Posts tagged ‘peanut butter’

West African Stew

Our local health food store has this luscious West African Peanut Soup that they feature in their hot bar on occasion. There’s something about the soup that screams “comfort” (…and eat me of course!). It combines some of my favorite foods in one dish- sweet potatoes, nut or seed butters, greens and coconut milk.

west african stew close

After inquiring about the ingredients used in their soup, I knew I could come up with my own version that I could make anytime…without having to wait whether it’s offered on the menu that day. Dare I say that I might even like this version better? Maybe because I added some of my favorite veggies and punched up the creaminess with the coconut milk…I even enjoyed this cold right from the fridge for lunch one day when I didn’t have a way to heat up the soup at work.

west african stew 1

This stew (or hearty soup) is a great way to kick off this Fall season and warm up on chilly evenings :)

If you aren’t familiar with Berbere, it’s a lovely warm Ethiopian spice mixture with a bit of heat made with chile powder, paprika, ginger, coriander and several other spices. It pairs really well with the sweet potatoes, tomato, nut butter and veggies and can be used in a variety of ingredients – . I purchased this spice mix in bulk, but if you are looking to make your own, try this homemade mix.
west african stew 2West African Stew
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Paleo-Friendly

1 Tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil
1-2 medium carrots, small diced
1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (if desired and cubed, about 4-5 cups, I used a combo of white and orange flesh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
2 tbsp Berbere spice mix (I like the flavor punch, but you can use 1 tbsp if you like less spicy, mild flavors)
1-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos, gluten-free soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for soy-free & paleo)
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (for nut-free) OR almond butter* (I’ve tried all 3 versions)
2-3 cups greens, rough chopped (chard, collards, kale, spinach)-optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from one small lime

For serving (Optional but oh-so-good)
Cooked rice, quinoa or your favorite grain (omit for grain-free and/or Paleo)
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
Chopped cilantro


  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potato chunks, and jalapeño and saute another 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in broth, coconut milk, tomatoes (undrained), Berbere spice mix, and Braggs/aminos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the hot soup broth and place in a small bowl. Stir in the nut/seed butter and whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping and even distribution), then add back to the soup and stir again.
  5. Toss in the chopped greens and cook for a few minutes wilted.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and season with additional lime juice, liquid aminos, salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with grains, green onions, chopped nuts/seeds and additional cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and enjoy!

*I’ve made variations of this soup…feel free to make it your own! I’ll add in sliced mushrooms, swap out orange for purple sweet potatoes, add in greens, throw in some leftover cooked grains if I need to use some up, etc.

west african stew

September 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Spooky No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (SRC)

Fall is hands-down my favorite time of year — the smells, the flavors, the colors, the cooler weather…all of it makes me a happy camper! I want to snuggle up in a big sweater (or sweatpants) and spend time in the kitchen creating comfort food. Let’s kick off Fall with a holiday-geared post for Halloween that’s not only quick, easy, health(ier) and fun. Oh yeah, and it has chocolate :)

Halloween no bake cookies 2

I’m sold! These no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies are the perfect addition to a holiday party, a potluck, a kid’s school event, a bake-sale, or even a tailgate. Not only are they portable but they are allergen-friendly and a healthier version of no-bake cookies. I’d say that’s a win in my book…you CAN have your cookie and eat it too :)

I was thrilled to be assigned Wendy’s blog A Day in the Life on the Farm for September’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. I had my sight set on her Morel Mushroom and Wild Rice Bisque (doesn’t that sound heavenly?!) but had a small hiccup. True story – I went to the natural foods grocery store and found dried morels, yet I opted out when 1.2 ounces rang up for $56. Yikes. Wendy wasn’t kidding when she said morels are like gold, I tabled that recipe for a night when I really want to “treat” myself or for a special occasion!

Halloween no bake cookies 1

I happily chose her No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies for this month’s reveal. Not only did I have a hankering for something sweet, but wanted something easy without much hassle (or maybe I didn’t want to wait on dessert). Once I was mid-recipe, ambition and creativity hit so I couldn’t help but whip out my cookie cutters for a little Halloween fun!

I made a few swaps to make these cookies allergy-friendly: I substituted coconut oil for the butter, sunflower butter for the peanut butter, and coconut palm sugar for the granulated white sugar. I amped up the fiber with a few tablespoons of flaxseed meal and I used non-dairy almond milk in lieu of regular cow’s milk. I made sure to use gluten-free oats and added a pinch of sea salt to the mixture. Voila…Now that’s comfort in a cookie WITHOUT sacrificing the taste :)

Halloween no bake cookies bat

Spooky No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Wendy’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free Vegetarian, Vegan, No-Bake, Egg-free, Nut-free Option


1/2 cup coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Spread (could use butter but it won’t be dairy free or vegan)
1 1/2 – 2 cup granulated coconut palm sugar (or other granulated sweetener)*
1/2 cup dairy free milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond milk)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (or peanut butter or other nut butter)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt, optional
3-3 1/2 cup gluten free oats** (I used about 3 1/4 cups)
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal, optional for added nutrition

For decorating and shaping (optional)
cookie cutters of your choice lightly greased with coconut oil
coconut butter (or your favorite recipe for a glaze) – I used about 3 Tbsp
black sesame seeds (for the eyes)


  1. Add first 4 ingredients into a 4 qt. saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high and hold one minute stirring often.
  2. Remove from heat.  Add sunflower seed butter (or other nut or peanut butter) to hot mixture and stir until melted.
  3. Add vanilla and sea salt and stir well.
  4. Mix in the oats and flaxseed meal, then stir well.
  5. Place cookie cutters on parchment paper and press mixture evenly into cookie cutters (make sure to press down to get into small creases) OR drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper. Let cool until set.
  6. Carefully remove cookies from cookie cutters after completely cool. If decorating, melt coconut butter until it reaches a liquid state. I put the whole jar in simmering water for a while and stirred occasionally and then scooped about 3 Tbsp out. Spoon liquid coconut butter into a small plastic sandwich bag and cut a small corner off to create a tip. Pipe over cookies to decorate and use tweezers (or tiny fingers) to place sesame seed “eyes” or sprinkle over the cut-outs.

*I used less because I didn’t want these cookies as sweet, it’s up to you! You could probably use agave, maple syrup or honey but I haven’t tried it with this recipe.

**If you want a less chewy consistency for the oats, feel free to pulse the oats in a food processor several times since they aren’t quick cooking oats

halloween no bake cookie ghost

For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

September 21, 2014 at 10:00 pm 15 comments

Frozen Chunky Monkey “Cupcakes” with a Fudgy “Frosting”

I am all about bite-sized treats. There is built-in portion control (theoretically speaking of course!)…then there’s the “cute factor”, and in my opinion, they are more fun to eat.

Though if I’m being honest, I always have more than one. However, with healthier ingredients I feel it’s OK to have that extra serving :) After all, I am getting an extra boost of fiber from flaxseed meal and oats, protein from the powder and nut butter and the healthy dose of fats keep me full. frozen mini cakes with nana icing

These frozen chunky monkey “cupcakes” were adapted from my carob covered coconut protein bars on a whim when I was in the mood for something sweet yet filling and needed a little protein boost. They hit the spot and I made several batches – some with and without the “frosting”, which can be eaten sans-“cupcake” guilt-free as well :)

That’s a win-win situation in my book!

frozen mini cakes with nana icing2

Frozen Chunky Monkey “Cupcakes” with a Fudgy Nana “Frosting”
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option

Bottom Layer
1/2 cup natural almond butter or peanut butter (can sub sunflower seed butter for nut-free), room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup or to taste* (could probably sub banana or soaked dates but haven’t tried this)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 grams good tasting vanilla protein powder of choice (I tested this with Jay robb’s whey protein, was 3 scoops)**
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2-3 Tbsp oat flour, oat bran (for grain-free, sub more flaxseed meal or use almond or peanut flour)
pinch of sea salt (eliminate if using salted nut butter)

For the Fudgy “Frosting”  
2 small ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1/2 Tbsp honey or agave (omit for less sweet…I was going for frosting)
2-3 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder to taste*** (could sub carob powder for caffeine free)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt, optional but enhances the flavor

For garnish
Chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (use chips or nibs for nut-free)


For the bottom layer
1. Line a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap or use a silicone mini muffin pan (my preference) and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine nut butter, oil, sweetener and extract. Process until smooth.
3. Add in remaining ingredients (protein powder through sea salt). Pulse until combined and well incorporated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a bit more flour to reach a cake batter consistency (the bottom layer will firm up when refrigerated though).
4. Spoon into 12 individual mini muffin cups and refrigerate until firm (I left the cups overnight, but you also freeze the cups for an hour or so before finishing them with “frosting” layer if using).

For the Frosting
1. While the bottom layer is hardening, prepare the topping. Pulse all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and well combined.
2. Spoon into a piping bag or a plastic freezer bag (this is to make the swirl on top). Place back in freezer for 15 minutes to let harden a bit.
3. Cut a small hole in the freezer bag and pipe onto prepared “cupcake” bottoms. Garnish with walnuts/chips/nibs and enjoy!

Best kept in freezer or frozen banana “frosting” will get goopy and melty. You may have extra frosting leftover depending on how much you pipe…you can freeze the rest and eat them frozen chocolate-nana ice cream cubes!

*My protein powder is sweetened so if you choose a powder that is unsweetened, feel free to add more sweetener to liking. If you want to keep the sugars low, adding a bit of stevia to taste is always an option but you may need more oil or nut butter to make up for the lacking moisture.

**If you would like to eliminate the protein powder, increase the oat bran/flour or almond or peanut flour
***Add cocoa/cacao powder to taste. If you prefer a lighter chocolate taste, use less…for a more intense chocolate taste use more. I used more because I like the deeper chocolate flavor.

frozen mini cakes with nana icing bite

May 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm 3 comments

Cocoa-Kissed Chia Energy Bombs

I’m always looking for healthy portable snacks and bite-sized goodies I can take with me when I’m on-the-go. With candy and treats surrounding me ALL DAY at work, it’s nice to bring something sweet to munch on so I don’t give in to all the tempting yet processed stuff staring at me in the face when my afternoon sweet tooth hits :)

cocoa kissed chia energy bombs

You know, that chocolate monster that just won’t go away unless you feed it a little something? Some people have will power…I just trick my taste buds instead!

These no-bake energy bombs are the perfect homemade snack or treat and can be adapted to your liking! Add your favorite dried fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, nut or seed butter or even mini chocolate chips or unsweetened carob chips for a little more decadence! If chocolate isn’t your thing, you could even omit the cocoa powder for a “blond” version.

cocoa kissed chia energy bombs 2

Cocoa-Kissed Chia Energy Bombs
Gluten-free, Egg-free, No-Bake, Dairy-Free, Vegan Option, Nut-free Option 


3/4 cup gluten free oats (I used Bob Red Mills) — could even try quinoa flakes for a change!
5 Tbsp ground flaxseed (I grind mine in my Magic Bullet using the “S” blade)*
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used finely shredded but regular works too)**
1 Tbsp unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp black or white chia seeds
rounded 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (can omit but I love the flavor and health benefits of cinnamon)
4 Tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup (do not use honey if strict vegan)***
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp creamy or chunky peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter (use sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add-ins (Optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried fruit, cacao nibs, chopped nuts/seeds
or even add in your favorite extracts or spices


1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Next, add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until wet combined.
3. Chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. Use a spoon or your hands and scoop into rounded tablespoons then rolls into balls. Store in a container in the fridge and enjoy!

Makes 14-16 energy bombs (unless you eat the dough like me!)

*If you don’t have flaxseed, you could probably sub the flaxseed meal with a nut meal like almond flour or even a protein powder for added protein (if you try this let me know this works, I like the added fiber and nutty flavor from the flax).

**I’ve made these sans-coconut as well, just increase the oats by a 1/3 cup

***You might be able to use date paste in this recipe but you may need a little more to help hold everything together, or increase the nut butter a bit…depending on the consistency of the date paste and nut butters. I use natural nut and seeds butters (just nuts/seeds and salt) so you may have to add a little more oats or sweetener to help hold the mixture together depending on the ingredients used. If it’s too crumbly, add more sweetener, if the mixture is too runny then add a bit more oats or flax.

cocoa kissed chia energy bombs1

March 12, 2013 at 9:30 am 13 comments

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