04/3/14
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peanut butter, raisin and bean snacker cookies

We all have rough days. Hunter recently had one (lots of tears throughout the day + waking up really sad from his nap). I find that there’s normally a reason for these rougher days: poor night sleep or nap, not eating well or a tooth bothering him are the usual culprits.

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On that particular day, after his sad wake up from his nap, we baked cookies. The boy loves being in the kitchen helping and sampling, then having cookies at the end – well that just made it even better.

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I’m calling these cookies snacker  cookies because they’re actually quite healthy and would totally work as an anytime snack. Instead of the chocolate chips in the original cookie, which are much more a dessert cookie, I subbed in raisins. Really I did this because we had no chocolate chips on hand, but it totally worked! I love how it’s such an easy way for Hunter to snack on beans too.

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peanut butter, raisin and bean snacker cookies

adapted from peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough bites

Makes about 12 cookies, depending on the size

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 raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the raisins, 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 raisins 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.  {You can also refrigerate the dough for a little bit which will make it easier to handle.}
  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!

After we baked and snacked on these cookies, everything was better. Sometimes you just need a cookie to cheer up your mood a bit.

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I’m linking these up to Brittany’s munchkin meals today. Click over to see what other mamas are making for their kiddos.

What’s your cure for a rough day?  Cookies?

Heather

02/19/14
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my favorite chickpea veggie burger recipe

If you follow me on Instragram, you’ve seen me post these yummy veggie burgers a few times now.

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I’ve eaten my fair share of them without any photographic proof too.  They are just so good!  Back in January I made a big double batch for the freezer, for when baby arrives.  I knew Jacob wouldn’t want to eat them (no meat and filled with chickpeas so an instant no of course), but I figured they’d make a great quick and healthy lunch.

Surprise, they have broccoli and carrots hiding in them too! :)

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First I started by making the burger mixture, which is super simple using a food processor.  Then they got shaped into patties and placed on parchment paper covered cutting boards.  Into the freezer they went, then once frozen I just arranged them in a container for easier storing.  You could easily put them in a ziplock bag too once frozen.

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To serve I just heated a small pan over medium-high heat with a little oil in it and sauted each side (frozen from the freezer) for about 5 minutes until warm and slightly browned on both sides.  They are awesome with extra cheese and BBQ sauce + avocado and your favorite burger toppings.  Jessica makes great recipes and that sure includes this one!

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BBQ Cheddar Chickpea Burgers

Recipe from how sweet it is

Makes 4 burgers (you can easily double the recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (or white, use what you have)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil + 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1 medium-sized peeled carrot, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese + more for topping
  • 2 tbsp barbeque sauce + more for topping
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/2-3 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder

Directions

  1. Heat a small skillet over low heat and add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Throw in onions with a pinch of salt, stir to coat, then let cook and caramelize for 5-6 minutes. This should happen fairly quickly since they are chopped small. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, add broccoli and carrot, pulsing until chopped very finely. Add chickpeas, sauce, honey, flour, cheese, onions, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Process and pulse until completely combined but not pureed. Carefully remove from processor bowl and form into 4 burgers. If you feel that your burgers and somewhat delicate, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  {If you are planning to freeze them, do that now.}
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Once hot, add burgers to the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy on the outsides, about 3-4 minutes. Be gentle when flipping and removing burgers so they don’t crack or fall apart. Serve on toasted buns with additional cheddar, red onion and sauce.

I have a couple different black bean veggie burgers that I really like, now I’m glad to have this one in my repertoire.   Hope you all like it as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite veggie burger?  Share it below!  What’s your favorite bean to use in veggie burgers?

Heather

01/28/14
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homemade crockpot yogurt

Over the weekend I attempted some new and quite amazing….

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Making yogurt in the crockpot!  I’ve never made yogurt before so I was a bit nervous.  Not wanting to waste half a gallon of milk was my main concern. Not that I would cry over spilled milk…

You see, the reason I set out to try making yogurt at home was solely based on money.  I have nothing against store bough yogurt.  In fact, I love it.  However, the price tag that comes with organic yogurt ($3.5-$4.5 a container) is just not cool.  I was buying 2 containers a week (Hunter and I like yogurt!), which quickly takes away from our $75/week grocery budget.

There are a couple things I go organic for, and yogurt + milk are two of them.  I rarely buy organic produce unless the price is pretty close to conventional, however, when it comes to meat and dairy, I’ll spend the extra money on it.

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So before I share how to make the perfect batch of yogurt in your crockpot, let me break down the savings.

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I’m going to assume a 32 ounce container of organic whole milk yogurt is on sale for $3.50 (which is close to the best I’ve found on a semi-regular basis – but normally it’s probably closer to $4) for sake of comparison.  A gallon of whole organic milk tends to run anywhere from $5-6.  When I made my yogurt the particular milk I had purchased cost me $5 since I used a coupon.  I used half a gallon of it, so $2.50 was invested.  Half a gallon equals 64 ounces.  That means each 32 ounces of homemade organic yogurt cost me $1.25!  Much better than the minimum of $3.50 I’d be spending!  That’s less expensive than conventional whole milk yogurt too.  Pretty rad right?  A savings of $2.25 a container!

That alone convinces me to make my own yogurt.  Then the fact that it’s crazy simple to make and only about a 15-20 minute hands on time investment seals the deal.

I started my search with this recipe, which is not made in the crockpot.  The yogurt is left in the oven with the light on, and since our oven light has never worked, that option was out.  Next I found a crockpot recipe (lost the link), which is made 100% in the crockpot, but the author said it turns out a little runny.  Lastly, I landed on this recipe which is the one I followed with great success.

Ready, set, go — let’s make some yogurt!

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Homemade Crockpot Yogurt

Recipe from here

Makes 64 ounces of yogurt (can easily be halved or doubled)

Ingredients

  • half a gallon of whole organic milk  (8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, organic to keep your whole batch organic (can be saved from previous made batches – does not have to be store bought unless it’s the first time making it)

Directions

  1. Turn your crock pot on low to let it heat up.
  2. Pour your milk into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches 185 degrees.  Use a candy or meat thermometer to check temperature.
  3. Once milk reaches 185 degrees (bubbling, not boiling) remove from burner and place the pan in a sink half full of cold water.  The water should only go up the sides about half way.  Just make sure no water gets into the pan.
  4. Let the milk cool down, stirring occasionally.  Once milk has reached between 90 and 100 degrees, remove pan from water.
  5. Measure yogurt starter (the 1/4 cup of yogurt) into a bowl and pour about a cup of the warm milk over it and stir together.  {Tip: Use 2 Tbsp of yogurt starter per 4 cups of milk.}  Meanwhile pour remaining milk into heated crockpot.  Pour milk and yogurt from bowl into the crockpot and stir it all together.
  6. Put the lid on, turn off, and unplug the crock pot. Wrap a heavy towel around it. Let sit for 6-10 hours. (I did 9 hours).
  7. After the yogurt has finished culturing, place the crock in fridge to cool yogurt. This will help the yogurt to set better.
  8. Once cooled and set, scoop into smaller jars to store in the fridge.  Should keep for 7-10 days.

It looks like a lot of steps, but I promise, it’s super easy!  And result is amazing.  Just one more thing to add to my homemade real food staples and my weekly meal prep.

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I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did.  Let me know if you try it out and if it turns out for you too!

Have you ever made yogurt yourself?  What method did you use?  What are some of your favorite flavors to add into plain yogurt? 

I love adding in homemade jams, honey or ripe banana.  Just a bit of sweetness is needed for me.  Hunter loves the stuff straight up with nothing added in.

Heather