Blueberry Muffin Larabars

Last night, when I was doing some recipe surfing, I came across a recipe for Blueberry Muffin Larabars.  I tried dried blueberries about six months ago, and was SO pleasantly surprised to find them delicious!  Something in the combination of dried blueberries, lemon zest, and vanilla (plus the normal nuts and dates) just sounded so appealing.  Mom purchased some dried blueberries while she was out today, so I was able to make some bars!

I LOVED the Blueberry Muffin bars.  In the post where I saw the original recipe, the author said that they tasted just like blueberry muffins.  I was a little skeptical, but now I would have to agree.  I would say that they taste good, but the very blueberry muffin flavor comes more as an aftertaste.  It was great!  I would have to admit that I like them even more than the chocolate Larabars I made.  I know, I know.  I was surprised, too. But they were awesome!

Blueberry Muffin Larabars – Makes 4 bars

Zest from one lemon
1 c. pitted dates
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. walnuts
1/3 c. (really, one handful) dried blueberries
Sprinkle of salt (optional)
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Place the lemon zest into a food processor (I zested my lemon right into the food processor).


The dates…


…and the nuts (I measure my nuts in a one cup measuring cup, filling it approximately halfway with one type of nut, then topping it off with the other type).


Now throw in the blueberries. (I know my hand looks contorted.  I wasn’t in pain or anything.  Not sure why that happened.)


Everything in the processor! (Add the salt now, if using.  I forgot and added mine much later.)  Now you want to close it up and start chopping (this will take a few minutes and be a little noisy).


You want to add the vanilla while the processor is running.  Now you’ll see from this shot that I had a little trouble with this.  I was too busy thinking about the picture and what exposure and blah blah blah when suddenly I thought ,
“Hey, that vanilla looks like it isn’t going into the food processor.”
It wasn’t.  It was pouring down the outside.  Oops.  So I stopped and cleaned up a vanilla spill.


Once I got everything all cleaned up, I started the food processor again, and added about a tablespoon of vanilla.


Now it should look something like this.


It may seem like it doesn’t want to come together, but if you squeeze and knead it, it will stick together.


One big bar.  🙂  I divided it into fourths and formed each fourth into a regular sized bar.


Now it is time to wrap the bars.  I wrap them individually in plastic wrap.  This is how I do it.  Place the bar in the middle of a smallish rectangle of wrap (about 5 inches wide).


Fold over one side..


.. and then the other (they don’t necessarily have to meet).


Open one end like this..


…fold it over the bar…


…and wrap it underneath.


Repeat with other side.


The bars from this batch.


Labels can be nice, especially if you have more than one kind of Larabar in the fridge.

Chocolate-Covered Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream Bars

This morning my mom came upstairs with a can of coffee.

“This needs to be put in a glass jar,” she said, “It’s spilling in the freezer.”

Well, having that coffee upstairs made me want some coffee.  So I decided that now was the perfect time to open a can of coconut milk, and I started a pot of coffee.

I opened a can of coconut milk that we had gotten at our local grocery store.  It turned out to be not nearly as creamy or rich as the cans of coconut milk from the co-op.  In fact, it was pretty watery.

I didn’t think that was much of a problem until I started adding it to my coffee.  Instead of making it creamy, it just watered it down.  I decided to try to just drink some of the coconut milk straight.  But it was too watery.

I dumped the coffee. Now, though, I had about 2/3 of a can of coconut milk that I needed to do something with.  I remembered this recipe, but I didn’t have all the ingredients for it.  It also sounded a bit involved for what I wanted to do today.  After some thinking (again, a little dangerous), I decided to make vanilla coconut milk ice cream bars and dip them in chocolate.

For the vanilla ice cream part, I just mixed the rest of the can of coconut milk with some honey (approx. 2 tbsp.) and vanilla (approx. 2 tsp.), to taste (inspired by this recipe).

I poured that into molds and let it freeze for a half hour, stuck the popsicle sticks in, and finished freezing them.

Once they were done freezing, I unmolded them, and let them stay in the freezer until I was ready to coat them.

I put a handful or two of dark chocolate chips in a sauce pan on the stove on low heat until they melted.  Next I stirred in some coconut oil (approx.2 tsp.).  I poured this mixture into a half-pint jar.

Then, as I was pouring the chocolate into the jar, disaster struck.  The spoon, covered in melted chocolate, fell. Now this would be bad enough (a waste of good chocolate), but what I didn’t know is that when you drop a chocolate covered spoon, the melted chocolate splatters everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  All over the floor and the cabinet.  And the spoon had also left a large spot on my skirt.  Somehow I managed to get a slightly smaller spot on my shirt.  So I insert here: pause and wipe up the floor.

Once the floor was clean, I proceeded.  I took the ice cream bars out of the freezer and dipped the first one.  The chocolate only covered it about halfway.  I just used a new spoon to ladle the chocolate onto the bar and smooth it out.  As the level of chocolate decreased in the jar each time, I used the spoon to finish coating each bar.  The chocolate hardens almost immediately and forms a delicious coating.  I then put the bars back into the freezer.

I tried one after dinner.  The middle tasted rather watery, but the chocolate coating made it yummy (of course, right?  Chocolate or bacon makes everything better, depending on what it is).

Next time I may try freezing the ice cream in the ice cream maker until it is soft, them put it in a bar form.  It may just work better with creamier coconut milk.


The ice cream bars, before being coated in chocolate


[Does this need a caption?]



Coated and ready to go into the freezer (or eat, whatever you are inclined to do)


After seeing this post on Pioneer Woman’s site, I knew I had to try to make these little deliciousnesses.  I was planning to work on them soon, but when I offered to make them for a wedding shower, I had to get going.

So on Thursday I found a few grain-free brownie recipes online.  I decided to try this recipe.  The only things I changed was to substitute a little peppermint extract for some of the vanilla, and I only made a half batch.  I was not impressed.  At all.  They turned out rather cake-y.  I was looking for a fudge-y brownie.  And the flavor was o.k.  I didn’t really like the mint flavor, either.  I decided to give up on making them mint-flavored brownie.  No one really liked that.

After that brownie failure, I felt rather discouraged.  What if I couldn’t find (or make) a decent grain-free brownie?  Oh my.  This would make my life rather difficult.  I’m not sure if I could make it without a decent brownie.   I couldn’t really decide which of the other gluten-free recipes I should try. 

Then I was thinking. (I do that every once in a while.  I know, a rather dangerous occupation.)  Why don’t I start with a recipe that I know will work, then change it to being grain-free?  I figured that, even if it didn’t quite work out, at least I would know that it would taste good.  But I had never done that before.  How do I substitute almond and coconut flour for regular white flour?  Equal parts?  I thought that if I just substituted almond flour, it would crumble.  I had also heard that coconut flour expands a bit when you add it to a batter.  I decided to use both together.

I didn’t decide on the amount of flour before I started.  I decided that I would add mostly almond flour with a smaller amount of coconut flour.  I would add the flour a little bit at a time, feeling it as I went.

It went phenomenally.  I ended up using 3/4 c. almond flour and 1/4 c. coconut flour instead of the one cup white flour.  Next time I will probably use a little less coconut flour, as it adds a bit of texture.

But, THEY WERE BROWNIES!!!!!!! Unlike my first attempted, which turned out as cake wannabes.  The few that I made as brownie bites were a bit over baked, but when I covered them with mint chocolate, they were VERY GOOD.  (I made the mint chocolate by melting dark chocolate chips and adding some peppermint extract, until it tasted minty.)

I will definitely be making them again!

A funny thing that happened today – When Meiling and I were talking earlier, I decided to tell her a few jokes.  I started with “Pinshoo (pinch you) and Pinshme (pinch me – I was trying to obscure the names) had a race…” you know how it goes.  Well, she fell for that the first time.  But that is one that you can only get them to fall for once.  So I tried the next one.

“Pete and Repeat were on a boat.  Pete fell off.  Who was left?”  I queried.

“Repeat,” Meiling answered.

“Pete and Repeat were on a boat. Pete fell off. Who was left?”


And on. And on.  We probably did this at least 25 times, if not more.

Suddenly Meiling exclaimed, “I get it!”

It was cute.  🙂


My first attempt at grain-free brownies


My second try…


…is definitely a success!

A BLT Salad, Another Jam Picture, and Inspiration for a Future Project

The other night we had BLT’s for dinner.  Of course I couldn’t quite have the sandwich part of that, so I decided to make it a salad.  I placed some tomato pieces on a plateful of romaine lettuce, then crumbled some bacon on top.  As I was contemplating the dressing, I knew that a ranch would be perfect.  But I can’t have dairy.  Anyways, we didn’t have any ranch.  I remembered seeing a recipe for dairy-free ranch dressing made with mayonnaise.  I couldn’t find the exact recipe I had previously seen, but I found this one and tried it instead.  I added some dill to it and used regular onion instead of the green onion.  I didn’t care for it much.  The mayo that I had made was WAY to salty, and I think the regular onion wasn’t a good substitution.

It was pretty, though.

I saw this really really super amazing recipe on PW’s site the other day.  I just have to try it.  But it has to be Primal.  So I am going to have to do some really different things with it.


I am going to have to try to change that soon.  I’ll post about that soon.

On another note, the peaches finally ripened and I was able to can some more Blueberry Raspberry Peach Jam.  It was gooooood.






A Few Questions (Ten, to be Exact)




I am entering the blog party over at Bramblewood Fashions.  Here is the list of questions with my answers!


1. What word are you totally loving at the moment? Well, it seems to be tacky.  I have been using it more often.

2. Any tv shows/movies you are excited for this fall? Not really.

3. Anything that symbolizes something to you? Nope, not off the top of my head.

4. Two favorite songs at the moment? Hmm… “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum and “Lead me to the Cross” by Francesca Battistelli.

5. If there was suddenly a world taker over by an evil dictator what would you do? Join the resistance.

6. What is your favorite summer activity?  Canning.

7. What has been your favorite summer vacation? I am not sure.  Our last trip to Branson was quite nice.

8. If you received an unlimited shopping spree to any store, what store would it be for? This is really hard.  I really like Kohl’s.  I’m sure that Von Maur would be great, but I haven’t been there in so long to see what I do and don’t like of theirs, so I can’t say I love that store.  I do absolutely love Shabby Apple!  They have the cutest dresses!  Amazon would be great, also, as you can get just about anything.  So, to give you an *actual* answer, I would want to say Shabby Apple, but my smarter self would say Amazon (more options).

9. What is your favorite summertime food? Homegrown tomatoes. Lemonade.  Cucumbers fresh from the garden.  Peaches.  Blueberries.  And the list goes on.

10. What is your favorite summertime movie? I can’t really say that I have a favorite summertime movie.  I don’t exactly have a favorite movie right now, either, although “Avengers,” “Cranford,” and “Megamind” are on the top of the list.



Primal Coffee, Three Ways

After I made the chocolate coconut milk ice cream, I had about 2/3 c. of coconut milk left over.  Thick, creamy coconut milk.  It would be perfect for coffee.  I put it in a little jar in the fridge with that intent.

Two days ago my mom took my brothers into town for their plumbing class.  Meiling and I had to do some baking for the men’s meeting later.  That coconut milk in the fridge was also calling my name.  So I decided to make some coffee.

I pulled out our coffee pot and started the coffee.  Although we do have a coffee pot, we don’t use it that often since no one in our family drinks coffee regularly.  My parents don’t drink coffee, and we have the coffee pot for when we have company.  I decided to use it because I didn’t want to use the instant.  I made the smallest amount on the pot.

I don’t quite know what made me make a large cup of hot coffee on a hot summer day, but I did.  I put most of the coconut milk in it, as well as some coconut sugar.  It was quite yummy, and didn’t taste like coconut.  Meiling also liked it.  I shared it with her, and she also told me later that she was taking sips when I was not looking.


My coffee

When I was cleaning up after lunch from the baking as well as the coffee (I had made a grand mess), there was still a little coconut milk and cold coffee left.  Now for something that I hadn’t tried before – iced coffee!

I stirred the coffee right into the jar that had the coconut milk in it.  Then in went some coconut sugar, and after that, ice. I didn’t quite make it sweet enough, and it didn’t help that all the sugar just settled to the bottom.  It was good in spite of that, though!


Iced coffee



Now I still had about a cup of coffee left.  All the extra coconut milk was gone, too.  I still had the other can, but I couldn’t justify opening it, especially since there would be a lot left over.  So tonight, after doing some thinking, I decided to make more iced coffee, since it was in the fridge.  Instead of using straight coconut milk, I took some of the coconut milk ice cream I made the other day, melted it, and poured that into the coffee.  I still had to whisk in some coconut sugar, since it wasn’t quite sweet enough.  I plopped some not-melted ice cream into it.  It was pretty yummy, too!


Melting the ice cream






Me and my coffee – you can’t really tell, but I am trying out Cowgirl Dirt’s Lip Tint, the color Secretariat.  I really like it!

So there you have it – Primal coffee three ways!

1 Year and 1 Day

Well, it’s really happened.  Yesterday was my blog’s first anniversary.  Today is the one year and one day mark.  I am so happy and blessed to have made it this far, and really hope to continue blogging for a good, long time.

(When I mentioned yesterday that my blog was reaching its first anniversary, Meiling said, “Are you getting engaged?”  and I replied, “Yes, to you.”  She then offered to make me a pickle ring, as she was eating pickles during this momentous occasion.  So I asked her what she would do if I ate the pickle ring.  She said I would have to buy my own ring then.  I’m not sure she understands the meaning of “anniversary.”)

I still remember when I first set up this blog,  looking through all the themes and trying to choose one.  And then when I sent out an email to everyone I forgot to paste the link in the email.  Not exactly graceful.

Now, 132 posts, 7,976 views, 410 comments, and 70 followers later,  I am so happy with how great it’s been.

But it really wouldn’t have been possible without you.

If I had posted and no one liked my posts, commented, followed, or even just looked at it, this would have been no fun.

No fun at all.

So thank you to all of you who made this special.

Thank you to everyone who has liked any of my posts.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave a comment.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog.

And thank you to everyone who just stopped by to look.

You are the people who made this fun.

Miscellaneous Food

So on Monday, in the afternoon, our co-op order arrived.  I was so happy to get the coconut milk and the dates.  I had been waiting for the coconut milk in particular to make coconut milk ice cream (and try some in coffee, too, once I had looked at it and decided it would be good for such a purpose).  So I set out to make coconut milk ice cream.  It turned out good, nothing great.  It tasted like the stuff we’ve bought at the store before.  Next time I am going to try a more interesting flavor.  This is the recipe I used, but I used honey instead of the agave syrup.



I must confess that before I used the ice cream maker on Monday I didn’t know what the hole on top was for.  But I soon found out.


It is for trying the ice cream as it is being made.  You just stick a spoon in there and it immediately fills with ice cream (since the ice cream is moving).  Of course you have to hold it the right way for this to work (i.e. not backwards).  Requires skill.  Much skill.  Which I just happen to have.  (My dad suggested that the hole is for adding ingredients.  I still think its main purpose is for eating the frozen deliciousness inside.)


For dinner we were making red sauce and pasta.  I didn’t remember for a bit that I couldn’t have the pasta.

Hmmm.  Now that was going to make itself a bit of a problem.  Especially since I had forgotten what I had previously decided to do instead of pasta.

Then I remembered.

I checked out this awesome book from the library, called Fresh Fast Green.  It had a recipe for summer squash linguine.  Although she didn’t mention it, I thought it would be a great bed for pasta sauce.  Hey, at least I had to try, right?

Well, it was AMAZING!  I didn’t miss the pasta at all.  My dad liked it, too.  Definitely a make-again.


The julienne-sliced squash, ready to be cooked


My plate with my zucchini linguine (as I termed them).  And kale.  I love kale.


The coconut milk ice cream, which I had after dinner


Yesterday I split the box of dates.  (We bought a big box and split it with a friend.)  Having all those dates out made me want to try something with them.  So I did.

You may remember from this post that I tried Larabars.  Now I have come to love Larabars.  But I had heard that you could make them.  Well, actually, I saw another recipe that I wanted to try (for some raw chocolate ball things), so that’s why we got the dates.  But I decided to try the Larabar recipe too.  So I made some chocolate Larabars.

THEY WERE AMAZING!!!!  WAY better that the store bought ones.  I have actually been craving them more that the ice cream, if you can believe that.  And most of the rest of my family liked them, too.

This is a site with a bunch of links to other sites with lots and lots more Larabar recipes.  *Note*  I have not been to all these sites, and I don’t necessarily approve all that is on each website.  Use discretion.  Just lots of great recipes to try.


Dates, my inspiration


All the ingredients in the food processor


Chopped up – It was a little hard to form into bars, but once I got a handful of the stuff and started kneading it, it stuck together fairly well,  Next time I will probably try adding a bit of water.


Eating one later.  These things were great, even if they didn’t look great.

Summer 2012 Canning – Day 1

Now that we had all those peaches and tomatoes, I needed to do something with them.  As much as we love peaches, 1 1/2 bushels is a lot to just eat.  We have frozen them in the past, and they come in handy for smoothies (also, my little sister loves to eat frozen peaches right out of the freezer).  I have also canned peach raspberry jam, which most people in our home liked.  This year I wanted to try just canning peaches (like whole peaches).

On Saturday I canned 7 pints of peaches and 3 quarts of tomatoes.  I reduced the amount of sugar in the peaches from 3 c. to 1 1/4 c.  When Drake ate the extra peaches (there are usually some that don’t fit in a jar) he said they were good, but still on the sweet side.  Next time I will probably use even less sugar.  There isn’t much to say about the diced tomatoes.  They are not all that exciting.  But that’s three more quarts ready for winter.

Although I used 8 lbs. of peaches on Saturday, there were still plenty to can (and still are for that matter).  Mom and I had talked about doing some jam.  I had looked at some peach jam recipes, which looked good.  The past few years I have made peach raspberry jam, which is quite good.  I was thinking of making peach raspberry again, when Mom mentioned that we had blueberries in the freezer.  After thinking about it, I decided to make peach blueberry raspberry jam, using this recipe.  Again, I reduced the sugar from 3 c. to 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c. (I can’t remember exactly how much I used).  I ran my raspberries through our KitchenAid fruit strainer so that there weren’t so many seeds.  I know in the recipe it says 2 lbs. of peaches, but I needed probably twice that many to equal 4 1/2 c. of fruit puree (and that includes the peaches, blueberries, and raspberries).  For the raspberries I used 2 six-oz. packages, and I used 1/2+ c. of blueberries.

The jam turned out wonderfully.  Everybody liked it (again, there was just a smidge extra to try).  I will probably reduce the amount of sugar even more next time, since it was a bit on the sweet side (not too over-sweet, though).  I was hoping to get 8 1/2-pint jars from the recipe since it says that it makes 8 c., but it only made 5 and 1/2 half-pint jars (plus the little extra that we ate).

Today Mom realized that, even with all the peaches we canned, we only used the half bushel of over ripes and we haven’t dipped into the bushel yet.  I also froze a cookie sheet full of peaches today, and that didn’t push us into the bushel yet.  I am planning to make some more jam tomorrow, and I will probably can some more peaches, too.  I’ll let you know how all that goes.

So how about you?  Do you can?  If so, what do you can?  Do you have a favorite jam recipe, or do you prefer pickles?  Or are you somebody that would rather not do the canning yourself?



On Saturday – The peaches prepped and ready to be blanched




The recipe said that it made 6 pints, so I only sterilized 6 pint jars.  I should know better than this since I have canned before, but I had extra peaches, enough to fill another jar.  So I had to sterilize another jar.  These were waiting to go into a jar while the others where already in the canner.


The finished product


Monday – some of the peaches and raspberries


The empty jars – I found them pretty to look at


All the fruit


Once I start making the jam, things get a bit intense and I don’t get a whole lot of pictures.  I’ll have to try to remember tomorrow…


There were still some peach chunks and whole blueberries in the finished jams, which gave it some lovely colors.


A Trip to Peaches

I have so much to post.  I have been doing quite a bit of cooking and canning.  I made another dessert today!  It turned out wonderfully.  So all this to say that I will hopefully be posting frequently this next week. 🙂

Before we get to the canning, I need to cover where we got the peaches first. 

Peaches are very important to us.  My mom counts down the days every year until we can get peaches.  We get peaches from one specific grower in Calhoun County, and they are wonderful.  After we get them, we will often eat several peaches at each meal, the sweet juice dripping down our chins and arms and dribbling all across the table.  We love peaches.

Last year we drove to the orchard for the first time to pick them up (previously someone else picked them up for us).  The drive is beautiful.  A winding country road through farmland.  As you crest the hills, on either side of the road the ground rolls away into lots of hills, divided by the different fields with trees between some of them.  Absolutely beautiful.  There are not a whole lot of places to pull off to take pictures, though.  This time Mom stopped twice so that I and a friend who was with us could step out and take a few pictures. 

We specifically went to get peaches, but Mom also wanted to stop at some of the other farms along the way.  We purchased some tomatoes, a yellow squash, and some zucchini.  I love getting local produce!



Waiting for the ferry


At the orchard – they also had tomatoes


The Peaches


The view




Isn’t it lovely?


My friend


“Life is a highway…”


All yellow!




They were droopy, probably because it has been so dry