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Turtle Bars

I try to make one treat for the week. Something that is not too elaborate, yet hits the sweet spot when we have got to have a little nibble of something sweet. This particular sweetness is a little different for me to make. I am trying to expand my culinary boundaries.

These Caramel Bars hit all the spots: sweet, salty and crunch. The shortbread base is the platform for the caramel (sweet). The pecans add the salt and crunch. And there definitely has to be some chocolate. There it is a Turtle Bar.

Shortbread Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse ingredients until they resemble a meal with pea size pieces of margarine throughout the flour mixture.

Press mixture into a parchment lined 8X8 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Set aside refrigerator to cool.

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Caramel:

  • 3/4 c maple sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c vegan margarine (or butter)
  • 4 tsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine: maple sugar, molasses, margarine and milk. Stir occasionally, bringing all the ingredients together. The sugar should be dissolved and the margarine is melted.

When the ingredients have come together turn heat up to bring mixture to a boil. Keep stirring during this time so that it does not burn. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

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Pour caramel over cooled shortbread layer. Refrigerate until caramel has set.

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Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of Kosher or Flaked Salt
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Melt chocolate chips either over a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, stir every 30 seconds, until melted.

Pour melted chocolate over caramel. Spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans and salt over chocolate. return to refrigerator to set the chocolate layer.

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When the chocolate is completely set lift out the bar by the parchment paper. Cut bars into squares.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Banana-Pecan Breakfast Bars

I know you have been there. You have 2-3 overripe bananas and your thinking, banana bread or banana muffins, again. Well, not this time. These breakfast bars can be made and everything cleaned up in under 30 minutes. they will last 5 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. These are great for those grab and go morning.

There is a secret ingredient that will revolutionize your healthful baking. Vanilla Cashew Frosting. Yes, you read the right – Frosting. The frosting is made of cashews, dates, vanilla and water.

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2c Cashew Vanilla Frosting
  • 2 c GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 c pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger, ground
  • pinch of sea salt
  • coconut oil, to grease baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl blend together bananas and cashew frosting until creamy and combined.

Mix in oats, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sea salt.

Spoon oat mixture into 8X8 baking dish.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes.This depends on how chewy you want them to be. Cool and slice into 10 bars.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Carrot Cake Donuts

I started out going to make a carrot cake, but then I thought I haven’t made donuts in months. Then I thought, Carrot Cake Donuts sounds pretty good. So here we are making Carrot Cake Donuts.

They are cooling as I write this post and I can hardly wait to have one. So when you see a picture with a bite taken out you know that is a real bite.

I have always liked carrot cake. It has a vegetable in it, so it has to be good for you, right?? They are gluten free and vegan. Also, there is no refined sugars. These donuts are packed with flavor and none of the bad stuff.

This batter is made entirely in the food processor.

  • 1 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 1/2 oz whole dates, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 c applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c  GF oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped

In the food processor add milk, dates, banana and vanilla. Pulse a few times to break up the dates. Let ingredients set for about 15 minutes to let the dates soften.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger and carrots. blend until completely mixed and carrots are in small pieces. Add walnuts and pulse until the walnuts are broken up.

Spoon batter into a ziplock bag. Squeeze out air and snip the end of the bag so that you can pipe the batter into a donut pan.

Tip: If you are using a silicone pan, place the silicone pan onto a sheet pan. Then pipe batter into donut rings. This make s it much easier to work with the donut pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool inside the donut pan. They will probably break apart if you try to remove them sooner. Turn donuts out onto board/platter (whatever is large enough).

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You can eat them plain or ice with your favorite icing.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Apple Cake Squares

 

At least 5 days a week I try to work on recipes that I can bring to my readers that are healthy, gluten free, and over the top delicious. I gather inspiration from fellow bloggers, cookbooks and even magazine articles. Needless to say I do a lot of reading on different formats (electronic and paper).

This recipe was inspired by a book I saw in the book store. I can honestly say I am at the book store at least once 3 out of 4 weeks. Yes, I like books. It is probably time to donate some of my cookbooks that I have not peeked at in a long time. Sorry, back to the recipe.

You can feel good about serving this anytime – Breakfast, Snack, Dessert, this cake hits the spot.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 c gluten free flour blend
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 c maple sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp  sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 c oil (your choice)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Apple: Mixture:

  • 3 pink lady apples, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Icing:

  • 1 c powdered maple sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13 cake pan.

In a large bowl combine: flour, xanthan, maple sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sea salt.

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In a liquid measuring cup combine wet ingredients: oil, water, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.

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Pour wet ingredients in dry ingredients and stir. Batter will be thick resembling a cookie dough.

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Fold in apple mixture into batter and stir.

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Spoon batter into cake pan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake should be light golden brown on the top when it is done.

Pour icing on to cake while it is still warm. Let icing set.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Note: This would be extra good with your favorite ice cream served on top.

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Double Chip Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are a combination of two of my Chocolate Chip Cookies with a little twist. I added a hint of coffee to blossom the raw cacao added to the cookies. These cookies turned out amazing, not too sweet, just the right amount of chocolate flavor and a sweet tang from the cranberries. It is such a lovely bite. The thing is, these are gluten-free, grain-free with no refined sugars. It makes me a happy girl to have a treat that is on the healthier side. These are perfect to start out your healthier living this new year and still have a little indulgence.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2c paleo all-purpose flour (see website)
  • 1/2 c raw cacao
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 3/4 c maple sugar
  • 1/2 c honey granules

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted

Stir-ins:

  • 1 c white chocolate chips
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips
  • 1 c dried cranberries

In a large stand mixing bowl add dry ingredients. Add the eggs, stir. Add the melted butter and coconut oil. Mix well. Stir in white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.

Roll dough into a log onto wax paper. Wrap dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 60 + minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls. Place onto a parchment lined sheet pan. 6 dough balls per sheet pan.

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Pumpkin-Cranberry Cookies

I had about a cup of pumpkin puree left over from the pumpkin maple scones I had made. I was trying to think of something to make with the remaining pumpkin so it would not go to waste. I do not like waste, especially food. I had been thinking of making some type of cookies, and then I remembered I use to make some soft and fragrant pumpkin cookies. Perfect! I had to search for the recipe, and then change it to fit how we eat now compared to those many years ago.

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I first did not realize it, and was a little bit surprised, but these are VEGAN. Yep, I said the V word, and they are so delicious. My house smells incredibly good from baking these cookies.  They are cooling on the counter. I can’t wait anymore, gotta have one now.

  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c paleo all-purpose flour (see website)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet pans with parchment paper.

Mix maple syrup, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cranberries, and pecans.

Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Stir until well combined.

I used an ice cream scoop so the cookies are of substantial size. that is just the way I like my cookies. Bake 15-18 minutes. Let cool for at least 5-10 minutes. Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Pumpkin Scones with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze

I have been thinking about scones for weeks. Since I love the flavor of pumpkin and maple I thought I would combine the two and have one great scone.  You can definitely taste both the maple and pumpkin. These are perfect for any time: breakfast, snack, afternoon tea, or a “just because” treat. They would make wonderful home-baked gifts.

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  • 1/2 c maple sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 c paleo all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c almond milk

Maple – Cinnamon Glaze:

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients: maple sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and flour. Whisk to thoroughly combine.

Using a pastry blender cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, egg and milk (wet ingredients).

Fold wet ingredients into dry. Form a disk about an inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Cut disk into 6 pieces. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown. 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Drizzle glaze onto each scone. Place on a cooling rack and let glaze set. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: Store in refrigerator if you have any leftover.

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Baked Apple Cider Donuts

I found another use for apple cider syrup – Donuts. When these are baking in the oven the house smells like fall: apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, mmm. These donuts are loaded with apple flavor. There are grated apples, apple cider syrup and applesauce. Well, if you are going to have apple in a donut you might as well go for all the apple you can get.

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  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c apple, grated, fresh
  • 1/2 c apple cider syrup
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c almond flour (see website)
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cinnamon applesauce

Apple Cider Syrup

  • 2 c apple cider

In a medium saucepan boil apple cider on high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce cider to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease donut pan.

Place eggs, almond milk, apple cider syrup, melted butter and vanilla in food processor. Blend until well combined.

In a medium bowl sift together almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sea salt. Add sifted ingredients to food processor and blend until well combined. Fold in grated apples

I found piping the donut batter into the donut pan works the best and is much faster than spooning the batter into the pan. You can use a piping bag or just a gallon size ziplock bag with a corner of the bag snipped to make a hole for piping. Pipe batter into donut pan.

For best results put donut pan (if using silicone) onto sheet pan. It makes it easier to place and remove from oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from donut pan. Brush donuts with applesauce. Share. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: You could add a little crunch by dipping the donuts into some crushed dehydrated apples.

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Pumpkin-Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping

Pumpkin, apple and spice makes muffins oh so nice. This is the perfect fall muffin. It has all the autumnal flavors: pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of ginger. These are so good you will probably eat two in one sitting. I know this because that is what we did. Really, we did. That is probably not a good thing, but the muffins sure were good and totally worth it.

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  • 2 1/2 c paleo all-purpose flour (see website)
  • 1 c coconut sugar
  • 1 c maple sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 c shredded apples

Streusel Topping:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt.  Stir in shredded apple until well incorporated with the dry ingredients. Combine eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and oil. Stir into apple mixture. Set aside.

Mix up streusel topping in a small bowl. Set aside

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Top muffin mixture with 1 teaspoon over each muffin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

Cooling pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Makes about 18 muffins. I made 12 regular size muffins and 24 mini muffins from this batch. Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Smokey Southwestern – Lime Jerky

My family has been asking me to make Jerky for months. Hurricane Irma sort of made me do it.

We were out of the country when Irma was forecasted and came back just days before she decided to make landfall. Because we were out of the country and shelves at the grocery were completely empty I used what meat protein I had on hand and made jerky.

Jerky is a great source of protein and will keep for a very long time. Also, it is great for a snack or emergency supplies. It does take a little forethought and preparation. I used a dehydrator, but you could use your oven instead.

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  • 16 oz flank steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp Smokey Southwestern seasoning (see website)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Mix seasoning, coconut aminos, lime juice and apple cider vinegar in a large ziplock bag. Add flank steak to marinade. Remove  air from bag and close ziplock bag. Squeeze bag a few times to distribute marinade thoroughly into flank steak. Marinate from 4-24 hours.

Remove flank steak from ziplock and place on top of paper towels to pat dry the flank steak. Set temperature according to dehydrator instructions. Dehydrate for 3 to 5 hours; turning half way through drying time. Share. Eat. Enjoy.