Monday, February 18, 2013

Two new treats!


I have two yummy treats for you today!

You'll find a host of healthy food in my pantry... and then there's the Costco-sized jar of Nutella I know

For Valentine's day this year, I decided to try my hand at homemade Nutella.   Or, I probably should say, try my Vitamix.  After all, the ingredients are much better, and that beast of a machine was more than up to the task.

It was SO easy... and while I admit it doesn't taste exactly like Nutella, it's enough to get rid of that jar in the cupboard for me.

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Homemade Nutella 


2 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts (Trader Joe's)

1 cup organic powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

½ cup melted coconut oil

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. sea salt



Process in vitamix until smooth and shiny.  Makes 2 cups.

Keep refrigerated, but bring to room temperature for easier spreading.
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The second treats are the most amazing granola bars.  Really, I'm serious.  I've made many recipes, but never quite achieved the result I was hoping for.  This one is a keeper.  Not too sweet, not too soft, not too crunchy, perfect balance of oats to other ingredients, and I love everything that goes in them.  I have a GF friend coming for coffee soon, so I made these for her to enjoy.  You can certainly sub in regular oats.  You can probably also make other substitutions, such as almond butter instead of peanut butter, or any kind of crunchy nuts that you like.  Enjoy!

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 photo cred: emmaleighphotography (a/k/a granola bar eater and food instagrammer)
 


Gluten-Free Granola Bars

2 cups gluten-free oats (or regular oats)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, blueberries, or raisins (use unsweetened, unsulfured)
1/4 cup cacao nibs (opt.)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract (opt.)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the oats, coconut, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and salt in a food processor.  Process until well mixed and the nuts are in small pieces (alternately you can chop everything by hand).  Dump everything into a large mixing bowl and add in dried fruit and cacao nibs (if using).

In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, vanilla, almond extract (if using), and cinnamon.  Pour this mixture over the dried mixture and mix well (I find clean hands are the best tools).

Dump mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan.   Press down firmly and evenly.   

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (check at 20 min.- bars shouldn't be all the way hard, but not too soft).


Cool completely and cut into bars.   Wrap individually in waxed paper and store refrigerated in an airtight container.  These bars also freeze well.





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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Drew & Stephanie's engagement photos


Click here to see Drew & Stephanie's engagement photos.
They were done by the one and only Tracy Dodson.   Thank you, Tracy for these amazing shots.  

The wedding is a mere 3 months away!  Yikes!