Chocolate Dipped Fruit!

Chocolate and fruit………….yes, please!

My family attends a bi-monthly church small group and all families bring a snack to pass.

Some of the snacks I have brought include: cut up fruit, fresh strawberries with coconut cream dip, air popped popcorn, fresh homemade bread with seasoned dipping oil, homemade green juice, and chips and guacomole…….

this time I wanted something really special and I had seen this idea from another blogger on Pinterest so I decided to make my own version!!

I started with non dairy chocolate chips (so my son could enjoy this too!) and melted them over a double broiler….

Then I took pineapple chunks and dunked them in the chocolate and placed them on a teflex sheet to harden.

I also took some bananas and sliced them into rounds.  I added some sunflower seed butter to the center and topped with another banana slice….like this:

Next, I placed a toothpick in each one and dipped them in the chocolate!

I placed these all in the freezer to harden them quickly!

Did I mention these were a HIT at our small group??

I had some melted chocolate leftover and I didn’t want to waste it so I decided to whip up a few non peanut butter cups!!

I poured the extra chocolate into these molds and froze for 5 minutes

Once the chocolate was solid I added a scoop of sunflower seed butter to the center…..

and then poured more chocolate on top!

It only took 5 minutes of sitting in the freezer and look what we had!!

These didn’t make it to the small group……in fact they almost didn’t make it into the picture! 🙂

Want to see another idea I got from Pinterest??  I saw this idea HERE…..and that inspired me to fancy up my own fruit salad for small group on another night!

Here is my version….

It was just organic strawberries and organic pinepapple cut up with an ice cream scoop added in for fun!

This was a hit too!!!

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Chocolate Banana Sunbutter Bars

Bananas, chocolate, sunflower seed butter…..ummm, need I say more?

Everyone knows that bananas go well with peanut butter but in my house we use Sunbutter (made with sunflower seeds instead of peanuts) because both of my kids have peanut allergies.

Now add in some non dairy chocolate (we have dairy allergies too!)

and you have an amazing combination!

Chocolate Banana Sunbutter Bars

3 cups dried banana chips, ground into a flour

1/2 cup oats ground into a flour

1/2 tbsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup Sunbutter or almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, ground into a flour

1 cup non dairy chocolate chips, melted

Place ground up banana chips, ground up sunflower seeds and ground up oats in food processor and process until mixed.  Add in sea salt, vanilla, Sunbutter, and maple syrup and blend until a ball forms.

Press into a pie or 8×8 cake pan and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double broiler.  Spread melted chocolate over the banana sunbutter mixture.  Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden the chocolate.

For the visual learners (including myself!) Here it is in pictures!! 🙂

Grind the banana chips in a food processor and place in bowl.

Grind the oats in the food processor

also process the sunflower seeds into a flour as well (sorry, no picture for this one!)

Process all of the ingredients together

Press into pan

Melt the chocolate

Spread over the mixture and freeze for 10 minutes.

No need for a container……store these in your belly……:)

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It’s NOT Peanut Butter Cookies-Flourless Version!!!

I thought it couldn’t get any better but it did!!!!!  These flourless non peanut butter cookies are so much like the real thing!!  I remember as a child my mom made a peanut butter cookie using just a few ingredients.  I would always help her make them so I remember she would use peanut butter, sugar, and 1 egg….there may have been a few other ingredients as well.  I am not even sure where the recipe came from because she just had it written on an index card that she kept in her drawer.  As a child I LOVED peanut butter…I took after my dad-he loved  loves it too!  There are actually pictures of me as a kid walking around with a big spoon of peanut butter as my snack!  When I had children and I found out they were allergic to peanuts I had to stop my addiction for the safety of my children.  It wasn’t even like I could go out and sneak some while I was away because I had a fear that I could still give them a reaction with a snuggle or a kiss once I came home!

Which explains my addiction to sunflower seed butter-and this addiction won’t harm my children.  In fact, they can indulge with me!! 🙂

So, these cookies remind me of my childhood favorite.  They taste so authentic that I gave some to my sister and dad who have only had the real deal and they both said, “These don’t have any peanut butter???” They couldn’t get over the fact that they tasted just like the real thing!!

It’s Not Peanut Butter Cookies-Flourless Version! or Sunflower Seed Cookies!

1 cup Sunbutter or sunflower seed butter

1 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (the next time I make these I will only use 3/4 cup because they were a little too sweet for my taste!)

1 chia egg (directions below)

1 tsp. baking soda

For the chia egg: take 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

and place them in a coffee grinder

and grind for about 30 seconds

until a very fine chia flour is made…place into a bowl with 3 tablespoons of water.

stir and let sit for about 2 minutes and it will turn into a very thick gel.

this is now your egg replacer!

Place all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Roll into balls and place onto a cookie sheet.  Use a fork to make criss cross patterns.

Bake at 350* for about 6-8 minutes.

Let cool before shoving them into your mouth eating one.

Enjoy!!!!

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Some Classics with a Twist

There will always be “classics” in life.

By definition “Classic” means: serving as a standard, model, or guide….we have classic cars, classic rock, classic fashion…….

and then there are people who put a twist on the classics……

they remake the classic into something newer and fresher….sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t…..

In my opinion skinny jeans are classic…..well, they are just reinvented leggings….plain black or denim paired with some boots and a trendy shirt and handbag and you have a classic look…..then there is the twist…

yikes….skinny jeans with a twist….someone thought it would be a good idea to jazz up the classic plain black skinny jean to a Mick Jagger concert pant…..

better yet….cheetah leggings…that’s right…someone thought it would be a great idea to add a cheetah print to a basic legging…..YIKES!

Sometimes changing the classics don’t work out so well……

and sometimes they do!

CLASSIC: Ants on a Log

MY TWIST:  Red Ants on a Log or Ladybugs on a Log
I used Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds) and dried organic cranberries.

CLASSIC: Peanut butter and apples

MY TWIST: Vanilla-almond butter with apples

I took some almond butter and added vanilla and agave to sweeten and mixed it well.  Then sliced up an apple to pair with it!  My daughter can have almond butter, but it is still up in the air for my son so we stick with Sunbutter and apples for him…although I can still flavor it vanilla.

CLASSIC: Carrots and Ranch dressing

MY TWIST: Carrots drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sea salt

CLASSIC: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

MY TWIST: The Better than PB and J Sandwich-recipe can be found here

CLASSIC: Good Old Fashioned Orange Juice

MY TWIST: Fresh squeezed orange juice with chia seeds

Classic: Bananas and Peanut Butter

My Twist: Bananas and Sunbutter with Drizzled Maple Syrup and Flax 

I just sliced a banana in half lengthwise and spread Sunbutter on each slice, drizzled with some pure organic maple syrup and sprinkled ground flax on top!

Classic: Fruit Salad

My Twist: Fruit Kabobs!

I love taking a classic and giving it a twist….however, you will never see me wearing striped or cheetah printed pants of any kind…..what is your favorite classic with a twist??

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How to make Healthy Homemade Ice Cream!!

Most of you already know that my son has food allergies.

My daughter has some too but she is older and most of hers are not life threatening or serious at this point.  She will get an itchy tongue or hives around her mouth if she eats something her body rejects such as peanuts and some dairy (not sure why but not all dairy) and she has reactions to items with eggs sometimes too….again not sure why it’s sporadic….

My son on the other hand I have to be careful with.  His allergic reactions are much more severe and his body seems to be much more sensitive to foods.  He also has dairy allergies, nut allergies (he can have almond milk though), and he has sensitivities to wheat/gluten.

I have always had to figure out ways to keep my kids nourished and healthy but also making their food choices yummy so they never feel as though they are missing out on what the other kids may be eating.

I have found many ways to make yummy and fun foods…..

I want to share one of them with you!!!

Banana Ice Cream!!

This recipe is so easy….uses basic ingredients…and tastes delicious!!

I apologize for not having the exact recipe rather just the concept of how its done!!

First, I always take my brown bananas and peel them.  I place them into Ziploc bags and freeze them.  I use these frozen bananas for smoothies and ice cream!!  When the grocery stores clearance their brown bananas I stock up for pennies!!!

These will be future smoothies or ice cream!!

So, once you have some frozen bananas….take them out of the freezer and place them in your blender.

I add some alcohol free vanilla that I get from Trader Joe’s. Just a splash or two!

I also mix in some agave, maple syrup or raw honey to sweeten this up a bit…

I also sometimes add in a splash or two of almond or coconut milk to help get the blender moving.

Once I have a soft serve type consistency I transfer the mixture over into my handy dandy ice cream maker.  You don’t need this step but it makes the ice cream less like soft serve and more like actual ice cream!

You can add in any other ingredients too!!

Cacao powder or cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream….

some mint extract and chocolate chips or cacao nibs for Mint chocolate chip ice cream…

you can add cinnamon and pecan bits for a yummy version of Butter pecan….but

this day I decided on strawberry ice cream….

so I took some frozen strawberries

and blended it with a little water…

and I ended up with this strawberry puree which I added to the banana mixture and then placed it into my ice cream maker!

and then I just let that run for about 40 minutes or so.

While I waited I got some yummy toppings ready!!

From top left in order….crushed up gluten free sugar cones, fresh organic raspberries, vegan (non dairy)chocolate chips,  non dairy chocolate sauce, shredded coconut pieces, and SunButter!!!

I was pretty disappointed to return to my ice cream maker to find my ice cream wasn’t getting firmer but I had held my kids back long enough and they wanted to feast so I poured the ice cream into bowls and let them cover their ice cream in toppings!

My daughter’s creation!

and my sons creation…notice how simple his is??  He really doesn’t like to mix his foods much….even when it’s dessert!

He would eat all of those topping separate but mix them together and he gets weird about it!!  LOL

Oh well, they were both delicious and of course I had a bowl too!!!

🙂

Have you ever made homemade ice cream before?

What did you use for yours??

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Are My Kids Getting Fruit and Veggies in Their Easter Baskets?

The question is:

What are you filling your kids easter baskets with????

Will my kids be waking up to a basket of fruit?

I actually received fruit in my Easter basket one year growing up….I don’t know what my parents were thinking…they had all kinds of candy in there and then added an apple and an orange….I remember being very unimpressed and even a little disappointed.

Well, I would LOVE it if my kids got so excited over fruit that if I filled a basket with it they would jump for joy…..but they have access to TONS of fruits and veggies at their fingertips everyday.

They can eat whatever they want off of this nook at any time of day without asking……

so why would this be exciting??

To answer the question…..

my children’s baskets will not be filled with fruit or veggies this year…..

I am actually planning on buying each of them a cute little “stuffy” (this is what they call stuffed animals),

they will each receive an educational book, and probably a game, puzzle, kite, bubbles, etc.

AND

instead of buying into the chemically processed, highly dyed, trans fat laden bags of junk – I am making homemade treats to place into their little baskets!!!!

I spent an hour this evening after my 2 lovelies went to sleep making little treats for their baskets…..

First, I started with this 100% dairy free chocolate-remember my little guy has allergies to dairy!

I broke it into pieces…

and then melted it over a double broiler.  Next I poured a small amount of chocolate into these little mini cupcake holders and placed them in the freezer for about 2 minutes until they had hardened.

Next, I got to work on the filling!!!

My son is also allergic to nuts-so we use Sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter.

I took some of the sunflower seed butter and mixed it with some gluten free flour and some organic cane sugar.

I did not measure any of the ingredients-I was aiming for the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups consistency though.

Next, I had to roll them into tiny little balls….

and then I placed them into the little holders.

Then I poured more chocolate over the tops…..

and back in the freezer they went.

I had to taste test three  one….

They were so delicious!!!!!!!!

My husband even taste tested one and said they were “SERIOUS!!!!!”

So, I bagged them up and hid them in the fridge!!!

Next, I started on some caramel treats……

I placed melted chocolate into half egg shaped molds making sure to coat the sides evenly….

while those set up in the freezer I worked on the caramel….

did you know that dates make a great caramel substitute???

I soaked my dates in almond milk for about a half hour…

I added a dash of salt and some vanilla and blended on high for a good minute or two….

Voila!!

Caramel!!!!

 I poured some caramel into my molds…

Then I topped it with more melted chocolate.

Back in the freezer they went and soon I had these……

OOPS!!!!

One accidentally broke……

So Good!!!!!

The caramel was creamy and it kind of reminded me of those cadbury eggs with the “yolk” inside….

except much, much yummier…..:)

So, these are the treats my kids will be finding in their baskets this year-I wouldn’t go as far as saying these are healthy  and I am sure there are a ton of better options than this.

However, I make it a point to feed my children fruits and veggies every single day of their lives and I don’t feel guilty making special treats for them once in awhile-especially on a holiday!

What is your opinion on this?

What are your kids getting in their baskets??

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Smoothies, Salads, and Sunshine!!

I was shopping the other day and found these really nifty cups and my kids thought they were cool, so we bought them!

The straws twist around the outside of the cup, so when they are drinking from them they can see the liquid travel up, up, up and into their little mouths.  Very FUN!

Today, we decided for lunch we would make smoothies and put them into these little twister cups.  My daughter wanted a pink smoothie and my son wanted yellow……hmmm

Okay, so we used strawberries, bananas, chia seeds and almond milk for hers….

and mango, banana, chia seeds, and coconut milk for his….

mmmmm….mmmmmm…..good!

Next course for this lunch was salad!

My kids love salad….and that’s good because leafy greens are so important to include into the diet!

They gobbled these up so quickly that I didn’t even get to take a picture of them eating it!!!

Oh well 🙂

Their little tummies were still hungry so I cut up a huge organic Gala apple and served it up with some SunButter.

Sunbutter is made from sunflower seeds and is super tasty!

We love it!!

Next on my list for these two were some sunshine!

Good old fashioned Vitamin D!

WAIT…buddy-look at the camera!

Much better!

Did you notice the swing they are sitting on??  I picked up that frame at a garage sale for $1.00!!!  It was old and worn but my husband spray painted it and I picked out some fabric and sewed it on there….notice what the fabric pattern is???

FRUIT!!!

LOL-I just loved the fruit pattern and brightness of the print….so for under $15 (spray paint, material and the $1.00 for the frame) they have a little swing that they love to sit on!

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