03/16/14
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almond blueberry pie bars

Hello!

Hope your weekend has been filled with lots of fun and good food.  My cooking lately has been limited to breakfast and a little bit of baking.  We’ve had so many friends and family members bring us dinner, along with the freezer meals I prepped have left me not having to make dinner… although I’ll start cooking dinners again tomorrow.  I have to say, I’ve been loving it. Stress free dinners that let me just focus my time on these kiddos of mine.

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When my secret recipe club pick – flavors by four, a mother/daughter blogging combo team – came around, I knew I wanted to make some kind of sweet treat. Because we just love sweets in our house. These blueberry pie bars sounded delish, but I wanted to put a little twist on them. I amped up the almond flavor with almond flour and slivered almonds in the topping. If I had almond extract on hand I would have added that too, but instead I used vanilla extract.

The recipe called for fresh blueberries, and while I used frozen, I would highly suggest fresh like the original recipe called for. My bars came out a little soggy at first. I refrigerated them and ate them chilled which I loved quite a bit. Also, a piece on top of some yogurt… yummm.

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It’s a pretty simple and fun recipe to make with you toddler too.  Bonus – the crust/topping doesn’t have eggs in it so sampling as you go along is highly encouraged. :) I reduced the sugar down a bit and would do that again.  I thought it was sweet enough.  Next time I make it (which I totally plan to!) I’ll be sure to use fresh berries.

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Almond Blueberry Pie Bars

Adapted from here

Ingredients for crust/topping

  • 1 cup almond flour (I ground blanched almonds into a flour… you can also sub in another type of flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter chilled
  • 1/4 cup blanched or slivered almonds

Filling

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 3/8 cup almond flour (can sub other flour)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 oz fresh blueberries (I used frozen but recommend fresh)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan with oil spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or Kitchen Aid mixer. Cut the butter into 1/2″ pieces and add to flour mixture. Add vanilla extract. Mix until the butter is evenly distributed but the mixture is still crumbly.
  3. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of the mixture for the topping. Set aside. Press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add sugar, yogurt/sour cream, flour and almond extract. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Spoon the filling over the crust.
  6. Sprinkle the reserved topping mixture, along with the blanched or slivered almonds, evenly over the filling.
  7. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until top turns golden brown. Cool 1 hour before cutting and serving.

What is your favorite berry to bake with? Blackberry or marionberry for me. :)

Heather


12/16/13
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apple pie wonton turnovers

Hello!  How was your weekend?  We had a pretty mellow one here, which was perfect right before all the crazy busy holiday activities begin.  The weather was a bit chilly and wet, but that didn’t stop Hunter and I from having some fun at the park one morning.

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Yes, that’s a wet backside.  The slide being wet didn’t stop us from going down it.  The water actually made us go down extra fast which was so fun! My pants looked the same, but I won’t show you a picture of that. :)

I made these fun little wonton turnovers on Saturday too.

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They are super simple and quite fun to eat.  The recipe came from my secret recipe club pick for this month – Jenny’s Cookbook.

All you have to do is cook your chopped apples in a very small amount of sugar + cinnamon, put it inside the wontons and bake.  Easy as that!

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The one downside to using wontons is that the corners did get a little sharp, which took Jacob by surprise when he took his first bite.  But after you know to watch out for the sharp corners, they are perfect little bites.  I skipped the extra glaze and thought they were perfectly sweet just the way they turned out.  There is a little bit of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of the wontons before baking too which I made sure to include.  It is a dessert after all, but one that you can actually feel good about since it’s mostly just apples!

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Apple Pie Wonton Turnovers

from Jenny’s Cookbook

Makes 12 turnovers

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced (small)
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp natural cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 12 wonton wrapper
  • melted butter or cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a small pot, cook the apple with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Place 12 wrappers on the counter and divide the apple mixture among them.
  4. Use a little water around the edges of the wrappers, then fold them into a triangle. Press along the edges to seal them. Brush melted butter on both sides (or use cooking spray).
  5. Combine remaining teaspoon of sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the turnovers.
  6. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until they start to turn golden.

How was your weekend?  Do you use wontons often and in non tradition ways?   I’ve love to hear of some new ideas for using up my leftover wontons!

Heather

11/7/13
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peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough bites (aka chickpea cookies)

During those first couple days of potty training I planned for us to stay home.  We barely even went outside, except for a couple trips to the front yard for some fresh air.  I wanted to plan some special activities to take advantage of our home time.

Of course, we read hundreds of books.  Books are the thing when you’re potty training.  But we also did some extra fun stuff… like pumpkin painting.  Super fun.

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Super messy.  Must. Paint. Belly.

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And we baked together!  This was a first.  I never really knew how to make it work.  Hunter standing on a chair didn’t seem that save.  But having him on the counter worked out really well!

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Of course, I stayed right by him the entire time.  He’s fast and if he wanted to scoot off I’m sure he could do it in 2 seconds flat.  However, cookie making was fun for both of us, so he stayed put and was totally into it.  Plus I had everything out and ready at arms reach.

He was in charge of holding the measuring spoons/cups and pushing the buttons on the food processor.  His favorite job?  Sampling to make sure it was good enough.

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And it was. :)

So what did we make?  Healthy cookies!  They’re filled with chickpeas, natural peanut butter and honey + some chocolate chips for goodness.  Gluten free too, if that’s your thing.

I love the warm chocolate in them (look how good and melty it is straight out of the oven!) – but you could totally leave it out, especially if they’re for kiddos.

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The texture in the center is like warm cookie dough.  Since there’s no egg in them, you don’t have to worry about making sure they bake all the way through.  In fact, over baking is not recommended for these.  Another bonus of no raw egg in the batter?  Sampling. :)

Since they are best straight out of the oven, you can make the balls, then freeze them for when you need a quick yummy treat.  The ones pictured below were from the freezer.  They look better when you use the fresh batter, but taste the same either way.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (aka Chickpea Cookies)

recipe from here

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, SunButter Natural or almond butter – room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of sea salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (use vegan and dairy-free chocolate chips, if needed)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.
  2. Put in the chocolate chips and pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  3. With wet hands, form into 1½” balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes for the fresh batter (closer to 14-16 straight out of the freezer). The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.
  5. Best eaten right away when still warm!

Looking for more sweet treat ideas featuring beans?  Check these out!

Are you a fan of beans in your treats?  Have you made anything like this before?  And in case you are wondering, they are husband approved, so they must taste really good! :)

Heather