No Need for A Cup — “Milkshake” Recipe and WIAW

I must say I was aghast at how many of you admitted to disliking superhero movies on Friday’s post. Truly I intended the question to be more rhetorical and expected everyone to agree that superhero movies are wonderful. While I do think that some of you are missing out on what is Chris Hemsworth in metal breastplates and locks of gold, I’m also happy that you feel like you can be honest on here without being judged (I only thought *slightly* less of you Thor-haters 😉 ).

While we speak of being honest I must also admit to forgetting quite a few promised posts. Today is just one check off the list of several that I will be knocking down. Starting Monday I have plans to tackle them full force, one each week. Today though is all about the food. Since I tend to only post recipes for baked goods, you may have started to think that that’s all my family eats. On the contrary those make up just one or two days out of the weekend and during the work week their days are dessert-less (aka. much more lackluster 😉 ). On Friday I showed you a savory recipe involving beef and vegetables that is much closer to what my mom and dad have for supper each night.

Beef and Zucchini Skillet

Another thing that my dad personally consumes multiple times a week is his smoothie. Oh how the man loves his smoothies! When home I (and my mom) are probably asked four times a day if we will make him one. And only about 25% of the time do we say yes.

I posted one of the smoothies on Instagram two weeks ago but I also want to share a version of it on here. While the smoothies that I make do contain fruit and yogurt, they actually are much more “milkshake” like in taste and texture (at least that’s what my dad has led me to believe!)

Peanut Butter and Banana "Milkshake" (Instagram)

The base of the smoothie always includes one or more bananas and some plain organic yogurt. Most often I also add in nut butter and carob powder as well. Here is the recipe that I have been making most recently:

Banana, Nut Butter, Carob "Milkshake" (Paleo and Vegan)

Banana, Carob, Nut Butter “Milkshake”

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy/Nut-Free Options, Egg-Free, Vegan Option, Paleo/Primal

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (1 or 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 2/3 cup plain organic yogurt (use coconut to make this dairy-free)
  • 2-4 tbsp nut butter (just a “big scoop!”) (to make nut-free use sunflower seed butter)
  • 2-4 tbsp carob powder (again, I just add a scoop in, no measuring necessary)
  • optional: a splash of vanilla and a dash of sea salt

Banana Soft Serve

Directions:

  1. Place the frozen bananas in the food processor first and blend until creamy and smooth. You may need to use a spoon occasionally to scrape down the sides of the processor to fully incorporate the bananas.
  2. Next add the yogurt and blend.
  3. Now with my base I add in the nut butter, carob powder, vanilla and sea salt. Give it a whirl until it is all one color and thoroughly combined!
  4. Enjoy 🙂

Note: He also likes them with strawberries which I would add instead of the nut butter (1/2-1 cup frozen). But peanut butter and carob is his favorite combination.

Banana, Nut Butter, Carob "Milkshake" (Paleo and Vegan)

***Although the pictures are in a glass, my dad much prefers I just hand him a spoon with the food processor, blade and all 🙂 ***

Are you someone who can drink your smoothie straight out of the food processor or blender? Or do you always have to serve it in a glass? Have you ever eaten your oatmeal straight from the pan, or a lasagna right from the casserole dish? Or does it just not feel “right” unless you eat your serving from a plate or bowl?

I’m definitely an in-betweener on this. While I feel perfectly fine snacking straight out of whatever I cooked/made my food in, I always have to eventually remove it to a plate/bowl/cup to eat my actual “meal.” Otherwise it doesn’t feel legitimate to me… Am I the only one?

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Before I skidaddle, I want to fulfill my promise from Friday and give a quick review of Thor 2.

sustenance-thor-2

Using one of the most frequent words in my vocabulary, it was AWESOME! 🙂

If you enjoyed the first movie you will certainly like this one as well because there is a lot of character development with Thor and Loki. There is also some great chemistry between Jane and Thor which I adored.

If you didn’t like the first movie, I would still encourage you to watch the sequel. After it was over I was explaining to my friend that I can’t pick a favorite of the two because they are just so DIFFERENT. It’s would be like comparing… a smoothie and a milkshake? ( 😉 ) Both are amazing but to compare the two is unfair because they have different qualities that don’t crossover.

This sequel was extremely fast-paced and was jam-packed with humor. I don’t think I stopped laughing for more than a minute before Loki made some snarky comment again. Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis was as hilarious as ever, and the minor characters of Dr. Erik Selvig, the new intern Ian, and of course all of the royalty/warriors from Asgard were wonderful too. The lines were very well written and the back-and-forth dynamic between the characters was perfect. Witty. Visually Stunning….

GO. WATCH. IT.

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Oh, and go check out Jenn’s WIAW party for this week too… 😉

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Questions for you:

Just tell me your thoughts!

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Pumpkin Pie Bars (WIAW)

Instead of beating around the bush I am going to jump right into my recipe. For today’s WIAW party hosted by our wonderful host Jenn, I am going to be sharing with you a recipe that is completely opposite from what I posted last week.

That’s right. It’s all about the pumpkin baby! (For some strange reason I said that in an Austin Powers voice. Sue me).

Egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and so yummy that you will want to eat the entire batch.

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

Really. It’s okay if you don’t want to share. We will understand.

I have to admit that at first I thought this was recipe was going to be an utter failure. It turns out that it just needed awhile to bake to perfection. Good things do take time after all.

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

I also had a hard time in coming up with a name for these things. Pumpkin cookie bars? Pumpkin bread bars? Nah. None of those were quite… right. But then my dad ate one and said, “Do you know what these remind me of? Pumpkin pie!” Bingo.

And so the Pumpkin Pie Bar was born.

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Makes 9 squares

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium banana, ripe
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 3/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (any other nut or seed flour would work too)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish with parchment paper and coconut oil if desired (I added the oil just to ensure that this wouldn’t stick and I suggest that you do the same since there is no added oil in the recipe itself).
  2. In a food processor place the water, banana, pumpkin, honey and vanilla and combine until smooth. Alternatively you could just mix it by hand.
  3. Then in a bowl combine the flaxseed, coconut flour, almond flour, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Next stir in the wet ingredient mixture until fully incorporated. (Don’t worry about overmixing since there is no gluten in here. Just make sure that it’s well combined).
  5. Let the mixture sit for at least five minutes so that the coconut flour and flaxseed have time to thicken up.
  6. Then spread out the batter into the lined/oiled pan.
  7. Bake for around 70 minutes (I would check after an hour and then every few minutes after that). The end result will be very moist, but will have formed a noticeable soft crust on top. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
  8. You can slice and serve the bars then, or place them in the fridge overnight to firm up even more. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

Pumpkin Pie Bars (Vegan and Grain-Free)

Recipe thoughts: I am not sure how this recipe would turn out if you tried to use eggs in place of the flaxseed mixture. If I ever do try a version like that of course I will let you all know. For the flaxseed you may be able to substitute chia meal but again, I cannot confirm that this will work since I haven’t tested it personally. One additional thought that I hope to be experimenting with soon is to use banana in place of the pumpkin for banana bars. Or maybe replace the almond flour with carob/cocoa powder for a brownie-type recipe. Again, all just thoughts that I thought I’d share in case you’d like to experiment on your own!

Also shared at: Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

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Thank you for all of your suggestions on yesterday’s post! In case you missed it, I am looking for magazine subscription suggestions. If you have something that you think I’d like to read, you can leave a comment in that post. Wednesday night I will be making the final decision and will let you know what I choose.

Are you a fan of pumpkin pie?

Have you gotten into the baking spirit yet or are you still holding out for summer?

Bring on the Heat (Plus WIAW and Recipe!)

Well, summer is certainly not over yet! That much is clear from the absolutely scorching temperatures that we had today. It’s quite deceiving to wake up in my dorm room to probably 65 degree frigid air and try to decide what to wear. A smart person would in fact check weather.com; however today I had my 8:00 am class so all that I was interested in was breakfast and high-tailing it out of there.

What was my clothing of choice? A blue, long sleeve thermal shirt and skinny jeans. I kid you not.

wiaw-heat-shirt

It was actually this shirt that I got for Christmas. Just swap the pajama pants for real pants. Now that I think about it, I think this shirt might possibly be meant for nighttime use only… Oh well.

For the sake of clarity it’s not really a thermal shirt as in say, oh I don’t know, long johns… But it sure felt that way from the looks that I was getting as I crossed campus later on. My fellow 8:00 am classmates all apparently missed the memo too so I was blissfully unaware of the lurking heat until I stepped outside after class was over.

That and the fact that my Business Communications teacher declared that we were going to be having a heat index of 100 degrees as she laughed out our choice of pants. Yes. Laughed.

I have to say that during my World Cultures Music class today though it was my turn to laugh as while the rest of the students were cold in their short shorts and tank tops I was just right (minus my uncovered sandal-adorned feet).

If you would like an exhibit of the immense heat that was felt by all in a 100 mile radius, check out this little guy that I snapped a picture of:

wiaw-heat-squirrel

Before you ask NO he is NOT dead. I checked.

He was just one tuckered out dude. I would imagine that he could have really gone for a glass of cold lemonade or a nice Popsicle…

Or perhaps some vegan biscuits?

Is that a nod of your head that I SEE sense?

Glad you agree. 😉

wiaw-vegan-biscuits-line-view-3

Grain-Free Vegan Biscuits

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free Option, Sugar-free, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Makes 4 ramekins

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (ghee or butter works too)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (use a seed flour to make nut-free)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, rosemary (depending on taste preference)
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda

wiaw-vegan-biscuits-one-close-2-3

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease/oil 4 ramekins (you could also do approximately 6-8 muffin tins).
  2. Mix flaxseed and water in a medium sized bowl. Let set for a few minutes to thicken (or microwave to quicken process).
  3. Add the coconut oil and combine well.
  4. Then add the coconut flour, almond flour, sea salt, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly.
  5. At this point you will need to add in the coconut milk. Add in about 1/2 cup to start and increase by spoonfuls until the mixture is beginning to stick together (it should be very thick, but not crumbly/pourable.
  6. Mix in the baking soda.
  7. Distribute the dough evenly between the ramekins and use a spatula to spread out.
  8. Bake for around 30 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Slice and serve however you wish.

Note: The biscuits are moist on the inside so for something like a sandwich I sliced the biscuits in half, put them open face on a baking sheet, and baked them for about 10-15 extra minutes will I was preparing the sandwich fillings. This made them much crispier but it all depends on your preference!

wiaw-vegan-biscuits-line-up

wiaw-vegan-biscuits-stack-close-3

wiaw-vegan-biscuits-stack-timber

For serving ideas, these biscuits would make great bases for breakfast sandwiches (egg, tofu, bacon, cheese, etc.), topped with gravy for biscuits and gravy, or made into burgers like I did:

wiaw-heat-sandwich-2

Grass-fed burgers topped with sautéed onions in ghee and paired homemade butternut squash fries on the side.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this weekly shindig, even though she is obviously super busy with her little bundle of joy (Congrats! 🙂 ). Still, why don’t you head on over and give her a big virtual hug. And check out all of the amazing WIAW food link-ups!

wiaw-sensible-snacking

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Questions for you:

How has the temperature been for you recently?

What is your favorite way to eat biscuits?

Are there a lot of friendly little squirrels where you are at?

What recipes/food pictures did you share today?

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Edited to add:

I basically forgot that today was September 11. At first I was really angry with myself in forgetting, but it really made me realize that our country has come so far from that day. It used to be when I was younger that people talked about what happened all of the time. Conspiracy theories especially, which did absolutely no credit to the men and women who lost their lives on those flights, or the brave people who lost their lives trying to save them. I just want to take a second to say how grateful I am to be living in this country, and also how thankful I am to all of those who protect and serve us.

wiaw-heat-sept-11

(Source)

I was in Elementary school when planes went down. I remember my second grade teacher turning on the television to the news footage for just a few minutes. I was young and couldn’t really comprehend what was going on. I had no idea that the twin towers ever existed let alone the fact that they were now just rubble. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember that day in an emotional context for me personally.

What I do remember is the emotions from that day forward however and how much it affected the lives of our country. My heart is with all of those who knew someone affected by the events on September 11.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

A Buzzworthy Recipe

It seems that there are two main buzzwords in the food world right now: Gluten-free and Vegan. Label any recipe with one of those and you are guaranteed to have a success on your hands.

So does that mean if something is both you have a mega success?

Well, I should certainly hope so, because I have a super fantastic and easy recipe to share today that is gluten (and grain) free as well as free of eggs, dairy, peanuts… and calories!

buzzword-calories-spoon

(Source: Etsy)

Ha. Okay, so that last part is a 100% lie, but whoever invents a recipe that is calorie-free (and doesn’t taste like rubber and/or contain ingredients that would make a lab rat run in fear) then they will be rich.

I guess for now I’ll just have to settle for “mega success” without the money 😉

wiaw-collection-pancakes-vegan

Vegan Grain-Free Pancakes

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Makes approximately 6 pancakes (4 inch each)

buzzword-vegan-pancakes-spread

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed + 1/2 cup water
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (coconut to make vegan)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup) –  optional
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or seed flour to make nut-free)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • approximately 1/2 cup water or milk (I used light coconut milk)
  • berries if desired

buzzword-vegan-pancakes-uncooked

Directions:

  1. Preheat your pancake griddle to 350 degrees or a skillet to medium heat.
  2. Combine the flaxseed and water. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken (or microwave to speed up the process).
  3. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, honey and vinegar and mix until well combined.
  4. Then add the almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt and baking soda. Stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the water or milk in increments until the batter is thin enough to pour, but still very thick (it should be thick enough that you have to spread out the batter when in the skillet).
  6. Spray/grease/coat your griddle to prevent sticking. Using a heaping 1/3 cup, measure out the batter onto your griddle. Like I stated above, you will need to spread out the batter with the back of the measuring cup or a spoon (or else you will have super thick, and probably uncooked, pancakes).
  7. Cook for about three minutes and add berries if desired. Cook for about three minutes more or until the tops are bubbly and set. Flip and cook for an additional five minutes. Plate and serve.

buzzword-vegan-pancakes-stack-blueberries-1

And because “buzzwords” remind me of one of my favorite websites “Buzzfeed”…

Here are my favorite buzzfeed article finds for you enjoyment:

17 Hybrid Desserts that Will Blow Your Mind (Do you approve of this cake/pie Meghan? 😉 )

The 43 Worst Things About Wearing Glasses (Every single one)

39 Ridiculously Expensive Weird Items on Etsy (Stop before 36 unless you want to be scarred for life)

19 Food Hacks for College Cafeterias (Whoever created these are seriously genius)

28 Music Facts that Will Make You Feel Old (Rocking the jean outfit…)

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Questions for you:

What are your buzzwords for a fantastic recipe? Chocolate? Peanut butter? Cake?

Have you seen any good Buzzfeed articles recently?