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.

Milking the Almond Cow

Although I am not vegan, I drink almond milk. I have never liked the taste of cow’s milk and in fact, have always found it very strange that adults and children, weened from their Mother’s breast (or bottle), continue to drink another mammal’s milk. Why? Because the Doctor’s make us think it’s the only route for calcium.  Bull-oney. Many vegetables have calcium. Don’t get me wrong though, I do use Shatto (locally farmed) whole milk in some of my baking, and I consume other dairy products as well.

Anyway, because I try as much as I can to avoid preservatives and other additives store bought brands may have, I decided to make my own almond milk. In the long run, it’s also a money saver- that is, once you endure the cost of buying the raw almonds themselves. But a little goes a long way.

I found my almond milk recipe amidst the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks “the gluten-free & dairy-free kitchen” on page 173.  Because many people have requested this recipe from me, I decided to share it here. Tried & True.

dairy milk alternative

the goods

Total prep time for this recipes between 6 and 12 hours, depending on how long the almonds are soaked. Then the total preparation time is 15 minutes.

Equipment needed:

* Soaking bowl

* Blender

* Cheesecloth

* Spoon

* Measuring cup

* Bowl for catching milk

* Container for milk

Ingredients:

soaking bowl

* 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for 10-12 hours

* 4 cups water

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 tablespoon date syrup (page 189), brown rice syrup, or maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

1. Using a colander, drain the soaked almonds and rinse under cold water. (I sometimes mix the reserve water with my required 4 cups of water.)

2. In a blender, combine almonds, water (I recently cut my water down to 3 1/2 cups), and optional ingredients (if so desired).  Cover the blender and whirl the mixture at top speed until creamy, about 1 minute.      IMG_1642

3. Line a fine- mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth, then place sieve over/ into a larger bowl.

strainer cheesecloth in strainer

4. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer (I only pour and work with half of the mixture at a time) and allow it to fully drain.

5. According to the recipe, it  says about 5 minutes, but I gage it, then gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the mixture to extract  any remaining liquid.

milking almond cow

milking the almond cow

milking the almond cow

*Reserve the pulp for another use, such zucchini or banana bread, or the “flop” snicker doodles I made that have been degraded to snicker nibbles. (I will share my mistakes with images in a future post.)almond pulp

6. Transfer the milk to a glass container ( I use a canning jar) with a tight fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Note: the almond milk will fast pungenty after about 3 days.

milk

Useful tips, slightly edited, that I found online at Everyday Minerals:

* First, remember this will not taste like store bought almond milk since there are not any additives. (The Everyday Minerals author highly recommends to add a sweetener to taste. I however, never use sweetener to keep my options open for what I use the milk for.)

* To make creamier almond milk, add 1 teaspoon of walnut or almond oil. (I have not tried this yet.)

* Try experimenting with different flavors when blending the vanilla, water, and almonds. Some options might include: 1 banana and nutmeg, ½ cup pureed strawberries, ¼ cup of carob powder or melted chocolate. (Interesting, but this becomes more a smoothy with some of the ingredients.)

* You can make thicker almond milk by adding less water. Keep in mind that this will produce less milk and it will be harder to strain.

* If you do not have a cheesecloth, a strainer can be used instead. (I have done this, however your final product will be grittier.)

Some final words:

If you make this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback, along with any twists or turns you took to alter, refine, and personalize.

Oh and voila!, here is the smoothie I made  this morning with my home made almond milk, mixed frozen berries, a banana, 1 TBS flax meal, and Brown Cow brand Maple Yogurt.

mixed berry smoothie