National Granola Bar Day

Granola Bars with oats and nuts on the tableThe United States is a country that is obsessed with food. Now that can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Today is another day of observing a food item. Yes today is – National Granola Bar Day.

A granola bar includes whole grains, like oats, and quinoa and barley are also used. There are also dried fruits and nuts. To sweeten the bar either honey, molasses, agave nectar or sugar syrup is used. There are a variety of combinations that can add flavor and nutrition.

Making granola bars is a simple task. You mix the ingredients which are then pressed into a baking pan, and later cut into bars.

Granola bars are a go to food, because of seen as a energy bar. The are conveniently carried on hiking trips or biking trails. The bars can be high, but despite that, they are a healthy alternative to a candy bar. Eating a granola bar as a snack is okay, as long as you are active so as to burn the calories.

Outside of the United States granola bars are known by several names, including flapjack, meusli bars and cereal bars.

Here’s our rendition of a all organic, gluten free, paleo approved Granola Bar, and the following is what you will need.

mixed oats, nuts, seeds, raisins, honey and coconut oil, black background, selective focus

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1cup wheat germ

1cup flax seed, slightly ground

14  cup sunflower seeds, optional to use sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds

1 cup almonds, sliced, these nuts can also be used cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias or pecans

1cup dry shredded coconut

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1cup honey, optional to use raw honey

4 tablespoons butter

1cup brown sugar

1 cup dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots, cherries, papaya, and prunes (optional to use fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds and almonds.

NOTE: If you chose to mix in another nut with the almonds, divide the nuts up into 1/2 cup servings, such as 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/2 cup of the nut of your choice.

Spread mixture out evenly over the baking sheet and toast for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Stir mixture once or twice, to evenly toast the grains.

NOTE: We slightly ground our flax seeds, as whole flax seeds can not be digested whole, therefore not receiving the benefits of the seed.

In a large bowl combine salt, coconut, cinnamon and dried fruits, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the vanilla, honey, butter and brown sugar. Stir continuously, bring mixture to a soft boil.

NOTE: You can use raw honey because of it dense nutritional content, but after baking the bars much of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will be destroyed from the high heat, therefore processed organic honey would be okay to use.

When oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to the same bowl with coconut mixture and stir to evenly combine, then add the honey mixture and stir to incorporate.

Line a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with waxed paper. Spread the mixture, using the back of a wooden spoon, pressing the mixture out over the waxed  paper evenly to create a smooth, even surface.

Place another piece of waxed paper over the top, pressing down to evenly compact the mixture.

NOTE: Compacting is important so the bars won’t fall apart when cut. You can place a smaller pan within the 9 X 13 inch baking pan to press the mixture out evenly. You can also use a large drinking glass, by rolling it over the wax paper.

Homemade Granola Bars on the tea cup backgroundCool, than refrigerate about 2 hours. Doing so ensures a clean cut. After cutting the baked granola into bars, wrap them in waxed paper and store in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.Ty can even be store in the freezer for up to between 6 to 8 months.

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Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread PuddingIf you like blueberries, white chocolate, real cream, and bread pudding, than this is the dessert recipe for you. We found this recipe about 7 or 8 years ago. Personally I would consider this our signature dessert recipe, as we sell desserts, and this is the most ordered dessert on our list.

Bread pudding is a dessert dish with very old roots. It evolved as a use for stale bread. Many cultures throughout history have seen starvation, and food shortages, and they seen no reason to waste food, not even stale bread. Many culinary dishes have been invented using stale bread, both savory and sweet.

Today making bread pudding is still a tradition, though current recipes are far more extravagant or splendid since the inception of making bread pudding.

Our featured recipe never goes without a word of, “this was so delicious”, and we think you will feel the same. It is fast and simple to put together, and here is what you will need.

3 eggs

4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt*

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

*With the presence of sugar in a recipe, using salt can reduce the amount of sugar used. The original recipe calls for 2 cups sugar but no salt. By adding the salt, less sugar is needed. The salt brings out the sweetness of the sugar, making it seem as though you put two cups.

Preheat oven to 350°

blueberries and white chocolate chips In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and sugar, then cream together. Next add the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix until combined. Next stir in blueberries, and white chocolate chips.

french bread added to egg battterMix in prepared bread cubes.

frechbread mixed with blueberry egg batterLet stand for 10-15 minutes or until bread is softened.

adding Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding to a glass baking dishTransfer to a 13×9 inch glass baking dish.

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding - not cookedBake uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Blueberry White Chocolate Bread PuddingLet stand for 20 minutes before serving. Can plate and serve with white chocolate sauce, heavy cream, or a scoop of real vanilla ice cream.

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Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

You may heard of the Paleo Diet, and are also unaware what the diet consists of.

The paleolithic lifestyle also known Paleo Magazineas the Paleo Diet, is a diet that attempts to recreate or endeavors to imitate the eating patterns of our ancestors lifestyle, who lived 1000’s of years ago.

They did not eat food that was processed, refined, cooked with toxic oils, or that contained sugar, unlike the majority of the foods that we eat today (The PaleoSecret).

There are a small number of cultures in the world today, who continue to live a paleolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Those who live in a modern society cultures, try to recreate elements of a paleolithic lifestyle, and do so in an attempt to improve or enhance their health, fitness and happiness by avoiding the common diseases that most of society faces today, which include obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, allergies, depression, and chronic stress.

the paleo diet verse a non paleo dietThe paleo diet encourages eating generous amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter or clarified butter.

The diet also promotes not using oils made from vegetables, or that are hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated including, but not limited to, margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.

Olive oil and avocado oil’s are encouraged for consumption, but only use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over food (PaleoLeap – Paleo 101).

A paleo diet is neither vegetarian or vegan. Paleo eaters eat meat, unlike vegetarians, though they will eat dairy or eggs (depending on the person), and unlike vegans who eat no meat at all, including the by products of animals, such as dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

Now for our featured recipe: Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style, and here is what you will need.

2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted ghee

1/3 cup raw honey

1 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla

1 1/4 cups blueberries

A few pumpkin seeds and berries for topping the muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 mold muffin pan with baking cups.

Preparing step by step Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleIn a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, making sure there are no lumps.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and incorporate together. Next fold in the blueberries.

bluebery muffin dough in a 12 well muffin panDivide the batter among the 12 muffin molds, filling each cup 3/4th of the way. Top with pumpkins seeds and a few berries.

Blueberry Muffins Paleo StyleBake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.

Enjoy some other desserts using alternatives to whole wheat or grain flour, both Paleo approved.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Orange Almond Cake

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National Pumpkin Pie Day

National Pumpkin Pie DayPumpkin pie has been enjoyed in the North American as far back as 1621. As there were no ovens at the time, pumpkin pie then, had no crust. According to historians the first settlers to the New England (USA) area made pumpkin pie by filling a hollowed out pumpkin shell with milk, honey and spices, and then baking it in hot ashes.

By the early 18th century pumpkin pie had earned a place at the dinner table, as Thanksgiving became an important New England regional holiday.

Today the pie is baked with a crust and is a traditional sweet dessert, and is enjoyed more than not during the fall and early winter, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States and Canada.

Pumpkin Pie Basics

Baking a pumpkin pie before 1929 required a person to roast and strain the meat of the gourde or squash. Things changed though in 1929 as Libby’s meat-canning company of Chicago introduced canned pumpkin that replaced the need for roasting and straining one’s own squash.

The pie can be described as a pumpkin-based custard, baked in a single pie shell, and almost never has a top crust, like an apple pie does. A traditional pumpkin pie today is generally flavored with spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Some bakers may go a step further and add cardamom and vanilla.

It is thought that the earliest recipes for pumpkin pie may have come from France. In Francois Pierre La Varenne‘s cookbook of 1653, “The French Cook” his recipe, “Tourte of Pompion” is written, “Boil it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds, letting all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste, and bake it. After it is baked, sprinkle it with sugar and serve.”

Enjoying Pumpkin For Dessert

There are many ways to enjoy pumpkin. Since 1929 it was made a lot easier to enjoy it any time of the year. Here are a few recipes that consist of a pumpkin basis.

Double Layer No Bake Pumpkin PieDouble Layer No Bake Pumpkin Pie

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon half & half
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups of whipped heavy cream, or cool whip
1 – 9 inch prepared graham cracker crust (store bought or prepare a homemade crust)
1 cup cold half & half
2 – 3.5 ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 – 15 ounce can solid pack pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

In a large bowl, whisk together cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of half and half, and sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream, and it is best to avoid over mixing. Spread mixture into the bottom of a prepared graham cracker crust.

Refrigerate while preparing the next layer:

In a large bowl whisk pudding mix and 1 cup of half and half until thickened, fold in pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

Gently spread over cream cheese layer. Place in refrigerate for up to 4 hours, or until set.

If you wish, drizzle lightly with caramel sauce and add a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and toffee bits before serving.

Then there is…

Pumpkin-Pie ParfaitsPumpkin-Pie Parfaits

Recipe Courtesy of Pint Sized Treasures

 

For the pumpkin layer:

4 oz cream cheese, softened

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cookie layer:

4 honey graham cracker sheets

4 Tbsp butter, melted

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Homemade Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large mixing bowl, place all pumpkin layer ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy, approximately four minutes. Place in freezer for a quick chill while you prepare your other ingredients.

Stir all cookie layer ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, mix whipping cream on medium high until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat an additional minute.

Layer parfait glasses very gently following this pattern: cookie mixture, whipped cream, pumpkin layer, whipped cream, pumpkin layer and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle remaining cookie layer on top. Repeat for each parfait.

Gluten Free Pumpkin CheesecakeYou can also enjoy Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake or Layered Pumpkin and Cranberry Parfaits, and Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping.

Today, October 12th is National Pumpkin Pie Day, enjoy a slice or two, or any dessert with pumpkin in it. We plan to enjoy a Spiced Pumpkin Latte.

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National Fudge Day

National Fudge Day

If you do not have a reason to celebrate something today, why not celebrate National Fudge Day! Yes June 16th is the day chosen to celebrate fudge.

Fudge is a splendid confection made with sugar, milk, butter, and your favorite flavoring. Some popular varieties include mixing chocolate with peanut butter, maple, caramel, peppermint, and marshmallow.

Scottish Tablet

Whisky Flavored Scottish Tablet – photo credit: Sweets for Treats

Were you aware that fudge used to be chocolate-less? The modern-day fudge we enjoy evolved from a candy called Scottish Tablet, which originated in the late 17th century.

While the recipes are some what similar, Scottish Tablet has a much harder texture and lacks the most important ingredient, chocolate!

Candy ThermometerPreparing  fudge may seem easy enough, but it does require a candy thermometer, as fudge is very easy to overcook or under cook.

There are some fudge recipes that have been developed for the home cook.

The recipes may include corn syrup, which prevents the process of crystallization, sweet condensed milk, marshmallow cream or other ingredients that guarantee the perfect fudge texture.

Though they do not guarantee the same taste as original fudge!

To get that original fudge flavor, you will need to use a traditional recipe with a candy thermometer or buy your favorite fudge at your local See’s Candy store or favorite equivalent and enjoy National Fudge Day.

Our featured recipe is Easy Chocolate Fudge and here is what you will need.

12 ounces semi-dark chocolate

2 cups coconut sugar

1 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans

To make things even simpler, replace milk and coconut sugar with a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.

Prepare a 8 inch x 8 inch square baking pan lined with foil. Set aside.

Melt chocolate  in a glass bowl over hot boiling water. Once melted, remove hot water from pan and pour melted chocolate into pan and place back over heated element.

Add coconut sugar, and milk. Stir into chocolate, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer. Do not stir again.

If you are using a candy thermometer, place it  into the pan and cook until temperature reaches 238 degrees.

If you are not using a thermometer, then cook fudge until a drop it in cold water forms a soft ball. Feel the ball with your fingers to make sure it is the right consistency. It should flatten when pressed between your fingers.

Remove from heat. Add nuts, butter and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon until the fudge loses its sheen. Do not under beat.

If using the sweetened condensed milk, just add to chocolate after it has melted, and stir in. Remove from heat and stir in nuts and vanilla. When using the sweetened condensed milk, there is no need for a candy thermometer.

Pour into prepared pan and let cool. Then place pan in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until firm. Lift foil and all from pan, and cut into about 50 squares. Save fudge wrapped in plastic wrap. 

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

Just because you can’t have gluten, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite desserts! For health reasons I have chosen to eat as much gluten free breads and desserts as I can. If gluten does bother you, then it is causing inflammation to your digestive system.

The carrot cake we are featuring was made with an all-purpose baking flour that consists of garbanzo bean flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour and fava bean flour. To replace the gluten, potato starch and tapioca starch was used. We also used oat flour, and coconut flour.

Here is what you will need to make Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting.

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour

3/4 oat flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 1/2 teaspoon 5 star chai spices

1/2 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 to 1 cup mixed dried fruits (Trader Joe’s has a package of mixed fruits that have blueberries, cranberries, cherries, and golden raisins)

4 medium eggs

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups shredded organic carrots

3/4 cup pecan pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 

melting coconut oil

First melt the coconut oil. Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees. To use it in baking it is necessary first to melt it. What we have done to melt the oil, is first place a small sauce pan over medium heat, and heat the pan for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the 1/4 cup of solid coconut oil, and begin swirling the pan until the coconut butter, has melted to oil. Put aside.

mixing gluten free dry ingredients with dried fruit

In a large mixing bowl, add the first 8 ingredients from the list above, and mix till well incorporated. Then add the dry fruit and mix in, add nuts if using, mix in and set aside.

Next shred the two cups of carrots and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together eggs, coconut sugar, applesauce, and coconut oil. Once well incorporated, add shredded carrots, mix in, and set aside.

Prepare two 9-inch glass pie plates with parchment paper on the bottom, and coconut butter smeared around the sides. Set the pie plates aside.

Now returning to the wet ingredients, add it slowly to the dry ingredients and stir. Divide the gluten free cake mixture between the prepared pie plates. Place into heated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes before adding frosting.

Here is what you will need for the Cream Cheese Frosting.

8 ounces cream cheese, soften

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon real vanilla

1 cup organic icing sugar (powdered organic cane sugar)

In a mixer, add soft cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla and cream together. Next add icing sugar and mix in.

preparing to add frosting to cakePlace on of the cakes on a large serving platter, and cut around the outside of the cake to cut off any uneven edges. Top with frosting and pecan pieces. Next place other cake over the frosted one, and continue frosting.

close up of Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingPlace around the outer edge of the frosted Gluten Free Carrot Cake pecan pieces. Using a yellow and purple organic carrot, shred some pieces and place in the center of the frosted cake.

Serve and enjoy.

slice of Gluten free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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