Nut Butter Bombs

Clearly you know by now I like treats.  Dark chocolate and dates go hand in hand. That is why these naughty by nature treats are topping my favorite list!

Sinful, maybe.  Decedent, maybe.  Heavenly, maybe.  Down right freakin amazing, heck YAASS!

Most of all, these nut butter bombs are healthy and nutritious.  They are rich, gooey, sweet and salty (if you use it for a topping) and the ideal treat to keep stocked in your freezer for banishing those sweet tooth cravings. Not to mention, one of the easiest treats to make.

When it comes to treats, there has to be dark chocolate!   It is a requirement for whether a treat is made or not. Not always, but pretty darn close!

I don’t receive too many “no thank you’s” from the family or friends either.   When smooth, creamy nut butters and chocolate are combined, you feel like you can conquer anything!  Throw in a fiber rich, potassium filled, antioxidant power house date, and you’ve got a chocolate and caramel combo that just makes your eyes swoon and your mouth drool.

Hope you like these treats! These are:

Soft & Chewy
Fiber rich
Perfectly Sweet
Easy to make

Need I say more!

 

Ingredients:

•Dates (pitted)
•Almond Butter or nut butter of choice.  I do not use any with salt and oil and suggest to avoid any added ingredients.
•Optional toppings, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne.
•Dark chocolate of choice, I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

 

 

Directions:

A plate to place the dates on. You can line with parchment paper.
Choose the amount of dates you want.
Slice down one side of the date.  If there are pits, be sure to remove them.
Spread in your choice of nut butter.  We prefer almond butter, but if you like peanuts, peanut butter tastes divine as well.

 


Place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Next, melt dark chocolate or chocolate of choice.  I used a microwave setting and it works fine.
Pull out the dates from the freezer and begin pouring the melted chocolate over the nut butter filled dates. At this time if you want to sprinkle some chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne, now is the time

 

The chocolate will start to harden.
Once they are all covered, place back in the freezer for another 10 minutes or so and then enjoy!

I stored these in a glass sealed container in the freezer.  I would guess about 4 days is good, but they never last long enough to find out :)

 

Support and Encourage

 

It doesn’t matter if you are playing sports, are a kid or parent, have a job, are a stay at home parent, or are at the grocery store.  Kindness is key to survival and supporting each other is one of the best things we can do to leave this world in tact for our children.

I can think of many situations over the years to share, but there is a reason why they are in the past and have given me something to learn from.

We are not perfect, we may not believe in the act or logic of others and find it difficult to support their choices, however there is no need to ignore or be disrespectful to them.  Obviously if they are murderers, pedophiles, etc., you will not find many supporting those actions… I think you get my point.

What I am talking about is life. As my children are growing and are now teenagers and our lives are ever evolving, I am so much more in tune with the behaviors of others and teaching our children how to react to those behaviors.  As most of what they have learned is that the behaviors of others are usually issues within that person.

Recently I had observed two different scenarios that involved each of my children.  My youngest is in 7th grade, my oldest is a freshman and they both play for their school volleyball teams.  They have many friends on their teams that they have been friends with since elementary school, as well as played sports with.  As parents, we know most of these families.

I was attending my 7th graders game.  All of the players played a great game.  They were high-fiving and cheering each other on.  It was great to see them support each other, even when mistakes were made.  As an adult, you would expect to see most parents cheering on all of the players. Well, there was one parent who only cheered for her own child. As I observed from behind, it was an act that really disappointed me, yet realizing that maybe not many people probably noticed.  Especially the kids. However, this flood of emotion came over me and I realized I was letting the actions of this person destroy my inner peace.

Long story short, I did let it effect my joy in supporting all those kids.  It was noticed by other parents.  I let it get to me, because my child is friends with this parent’s child.  Which made me even more sad that an adult would behave in such a way.  In the big scheme of things, it really isn’t that detrimental.  It is merely an example of who not to be.

On to the freshman.  She has performed very strongly in volleyball and was asked to train and play with the JV team. She was very concerned about her teammates feelings and wasn’t sure if she wanted to accept the request.  Her kind heart was making this a difficult decision but also teaching her to take experiences and learn from them.  As we both have learned, when asked in high school sports, you just DO and figure it out along the way.

I was so proud of her teammates and parents in the support and encouragement she received.  There will always be feelings of jealousy or insecurity throughout their lives but to see how that was pushed aside and shown how to lift each other up with encouragement was pretty impressive. Due to her coming up to the JV team, the players brought their game up and the coaches felt she would have more play time and be of better value staying with the freshman team. A decision that she was happy about.
.
No one is perfect. There’s always going to be somebody better than you at something. Why not learn, absorb and celebrate our differences and encourage each other. #getoveryourself

Chickpea Scramble by Plant Based Jane

Posted on by 0 comment aside

In case you haven’t noticed, I LURVE chickpeas!  They are such a nutritionally versatile legume.

Chickpeas are anti-inflammatory and contain an abundance of non-heme iron—the safest form of iron. They are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and phytates. Chickpeas contain five times more the antioxidant content when sprouted.

Eat your legumes!

Jane of Plant Based Jane featured a Chickpea Scramble recipe that I knew I had to give a try.  I am very grateful to have connected with this inspiring bright sassy soul.  Jane is a delightful ray of sunshine. Her love of life and passion shine through every post.

There are many tofu scramble recipes to choose from.  However, in this house tofu is not well received because our bodies not only don’t agree with it, it’s to similar to the texture of eggs and it makes me gag. Therefore, replacing the tofu with chickpeas was brilliant!

Jane’s recipe features mushrooms and tomatoes.  Those are two ingredients that only two out of the four of us will eat.  Yeah, I know it sounds crazy that some of us do not like mushrooms and tomatoes.  Rather than making two different meals, those ingredients were left on the side.  Not only is the flavor just right, this recipe can be customized to your liking.

I made our scramble with diced zucchini, spinach, black beans and roasted potatoes.  Sprinkle nutritional yeast to add some zing! The additional ingredients vary depending on what is in the refrigerator.  This meal has been breakfast and dinner.  As a result of this recipe topping the charts in this house, the kids will take a tortilla and make a burrito for their school lunches!

Click on the link below and go visit Jane.  Not only does Jane offer some incredibly delicious meals to eat, you will be entertained by her wittiness.

Ingredients:  You can add all or just what you like :)

Chickpeas drained and rinsed
Black beans drained and rinsed
Sliced mushrooms
Spinach
Roasted potatoes
Sliced tomatoes
Diced zucchini
Turmeric
Chili powder
Onion powder
Nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper to taste

Click here for recipe 

 

 

Nutrition source: Nutrition Facts

Easy Chickpea Salad

Posted on by 0 comment aside

I have been squeezing lemons and limes on my salads lately for a quick and easy dressing on these warm summer days.  Lemons and limes not only bring out flavor, they provide some benefits to the body.  They are and excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, are an antioxidant, and help aid in digestion.  All the more reason to squeeze freshness into your food.

This is a salad that I whipped up with some basic ingredients I have stocked in the kitchen.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am a huge fan of chickpeas.  Another incredible nutrition powerhouse that can go in just about any meal, just about :)  A few favorite things about this flavorful salad is that is was not only easy to make, but so refreshing to eat on a warm day. Also, oil free is a bonus!

Ingredients:

2 cans rinsed and drained chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, diced (I used a couple large ones)
1 small red onion, diced
the juice of 4 limes (freshly squeezed, no store container stuff)
1 jalapeño, diced and seeded to your level of heat
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, chopped
desired amount of arugula or preferred greens

Directions:

Using a medium size bowl, add all ingredients (except avocado) and mix well.  Eat right away or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (my preferred method).  When you are ready to eat, add the avocado and greens. I made it with arugula and dandelion greens and it was delicious.

 

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Posted on by 0 comment aside

Sweet potato??? really??? was my first thought when I came across this ice cream recipe. I was very intrigued by it because of the ingredients… ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS!!! Now who wouldn’t want to make this??

I have had great success with Brandi at The Vegan 8 recipes which was another reason to test this one. Well we have been blessed with another heat wave :( and we want something cool and sweet. I typically do not use coconut milk, but with this being ice cream, I felt it would be necessary for the full creaminess effect.

After I had blended everything (which BTW, you just put it all in a blender, so easy!) I had to taste test. Um, well I could have kept taste testing, this stuff is seriously delish! so I can only imagine how it will be when it is ready to come out of the freezer… DEVINE!!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

 

Even though the coconut milk adds fat, it isn’t very much compared to the cream in packaged ice cream.  The processed fat and dairy which comes with a price to your health.

Our bodies can digest this easier as it is plant based. The sweet potato is loaded with Fiber, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and also has protein and carbs, all of which come from the natural source. All the more reason to splurge once in a while with a cold treat!

 

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

 

Ingredients you will need: Serves about 4 cups

Canned coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk) be sure to shake before opening
Dairy free chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Cooked mashed and packed sweet potato (not yams)
Pure vanilla extract
Sea salt

 

Recipe here: The Vegan 8 – click here for recipe

 

Directions:

Cook the sweet potato however you prefer. I used a microwave because I want to make this quick and I was excited to get it in the freezer :) If you choose to bake it, bake at 400 degree F with skin on until soft. Do not steam or boil it.

Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash it really well. No lumps or skin. Pack it into 3/4 cup and add it to the blender.

Continue with adding the vanilla, coconut milk and salt. But do not blend yet.

Melt your chocolate chips your preferred method. Be sure to not get the chips too hot as they will burn easy and will be useless. Also try not to eat all the chocolate ;) I used my setting on my microwave, heat for about 15 seconds then stir and heat again until about 90% is melted then remove and continue to stir until all chips are melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the blender, scraping every bit of chocolate you can from the bowl into the blender.

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

 

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Taste test, and adjust if needed. I didn’t add anything extra to it, it tasted amazing just as is and I could have kept tasting it!

I poured mine into an ice cream storage container as I do not have an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream maker, use it! Using the storage container, be sure to return every 30 minutes to stir to get your desired consistency. Best to set a timer for 30 minutes as a reminder and it may take at least 2-3 hours to get it to set.

Now it may not last long enough to be in the freezer overnight, but if you do have some just take it out to thaw for about 20-30 minutes to soften. Also, remember every time the ice cream is removed, thawed, and then put back in the freezer, ice crystals form. My guess is that there won’t be much to worry about that. You could always pour it in individual containers for single servings.

making choclate ice cream

Creamy Fudgesicles

Posted on by 0 comment aside

It is hot and anything cold is being shoved in our mouths. The kids wanted to make popsicle’s. That typically means they make a smoothie and pour it in the popsicle molds.  Well I had chocolate on the mind, so I talked them into making fudgesicles and my sales pitch worked :)  These were super easy to make, like less than 10 minutes if you have all the ingredients handy.  Freezing time took longer than I expected so I advise making them early in the day for that evening or the night before. They were worth the wait, creamy rich chocolatey coolness.

Continue reading

Mexican Tahini Sauce

Posted on by 0 comment aside

Veggie burgers are made almost once a week, per request. I do my best to change them up, but sometimes it needs a sauce or topping that just gives it that BAM! Well, this Mexican Tahini Sauce from the lovely The Vegan 8, just knocked my socks off! Bonus, lots of savory flavor and it is oil-free!!

Continue reading

School Incentives – Rewards

Posted on by 0 comment aside

State testing in our school district is currently happening.  The girls came home last week with a sheet of paper with the words “Incentive Program” at the top.  As I began reading through this sheet of paper, I suddenly started to feel frustrated and kinda angry.  Why do kids need incentives for doing something that is standard in their school curriculum?

Continue reading