processed, little-sugar way of life, sometimes things like this just happen.  My apologies in advance if I happen to suck you into this much-to-decadent dessert euphoria with me.  I probably shouldn’t have even posted this here, but it felt very selfish & dishonest of me not to.  I promise to post a spinach & carrots recipe in a couple days {just kidding, I think}.

So, if you cruise around Pinterest much these days, you’ve probably seen this insanely scrumptious picture floating around from Kevin and Amanda’s blog.

I knew the first time I saw it I would have to make it.  It was destiny.  {My apologies for being so dramatic, chocolate has that affect on me sometimes.}  Since we were having some family over for a little get-together, I thought it would be the perfect time to indulge in this luscious dessert.

Because I can’t leave any recipe alone, I did put my own spin on it, doing my very, very best to convince myself I was making it “healthy”.  I can be very convincing {especially if I just need to convince myself}, but I’m afraid there’s no getting around the fact that this is just one very delicious serving of sugar.  One that is most definitely best when shared with friends!

So, here’s what I did…

I started with my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe {my recipe is top-secret (everyone should have at least one top-secret recipe) but really any basic chocolate chip cookie recipe will do}.  If you would like to attempt to health it up a bit, try substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour in the recipe & replacing the sugar with sucanat.  Spread the batter in a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment paper…

Here’s where things start to get out of hand…

Insert a layer of oreos!

Then, whip up a batch of brownies.  Again, any ole’ brownie recipe would work.  You could even go the super easy route & make the boxed version.  I’m not a big fan of all the unidentifiable ingredients in those things so I stuck with my homemade variety because they are just as easy to whip up in my mind, & they taste fantastic!

Here’s my super-simple brownie recipe:

3/4 c. melted butter

2 c. sucanat

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour

Combine the butter, sucanat & sea salt.  Add the eggs & vanilla & beat well.  Mix in cocoa & flour until completely combined.

Take the brownie batter & spread over the oreos…

Cover with foil & bake in an oven preheated to 350° F for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil & bake for another 15-25 minutes, until the middle is set (being careful to not burn the edges).

Cut into bars, top with ice cream & enjoy!

Please excuse me, I’ll be out running for the next few hours!:)

Sources: adapted from Kevin and Amanda, brownie recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

 


Marbled Double Chocolate Brownies

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Brownies are always a hit at our house, I mean, who doesn’t like brownies?

These were no exception.  I actually made these a couple weeks ago to share with the rest of our family for the weekend, which was great, or I’m sure Caleb & I would have felt it necessary to consume the entire pan by ourselves {we are not food-wasters:)}!

These ended up being a somewhat cake-y brownie, & of course, very rich with the cream cheese filling, yum!  Do yourself a favor, whip these up for your friends or family this week, they will all love you for it!:)

Note- 99% of the time, I bake with whole grains & natural sugars.  I’ll do my best to include substitutions in case you don’t have some of these ingredients on hand, but I’d encourage you to give some of the healthier ingredients a try if you haven’t already.  If you’re worried your family will be turned off by the “healthier” taste, you can work them into it slowly by substituting only part of what the recipe calls for.  You may be surprised, however, at how good things taste by using the less processed ingredients!

Marbled Double Chocolate Brownies (scroll down for the recipe without the pictures)

For the filling, begin by creaming together the softened cream cheese & 1/3 c. sucanat…

Add 1 egg, mix well…

Set this mixture aside.

For the brownies, place 1/2 c. butter, 1/4 c. of water & 1 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate in a heavy saucepan over med-low heat…

Stir frequently until melted, then remove from the heat…

Add the remaining dry ingredients (2 c. flour, 1 3/4 c. sucanat, 1 tsp baking soda & 1/2 tsp sea salt)…

Mix well {the mixture should be very stiff}…

Add 2 eggs & 1/2 c. sour cream…

Mix to combine…

Spread mixture into a buttered 9×13 baking dish…

Drop the cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls over the brownie batter…

Use a knife to swirl the batters together…

Sprinkle 1 c. chocolate chips on top…

Bake in a 375° F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven & cool on a wire cooling rack.  Once cooled down, store in refrigerator.  Serve chilled, enjoy!

Here’s the condensed {non-picturesque} version…

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Marbled Double Chocolate Brownies

For the filling:

8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened {I usually just let mine sit on the counter for a bit}

1/3 c. sucanat {or white sugar}

1 egg

For the brownies:

1/2 c. butter

1/4 c. water

1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour {or all-purpose}

1 3/4 c. sucanat {or white sugar}

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 c. sour cream

2 eggs

1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Butter a 9×13 baking dish.

For the filling, cream together cream cheese & sucanat.  Add 1 egg, mix well & set aside.

For the brownies, place butter, water & baking chocolate in a heavy saucepan over med-low heat, stir frequently until melted, then remove from the heat.  Add the remaining dry ingredients & mix well {the mixture should be very stiff}. Add 2 eggs & sour cream, mix to combine.  Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.  Drop the cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls over the brownie batter & use a knife to swirl batters together.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over batter.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until middle is set {be careful not to overbake & burn the edges though}.  Cool on wire cooling rack, refrigerate once cooled down.  Serve chilled.