a healthier no bake cookie!

February 24, 2015 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Dessert, Recipe by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.  All opinions are my own.

After several attempts and many (many) soupy cookies made (and eaten…we’re not crazies), I’m happy to say that I’ve finally created a healthier No Bake cookie recipe!!  While these cookies are known by many names (no bakes, stove tops, cow pies, Raggedy Robins), they’ve always been synonymous with SNOW DAYS in my family.  It snows, you make Stove Tops.  That’s just what you do.  This tradition can be both good and bad – good for the soul but bad for the hips.  The original recipe isn’t exactly healthy.

Welp.  It snowed last week.

So….cookies were needed.

What’s a girl with hips to do?? 

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I knew I wanted to create a healthier version and it still TASTE like the real cookie.  Honestly, I didn’t want to sub in bananas or applesauce or add chia seeds or flax.  I’d rather eat fewer cookies and have them taste good than completely change up the recipe, so I simply made a few changes to the original.  For example, I subbed in natural peanut butter (versus Jif or Skippy that has added sugar) and I reduced the amount of butter and sugar (the sugar is actually cut in HALF and they still taste amazing AND set up!!!).  I also used 100% cacao cocoa to give the cookies an added antioxidant punch.

If you’ve made these cookies before, you’ll know that they’re extremely TEMPERAMENTAL.  If even the slightest thing is off, they’ll either get too hard or be a soupy mess.  I’m happy to say that even with the substitutions I made, they still set up perfectly.

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One of the best changes I made was substituting Blue Diamond Almond Breeze for the cow’s milk.  Lactose tends to cause me belly issues so I’ve tried to limit the amount of dairy I get (probably for the past three years or so).  Blue Diamond’s unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk has just 30 calories in each cup (!!!!) and ZERO grams of sugar (to compare, a cup of whole milk contains 100 calories and 17 grams of sugar).  I don’t know about you but that can really change up the nightly bowl of cereal.

Or in this case, you can eat more cookies ….which is always a good thing.

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Healthier No Bake Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Almond unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and almond milk in a saucepan.  Heat to boiling.  Allow to boil (rolling boil) for 2 minutes.  Take them off the heat.  Add in peanut butter, oats and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Allow to set up for 30 minutes.  Enjoy with a glass of almond milk! ;)

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QUESTION:  Ever had “No Bakes”?  What do YOU call them?  Other ways you substitute almond milk in recipes (I’m all ears)?

splendid…lindsay

creamy smokehouse chicken dip

January 28, 2015 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Food, Recipe, Review, Snack by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Wednesday!

Since the big game is this coming Sunday, let’s talk football today, shall we?  Or rather, let me tell you how little I actually know about the sport.

Lindsay’s Football Facts

1)  Football was invented in 1609 when two dueling countries decided to fight over an actual pig.  Hence the name, “pigskin” when we’re talking about the football*.

2)  The quarterback on every team must meet the following criteria or be kicked out of the league:  1) be “Nebraska-handsome”, 2) must date a super-model or actress and 3) must use the phrase “my hands are my work” in at least one conversation a day*.

Two.

Two facts.

*I actually have no idea how football got started or if “Nebraska-handsome” is a thing…(but it should be).  My mother uses the phrase, “My hands are my work!” when she doesn’t want to do manual labor.  She’s a dental hygienist so I guess it kinda makes sense.

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Blue Diamond Almond recently sent me some of their Wasabi & Soy Sauce and Smokehouse almonds to try out.  Umm…YUM to both flavors!!  Then they challenged me to come up with a GAME DAY snack in preparation for the big game on Sunday.  True to my core, I chose the easiest recipe I could and made some fun substitutions.  After playing around for at least 5 minutes in the kitchen, Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip was born.  It’s PERFECT for your football crowd – tangy, creamy and packed with protein!  The finely chopped almonds add flavor and a little bit of texture.  We ate our dip with Blue Diamond Nut Thins and celery sticks.

Give it a go (and then get over here and fill me in on this football stuff).

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Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/2 can of Blue Diamond Almond Smokehouse almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I love using greek cream cheese – higher protein content)
  • 3/4 cup light ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Texas Pete)
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.  Stir in chopped almonds, cream cheese, ranch dressing and bbq sauce.  Cook, stirring until well blended and warm.  Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture into an 8×8 pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Before serving, top with any remaining almonds you have.  Serve with celery sticks and/or chips.  <-Blue Diamond happens to make a SMOKEHOUSE Nut Thin but I couldn’t find it at the store I went to so I used their Sea Salt flavor – still great!

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QUESTION:  Will you be watching the big game on Sunday?  What are you making as far as food goes (and can we come over?)?

splendid…lindsay

crockpot chicken and beans

January 21, 2015 in Blog, Dinner, Food, Recipe by lindsaymwright

Y’all.

I feel silly even typing this “recipe” out.

Like I’m hanging my head in shame.

You see – I’m a simple cook (I’m use that term loosely) and I was raised by the best.  Growing up, we always had a hot meal and we ate at the table together as a family.  My mama (God bless her) can cook two things well and about four things that are edible.  I have the best memory of this one time that she made chuckwagon steaks (like frozen, fried patties of meat), burned them, put them on white buns, and served them with tator tots for dinner one night.  As soon as she dished up the plates, my daddy (who was raised by one of the best cooks I’ve ever known) just laughed and laughed at this dinner.  My daddy loves my mom so he grinned through every burnt bite.  A story we still talk about to this day (along with the time she threw his scrambled eggs out into the yard because he complained…but that’s a story for a different day…).  Anyway, I am my mother’s twin when it comes to the cooking thing.  We just can’t…so we don’t.

But this dish…this dish I can do (and I do do at least once a week Smile ).  I’ve perfected all the measurements and cooking times and I feel like this is MY dish.  The dish my children will tell all their friends about on the school yard.

My daddy’s grinning so big right now.

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CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND BEANS*

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1/2-3/4 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup Texas Pete (or other hot sauce of choice)

1 can (16oz) black beans, rinsed

Place chicken, bbq sauce and hot sauce into a crockpot.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Shred chicken using two forks, pulling apart the meat.  Stir in the drained black beans.

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*We like this chicken as a main dish with a few sides, in quesadillas or atop a big salad.  Find what works for your family!

QUESTION:  Can you cook?  Bake?  Do you enjoy it?  <-no

splendid…lindsay

stove tops, boiled cookies, no-bakes….i won’t give up on you

September 17, 2014 in Blog, Dessert, Food, Recipe by lindsaymwright

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These cookies are my very favorite in all the world.  I think I like them for their simplicity and the fact that I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.  I.e. “on a whim” cookies.  This can be a good and a bad thing, as there’s really nothing stopping you from making these bad boys every single week.  Except your thighs.  Your thighs might scream in protest.

I’ve had a problem lately though.

For the past 5 (ok maybe 10 years), I haven’t been able to make these cookies set up.

I’ve quadruple-checked the recipe.  I’ve measured once, twice, three times.  I’ve used less milk, more milk, less boiling time, more.  And before you tell me not to make them on rainy days, I already know that tip.  We wait until the sun is blazing at high noon before I even dare pull the pot out.  Sometimes I’ll get a fluke batch that sets up, but I believe my failure rate is 90 percent.

They just do not work for me.

But that doesn’t stop me from making them.  Because they taste even BETTER on a spoon.  Because Clara “yoves” them.

And because I’m not a quitter.

Stove Top Cookies

(my mama’s recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. dark cocoa
  • 2 1/4-2 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a pot.  Heat until boiling.  Allow to boil for 2 minutes.  Stir in last three ingredients.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Allow 15-30 minutes to set up.  (or just eat them with a spoon)

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QUESTION:  Do you have a recipe that just will NOT work for you??  I’m afraid to ask…but what are you tips on these cookies?

splendid…lindsay

crunchy chocolate chip cookie protein balls

August 1, 2014 in Blog, Breakfast, Recipe, Snack by lindsaymwright

**Full disclosure:  I feature some products in this post, some were gifted and some I bought.  All opinions are my own.**

(warning. I say “balls” a lot today.)

Promise you this – I’ll never claim to be good at cooking.  Baking.  Grilling.  Chef-ing. (?)  But I make these balls every week and my kids (and hubby…well, and I) gobble them up.  If you want some REALLY good protein balls, go check out this girl.  She’s legit and awesome and pretty and my friend and I’m in love with her Spring Sprinkle balls.  In fact, they were the one sweet thing that I could eat during my pregnancy with Porter.  I’d order two dozen at a time and tuck them away in the very back of my freezer where nary a child or husband could find them.

Anyway, I’ve found that I can throw ingredients in a bowl, mix them up, form them into circles and they taste pretty good.  Perfect for a pre or post-workout snack (depending on what type of protein powder you use) or just anytime you’re passing by the freezer and remember that you want to eat a ball.  Which for me happens to be multiple times a day.  I even made a huge batch of these to take to the beach to help fuel our long days in the sun!

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There are a few star players here.  We’ve got the two protein powders:   ON Casein (the “slow digester”) and Plant Fusion (the “quick digester”).  The “crunch” comes from the oatmeal and Crunchy NuttZo.  Another must for the successful protein ball are, of course, chocolate chips.  I mean…you’ve freaking worked out.  You deserve a little chocolate.  Am I right??  I am.  Lily’s Sweets (who was one of our Blend sponsors) just sent me some goodies, one of which was their STEVIA-sweetened dark chocolate baking chips!!

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These chips are pretty amazing – with 25% fewer calories when compared to traditional baking chips.  I’m thinking that means you can skip the workout and move right on to the balls.

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(balls. balls. balls.

Told ya.)

crunchy chocolate chip protein balls via @lindsays_list
(hover over the image to “pin”)

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Yields 3 dozen balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Natural Casein – French Vanilla
  • 1 scoop Plant Fusion – Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup Crunchy Power Fuel Nuttzo
  • 1/3 cup honey (can sub maple syrup or agave)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in nut butter, honey and vanilla.  Mix together with hands.  If needed, add liquid (milk, almond milk, egg whites, even water) to make balls moist.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Form into teaspoon size balls and place on wax paper.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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QUESTION:  Protein balls?  Love/hate?  What do you put in yours??

splendid…lindsay

blue diamond blueberry-coconut almond butter

July 1, 2014 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Food, Recipe, Review by lindsaymwright

As part of my ambassadorship with Blue Diamond Almonds*, I was sent some of their Blueberry and Toasted Coconut almonds to test out.  First let me tell you that we’ve been buying BD almonds for …forever.  I’m a big fan of the Low Sodium Roasted Salted and Travis loves the natural ones.  I’d never tried either of these new flavored ones and wanted to do something special with them.  Think, Lindsay, think!

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A muffin??  <-baking required.  plus it’s summer and you have to heat up the oven.  bleck.

Some sort of protein ball??  <-I’d eat the whole batch before the camera made its way into the kitchen.

Arrange the almonds in some sort of cool pattern on a plate (maybe like an American flag??) and call it a kid’s snack??  <-tempting…really tempting..but too lazy even for me. 

What about…..

Almond butter!

We eat nut butters every day.  Why not try my hand at a homemade version (something I’d never done before).

Apparently you need three things for homemade nut butter:  A high speed blender (or food processor), almonds and patience.

I have a Blendtec that rarely gets used.

I have these delightful almonds.

I have no patience.

Crap.

 

Reason #57 why I could never be a food blogger.  You have to have patience.  (Reason #1 would be that I suck at cooking….)

I searched and searched but couldn’t find a recipe that included prepackaged, dry roasted almonds like the ones I’d been sent.  I wanted to see a recipe where you just open a canister of almonds, dump them in, grind and VOILA – nut butter!!  Every single one required RAW almonds and sometimes you had to soak them before grinding.  What if my Blendtec caught on fire?!?!  I even texted my foodie friend Tina and asked.  She didn’t know if it could be done.

Turns out it can!

And with no soaking required!

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This blueberry-coconut almond butter is crunchy, not drippy – just the way I like it!

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The add-ins of coconut oil and fresh blueberries pair nicely with the flavored almonds and also provide “liquid” so your blender can handle the mixing.  You can spoon this onto crackers, pancakes, yogurt …or in our case, dunk your Teddy Grahams.  Feet first.  (it’s a little nicer that way)

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Blueberry-Coconut Almond Butter

Yields 1 cup

  • 1 canister (6oz) Blue Diamond Almond Toasted Coconut flavor
  • 1 canister (6oz) Blue Diamond Almond Blueberry flavor
  • 1-2 T organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Combine almonds and coconut oil in a high speed blender or food processor.  Blend for 10-12 minutes, stopping often to scrape the sides and bottom.  When the almonds turn into butter, pulse in blueberries.  Store in a glass jar.  Enjoy often!

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QUESTION:  Ever tried your hand at homemade nut butter?

splendid…lindsay

*This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond.  All opinions expressed are my own.