Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spiced Peanut Dipping Sauce - Dairy Free

I made this recipe up on a whim nearly 3 years ago.  Miss M loved to have something to dip her apples and carrot sticks in when I packed her lunch but, I also wanted her to get more protein, so this is what I came up with.  I served it at her 4th birthday party with apple slices, celery, pear slices, carrots, crackers & pretzel sticks.  It seemed to go over really well with the party guests and I put the recipe on my personal Facebook page to share it and completely forgot about blogging it until I whipped some up last week.  It's quick & easy to make and will keep in the fridge for 2-4 weeks (depending on when your Almond Milk is set to expire).  I also like to dip a banana in it for a simple breakfast.


1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 TblsSp Maple Syrup OR Honey
1 1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice (Recipe for Homemade Here)
1/2 C unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk


  1. Place peanut butter, sweetener of choice and apple pie spice in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Drizzle just a little milk and start mixing quickly while slowly drizzling more will seem thick, curdled and pasty at first...just keep stirring.
  3. Once all of the milk is mixed in, it should be creamy and slightly fluid.
  4. Dip & Enjoy! 

Homemade Apple Pie Spice

Making your own Apple Pie Spice is super easy.  There are tons of different variations out there.  I based mine off of an old Apple Pie Recipe and added cardamom because I LOVE it. This is not just for making Apple Pies either.  I use it often in my Spiced Peanut Dipping Sauce.  I also use it in my super simple Fried Apples recipe (which I toss on oatmeal, pancakes and my favorite...vanilla coconut milk ice cream).  A single batch of this should last you a good while.


1/2 cup ground cinnamon
2 TblSp ground allspice
4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves


  1. Put all spices into a jar (I love to re-use my Maranatha Almond Butter jars for stuff like easy to reach a measuring spoon in and scoop what you need or your fingers if you just need a pinch).
  2. Close lid, and rotate jar until spices are well mixed.
  3. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Juicy Grape & Broccoli Pasta Salad - A Pin Re-Spin

(picture coming soon)
It was time for our annual church family picnic on Sunday and while looking through my pin boards, I figured my Summer Recipes board would be the perfect place to start.  I settled on this Broccoli Salad recipe but, of course I had to put my own spin on it.  Especially when I saw how much sugar it called for.  Yuck!  In the recipe I created, I replaced the 1/3 C of sugar with just 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup.  However, I also doubled the grapes and, realized in the end, that the grapes add some much juicy sweetness that it really didn't need any maple syrup either.  And since my pregnancy with Mr. L, I have had a thing for bacon (which kind of grosses out Mr. A I think) so, I more than doubled the bacon.  And of course, I had to include gluten free pasta, plus I added a couple more of my own elements.  This is a plan ahead meal since you should let it sit for 8 hours at the very least.  But, I think it has the best flavor 24 hours after making it.  So, here we go...


For the Salad:

2 C pecans (whole or chopped)
2 8 oz. packages of Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa Pasta (I used the Rotelle shape but, any small shape would work fine)
 2 Lbs. fresh broccoli
1/3 C finely diced red onion
4 C seedless red grapes, coarsely chopped in the food processor
2 Packages of Applegate Bacon (apx. 22 slices total) cooked and crumbled

For the Sauce *Your going to make this sauce twice*:

 2 cup mayonnaise (separated) *I use Earth Balance MindfulMayo w/ Olive Oil or Lemonaise (original) brands since they are soy free*
2/3 cup creamy dijon mustard *I like Grey Poupon's Mild & Creamy w/ White Wine*
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 C non-dairy creamer *I use SoDelicious Coconut Milk creamer (original, red carton)*
2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp crushed black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375° and place bacon from 1 package on a large, shallow baking sheet.  Bake for 20 min. or less (watch carefully in the last 5 min.).  Repeat with 2nd package.
  2. Place bacon on paper towels to cool off and then crumble and set aside.
  3. Increase oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  4. Pulse pecans briefly in a food processor and set aside.
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.
  6. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Discard stems/stalks.
  7. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.  Separate the sauce by half and store 1 half in the fridge.
  8. Mix together pasta, broccoli, onions, grapes, pecans and bacon.
  9. Pour the other half of the sauce on the salad and mix well.
  10. Chill overnight or even better, for 24 hours.
  11. Just before serving, pour the 2nd half of the sauce onto the salad and mix well.
  12. Serve Chilled

Monday, June 10, 2013

Super Easy Chocolate Ganache - Dairy & Soy Free

Oh my Ganache!!!  With only 4 simple ingredients, this is a SUPER easy and fast recipe to make.  Especially if you have a food processor.  The next time I make this, I will take more pictures of the process and of the ganache in it's fluid state.   Ganache can be poured over cakes, used to coat cake-pops (as shown above), poured into pie fillings or over something like my Cherry Vanilla Almond Bars.

And it can even be eaten right out of the jar for a quick pick-me up treat.  It's like eating a small chocolate
candy but, WAY better (and healthier too)!  And you can add a dolop of it to your coffee for an intense mocha treat. Toss a little in your smoothie or even in your oatmeal.  Wherever you might enjoy some deep chocolate flavor. 

You could also warm some back up and drizzle over dairy free ice cream, bananas or fresh strawberries. (Chocolate covered strawberries anyone?)

This recipe is a very intense, dark, bittersweet chocolate flavor.  And best of all it's dairy free and soy free (hard to find with chocolate).  And it only has 4 simple ingredients.  Easy Peasy.


Super Easy Chocolate Ganache 

Dairy & Soy Free


8oz. package of Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Squares (all natural, 100% cacao) OR 8 oz. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 13.5 oz. can of Coconut Milk (full fat, not light & unsweetened) *I like Native Forest Organic Classic
1 TblSp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 C Honey OR Maple OR Coconut Sugar


  1. Open all of the chocolate squares, break in half and toss into your food processor.
  2. Pulse until finely chopped, set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Shake coconut milk well, add to a small sauce pan along with the vanilla and sweetener of choice.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat while stirring often.
  5. Immediately pour over chopped chocolate and stir well until fluid.
  6. Use whats needed and store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge.
 *Same great recipe, New Look!  This post has been updated to reflect newer photography & affiliate links on 6/18/14*
 *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cherry Vanilla Almond Bars - A Pin-Respin

So I found and made this recipe for Almond Power Bars about a year ago.  They were pretty good, but, the chocolate was just a little too sweet and made it a little too heavy so I got tired of them before the pan was gone.  Recently, I had created my own dairy free chocolate ganache recipe and while browsing through my Been There, Done That, Will Definitely Do it Again board, it hit me...the ganache would be perfect on these bars.  But, I decided to make a couple of other modifications and thus, Cherry Vanilla Almond Bars were born.  These are SO delicious and pretty darn healthy too!  I have no guilt whatsoever having one for an afternoon pick-me up or allowing my 5 year old to eat them as a snack either.  It's actually a great way for me to get more protein in her.  Although she thinks it's a decadent treat.  SCORE!  I'm sure these would taste great w/out the ganache as well, but, why would you ever omit something as wonderful as chocolate?   ;)

Cherry Vanilla Almond Bars


1 cup of dried, sweetened cherries
2 cups raw almonds
½ cup flax meal (I use golden flaxseed meal)
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup almond butter (I like Maranatha Creamy)
½ tsp salt
½ cup coconut oil (organic, unrefined is best)
2 TblSp maple syrup OR honey OR my favorite, 1 TblSp of each
2 TblSp real vanilla extract
Approximately3/4 C of my Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache.  (Make a full batch and store the rest in the fridge, you will thank me later)


  1. Toss your cherries in the food processor and pulse for about 30-40 seconds to get them chopped, but not pureed.  Set aside in a small bowl.
  2.  Place almonds, flax meal, shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in the food processor (no need to wash the cherry goo)
  3. Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
  4. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
  5. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir in sweeteners and vanilla
  6. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
  7. Stir in the cherries
  8. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 pan/glass dish
  9. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
  10. After the almond mixture sets, now it's time to make your Ganache
  11. Pour apx. 3/4 cup of ganache (I didn't really measure, just eye-balled it) over the almond mixture and spread out evenly edge to edge.  It should be just thick enough to cover all of the almond mixture w/ out seeing through the ganache.
  12. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting into bars.
  13. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars, serve & enjoy!
  14. Keep the rest covered and stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.  (Although, I seriously doubt they will last that long).