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Curve Balls and Ice Cream

Sometimes life can throw some serious curve balls at you.

One minute, you think you’ve got it all together.  You’re certain of yourself- you’re confident, happy.  You’ve got plenty of friends and family and everything is smooth sailing.

Then one small change can throw you right off.  All of a sudden you’re left questioning whether what you thought all along was real.  Something you thought was one thing seems to be something else entirely.  You start wondering if this entire time you were in the middle of some big joke that no one let you in on.

Yeah, sometimes life gives you not-so-pleasant and unexpected surprises.

And then sometimes it gives you ice cream.

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But here’s what we’re not going to do: We’re not going to tell you that this “ice cream” is as rich and decadent as a bowlful of Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s.  Sorry everyone, but that kind of sinful deliciousness cannot be achieved without the addition of cream and sugar, which doesn’t really work with the whole healthy food blog thing…

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However, we will tell you what it does have:  Banana, chocolate and peanut butter.  Some of you may think we’ve over-done that flavour combo over here, but we can’t disagree more!  You can never have too much peanut butter-chocolate-banana.  You just can’t.

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So although this may not be as indulgent as regular ice cream, this stuff makes for a pretty delicious, simple and healthy summer snack or dessert.  And that’s the honest truth.

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Because you know what?  Sometimes things happen that you wish hadn’t, and sometimes people disappoint you- but chocolate, peanut butter and banana will not.  So enjoy, friends!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

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Prep: 10 minutes
Chill: 2-3 hours (optional)
Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas
1/4 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
pinch of salt

Directions:

Peel the bananas and place on a tray lined with wax paper.  Place in the freezer and chill for 2-3 hours, or until the bananas are frozen or almost frozen. (We recommend doing this with a whole bunch of bananas and then just keeping the frozen bananas in your freezer all the time to use whenever you’d like)

Slice the bananas and place them in a food processor along with all other ingredients.  Blend on high speed until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.

You can eat it right away as soft serve, or you can pour the mixture into an air-tight container and freeze for 2-3 hours for a more “hard-scoop” kind of ice cream.

~twosaucysisters

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No-Bake No-Problem

So, we’re about to open another post talking about the weather.  We hate to be repetitive or predictable, but really, the weather has so much of an effect on what we eat that it really must be mentioned!  At least in this post, anyways.

Because today we’re talking about these:

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No-bake peanut butter banana granola bars!

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You see, we try to always have quick snacks in the house that we can toss into our lunch bags when we go to work.  Lately, though, we’ve been on a huge muffin-kick.  Remember these?  So what do muffins have to do with the weather?  Nothing.  Except that they require an oven…

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And you might recall us mentioning a couple times the heat-wave we experienced a few weeks ago.  Definitely not muffin-baking weather.  Which is where these granola bars come in.

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Our first attempt at these granola bars was made during said heat-wave.  Unfortunately, while they tasted really good, they fell apart very easily and so we knew we needed to give them another try before we gave the recipe to you guys.

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But then the heat wave came to a very abrupt end (as in the temperature literally dropped by about 20 degrees Celsius overnight), and suddenly not using the oven wasn’t such a priority.  But we had already made one attempt, and we knew we couldn’t back down from the challenge!

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On the second attempt, the stars aligned and they turned out just the way we wanted!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

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Confession:  The first time we made these they had chocolate chips in them.  The second time around we went to put chocolate in them again and realized we were all out- yes, it was a shock to us too- so these ones are chocolate-free.  But adding chocolate chips is highly recommended.

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So we’ve put muffin-mania on hold for a few days, because right now we’re all about the no-bake granola bars!  Our oven could use a little vacation, anyways 😉

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1.2 c. peanut butter (we used all-natural)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Grind one cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until it is a fine flour.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oats with the remaining 2 cups of whole oats, chia seeds, salt and chopped peanuts.

In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and stir until it is smooth and fully mixed.  Pour the peanut butter banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain.  You may add the chocolate chips at this point if you are using them.

Line a 9×9 inch square glass dish with wax paper.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to firm up.  When they are ready, use the edge of the wax paper to gently lift the un-cut bars out of the dish.  Cut into 12 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*You can use ground flax seed in place of chia seeds, however we have not personally tried this and cannot guarantee the bars will stay together as well.  If you decide to give this a try, please let us know how they turn out!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite no-bake treats?  Have you ever tried making no-bake granola bars?

Summer Prep

Summer has arrived and while there have been a lot of days so far that hasn’t exactly felt like it, we have finally had a few hot ones over this past week.

And you know what that means?

Healthy no-bake treats, of course!

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Because who really wants to turn on an oven when its 30 degrees outside?  No one, that’s who.

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And like we said, when we had those few hot days last week, we were ready for them!  Because our freezers were full of chewy chocolate-peanut butter Rice Krispie treats.

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These bars are not crispy-crunchy like a traditional Rice Krispie square.  They are dense, they are chewy, and they are full of chocolate-peanut butter amazingness.

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You can keep your fluffy marshmallows- we’ll take our chocolate and peanut butter, thank you very much!

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We have also finally opened our pool, so between that and these freezer treats, we are set for summer to begin!  Now if only it would stop raining…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Freezer Bars

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Makes: 16 bars

Ingredients:

1/2 c. all natural peanut butter (you can use regular if that’s what you have)
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
5 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Topping:

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp coconut oil

Directions:

Add the banana, peanut butter and yogurt to a blender and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.  (If you prefer, you can skip the blender and simply mix it all by hand, just be sure to thoroughly mash the banana before mixing in the other ingredients!)

Transfer the peanut butter, banana and yogurt mixture to a bowl and add the honey and cocoa powder.  Stir until the mixture is smooth and all the cocoa powder has been absorbed.  Add the Rice Krispies 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition to ensure you get an even coating.

Line a 9×9 inch square pan with wax paper.  Press the mixture into the pan and smooth out the top. (Don’t press too hard, there’s no need to pack it in too much).

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about 40 seconds-1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds or so.  Add the coconut oil and stir until the coconut oil melts into the chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over top of the Rice Krispie mixture and place in the freezer for 2 hours before cutting into bars.  Store in the freezer in an air-tight container.

~twosaucysisters

Has summer weather arrived where you live?  How do you like to beat the heat?

Muffin Fix

Muffins are our answer to everything.

Need a quick lunch snack? Muffins.
Want a light breakfast?  Muffins.
Packing for a road trip? Muffins.
Bored?  Why not do some baking to pass the time?  Why not bake muffins?

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Our other answer to everything is chocolate and peanut butter.  Obviously.

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We don’t want to be redundant, or predictable, but our craving for chocolate and peanut butter is just never quite satisfied.  And we were baking these to share with a friend who’s favourite flavour combo also happens to be chocolate and peanut butter, so in our minds the decision was already made!

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So in case you haven’t guessed already, these are chocolate peanut butter muffins.

Make that chocolate peanut butter swirl with chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Whaddup.

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These little beauties are truly decadent.  And they’re the perfect snack to bring along for post-race snacking, Toronto road-tripping, beach-bumming and post-night-out-breakfasting.  All of which took place in a span of 24 hours this past weekend.

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So the real question is: can you ever have too many muffins?  No, no you cannot.  We suppose the other question is: can you ever have enough chocolate and peanut butter?  Again, the answer is no.  And these little snacks are the perfect marriage between the two.  Win-win!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Muffins

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 19-24 muffins (depending on the size)

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Batter:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 egg white
1 c. milk of choice
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. peanut butter chips

For the Peanut Butter Batter:

1.5 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. white sugar
1 egg. beaten
1 egg white
1 c. milk
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 c. apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray two muffins pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In two large bowls, combine the dry ingredients for both batters separately. In two separate smaller bowls, combine the wet ingredients for both batters separately.  Pour the wet ingredients for each batter into the bowls of dry ingredients. (You will have two bowls with two different batters).  Stir both bowls just until everything is combined and there are no dry spots.  Gently stir the chocolate chips into the peanut butter batter and the peanut butter chips into the chocolate batter.

Place a spoonful of the chocolate batter into each of your muffins tins, only filling the muffin tin about 1/3-1/2 full with the chocolate.  Now go along and top the chocolate batter with a spoonful of peanut butter batter.

Using a butter knife, gently swirl the two batters together.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins are firm yet still soft.

~twosaucysisters

Do you like muffins?  When you have to make snacks, what are your go-to favourites?

Cookie Comfort

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The other day we made you waffles.  Today we made you cookies.  Aren’t you people spoiled?

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But that’s ok- we enjoy spoiling you guys, especially when it involves cookies.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies.  We honestly can’t think of anything better to chase the blues away on a rainy day than a fresh-out-of-the-oven oatmeal cookie and a glass of milk.  Except for maybe two cookies.  Yes, that would be better.

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Yes, we know there are other cookies out there that are delicious, too- chocolate chip, ginger snaps, peanut butter cookies, double chocolate cookies, and chickpea cookies (ok, we threw that one in there as a shameless plug, but they are pretty awesome)- but there’s something about a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie that just gets us, you know?

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The oatmeal just makes them so hearty and the raisins get so plump and juicy in the oven that they are simply irresistible!  And these particular cookies are made with whole wheat flour, contain no butter, and have a fraction of the sugar that an average oatmeal cookie has, so you can feel good about eating them, too.  That’s a major win in our books!

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So do yourself a favour- pour a glass of ice-cold milk and make these cookies.  You’ll be glad you did when your beach day gets rained out and you’ve got nothing to do all day.  We know we were!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10-11 minutes
Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

1 c. large-flake rolled oats
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. coconut oil, softened (not melted)
1/4 almond butter
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter extract (optional)
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients.  In a separate bowl cream the coconut oil and almond butter together.  Add the egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and butter extract (if using).  Stir until fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until all the dry ingredients have been moistened, adding the raisins in about half way through.

Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto your prepared baking sheet.  Roll each clump of dough into a round ball and flatten with a fork or the palm of your hand.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly browned, but still feel a little soft.  They should feel slightly under-done when they come out, that way they’ll be nice and chewy.  Allow to cool fully before placing them in a container.

You can keep these cookies in the pantry (aka- they don’t need to be refrigerated), but we don’t know how long they will last since ours were all gone in less than 2 days!

~twosaucysisters

Do you like oatmeal cookies?  What is your favourite type of cookie?

Party Pleaser

What’s creamy with spice and all kinds of things nice?

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Salsa-chipotle Hummus, of course! 🙂

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We made this hummus a few weeks back when we went to Toronto for two of our good friend’s birthdays, and it was a huge hit! So naturally, 3 weeks later, we’re finally getting around to giving you the recipe! 🙂

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We’re certain that you’ll love it just as much as everyone did at the party!

p.s. This hummus is FABULOUS made with black beans instead of chickpeas! 🙂

Salsa Chipotle Hummus

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Prep time: 10min
Makes: ~2cups

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. salsa
1 or 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 clove of garlic
hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: 

Put olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, salsa, chilis, garlic and spices into a food processor and blend until creamy, about 1 min. Add chickpeas and blend until smooth.

~twosaucysisters

See a Need, Fill a Need

Does anyone remember the movie Robots?

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There was one line from that movie that always stuck with us- it was Rodney’s motto, “See a need, fill a need!”  Don’t you think that’s a great rule to live by?  We sure do, and that’s what we try to do when we create recipes.  Find out what people want and need and make a recipe that fulfills those requirements.

And that is precisely how these muffins came to be…

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You see, a family member of ours recently underwent knee surgery (Heather, I think you’ll be able to relate to this…) and has been on some serious pain meds for the past few days.  Anyone who has ever had to go through this kind of thing before knows what kind of side effects medications like these can have…

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To put it a little more eloquently, this family member of ours has been experiencing some… difficulty with, you know… “moving things along”.

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The pain killers combined with the fact that he’s pretty well couch-ridden and can’t do a whole lot of moving around to (ahem) “shake things out” has left him with a little difficulty staying, well, regular.

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This family member is also used to being very active, so now that he’s being faced with several months of significantly decreased amounts of exercise, he’s also put in a request that sweets and unhealthy snacks be kept at minimal levels around the house.  (Did we also mention that this particular individual has quite the sweet tooth, and is somewhat lacking in will power? ;))

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He also likes to snack.  A lot. So we knew what we had to do- create a snack that’s full of fibre, but is low in sugar, and unhealthy fats, and of course it has to taste good, too!

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And thus, the super high-fibre date n’ raisin mini-muffin was created!  We decided to make these mini, because that way if he feels like he needs a little snack, he doesn’t have to commit to eating an entire muffin.  But of course, these would be just as delicious if they were full-sized, all you’d have to do is bake them a little longer!

So what makes these high fibre?  They have wheat bran, oat bran, rolled oats, and whole wheat flour.  They also have dates and raisins, which are also good sources of fibre.  So when all’s said and done, one of these mini muffins has 2 grams of fibre, which, considering their size, is quite a bit!  And if you were to make them into large muffins, they’d be about 3 times the size, which would put them at about 6 grams per muffin!

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You could even amp-up the fibre content even more by adding some ground flax seeds and chopped almonds to these muffins- something we would’ve done if we hadn’t been all out!

And as for the taste?  Well, we realize that you don’t often hear people saying “yummm… fibre…” but we promise you will love these!  Everyone in our family loved these- in fact, we just made these yesterday, and we’re already thinking we’ll have to make another batch pretty soon…

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Mmmm fibre! 🙂

Date-Raisin Mini Muffins

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Prep time: 15min
Bake time: 10-12min
Makes: 30 mini muffins

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. bran
1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 c. oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 egg
1/2 c. yogurt (any kind will do, we used strawberry!)
1 c. milk of choice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. dates
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Combine milk and vinegar and set aside for 5min (to make “butter milk”).
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet, only adding the milk after having sat for 5 min.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry along with the dates and raisins and stir until just combined.
Fill greased mini-muffin tins with the batter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had a surgery and experienced difficult side effects after wards? What did you do to overcome those difficulties?