The Biggest Balls of Them All- Peanut Butter Balls Revisited

For those who previously read, maybe even made the recipe I previously posted for no bake peanut butter balls.  I wasn’t happy with the anise or nutmeg, so I altered the recipe and came up with a new one that makes me oh so happy.  Enjoy these vegan and gluten-free protein filled sweets! ingredients

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 3 Tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons raw ground almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup oats (gluten free)

Directions:PB balls

  1. Mix all the seeds together in an oven safe bowl and bake/ roast in the oven (or toaster oven) at 375.  I didn’t roast them too long, only long enough to bring out their nutty flavors, about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate medium size bowl, use an electric hand mixer to ease the mixing of the peanut butter, agave nectar, and all the spices.
  3. Next, stir in the sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Once those are mixed in well, add the oats little amounts at a time as you may decide to use less per the consistency desired.
  4. Use your hands to knead all the ingredients evenly into the peanut butter dough and form into one big ball.
  5. If your dough is super soft, put in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. When firm, but not too firm, form into 1″-2″ size balls, then put back into the refrigerator to chill all the way through.  They are tasty and satisfying this way.
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Cauliflower & Chick Pea Coconut Curry

Tried this recipe and it’s the truth, I give it 2 thumbs up!

The other night I dug a can of coconut milk out of my cabinet thinking I would make coconut curry chicken.  It was a warm spring night and I wanted  something light, spicy, and simple.  I was in the mood for something exotic.  Inspired by my son’s attempt to avoid meat, I scavenged the internet for veggie curry recipes and stumbled upon this particular one via the site oh my veggies: meatless made easy.

I didn’t alter anything in this recipe intentionally, and I don’t know if I would change much if and when I make it in the future.  I did however, leave out cilantro because I didn’t have any, but I don’t think that really made a difference.  I served this delicious meal over wild rice and not only did I go back for seconds, so did my son.

I apologize for the image of this dish in a messy bowl.  I am trying to make a more consicence effort to take pics of the food I make and/ or eat, as well as when I take them.  This is my bowl on it’s second round.  Enough of my rambling.  Enjoy the recipe below!  Feel free to comment and tell me if you changed anything in the recipe when you made it!

 

cauliflower chickpea coconut curry w/ wild rice

cauliflower chickpea coconut curry w/ wild rice

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 large potato cut into 1 inch cubes (not in the original recipe- my little addition)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I did not have this ingredient and think it was fine without)

Cooked rice or naan for serving

Instructions

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in the spices and cook until they’re fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, coconut milk, potato and cauliflower.
5. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Uncover and cook 5 minutes more, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each serving with cilantro.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

*words by Rochelle Brickner

 

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Balls (No Bake)

A Ball Comparison

About a week or so ago my friend Maggie and I went to The Filling Station (located just off of McGee Trafficway), a unique coffee shop that not only offers coffee beverages, but also houses a juice bar, and offers tasty treats.  Normally I refrain from buying desserts at coffee shops to accompany my coffee, but due to my affinity for anything in ball shape, and the fact there were gluten free peanut butter balls in the case…..well, you know the outcome. I bought one, and so did Maggie.

The Filling Station (photo by JKramp@unionhill)

The Filling Station (photo by JKramp@unionhill)

These weren’t your ordinary peanut butter balls.  Upon first glance, one could tell there were pumpkin seeds in them, but to this day I cannot remember what else.  All I remember is that with every nibble, Maggie and I were trying to determine the peanut butter mingled flavors and spices we were tasting.  She thought anise, I thought clove.  We both agreed on cinnamon and probably agave rather than honey.  The relevance of narrowing down every flavor was due to our confidence that we could replicate these balls at home.

Now a week or so later:
First, I googled a base recipe for “no bake” peanut butter balls.  Most of them called for chocolate chips, some called for protein powder (ech), and most called for oats and ground flax seed (flax meal).  I don’t recall oats being a part of the equation in the original balls, and because flax can be undetected I don’t know if it was in the original balls either, however, I decided to add a little of both ingredients for texture and health benefits.  No way did I add chocolate chips.  I personally liked the original balls because of the unique blend of spices paired peanut butter, and chocolate chips with peanut butter is so passé.

Second, I gathered my ingredients….minus the clove.  I thought I had some in my cabinet and when I went to reach for it, it was beyond my grasp.  Oh well- when it came down to the nitty gritty, I didn’t really find a base recipe I liked online, so I winged it.  I am sharing the recipe I ended up with….so far, as I will continue experimenting with and tweaking this recipe.

No Bake Gluten Free Peanut Butter Balls

pb balls 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp anise *
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg *
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (flax meal)
  • 1/2 cup oats (gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, use an electric hand mixer to ease the mixing of the peanut butter, agave nectar, and all the spices.
  2. Next, stir in the flax meal, followed by the oats.  Once those are well blended, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Use your hands to knead all the seeds into the peanut butter dough and form into one big ball.
  4. If your dough is super soft, put in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. When firm, but not too firm, form into 1″-2″ size balls, then put back into the refrigerator to chill all the way through.  They are tasty and satisfying this way.

*As I said previously, I want to sample the originals balls again to better determine the spices.  It is the nutmeg or the anise, or both that don’t seem right- I think they need clove.  Overall, these balls did turn out fabulous! Enjoy! ….and I welcome your feedback.

Overall, my husband loves these balls- I even love them, but they are not up to par with the outcome of what I wanted.  When I get a minute, I plan on going back down to The Filling Station, buying two of their peanut butter balls, bringing them home, and savoring them with my husband who has always been a good partner in helping me figure out how to replicate some of our favorite treats, desserts, appetizers, and entrees that we’ve discovered in cafes and restaurants.

Gluten Free Mixes: Tried…and the Truth

I prefer to make all my baking foods from scratch, but lately I’ve been tempted to try some of those gluten free mixes that I’ve seen in the stores. So, today I am going to share with you my outcome and opinions of two particular gluten-free mixes I tried recently. The first being Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

I don’t have a bread machine (and I don’t believe in them), so I followed the basic bread making directions on the package.  It was fairly   simple to make and I actually had a better outcome with this bread mix than when I have made it from scratch. My problem in the past has been getting the dough to rise. Really, it’s probably because my kitchen is too cold in the winter when I’ve tried to make it, or my water added to the yeast is too hot or not warm enough…. Oye vey, the trials and tribulations of baking yeast breads.

Overall, I give this bread mix two thumbs up, as it was easy to make and it cooked up soft, rather than dry like alot of gluten-free breads I’ve tried. Udi’s has been rated the best gluten-free bread on the market….and this one tops it by far.

gluten-free bread

The only thing I do not like about any of the gluten-free breads I’ve tried so far is the crust. I ended up with the same crust outcome as what I get from an Udi’s loaf.  I am not a regular crust hater, I do not usually cut my crust off bread-  but this one I do because it is too thick and dominant. Yeah, I think dominant is the right word. an internal view of gluten-free bread loaf

Anyway, this mix can be purchased on vitacost.com (along with other gluten-free products and flours) for a reasonable price. Shipping is a flat rate of $4.99. So be sure to shop around for beauty products, lotions, etc. and make the shopping worth your while.

The other gluten-free mix I tried was Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Brownie Mix for $3.99.  I thought this would be a wonderful Valentine’s Day goodie for my family, and boy I was wrong.

TJ's Gluten Free Brownie Mix

TJ’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix

It may have something to do with the fact that while it was baking I couldn’t tell if it  was done, so I may have over-baked it. But I promise- I did bake it for the recommended 30 minutes, and while it was baking the oil slightly rose to the surface giving it this consistently shiny appearance.

As you will notice in my final result pic, I added chocolate chips to the mix, per recipe recommendation.  Overall, I give this mix one thumb up, and one thumb down. They actually tasted really good, so I cannot give it two thumbs down…..and if you like crispy brownies then you will like these. My son loves them, but although I like a crispy outer edge on my brownie, I also like a gooey chewy center- and these are NOT that.

gluten-free brownies

final result of gluten-free brownies

So after these experiences, I will most likely continue to tweak basic recipes to partially gluten-free (half and half with the flours), and fully gluten-free rather than buy mixes…until the next time I am tempted of course. But no matter what, I will give you my truthful opinion, and always share with you my successes and failures; and if there’s a recipe for it, it will be here.

Fluffy Gluten Free Waffles

Because this is a gluten free recipe, I must convey that my house is NOT gluten free, and so far I do not intend to make it that way. My motto is “everything in moderation” and until something happens which alters my way of thinking, my life will remain in balance.

But  these days admittedly I have been experimenting with more gluten free recipes than normal after noticing the more I cut gluten out of my diet, my stomach is happier. If only I weren’t so in tuned to my body, I would eat whatever I want, when I want. Waaah, but that’s just not realistic.  Most of the time when I bake or cook gluten free though, I don’t usually tell my family about the alterations.  I mean seriously, do they really care so long as it tastes good?  However, I do make mental notes of their compliments or criticisms, praise or disgust and lately I’ve been realizing that perhaps I should document my mental note: recipes I like or don’t like and why; ingredient tweaks and secrets (at least that I’m willing to relay)…….and so much more regarding edible, plus all those other things might find their way into our bodies one way or another…

… and so I have chosen to do so here- on these pages and posts.

I am sharing this basic waffle recipe, tweaked to be gluten free, because the morning I made them my daughter said, “Wow Mom these are great! Better than the waffles you normally make.” Honestly, the only thing I did was change the flour. I have always worked off the “Basic Waffles” recipe in The Joy of Cooking Cookbook on page 801, and have always altered the recipe by adding, omitting, and experimenting with other ingredients, but this was the first time I used a gluten free flour blend.

Gluten Free Four Blend

(recipe from The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen)

1¼ cups brown or white rice flour

3/4 cup potato starch (do not use potato flour)

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour or garbanzo bean flour

Combine the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and sorghum flour in a large bowl. Mix together with a whisk until thoroughly blended. Transfer flour mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.  This gluten-free flour mix will keep for 4 months in the refrigerator. (I use mine so quickly, I keep it on the countertop.)

Facts about xanthum and guar gums (because they are in ingredients below):

These binding agents lend elasticity to baked goods. Good for gluten-free. But please note, a little goes a long way- use too much and the dish will be gummy, use too little and it will crumble too easily.  This is the concept I have been experimenting with when altering a basic recipe with gluten-free flour.

Now to the waffles.


Basic Waffles

gluten free waffle

Choices on how much butter you use are factored by: 4 tablespoons for a reduced-fat waffle; 8 tablespoons for a classic light and fluffy waffle; or 16 tablespoons for the crunchiest most delicious waffle imaginable.

(Preheat waffle iron)

Whisk together in a large bowl (dry ingredients):

1¾ cups of gluten-free (or all purpose) flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon flax seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together in a separate bowl (wet ingredients):

3 large eggs, well beaten

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1½ cups milk

Directions:

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently whisk them together with a few strokes.  If you wish, fold in other ingredients at this time. Otherwise, spoon approximately 1/2 cup batter (or the amount recommended by waffle manufacturer) onto the hot waffle iron, making sure its distributed evenly by using a non-meltable utensil. Close the lid and bake until waffle is golden brown. To gage when my waffles are done I use my own discretion, and utilize the “ready” light on my waffle maker as a reminder to check on them. So obviously serve immediately slathered with butter and syrup. Even add some powdered sugar to make a syrupy sugar paste. MMMMMM yummy.

Some final words:

I usually double this recipe and put the leftover in the freezer, making sure to slightly undercook the amount I know will become freezer bound; so when the waffle gets reheated in the toaster or toaster oven, it won’t be overcooked. “Le’ go my Eggo.”

If you try this recipe, I welcome your feedback: to know if you thought these waffles were tasty, if you added your own alterations, or if there’s anything you might change for future quality purposes.

Now I’m off to make some homemade almond milk and gluten-free snicker doodle cookies -with the almond pulp from my milk making…….