GF Oatmeal Raisin PB Chocolate Chippers

>> Monday, September 1, 2014

The folks at Peanut Butter + Co. contacted me to see if I'd like to try some of their peanut butter spreads after I posted my birthday Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Boy would I ever, I wrote them. I've been a huge fan of their brand for years on end, especially the Dark Chocolate Dreams mix.

So, I wanted to craft a recipe using a spread I had never tried before. And along with the White Chocolate Wonderful and Mighty Maple flavors, I got hooked on one that gave me this great idea for a cookie-hybrid. It's a chewy, soft cookie that's perfect for fall snacking. The best part? You only need one bowl to make them -- and cleanup is a breeze!

Gluten free, vegan, and simple to make.

What you'll need . . . 
  • 1 cup GF rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons hot water (flax egg)
  • 1 cup peanut butter*
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Pinch salt for topping cookies
* Obviously, I used Peanut Butter + Co's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl in this recipe. If you don't have it, just use 1 cup peanut butter, but add 1/3 cup raisins and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon to this recipe.

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flax egg with the peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract by stirring vigorously with a spatula.
  3. Then toss in the oats and baking soda and mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Then let the mixture chill for 30 minutes or so, just to firm up and let oats soak in flavor a bit.
  5. Scoop out in heaping tablespoons (almost double size) and arrange on your baking sheet (makes around 12 to 14 large cookies). 
  6. Flatten each with the palm of your hand slightly before baking for 9-11 minutes. Done when lightly golden on edges. 

Just a note on all these gluten-free recipes you've been seeing (like last week's Sweet Pumpkin Bread -- as a quick note on that recipe, I used FINE GRIND cornmeal -- if you use a coarser meal, it's likely to crumble). I simply ran out of flour last week and decided to get creative with the ingredients I DID have on my kitchen shelves. Many of you have written me because you appreciate the GF recipes, so I will try to provide more in the future.

Please let me know if you try this cookie!

Thanks to Peanut Butter + Co. for sending me the different peanut butters to try. I was not compensated or required to post about their products, but I've been a fan of this brand for honestly years and enjoy it tremendously. My opinions are 100% my own.

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Gluten-Free Sweet Pumpkin Bread

>> Friday, August 29, 2014

Here we go with the pumpkin! Expect a lot of it from me (and everyone else) for the next several months! I couldn't resist picking up a can of my favorite orange puree the last time I visited the store. We adore our Pumpkin Garlic Knots and Brie-Stuffed Pumpkin Garlic Rolls, among many other pumpkin-centric recipes. Don't you?

When I found myself without flour, I made a bread that didn't require any! It's a sweet, quick bread that contains no refined sugar, flour, or dairy/eggs. So, it's suitable for a variety of diets and preferences. We all deserve a little fall indulgence. (Didn't you hear? It's fall already, at least in my mind.)

Gluten-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, and perfect for breakfast, etc.

What you'll need . . . 
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons hot water (flax egg)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups FINE GRIND cornmeal*
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup gf rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • pinch salt
  • Handful semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
* I originally didn't specify the cornmeal I used -- but it was a fine grind variety. If you use a coarser meal, it will be more likely to crumble.

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard loaf pan with olive or coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together your wet ingredients -- pumpkin, milk, vanilla, flax egg, maple syrup, and oil. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients and then toss them into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix with a spatula until just moistened.
  4. Transfer to your prepared loaf pan and smooth down until even. 
  5. Bake for 1 hour, checking periodically. Should be set in the center when inserting a toothpick. If it doesn't come out clean, continue to cook for another 5 or 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool before serving.

I think walnuts would be an excellent addition to this recipe, I just didn't have any on hand. You can also substitute in any other purees you'd like, including applesauce, which would produce a lovely loaf. Oh, and I have another delicious vegan + gluten-free recipe coming up next week! It's a fall-ish cookie hybrid of oatmeal cinnamon raison + peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.


// My Writing, Elsewhere:

How To Eat Well On Just $20/Week
6 Health + Fitness Rules That Have Changed
10 Things Healthy People DO NOT Have In Their Homes
Satisfying Stir-Fries in 20 Minutes Or Fewer
Tips For Getting the Home Loan You Want
12 Delicious Nut Butter Recipes to Make At Home
7 Tricks For Better Posture Today!
12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have
5 Smart Ways To Save on Back-To-School Clothing
4 Workout Recovery Essentials For a Healthy Body
Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier + Cheaper At Home

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Homesteading: Cleaning With Vinegar

>> Thursday, August 28, 2014

I just stocked up on yet another gigantic container of incredibly inexpensive, non-toxic white vinegar. We use vinegar mostly for cooking and cleaning purposes in our home. It's a simple solution made up of mostly acetic acid (produced by fermented grain) and water.


#1: All-Purpose Cleaner -- Just fill up half a spray bottle with vinegar and the rest with water and maybe a few essential oil drops. Give a good shake and use for cleaning countertops, tabletops, and -- really -- anywhere else.

#2: Window Cleaner -- I add a bit of alcohol to the all-purpose mix (a few tablespoons works -- I make a smaller spray bottle of it for this purpose) and that helps windows stay streak-free!

#3: Dish Rinse -- I mentioned in our 5 Green Cleaners That Actually Work post that we make our own dishwasher detergent. We fill our rinse basin with vinegar mixed with essential oils. Works like a charm.

#4: Deodorizer -- Instead of spritzing air freshener around, we rely on vinegar to take tough odors out of our spaces. You can leave a cup of vinegar in a room overnight for tough odors or even spritz on carpet or other gross smells. The initial vinegar smell does go away! (And here are more ways to deodorize with vinegar.)

#5: Laundry Boost -- I often add 1/2 cup of vinegar to our laundry loads. It helps preserve colors, works as a fabric softener, helps rinse detergent clean, and even  lessens static cling!

#6: Drain De-Clogger -- If I notice a slow drain, I combine 1 cup of baking soda with 2 cups boiling water plus 1 cup vinegar. You'll get some bubbling action that might encourage those clogs to stay clear.

#7: Pots + Pans Cleaner -- We have a few stainless steel pots and pans, and they're always attracting burn marks and grime. I'll do a separate post on this one, but I put around 1 cup of vinegar with a couple tablespoons of baking soda and additional water in the pan and bring to a boil. Then I wipe it out with a cloth!

#8: Microwave Cleaner -- We pulled our microwave back out again now that we have space. And cleaning it is easy! I put 1 cup of water plus about 1/4 cup of vinegar inside and heat for around 5 minutes on high. Then I just wipe out with a cloth.

#9: Disinfect Cutting Board -- This is a biggie! Instead of using my all-purpose cleaner on our cutting boards, I use full strength vinegar to disinfect after each use. A little splash goes a long way.

#10: Sticker Stopper -- Have a sticker stuck on your floor or someplace else? Soak the thing with vinegar for 15 minutes and then remove with your nail, a coin or credit card.

#11: Bathtub Cleaner, Etc. -- I also use full-strength vinegar in our bathroom for most cleaning (tub, tiles, shower surround, sink. For tough jobs, I combine with our natural scouring scrub.

#12: Freshen Clothes -- I wrote an article titled You're Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What To Do Instead), and ever since -- I've been going longer between loads. If I've only gently worn something, I sometimes spritz it with a mixture of 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water and essential oils of my choosing. It acts like a fabric softener. Again, the initial vinegar smell dissipates.

#13: Veggie Wash -- If you don't like the Castile Soap Method for cleaning fruits and vegetables, you can make an easy spray wash using around 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar (hmm, sounds a lot like the dilution above -- score for multi-purpose!)

#14: Cat Deterrent -- I'm not 100% sure this works yet, but we've started using a little vinegar spritz as a deterrent for our cats to stay off our leather couch and dining room table. I hear it also works outdoors in gardens, etc. Here's where I found this trick.

#15: Ant Deterrent -- I discovered this trick when I was researching an article for Wise Bread. Basically, if you see a trail of ants entering your home, spritz the path with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water to erase their scent trails.


You can pick up a big jug of distilled white vinegar at your grocery or hardware store. I actually found our cheapest bet at Lowe's the other day -- and it was specifically a cleaning grade kind. Otherwise, you might notice a lot of spritzing and spraying.

3-pack of 24-ounce Sprayers -- This pack is helpful if you want to have a couple different dilutions at your disposal. For example, you could make one up of the all-purpose cleaner, the laundry/veggie wash in another, and window cleaner. Just label clearly so no mix-ups!

Glass Spray Bottle -- If you'd prefer to go the glass route, this bottle looks like a great buy. It has two different spray settings (mist or stream).

Essential Oils -- Pretty much any essential oil will go well with vinegar. Yeah, the vinegar adds another note to the scent. I like using lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus. I use lots of essential oils in cleaning to enhance the antimicrobial properties and add pleasing scents, and it only take a few drops!

What's the craziest way you use vinegar in home cleaning?


DIY Natural Lotion Cubes
Powerful DIY Laundry Detergent
5 Green Cleaners That Work
5-Minute Homemade Deodorant
8 Ways We've Eliminated Plastics
Cleaning Produce The Natural Way
Chemical-Free Clean With Castile Soap

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