Pecan Pie Tarts

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The thing about pecan pie…20131028-214954.jpg

Everybody likes that sweetness, but you can only take so many bites of it before you overwhelm your palette. That’s why when I saw Hungry Girl‘s recipe for mini Pecan Pies, I thought “Of course!” Bite-sized is better for this dessert.

I’ve done quite a few mini pies though, and for this one I wanted to try more of a tart/ pinafore bite. So I chose a different phyllo dough, and I’m glad that I did.

Ingredients20131028-214906.jpg

1 package phyllo dough pies (or crust if you want to shape your own)

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

2 T brown sugar

1.5 T coconut oil

1/2 packet stevia

1/2 t vanilla extract

dash of salt20131028-214918.jpg

dash of cinnamon

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep your dough as you like, i.e. if you bought the mini pie crusts, assemble those. Place in preheated oven until slightly golden brown (about 5 minutes).

-In a pan, drop in nuts and oil, making sure the nuts are coated well. Then add the remaining ingredients. Turn over until nice, sweet and crunchy sugar layer forms.20131028-214942.jpg

-Assemble the tarts by spooning your nut mixture into the centers of the tarts, filling to the top. Return to oven and bake another 5-8 minutes or until toasted and golden brown. Serve warm if you can, with whipped cream or mint garnish, if you like.

Other Fall Food Recipes from CC:
Yam’O’Lanterns

Pumpkin Chili

Mini Pumpkin Pies for One

 

Healthier Thin Mint Cookies

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While in the process of going through EVERYTHING I own for my big move down to Texas, I also had to go through a lot of separation. I let go of bags and bags of clothes, books, and surprisingly some food stuffs I’d never used up. With the food, though, I was able to eat my way through a lot of the dried goods I’d accumulated during my two years in this apartment. One of which was a bag of pitted dates. So yummy, and bought with equally yummy intentions for a dessert I had in mind in the spring.CC Pics 009

But that idea passed. The dessert went unmade, and then I remembered a Thin Mint Brownie recipe from the Fabulous Chocolate-Covered Katie, whose cookbook comes out soon, I hope (Katie?).

Well these tasty treats are really good. Just ask the friends I made them for, for a summer picnic in July. And you could ask the other group of friends who tried them, too, at a fireworks show. They were happy to indulge, and I only felt bad when they looked at my little thin mint cookies and then looked at the big, sugary-frosted store-bought ones they bought with a twinge of remorse.

Okay, I didn’t feel too bad about giving friends a healthier alternative they liked just as much. I didn’t want anyone to feel embarrassed about the cookies they brought though. CC Pics 010

To share this positive embarrassment/ healthy kindness with your own friends, check out the recipe I’ve adapted from CCK’s version for a slightly chewier, cholate-ey-er cookie recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup walnuts

1 and 1/2 cups pitted dates

1 t vanilla extract

1.5 T cocoa powder

A few drops pure peppermint extractCC Pics 033

scant pinch of salt

1 t stevia

Directions

-Combine all ingredients in your food processor. Blend ’til a dough forms.

-Roll into bite-sized balls and flatten between your palms for a flat cookie.

-If you wanted a small pan of brownies, simply press the dough into a small pan and slice.

-Serve cold or even frozen if that’s how you like your thin mint cookies (I do!). Enjoy.

Yogurt & Oat Pancakes

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Sweet breakfasts can be so good. Berry-filled crepes, French toast, pastry tarts. All of which can be healthy. All of which I’ve posted on this blog.

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But what I dislike about sweet breakfasts (only slightly…) is that they aren’t the most filling. Normally, I have to add a little peanut butter for protein and lots of fruit for fiber.

This recipe, however, is a sweet but stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast. The Greek yogurt and the hearty oats that can be mixed in make it very filling, enough to power you through any morning.

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 t whole-wheat flourSAM_4851

1 T rolled or steel-cut oats

1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (sub for coconut or almond varieties if you like)

2 T water (more or less depending on how runny/ thin you like your cakes)

1 t stevia

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powderSAM_4841

splash of vanilla

Directions

Heat your griddle to med-low setting. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Allow to warm.

-In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Then slowly add in yogurt, then vanilla, and then water as you like. For thicker cakes, use less water. For a few more cakes that are thinner, add more water.

-Pour pancake batter on griddle to the size of pancake you like. They will probably spread a bit. At this point, if you’d like to add in other ingredients, such as berries or chocolate chips, you can drop them on top while the bottom side of the cakes cook.SAM_4849

-When the edges begin to firm up a bit and bubbles are popping up through the top side, the cakes should be solid enough to flip. Do so carefully. They should be golden brown on each side.

Topping Ideas?

Yes, I always have lots of these! For this recipe, I mixed 1 T all-natural peanut butter with 1 T yogurt and a dash of honey. Fresh apples were chopped and added, too. Berries and honey would also be delicious.SAM_4847

Enjoy!

Mint-Chip Ice Cream

Turning green with envy?

Or green with disgust?

Hopefully, it’s the former. This pretty little green ice cream–pretty by my standards, at least–might turn some away in disgust, but true lovers of the mint-chocolate combo will crave.

And feel free to crave away, because your craving need not be accompanied by guilt. Why?

It’s made with bananas! And the green coloring doesn’t require food dye, although you’re welcome to use that if you like.

Makes one big serving of mint-chip ice cream

Ingredients

1 large, frozen banana, chopped into small rounds

1/4 cup frozen spinach (or food coloring)

2-3 drops peppermint extract

splash of vanilla

dash of stevia

1-2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a small blender, mix banana rounds, spinach, extract, vanilla, and stevia ’til smooth cream forms.

Remove from blender. Shape into ice cream if need be and top with chips.

If any of the banana melts down or gets too runny, simply freeze for a few minutes.

Would you have ever guessed those were bananas just by looking at them? I certainly wouldn’t.

Hope you think this recipe is as cool as I do… and find it as tasty, too!

Easy Caprese Skewers

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So quick.

So easy.

And yet, still so darling.

When I didn’t know what to bring to a writing center meeting last fall, I remembered those fancy little caprese skewers on Pinterest. They pop up all the time, but I can’t help but wonder if anyone ever makes them? They look easy enough. But I imagine that the caprese skewers, like so many other popular pins, are pinned and forgotten.

But I remembered. And I wanted to try.SAM_3610

Ingredients

Mozzarella, fresh preferred

1 carton of grape tomatoes

balsamic vinegar for dressing the skewers

fresh herbs to garnish

Directions

Not exactly rocket science on this part either. Just skewer–in whatever order or pattern or amount you like–drizzle with balsamic, and serve on something cute. (Great-tasting food is always 50% presentation.)

A bright, healthful addition to any potluck, and as always, my co-workers thanked me for bringing something fresh to the table. It’s always a pleasure to hear that.

Cake Cups + Filling Ideas

This is more of a great idea (or two) than it is a new recipe.

Cake cups!

Like cupcakes, but reversed.

In a cake cup, you add in something you love. For me, it was my healthified fro-yo fix, which you can make simply by taking your favorite yogurt and freezing it for about an hour. Garnish with some sweet fresh berries and voila! A dessert that does a body good.

To make, simply follow any one of my single-serving cupcake recipes. But instead of filling the muffin tin slot as you normally would, gently press the dough up the sides of the slot. Bake for about 5-6 minutes (less time is needed because the dough is spread more thinly). Let cool and add in your favorite filling.

I’ll copy and paste the sweet-pink strawberry dough recipe I used below, but get creative!

I also did something similar with my super-moist chocolate blueberry cupcake recipe, but I made the cups smaller by dividing into two, scraped out the sides, and filled with a one-part peanut butter and one-part cream cheese frosting filling.

Yes, I was proud of this secondary cake cup, too. It tasted just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, only cakier!

And in case you’re wondering, no you can not taste the blueberry, but you will be amazed at how moist the fruit puree makes the cake.

Strawberry Dough Ingredients

3 T flour ( I used spelt)

a pinch of baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla

1 heaping T milk

1 T stevia

.5 t vegan butter

1/5 egg (mixed, or flax egg)

.5 t maple syrup or agave

1 t strawberry preserves

1 medium to large strawberry (ripe, pureed or well smashed)

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

-Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl; push to one side. On the other side, mix all wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry thoroughly. It’s okay if there are some chunks of fruit in the batter, but too many or too large of a chunk will bake into a gummy texture you won’t like.

-To form cookies, roll into small balls. If you’d like, however, to make doughnuts, you can simply shape a doughnut round by using a specialized pan, or doing as I do, which is using the rim of a muffin tin slot to shape an O. You could also use a cookie cutter that’s shaped like an O, but if you do this make sure the dough is thick enough–consider layering two or three Os.

-Bake for about 6-7 minutes.

Chocolate Blueberry Dough Ingredients

2.6 T whole-wheat flour

2 t cocoa powder

pinch of baking powder, baking soda, (scant) salt, and vanilla

1.5 t stevia

1 T and 1 t vanilla yogurt

1.5 t applesauce or coconut oil

1 T and 1 t almond milk

1 T and 1 t blueberries

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet or prepare with a cupcake liner.

-Puree blueberries or mash with a fork. Then mix in vanilla, oil, and milk. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Transfer these to the wet ingredients, mixing in slowly. Be sure not to overmix.

-Spoon batter into cupcake tin and bake for about 11-13 minutes.

These toppings could be really fun. You could go more muffin like, as I did, with fresh coconut cream and blueberries. Or you could add icing because, essentially, this muffin could pass as a cupcake, too!

Let the sweetness last as long as you can :)

Sweet & Salty Pretzel Crunch Bars

There are some pairs that are just perfect.

Gin and tonic.

Birds and the bees.

Pen and paper (+ creative inspiration).

And if you’re lucky, a perfect pair of jeans. 🙂

Of course, there are plenty of perfect food pairings, too. The one I can’t resist? Ever? Sweet and salty. There was a point in my life when I thought Nature’s Valley Sweet-and-Salty Peanut Butter Granola Bars were going to be the end of me. I inhaled them!

That’s an exaggeration, I know. There’s nothing bad about them, especially in moderation, as the Greeks would advise. But if you’re like me, sweet and salty is hard to do in moderation. But what makes this flavorful pairing so hard to resist also makes it highly desirable.

Desire away, dearests! I’ve adapted this Sweet & Salty Pretzel Crunch Bar recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Pretzel Bars. It’s perfect for one, and I think this version is made even sweeter with a honey and peanut-butter honey substitution, too.

Makes 3 bars.

Ingredients

1/4 cup brown rice crispies (smashed up a bit)

2 T spelt or white-whole wheat flour

5-6 mini pretzel twists, crushed

scantest dash of stevia

1/4 t vanilla

1 T organic raw honey

1 T peanut butter (I used an organic-honey version from my local health market)

Directions

Combine dry ingredients. Mash up well.

Then add in honey, peanut butter and vanilla. Press into dry ’til sticky and well mixed.

Press into bars or other desired shape. You can either freeze for a colder bar or melt a few dark chocolate chips over the top. Spread the melted chips evenly and let cool for a nice crunchy coating. Top with one pretzel or more crushed ones.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. I’m planning on making them for a potluck very soon. I know my writing center tutors will gobble them up.

My Good Morning Blueberry Muffin

A piping hot, fresh out of the oven blueberry muffin is a classic treat.

And Lord knows how I love classics.

And treats.

And blueberries!

Yes, I still have blueberries stockpiled in my freezer from my summer love affair with Berry Patch Farm. They are so close to gone, so I knew I had to make one more blueberry recipe before I ran out for good.

Until next summer, Berry Patch Farm. But right now, in the middle of winter, I’m warming up with this sweet summer fruit baked in the best way possible.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp spelt flour (30g) (or ww pastry)
  • dash of baking powder
  • 1-2 T blueberries (chopped or whole)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 T organic vanilla yogurt
  • 2 T nondairy milk
  • 1 T stevia

Directions

Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin or a single silicone cup. Set aside. (Note: You can microwave for 1-1.5 minutes for a quicker muffin, but it will probably turn out less moist.)

Mix dry ingredients; then blend in wet ’til combined, but don’t overmix.

Pop in berries or smear them around for a little tie-dye blue effect.

Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

“Nutz Over Chocolate” Copycat Candies

Luna bars are pretty good. They claim to be the very best nutrition bar for women, and they’re certainly not bad considering they’re packed with vitamins and minerals.

But what if you could just make your own? And do so using a lot less sugar.

The thought came to me when I was perched up in the engineering complex quad, munching on a promotional Luna bar, “Nutz Over Chocolate,” to be exact.

I thought to myself, “I can make this. Easy!” With Chocolate-Covered Katie’s copycat recipe as a guide, I went to work. Changed a few ingredients around. Scaled back to a single serving.

And then decided that a candy ball was more fun than a regular bar.

I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m just going to say it: This recipe is SO MUCH BETTER than the Luna bar I had for lunch today. So much.

Thank goodness for pleasant surprises.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies (brown rice works great!)
  • 1 t coconut flour
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T all-natural, salt-free peanut butter
  • 1 t sticky sweetener, such as agave or brown rice syrup (I used agave)
  • optional: 1-2 t protein powder
  • dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. I used a cake balls tray for this candy-like version, but you can use a regular ramekin.

-In small bowl, toss crispies and flour together. Place nut butter, sweetener, and vanilla on top. Microwave for a few seconds (7-9) just to warm up the mix.

-Mix well. Smash the crispies for a tighter crisp, and to keep all ingredients stuck together better.

-Press into your dish. Evenly distribute chocolate chips on top. I used two per candy.

-Bake for only 2-3 minutes. This is just long enough to let some of the ingredients fuse and melt the chocolate on top.

-Remove from oven. Smear the chocolate around for a bottom coating. Let cool in the freezer. Pop out and serve.

Orange Dream Cupcake

Remember my sweet lemon solo cupcake from late August? It was delicious & zesty, yes?

Well now that we’re in the dead of winter, I figured it was high time for another fruity cake, but one more appropriate for the season.

An orange one!

And you know the fruit won’t be expensive considering most grocery stores are selling oranges by the bag for just a few dollars this time of year.

The recipe is below. I’d recommend pairing with coconut flakes or almonds. Or if you like a little sweet, cream cheese frosting. Check out my healthy Neufchatel cream cheese frosting recipe, featured earlier on my fluffy carrotcake cookies.

IngredientsCooling off in an individual silicone cupcake mold.

(makes just one cupcake)

  • 3 tbsp flour (30g) (See directions for flour notes)
  • heaping 1/16th tsp salt
  • little orange zest, if you like
  • 1 tbsp applesauce, oil, pre-melted margarine (I used French vanilla yogurt), or a combination
  • 1 tbsp nondairy milk
  • 1 t freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 packets of stevia should be about right. If you use liquid sweetener, cut back a tiny bit on the other liquid.)

Directions

-Preheat the oven to 330 degrees.If icing isn't your favorite, you can also eat this cupcake plain (more like a muffin)...

-Mix the ingredients and pour into an oiled (or sprayed) muffin pan. Smooth top of batter. Bake for about 10 minutes or so.

-Alternatively, you can cook in the microwave, in a greased mug or ramekin. (Microwave times will vary, depending on the flour you use and the strength of your microwave.