Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

These protein bars are low in sugar, high in flavor, and a perfect meal on the go.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.

Carrot Bread with Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Drizzle

Carrot Bread with Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Drizzle

The non-dairy carrot cake was such a hit with the Man of Steel, I'm working on an even healthier quick bread, low sugar version.About a month ago, I posted a recipe for the Dairy Free Carrot Cake with Cream “Cheese” Frosting our family enjoyed at the Man of Steel’s 60th birthday party. The Man of Steel, who usually avoids sugar, asked if there was any way to adapt the recipe even more. So he can have it more than once a year on his birthday.

After thinking on his request, I decreased the amount of the sugar in the batter and baked it in bread pans. Next, I halved the shortening and cream “cheese” in the frosting, added a little almond milk and cut the powdered sugar even more to create more of a drizzle than frosting. The resulting carrot bread was delicious, and the recipe is below. However, the Man of Steel says it’s still too sweet, so I’ll be making it again with even less drizzle and decadence. Stay tuned for the next update.

Dairy-Free Carrot Cake


6 cups grated carrots
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine the grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl and set aside for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF, and grease and flour three bread pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and briefly set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Stir the flour mix into the wet mixture, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the carrot mixture and nuts.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pans. Bake for 40–45 minutes until the loaves are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10-20 minutes before removing them from the pan.
  6. Once the bread is completely cool, drizzle with icing.The non-dairy carrot cake was such a hit with the Man of Steel, I'm working on an even healthier quick bread, low sugar version.

Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Frosting


4 ounces vegan “cream cheese”
2 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, place the “cream cheese” and melted butter vegan stick. Cream them together. Add almond milk and beat until smooth
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and continue to beat the mixture until smooth. Drizzle over cooled loaves.
Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

These chai spice oatmeal cookies are perfect for dipping into coffee, tea, or a chai latte. But not in milk since this recipe is dairy-free.The minute I saw this recipe for Chai spice oatmeal cookies, I knew I would someday concoct a dairy-free version of them. Getting to someday took longer than expected, but the results were worth the wait. They are perfect dunking into coffee or tea or a Chai latte.

The original recipe appeared at The Mountain Rose Blog, and called for all organic, all free-range ingredients. You can find it here if you want to go completely natural, but it won’t be dairy-free like the one below is.

Dairy-Free Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (I like to replace part of the buttery sticks with lard)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 (scant) salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 350°. Put baking stones in oven to heat.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a bowl. Cream egg, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Add oatmeal and stir well.

Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts. Place on heated baking stones and press down slightly. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven. Place them on waxed paper lined newspaper to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

You Can Have Your Biscotti and Eat It, Too

You Can Have Your Biscotti and Eat It, Too

biscottiI tried a new main dish recipe this week, and it was delicious.


We served it for company, and it seemed a bit awkward to ask everyone to not eat until I took pictures.


That recipe will wait to be made again and photographed with only the Man of Steel inconvenienced by the need to photograph our food.


Today’s recipe is a favorite of mine because it is dairy-free, low fat, low sugar and absolutely delicious. What is it?


Which I made because any day now a copy of my new book The Caregiver’s Notebook is supposed to arrive. And that means I’ll make and send a box of biscotti to the publishers to celebrate. So I had to make a practice batch to be sure I had the process down pat and to taste test it, of course. The Man of Steel helped with that part, too.


This recipe first appeared at Down the Gravel Road in November of 2011. Here it is again, for your eating pleasure.

Low Fat, Low Sugar Biscotti

3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs and 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 cup to make them low sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond liqueur, such as Disaronna (I used 2 teaspoons almond extract)
1 tablespoon anise seed
4 cups coarsely chopped whole almonds (I used half walnuts and half almonds or sometimes use 2 cups nuts and 2 cups dried cranberries)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, egg yolks, and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light about 2 minutes; beat in vanilla, liqueur (or almond extract) and anise. Beat in dry ingredients and then nuts to form sticky but workable dough.

Divide dough into four, long portions on parchment paper. Flour hands and shape each portion into an approximately 15 x 2 inch log. Bake until pale golden and just beginning to crack, about 25-30 minutes.

Cool cookie logs on baking sheets until tepid, about 40 minutes. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Slice logs diagonally into 1/2 inch thick strips. Lay slices on baking sheets in single layer. (You will need 2 – 3 cookie sheets.) Bake biscotti until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing. They can be stored in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.)

Lemon-Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Lemon-Blueberry Zucchini Bread


Though it took longer than expected, here is the blueberried version of the non-dairy lemon zucchini bread recipe featured two weeks ago here on the Gravel Road. The first attempt resulted in a much wetter batter that the original recipe, which led to a gooey bread that needed a hotter oven and longer baking time. The second try incorporated those two changes, as well as not quite so much grated zucchini. This recipe also requires less sugar, so this bread is very low sugar…and dairy-free to boot. When you give it a try, leave a comment about how it worked for you. Thanks!

Lemon-Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Bread ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk substitute
zest of one lemon (minus 1/2 teaspoon for glaze)
3/4 cup grated zucchini (do not peel first)
1 cup fresh, frozen or canned blueberries (drain frozen or canned berries)

Glaze Ingredients:
11/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 365°.

Create buttermilk substitute by putting 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar into a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Add 2 tablespoons Coffee Rich and fill cup to 1/2 cup measure with rice milk. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In large bowl, beat eggs. Add oil and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk substitute, and lemon zest to this mixture and blend well. Fold in zucchini until mixed well. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and blend until all ingredients are combined.

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour 1/3 of batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle half of blueberries on top of batter. Pour 1/3 of batter over berries and spread with spatula. Repeat with remaining berries and batter.

Bake for 45–60 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick poked in middle comes out clean. Let sit on wire rack for ten minutes. Then slide butter knife around edge of pan and flip over loaf pan to remove bread from it.

Put loaf on a plate right side up. (Poke some holes in the top with a fork if you want the glaze to soak in more.) Mix glaze while loaf is warm and spread over the top. Let cool before cutting and serving.