Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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Ingredients:

1 large (or 2 small) roasted red peppers*

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained

3 tbsp. sesame seeds (ground or whole)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2-3 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. paprika

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

3/4 tsp. onion powder

2 dashes of cayenne pepper

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Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  I use the tamber to move all ingredients toward the blade while pureeing with the Vitamix.  If you need to, stop and stir during processing to make sure everything gets incorporated and your hummus is smooth.

Mmmmmmmmmmm-licious

I mixed my spice blend and just tossed it in when I was ready to make the hummus.  I like to do little things in advance to make life easier when the littles are begging for lunch.  Also, the lemon pictured was a dry as it looks.  I supplemented the juice from it with some bottled lemon juice from the fridge.

*You can roast your own red peppers or buy them already roasted.  These that I used are from Costco and the peppers are whole.  I have also roasted my own and it works well.  Just cut your pepper in half and remove seeds.  Place halves with the opening face down and place under the broiler on low.  Keep a close eye on them so you don’t burn them.  When they start to char, flip them over.  When the underside starts turning brown, remove the pepper halves and cover them in foil.  Let them cool for about 15 minutes.  The foil will keep moisture in so they will continue to steam and soften.  They will be ready to use when cooled.

Coconut Crunch Granola Bars: GF, Vegan, Peanut and Tree Nut Free

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My girls have pretty active sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) just like their Mommy.  One of their favorite treats is a granola bar.  Cascadian Farms makes two granola bars we have found that are egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut free.  They are Harvest Berry and Oatmeal Raisin.  The girls love them, but they can be difficult to find.  Stores around us are inconsistent carrying these and the other Cascadian Farms flavors are not safe for us.  It can be quite frustrating to search for a product in two or three stores where you have seen them before and come up empty handed.

This seems to be happening more and more, which is driving me to find or create more recipes for the foods we love.  There is nothing more safe or guaranteed healthy than a homemade version because I can control the ingredients and the process.  I know these are made in an allergen free facility because I’m the kitchen manager.  (Self proclaimed, of course.)

I started by searching for yummy looking granola bar recipes that I could modify.  I found these on the Bless This Mess blog, which I love, and they looked so good to me… Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars.  Of course, for us, there are at least three reds flags in the name alone (chocolate=dairy, PB=nuts, pretzel=gluten), so I knew I would be in for some big changes.

My version does have coconut, so if you can’t have that, all you have to do is replace the coconut oil with safe “butter” alternative of your choice and omit the coconut flakes.

These are going to be a new staple at our house.  The best part is, I will never have to go on a hunt for safe granola bars again.

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Coconut Crunch Granola Bars

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey (substitute molasses or agave for vegan version)

1/2 cup WowButter

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 cup gluten free oats

1 cup brown rice cereal (I use Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal)

2 cups Glutino pretzels

2/3 cups Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

4 tbsp. Unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp. Chia seeds

First, the fun part.  You need to schmoosh your pretzels.  The girls helped with this task, as they are professional food schmooshers.  We do it with ziplock bags and toy hammers, but any way you want to crumble them up will be acceptable.

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Combine your pretzel pieces, oats, rice cereal, coconut flakes, and chia seeds in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, Wowbutter, and vanilla over med heat, stirring constantly.  It will bubble slightly as you stir.  Keep stirring until it looks smooth and the sugar looks dissolved, then remove from heat and pour immediately over the oat mixture.  Stir together until well combined.

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Press the mixture into two square 8×8 pans or one 9×13 rectangular pan, which has been lined with parchment paper.  If you have two helpers, like I did, I recommend using two pans.  Then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and press them into the bars.  They will begin melting, so be quick or your hands will be covered in melted chocolate.  Resist the urge to cut them right away.  I tried and they fell apart.  Place them in the fridge until they are cool and solid (about 15-20 minutes should do it).

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Then lift them out of the pans, paper and all, cut them into your desired shape and enjoy!

A good sharp knife works best.  I thought a pizza cutter would be clever, but it didn’t work too well.  A good sharp knife.

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“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Nicole Demick

by guest author Nicole Demick

Nicole MMB Photo

Nicole Demick Photography – Capturing Life’s Moments

Wow, it’s difficult trying to write about myself and my business. To start, my name is Nicole, and I am a full time mother, full time speech language pathologist at a skilled nursing facility, and I run a business on the side, Nicole Demick Photography. I also have an obsession with Robert Downey Jr, shamelessly am a Harry Potter freak, and am addicted to chocolate.

It all started with me getting frustrated with trying to find a photographer to do my newborn daughter’s pictures. I just couldn’t see paying someone $500 after paying the hospital $4000 for the birth. I eventually found someone reasonable, however she was 45 minutes away, and after our newborn sessions, rates went up to $400 a session.

Frustrated, I paid for her first birthday pictures with a different photographer and was disappointed in what I received, so realizing I had spent as much on my dear daughter’s first year pictures (from newborn to 1) as a camera would have cost me (hindsight is 20/20), I went out and got a new camera.

It started off with a lot of frustration on how to work this camera with lots of buttons and modes, so I went to a couple of workshops, learned how to put my camera in manual mode, and a new passion (other than working with stroke patients) was born. A couple of friends asked for me to take their pictures, then by word of mouth my business, Nicole Demick Photography was born.

I offer maternity, newborn, family, child, couple, lifestyle, engagement, and wedding session. I fell into wedding photography, long drawn out story and probably a whole other blog session on its own, but I

Please check out www.facebook.com/nicoledemickphotography and like my page.

I also have a blog, www.nicoledemickphotography.wordpress.com, I am currently catching up on sessions, and working on the blog.

I am just an average working mother, running a business and working a full time job. My biggest challenge in life is trying to get my toddler to sleep in her own bed, but by my own admission, I don’t try that hard. I juggle as well as I think I can juggle, and just try to live life to the fullest.

Thanks for reading a little blurb about me and my life!

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly. Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.
 -Allergenmenumom

Recipe: Black Bean Hummus

All I can say is, after eating this hummus, you will never again be satisfied by store bought.  You have been warned.

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Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained

1 can black beans, drained

3 tbsp. sesame seeds

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

2-3 cloves garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. coriander

3/4 tsp. onion powder

2 dashes cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.  You can grind the sesame seeds first in the food processor, or just leave them whole.  I do it both ways and I am not bothered by whole seeds, so choose your preference.  Blend to a smooth texture.  With the Vitamix, I use the tamper to move everything down toward the blades, but if you need to stop your food processor and stir it around for this purpose, do what you need to do to get it all smooth.

That’s it.  It’s too easy not to try.  Play around with the spices and customize it to your own tastes.  Don’t be afraid to add extra flavors or reduce others.  It can be really fun to experiment with the flavors.

A word to the wise…If you’re trying to get a photo of this stuff, you had better work quickly.  I turned my back for a split second and little sister had already swooped in.

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“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Randi Eccleston

Today’s Mommy has been a huge blessing to my family and to many many other families in the Charlotte area with food allergies.  She has chaired our local FARE Walk and has put in countless hours of hard work for these events.  As a food allergy parent, I can say without a doubt that the absolute most important resource is other food allergy parents.  Thank you, Randi!  Now, get to know this wonderful Mommy and her business…

by guest author Randi Eccleston

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Randi Eccleston began teaching in the late 90’s as a substitute teacher at a Montessori school and she fell in love with the philosophy. It just spoke to her! She went from substitute to assistant to lead teacher.  After about 15 years in the classroom she decided to leave teaching to stay home with her children. After she was home for a year she learned that her youngest daughter has a life threatening food allergy to tree nuts. This eventually led Randi to become involved with the local food allergy walk. She was chair of the walk for three years. Randi still felt the urge to teach so she recently started a small Montessori playgroup. It meets at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center. Her classes meet every Tuesday. The toddler class meets from 10-11 and the three year old and up class meets from 1-2. Each class is $10 or $35 for 4 sessions. Randi runs two blogs, one about Montessori and one about food allergies. She has been happily married for 16 years and she has two amazing daughters.

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly.  Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.  -Allergenmenumom

“Mommies Mean Business” Monday: Tracy Bush

by guest author Tracy Bush
Nutrimom | Allergy Phoods

Tracy Bush
Nutrimom – Food Allergy Liason

Pfafftown, NC USA 

Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., a consulting business that specializes in food allergies and helps to provide guidance and support for anyone that has been diagnosed with food allergies. She consults with a variety of people of all ages and has previous work experience with a Medical Doctor in New Jersey. Her experience began prior to starting her business when her own son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies that were life-threatening. Tracy now resides in North Carolina with her husband and two children.

In 2011, her blog was nominated on The Babble List for Top 100 Food Blogs of 2011, of which it maintained her nomination within the top two ranking. She was also recognized in several issues of Bon Appetite, People and Southern Living Magazine during 2011 for her personal quote that was used as part of Alexia Foods marketing.

In 2012, Tracy welcomed several honors, such as joining the Advisory Panel for The Allergy Menu, a winner in the 2012 Startup Nation Leading Moms in Business Competition as well as the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Bloggers of 2012.

In 2013, Tracy was one of 16 food allergy bloggers that were invited to attend the first and second Blogger Summit hosted by Mylan Specialty (makers of Epipen). One of Tracy’s recipes appeared in Enjoy Life Foods 2013 e-cookbook, wrote multiple blog posts for with Surf Sweets Organic Candies & Gummies and had a featured interview on PeanutAllergy.com. Tracy made an appearance on MTN18 television, promoting what she offers to people as well as showcasing Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Crusts. Tracy also helped to promote the Freeling Friday Fundraiser for (FWFA) Kids with Food Allergies in August. In September, She spearheaded and single-handedly had the first FARE Walk for Food Allergies in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as well as having the honor of being invited to attend the first US Anaphylaxis Summit hosted by (AANMA) Allergy Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics and sponsored by Mylan Specialty in Washington, D.C.

Tracy has written several product reviews for Enjoy Life Foods, Home Free, Wink Desserts, Sun Butter and many others as well as having a guest blog for the “It’s an Itchy Little World” blog.
Tracy plans to continue do more work for the community. Tracy has also published her book titled “The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies”, a resource guide for the initial phase of food allergies which can be ordered from her website at http://www.AllergyPhoods.com .Tracy currently helps the community by working with many Doctors in her area, attending company health events and donating her time when it’s needed.

Tracy’s website can be found at http://www.AllergyPhoods.com, her blog at http://allergyphoods.blogspot.com/ and she is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TracyBNutrimom.

*Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author. For the most up to date information, prices, offers and more regarding this Mommy’s business and/or products, please contact the featured mommy directly.  Supportive comments are also welcome!!!  Thank you for reading and sharing.  -Allergenmenumom

Take STOCK in This: A Souper Sensation

Making my own stock is something I have been doing for a short time.  I can’t figure out for the life of me why I haven’t been doing it forever and why everyone doesn’t do it.  It’s easy, free, useful, and so much better than any stock or broth you’ll find in a box on a shelf.  It might be the best kept secret of family kitchen history.  Well, I’m blowing the lid off this secret.  You deserve to know.

During a casual conversation with my friend Penny, who you might remember from this post, she mentioned throwing her chicken parts and some veggies into a crock pot to make stock.  I had a light bulb moment.  I thought, “I have chicken parts”, “I have veggie scraps”, “I could do that!!!”.  I asked a few questions about what to put in, how long to cook it, etc, and went home to cook a chicken, just so I could make stock from it’s “parts”.  For months, I have been in a complete state of stock shock.  I cannot believe I have never done this.  I went straight to my mother and asked her why we never did this.  She had the same light bulb moment I mentioned having and, instead of giving me an answer, went to cook a chicken.

I keep whole organic chickens in my freezer all the time and put them in the crockpot whenever I plan to make soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken salad, etc.  I literally just run the whole chicken under the water in the sink long enough to thaw the outermost layer so I can remove the packaging, then put the whole thing in the crockpot, still frozen.  Sometimes I spray the crock pot with oil first to theoretically make clean-up a little easier, but I have no idea if it makes any difference.  I do add a little salt and pepper to the top of the frozen chicken before I close the lid and turn it on.  That’s all I do.  How easy is that?  I cook it on low until it’s done, which I would say is usually around 6 hours, depending on the size of the chicken.

This used to be where the story of my chicken ended.  I would separate the meat from the skin and bones, then toss all of the non-meat “parts” in the garbage.  NO MORE!!!!  Now I toss those “parts” right back into the crock pot for round two.  This is what I call the “trash into treasure” phase.

On top of the chicken parts, I add vegetable parts that I would likely have thrown away otherwise.  Be sure to wash all vegetables well.  First comes the root end of a bunch of celery.  I just chop off the stalks and throw in the big ball of ends stuck together at the root.  I also might chop off the ends and throw them in.  I wash my carrots well and peel them.  I toss in the ends and peels of the carrots.  I also like to peel a few onions and put in the ends or a few of the less paper-like outer layers that I would debate keeping otherwise.  Sometimes I do put in the good parts of the veggies too, but lately I have been keeping a bag of usable scraps in the fridge so I rarely have to use anything we would eat.  It ends up looking something like this before I cover it all up with water.

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Veggie scraps on top of chicken parts. Carrot peels, celery ends and leaves, fennel sprigs, and onion. Be sure to wash all veggies thoroughly before peeling if you’re going to use the scraps.

After adding the veggies, I just fill the crock pot up with water to the tippy top and add a little salt and maybe some garlic powder and celery seed.  You can put in anything you like.  I set it to low and cook it overnight or all day.  I store it in the refrigerator if I know I will use it within a couple of days.  Otherwise I freeze it for later.  It’s the best chicken stock I have ever had and everything I cook with it turns out better than ever.  I can get so much out of one chicken, and it’s virtually free since most of the ingredients would be thrown away if not used in this way.  Also, it makes me feel that much better about spending the extra money on organic chickens and vegetables, knowing I’m getting so much out of every part of them.  I cannot believe how much money I have spent on those cartons of organic broth in the past.  Never again!!!!

Be sure to strain it well.  The bones get pretty soft and small pieces can be hard to separate.  I always run it through a mesh strainer just to be safe.

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This is how it looks after cooking all day or over night. Now it just needs to be strained and it’s ready to use.

One thing I have learned is that there will be a thin layer of grease that solidifies on top of the broth after it cools.  I just wait until the first time I pull in out of the refrigerator to use it and spoon it into the trash.  The broth will be very dark and rich and the flavor is amazing.  This photo doesn’t do the color justice, but I wanted to show the thin layer of fat I mentioned after refrigeration so you won’t be weirded out when you see it in yours.

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I hope I’m not the only one who was in the dark on this.  Give it a try if you haven’t done it before.  You will be cooking chickens left and right, just so you can make your own stock.  If cooking whole chickens is not in your usual repertoire, use whatever kind of chicken you usually eat. Honestly, you can even just throw in the parts from your store bought rotisserie chicken.  It will work just the same.  Do yourself a favor and turn your own chicken parts into liquid gold.  It’s like printing money.  Stop buying stock.  Use your liquid assets.  I could do this all day.

If you want a more specific recipe, check out this one from 100 Days of Real Food.  This blog is fantastic.  If you don’t follow it already, you’re missing out.  It is geared towards good clean healthy eating and living.

Also, one more thing.  I always wondered what the difference is between stock and broth.  Since I went to the trouble to look it up, I thought I would share what I found.  Stock is made with bones and parts, like I have described here.  Broth is made with actual meat.  Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same.  In theory, you could get a richer flavor from broth since you are using the meat, but it’s hard for me to believe it could be any richer than this.  Does anyone have opinions on stock versus broth?  I would love to hear what you know.

Spinach and Pear Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

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Spinach and Pear Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

10oz of baby spinach

1 ripe bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced (mine was too big, so I only used 1/2)

4 slices of bacon or turkey bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (omit for vegetarian version)

¼ cup dried cranberries

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)

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I tried the pomegranate flavored cranberries in this batch. They were decent, but I think the original is the way to go. The pomegranate flavored berries were a little too sweet.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Use recipe below to make your Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.

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I used regular bacon this time, but often use turkey. Turkey bacon is my preference, but you have to be sure to get it crisp. My husband, on the other hand, prefers regular bacon no matter how it’s cooked.

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

⅓ cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp dijon mustard

⅔ cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste (I use about ¼ tsp of each)

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Whisk together first 5 ingredients.  Gradually whisk in oil until completely blended.

Drizzle dressing over top of salad, toss, and serve.  Extra dressing can be kept covered in the refrigerator and used within a few days.

This makes a great side dish and uses some of my favorite fall flavors.  It’s a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and will be on our holiday table for sure.

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Baba Gha-Hummus: A Recipe and So Much More

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No matter how many times I was told that it’s easy to make my own hummus, I never really wanted to do it.  As soon as they said “food processor”, I was out.  I used to use a big food processor that was loud and had enough parts to almost fill the top rack of my dishwasher every time I used it.  It was a pain to get in and out of the cabinet with all of it’s parts, so it just stayed put.  It seems way easier to just buy our hummus than to take it out and wash it.

That all changed with one bite of this delicious hummus.  I will warn you.  It ruined me on store-bought forever.  Even if I wanted to purchase a quick fix, I just couldn’t enjoy it after tasting the real deal.  Conveniently, I had my Mom’s Magic Bullet at my house for making baby food, so I was able to try the recipe out in it.  Why was I using my Mom’s Magic Bullet to make baby food when I own a food processor?  I wasn’t exaggerating.  I REALLY hate taking it out.

I mentioned a bite changed me.  I tasted this hummus at a party, and I couldn’t walk away from the bowl.  I will admit, I felt a little bit possessive of it, even though I hadn’t brought it.  That’s why they call it “crazy” good.  The Zimmermans, who brought the hummus, were kind enough to share the recipe with me and everyone else who tasted it because none of us were willing to let this recipe go un-had.

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The Zimmerman Family, looking all good.

Let me tell you a little bit about the Zimmerman family.  The only way I can really explain it is, they do it right.  By “it”, I mean life.  Homemade hummus is not even the tip of the iceberg.  I can’t do it justice, but check out the article, Family Lives the Self Sufficient Lifestyle, to have your mind blown.  What I CAN say is that every time I am around them, I leave feeling inspired to do a better job feeding my family.  This isn’t because they tell me I need to do better.  They never do that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I have even seen one or both of them pretend to really enjoy my “something wrapped in canned dough” finger food offering at the very party where I laid claim to their hummus platter.  I want to do better because their passion and knowledge are inspirational.  They make the impossible seem pretty darn doable.  Not to mention, they do it all while raising two of the most well-rounded tween boys you will ever meet who are just plain fun to be around.

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They’re the kind of people who leave organic sweet potatoes on their neighbor’s porch as a random surprise. WIN!!!

So, maybe my big beautiful garden only exists on my Pinterest board and my “composting” takes place in our garbage bin, but we now eat homemade hummus.  Baby steps, right?  Without further ado…

Baba Gha-Hummus

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp. tahini (or sesame seeds and a little extra EVOO)

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

¾ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. ground red pepper (or less)

2 garlic cloves (Sometimes I just throw in garlic powder; sometimes I roast the garlic for some extra yum!)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 squirts of lemon juice (optional)

Penny’s directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Pierce eggplant with a fork. Place eggplant on a jelly roll and bake at 375 for 30 min or until tender. Cool eggplant completely; peel. (Although I don’t peel mine.) Cut eggplant into wedges. Combine eggplant, tahini, and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Yields 2 cups.

This recipe is very forgiving and also able to easily adapt. I often add a little lemon juice to bring out the flavors or have to add a little more olive oil if it seems dry. Also, don’t be afraid to play around with the amounts of the spices, just know that the flavors develop the longer it sits. Enjoy!

There you have it.  Below are some photos of what it looks like when I make this hummus.  I have had the recipe for a little over a month and I think I have made it at least 6 times.  I made a couple of batches by roasting red peppers when I was out of eggplant and it was great that way too.  I’m pretty sure you have to change the name if you swap out the eggplant, though.

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These are the ingredients. I use sesame seeds instead of tahini because I can’t find a tahini that isn’t processed in a facility with our allergens. Also, the ground red pepper is missing because I forgot to get it out for the picture. Oops!

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There’s the whole eggplant just roasting away. It doesn’t get any easier than putting it in the oven with no prep at all.

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I grind the sesame seeds to a powder first.

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With the magic bullet, I have to do a few small batches. I try to divide all of the ingredients into semi-equal parts. Here is everything in the first batch of this round.

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The Magic Bullet gets the job done, but it’s not without a good bit of effort.  I divide the ingredients into smaller batches, then I have to shake the blender considerably while it’s working through it to get all of the chunks down to the blade.  I end up adding a bit more oil and lemon juice as I go to thin it enough for the magic bullet to cut it.  This feels like a good time to mention that I’m campaigning hard for a Vitamix from my husband for Christmas.  Oh what I could do with one of those!!!  If you have any compelling arguments, go ahead and email him directly 🙂

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Did I mention this deliciousness is top 8 allergen free, gluten free, and vegan?  BOO-YA!!!!!

Recipe: E&B’s No Nutz Buttercups (Egg, Dairy, Peanut, Tree Nut, Gluten Free and Vegan)

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I feel like I have struck gold with this one.  It’s hard to admit this, as an allergy mom, but my all time favorite holiday candy has always been the peanut butter cup.  I used to get so excited when the special edition holiday shapes came out because those were always the freshest and yummiest versions of all.  I don’t actually remember the last time I had one, but I would guess it has been a couple of years.  Then I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.  These looked so easy, delicious, and best of all, perfect for our usual substitutions.  This recipe is definitely a game changer.

How easy are these to make?  All you need is a microwave and a freezer.  In fact, you could probably do it without either.  That’s right, I’m pretty sure that if you were stranded on a desert island with nothing but these ingredients and some cupcake liners, you could still make these.  Although, good luck getting an internet connection to view the recipe.

I used a mini muffin pan and mini cupcake liners.  You could make these full sized, but they are very rich, so the minis are definitely the way to go.  Also, there is no serving size.  Eat as many as you want.  I know I do.

Ingredients:

1 10 oz. bag Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup Wowbutter (or your favorite safe peanut butter alternative)

1/4 cup powdered sugar (watch for hidden wheat in the ingredients)

2 tbsp. Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread, softened

Directions:

Line muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.  If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, you can just put the liners on a cookie sheet.  Melt Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  I microwaved them for 1 minute, stir, 45 seconds, stir, then 30 second increments until smooth.  Spoon just enough melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner to cover the bottom.  Be careful not to use too much or you won’t have enough to cover them.  Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the filling, mix Wowbutter, powdered sugar, and EarthBalance.  Taste the filling and you can add a little more powdered sugar if it needs it.  I added about a teaspoon more, then it was perfect.  After these ingredients are combined, check the cups in the freezer to see if the bottom layer is firm.  When firm, remove from the freezer.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp. of filling into each cup and press it down to fit the space.  After you have filling in each cup, spoon enough melted chocolate on top to cover the filling.  The thinner the chocolate is, the easier it is to get the amount right, so warm it for a few more seconds if it has begun to thicken.  Then pop them back into the freezer and wait about 10 minutes, if you can.

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I had more filling than I needed, so I wrapped it in plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge to make more the next day.  You can also freeze it and thaw for a quick treat another time.

If you do happen to exercise some self restraint and have a few of these left over, you have some options for storage.  You can keep them in the refrigerator, but it’s not necessary.  In fact, I tried both ways and we liked room temperature storage the best.  The chocolate doesn’t melt, but it stays a bit softer, which I prefer.

Why are they  called E&B’s No Nutz Buttercups?  My daughter, Elena, and her friend, Blake, share a very special bond.  They both have the same food allergy profile (allergic to egg, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts).  I just love the fact that every time I modify or create a recipe for Elena, I already know of another child who will benefit.  I know they will both enjoy their very own allergen free butter cups!

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*A special thanks to Eric Reavis for coming up with the name.