Monday, February 23, 2015

gluten-free, nut-free version of my {totally decadent} cinnamon chocolate brownies as a school-safe birthday treat

I promise this is the last TREAT post for a while. I don't know about you, but I am feeling the need to dial it back a little. So, the next few posts will be all about delicious, clean eating ideas that are quick and easy. But not today!! Because today is my older son's 12th birthday, and this calls for a celebration-- and some of my {totally decadent} Cinnamon-Chocolate Brownies. {Which I made nut-free and gluten-free this go round, so they could be brought into his classroom and shared with his middle school friends who have allergies and food intolerances.)

To make them nut-free and gluten-free, follow my same recipe {found here} but use Ghirardelli chocolate {or other chocolate you know is gluten-free, I used this one} and King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose flour.

Mmm, enjoy, either made traditionally or nut-free and gluten-free. Either way, this recipe is a keeper.

And if you happen to see this sweet kid around town today, be sure to wish him a happy birthday!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

snow day baking: banana chocolate oat muffins with almond meal

On a recent snow day,

when the playroom looked like this {by 7am},

I'd made my coconut oil coffee and

snuck into the living room to quietly read. Dinner was made, thanks to a well-stocked freezer. But something nagged at me. I couldn't go a whole day without cooking something…. and, truth be told, I wanted chocolate.

I'm not a big baker, but three ripe bananas winked at me from the kitchen counter. I had some cashew meal in the fridge, along with a few eggs and oats... Perfect, banana-chocolate chip muffins it would be. I improvised a recipe, adding a little of this, a little of that, while asking myself whether baking soda was really necessary? But imagine my dismay when I realize the bag of chocolate chips I thought I saw in the pantry was actually black beans. Dismay doesn't adequately describe my emotions at that moment. 

I blame Captain Holly Short for distracting me. {Artemis Foul reference, for those who aren't listening to the book on CD during drives to and from skiing this winter…} But the bananas were mashed, and the nut-based batter was ready to go. All I needed was chocolate.

I had some high quality, unsweetened cocoa on hand and, after a little more scrounging, I sprinkled the last of my foodie crush Cacao Prieto hot cocoa into the bowl.

And then I popped those bad boys into the oven and 

went back to my fire, as the smell of molten chocolate and baking bananas filled our house.

Oh my.

I ate more than my fair share. I gave some warm muffins to the snow plow guys. I had the kids walk some to a neighbor.

And continued to enjoy them for snacks the next few days.

They were so good that I was a little miffed that I hadn't jotted the recipe down. Who knew if I could recreate them?…

As a ate the last muffin, I decided this recipe was worth figuring out and saving.

The second go round, I made sure to have chocolate, not black beans.

I recreated the batter, while jotting down notes.

Then held my breath...

Actually, I didn't hold my breath. I took deep inhales of sweet goodness

and went back to recipe testing for the Second Edition of Stock Your Freezer in a Snap.

Batch two lacked eggs. Because I forgot to put them in. Apparently this recipe doesn't need egg(s). And now I knew how to make them again. And again. To rave reviews.

Banana-Chocolate-Oat Muffins with Almond Meal
(makes 24 muffins)

3 or 4 large, ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups almond flour or cashew meal
1 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
2 cups oats (or gluten-free oats)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons vanilla
3 Tablespoons dark cocoa
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with muffin cups. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and blend using a hand mixer. Divide evenly among muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins sprain back when touched. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning same price of goods to you, but the small commission I earn keeps the blog from turning into "hobby" status.

Monday, February 2, 2015

{heart-shaped} egg-in-hole

It's snow day season in the Northeast! 

Whether the call from school comes in at 5am, or you go to bed knowing you'll have a 'leisurely' morning ahead, we might as well embrace the extra time we have to make breakfast, right?

"Egg in Hole" has become my go-to these past two weeks of {seemingly} endless snow days and delays. Any shape cookie cutter will do, but since it's February, I'm mortifying my boys with lovey dovey hearts.

All you do is cut the center out of piece(s) of bread, and

pop that center piece into the toaster. {You'll be treating the cut-out piece like toast.}

Then the outside crust goes into a buttered fry pan, and you crack an egg into the center.

Use a butter knife to scramble the egg a bit {if your kids are like mine and will avoid the yolk if it's whole…}.

Flip it when the egg starts to set.

My kids love this meal a) because it takes a few extra minutes for me to make, which means a few extra minutes for them to play with their LEGOS and b)

b/c they can pick it up with their hands.

Voila! Egg in Hole. So easy, but seems special. Especially on a snowy morning.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

what's up in my kitchen this week: recipe testing, storm prep and lots of hot chocolate

I am very excited to announce that recipe testing is well underway for the Second Edition of Stock Your Freezer in a Snap!!

I've been putting new recipes through the ringer here in my home kitchen,

and have 25 equally busy parents test-running the new recipes to make sure that ingredients are easily found in their local supermarkets, my instructions are super clear, and that the new meals are enjoyed by their families.

This next e-cookbook is a little different than the first one, which was really a compilation of family-friendly favorites. In the first edition, I gave parents options to make meals vegetarian, whenever possible… but this round, I am switching it up. After hearing many readers say that they wanted more plant-based family meal ideas, I'm starting with mostly vegetarian family dinners and giving parents the option to add meat! Kind of cool, right?!!

For example, I'll be giving you the recipe for Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Shredded Sweet Potatoes {pictured above as a gluten-free pasta test run}, and giving you the option of adding pancetta or ham.

Speaking of vegetables, in other news, there was all of this prep and hoopla about this SUPERSTORM Juno that was going to hit us this week. I came back from skiing and headed straight to the market Sunday night to stock up and-- doh-- this was the salad section of our local Whole Foods...

and this was where I was planning to grab some bananas. Clearly, I was late to the party.

Plus, I had a home fridge and freezer full of the aforementioned test recipes, which I really didn't want to lose. So, I raided my pantry stash of packaging, filled a kazillion tubs with water and filled my fridge and freezer,

in an attempt to keep the temps level, in case we lost power.

But we woke up the morning the storm was supposed to have wreaked absolute havoc to some pretty snow falling, and full power. Jackpot.

Snow days are pretty awesome when the fire and candles are lit purely for ambiance, not warmth or sight. We lucked out.

Since we not only had power, but a full day to hang out-- and I just happened to have some rotisserie chicken bones in my freezer-- I decided to give Nourished Kitchen's Perpetual Broth a whirl. As you all know, I do love my bone broth. I usually just make it once/month or so in my LeCrueset or in a stock pot. But since I recently bought a crockpot, and her article intrigued me, I went her perpetual route with visions of a freezer door lined with quarts of frozen goodness dancing in my head. So far, so good. The only glitch is that my crockpot is now tied up as I head into Day 2 of simmering batch 2… high class problem...

OK, but back to storms, snow and basic survival. As luck would have it, I developed a new food crush this week: Cacao Prieto 72% Dark Hot Chocolate. While our local Whole Foods may have been out storm necessities like bananas and bread, I needed to buy something to sustain us, right? So, I made sure we had an ample supply of hot cocoa. Little did I know just how ahhhmazing this brand would be.

This is what the {pretty} container looks like if you're looking for it in your local market.

And, when cabin fever strikes-- or you're feeling guilty about that third cup of awesomeness you just enjoyed-- you can always strap on your fitbit and some yaktrax, and make up for it, like I did.

Alrighty, back to all of this recipe testing. Can't wait to share it with you soon!! Until then, join the conversation, or take a peek at what I'm cooking, over on Facebook, Pinterest, or-- brand spanking new-- Instagram (@mealsinasnap).

Please note that this blog post has amazon affiliate links, meaning the amazon price is the same to you, but The Full Plate Blog earns a small commission of sales, which go towards the operating expenses of the blog. If you plan to make a purchase, thank you for considering doing so via these amazon links!