Chocolate Fig Tart {Gluten Free & Vegan}

This chocolate fig tart is both gluten free and vegan, and is the perfect delicious and sophisticated dessert that everyone can enjoy!

Chocolate-and-fig-tart-gluten-free-and-vegan-dessert

So, I have a pressing question for you…have you ever been able to purchase fresh figs?

If so….1-I am jealous 2-please share where you got them and 3-I am extremely jealous!

Fresh figs have eluded me for YEARS! Every time I think they’re supposed to be in season (late summer/early fall?) I’ll be on the lookout for them, but have never been able to actually find fresh ones (at one point I think I called 6 different grocery stores when someone mentioned to me in passing they had seen figs!)

The last time I (or I should really say- the one and only time) was able to find fresh figs was when my friend Charlotte (congrats to her-she’s getting married next year and is my awesome photog friend from NC) and I were at a farmers market in Raleigh when it pouring rain, right before I flew home from my bachelorette party (pic from that glorious day here – August 5, 2012).  In the craziness of the rain and excitement, I spotted figs and purchased them to fly home with (I feel like I should get a special pass for security going between Raleigh and Milwaukee, in 2012 in was figs, last Christmas I made my hubby carry a backpack full of cheese for this same friend in NC… I sense a pattern lol).

So, when I actually spotted fresh figs at Fresh Market, I bought the one and only carton they had, did a little happy dance, and definitely was ‘that girl’ calling my husband and loudly proclaiming ‘I FOUND FRESH FIGS!!!! OMG OMG OMG I’M SO EXCITED’

Fresh-Figs

And since I want everyone to enjoy figs and chocolate, I made this recipe both gluten free and vegan!

The crust of this tart is made with delicious walnuts giving it a nice nutty flavor, and then the chocolate is fudgey and gooey and is topped off with the subtle, yet sweet fig fruit. Makes for delicious bite after bite!

How-to-make-a-chocolate-and-fig-tart-gluten-free-and-vegan-dessert

Oh elusive figs, how I love thee!

Chocolate Fig Tart {Gluten Free & Vegan}
 
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Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • -For the crust-
  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • ¼ Cup Gluten Free Flour (I use King Arthur Flour brand)
  • 2 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • -For the tart filling-
  • 1 Cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ⅓ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 Tbs Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3 Tbs Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6-8 oz Fresh Figs, quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a tart pan with cooking spray (I have a removable bottom tart pan).
  2. To make the tart crust put all ingredients in a food processor. and process until they come together in a crumbly mixture (it's ok if there are some walnut chucks left). Pour the contents into the tart pan and press into the bottom and up the sides to form the tart crust.
  3. Next make the tart filling. In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals stirring in between. When the chocolate has melted (mine usually takes two minutes in the microwave). Next pour the brown sugar into the chocolate and stir to incorporate, then next spray a measuring up with cooking spray and then pour the corn syrup into it (this way it won't stick to the measuring cup). Then pour the corn syrup into the chocolate mixture, then stir, then pour the coconut oil and the gluten free flour and vanilla into the batter and stir so that everything is incorporated. Then pour the batter into crust, then lay pieces of fresh figs around the border of the tart and bake the tart for 30-40 minutes, until it is bubbly. Remove from oven and let it cool completely (it will form a sticky-fudgey consistency when it cools). Slice and enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Butter Pumpkin Loaf {the BEST EVER Pumpkin loaf}

This is, hands down, the best ever pumpkin loaf I have ever had…the secret being that it is made with pumpkin butter AND pumpkin puree. Twice the pumpkin, twice the flavor!

Best-ever-pumpkin-loaf-pumpkin-butter-pumpkin-loaf

I feel like I should just come out and tell you guys that this year, I am in full-fall-everything mode (I even think it’s appropriate to use the #sorrynotsorry hashtag lol)! I bought my first mum for our front steps, I am cooking with pumpkin (which I did even before October 1st, a first ever for me) and everything I’ve been making (see my  Mini Pumpkin Muffins, Caramel Apple Bites, Garlic Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken and Carrots) is delicious and comforting fall food. And while I thought I was just going to have a week packed full of fall recipes, that is not the case, I have many more fall recipes coming to you over the next few days and weeks (another appropriate hashtag #cantstopwontstop)

Now that I’ve gotten the hashtags out of the way…no wait, I lied! There’s one more that just seems appropriate for this post… #Pumpkineverything …because this pumpkin loaf (or pumpkin bread as some people refer to it as) is just so good, better than any pumpkin bread I’ve ever had, and I think the reason is because I used TWO kinds of pumpkin in the recipe…pumpkin butter (I had this in my pantry from when one of my lovely sister-in-laws gave me a jar as a present) and pumpkin puree (leftovers from when I made Mini Pumpkin Muffins last week).

Difference-between-pumpkin-butter-and-pumpkin-puree

Pumpkin butter is essentially pumpkin puree with a little bit of apple cider and a number of spices in it, so if you don’t have any pumpkin butter, you could certainly make your own (on the stovetop cook together 1 can of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cloves).

How-to-make-pumpkin-butter-pumpkin-loaf

Another thing I love about this delicious recipe? All you need is one bowl! You mix all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients, stir, bake, and voila, you’ll have yourself the most moist, pumpkiny pumpkin loaf that ever was!

Pumpkin Butter Pumpkin Loaf {the BEST EVER Pumpkin loaf}
 
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Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ Cups Flour
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Granulate Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1½ Cups Pumpkin Butter
  • 2 Tbs Butter, melted
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350, line a loaf pan (mine is 9 x 5) with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, sugars, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Stir a few times so that all ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Next add eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin butter, melted butter and vanilla extra to the dry ingredients and stir a few times so that everything is incorporated (about 10-15 stirs). Pour batter into the loaf pan, and bake for 45-55 min, until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Let rest a few minutes, then enjoy!

 

Chocolate Caramel Apple Bites {made with Pick ‘n Save Ingredients}

Enjoy delicious fall flavors with these chocolate caramel apple bites– all the deliciousness of caramel apples, but so much easier to eat slice by slice, and are part of a shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are, as always mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Chocolate-Caramel-Apple-Bites

Growing up, every year when the leaves would start to change colors and the air would  get crisp and cool and fall was in full swing, my parents took us to this beautiful apple orchard in Wisconsin (we lived in Chicago so it was about an hour plus drive). Now, this wasn’t any apple orchard, it was nestled behind the orchards off a small country road and had goats! That’s right…GOATS! The orchard would always let you try apples and then would tell us kids (I have three sisters) that the goats liked to eat the apple cores…so as kids we’d quickly eat the apples and then run over to feed the goats. They’d come running to the fence and would stomp over each other trying to get the prized apple cores. That experience really stuck with me, and every fall I would think of that apple orchard.

So naturally I told my husband about this amazing orchard (we live in WI now), and he said ‘what’s it called? I’ll look it up and get directions’ I told him I had no idea what it was called, but that I thought I knew how to get there (of course I didn’t know the name of any of the streets or highways, I was just going by sight and memory…memory from childhood, might I add). We got in the car with just my memory as maps, and surprisingly I remembered exactly how to get there! And, it only took us a little over an hour to get there, needless to say I was very proud of myself!

It was exactly as I remembered, goats and all. The whole time we were there my husband had this cute little smile on his face, I just thought he thought it was as fun an experience as I did! He offered to drive on the way home, and upon leaving the orchard took a right instead of left. ‘Honey, you were supposed to take a left’ I said…famous last words, because around the next curve, there was a road that took us a few blocks from home…come to find out, the apple orchard is a whopping 15 minutes away! Lol!

This past week when we were shopping at Pick ‘n Save I saw the most gorgeous selection of apples and of course my hubby said ‘do remember that time you drove us an hour away to that orchard that is only 15 minutes away?’ Thanks babe, yes, I remember! Now in the mood for apples I purchased ingredients from #MyPicknSave to make chocolate caramel apple bites.

PicknSave-apples

These chocolate caramel apple bites are super easy to make, and a whole lot easier to eat than a whole caramel apple (I always feel like I’m about to lose a tooth trying to eat a caramel apple on a stick!). You pick your favorite kind of apple (I like ones with a little bit of a tartness so that they contrast with the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel), slice it, pat it dry with a paper towel, then dip it in caramel, then in chocolate, then sprinkle it with chopped up honey roasted peanuts.
How-to-make-chocolate-caramel-apple-bites

For more recipe ideas, be sure to check out Pick ‘n Save on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

Also, for those of you local readers, the Wisconsin Potato board is putting together this year’s PotatoPalooza and here is Pick ‘n Save’s plan for dates & times:

  • 10/11 @ 10A – 2P 8132 Stevens Point (1500 Pinecrest Drive, Stevens Point, WI.  54481)
  • 10/25 @ 10A – 2P 6891 Mt Pleasant South (2820 S Green Bay Road, Mount Pleasant, WI.  53406)

Happy fall…the fall recipes are definitely continuing in the weeks to to come!

Caramel-apple-bites

Chocolate Caramel Apple Bites {made with Pick 'n Save Ingredients}
 
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Author:
Serves: 24-32 slices
Ingredients
  • 2 Apples, sliced and seeds removed (I used Pink Lady variety)
  • ½ Cup Caramel Sauce
  • ½ Cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • ¼ Cup Honey Roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • Wax paper
Instructions
  1. Lay out a large slice of wax paper.
  2. Slice apples, remove seeds, then pat them dry with a piece of paper towel (this is so that the caramel sticks to it easier).
  3. In a small bowl add caramel, have melted chocolate (I just microwaved mine for 30 seconds, stir, and another 30 seconds until smooth and melted), and then in a third bowl have honey roasted peanuts (I put them in a food processor and pulse three times).
  4. Take one slice of apple, dip it in the caramel, let any drippings fall off, then dip it in the chocolate (or you could spoon the chocolate over the caramel) then sprinkle a some peanuts over the chocolate, and place on the wax paper to cool. Repeat with all slices. Allow to cool (I put mine in the fridge for 30 min), then enjoy!
Notes
If not eating immediately and you don't want your apples to brown, dunk apple slices in orange juice before dunking them in caramel and chocolate

 

Bat Pudding Cups {easy to make desserts for Halloween}

These spooktacular Bat Pudding Cups are the perfect easy to make dessert for Halloween and will have both children and adults enjoying them, and are part of a shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Bat-Pudding-cups-Halloween-dessert

We’re now in the month of October, can you believe that? The leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors, the air is getting crisper and cooler, and one can just feel all the ghouls, goblins, witches and bats hanging out, waiting for HALLOWEEN!  Ok, maybe one can’t feel all the ghouls, goblins, witches and bats (nor does one want to) but there is a certain excitement that comes with celebrating Halloween!

That’s where Snack Pack Pudding Cups comes in, they’re the perfect little snack that can be dressed up for Halloween and will leave you feeling like a kid again (and the Snack Pack Pudding Cups not only taste great, but contain the same amount of calcium as an 8 oz glass of milk!)

My hubby and I were doing some shopping at Walmart and we came across this display for Snack Packs and he told me he used to dunk Oreo cookies into the pudding cups.
Snack Pack Pudding at Walmart

And since Halloween decorations were on display in full glory, I decided to surprise my hubby by making some fun dessert from the pudding cups. I made the cups into bats by using Oreos and a little frosting and then stored them in the fridge for then I was going to take them out and say ‘surprise.’

But wouldn’t you know? I scared myself! I forgot I had them in the fridge and went to get some water and saw their little eyes looking at me …and I shrieked. Not gonna lie, it was pretty funny.

To make bat pudding cups you only need three ingredients: Snack Pack pudding cups,  Oreo cookies (both big and small ones), and frosting (yay for #SnackPackMixins).

Halloween Snack Pack Pudding Cups

You twist the Oreos to separate the cookies from the frosting, then cut them in half (for the wings – it’s ok if some of them break,  no one will know if you eat the broken pieces lol) and then you pipe a little bit of white frosting onto the little Oreos and then you take a little piece of crumb and put it in the center of the white frosting. Place the wing pieces into the pudding cups, then place the little face in front of the wings and you have yourself Bat Pudding Cups!
How to make Halloween bat pudding cups

These would make the perfect snack for kids and adults alike!

Bat-Pudding-Cups

Just look at their little faces!
Halloween-Bat-Pudding-Cups

Bat Pudding Cups {easy to make desserts for Halloween}
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Snack Pack Pudding Cups, chocolate
  • 4 Oreos, cut in half, plus crumbs of 1 oreo for eyes
  • 4 mini Oreos
  • 1 tbs white frosting
Instructions
  1. Remove lids from Snack Pack Pudding Cups.
  2. Twist Oreo cookie and remove cookie from filling. Cut cookie in half for the wings.
  3. Pipe two little dots on the mini oreos with white frosting, then take two mini pieces or Oreo crumbs and press them into the frosting.
  4. To assemble place two halves of cookies into the pudding cups for the wings, then place the little oreo face in front of the wings and you have yourself bat pudding cups!

 

_SnackPackMixIns-Twitter-Party-10-8-12pmEST

 

Want more fun Snack Pack ideas? Join the Twitter party:
October 8th at 12 PM EST
RSVP: http://www.sofabchats.com/parties/270-snackpackmixins

 

 

 

Mexican Hot Chocolate Caramel Cookies {and a GIVEAWAY!}

These Mexican hot chocolate caramel cookies will have your taste buds singing with joy, and will have you wondering where these delectable sweet and spicy cookies have been all your life.

Mexican-hot-chocolate-caramel-cookies

We already established yesterday when I posted mini pumpkin muffins with sour cream and caramel frosting that this year I was going all-in with the flavors of fall…some might say I’ve fallen in love (get it…falling in love…with fall? haha, ok I’ll dry to put a lid on my dorkyness, at least for a few moments).

Side note- what am I not so excited about? Hurting my back and not being able to walk or cook for a few days…as in…I cannot move. At all! Luckily, I’ve got the rest of this week’s promised fall recipes all set to go (and some for the week after, and the week after, fall themed recipes galore!)

Now on to happy thoughts again…what has got me all jazzed up for fall? The flavors! Hand me anything with hints of cinnamon and my mind immediately goes to a happy place. Now, add some caramel to that, and I’m in an even happier place. You can experience this happy place too by making these cookies!

How-to-make-Mexican-hot-chocolate-caramel-cookies

The cookies are made with Spicy Dark Chocolate Caramel, Mexican Chocolate and a pinch of Cayenne pepper and are rich, complex, and smooth in flavor and then are finished with a little kick from cayenne pepper. They’re not spicy in the ‘omg my mouth is on fire and I need a gallon of water and milk to calm down’ kind of way, it’s more of subtle tingle that is the perfect finish to these cookies.

Spicy-dark-chocolate-caramel

You know the caramel sauces I’m always raving about…the delicious goat’s milk caramel (the same caramel I used to make the worlds best Bourbon Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies? Well, this Spicy Dark Chocolate Caramel is a new flavor from Fat Toad Farm, and because they’re so awesome and I love you guys, we’re giving away 4 Jars of their caramel sauce. This is one giveaway you definitely don’t want to miss!

Fat Toad Farm-caramel-sauce-giveaway

To enter simply sign up for the Fat Toad Farm newsletter, comment telling me what flavor of caramel would you try first (the 4 in the gift box are: Original, Salted Bourbon, Spicy Dark Chocolate, and Cold Brew Coffee), and then make sure to fill out the widget so I know you entered (and there are additional, optional giveaway entry options)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what adding a little cinnamon and spice can do for your cookies. It’s like biting into a rich and smooth chocolately cake cookie with a little after finish of heat (that you can certainly adjust up or down depending on your taste…mine were barely noticeable subtle spice, but if you like super spicy add more cayenne pepper.)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Caramel Cookies made with Fat Toad Farm Caramel

Mexican Hot Chocolate Caramel Cookies {and a GIVEAWAY!}
 
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Author:
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ⅓ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tbs Spicy Dark Chocolate Caramel for the batter (plus ¼ cup for topping cookies)
  • 1 Stick of butter, at room temp
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2.7 oz Taza Dark Chocolate (two discs, finely chopped up, or you could use 70% dark chocolate)
  • 1 Tsp Mexican Vanilla Extract (or you could use regular vanilla extract)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper of silicone baking mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter (about 2 minutes). Then add the sugars and cream again (1 minute), Scrape down the sides and add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until all incorporated. Add the 2 Tbs of Spicy Dark Chocolate Caramel and beat until creamy (1 minute).
  3. Next add all remaining ingredients except the chopped up dark chocolate (flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cayenne.) Stir gently with a wooden spoon until all combined, then add the chopped up dark chocolate and stir to combine.
  4. With a cookie scoop or in 1 tablespoon drops, drop balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Have ¼ cup remaining caramel in a small bowl, and then dip a spoon into the caramel and press it on top of each cookie, pressing the caramel in the center. Repeat with all cookies.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then carefully transfer cookies over to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Disclaimer: This is not a compensated post, Fat Toad Farm provided the 4 Caramel Sauces for the  giveaway and I am providing the shipping expenses for the lucky winner.  I  truly love their products, and as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands and products that make the Sweetphi blog possible!

Mini Pumpkin Muffins {with sour cream and caramel frosting}

Last year, I made not a single pumpkin dessert recipes (gasp!) nor did I have a single pumpkin spiced beverage (even bigger GASP!) I’m not quite sure what was happening. It was almost as if I was waiting for these amazingly delicious – perfect for fall- mini pumpkin muffins with sour cream and caramel frosting.

Mini-pumpkin-muffins-with-sour cream-and-caramel-frosting

With the cooling of air, change of the leaves, beautiful fall colors, one just craves something that embodies the fall flavors. So it was no surprise to me that a few cans of pumpkin puree made their way into my cart when I was grocery shopping.

Pumpkin-puree

And when I set out to make these smooth and silky yet perfectly spiced mini muffins I couldn’t image anything more perfect than to make them with the pumpkin puree! They’re perfect for both breakfast and dessert, served with a glass of milk or cup of coffee…YUM!

How-to-make-mini-pumpkin-muffins-with-sour cream-and-caramel-frosting

The best part? They’re super easy to make! Once you’ve baked the mini muffins (heads up, they’re SUPER GOOD by themselves) then you frost them and drizzle some caramel. The combination of the smooth pumpkin muffin, spices, creamy hint of frosting, finished off the caramel, make one enjoy bite after delicious bite!

Mini-pumpkin-muffins-with-sour cream-and-caramel-frosting

These mini muffins are the perfect way to start the day, and even more perfect as a kickoff to a week full of fall inspired recipes I’ll be sharing (think caramel apples, Mexican hot chocolate caramel cookies, roasted chicken, and a spooktacular cake!)

Also, for the caramel sauce I used Fat Toad Farm caramel (remember the caramel I used to make the best ever Bourbon Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies?) The Fat Toad Farm caramel sauce is just simply the best I’ve ever had (you could certainly make your own caramel sauce)  They have flavors like Cinnamon and Spicy Dark Chocolate that go perfectly with these mini muffins! And…part of this amazing week coming up includes a giveaway of their caramel sauce, so definitely stay tuned!

Mini Pumpkin Muffins {with sour cream and caramel frosting}
 
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Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • -For the muffins-
  • 1¼ Cups Flour
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ Cup sour cream
  • 1 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • -For the frosting-
  • 4 tbs butter, at room temp
  • ¼ cup sour cream, at room temp
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce for drizzle (I used Fat Toad Farm caramel sauce-they have flavors like Cinnamon and Bourbon Salted Caramel, all their flavors go great with these mini muffins!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a mini muffin pan with liners.
  2. For the batter: In a bowl combine butter, egg, sour cream, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Add all remaining dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and salt). Stir a few times so that everything is combined...you don't want to over-stir it, otherwise the muffins will be dense.
  3. Using a tablespoon cookie scoop (or with a spoon) fill the mini muffin liners (the batter should go almost to the top, about ¾ full.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, then allow to completely.
  5. For the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter for about a minute, then add the powdered sugar, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes.)
  6. Set down a piece of wax paper and transfer the cooled mini muffins on top of the paper. Then take about ½ tablespoon of frosting for each mini cupcake and spread it on the top, then drizzle with caramel sauce and enjoy!

 

5 Ingredient Ginger Baked Plums {naturally gluten free and vegan!}

4-Ingredient-Ginger-baked-plums

I lied, there are technically only 4 ingredients in these amazing crystallized ginger baked plums AND they are naturally gluten free and vegan.

I am clearly on a plum kick and just so happen to have had some red plums on hand for comparison against Italian plums I used when I made the most delicious Italian Plum and Apricot Preserves Sticky Cake earlier this week (I’m not even kidding, if you haven’t already, I’m pretty sure you need to add the cake to you ‘must try’ list…but don’t put down your pen just yet, add these ginger baked plums to that same list.)

Ginger-baked-plums-ingredients

And who knew there were so many kinds of plums? I saw three different kinds at the grocery store, these red plums, black plums, and Italian plums, then there are Japanese plums (that are yellow) and European plums…and who knows how many other kinds, but you can bet that next time I see a plum variety I haven’t tried, I will stop whatever I’m doing to try it!

Ginger-baked-plums

Making these baked plums is ridiculously easy, you cut up crystallized ginger, mix it with some white and brown sugar, and spoon it over plums.

Crystallized-Ginger-baked-plums-

Then you bake the plums, and they turn into sweet baked plum perfection. The crystallized ginger gives it a nice little kick, and the sweetness of the sugar and tang of the plums meld perfectly together!

Crystallized-Ginger-baked-plums

And if you’re feeling a little indulgent, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or soy dream (or vegan ice cream). The classic vanilla coolness goes perfectly with the warm ginger plums!

Ginger-baked-plums

5 Ingredient Ginger Baked Plums {naturally gluten free and vegan!}
 
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Author:
Serves: 8 halves
Ingredients
  • 4 Red Plums, pits removed and halved
  • 2 Pieces crystallized ginger, finely chopped (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 Tbs Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Brown Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place pitted, halved plums skin side down in a baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the white and brown sugar, then stir in the ginger pieces.
  4. Spoon sugar-ginger over plums, about 1-1.5 teaspoons over each plum half.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve and enjoy!

 

Like simple yet delicious recipes with 5 or less ingredients? Check out all the recipes in my Five Ingredient Fridays series here.

Italian Plum and Apricot Preserves Sticky Cake {naturally gluten-free!}

Italian plum sticky cake

You guys!!! You know how every once in a while you make something so good you can’t help but share your enthusiasm with everyone?

THIS STICKY CAKE was one of those occasions…I couldn’t stop telling anyone that would listen about how good it was…but then I’d feel bad because their immediate reaction was to ask for a slice and then I’d have to awkwardly glance left & right and tell them that there was no more left (not because I managed to eat the whole dang cake by myself, hey, I did manage to share a tiny slice with my husband and it was over the course of a week weekend…this blog is a judge-free zone, right?) lol.

I blame it on the fancy little Italian Plums I found at the farmers market-just look at how adorable they are.

Italian-Plums

To see the size comparison…here are the Italian Plums next to a regular plum (if you can’t find Italian Plums, it is ok use regular plums for this cake)

Italian Plums -vs-regular plum

Ok, not buying that as the reason I ate almost the whole cake?

Then lets say I blame it on the newly introduced Stonyfield Petite Creme – this stuff is fantastic, it’s French yogurt, Greek yogurts’ French Cousin that is super creamy (hence the ‘cheat on Greek’ slogan lol)

Petite-Creme

Oh, you’re not buying that either?

Then lets say that it is the addition of Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves…you see, the jam is also made in France, so we’re getting even fancier with this sticky cake.

Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves

OK, ok, I admit I ate {most} of this cake because if all the ingredients aren’t already good enough by themselves, add them together in a cake form and they bake into this ooey-gooey-flavorful yet not-to0-sweet cake.

How to make italian plum and apricot cake

You can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream with the cake to kick it up a notch, but the cake by itself…SO GOOD!

Italian plum  and apricot cake

I’m not even kidding…I woke up and wanted a piece of cake. I asked my husband “is it bad that I just want a piece of this cake for breakfast?” followed by “all I feel like right now is a piece of this cake” and he said “you’re an adult, you can make the decision to have cake for breakfast” … reason 1 billion why I love that man!

Italian Plum and Apricot Preserves Sticky Cake {naturally gluten-free!}
 
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 oz Italian plums, pitted and cut into 4s
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Stick butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup Petite Creme yogurt-vanilla
  • 1 Cup Almond meal flour
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ⅓ Cup Bonne Mamane Apricot Preserves mixed with 2 Tbs Water
  • 1 Tbs Powdered Sugar for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line the bottom of a spingform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cut and pit the plums and set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter for 30 seconds to melt/soften it, then add the petite creme vanilla yogurt, egg, and almond extract and stir to combine.
  4. Then add the almond flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Pour batter in the prepared springform pan.
  5. Arrange the plums around the whole cake - i did this by making a circle with them and a circle inside the circle with the skin side up, but you can just arrange them however you want.
  6. Then in a small bowl mix the apricot preserves and water, then spoon it over the plums.
  7. Bake cake for 25 minutes, allow to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake, remove the outer spring form pan, sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice and enjoy!

 I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but as always,  all opinions are 100% my own.

Captain America M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

This incredibly fun, super decadent, Captain America themed M&M®’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake will have all the Superhero loving members of your family smiling and going back for bite after bite of deliciousness and is part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are, as always, mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Captain-America-M&M's-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-cake

Fun fact about me: I grew up without TV.

It’s true! People usually have one of three reactions:

  1. Think I’m making it up (I’m not)
  2. Ask me references just to make sure I’m really not making it up (then get insulted I have no idea what they are talking about –and then think I’m making it up –refer to #1)
  3. Ask what I did all the time(crafts, reading, played outside, everything other kids did, minus TV)

Another fun fact about me: now that I do watch TV and movies, and I’m completely in love with Superhero movies (a surprise to my husband who was shocked I when I loved the first Superhero movie we saw together).

I don’t know what it is, but throw in a Superhero character and I’m in love. Now throw in a hunky superhero that has a ‘vintagey’ past like Captain America (Captain America is the alter ego of Steve Rogers, who is a wimpy young man who has been enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to help the United States government’s efforts in World War II –thanks for the specifics wikipedia) and I’m even more in love.

Needless to say, I not only saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters but was also first in line to buy the newly released DVD (and I found a coupon when shopping at Walmart which I’m sharing below-just click on the picture.)

M&Ms walmart coupon

And since we all know #HeroesEatMMs and I just so happen to have purchased a big party sized bag, I decided to make a Captain America themed M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake and shape the cake in a circle and decorate it like his shield.

You know what’s really fun {insert eye roll}? Picking through M&Ms to separate out the colors you need…you’ll feel like you have a bout of OCD, but that’s ok, the end result is fantastic! If you come to my house in the next few months you may get a disproportionate color of M&Ms.

M&Ms party size

After you have that hard part done, the rest is really easy and the cookie cake is made with these ingredients:

Chocolate-chip-cookie-cake-ingredients

You’ll make and bake the chocolate chip cookie cake, let it cool, and frost it. Then what you’ll do for the star in the shield is  cut out a little star after making the two outer red rows/circle and one inner red circle, then fill in the outline with the blue M&Ms, and it  willvactually looks like his shield!!
How-to-make-a-captain-america-cake

Trust me, you’ll WOW your guests-I mean, it’s a giant delicious chocolate chip cookie…with frosting! Who wouldn’t want a slice {or two}?

Captain-America-Cookie-Cake

And don’t laugh (well, you can, but I’ll be eating the delicious M&Ms cookie cake, so laugh away, jokes on you) but since the movie is called ‘The Winter Soldier’ I used a cake stand with snowflakes…get it…Winter? lol

Captain America Shield Cake

Enjoy a slice for your next movie night…and if you really want to have some fun, check out the Heroes Eat M&Ms website where you can find out what Superhero character or M&M you are (um, duh, I’m Captain America and my M&M character is Ms. Brown…love the description “Drive, Intelligence, and resourcefulness are all words that describe you and Ms. Brown. You love learning and being challenged. When you have a spare minute, you love to grab a book or catch up on recent news. You hate it when people waste your time and are always on the go” I’d say that’s so true…so just call me Mrs. Kelnhofer…er, I mean, Ms. Brown.

Which M&M are you? I have been having all my friends do the quiz and we are all totally cracking up at the results, it’s so spot on lol!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
chocolate chip m&m cookie cake

Captain America M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • -For the Cookie Cake-
  • 1¾ Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Stick Butter, softened
  • ½ Stick vegetable shortening (8 tbs)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Oats
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • -For the topping-
  • 1-1½ Cups Creamy White Frosting (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 Cup Red M&Ms
  • 1 Cup Blue M&Ms
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper. Spray springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and vegetable shortening. Then add the white and brown sugar and beat until creamy. Then add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  3. Next add in the baking soda, salt, flour and oats and mix until combined.
  4. Remove bowl from mixer and with a spoon stir in the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips are incorporated. Spoon/spread cookie dough into springform pan.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brow. The cake will be a little puffy when it comes out of the oven. Let it cool in the springform until it has come down (the middle will be a little lower than the edges).
  6. When the cookie cake has cooled completely, run a knife around the edges of the pan and release the springform, transfer cake onto desired plate.
  7. Frost the cake with white frosting. Then using the red M&Ms make two circles around the edges of the cake. Then make another circle with the red M&Ms about an inch in from the other red circles. Now use a piece of paper to know your edges and free-form draw a star, cut the star out and loosely place in the center of the small circle. Fill the edges between the paper and the red circle with blue M&Ms, when done, remove the paper star and throw out.
  8. Add any blue M&Ms where it looks like they're needed, then slice and enjoy!
Notes
This cake is super sweet and decadent so cut into very small pieces

 

Tropical Low Calorie Popcorn Clusters

These delicious tropical low calorie popcorn clusters are made with the newly released Skinnygirl popcorn in Lime & Salt flavor (seriously, this stuff is so yummy and only has 25 calories per cup popped!), coconut flakes, dried pineapple and banana fruit and coated in dark chocolate and is part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Tropical-low-calorie-popcorn-clusters

Let me tell you guys a story…the story shall be called ‘I have been banned from eating popcorn at my house’. This ban may be self-imposed, but is definitely not disputed by my hubby who describes the way I eat popcorn as “I’m not quite sure what is happening, you take a handful, throw it towards your face and hope some makes it in your mouth, but most of it doesn’t, so I’m covered in popcorn, you’re covered in popcorn, the couch is covered in popcorn, and sometimes I’m sure Clover (our dog) is eating more popcorn than you are.’ The part he’s not sharing is that it leaves a buttery mess on everything and the popcorn that I was eating was not all that great for me. Since I love me some popcorn, I clearly needed an option that’s better for me (and my house) and that was more of #SkinnyGirlSnacks!

So as I’m shopping at Walmart, staring at the popcorn aisle, I came across Skinnygirl Popcorn in Butter & Sea Salt and Lime & Salt flavors, both sounded intriguing so I purchased them. Confirming that I had made the right decision, the cashier told me ‘these must be good, they just came out this week and have been flying off the shelves.’

Skinnygirl popcorn at walmart

Well, she was right, they ARE good. The products offer a sensible way of snacking by using mini bags to provide just the right amount of product, yet TASTE GREAT with just 25 calories per cup popped!

What makes the Skinnygirl products unique?

  • Every Skinnygirl product offers at least a 20% calorie savings vs. it’s competitors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, sucralose)
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Taste profile is not overly sweet, which represents the “better for you” and lower calorie benefit
  • Unique and interesting flavor profiles (like the Lime & Salt flavor…who knew that on popcorn this flavor combo is absolutely DELICIOUS?!)

Skinnygirl popcorn

Since I still had a desire to snack on some popcorn while snuggling and watching some movies, I problem solved by making these amazingly delicious, super easy to make (and eat lol) Tropical Low Calorie Popcorn Clusters that just so happen to be the perfect #SkinnyGirlSnacks !

How-to-make-tropical-low-calorie-popcorn-clusters

Rich dark chocolate with the perfect zip of lime from the popcorn, with the hint of sweetness from the coconut, pineapple, and banana…it’s one amazing flavor combination!

Dark-chocolate-popcorn-clusters

Now that I have the most perfect low calorie popcorn clusters that are easy to eat, I feel like I have the classiest movie treat to bring along for movie night, wherever that may be, and I won’t be afraid of leaving unwanted popcorn kernels behind!

Tropical-dark-chocolate-popcorn-clusters

Tropical Low Calorie Popcorn Clusters
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 15 clusters
Ingredients
  • 2 Bags Skinnygirl Lime & Salt Popcorn, popped
  • 1½ Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
  • ½ Cup Dried Bananas Slices
  • ⅓ Cup Dried Pineapple Chunks
  • ¼ Cup Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  • ⅛ Cup Almonds, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Pop the popcorn bags and when done empty in a bowl that is big enough for all the ingredients and allow the popcorn to air-cool. Pour in the dried bananas, pineapples, coconut and almonds (if using) and stir a few times. Then pour out onto the lined cookie sheet and pick out any popcorn kernels that remain.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the chocolate has melted.
  4. Once chocolate has melted dollop a few spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, then pour the contents of the cookie sheet back into the bowl and spoon the rest of the melted chocolate over the contents in the bowl. Stir contents of the bowl gently until all the popcorn and fruit is coated with chocolate, then spoon out onto the cookie sheet. Allow to cool (I just put the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about an hour).
  5. When cool, break up into cluster and enjoy!