Blackberry Frozen Yogurt (without an ice-cream maker)

It’s finally summer and my favorite time of year- berry season!  Give me all the berries…strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.  It brings a smile to my face when the little fruit stands on the side of the road that have been shuttered for nine months are now brimming with fresh fruit.  There is SUCH a difference in flavor between store-bought berries and local, freshly-picked berries. No comparison, really.

We recently had family in town from Illinois and it was such a pleasure to share this unique California experience with them.  There we all stood with our cartons of berries, devouring them in the gravel parking space with juice dripping down our chin.  Messy, but the best.  So, with our house constantly full of summer fruit, I decided to find another way to use them instead of eating them straight from the refrigerator.  And since it’s going to be over 100 degrees every day this week (!!), let’s do some homemade froyo!

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Nut-Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (with Crisp Brown Rice)

My husband is raving about these cookies.  Yes, they’re tasty and crunchy but simply the best cookie I’ve made thus far?  I didn’t think so, but he says otherwise and I’ll take that from my harshest (only) food critic.  I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

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These are nut-butter cookies because they’re made with a combination of almond and cashew butters, though I’m sure substitutions (all almond butter, peanut butter, etc) would work just fine.  Cashews are a bit more mellow in flavor than almonds (in my opinion) so using cashew butter really balanced the strong almond flavor of these cookies.  Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice (or Rice Crispies) and you’ve got a cookie with lots of flavor and tons of texture.  Top with flaked sea salt for good measure.

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They’re chewy, crispy and chocolaty…you should totally do it.  Happy weekending!


nut-butter chocolate chunk cookies (with crisp brown rice)

These come together in a snap and substitutions are welcome.  If you don’t have cashew butter, 1 cup of almond butter can be used instead.  Or peanut butter. Or any nut butter, really.  Don’t skip the crisp brown rice.

  • ½ cup cashew butter (raw or roasted)
  • ½ cup roasted almond butter
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup crisp brown rice
  • ½ cup  chopped dark chocolate (I prefer at least 70% cocoa)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine nut butters with both types of sugars in a large bowl until everything is combined.  Add in the egg and stir until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, baking soda and salt.

Add chopped dark chocolate and crisp brown rice.  Stir to combine.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I then rolled each cookie dough ball between my hands to make sure they were all uniform in size and would spread evenly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.  Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet before removing them.  Store in an airtight container and they should keep for about a week.

 

tomato & cucumber salad {with lemon-caper dressing}

This salad screams summertime!  Though it’s only April, we’re getting summertime vibes over here and I am (somewhat) ready.  I’m ready to walk away from the stove and fire up the grill.  I’m ready to simply toss some veggies together to accompany our meal and call it day.  I’m envisioning sitting with my husband on our back patio at dusk under the twinkling pergola lights, listening to our wind chime dance in the breeze.  While sipping on an ice-cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, I am wholeheartedly enjoying this salad on a perfect summer evening.

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Almond Pulp Chocolate Chip Bars

As we have embarked on a few new house projects, painting our rooms have been the easiest to tackle first.  Painting has really provided time for me to unwind while listenening to the podcasts that have been building up in my library. The most recent TED talk on the concept of originality really struck a chord.  They pose the question: when is copying flattery, when is it thievery and when is it sheer genius?  Just because we, as humans, tend to borrow, riff or sample ideas from others does not make us unoriginal- it actually makes us innovators.  It’s a novel concept since we (I) have grown up with the belief that the inherent nature of using someone else’s work is morally wrong.

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Cherry Chocolate Almond Bars

Larabars have become my go-to snack bar because they contain only handful of ingredients, all of which are completely pronounceable,whole foods and come in a variety of flavors.  The only thing is they can get a little expensive so my solution is to make them at home!  I’m always on the hunt for a new or better homemade snack bar and while I’ve made a few versions before, none really wowed me with their flavor.  Except for these.  These are a winner because chocolate, cherries and almonds are the three best friends that I ever did see.

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