Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

So, I can't take credit for these, but oh my goodness I have no trouble eating them! Since I've been foraying into the great scary realm of "healthy" eating I've been blessed to have a friend who already knows much about the subject. She has been so generous in sharing some of her tips, tricks and recipes with me to help boost me up in the saddle a little faster, so to speak. Anyhoo, this recipe is largely from her. :)

In my ingredient list you will find some very specific ingredients. Although you can certainly make these tasty little buggers with your regular 'ole ingredients you can find on any grocery store shelf, I encourage you to purchase the recommended ingredients. They aren't anything weird and can be used just like "normal" in any other recipe. And the health benefits are substantial!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Chocolate shell:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
3 Tbsp raw honey, adjust according to taste
1 tsp real vanilla extract, optional
Peanut Butter filling:
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup peanut butter, or other nut butter of choice
1/4-1/2 cup honey, adjust according to taste
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, optional

Mini baking cups

  • In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and add the honey, removing from heat once the coconut oil is melted. Whisk together and add the cocoa powder, mixing well to combine. Add the vanilla, if using.
  • Pour (approx. 1 teaspoon) into the bottom your mini baking cups. Fill enough baking cups to use about half of your chocolate mixture. Place the cups into the freezer.
  • While the chocolate layer is setting, mix the peanut butter filling; melt the coconut oil and honey over the stove; remove from heat, add peanut butter, mix well and add vanilla. Add coconut, if using.
  • Remove cups from freezer. Fill them 3/4 full with the peanut butter mixture (be sure to leave a little headroom at the top of your cups, we're not done yet!) Return to freezer for about half an hour.
  • Again, remove your cups; add remaining chocolate mixture to the tops. Freeze until firm.
  • Devour.
You'll need to keep these in the freezer so they don't melt. Once they are solid I drop them into a Ziploc baggie. Another great idea is to make these ingredients separately; chocolate candies and peanut butter candies. My kids love to eat the peanut butter filling by itself! Myself, I find great satisfaction eating the chocolate candy with the coconut mixed in. Lots of options!

The best part? You can offer your children dessert without guilt. A fantastic treat loaded with great healthy ingredients.

You should try these. Seriously. 

Mandarin Chicken Salad

Summer is here in full swing, now is the time for tasty and satisfying salads as a main dish. This one certainly fits the bill! If you have picky eaters in your house I recommend serving this salad "disassembled" and allowing people to build their salad on their own. Also makes refrigerating leftovers a lot easier. :) My husband, who is NOT the biggest salad fan in the world, even commented on how tasty this recipe is... yes, it's that good.

Mandarin Chicken Salad
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced parsley
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 package (10oz) ready-to-eat salad or 4 cups torn lettuce
1 can (11oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup chow mein noodles
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

  • In a skillet, combine chicken, water, vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon oil, soy sauce and bouillon cubes. Cook and stir over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender and liquid has evaporated. (You may need to drain off a small amount of liquid.)
  • Meanwhile, for dressing, whisk mayo, honey, lemon juice, parsley, mustard, dried minced onion and remaining oil until blended. Arrange salad greens on a platter. Top with oranges, chicken mixture and chow mein noodles. Sprinkle with green onion and almonds. Serve with dressing.
Yield: 4 servings

Monday, July 9, 2012

Coconut Vanilla Oatmeal

So, I'm on a new "health kick" here at the Kjelland Ranch and we're making an attempt at going sugar free. (Or at least refined sugar free.) No substitutions; sucralose, aspartame, stevia, no exchanges; well, the good kind maybe every once and a while, and no refunds; in other words, we're trying this as a long term change.

We are also attempting to go partially gluten-free, or at least limiting some of our gluten intake and substituting with gluten-free alternatives, and I'm researching the practice of soaking grains before use for better digestion.

Yesterday I decided to make some oatmeal, but I didn't want to make oatmeal just to have it killed with sugar and syrup to make it palatable to my children. Not much health benefit to that.

Anyway, oatmeal is by no means gluten-free... but this recipe makes for a KILLER tasty sugar free breakfast. If you want to splurge and add some honey (natures perfect sugar) do so without guilt. And although we could debate the health benefits of pasteurized and homogenized milk, I won't do it here. At least not in this post. ;) If you're not using the stuff, try substituting almond milk.

Coconut Vanilla Oatmeal
3-1/4 cups water
Sea salt, to taste
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup Malt-o-Meal
1/2 cup quick oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, to taste
Honey, optional
Half & half, optional

  • Bring water and salt to a boil; add old-fashioned oats and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add Malt-o-Meal, whisking to avoid lumps, and quick oats. Cook and stir until water is absorbed; about another minute or so.
  • Remove oatmeal from heat; stir in flax seed and wheat germ. Add coconut oil and vanilla extract. Serve drizzled with some honey and splashed with half & half.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins

Looking for a great and healthy breakfast option? Oh, that's super tasty too? What I love about these muffins in the lack of refined sugar - hooray!

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins
3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons wheat germ (optional - omit if you mill your own flour.)
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
2/3 cup olive oil (or canola oil)**
1 cup honey
4 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup hot water

  1. Stir together dry ingredients
  2. Beat oil and honey together; add eggs and beat well. Add bananas and beat to combine.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with hot water.
  4. Spoon into greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup per muffin; bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes (until test done with toothpick.) Cool before eating.
**You can also substitute oils with applesauce - works great.**

This batch makes 36 regular sized muffins. Or 12 jumbo muffins (adjust baking time accordingly.)

Serve with a cold glass of milk for your kiddos, but all you adults better eat one of these with a hot cup of coffee. :D

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Original Ranch Spinach Dip

For a little prelude to this post you need to read the previous one I just posted here.

Original Ranch Spinach Dip
1 packet (1oz) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips mix
1 container (16oz) sour cream, I recommend Daisy (again please read previous post)
1 box (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 can (8oz) water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 loaf sliced French bread, for dipping
Fresh cut-up vegetables, for dipping

  1. Stir together dips mix, sour cream, spinach and water chestnuts. Chill 30 minutes or until just before serving.
  2. Serve with the bread and vegetables.
Ack, I shouldn't post recipes so close to lunch... it's like grocery shopping on an empty stomach.