Saturday, August 23, 2014

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Wow. Seriously. Just... wow.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars


  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/4 cup refined Coconut Oil, measured in melted form
  • 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full sheets)  (Trader Joe's brand for dairy free)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I used half Jif creamy natural and half homemade because that is what I had in the cupboard.)
  • Scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life brand for dairy and gluten free)


  1. Line a 8x8 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the melted Earth Balance, coconut oil, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar together until combined. 
  3. Pop 3/4 cup of measured peanut butter in the microwave to soften. 
  4. Stir in peanut butter and salt. 
  5. Spread into prepared baking pan.
  6. In a small bowl, microwave chocolate until melted.
  7. Stir in 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter and stir until smooth.
  8. Spread over peanut butter layer.
  9. Chill until completely firm, at least 3 hours.
  10.  Bars stay fresh stored in the refrigerator.  
  11. Serve chilled.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Very Happy Party

July 2014
Aug 2013
Today is my littlest one's first birthday. We made it to one. Phew. He is wonderful. He adores his big brother, wants to be on the move always, still has the cutest toothless grin, sucks the third and fourth fingers of his right hand, and LOVES to eat. He has a short fuse, loves to cuddle with his momma and carries his little cream colored lamb everywhere. We decided to have a quiet little get together for his birthday, well, as quiet as it can be with a very excited three year old and a tired, 12 month old, birthday boy. We had blue and white and green table settings and a sweet little lamb cake that I made for him.

I found a tutorial for a Fluffy Lamb Cake at Handmade Charlotte. The cake was a guest post from Lyndsay at Coco Cake Land. Check out both of their blogs for cute cakes and DIY projects. I made some adaptations to this cake. For one, both the cake and frosting are vegan and turned out great! Also, I chose to tone down the amount of icing on the cake with less piping as my kids are small and less sugar is always good. 
Lamby Cake
Dairy Free Vanilla Birthday Cake 
with Coconut Oil Vanilla "Buttercream" Frosting
For the Cake:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together water, oil, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and combine with whisk. Do not overmix.
  6. Immediately pour into prepared pans and place into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the Frosting (made enough to frost the entire cake as well as pipe with some leftover)

  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar 
  • 2/3 cup refined coconut oil  - solid form 
  • 5 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I used whipped)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 6 teaspoons vanilla unsweetended almond milk(or any non-dairy milk)
  1.  Whip the coconut oil and Earth Balance until it forms peaks. 
  2.  Slowly pour in sugar and beat until creamy. Repeat.
  3.  Add milk a teaspoon at a time to desired consistency.
  4.  Add vanilla extract and whip.
To make the Lamb
  1. Bake your cakes accord­ing to the recipe instruc­tions. Let cakes cool com­pletely on wire racks in their pans.
  2. Make your but­ter­cream accord­ing to recipe instruc­tions.
  3. Place a dollop of but­ter­cream on a cake plate to hold the cake to the plate.
  4. Remove one of the cake layers from the cake pan. Use a ser­rated knife to slice the top of your cake so the top is level.
  5. Place the cake cut-side-up on the cake plate.
  6. Using an off­set spat­ula or but­ter knife, spread an equal layer of but­ter­cream on top.
  7. Remove the sec­ond cake layer from your cake pan. Level the second cake layer as you did with the first layer. Place the sec­ond cake layer cut-side-down onto the first frosted layer. 
  8. Frost­ the top and sides of the cake.
  9. Gently use your bench scraper against the side of the cake to scrape all the way around to smooth out the frost­ing.
  10. Use a pip­ing bag and a star tip with a cou­pler and plastic ring, pipe little rosette dabs around the outside edge of the cake.
  11. Fill in the top third with more dabs of piped frosting.
To make the ears
Shape two pieces of white fon­dant into ears. I tinted a little bit of white fondant into pink with the all natural red food coloring and kneaded it in until it was evenly distributed. I found that it took a little more coloring than typical food dyes. Out of the pink fondant, make two small tri­an­gles to put in the middle of the ears. Stick them on with a drop of water. Place each ear onto a toothpick. Gen­tly push the other end of the toothpick into the sides of the cake for his sweet little ears.

To make the nose and mouth
Use the pink fon­dant to make a lit­tle tri­an­gle and then rolled a small piece of fondant between my hands and shaped. Place on top of the cake and gently press down.
To make the eyes
Tint a little bit of white fondant into blue with the all natural food coloring and kneaded it in until evenly distributed. Roll in between your hands, as you did with the mouth, until it is even. Shape it into lines for the eyes. Place on top of the cake and gently press down.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Homemade Dairy-free, Soy Free Nutella

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Nutella. Nice. This means gluten-free and MSPI safe. Whoo hoo! It does not, however, mean sugar free or healthy. I suppose everyone has those moments. I used to love Nutella. I stopped buying it when I started on the MSPI diet and then when we continued with the dairy free eating, Nutella was crossed off of the list. Until now...

Homemade Nutella
2 cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp coconut oil melted
Dash Himalayan sea salt
1 cup good quality dark chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp raw honey
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely so they don't burn.
3. Remove from the oven and place into a dish towel. Rub them together until the brown skin starts to come off.
4. Once mostly removed, place the hazelnuts in the food processor (I used my vitamix) and process until it becomes a smooth butter
5. Add in oil, sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt
7. Blend for another 2-3 minutes until smooth
8. Melt chocolate on the stove or in the microwave; pour into the food processor, along with the honey, and blend until smooth
9. Store in an air-tight container for a week or two. I prefer to keep mine in the cupboard at room temp.