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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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Mushroom-Pepper Ragout Lasagna

I recently made Italian Herb Polenta with Mushroom-Pepper Ragout. I had lots of the Mushroom Ragout leftover. I also had some Alfredo Sauce leftover from a previous meal. Then I got thinking of a way to use these ingredients up so there would be no waste. I really do not like food waste.

Then I thought the Spinach-Artichoke Zucchini was so good why not go in that direction. So here is what I came up with for our dinner for tonight.

Because everything has already been cooked previously for other meals this lasagna is just a matter of assembling and baking. I love when I can create something from something else. Lets start layering, but first Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

For the base spread some Marinara on the bottom of the pan.

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Layer pasta on top of the marinara. I dipped it into the sauce and then flipped it over so that both sides of the sauce were covered in marinara.

Spread Mushroom-Peppers Ragout onto the pasta sheets evenly. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on top of the ragout.

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Layer pasta sheets on top of the ragout and nutritional yeast layer.

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Add another layer of mushroom ragout.

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Add the last layer of pasta sheets. Spoon Alfredo Sauce over noodles so they are completely coated.

Pour marinara on top of Alfredo and swirl the two sauces.

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Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on the top of the sauces. Sprinkle vegan cheese shreds on top of the lasagna.

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Bake for about 55 minutes.

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Serve. 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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Gluten-free Rustic Herb Bread

I used to make a Rustic Italian Herb Bread when I was eating gluten. Needless to say it has been a long time since I have made that bread. When I would make bread from scratch I would even grind my own flour with a grain grinder. I bought my wheat kernels from a co-op by 50 pound buckets. You can probably tell I took making my own bread seriously. I had people buy my homemade wheat bread from me. It was that good. However, when I figured out what was causing my digestive distress my bread baking days were over. I am pretty excited about making this new version of Rustic Herb Bread that is gluten free.

Baking gluten free bread is different from baking with gluten. I am still learning and experimenting with recipes. Don’t forget to follow my blog to see what new recipes that I have for you. I will always strive to bring you the best and most delicious gluten free recipes in the blogosphere.

Yeast Mixture:

  • 3/4 c warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast, rapid rising
  • 2 tbsp honey

Mix together and set aside. Let the yeast do its work.

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Dry Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 c millet flour
  • 1 c tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

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Wet Mixture:

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whisk together wet ingredients.

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Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the combined dry and wet ingredients. Make sure it is well combined.

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Use an 8 or 9 – inch pie pan. Line with parchment paper. Spray with oil. Spoon dough into pan. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. This is necessary to keep the dough from sticking. I also drape a light weight tea towel over the bread dough.

Let rise until dough has doubled in volume.

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Bake until bread sounds hollow and is golden brown, about 35- 45 minutes. Cover with foil if the bread is starting to brown  too quickly.

Remove from pie pan and let bread cool completely.

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Note: Do not open oven door during the first 20 minutes. It can disrupt the bake-rise process of the bread by letting heat out.

 

 

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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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Tuscan Beans and Spinach Soup with Homemade Croutons

I made this soup because it was actually below freezing here in Florida. I know that is just W.R.O.N.G. – WRONG. If I wanted to be in the cold, I would go up to New Hampshire. Actually I do go up there once a month, but not because I like the cold. Anyway, this soup just sounded perfect for the day.

The homemade croutons are a must. They take this soup to the next level of comfy, cozy goodness. The creaminess is easily done by pureeing part of the beans with broth. The lemon adds just a hint of zip to keep the soup from being boring. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. Oh, and it only takes 30 minutes to make. Here is another quick and tasty meal in 30 minutes flat to your table.

  • 2 15 oz cans cannnelini white beans, rinsed, drained, divided
  • 3 c vegetable broth, divided, 1c/2c
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, zested, juiced
  • Homemade Croutons

In a food processor or blender, blend together 1 can of cannelini beans and 1 c of vegetable broth until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

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In a large dutch oven, heat oil and saute onions with all-purpose seasoning until soft.

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Add garlic, red pepper flakes. Stir. Add spinach and stir. Cook until spinach is wilted.

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Add remaining beans and broth along with the tomato and lemon.

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Stir thoroughly. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until heated through.

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Serve with homemade croutons. Eat. Enjoy.

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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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