311. Black Cake Brownie Bites [GF, Vegan, Oil Free]

Black Cake Brownie Bites| GF, Vegan, Oil Free | Ann Ning Learning How

I am Asian. I am not Jamaican. But I have a taste for the ultra-dark and rich fruit cake that comes from Jamaica since we grew up eating the version made by one of the F daughters. SO good. I just refer to it as “black cake.” That, along with Mommy’s Fried Rice, is one of the foods of my youth. Ai Ai told me that our friend S starts preparing hers months before Christmas.

So when I set out to make these brownie bites I was aiming for a gingerbread taste. They came out more reminiscent of the black cake I love. I was not disappointed – it was a happy accident! My apologies to real Jamaican fruit-cake makers – I know the real thing is irreplaceable – I’m just pleased I came up with an easy alternative for myself. If you’ve never had the kind of cake I’m talking about, be informed that the taste is strong (although alcohol-free in this case). To achieve a lighter taste, try ¼ cup maple syrup and ¼ molasses. Or a scant ½ cup maple syrup and a splash of molasses. I haven’t tried this yet, but once I finish the rest of my brownie bites I will. Oooh – or use all maple syrup and add a splash of mint extract for mint brownies. I bet you saw that one comin’.

Black Cake Brownie Bites [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Yield: 24 mini muffin-size brownies

Preheat oven to 350

Line mini muffin trays with paper liners

    • 3 Tb ground flax
    • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ c molasses
    • ½ c unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/2 c GFDF mini choc chips
    • splash of vanilla
    • dash each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
    • 2 dashes of ginger powder

Mix everything well. Fill your mini muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. After they cool, frost only those you’ll be consuming with a white glaze (e.g. powdered sugar + non-dairy creamer), sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Mine aren’t necessarily GF/Vegan, e.g. crushed candy canes, M&M’s (I love the dark chocolate mint, green ombre variety), but if you need a safer choice, try colored sanding sugar.

266. Sun or Almond Butter Scones [Grain and Dairy Free, No Sugar Added]

Sun Butter Scones (with dried fruit; flourless) | Grain and Dairy Free, NSA |Ann Ning Learning How

I love scones.  It’s impossible to grow up in this house and NOT love them.  Baker Smurf is a prolific producer of fantastic scones.  And I’m not talking about those huge doughy wedges you buy at the coffee shop or local bakery – not that I’m utterly opposed to these (esp. the strawberries n cream one at Panera) – they’re just…different.  Mommy’s are flaky, tender triangles (or little mountains if they are blueberry drop scones) with a light dusting of sugar on their golden tops.

I baked scones often in Oregon.  I always used all whole-wheat flour, and I used to always be surprised by how good Mommy’s scones were (all white flour) when she’d come to visit and leave some scones in my freezer for me.  I used to add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and some dried strawberries so I had delicious chocolate-strawberry scones.  That’s the only flavor I made.  And I used to brush the tops with half-and-half and sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on top from a little jar I kept in my cabinet solely for that purpose.

These are the first scones I’ve made since getting sick and I’m very excited about them.  I can make these since they are so simple – they are basically two ingredients:  sun butter (or almond; I haven’t tried PB yet, but I want to), and dried fruit. There is no need for butter, cream, flour, or sugar.  This is a small batch since I’m home again and I need to be able to fit things in my toaster oven since our home configuration doesn’t allow me to use the oven safely.  So you’ll get 6 scones out of this.  You have two choices:  1)Drop:  use a spoon or two to drop 6 mounds of batter onto a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet, or 2) Wheel:  Pat the dough into one wheel/mound.  Use a butter knife to cut it into 6 wedges.  Place the wedges on your baking sheet.

They bake up in 10 minutes, so you can make these in a flash.

Sun Butter Scones or Almond Butter Scones (Grain Free and Dairy Free, NSA)

Preheat oven to 350
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper
Yield:  6 scones – this is a small batch


  • ½ c sun butter or almond butter (I haven’t tried peanut butter, but that’s next.  Sun tastes like PB to me, which I love.  Almond butter has a milder taste, and smells SO good as it bakes, so that is a fabulous choice, too.  It just depends on what you have on hand.)
  • 10 apple rings (dried), or scant 1 cup mixed (larger) dried fruit (by larger I mean that raisins probably aren’t a good choice.  I had a mix of prunes, apricots and apples I wanted to use up – you want things to be kind of chunky.)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • splash of vanilla (if using almond butter, feel free to add any other extracts you like, e.g. maple or almond)
  • 6 DF Chocolate pieces for garnish – optional – I did these on the sun butter version but dispensed with them the second time around

Combine everything except the fruit in a small food processor or the Ninja small cup (that’s what I used).  Blend well for about 30 seconds.  Add the fruit in.  Pulse about 10x.  You want things to still be chunky, not pulverized.  Remove the blade (careful!) and stir by hand.  Make drop scones or do a wedge wheel (see above).  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Serve warm.  (I like baking mine for 10 and then toasting them as needed in the morning for breakfast.)

Almond Butter Scones (with dried fruit; flourless) | Grain and Dairy Free, NSA |Ann Ning Learning How


Click HERE for more Grain Free treats.

239. Flourless PB Bread and PBJ Bars [Grain Free, Dairy Free]

Flourless PB Bread | Grain & Dairy Free, NSA |Ann Ning Learning How

130.  Flourless Peanut Butter Muffins

130. Flourless Peanut Butter Muffins

This is actually an update of the popular “Flourless Peanut Butter Muffins” I posted a long time ago.  It was one of the first recipes I shared and it was clear from how I was throwing things in the blender that cooking/baking with me is not an exact science.  I’ve heard that you should be more precise when baking, but I’m sorry, I can’t.  However, I did manage to make the muffins more replicable by simplifying the recipe.  I took out the chestnuts, agave, and Greek yogurt!  Plus, this time you just need a bowl and a spoon, and I’ve updated the old post accordingly.

My compliments to The Detoxinista – I tried baking with just nut butter after looking at her recipe for PBCC blondies.  She used natural/thinner/oily peanut butter for her blondies, but I used “regular” (like Skippy or JIF) for all of my baking.  I think this resulted in a fluffier (not fudgey) result.  So go for the regular PB.

I baked flourless peanut butter things quite a few times this summer.  Here are two instances:

Flourless Peanut Butter Bread
(pictured at the top of this post)
Grain Free, Dairy Free, No Sugar Added | Preheat oven to 350, Grease an 8×8 square

I made these for Mrs. T, who is trying to avoid flour and sugar for health reasons.  After some coffee-break recon one Sunday I learned that she’s partial to peanut butter.  I did a “practice” batch for our family, and those among us who quite enjoy sugar liked these sugarless squares.  Personally, I liked them with some jam smeared on top, like in the picture.  I used a fruit-sweetened strawberry spread.

  • 1 c peanut butter (not natural-style or homemade)
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • splash of vanilla

Combine everything in a bowl.  Pour into your square.  Bake at 350 for around 20 minutes.  I’m sorry, I honestly can’t remember how long I baked them – just start checking at 20, and let them go a few minutes longer if they don’t look done.

Flourless PBJ Bars |Grain Free, Dairy Free | Ann Ning Learning How

Flourless PBJ Bars
Grain Free, Dairy Free | Preheat oven to 350, Grease an 8×8 square

229.  Flourless "Nutella" Bars

229. Flourless “Nutella” Bars

These were the treats I made originally to take to The Gym.  I had a batch in the oven before breakfast that morning.  I found out later, though, that peanuts are on the allergen list, so I switched gears and tried the Flourless “Nutella” Bars.  Thankfully my parents arrived that day so Baker Smurf could advise me when my test batch turned out too soft.  Basically, these are similar to the bread, but this is a thicker, double batch, and the jam is swirled on top so it’s baked into the bar.  Yay!!  Fun times.  My swirl would have been prettier, but Mommy hadn’t arrived yet.  Also, I sweetened these bars so they are more in the “PB Cookie” category than the “bread” category.

  • 1 c smooth peanut butter (not natural-style or homemade)
  • 1 c chunky peanut butter (not natural-style or homemade)
  • 2 eggs…I think I used flax eggs
  • pinch off salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ c honey or agave
  • splash of vanilla
  • 2 Tb jam of choice (for the top)

Combine everything except the jam.  Of course you can use all smooth or all chunky PB if you like.  Pour into your square.  Gently warm the jam (I put mine in a small dish) in the microwave.  Dot the top of your batter with the jam.  I made 9 globs.  Drag a toothpick or butter knife through the jam and batter to achieve a feathered effect.  Bake at 350 for around 25-30 minutes.

236. Peachy Crisp [Grain Free / Dairy Free]

Grilled Peaches | Ann Ning Learning How

One of Mommy’s favorite stories from my inpatient life concerns my interaction with an unsuspecting customer service person on the phone at RIO (3rd Hospital).  I was very much in the “unconvinced” state of mind (I didn’t think anything or anyone was real, required proof for everything, and acted rather badly since everything was fake anyway and I was extremely uncomfortable).  Mommy recently told me I should go through all the pictures from my inpatient life and just look at my facial expressions.  I scrolled through a couple last night and Mommy’s right – they are a riot when viewed from this perspective.  It’s funny since she knows what was going through my mind so she can read my face – I’m either staring blankly, smiling unknowingly, or humoring my PT with a very blasé sort of attitude.

So one night Daddy was making some calls on my behalf, probably to my bank or credit card company.  Institutions will often desire to speak to the account holder to verify that it’s okay to speak to the person placing the call.  In this case my job was to simplify confirm that I was ill and that Tanpo was an authorized person who could act on my behalf.  This was my first non-family phone call and Mommy handed me the phone.

“Miss Tan,” the lady began chirpily, “How are you today?”

Peachy,” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm and my face so glum that Mommy quickly took the phone back.  That was the first and last time I spoke to a customer service representative while in the hospital.

Heh heh.  Sorry, Mommy.  This was the beginning of Mommy starting to apologize for me.  Incidentally, she and Daddy had no idea that when I woke up I’d be so incredulous (and ornery).  My incredulity was a surprise.  But they were just thankful that I woke up in the first place and because they are extremely emotionally robust (I learned that term from NP1) people they were/are able to roll with the punches as we make our way through RecoveryLand together.

49.  Did she really just say that?

49. Did she really just say that?

My siblings are also emotionally robust people –when I came home I called them ASAP to make them tell me the story of what happened to me (I was looking for corroboration). It must have been distressing to them but they were both very obliging about it.  I talked to Ai Ai first, and then Ernie.  When their stories matched I was like, Okay, fine.  Whatever.

Meanwhile, it’s been a couple years and I know this really happened.  Several months ago a man in the waiting room at VT was on the phone and used the word, “Peachy.”  Mom and I immediately cracked up because that word has become part of the Tan family lexicon and it elicits an immediate reaction when we hear it.  “Peachy” is somewhat of an old-fashioned expression, I think, and peach crisp, cobbler and pie are classic desserts that I would consider old-fashioned, but also always welcome – they never go out of style with my palate.  I made some modifications to accommodate my new eating habits this summer, but I enjoyed the peaches at Tim&Ai Ai’s thoroughly.  Today you have 2 choices:  Single Serving PC or PC for the Family.  Obviously I made both!  But I have to admit that I was the primary consumer of the family-sized crisp.  Hey – a girl’s gotta eat!

Peachy Crisp | Single Serving, GF, DF | Ann Ning Learning How

Single-Serving Peachy Crisp [Grain Free & Dairy Free]

  • 1 ripe peach, halved with the stone removed – place in a ramekin face-up
  • handful of hazelnuts – I toasted mine briefly in a dry pan
  • 2 dates
  • small spoonful of coconut oil
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of nutmeg

Actually, this could serve 2, or just make one now, and save the other half peach for later.  Pulse the nuts and dates in a little food processor or Ninja.  Add in the small spoonful of coconut oil, vanilla, and the cinnamon.  Pat the topping down over the peach in the ramekin.  Sprinkle the whole with a slight dusting of nutmeg.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 5-15 minutes, broil for 3-4 minutes.  Watch it so it doesn’t get too brown!  Let it cool a bit.  I tried baking it for both 5 minutes (it was hot through, but still relatively firm) and 15 (it was super hot and soft so my spoon cut through the peach like the sharpest knife) – but it’s really up to your preference.  Let it cool a bit bc the peach and ramekin will be very hot.  Serve with vanilla yogurt or ice cream (I used coconut yogurt).

Peachy Crisp |GF, DF | Ann Ning Learning How

Peachy Crisp for the Family
serves 5 (ish)

  • 4 ripe peaches, cut into chunks
  • 1 c hazelnuts – I toasted mine briefly in a dry pan
  • 4 dates
  • spoonful of coconut oil
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of nutmeg

Grease your baking dish (I’m sorry I don’t know how big mine was – I used a small round casserole – just eyeball it), and preheat the oven to 350.  Pulse the nuts and dates in a little food processor or Ninja.  Add in the coconut oil, vanilla, and the cinnamon.  Pat the topping down over the peaches.  Sprinkle the whole with a slight dusting of nutmeg.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Watch it so it doesn’t get too brown! Serve with vanilla yogurt or ice cream (I used coconut ice cream).

230. Paleo Sandwich Bread

Paleo Sandwich Bread [Grain Free; Coconut Flour] 3 ingredients, 2 min | Ann Ning Learning How

The end of BBQ season is in sight, or else I’d call these “Paleo Burger Buns.”  But it’s almost time to start thinking about packing school lunches, so I went with the less seasonal “sandwich bread” – because this really does make a lovely sandwich.  And a burger bun.  I’ve tried it both ways and I have to say that I haven’t enjoyed food this much (since I got sick) until I started eating grain and dairy free.    🙂

This recipe is basically the coconut flour Paleo English Muffin by Grain Free Groupie, but I got tired of looking at the link I posted, could only remember 3 of the ingredients, and I wanted a flatter, thinner bread.  We’re having burgers tonight, so I’m going to do this again in about 30 minutes.  The weather is absolutely gorgeous today so I’m sitting on the patio and we’ll likely dine al fresco tonight, too.  Tans outside?  Voluntarily?  Hog wild, people, hog wild.

Paleo Sandwich Bread [Grain Free]
based on GrainFreeGroupie’s Egg McMuffin

1 egg
1.5 Tbsp coconut flour
1.5 Tbsp water

Mix well.  Pour into a greased glass loaf pan, or a similar microwaveable dish with a suitable surface area for 2 “slices” of bread.  Microwave for around 2 minutes. Let it cool a bit, cut into 2 and make your sammy!

So Simple: Paleo English Muffins | Almond or Coconut, Single Serving, Microwave | Ann Ning Learning How

222. Lime Cream Icebox Pie [Grain Free and Vegan]

Lime Cream Icebox Pie | Vegan & Grain Free | Ann Ning Learning How

I had a lot of personal angst about what to call this.  Should it be “Lime” or “Lime-Coconut?”  I went with just “Lime” bc there is no coconut in this recipe, just coconut oil, and the flavor emphasis is definitely on the lime.  However, I do feel that coconut compliments the taste of lime very well in general – I’m not apologizing for the coconut I’m just saying that this no-bake dessert is lightly scented with the fragrance of coconut whereas lime is the intended keynote speaker.  (Side note – perhaps I could call this a No Sugar Added dessert since I only use dates but dates are so sweet I feel almost guilty about doing so.  Let the record show, though, that this is sweetened with fruit only.)  Did you get the part about “no-bake” dessert?  Summertime presents wonderful opportunities for me to produce desserts sans heat sources and go back to making one of my favorite things:  PIE.  I’m sure you like the idea of not turning on your oven and heating your kitchen, and I hope the dairy-free among us will appreciate the non-dairy opportunity to enjoy a creamy pie.  And the crust is a winner, in my book.  I toasted raw almonds and they were incredibly yummy.  The pie iterations here are endless.  FYI this is NOT the last time you’ll be seeing this pie on my blog.  🙂

This recipe is loosely based on a lime cheesecake (raw, vegan) I saw on a Cooking Channel show featuring The Chicago Diner (a 100% vegan eatery).  I made this with two lovely ladies in mind – D (Miz Betty’s daughter in law) was going to come over last Saturday morning but she couldn’t because of illness.  A, however, carried the torch for her, and showed up with (among other lovely things), some amazing lime cheesecake bars.  D, you see, had been planning on bringing lime pound cake.  The “lime” part was hearsay, but came from a reliable source.  I looked longingly at A’s lime cheesecake bars, but I’m glad I’m (almost entirely) GF|DF right now or else the entire platter would have ended up in my tummy and that would have been very shabby behavior on my part considering there were a lot of guests to feed.  Thank you to both ladies for the inspiration!  PS.  I’m still obsessing over coconut flour pound cake recipes.  A citrus one would be lovely, but T mentioned that her daughter is having a classic almond pound cake at her wedding so I just HAD to go get some almond extract last week.  I’ll probably end up doing both.

One last thing – this is a skinny pie.  Skinny as in the filling is not overflowing, not skinny as in “this will make you thinner” – because it won’t.  The primary ingredient is nuts.  I like this pie skinny because I’m so enamored of the crust.  Also, I topped mine with a dollop of House Whip from Trader Joe’s since I have a major weakness for whipped topping you find in the freezer section.  If you want a taller pie, though, and prefer the all-natural route, top the pie with cashew cream or coconut cream.

Lime Cream Icebox Pie [Vegan, Grain Free]

Makes 1 pie


1 cup raw almonds
4 dates, pitted
¼ cup coconut oil


For the filling:

¾ cup cashew cream
juice of one lime + as much zest as you like so it’s “limey” enough
¼ cup coconut oil
splash of vanilla

Prepare the Crust:  Toast your almonds (I stirred mine occasionally for 10 minutes in a dry pan.  You could try buying roasted almonds, but I only had raw and the results of toasting on the spot were delicious.)  Pulse the almonds and dates in a Ninja or food processor.  Add the coconut oil.  Be careful of the blades!  Stir to combine, dump it all out and press down in the bottom of your pie plate.

Prepare the filling:  Mix everything (remember that everything should be room temperature or else your coconut oil will seize up).  Pour it over the crust.  The filling will be runny – don’t worry, it will harden.  Let the pie set in the freezer, then store in the fridge so it will be soft enough for serving.  You can top it with whipped “cream” and garnish with lime/zest if you like.

Pssst – You know how easy this is, right?

Cashew Cream ||Ann Ning Learning How

My favorite part of the Cashew Cream post:

I do not make health claims for any of my recipes/practices.  This theoretical conversation illustrates why:

Friend:  Do you seriously eat like that?

Me:  Yeah.

Friend:  So how’s that working out for ya?

Me:  Well… [makes sucking teeth sound]

I try to stick to “real” food – a popular practice among the health conscious these days…I’m just saying I’m not exactly the poster child for robust health.  Yet.

An older gentleman at Costco called out to me in the checkout line (I was in a wheelchair at the time), “So I guess you’re not ready for preseason yet, huh?”

Give me another year :).


216. French Fried Toast

French Fried Toast | Grain & Dairy Free | Ann Ning Learning How

One of the most difficult parts of living grain free is that I love bread.  Let me loose in a Great Harvest Bread Co. and would come out with loaves of challah, cinnamon chip, many scuffins and having sampled everything on the sample block after asking them to slather my slice with butter.  YEAH!  Just thinking of it makes me happy. I had a dream during the early days of RIO (3rd Hospital) when I was still pretty spacey that I worked at a bakery.  It was a fabulous dream because it centered on an amazing family-sized brioche that was soft and  fragrant.  I could smell it in my dream as I wrapped it up for sale.

36.  Eyes *OPEN* - "What's so funny about being in a wheelchair?"  "Umm...I crashed mine into a wall?"

36. Eyes *OPEN* – “What’s so funny about being in a wheelchair?” “Umm…I crashed mine into a wall?”

And then I woke up and faced that rock-hard omelet and a similarly tough bran muffin.  Remember, I’m not knocking the food there – they actually had a wonderful vegetarian lasagna I still think about – but that thermal food cart (the one I avoided when I crashed into the wall) cooked everything to death.

Given my love affair with bread (although I love ice cream, too), I was so pleased to find suitable Paleo English muffin options.  I wanted something sweet one morning when Ai Ai had made a baked French toast with Great Harvest’s cinnamon chip bread, so I turned to the coconut flour banana bread I had in the fridge.  You can use any grain free bread you like – I happen to be partial to my banana bread, and it was lovely.

I love this banana bread!  (Grain Free, NSA)

I love this banana bread! (Grain Free, NSA)

My goal here was to minimize egg usage but still get my toast to actually fry. 

French Fried Toast

  • Grain free bread, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • splash of non-dairy milk
  • splash of vanilla
  • coconut flour

Whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla with a fork.  Drizzle a little on both sides of your slice of bread.  You could use a brush, but I just drizzled with a spoon very gingerly.  Take a pinch of coconut flour and sprinkle it on one side of the bread.  Repeat for the other side.  Fry it up like you would any French toast.

I’m not sure how many slices 1 egg will coat but I’m thinking at least 4 or 5 – you’re using just a little bit of egg.  Play with it and add more if you need to.  One happy side effect of grain free eating is that I don’t feel as guilty about doing things like eating my French toast with maple syrup.  I am still sugar-conscious but how are you supposed to eat French toast without syrup?

I made this last batch of banana bread with hazelnuts.  I ❤ hazelnuts!  I enjoyed it toasted or straight from the fridge topped with chocolate hazelnut (“Nutella”) spread.  I was very pleased with the light and fluffy texture I achieved this time – it was like frosting :).   I’m going to try to recreate it this weekend and if I’m successful I’ll tell you about it next week.

210. So Simple: Paleo English Muffins [Grain/Dairy Free], Almond or Coconut Flour

So Simple: Paleo English Muffins | Almond or Coconut, Single Serving, Microwave | Ann Ning Learning How

I love English Muffins…or any kind of muffin, really.  But at present I’m most interested in grain-free breakfast items that are not borderline desserts.  Ask me tomorrow, though, and I might very well be back on the giant muffin train – but for now I’ll point you in the direction of 2 options:  (1) Almond flour (recipe by Fitcupcaker)  and (2) Coconut flour (recipe from Grain Free Groupie).  The choice is up to you!

Paleo English Muffin (Almond Flour, Single Serving, Microwave) | Ann Ning Learning How

I used TJ’s just almond meal (I don’t think it’s the blanched variety many people recommend) – that’s why it’s speckled.  But I like the speckles 🙂

So Simple:  Paleo English Muffin (Coconut Flour, Single Serving, Microwave) | Ann Ning Learning How

I smeared my muffin with chocolate-hazelnut spread (“nutella”) I made in the Vitamix.  Yummy for my tummy!  The drink is an iced latte with no-strain hazelnut milk.  I love how the coffee just sits on top of the ice and the bottom layer is still milky white.  My colleague, C, had a coffee-drink calendar at her desk (2011) and I used to study the different drink pictures every month.  I was never able to achieve this striated effect except now, accidentally.
Both options are single-serving microwave recipes, so if you are anti-microwave, sorry – this ain’t for you.  But if you are not opposed to microwave usage these are great grain-free breakfast options that come together fast.

Another microwave, grain/dairy free option:

And if you didn’t click on the milk link…

201. So Simple: Banana Date & Nut Bars [Grain Free, NSA, inspired by Elana’s Pantry]

So Simple:  Banana Date & Nut Squares | inspired by Elana's Pantry| Grain-Dairy Free, No Sugar Added | Ann Ning Learning How

Date and nut cake is S’s (OT6) favorite baked good.  When I left The Place I brought her a date and nut loaf Mommy had helped me to prepare.  Now, more than a year later, I am sufficiently recovered to do it all on my own since I just toss everything into my Vitamix.  I pureed everything and then just roughly blended in the dates and nuts at the end.  I don’t have grapeseed oil so I used your favorite, and mine, coconut.  Also, I omitted the agave and just tossed in a banana, so there is no sweetener except fruit in my version.  The banana scented bars are fantastic – I froze the bulk of mine and enjoy them straight from the freezer – the texture is soft enough to allow this.  If you like banana bread, you’ll LOVE these.  If you do not like bananas I will likely be trying some non-banana alternatives in the future, so stay tuned.

The Recipe:  Date Walnut Bars from Elana’s Pantry

My Changes:

  • Sub coconut oil for grapeseed oil
  • Sub a banana for agave
  • Blend everything in your blender – wet ingredients first, blend.  Add dry, blend more.  At the end, add dates and walnuts – pulse lightly so they get chopped but are not pureed.

Oh yeah – so I realized that when I told you about the PB Zucchini Brownies from fastpaleo last week I failed to mention two important ingredients:  1) Peanut Butter and 2) Zucchini.  Oops, my bad.  I wrote about them in the body of the text but when it came time to detail my veganized recipe I forgot.  I don’t proofread much bc of my vision issues, so these things happen.  xoxo.  Welcome to my world.  So if you’re going to reference the recipe, make sure to look at my updated post (click on the picture below) and not the email you got if you’re a subscriber (thank you!)  PS.  If you ever notice any gaffes like this, please do let me know – you’re not going to hurt my feelings.  The new Floppy Me needs your help to be accurate.

196.  So Simple:  PB Zucchini Brownies [Grain Free, Vegan]

196. So Simple: PB Zucchini Brownies [Grain Free, Vegan]

196. So Simple: PB Zucchini Brownies [Grain Free, Vegan]

So Simple:  PB Zucchini Brownies [Grain Free, Vegan] from fastpaleo.com || Ann Ning Learning How

These brownies are originally from fastpaleo.com, shared by a user named michelerock. Thanks, Michele! I simplified the recipe for my “kitchen cruiser” (I often “cruise” like a baby using the furniture when I’m in the kitchen) convenience, and made them vegan for kicks. Except for the chocolate chips – I don’t know what’s in mine. If you’re a real vegan you probably already know what kind of chocolate chips to use. It’s time to break ’em out – this recipe is a winner.

VINDICATION. It happened yesterday at around 7pm. Someone Googled “Kate & Leopold, JJ offers Kate bean.” I love the fact that the search did not concern the film’s cultural commentary subtext but focused on the “Edamame?” incident that completely grossed me out. In case you missed reading this post, it’s worth it for the edamame reference, but even if you have no recollection of a movie called Kate & Leopold I like this post because the obscure pop culture reference morphs into some devotional thoughts on being out of options. Ever been there? Between a rock and a hard place?

Okay, enough gloating over my search engine referrals. On to today’s offering – grain free peanut butter zucchini brownies! I made them vegan by making flax eggs. Do you know how to make a flax egg? Here’s a helpful tutorial: How to make a flax egg (the RIGHT way). I confess I do not grind my own flax seeds so I’m already throwing caution to the wind and doing it the WRONG way. But I’m trying to use up some ground flax seed in my fridge and figured this was a good way to do it, plus I’m trying to experiment with flax eggs for the (semi) vegans in my life, and the best part is that when you bake vegan style you can taste the batter with reckless abandon having bypassed the raw egg dilemma. Win-win, really.

The only other changes I made included replacing the 1/3 cup of raw honey with a squirt of agave. (I don’t think strict vegans eat honey, anyway.) I only used a dash of cinnamon in place of the spices, and perhaps most significantly, I did not grate my zucchinis – I just chunked 2 8-9 inch zucchinis and threw everything into my trusty Vitamix. There was some concern that my method would be too watery and wouldn’t bake well, but grating things scared me in my old life, too, so I figured I’d take my chances. Some reviewers said they had to bake their brownies for an hour, but mine were done in 25 minutes. They were moist and fudgy, and since I love peanut butter, I was thrilled with the flavor. I couldn’t tell there was any zucchini in there, and the lack of flour of any kind was a bonus.

So these were super easy for me – since I just pulverized everything in my blender. I highly recommend that you go make them now: Zucchini Brownies from FastPaleo.com

…okay, I think I changed the recipe enough to show the recipe here.

Peanut Butter Zucchini Brownies [Grain Free and Vegan]

Based on fastpaleo’s recipe by michelerock

Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9×9 or similar sized pan

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 8-9 inch zucchini, cut into chunks
  • squirt of agave (or a spoonful, depending on the container)
  • 1 flax egg
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegan-friendly chocolate chips

Blend everything in your blender, except the chocolate chips – fold these in at the end. Pour into your greased baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350.

Fun fact: If you’re British you might prefer the term “courgette” to “zucchini”