My daughter and I went to a coffee shop in Madison during my last visit. We spied homemade peanut butter protein bars in the cooler. My daughter picked one up. “These look good,” she said.
“Too bad they probably have whey in them to jack up the protein,” I said.
“No dairy,” the woman behind the counter said. “But they do have flax seed.”
The daughter and I were ravenous as we’d eaten only salad for lunch, so we laid two bars on the counter, ordered our coffee, and sat down to enjoy our treats and watch my adorable grandson be adorable.
The protein bars were delicious. So good we spent every minute we weren’t laughing at the grandson’s high jinks deciding what ingredients were in the bars so we could make them at home.
Here’s the recipe I created after arriving home. That means the daughter hasn’t taste tested them. But the Man of Steel and I both think their pretty good. The recipe’s pretty forgiving, so you can add your favorite ingredients to the mix so they tickle your taste buds, too.
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars
1 cup natural peanut butter (the gooey kind)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Kirkland chocolate chips
1 cup puffed rice
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well mixed. Press into a greased, square 9 x 9 pan. Put in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 12 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
A good while back, maybe even a year ago, a recipe for vegan lemon poppy seed cookies caught my eye. Not because of the vegan part. Because lemon and poppy seed are two ingredients I love. I got to thinking about that recipe on a recent, cold winter day that practically screamed for my kitchen to produce something warm, yummy, and fragrant in defiance of the weather.
The original recipe can be found at the Craftsy website. If you want the vegan version, you’ll want to check it out. While this version is dairy-free, it includes animal and gluten products. The cookies were quite tasty, but a little tough. Next time I make them (maybe later today), I’ll increase the amount of baking powder and use a lighter touch while mixing them. This is a recipe worth perfecting.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- 1/4 cup natural plain almond butter (stir well if oily and separated)
- 3 tablespoons softened unrefined coconut oil
- 3 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lemon zest, loosely packed
- 1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Crack egg into medium mixing bowl and lightly beat the egg.
- Whisk in the almond butter, coconut oil, agave, vanilla, and lemon zest until fully combined and smooth. Use a spoon if it gets too thick.
- Add the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt on top of the wet ingredients.
- Stir well until a large ball of dough starts to form.
- Knead a few time until it holds together
- Roll the dough into about 1-inch balls and place with 2 inches of space in between each on a large baking sheet.
- Tear a small square of parchment or wax paper and place on top of one dough ball. Gently flatten to 1/4-inch thickness with a flat-bottomed glass or bowl.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes. The bottom edges should be golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- Once fully cooled, store in a sealed container for 4-5 days.
The test kitchen at our house is is officially open for 2016. The first offering of the season isoven-baked fajitas. The recipe, which is making the rounds of Facebook, is low fat, chock full of veggies, and contains no diary. When served on warm tortillas, however, the Man of Steel can top his with sour cream and cheese, and I can garnish mine with refried beans and guacamole. We really liked it. See what you think!
Oven Baked Fajitas
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until #chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are done. Serve on warm tortillas. Spread the tortillas with refried beans, if you wish, add the meat mixture, and garnish with your favorite toppings.
Today’s recipe adds a slight twist to a tasty pork chop recipe that first appeared on the Gravel Road in October of 2014. A year ago, the pork chops used were bone-in, as you can see in the picture above. This time I wanted to clear out a few boneless pork loin chops from the freezer, but was worried that quick frying would make them to dry and tough.
So I placed the frozen chops in a brine of 2 cups water and 1/4 cup of pickling salt and let them sit all day–on the kitchen counter until they were thawed and then in the fridge until a 1/2 hour before supper. Then I poured off the brine, rinsed the chops several times, patted them dry, and followed the recipe below from then on.
The chops were as tender and moist as I’d hoped and as delicious as ever. This recipe is way too fast and easy for the taste punch it delivers. It’ll show up on our table several more times until grilling season arrives again!
Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops
2 cubes of frozen cilantro pesto, thawed 1/4 cup fresh pesto
4 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick each
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together. Sprinkle on pork chops and rub mixture in with fingers. Flip chops over and do the same on the other side.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook for 5–7 minutes on each side, turning once, until they are no longer pink. Serve chops with cilantro mixture.
Since the great allergy elimination diet of 2015, an event I hope never to repeat in this lifetime, I’ve cut down on carbs and products containing yeast. A very sad turn of events since I love pizza. And though I’ve learned to love it without cheese, I don’t want to get rid of the crust, too. Or make the cauliflower crust that’s all the rage these days. I just can’t go there.
So in an effort to find the next best thing, I gave no yeast pizza dough a try. I started with a recipe for healthifed pizza dough and substituted almond milk for the milk to make it dairy free. The Man of Steel agrees it’s a recipe worth tweaking, but for now we both still prefer pizza dough with yeast. That said, here’s how I made it.
No Yeast Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place pizza stone in oven to heat. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add oil and almond milk. Stir with a fork until it forms a soft dough. Put dough on a well-floured surface and knead 10 times. Cover and let set 10 minutes.
Form dough into a round disk and roll into a thin circle on a lightly-floured surface.. Place a piece of wax paper on top of the dough. Grasping the edge of the paper and the edge of the dough, carefully roll them together into a tube. (Use a spatula to release any dough sticking to the surface.) Remove pizza stone from oven and unroll the tube, dough side down, onto the stone. (See picture above) Discard the wax paper. Pri.ck dough in several places with a fork
Bake the dough for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and add toppings. (Ours has basil pesto for sauce, oven-roasted tomatoes, thin-sliced onions and sweet pepper, cheese (on the Man of Steel’s half), and turkey pepperoni.
Put in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes longer. Remove when cheese is melted and edges of crust are golden brown. Slice and enjoy!