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Apr 28, 2016

Camp Out with Honey Maid

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Lately it has been difficult for me to find much time or energy to make food fun. Whenever the end of the school year gets near, I start to run out of creative steam for awhile. This goes for school lunches as well as snacks. Due to food allergies, our school allows a very limited variety of snack options (and with good reason). I really do like to find creative and fun ways to make food special because of the limitations having food allergies places on us. 

One family favorite of ours is always the holiday houses we like to make around the holidays. We find new, healthy, kid-friendly ideas that make decorating and eating them fun. This past holiday season we got super festive with our Winter Wonderland house. But who says the holidays have to have all the fun? 

Apr 7, 2016

Mint Chocolate Pudding Tarts {gluten free + vegan}

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I remember not really liking raspberries much as a child because of the seeds. Apparently my tastes have changed a lot as an adult, because I can't seem to get enough right now! I've been buying the largest package of these sweet little bursts of flavor for weeks now and I don't think I'll be getting tired of them anytime soon. I'm also the only person in my house who eats them, which is a bonus. More for me! 

I've been on a mission to use as many ingredients as possible lately that are already on hand, rather than picking up new things each time I buy groceries. This has helped some with my budget since my lists are shorter, but it's also been fun trying to be creative and come up with new ideas. 

If I have an ingredient in my refrigerator for awhile that I haven't used and I am worried I won't get around to it, I usually just toss whatever it is in the freezer. This past winter, I picked up some So Delicious Dairy Free Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk at a really great price and threw it in the freezer because I just couldn't pass it up. We love to use it to make hot chocolate after the kids play in the snow, but we had such a mild winter that this never happened!

I decided on a whim that it would make an amazing chocolate mint pudding, but I wanted to do something a bit more fun with it. That's when my Mint Chocolate Pudding Tarts were born. I also just so happened to have a package of Enjoy Life Foods Double Chocolate Crunchy Cookies in my pantry and they worked perfectly for my crusts. I've been using this silicone muffin pan lately, which was also perfect for this. If you don't have a silicone mold, you can use a regular muffin pan. 

If you can't easily find the Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk right now since it is seasonal, use my chocolate pudding recipe and just add a drop or two of mint extract. Even though it's a seasonal coconut milk flavor, these tarts are fresh and a perfect flavor combo for spring or any other season!

Mint Chocolate Pudding Tarts {gluten free + vegan} byt Making it Milk-free

Apr 4, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mousse Cups {gluten free + vegan}

Some links in this post are my referral or affiliate links. Read my privacy policy disclosure for more information. If you do decide to purchase something at Amazon after following my link, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use to pay for web hosting and services for this blog.

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who doesn't love them. Of course, the many opinions on whether they should be soft or chewy is a great debate. I personally love them soft (and slightly warm). And the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies can't be beat. 

My favorite gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe is just right for my personal cookie preferences. Now, I also believe that chocolate chip cookies can and should be incorporated into other desserts whenever possible. Like my chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, or chocolate chip cookie dough bites. This recipe is yet another one I've been thinking of lately where chocolate chip cookies become the vehicle to deliver this velvety, creamy, delicious brown sugar mousse right to your tastebuds. 

I could literally eat the mousse straight out of the bowl with a spoon...but the cookies just make it that much more scrumptious. Make the cookies in advance and (if you can refrain from eating them all) use them to make this special dessert that is cute enough to be kid-friendly, yet also looks elegant enough for a dinner party!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mousse Cups {gluten free + vegan}

Measure out the coconut milk and warm it slightly in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Place 10 chocolate chip cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them into bite-sized crumbles. Break the remaining two cookies in half to use for garnish.

Place brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until the sugar dissolves. Stir gently with a rubber scraper as needed to spread the sugar in the pan and dissolve the sugar evenly (and keep a very close eye so it doesn't burn). This step should take about 4 minutes. 

Once sugar is melted, turn heat down to medium-low and carefully pour in the warmed coconut milk and melted dairy-free butter substitute. The mixture will bubble up quickly and the melted sugar will begin to harden. Continue constantly stirring the mixture and using your rubber scraper to scrape the sugar from bottom of the pan. As the coconut milk warms, the sugar will melt into it and combine. This takes about 1 minute. 

If there are any hardened bits of the sugar left, carefully remove them and discard. Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened and bubbly (about 1 minute). Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl; cover and chill for about 20 minutes. 

Once chilled, remove 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture into another small bowl and set aside. Gently fold 1/2 cup of CocoWhip into the mixture. Fold an additional 1/2 cup of CocoWhip in. Place mousse in refrigerator covered until ready to use. 

To assemble, pour 1/4 of the crushed cookies into the bottom of each of 4 glasses or bowls. Spoon 1/4 of the mousse mixture on top of the crushed cookies. Pipe or spoon additional CocoWhip on top (optional). Drizzle reserved brown sugar mixture over top. Garnish with 1/2 of a chocolate chip cookie, or sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Keep the desserts chilled until ready to serve. (They can even be assembled the day before, covered and stored in the refrigerator for a quick and elegant dessert!)

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