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Tiramisu Bread Pudding

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Because I’m all about a personalized dessert. 

I don’t know about you, but when I go out to eat with my husband and we order dessert, we always order one with two forks. We share dessert not only because it’s a little nicer on the bod when you only consume half the calories, but it’s also a good way to save a little money. I think at this point I’m now just used to sharing my dessert. A few bites for me and a few for him, then I’m good to go!

However…there are certainly times when I’m feeling a little selfish. Sharing isn’t always easy, especially when the dessert is crazy delicious. Sometimes it’s nice to covet your own sweet treat so you can savor every last morsel all on your very own. Muwahah!

Cue mini tiramisus in bread pudding form – BAM! That’s the stuff.

I experimented with this recipe a few weeks ago when I noticed we had a handful of homemade rolls left over from a dinner party. Typically I’m A-OK feeding stale bread to the birds, but I put a whole lot of time and effort into making these particular rolls. They’re actually my aunt’s {amazing!} old family recipe, so there was no way I was getting rid of them that easily. So what then? Bread pudding, I thought immediately. But how could I make this bread pudding something a little less boring than the usual banana or berry bread pudding? Tiramisu. Is that even possible?

Yes. The conversion of two of the most delicious desserts into one delectable treat is not only possible, but also incredible.

The tiramisu flavor is all there backed by the comfort and warmth of soft custardy bread with bits of caramelized sugar. It’s heavenly.

I adore that this dessert is baked and served in personal ramekins. No sharing is required and there’s no guessing how much to spoon onto your plate. They’re cute, impressive, and better than most desserts I’ve ordered from restaurants. But maybe that’s because this time I don’t have to share ;)

Now I must admit, I’ve never actually made traditional tiramisu. I’ve eaten it too many times to count, but I think it’s always been a little intimidating to me. Tiramisu bread pudding couldn’t be simpler. Just soak cubes of bread in a mixture of milk, egg, and espresso for about 10 minutes. Just enough time to preheat the oven! Transfer to personal ramekins and bake until brown and bubbly. The bread soaks up all the yummy flavors and the eggs fluff up to make the custard almost like a soufflé. Fancy fancy!

Top with a little softly whipped espresso cream speckled with fresh vanilla beans, and prepare for your tastebuds to do a little party dance. It’s that good. You should etry it.


Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup of whole milk

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of whipping cream

1/3 cup of espresso

3 eggs

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 vanilla bean pod 

Pinch of salt

4 cups of stale bread, cubed (any type of sweet or eggy bread works best. I used yeast rolls.                                                                                 Challah would work very well as would brioche or Hawaiian bread)

1/2 cup of whipping cream

2 tablespoons of espresso

1 vanilla bean pod

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

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Combine milk, cream, and espresso in a large mixing bowl.

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Whisk in eggs, sugars, vanilla extract, seeds from one vanilla bean, and salt.

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Once the mixture is evenly combined, gently stir in the cubed bread allowing each piece to soak up all the liquid. Let the bread soak for ten minutes.

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Transfer the bread to four large ungreased ramekins. Top with any remaining liquid.

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Bake for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together cream, espresso, and vanilla bean. The cream and espresso should be cold. You can either do this by hand (great arm workout!) or with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat or whisk vigorously until the cream has soft peaks. You should be able to run your finger down the back of a coated spoon or spatula without the cream recovering the line your finger made.

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The bread puddings should be brown and bubbly.

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Spoon espresso cream over the warm bread puddings. Serve immediately, or store each individual ramekin wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge. Keep cream in an airtight container also in the fridge. You can reheat the bread pudding in the microwave or in a 250 degree oven covered in foil for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Sweet Treats

 

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Blackberry Breakfast Muffins

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Life has been a little busy lately.

I’ve got two semesters of grad school under my belt, and now I’m focussing on enjoying ten days or so before I start my next round of classes this summer. I’m looking forward to spending some time in Kiawah and Charleston, SC with my husband this month. Relaxation and respite are necessary. Ahhh…I can’t wait!

As we navigate our first year of marriage, I’m still learning what works best for our family. I’ve learned that setting the alarm clock for 5:30 in full hopes of going to the gym has never, ever happened. We are not morning people. I’ve also learned that my borderline obsessive love for Clorox wipes is not mutually shared by my husband. I’m awesome at washing clothes, but notorious for leaving them in the dryer for days. Gray, on the other hand, is a superb folder (thankfully!). I’ve learned the importance of food prep and meal planning especially when our Google calendar for the week is illegible due to so many overlapping events.

Breakfast is big time.

Rushing out the door with coffee in hand and a half eaten banana is not the way to jump start a busy day, but that’s definitely not to say it doesn’t happen in my house. Those little powdered donuts? Yeah, those have sufficed as the “most important meal of the day” a few too many times. (Side note: I’ve also learned that throwing away your husband’s favorite junk food without telling him is good for his health but bad for your relationship). I’m pretty sure I’ve gobbled down a frozen pancake in the car on my way to work in the morning. I’m human. I have flaws.

These muffins, however, do not have flaws. They’re super delicious with big bursts of juicy berries and a lightness in texture from the coconut oil. They’re the perfect on-the-go breakfast choice because they’re convenient AND chemical/preservative free. Your body will thank you.

I call these breakfast muffins because too often a muffin tastes more like a frosting-less cupcake. Not to say I’m not into that, but dessert is certainly not the best thing to feed my body first thing in the morning.

Blackberries are a great source of antioxidants, minerals, and dietary fiber. Sweetened with just a bit of honey and a hint of vanilla, these muffins are not only nutritious, but also delicate and delicious.

This recipe will make 10 regular sized muffins. I topped half with raw pepitas for added color and crunch. They would also be yummy topped with slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, or chopped walnuts. I’m always down for extra protein! If you add any toppings, just do so right before you put the muffins in the oven to bake.


Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of honey

4 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted and cooled

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons of almond milk

1 1/2 cups blackberries

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar with a whisk.

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In a medium mixing bowl blend the coconut oil, egg, vanilla, and milk with a hand mixer on low speed. To keep the coconut oil from solidifying when it mixes with the cold milk and egg, make sure your egg is at room temperature. Just leave it out on the countertop for a few hours before making the muffins. Heat the almond milk over the stove or in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds – just until it’s luke warm or room temperature. 

 Pour the wet ingredients ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.

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Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold in the blackberries.

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Transfer the batter evenly into 10 prepared muffin tins. Fill the empty muffin cups with a little water so the muffins cook evenly and stay moist. If you want to add nut or seed toppings, now would be the time to do so. 

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Bake for about 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown.

Transfer the cooked muffins to a cooling rack and enjoy!

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These muffins freeze nicely and keep for about a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I think they’re best warmed or toasted with a little butter or even a smear of PB2 mixed with plain Greek yogurt. Mmm…I can’t resist the PB&J combo ;) 

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Happy baking!

– Kelsey

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Morning Glories

 

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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…AKA, what to do with all of those chocolate Easter bunnies.

Self-control is not my greatest character trait. I’m the person who can’t keep junk food or candy in the house because saying “no” is just not an option. I’m guilty of getting rid of tons of treats that would probably be fine in moderation, but once again, even that is not really an option when it comes to my ravenous sweet tooth teeth.

Let’s talk Easter for a little bit. I believe you’re never too old to get an Easter basket. Peeps, jellybeans, peanut butter eggs, and chocolate bunnies are non-negotiable when it comes to this annual celebration. My mother-in-law is one incredible lady. She plays too many roles to count, and does them all with sweet humility, true joy in her heart, and such admirable grace. One of her roles is that of the Easter Bunny. Even when my husband and I first started dating, she never failed to treat me like family, which meant giving me a thoughtfully personalized Easter basket. Just as a side note, she does this for her husband, all four of her children and their spouses, and her four grandchildren. She’s pretty awesome.

The weeks following Easter, I realized I was left with a pretty hefty collection of chocolate bunnies. I’m quick to get rid of most of my candy stash, giving it to friends and classmates, sending it with my husband to share with his coworkers, etc., but I’ll admit, I am a little selfish when it comes to my chocolate bunnies. These things are so much fun to bake when you’re running low on chocolate chips or baking squares. Just a quick melt in the microwave and you have a fancy chocolate fondu. Melt over a double boiler with a little cream for a quick chocolate ganache to frost a cake or cover cookies. The options are endless!

This is the first time I’ve made mousse with an avocado base. To be honest, I was pretty hesitant. I thought either my mousse would be a weird color green or would taste like chocolate guacamole. I was certainly wrong! This mousse is silky smooth and rich in chocolate decadence. I didn’t tell my husband how I made the mousse because he’s not the biggest fan of avocado. He was licking the dish clean when I told him my secret, and it actually took a little while for him to be 100% convinced. Score!!

If you want to keep this mousse completely clean, use any kind of clean chocolate or cocoa in place of the chocolate bunny. Enjoy Life has awesome semi-sweet chocolate chips that are dairy, nut, and soy free. You could also use agave instead of honey.


Here’s what you’ll need:

1/4 cup of semi sweet or milk chocolate chips (or a 2 ounce chocolate bunny)

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup of unsweetened dark cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of honey (only 1 tablespoon if using milk chocolate)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon of course salt

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of plain unsweetened almond milk

Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, stirring consistently, or in the microwave heating and stirring in 15 second increments.

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Pour the melted chocolate in a food processor with the avocado, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, salt, and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy, about three minutes or so. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.

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Transfer the mousse into glasses or ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3-6 hours until firm.

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Top with unsweetened whipped cream, fresh berries, or chopped hazelnuts for added crunch.

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This mousse is so rich and intense in dark chocolate flavor. The texture is dense and velvety, perfect for a fancy treat.

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I love that the creaminess from this dessert is made not from high calorie cream or custard, instead it’s made with good fats from avocados and just a bit of protein-rich almond milk. You’ll have a hard time convincing yourself this mousse is guilt-free.

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Enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Sweet Treats

 

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Date Night Lemon and Chive Potatoes

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There’s just something about a cute date and good food.

I first made these potatoes when my husband and I were having a “date night in.” We’ve learned in our almost nine months of marriage just how important date nights are. Lately his work schedule has been insane (all wives of CPAs, let me hear you say hayyyy!) so our date nights have typically been fun nights hanging out at home making and enjoying a super delicious meal.

But back to the importance of date nights – they are vital! Just as you invest in what you love, you should invest in your relationship and marriage. 

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

Devoting time to one another on a regular basis, even amidst the business of life and all it throws at you, is essential for staying connected and keeping your marriage on track. I promise it will make the biggest difference. Check out some fun ideas for date nights here.

These potatoes were made on a fun “fancy” date night. We took a trip to Total Wine earlier that afternoon and enjoyed a *free* tasting with gourmet chocolate. We walked around the massive store with a wine expert who took time to teach us about all different wines, grapes, and regions. We ended up buying a few bottles of unique wine and then walked to our local grocery store to buy some gorgeous crab legs. The wine was amazing, the seafood was decadent, but man oh man…the potatoes took the stage.

We gobbled all of them up and so badly wanted more. I’ve made them multiple times since then because not only were they insanely delicious, but they were unbelievably easy to make. The first time I made these potatoes, I roasted them in the oven. They were amazing. The second time I made these potatoes my husband grilled them on a grill pan. They were amazing. Either way, roasting or grilling, you’ll be oh so very pleased.

I start with basic red potatoes. Wash them up nicely because you’ll want to keep the skin on. Dry them well with a clean dish cloth so the oil sticks and they crisp up nicely.

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I season the potatoes with good olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s important to use coarse salt. Your standard table salt just won’t do the trick with this recipe. I use Maldon flaked sea salt – it was a gift from a wonderful friend through church. She and her husband have an impressive food blog that never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Check it out here.

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Lastly, I toss the warm potatoes in fresh lemon zest and chives. The heat from the potatoes releases the intoxicating aroma from the lemon and chives. Your nose will be so happy. The flavors of this simple dish are out of this world. Fresh is the only word that comes to mind. Fresh summery bursts of flavors layering crisp, delicate, salty potatoes. You’ve just got to try this out to see for yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need:

About 1 pound of red potatoes, halved

1 tablespoon of olive oil 

1 teaspoon of coarse salt 

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

2 teaspoons of lemon zest

1 tablespoon of chives, chopped

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the potatoes with oil, evenly coating each half. Then season with salt and pepper, tossing with a spatula or spoon to season each potato.

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Bake for 30-45 minutes. About half way through, turn the potatoes over using a spatula. When the potatoes are done, they should be fork tender and crisp around the edges.

As soon as the potatoes are done, transfer them to bowl, including any of the excess oil and seasoning. Gently toss with lemon zest and chives. Top with more sea salt if necessary.

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What’s your favorite date night dish?

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Serve and enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
9 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Sides and Salads

 

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Buffalo Blue Kale Omelette

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I am a breakfast kind of girl. 

I go to bed looking forward to what I’m going to eat for breakfast the next morning. Usually I’ll eat a bowl of oatmeal, maybe some fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, or some type of yummy protein pancakes. Lately I’ve been loving quiche and omelettes, and because of that, we can never seem to keep enough eggs in our house. I’ve joked with my husband saying I want a few chickens in the backyard. It started as a joke, but now I’ve actually started looking into it. I’ll keep you updated.

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I know you’ve heard it all before and it’s no big news. But I think it’s good to reiterate that what you eat for breakfast determines how you eat throughout the rest of the day. If you fill yourself up with healthy protein and even hearty carbs first thing in the morning, you’ll not only have energy to go about your day, but you’ll also be more inclined to make better food choices to curb hunger cravings.

I wanted to share this omelette recipe with you because it is most definitely my all-time favorite breakfast food…at least as of lately.

I love all the vitamins I get from kale, the protein I get from eggs, and the intense savory flavors from creamy blue cheese and spicy buffalo sauce. This omelette is far from a boring breakfast. It’s like something you would order from a fancy brunch menu, but you’ll be surprised how simple it is to make in your own kitchen.


Here’s what you’ll need:

About 1/2 cup of kale, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces

1 whole egg and 2 egg whites

1 tablespoon of water

A tablespoon of blue cheese, crumbled 

1/8 teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper

1 tablespoon of buffalo hot sauce

1 tablespoon of plain greek yogurt (optional)

1-2 fresh chives, chopped

Bring a dry non-stick pan to medium high heat. Add the kale and sauté for a few minutes until it begins to slightly shrink.

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While the kale is cooking, whisk together the eggs and water. Water is what makes the omelette super fluffy. It evaporates from the heat of the pan and fluffs up the eggs so perfectly. 

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Pour the eggs evenly over the kale and slightly reduce the heat.

Sprinkle cheese, salt, and pepper over the eggs.

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Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges of the omelette and fold one side over the other.

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Reduce the heat to medium low and flip the omelette back over after about one minute.

Turn off the heat and then transfer the omelet to your plate.

Top your omelette with plain yogurt (or sour cream) if you desire. Drizzle with buffalo sauce and sprinkle with fresh chives.

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I love this flavor combo. It reminds me of one of my favorite indulgences – buffalo chicken dip – but of course this omelette is about a million times healthier.

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Enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Morning Glories

 

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Carrot Cake Granola

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Last night I went to a choir concert at my church.

I almost didn’t go. Plans changed so a few friends could no longer go with me, I was drowning in school work, and I still needed to get my workout in for the day. My husband has been out of town a few weeks, my house is a mess, and my cat is sick with bad allergies. I could easily keep going with the excuses. They are so easy for me to come up with. But at the very last minute, I put excuses aside, threw my dirty hair up in a ponytail, spritzed myself with perfume and went to the concert.

It was amazing. There is some serious talent at Summit Church in Raleigh, NC. My arms were covered with goosebumps throughout the entire concert, not because I was chilly, but because the harmony of the voices came together to create the most beautiful, moving sound of worship.

Since I can remember, Easter has always been my favorite holiday. I’m not at all a fan of Easter egg hunts or even visiting the Easter bunny (yeah I know, I’m so lame!), but man oh man do I love the first sight of blooming flowers and bright sunshine. I love the new season, I love the joy, I love the fellowship, and I love the feasting. There’s just something about Easter, and as it was sung by the choir last night on Maundy Thursday, there’s just something about the name Jesus.

Easter is a reminder of the sacrifice that was made for all of us. Jesus was born into sin, he lived a perfect life, and died on a cross so we could spend eternity with our Father in Heaven.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

I hope this Easter you are reminded of the love poured out for you. I hope you make lasting memories with friends and family. I hope you enjoy delicious food and play in the sunshine. I hope, if you have not already, you will come to know the Savior of the world who paid the ultimate price. 

Carrot cake granola is such a delicious and festive treat to make this time of year. The recipe makes a bunch, so share some with your neighbors or bring some to someone you know will be alone this Easter weekend. It’s not only irresistible, but it also is free of refined sugars and packs a whole punch of nutrition with healthy nuts, protein-rich chia seeds, and coconut oil. The chunks of dried pineapple are my favorite part. They stay a little soft and chewy, and they add bits of sweetness that really put this granola over the top.

I know many of you may be thinking, “but does it really taste like carrot cake?” Let me ease your curious mind and answer with a firm YES. This granola not only infuses your entire kitchen with smells of carrot cake while it bakes, but it also has the very same flavors (and most of the same ingredients) you would taste in a big delicious hunk of traditional carrot cake. Try it out and see for yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup of carrots, grated (about 2 large carrots)

2 cups of oats (old fashioned, rolled oats, or gluten free oats work well)

3/4 inch of fresh ginger, grated

1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds, also called “pepitas”

1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped

1 cup of pecan halves

1/2 cup of dried pineapple, chopped

1/2 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of shredded or flaked coconut 

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/4 cup of good maple syrup 

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer or large bowl, combine all of the ingredients together except the last three. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or with the mixer on low speed until everything is combined.

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In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla.

Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients while mixing. Everything should be evenly coated and slightly moist but crumbly.

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Transfer the mixture onto a large baking sheet. I used two medium sized baking sheets.

Spread the granola out so it’s arranged in an even layer. This will help every bit of the granola brown and crisp perfectly.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes. About half way through, use a spatula to turn the granola over a bit to prevent one side from burning.

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This granola is seriously delicious.

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I love eating it like cereal with a little almond milk. It’s also wonderful in a parfait layered with creamy yogurt – the yogurt reminds me of cream cheese frosting on an actual carrot cake :)

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Sprinkle some on your morning bowl of oats or alongside a fresh bowl of fruit. You could even top a fresh stack of pancakes with a handful of this stuff. Mmm carrot cake crunch pancakes. How divine!

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If you’re like me, you’ll eat it by the handful – and that’s totally perfect.

I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed Easter.

Enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Morning Glories

 

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{Vegan + GF} Nectarine Cobbler

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Have your eyes ever been bigger than your stomach? 

This is a pretty common occurrence for me, and it’s something my husband is still getting used to. Our grocery trips are never quick and easy. I like to take my time buying whatever looks delicious…in excess. A few weeks ago, nectarines looked really delicious. In fact, they looked so delicious that I ended up buying a few pounds of them.

There’s a beautiful white fruit bowl on top of my kitchen island. It’s typically filled with bananas, apples, and oranges. Occasionally it houses grapefruit, pears, and peaches. Most recently it was overflowing with gorgeous sunset colored nectarines. As many as I snacked on or put in my breakfast oatmeal, I never seemed seemed successful in making a dent in the heaping pile. Cue my faithful followers!

Knowing I didn’t have much time before the nectarines would have to become a part of my compost pile, I asked you all what you’d like to see on the blog. It was extremely helpful to receive such valuable input. Thank you! The majority of you voted for nectarine cobbler, and I sure am glad you did. This stuff made my kitchen smell glorious for days.

 I tossed the sliced nectarines in a fragrant combo of warm cinnamon, spicy nutmeg, fresh vanilla beans, sugar, and a little pop of lemon zest. Then I dusted them with coconut flour to help thicken the fruity cobbler. I left the skin on the nectarines because it’s smooth and thin, so it’s hardly noticable, but it also has a lot of natural pectin, which also acts as a thickener.

To make the cobbler topping, I whisked together coconut flour, some honey for sweetness, almond milk, and coconut oil. Most cobbler toppings call for butter and heavy cream. Coconut oil will do just the trick without all the extra calories. I kept this recipe gluten free and vegan, but it tastes far from an altered version of the traditional recipe. It’s crazy delicious and a perfect after dinner bonus to a sweet spring timey meal.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

For the filling

1 1/2 pounds of ripe nectarines (about 6-7)

1 tablespoon of coconut flour

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

Seeds from one vanilla bean pod

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

2 tablespoons of sugar

For the topping

1/4 cup of coconut flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of raw honey

1/2 cup of unsweetened plain almond milk

4 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

Juice from half a lemon

1 tablespoon of sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and slice up your nectarines into wedges that are about 1/2 inch in thickness.

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In a medium bowl, combine the nectarines, coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, lemon zest, and sugar. Make sure every slice of nectarine is evenly coated.

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Transfer the fruit to a round pie dish lightly greased with coconut oil.

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In another medium bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, honey, almond milk, coconut oil, and lemon juice.

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In large spoonfulls, dollop the coconut flour mixture on top of the nectarines. Sprinkle the top with sugar if you desire.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes. Once the cobbler has baked for about 25 minutes, cover the top with foil to keep it from getting too brown. Finish baking for the last 5-10 minutes.

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Serve as is or with a generous scoop of vanilla icecream. Caramel or butterscotch sauce would also be heavenly atop this cobbler. If you want to keep it vegan, try making some whipped coconut cream. See how to do that here. It’s easy!

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Store in the fridge covered with plastic wrap…if you have any left.

Enjoy!

– Kelsey

 
7 Comments

Posted by on April 1, 2015 in Sweet Treats

 

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