Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks

Peppermint Patty Pretzel SticksIn life you win some and you loose some. These Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks are a tale of both! I do not have pictures for the whole process since this was one of those ideas that became a post due to all of the things that went wrong and then how the situation went right!

Peppermint Patty Pretzel Sticks

Let’s rewind to last week…

It is the end of the week before the Christmas hustle and we are burned out. There have been parties at work, parties with neighbors, food treats for neighbors, gifts and food treats for teachers, Christmas cards, mailing gifts for family all around the country, and on and on (I am sure you get the picture as you were probably doing a similar dance). I am wiped out. Then I remember that I had committed to bringing a treat for my daughters class party the next day. At this point, I am all about simple. So without spending any time researching online or going to the store, Chris and I raid the pantry to see what we can come up with. Score! I find a bar of white baking chocolate, pretzel sticks and sprinkles! In my mind, I picture these cute little pretzel rods half covered in white chocolate with pretty Christmas sprinkles covering them. Simple and festive, what could go wrong? I am sure some of you reading this already know what went wrong, but for others, hopefully I can help you to not make the same mistake I did!

Let’s get started with the part that went WRONG!…

Read More »

Date Syrup or Date Puree

Date Syrup or Date Puree Ok, all you Whole30 and Paleo eaters out there this is how you cheat… if you’re the cheating kind that is.  Whole30 does not encourage desserts or added sweeteners, even if they are 100% natural whole foods.  Now, if you’re like me, “does not encourage” leaves a lot of room for interpretation and I interpret it to mean, “this is not best practice but it is not forbidden.”  So, if you just need to have a glass of sweet tea without dumping ½ of a cup of refined white sugar into it, or you want a way to make a plan-approved apple crisp that doesn’t leave you disappointed and wishing for the real thing, this recipe is a trick you might want to try.

Medjool dates were one of the foods that really helped me get through the Whole30 food challenge.  I am one of those people that really needs something sweet after a meal.  It doesn’t have to be a huge, indulgent dessert, but instead just a small sweet bite of something is all I need to really feel satisfied after a meal.  Whereas Medjool dates are certainly not a piece of sweet and earthy dark chocolate, but they are sweet and earthy and when kept in the freezer, become almost like eating a caramel chew candy.

I think I was craving sweet tea at the time this idea occurred to me.  “Why not chop up some dates, add some water, and cook them down to make a date simple syrup of sorts,” I thought.  I was really looking for a date-sweetened liquid to mix into a glass of tea.  Then it occurred to me, when I was making the syrup, that there was another useful and tasty sweetening product here: date puree.

Now, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the many uses for these two sweeteners but I can say that when we have used them, they have worked perfectly and tasted delicious.  So far, we have used the date puree to make a Whole30 apple crisp but I can also see it working quite well as a sweetener in most any baked good (brownies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, etc.).  As for the syrup, ironically, I have yet to make sweet tea with it but I did use it to make this Bourbon Old Fashioned and wow, was it good.  Keep a look out for this pantry essential to make its way in to many recipes to come! …

Read More »

Whole30 Apple Crisp

Whole30 Apple Crisp

So, we have this baker friend.  Actually, she does bake, but that moniker does her no justice at all.  She is really an artist who works in, well… cake (among many other delicious sweets).  Recently, Danielle’s and my experience doing Whole30 came up in one of our conversations and this baker friend seemed rather intrigued.  It turns out that conversation had motivated her to try the challenge herself.

Can you imagine?  You make sweets for a living and you are doing the Whole30?!  I thought I had it rough during those 30 days and I wasn’t BAKING CAKES FOR A LIVING!  Now that is a food challenge.

In an effort to encourage her in the most difficult early days of her challenge (and maybe a twinge of guilt?), we decided to make her something sweet as a way of saying, “See, it’s not that bad. There is life without added refined sugar… you just have to get a little creative.  You can do this!”

Now, in fairness to the Whole30 food challenge, desserts are not encouraged (even if technically on plan) and finding sweetener “workarounds” is not in the spirit of the challenge.  But this qualified as a special circumstance, no?  Seriously, she is a baker!  Is there no mercy at all?

Read More »

Bourbon Carrot Cake

Bourbon Carrot Cake

We’re not crazy people, I swear, but for both of our children we have made all of their baby food up until they were consistently eating regular table food.  This is actually a lot easier than it may sound and is just one small thing we can do to give our kids a healthier start in life.  We hope that this early experience with wholesome foods, prepared with love, will plant the seed of appreciation for real food and because we are not limited to the menu in the grocery store’s baby food isle, we can introduce them to endless flavor combinations.  As a parent, the aspect of making our children’s food from scratch that I appreciate the most is the control we have over what we put into our children; we actually know all the ingredients in their food and can pronounce everything on the ingredient list.  What a novelty!

Read More »