Grain-Free, Vegan Carob Chunk Cookie Bars

It has been over a week since I posted my last recipe, and quite a while since I posted a full-blown recipe that was not a pancake.

It has been even longer since I posted an allergy friendly recipe!

Last weekend I had quite a bit of time free to myself and instead of lounging around with my laptop I decided to bake instead.

cookie-bars-1f

Grain-Free, Vegan Carob Chunk Cookie Bars

Wheat/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy/Egg-Free, Nut-Free Option, Peanut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup carob powder
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed + 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2-1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2-6 tbsp honey (replace with maple syrup to make vegan)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour (any other nut flour or seed flour will work)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the coconut oil and carob powder until well combined. Pour the carob sauce into a small loaf pan or large rimmed lid. Place in the freezer until solid (around 15 minutes for me).
  3. Combine ground flaxseed and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat the flaxseed mixture in the microwave for approximately 2 minutes or until the water is all absorbed.
  4. Add the mashed banana, honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract to the flaxseed mixture. Stir until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together. Then mix in the wet ingredients. Combine well.
  6. Take the carob out of the freezer and break into small chunks. Mix about 1/3 of the chunks into the cookie dough.
  7. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan with coconut oil and further line with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Evenly spread out the cookie dough in the pan. Top with another 1/3 of the carob chunks.
  8.  Bake for 20-30 or until golden brown and the cookie bars bounce back to the touch. Remove from the oven and slice into 9 pieces.

cookie-bars-3f

Notes:  

  • If you are able to eat eggs you could probably substitute two eggs for the flaxseed + water mixture.
  • I used only 2 tbsp of honey and 1 small banana but my parents said that they would have preferred it to be sweeter. Next time I will use 1/2 banana and 6 tbsp honey.
  • I didn’t use all of the carob chunks and had some leftovers just for snacking. Depending on the size of yours and thickness you may end up needing them all. Also, if you don’t use carob a starch-free alternative would be cocoa. This would be much more bitter however (you could try experimenting with additional honey but that would probably not hold up/freeze as well).

cookie-bars-4f

 

Shared at Food Forager.

Being finally able to post an egg-free and dairy-free recipe makes me incredibly excited. I felt like I was kind of abandoning the whole intent of my blog being for those with food allergies. While I will continue to post non-vegan recipes, I will also try to make more of an effort to post allergy friendly recipes as well.

Thanks for all of your really nice comments and insight on my post yesterday about my gastric emptying study results. I have more doctor appointments scheduled for my week off in between the end of my full time internship and the start of school/my part-time internship. They are mostly just to check-in but as always I’m hopeful that I will walk away with something new to try out!

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Have you been baking a lot this summer or just sticking the heat-friendly, non-oven recipes?

Have you ever tried carob before? Do you prefer its sweeter taste to cocoa?

What are your plans for the weekend?

Chili, Chips, and Cheeze

Hola mis amigas (o amigos)!

I’ve still not gotten fully adjusted to this whole working around the clock thing, so today’s post isn’t going to be very long. My eyelids are drooping again way before I should be going to bed…

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Here is a recipe that I made a few weeks ago for my mom and dad before I headed off to my internship. In the words of my dad to my mom: “She really made this?”

Yes. It’s that good. 🙂 So gather up the ingredients and make some Mexican-inspired…

Chili, Chips and Cheeze

Makes Two Servings 

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut/Dairy/Egg-Free Options, Vegan Options, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly 

Chips Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (or other nut/seed flour)
  • 1 egg white (see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more for sprinkling
  • garlic and onion powder

wiaw-ccc-chips-uncooked.jpg

Cheeze Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used ghee, but coconut oil, butter or a dairy-free substitute would work as well)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, pureed (cooked using this method)
  • 3/4-1 cup homemade almond milk (any type of milk would work here)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp each ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper

wiaw-ccc-cheeze

Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef (ground turkey, chicken, pork, would also work— see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/2-1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey (maple syrup or stevia for vegans would be fine too)
  • 1 tsp each of ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper, chili powder

wiaw-ccc-chili.jpg

Chips Directions:

Based on my Grain-Free Crispy Cracker Thins

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, egg white and sea salt to form a dough.
  3. Put a piece of parchment paper down on a cookie sheet. Place the dough in the middle. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough very very thin. When you think it’s thin enough, roll it out some more (you want it super thin for a crispy cracker. I also had to use my hands to spread out the dough).
  4. Remove the top parchment paper carefully.
  5. Use a knife to score the chips into triangle, chip-size pieces. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and other toppings to your liking.
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. You may want to check at intervals thereafter; however, to make sure that they don’t burn (oven temps differ greatly). I then flipped the chips and baked for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and then carefully break off the chips.

wiaw-ccc-chips-2

Cheeze Directions:

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  1. In a medium-sized pan, heat the 1 tbsp ghee/oil over medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour and almond milk well. Add to the heated oil.
  3. Combine well and then stir in the remaining ingredients mixing with each addition.
  4. Stir frequently until the cheeze sauce has thickened (add more almond milk if you like your cheeze thinner).
  5. Remove from heat.

wiaw-ccc-cheeze-2

Chili Directions:

  1. Over medium-high heat cook your ground beef (or substitute). Add the onions and peppers when almost through cooking and sautee until well-cooked.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.

wiaw-ccc-chili-2

To make the dish:

1. Take about half of the chips and place them in a bowl/on a plate.

wiaw-ccc-set-chips

2. Scoop on about half of the chili mixture.

wiaw-ccc-set-chili

3. Top with desired amount of cheeze sauce.

wiaw-ccc-complete

Substitution notes:

Nut-free: To make this recipe nut-free you can use sun flour in place of the almond flour, and any type of milk you desire in place of the almond milk (homemade sunflower seed milk, rice milk, cow’s milk, etc).

Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free use coconut oil instead of ghee, and make sure to use a dairy-free milk option.

Egg-free: To make this recipe egg-free, I would recommend using a cracker recipe that you know and love. I think that making a chia/flax egg and substituting it in for the egg white in this recipe might also work, but I can’t guarantee the results.

Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, use all of the vegan substitution options above for dairy and egg-free as well as a sweetener in place of the honey. In addition, you can substitute the beef in the chili recipe with a number of different ingredients. A combination of diced mushrooms, cauliflower and extra onions/peppers would be a great way to keep this recipe paleo as well as vegan. Otherwise, cooked tvp, a meat substitute, lentils, and/or a combination of mashed beans would also be delicious. My recommendation is about 2 cups cooked (1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup lentils, and 1 cup beans sauteed and cooked would be my top pick).

Nightshade-free: To make this free of nightshade vegetables for those who have food allergies, try replacing the tomato puree with butternut squash puree and the diced peppers with celery, more onions, mushrooms, or carrots.

Shared at Fat Tuesday.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting the never-ending party that is What I Ate Wednesday!

WIAWbutton

Tomorrow is of course going to be packed full of more work, but I’m going to try my hardest to reply to all of your comments on my last two posts, as well as comment on as many wonderful WIAW as I possibly can! Thanks for being patient with me!

———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

What is your favorite Mexican-inspired dish?

Do you like having a lot of subsidization options with recipes? Or would you rather just come up with substitution options on your own?

What is your favorite food that you shared for today’s WIAW post?

Marvelous is My First Weekend Off (WIR)

I’m excited to say that my first year at college is officially complete. Three of my teachers have yet to submit grades yet, but so far things are looking great. I plan on spending my next two weeks before my summer internship starts relaxing with my family, friends and pets.

Here is a short review to give you and idea of my last week at school and my first weekend off for summer break, courtesy of Meghan’s link-up:

Week-In-Review-Button-Final

  • Last week I spent most of my time studying.

mimm-bunkbed

  • The rest of the time I spent reading blogs, taking care of last minute scholarship requirements, and cleaning up my dorm room.

mimm-dorm-room

  • On Tuesday I took my Physics exam, on Thursday my Statistics exam, and on Friday my MIS exam.

mimm-mis

  • When I was finally finished with all of my tests, I was actually kind of upset…

mimm-really

  • Oh, who am I kidding?! I was ecstatic to be finished!
  • After my final exam on Friday I went to the convenience store to use up the rest of my leftover meal plan dollars from the fall on snacks for my brother.

mimm-snacks

  • Then my dad came and helped me pack up everything. We also had to de-loft my bed… WAY harder than it sounds 😦 And boy do I wish that the moving truck below was our own, because that sure would have been nice. Especially if it came with two or three surly dudes who would be thrilled with carrying out my microwave and pounds of clothing.

mimm-truck

  • This past weekend my dad has been working on tilling up the ground in preparation for our vegetable garden.

mimm-garden

mimm-plants

  • We’re also working on possibly opening up our pool soon!

mimm-covered-pool

  • And that’s basically my past week in review. Today I also had the opportunity to make some stuffed squash for my parents and retake the pictures so that I could share the recipe with you all.

mimm-stuffed-squash-double

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg/Dairy-Free, Nut/Peanut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Suggestions in Notes*

Two Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash (or any winter squash you have on hand)
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef*
  • 2 tsp of fresh or 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic/onion powder (whatever herbs you have on hand. Cayenne or cinnamon would add a nice kick too)
  • Ghee/Coconut Oil
  • About 1-2 cups diced vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli slaw would all be great options)

mimm-squash

mimm-squash-beef

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the acorn squash whole on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until soft.
  3. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with the ghee/coconut oil and cook the ground beef until almost done. Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  5. Then add the chopped vegetables and cook for about ten more minutes or until tender (cooking time will depend on the vegetables that you use).
  6. Remove the skillet from the stove and let rest while you prepare the squash.
  7. Take your acorn squash and carefully slice it in half. Use a spoon and scrape out the innards (seeds).
  8. Now stuff each squash half with your beef and vegetable mixture. There will probably be some left over depending on the size of your squash.
  9. Enjoy!

Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday

mimm-squash-close

mimm-squash-closer

*Notes: When I first showed a picture of this stuffed squash on Wednesday, I had a few non-meaters say that they would be interested in the recipe. Now, obviously this recipe as-is is not meat-free, but it’s such an easy one that I don’t want anyone to miss out over such a small ingredient! The most authentic tasting option would to just replace the meat and seasonings with a veggie-version of sausage crumbles. However, you could also replace the ground beef itself with about 2 cups of textured vegetable protein, still adding in the seasonings and vegetables like the recipe calls for. Other great vegetarian/vegan options would be to replace the ground beef with 2 cups of scrambled tofu/tempeh, or even cooked quinoa!

I hope these pictures make up for the terribly grain pictures that I posted on WIAW… And that they entice you to try this recipe out for yourself!

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

What did your past week/weekend look like?

Are you done with school for the summer/forever? Are you excited?

Any major plans coming up for vacations or fun trips?

Two is Better than One (WIAW)

“So maybe it’s true, that I can’t live without you

And maybe two is better than one

But there’s so much time, to figure out the rest of my life

And you’ve already got me coming undone

And I’m thinking two, is better than one.”

pinterest-two-better-one

What better way to start off a Wednesday than with lyrics from an amazing song? At least for me hearing a great song can make my day, especially a bad one, much better. For instance, on the way home from school a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty dreary. There was still snow on the ground and spring seemed a far off dream. I of course had on my favorite country music station, and when I was about 10 miles away from my house the song Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins came on. Not exactly my favorite song mind you as in the presence of any other human being the lyrics make me slightly really uncomfortable.

pinterest-awkward

Still, the phrase “slap your grandma” is so ridiculous that it makes me giggle every single time (Note: in no way am I recommending that you go out and injure an elderly person). Almost instantly that song brought me out of my funk and I was singing along in my car. There isn’t a better way to start the weekend than with a smile. 🙂

pinterest-smile

Let’s come back to the first song though. Now, obviously I can’t really relate to the whole love story part (aka- no significant other); however, I was still able to relate the song to something pretty important…

Yes. You guessed it. Food.

I truly believe that anything can be related back to food. Especially in this particular case, I’ve come to realize that when you only post one recipe, it’s impossible to cover all of your audience base. You post a recipe full of almonds and a nut-allergic person is immediately turned off. A meatza? Yep, you basically just wiped out over half of your audience of fellow bloggers who don’t consume beef on a regular basis.

For this What I Ate Wednesday post I have decided to take this factor into consideration and listen to the wise words of Boys Like Girls. Two is better than one. Or, two recipes are better than one. 😉

———————————————————————————————————————————-

In fifth grade my homeroom teacher had class try a sugar-free challenge where we had to try and be healthy for a month and give up all forms of sugar. I commend her for intentions, but there is no possible way that my fifth grade self would have been able to do it. I tried! I tried very very hard. I even had my mom go out and buy me a package of sugar-free Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough. They were made with Splenda (not good, I know), and they were horrendous. Of course I ate them all, but that doesn’t mean they were good.

Later that year my teacher made up for her sugar challenge by sharing with us her recipe for candy pizza. Yes, a complete 180 from sugar-free, but that’s okay because this recipe was not horrendous. It was absolutely delicious. I no longer have the recipe, but it’s a pretty simple concept and I have been making it probably a few times a year since fifth grade (and that would be… 8 years ago?).

This last weekend I made one for my brother and actually remembered to take pictures. The recipe is not a full out recipe, nor is it healthy in the slightest. However, I have included dozens of substitution ideas to make the recipe fit any diet (from Paleo to Vegan, from Gluten-free to Sugar-Free).

Candy Pizza (with options to make allergy-free)

Candy-pizza-done[1]

Ingredients:

  • large baked chocolate chip cookie*
  • peanut butter*
  • chocolate chips*
  • candy toppings (I used Twix, Kit-Kats, and Reese’s Cups)*

candy-pizza-collage

Directions:

  1. Bake a large chocolate chip cookie using your favorite recipe.
  2. Once it is completely bake remove it from the oven and top with a few big globs of peanut butter and a very generous sprinkling of chocolate chips (so scientific, right?).
  3. Place the cookie back in the oven and leave it in there until the chocolate begins to melt and look glossy.
  4. Remove the cookie from the oven and using a spoon or knife spread out the peanut butter and chocolate to top the entire thing. Even if the chocolate chips aren’t completely melted, keep on swirling as they soon will be!
  5. Then, add your choice of candy toppings.
  6. Place in the freezer until the chocolate-peanut butter sauce solidifies. Cut and enjoy!

Candy-pizza-dough[1]

Candy-pizza-close[1]

Candy-pizza-slice[1]

Allergy-free substitutions:

Chocolate chip cookie: You can use an allergy-free chocolate chip cookie that you like for the base of this recipe. A few good replacements would be Chocolate Chip Blondies (Grain-free, vegan, nut-free),  Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain-free, refined sugar-free), Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free), and Chocolate Chippers (gluten-free, vegan). For those with corn allergies, there is an awesome sodium-free, corn-free baking powder available from Hain that I would recommend.

Peanut butter: For this you can use any type of nut butter like almond butter, pecan butter, cashew butter, etc. For those with both peanut and nut allergies, you can use sunbutter, pumpkin seed butter, or another seed butter. For those who can’t have any of aforementioned “butters” you could use soy butter as long as you don’t have problems with soy.

Chocolate chips: For both the chocolate chips in the cookie recipe itself, and for the chips that go on top, you could use Sunspire’s vegan carob chips (contains corn and soy), Enjoy Life’s chocolate chips (free of the top eight allergens), or the chocolate sauce recipe that I posted about previously (you can just use the sauce for the topping, and to replace the chips freeze and chop into pieces).

Candy topping: This is a pretty relaxed category as any topping you see fit should work. Any allergy-free candy would be great. Enjoy Life’s candy bars, nuts, seeds, gluten-free pretzels, leftover crumbly baked goods (like cookies, cakes, marshmallows, crackers or candies), marshmallows (store-bought, paleo, or vegan), granola or any other candy that you can have (like M&M’s, nut butter cups, etc. that fit your special diet).

—————————————————————————————————————————

The second recipe that I have to share needs no introduction really as I have been mentioning it off and on for the past few weeks.

Grain-Free Pear Crisp

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Option, Peanut-Free, Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly

Pearcrisp6-baked[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut flour (you can replace both nut flours with sunflour— I used 1 cup almond and 1/2 cup sunflour)
  • 1/2 cup coarse nut flour (just grind 1/2 cup nuts or seeds until coarse, but not fine)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ghee (butter or coconut oil would work here too)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp + 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 pears (or apples)

pearcrisp-collage

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with ghee or coconut oil (not included in 1/4 cup).
  3. Peel and slice the pears. Layer them in the baking dish and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon over top.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients together (using the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon).
  5. Add the wet ingredients and combine well.
  6. Crumble the topping over the pear slices and bake the crisp in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If you don’t eat this immediately and refrigerate the crisp overnight the fruit may get a little watery. To prevent this my mom added an additional step when making the pear crisp. Before placing the slices of fruit in the baking dish she baked them for 20-30 minutes on a baking sheet in the preheated oven to get rid of some of the moisture. Thanks for the tip Mom 😉

Shared at Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

What song has been stuck on your mind lately?

Name two things that go better in pairs than alone.

Have you ever made Candy Pizza before?

What do you think of my new blog layout? Can you see the font alright?