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4.29.2012

Unjunk Your Junk Food {Book Review}



I realized when I said I was not going to be able to post anymore this week or weekend due to a busy schedule I knew I had to be wrong. I knew I had a certain deadline to meet with a book review and I thought I would get it in at the tail end of my dessert and sweets-free 2 weeks.


Thanks to Naturally Savvy, I recently have become part of their blogger program or a "Naturally Savvy Approved Blogger." The first assignment was to read UnJunk Your Junk Food,  written by the creators of this site, so I was really excited.


I am so glad I finished my 2 weeks of going sugar-free with completing this book. I highly recommend reading it because it will change your mind about the "danger" foods you might have in your pantry. Some might say they rather NOT read it because they would not want to get rid or stop eating certain foods but isn't health more important?


There are 11 chapters in this attractive and colorful book. Here are the titles of each chapter:


Chapter 1: The Key to Unjunking
Chapter 2: Back-to-Basics Nutrition
Chapter 3: The Worst Ingredients
Chapter 4: Chips, Dips, & Party Foods
Chapter 5: Ice Cream & Other Frozen Treats
Chapter 6: Cookies
Chapter 7: Chocolate
Chapter 8: Cakes & Others Desserts
Chapter 9: Granola Bars & Other On-the-Go Snacks
Chapter 10: Candy
Chapter 11: Soda & Other Drinks


Are these not interesting chapters? It is wonderful that this book has been written in order to educate us on how to read labels so that the more we can help them to make better (and healthier) food choices when shopping for groceries. I certainly know I have been doing it a lot more than what I've been doing in the past.


The biggest focus of this book is to inform the reader about how important it is to not consume highly processed foods and to also inform how many packaged foods have certain dangerous additives and chemicals. Some of them have names that seem safe but in reality can harm he body over time. The book focuses on Seven DAngerous Additives called the "Scary Seven"
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils (trans fats)
  • Artificial Colors
  • Artificial Sweeteners (including acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K; sucralose [Splenda], and aspartame)
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Preservatives (including: sodium benzoate, sulphites (sulphur dioxide), polysorbate 60, 65 or 80, nitrites, TBHQ, and BHT/BHA

Did you know that these were harmful? 

I was happy that I knew a lot of these facts in the book but there was SO much more information about smaller additive and preservative names that I was not aware of. 

My husband and I have been married almost 4 years. When we got married I had been vegetarian for 2 years before abandoning my healthy eating and started eating the way my husband had been eating. What kind of foods? These were the following foods I started consuming:
  • Diet sodas
  • Processed foods
  • Doritos
  • White flour tortillas
  • Fried foods
How did these affect me? I have to say that I loved being married, but my dietary choices caused a lot of harm to me emotionally, physically and mentally. I started suffering from horrendous and painful migraines. I gained A LOT of weight and I was very unhappy person.

Anyone else gone through something like this? I kept crying and moaning to my husband telling him that my choices were causing my pains. Even though my husband, at the time, did not believe me, I fooled myself and kept on eating the junk.

After we moved to MI almost 3 years ago I decided to follow a vegan lifestyle, cold turkey. I was adamant not wanting to be sad, depressed, unhappy, in pain, and overweight so I was glad I made the change.

It is very true that after removing the foods I had been eating stopped my migraines and I started losing weight and feeling great.

What surprises did I STILL find in my pantry after reading this book? Well, it was not actually in my pantry but on occasion I would eat it and even ate in a few months ago at a friend's home. It IS vegan but NOT healthy.


Oreos


Yes, Oreos have high-fructose corn syrup and vanillin, which is an artificial flavor.


There are other food items in my pantry that at the time my husband is used to eating and cannot give up eating because he likes the flavor but hopefully some day he would choose other options. All I can do is choose the best foods for our family as best as I can the more I read about food labels.


I know that the biggest thing I can take-away form reading this book is to look even more closely to packaged foods and look for specific names that could be disguised as even healthy ingredients. This means it will affect EVEN more the way I shop. 


Why not make my life easier by eating more foods closer to their natural state, eh?


Another plus to the book is that the authors have a HUGE list of recommendations for healthier alternatives for the more processed foods in stores. Now I know I can stick to just buying Newman's O's, Creme-Filled Chocolate Cookies even if they do cost a little more, it just means I will prevent from having any artificial ingredients into my life and body.



I think that is the biggest factor for folks. The desire is present but the excuse is that organic and healthier options are way to expensive, so why CHOOSE to buy the cheaper, full-of-fake-ingredients products? Better not to purchase anything at all. Better yet, make it at home!


New incentive for sure. I hope this has been eye-opening to anyone reading this because there is a food industry that is sure interested in SELLING unhealthy foods causing people major health issues. 


Choose to be informed!  


What to know more about Naturally Savvy? Like their page on Facebook  and follow them on Twitter for more interesting facts and stories.

4.23.2012

Raw Chocolate-Banana Chia Pudding and Sugar-Free Week #1

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 Hello beautiful Monday! This weekend went by so quickly but we enjoyed a nice stay in Holland for the weekend. Even though we had 2 sunny days, they were nippy and windy! Despite that we had this view:


lake

Julianne and I enjoyed a 30 minute walk with blankets because despite the winds and cool air, I thought it important to take a lovely walk. We both enjoyed it a lot!


walk


After I mentioned Friday that Julianne was almost on the verge of rolling, she finally rolled and now loves it! After I worked with her for 2 days, she rolled for her daddy after I walked out of the room. It was funny!


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Something else I completed for this week was going fully sugar-free. I did not overdo it on fruit but when I wanted something sweet I would incorporate fruits and grains. It was most satisfying and it turned to be a wonderful week.

I expected to go through worse withdrawals. I believe I had nausea the first two days and maybe a slight headache but overall I cannot believe how incredibly easy it has been. My energy level is high and I am not having feelings of sadness and apathy nor did I feel anxious.


I also have to say that my clothing feels a little better. I do not actually know how much weight I lost but all I can say is that I have felt pretty great. Here is to week 2! Check out the  pictures of the yummy sugar-free treats I have been posting on Instagram. If you are on there follow singerinkitchen!


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One of the recipes I want to share is what I made last night. It was super easy and even my husband asked if he could have the second serving, wha??? Hey, sure thing baby! My babe is an ice cream man, so I am amazed when he wants to taste my creations. It was SO creamy, thick and delicious that I cannot wait to make it again. Enjoy this simple recipe1


Have you ever gone strictly sugar-free? How long?




Raw Chocolate-Banana Chia Pudding

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: raw breakfast dessert vegan vegetarian sugar-free low-carb wheat-free chia seeds bananas


Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup soaked pearled barley
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
Instructions
Add all the ingredients except the chia seeds into a high powdered blender and blend until smooth.


*How to soak barley: Cover barley in water and soak for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. Drain water and add to recipe.

Divide into two ramekins and stir into 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds into each ramekin. Place ramekins in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Chia seeds will expand and make this pudding-like.
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4.19.2012

5 1/2 months and counting

5 months

Our little one has been growing SO quickly! I cannot believe that 6 months is approaching. As Ryan reminded me last night, "Hey, she has 10 days until she can eat real food!" Which meant Cheerios for him. More on that later!

Yes, I cannot believe we are approaching the time when we will shortly be introducing real food to our little girl. Her hands have been super active as she places every item she picks up in her mouth. Does it mean, though, that she wants to eat? No, of course not.

This past weekend I took Julianne to PF Changs to meet some friends and when my food arrived I almost lost the plate. She went towards the plate of vegetables and wanted in on everything mommy was doing.

Now I know how hard it is to hold a baby that is in the curious stage and to eat dinner.


Spring day

What have we been enjoying lately? Walks! Even though I am trying to vary my exercise during the week, we do go walking now that it is starting to get nicer. I go to Zumba twice a week and Ryan takes Julianne for walks or he does errands with her.


5 months

She loves being in her Ergo and I think someone is also starting to be a Daddy's girl. Julianne seems to have gotten oujt of the stage of crying when she sees new people. Instead, she becomes bashful and hides her head in my neck. It is so CUTE!

Every time Ryan comes into a room she REALLY lights up. If she hears his voice, she stops what she is doing and turns around to see where he is. It truly melts my heart.

22 weeks


We recently were gifted an exersaucer, so Julianne seems to have been waiting for it. We promptly placed her in it and she started bouncing her little bum in it. We have been laughing with her and she gets super excited jumping up and down. She even figured out very quickly how to rotate around in her seat.


5 month tummy time


Julianne has not quite learned how to roll even though she has done it once all by herself. She went from tummy to back, then from back to tummy in order to get a toy. I try putting her on my tummy a lot so she continues to strengthen her neck but sometimes we get like this:

5 month tummy time


Hahaha. Cutie Patootie! I actually have been trying different things in order for her to start rolling. I feel like the play mats restrict from moving to the tummies but that is just my opinion over this past week. I love trying new things to see how she will start moving more. I am taking one day at a time and really just being patient.


I believe taking a break from sugar will help a lot of things. I will be writing about my experience soon and how it has already helped my moods and my stamina. It has been great for this working-at-home mommy.


What are your tips or tricks for staying more alert and energetic during the day?

Inspired by Family Magazine

4.16.2012

BBQ Chickpea Burgers and Weekend celebration

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This was a lovely weekend for us. We enjoyed some sunshine, walks, great meals and some celebrations. I'll get to the celebration part in a second.

Winter market
This weekend was the last weekend for our indoor Winter Farmer's Market located in the mall. I missed it last year and I almost missed going this year because I told myself I had too many cleaning duties. Well, forget that! I packed up my stuff and Julianne and I had our outing.


April

The farmer's market was lovely but small so we continued to walk around the mall for a little more exercise. We would have walked outside but it was strangely humid and terribly overcast. I wanted to protect Julianne from those rays!

The rest of our outing was spent buying groceries, buying a NEW brush at Ulta and checking out the NEWLY remodeled Target. It was hard not getting sucked into buying too many unnecessary items. HA, but now that it is a SUPER Target it is hard to get in and out as quickly as possible.

We returned home and I quickly took a shower and got ready for a big night. Why?

My husband has officially completed his doctoral degree in Choral Conducting. He defended his document and took his last test and well, that was cause for some celebrating!

Celebrating


We got dressed and headed to a fancy restaurant with some friends where we proceeded to have a lovely time over delicious food and wine. I think the best part was trying to share this lovely carrot cake:


Cake
Sorry babe! Phone pics kinda stick inside this place!
We definitely had leftovers! Overall, we had a lovely weekend
Well, as promised, I have been meaning to post some savory posts. As of today, I am taking a 2 week sugar break. No baking, no icing, no taste testing. Yes, it will be hard and challenging but I desperately need to take a step back and analyze my intake.


Any one else taking a sugar break? 

This is nothing new in everyday life but after reading this ARTICLE  I knew I needed to take a break. With that said, here is a yummy lunch option I prepared inspired by several recipes. It was delicious even when I made mine a double decker!

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Do you have a FAVORITE veggie burger recipe?


BBQ Chickpea Burgers

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: grill lunch sandwich vegan chickpeas



Ingredients (4 patties)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup asparagus stalks
  • 1 medium-sized peeled carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons barbeque sauce + more for topping
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder


Assembly
  • Sandwich thins or Ezekiel Bread
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 8 tomato slices
  • red onion slices
  • banana peppers
  • BBQ sauce

Instructions

In your food processor, add asparagus, carrot, red pepper, garlic, and red onions pulsing until chopped very finely. Add chickpeas, BBQ sauce, maple syrup, flour, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Process and pulse until completely combined but not pureed. Carefully remove from processor bowl and form into 4 burgers. If you feel that your burgers and somewhat delicate, refrigerate for about 30 minutes. ( I just formed the burgers and cooked them as is)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add burgers to the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy on the outsides, about 5 minutes. Be gentle when flipping and removing burgers so they don’t crack or fall apart. Serve on sandwich thins with lettuce, onions, banana peppers, tomatoes and more BBQ sauce.
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4.11.2012

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Macaroons

So have I been making too many desserts lately?

No, don't answer that.

No, really, don't. What can I say? Desserts are my favorite course to make and even though I will be taking a break here in the next few weeks, I will be planning my dessert recipe.

Ever since I saw Katie's recipe for her little Coconut Cookie Chicks, I knew I had to try her recipe. I have never actually ever made regular macaroons even though I have had regular egg white-ladened macaroons before.

Macaroons

I actually had enough unsweetened coconut to make this recipe. The beauty of this recipe is that it calls for so little ingredients. I had all the ingredients in my pantry and I could not wait to make them.

I adapted her recipe a tad because even after following her instructions the mixture did not thicken as stated. I had to add one more tablespoon of coconut flour, so perhaps it did depend on the type of flour that was originally used even though it was stated that I could use any type of flour.

I decided to use coconut flour since the recipe had coconut flakes and coconut milk. 


Macaroons

Now if you have been reading my blog for a while you know I post a lot of recipes with chocolate so I HAD to dip these beauties in DARK chocolate.

One of my favorite chocolate bars is Equal Exchange's 71% Dark Chocolate which is vegan. I melted it in a glass bowl over hot water and then dipped the cooled macaroons.

Macaroons

Something else I did differently was cool these macaroons a little further by placing them in the fridge. Trust me. You need to do this. Not only are they tasty but as you dip them into the chocolate, the chocolate will set much quicker.

After I dip them I place them on a cookie sheet to finish cooling and then place them in an air-tight container separating each level with wax paper.

I am sad to report that I only have one left in the fridge and I hope my hubby does not get to it before I do.

We'll see! Thanks Katie for a lovely recipe!

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake cook dessert gluten-free vegan coconut

Ingredients (14 macaroons)
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • tiny bit over 1/16 tsp salt
  • 3.5 ounces 71% dark chocolate (I used Equal Exchange chocolate bar which is vegan)

Instructions
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on the stovetop until it’s firm enough to scoop out in ball shapes. I added an additional Tablespoon flour to help bind. There was still too much liquid.

Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons on a cookie tray, forming in small mounds. Cook at 350 F for 14-16 minutes. Let cool before removing from tray. Makes 14 macaroons. I refrigerated them to harden them more.

Melt chocolate in the microwave for a minute in high heat or over a hot water bath.

Once the macaroons are cooled, I dipped each macaroon into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet.

These are so delicious cooled in the fridge.
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4.09.2012

Mini Pumpkin Scones with Coconut Glaze

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It is Secret Recipe Club time and boy do I have a treat for you!

Secret Recipe Club

This time around I was assigned to make something from Sweet Beginnings, the home to sweets, treats, and home cooked meals. Jaida, the creator of the blog, really likes to cook, bake and peruse blogs. There are many recipes to choose from, so when I saw the recipe for pumpkin scones I knew I had to make it.

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Some of you might remember but I chose a pumpkin recipe last month called Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cinnamon Glaze. I shared with you how much I like pumpkin and well I simply had to chose another pumpkin recipe this month.

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No worries. I promise I won't choose another pumpkin recipe next month. Wait. Should I make that promise???

So, back to the scones. Am I the only one that likes Starbucks Pumpkin Scones? I usually have one when they are in season but other times I just wish I had time to make my own.

Do you ever feel guilty having purchased a huge baked good, wishing you had a good friend by you so that you could split with them? HA ha ha ha, yeah no. Me neither, but I decided to change this recipe a bit.

Pumpkin Scones made into mini scones. There is something to be said when baked goods are made smaller. You can eat more and not feel so sad that once you eat the regular size goodie that you can't go back for more.

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This was a simple recipe and very quick to make. I adapted and veganized Jaida's Pumpkin Scone recipe and instead of 12 large scones, the mini scone recipe made 36 mini scones. If I remember correctly, my husband was out of town and after I put the baby to sleep, I decided to take advantage of some baking time, seeing that I had had a busy day with the baby.

I prepare the scones, cut them up, bake them, and cool them and BAM, the baby starts crying! The baby never wakes up an hour and a half after going to bed. I go in give her the pacifier and walk out.

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I make the glaze and let it cool. I remove the scones from the oven and BAM, again, the baby wakes up. Whoa. What is going on?

Either way, I am happy I got these cuties out of the oven but they had to wait to be glazed the next morning. I did enjoy 3 or 4 of these before going to bed. I ended up going to bed early and bringing the baby with me. I think she missed her daddy.

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Anyway, the coconut glaze is totally optional for this recipe, but it is a nice touch for those of you who like some more sweetness to their scones. My husband usually does not like scones because they are either too try or not sweet. Oh well.

These were great and delicious and MINI! They go well with some morning coffee and nothing else.

Thanks Jaida for posting this lovely recipe!

Mini Pumpkin Scones with Coconut Glaze

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11-12 minutes
Keywords: bake brunch breakfast dessert snack soy-free vegan pumpkin

Ingredients (36 mini scones)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tablespoons So Delicious coconut creamer
  • 1 flax "egg" { 1 Tbsp flax seed meal plus 3 Tbsp water}
For glaze
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut milk


Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.

Mix the flax seed meal and water together and set aside for 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut cream, and flax egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle about 3 times as long as wide. Cut the rectangle in 3 strips.

Cut each strip in alternating triangles, cutting in diagonals. Each strip will have 12 triangles totaling 36 pieces. 
Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 11 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Glaze can be optional. They are so delicious on their own.

Prepare the glaze while the scones are cooking. Brush each scone with some coconut glaze. Allow to dry before storing.

For glaze
In a small saucepan, mix the milk and sugar and heat until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes and until sugar is completely melted. Set aside to cool.
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4.06.2012

PB Crave Peanut Butter winner

I did say I was going to announce the winner today right?? I am 50 minutes away from it being a new day and hear I get a chance to post the winner for the giveaway from earlier this week.






Thanks to all who entered. Remember if you did not win, you can order these yummy peanut butters with FREE shipping until May 6th. Go to PB Crave's SHOP and select what you want and then enter this code:

singerFS

So who won the giveaway? Kristina @Whipped. She has lovely recipes and a great site. Go check her site! Kristina, email me your address so the company can send you the goodies and so that I can get that cupcake corer to you. Thanks for entering!

Have a blessed weekend folks. Keep in mind that Easter is about the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, and not about bunnies, Easter baskets, and dyed eggs. It is not another holiday to celebrate food or trivialities, but about the reason we live and why we, as human beings, were created to do; to thank God for sending His Son to die for our sins.

4.04.2012

Quick and Easy Stuffed Grape Leaves

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 I know I have not had a chance to post savory recipes like I have been in the past but it almost feels like I hardly have time to post them! What has this mother been making? Well, I have been forced to prepare foods the night before so that Ryan and I could both eat the next day. Lately, I have had a hankering for Mediterranean food but I have not had time to make even hummus! How sad is that?


Look at this cute face I get to watch over all day!


5 month tummy time

Even so, I know I need to make healthy quick lunches or even dinner. When it comes to Mediterranean, I enjoy chickpeas a lot but I am usually the only one that likes them at home. Ryan likes hummus but, like he told me tonight, he likes hummus to taste like oil. Whaaaa??? He totally does not like the flavor of chickpeas. Silly silly.


Oil has too many calories honey! Anyway, every time he goes off to his weekly night meetings I take advantage of preparing something he would not normally eat. Tonight I felt like eating stuffed grape leaves but I was not going to buy them from my local restaurant. I wanted to make them!


After I got home from over an hour walking the mall with Julianne, at almost 7pm, I knew I was NOT going to make the recipe that I had laid out on the counter. I was SO disappointed and I STILL was not going to order out. What to do?


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Grape leaves normally cook in boiling water and then they are doused in olive oil and lemon juice. I did not have an hour or more for this process. I took out my jar of grape leaves in brine and took out about 10 leaves and soaked them in hot water for 10 minutes. I drained and dried them and set them aside. Luckily I had already prepared my brown rice before leaving for our walk.


Next, I took a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice and mixed it with a 1/2 cup of canned chickpeas. I added lemon juice, minced garlic, dill, red onion, sea salt and chopped tomatoes and mixed well. I divided the mixture between the ten grape leaves. I rolled them and ate them. All this took 15 minutes! SCORE! I drizzled a little olive oil.


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What were these like? Well, they were like Mediterranean tacos if I say so. They were quick, easy, and delicious. I am so happy I made them. I was so satisfied and hope to make these again this week.


Try them and let me know what you think.


Quick Stuffed Grape Leaves

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: lunch entree gluten-free low-carb vegan grape leaves chickpeas Mediterranean

Ingredients (10 stuffed grape leaves)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, canned or cooked
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 grape leaves, from a glass jar in brine
Instructions

Grape Leaves
Rinse the grape leaves and pour hot water over the leaves. Let the water sit for 10 minutes. Then drain the water, and dry each leaf. Separate each leaf on a bamboo board.

Filling
Cook rice according to packaged directions. Add rice warm or hot to a bowl and mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

Assembly
Add 2 Tablespoons to the center of each grape leaf. Fold the sides of each leaf and then the roll the leaf to look like a cigar. You can also leave open like a hand roll or a taco.

Eat immediately with a side of hummus, tahini sauce, or simply drizzle with a little of olive oil.
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4.02.2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter Icing and GIVEAWAY

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How did this weekend fly by? I was not ready to start a new week but here it is, April, and well, might as well embrace it.

I got to do a lot of baking this past weekend and even created a recipe! It has been a chocolate-themed weekend for sure.

I recently was given the opportunity to review some peanut butter. I have been enjoying eating it with Fuji apples, carrots, and pretzels for my snacks or even my lunch.


Have you heard of PB Crave? It is peanut butter with a twist and unfortunately it is not vegan because it uses milk products in 3 of its flavors and honey in all 4 flavors. Either way, I was glad to be able to taste and review this product because the company has created a great cause.

Curt's Peanut Butter Company, based in Minnesota, creates 4 unique peanut butter flavors with premium ingredients.

Choco Choco Peanut Butter--made with sweet and dark chocolate
CoCo Bananas Peanut Butter--made with dark chocolate and banana flavor
Razzle Dazzle Peanut Butter--made with white and dark chocolate and raspberry flavors
Cookie Nookie Peanut Butter--made with chocolate chips and cookie dough flavor

All their peanut butters are made with palm oil, peanuts, and cocoa butter and their chocolate is Belgium chocolate too! While I have had 2 weeks to savor these flavors I only liked 2 of them.
The Razzle Dazzle and the Choco Choco flavors were by far my favorites. The Cookie Nookie and CoCo Bananas flavoring did not appeal to me. The blend of flavors was nice but it was not my favorite even though I like bananas and all.

Did you know that with every bottle the company sells that 2% of the proceeds go a non-profit organization called Project Peanut Butter that focuses on treating malnourished children.

I plan to continue purchasing the flavors that I enjoyed. I even created a recipe using the Razzle Dazzle peanut butter too. Feel free to substitute your favorite vegan peanut butter to make this recipe vegan.

The cupcake is vegan but the frosting is not. I made 26 cupcakes and took it to a party with more than 10 kids and they all liked it!

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The process was fun because I finally got to use my cupcake corer. I had been hand carving my own cores when preparing cupcakes that I caved in and finally bought one. Ha! They are fun and easy to use too!

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Thanks PB Crave for letting me have a chance to review your yummy products!

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Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter Icing

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 45-60 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Ingredients (26 cupcakes)
    Chocolate Cupcakes
    • 2 cups So Delicious coconut milk
    • 2/3 cups vegetable oil
    • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

    Icing
    • 1 cup PB Crave White Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter ( or vegan peanut butter)
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance margarine
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 4 Tablespoons So Delicious coconut milk

    Instructions

    For Cupcakes


    Preheat oven to 350. Use regular cupcake tins and line with cupcake papers.

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

    In a smaller bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar let it sit for 3-5 minutes until it curdles like buttermilk. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.

    Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and stirring with a spoon, fold and mix together until the batter is fairly smooth--a few dry spots will be okay--you don't want to over mix--thus the spoon technique. Use a 1/4 measuring cup for smaller--either way, fill the cupcake holders to 1/2 full.

    Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely for about 45 minutes. Prepare icing.

    For Icing


    In a mixer, add the peanut butter and margarine and whip until combined. Sift the powdered sugar and add the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are combined well and smooth.

    Assembly


    Using a cupcake corer or a serrated knife, make a hole midway into the center of the cupcake. Add half the icing into a pastry bag and add 1-2 Tablespoons to the center of the cupcake. Add the cupcake center on top of the icing.

    Ice each cupcake with 2-3 Tablespoons of icing using a flat icing knife or spoon. Top with one chocolate cup for decoration.

    *note* To make recipe vegan, use vegan peanut butter. This PB Crave product contains honey.
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    I FORGOT the giveaway friends!


    ONE person (US Reader) will win 


    A PB Crave Natural Peanut Butter Variety Pack (3 pack / 16 ounce jars) given by the company:

    • 1 CoCo Banana
    • 1 Cookie Nookie
    • 1 Razzle Dazzle
    and

    I will throw in one of those CUPCAKE Corer

    DSC_0317

    What are the ways to enter?

    Just tell me which flavor you would love to taste! (mandatory)

    extra entries: (leave a comment for each)
    1. Follow Opera Singer in the Kitchen on Twitter and Facebook
    2. Follow PB Crave on Twitter and Facebook
    3. Tweet giveaway "Artisan crafted peanut butters--Enter for a chance to win a 3 pack & a cupcake corer #giveaway http://bit.ly/HDc0MW"
    Make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you!

    If you can't wait to try these peanut butters, order them with FREE SHIPPING, just use this code: 

    singerFS

    This code is only valid until May 2nd and this code becomes active tonight at 6pm central

    You have until THURSDAY, April 5th midnight EST to enter
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