Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

Puppy chow!! Aka muddy buddies (apparently). Aka the best darn sweet crunchy snack of all times ever period!I remember puppy chow sales being a thing when I was little. Were they a thing where you grew up? Because when I went to college I realized they aren’t a thing everywhere. In fact all 3 of my freshman year suite-mates hadn’t heard of puppy chow. How sad, I know. MuddyBuddys_Katherine_baker

I think Puppy Chow is a Midwest thing. I could be wrong. All I know is that everyone I know from the Midwest knows what it is, and I’ve met lots of coasties who do not. But that could be an anomaly.

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If you look on the back of a Chex box for a puppy chow recipe, you may notice that that recipe contains butter and vanilla. I find these additions to be unessential. Like, when you’re eating puppy chow, I feel like they don’t add much. IMG_5461

At least to me. I just use peanut butter, chocolate, powdered sugar, and cereal, and I don’t miss anything. So I reason I’ll save vanilla and butter for instances where it really does add shine. Gotta save those valuable baking resources, amiright?

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So here is my coincidentally, stripped-down, bare-bones, completely delicious vegan puppy chow recipe. If you’ve never had it, make it right the fuck now. Trust me. KatherineBaker_Chocolate_peanutbutter

This is another adapted recipe I posted on Spoon University, but here you’ll find it completely unabashedly dairy-free and with slightly different photos. Enjoy!

-Kbakes

PS: If you want more p chow in your life, check out this Puppy Chow Granola post!

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Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: nada
  • Servings: varies on how much you can eat at once (I can eat a lot of this at once)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Chex or other plain cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (almond or sunflower seed butter would also be yummy)
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s) or chopped dark chocoalte
  • 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar, depending on if you’re one of those people who likes a little or a lot of powdered sugar on your chow

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl by heating in 30-second increments in your microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring between each until chocolate is almost (but not completely) melted. Add peanut butter to the bowl and return to the microwave and heat for an additional 30-60 seconds, until peanut butter is also melty.
  2. Mix those two together. Enjoy the views and the smells.
  3. Add cereal to bowl and mix gently. You want to coat the cereal with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture, but also want to be careful as to not crush the cereal.
  4. Transfer to a large zip-lock, add powdered sugar, and shake it up until cereal is coated with powdered sugar.
  5. Eat the shit out of that delicious puppy chow.

Vegan Gluten-Free No-Bake Cookie Dough S’mores Bars

I should be writing my thesis. Really, that’s what I should be doing. Not baking, not rearranging my apartment to put my table by the window to take pictures of my baked goods, and definitely not blogging about them either. But here we are.
Vegan S'mores Bars Cookie Dough

Finishing this thesis has been like so meh. I’ve never been so good at procrastinating anything in my life. So many other things just seem important right now. Like frantically finding a job. And signing up for a free barre class and arriving wearing sticky stocks to realize that you and your friend missed the memo that it’s actually a free HIIT/cardio kickboxing class. And then doing that class wearing sticky socks. And then trying really hard not to roll your eyes while biting your tongue listening to their partner “holistic nutritionist” talk about “good molecules” for your body after. Phew. Stay calm, Kathy.

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Anyways, part of me procrastinating editing my thesis involved S’mores bars. I know right? Vegan, GF S’mores bars. Now what if I told you that these are also better-for-you. Like the cookie dough layer is actually pretty healthy.

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Shut the front door, right? Right. But this magic is REAL.

Vegan Marshmallows

So recently Trader Joe’s debuted their vegan and gluten-free marshmallows for $2.99. G’bless you TJs for real. Normally, vegan marshmallows are like $6 for no apparent reason. And thus I’ve refrained from buying them and haven’t had a damn marshmallow in like 3 years. Until these puppies hit the shelves and like a dream come true.

Vegan Marshmallows Trader Joe's

Speaking of dreams, you could take a nap of one of these marshamllow-topped bars. Marshmallows are fluffy, just like pillows. Except then you’d have crumbs and chocolate in your hair. But if you surround yourself with the right types of people they may actually dig that sort of thing.

Vegan Gluten-Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Back to the bars: what do I dig about these? Well, they have all the things I look for in a dessert: they are carby and sweet but not too sweet, and they have chocolate, and they have a graham cracker crust, and when you eat them they don’t make you feel like you just ate a garbage truck.

Vegan and Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

In fact, marshmallows aside, these puppies ain’t bad for you. The middle layer is full of whole grains, protein, and plant-powered goodness. And dark chocolate is rad, too.

Vegan Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

The graham crackers and the marshmallows? Well, those are for fun. Which is allowed when you’re eating. Because eating should be fun and not boring. In fact it should be s’mor-ing. <—I’m the worst. Kudos to you if you’re still reading this post and putting up with me being a cluster.

Vegan &amp; Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Now let’s do this.

Vegan S'mores Cookie Dough Bars Gluten-Free

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve and a half)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Cookie Layer:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour or other flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing oats in a food processor or blender until a flour forms)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (can sub coconut sugar, etc)
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 12 ounce bag vegan gluten-free marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil. Press into baking sheet to form a bottom layer. Store in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to set.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree chickpeas until a smooth paste forms. Add vanilla extract and pulse again. Transfer to a bowl and add oat flour, rolled oats, sugars, and mix well. Then add chocolate chips and pecans and mix again.
  4. Transfer cookie dough into pan and press on top of graham layer.
  5. Top with chopped marshmallows, chocolate chips and pecans. Torch with a fancy kitchen torch, or broil in your oven for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the marshmallows.
  6. Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut, Vanilla, and Tart Cherries

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Yes I know I just posted a black rice salad recipe. But when I like something, I really like it and tend to get a little over enthusiastic about it (hence why I filled up like 6 Big Gay Ice Cream frequent buyer punch cards this year). At this moment I can’t get enough black rice. It’s probably my favorite grain of the moment, right next to my beloved oat, which I hold highly on a pedestal. Black rice has topped quinoa, barley, brown rice, etc on my list. I. can’t. get. enough.

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No, I didn’t invent black rice pudding. Apparently it’s like a common dessert in Thailand. Way to go Thailand. You guys are brilliant.

I browsed a lot of recipes on the web for black rice pudding around 5:50 this morning after I finally gave up trying to sleep through my darling dog barking at a thunderstorm. I think she thought the loud crashes of thunder were intruders. Silly nugget. I shall forgive you because while sipping coffee in the wee hours I did a lot of black rice pudding research, took what I wanted from different recipes, and eventually came up with this. And it’s fantastic. So thanks, Millie, I owe ya for this one 😉

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This morning I added some vanilla, walnuts, coconut shreds, and tart dried cherries to it. These were conveniently in my (read: my mother’s) pantry so I went with them. But you can add whatever you like. But this pudding could be great just plain and simple, with chopped mango or blueberries or whatever your heart desires. It makes a lovely breakfast, snack, or dessert. You go black rice.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: about 1 hour
Level: Easy

Ingredients:
(can easily be doubled, but hey, I’m just one human and was experimenting with a new recipe so I made a smaller batch):

  • 1/2 cup black rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (use real stuff not imitation or I will h8 u and so will your taste buds)
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (if desired, you can nix the almond milk and use all coconut, but I wanted something a little lighter for breakfast)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries or other topping (if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut shreds (optional)
  • almond milk or honey to top

Directions:

1. Place black rice, water, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and *~*simmer*~* over low heat for 30 minutes. I like the word simmer. It reminds me of Professor Snape for reasons beyond my explanation.

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2.Once the rice is mostly cooked, add the coconut milk, almond milk, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to *~*simmer*~* for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until a desired consistency is reached. You may need to add more coconut and/or almond milk as needed to achieve your desired final product.

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3. Mix in dried cherries and coconut shreds (if desired).

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5. Spoon into a bowl, allow to cool (if desired, or not if you’re impatient like me), and top with your choice of goodies.

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6. Enjoy!

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Fudgy Vegan Double Chocolate Muffins – with a Surprise Ingredient [Watermelon!]

I like chocolately muffins. I like to dip them in almond or soy milk, or mash them up into Greek Yogurt. It makes a great substitute for a froyo creation when I’m too lazy to seek it out. I kind of like those VitaTop muffin things. The chocolate ones. But they’re expensive and I tend to only buy them when they are on sale at Target. So that’s a bummer. But I can get by.

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In addition to chocolate muffins, I also like the challenge of vegan baking. I always have. No, I’m not currently vegan. I am, however, a vegetarian of f 13+ years and recently have been progressing towards a more plant based diet.  Lately I’ve just been more and more into earthy stuff and the challenge of creating things with stuff straight from motha nature (also this book doe…). Now I know that baked goods aren’t something you’d typically pick off a tree, but I really genuinely do enjoy vegan baking sometimes. Buttercream is a beautiful thing and if you follow me on Instagram you know I’m a bitch for ice cream, but there’s something to be said about vegan baked goods. Sometimes, without all the mingling flavors of eggs and butter and other stuff, I believe you can actually taste the flavors more intensely. In fact, some of the most pure tasting and flavorful ice creams/gelatos and pasteries I’ve had have coincidentally be vegan. So be open minded, friends. And open mouthed.

These muffins, like a lot of other vegan baked goods, are rly fudgey and intensely chocolatey. Both great things.

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I’ve seen a lot of vegan baking recipes that use applesauce to add sweetness and texture to baked goods. This is a great trick. I do it all the time. And I almost did for these muffins. But then I also realized I had a boatload of watermelon which I happened to be snacking on while I started baking. So I decided to experiment with pureeing some up and using it instead of applesauce in my recipe. Why? Why the hell not. It’s nutritious and delicious just like applesauce added some natural sweetness and tons of moisture and a springy bite to the muffins.

Do these taste like watermelon? No. Not really. They mostly just tasted really chocolately. That’s not the point though. The point is that I like to experiment and this substitution happened to work splendidly. It also has inspired me to play around with baking with watermelon. Perhaps I will actually try to use it as a flavoring agent in a future baking project. Anyways, happy eating.

[Ps – there’s a half marathon recap after dis recipe.]

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup coca powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk (can use regular if not going for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup pureed watermelon
  • 1 + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (double check for non-dairy if you’re vegan, or don’t if you don’t care)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside for at least 10-15 minutes. This will allow it to curdle. It’s like DIY buttermilk. It will provide leavening and acidity to the final product.

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3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.


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4. Use a food processor or blender to puree a cup of cubed watermelon.

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5. Combine dry and wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add one cup chocolate chips.

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7. Line a muffin tin (tray? whatever) with 12 muffin cup things. Spoon batter into each. It may help to use an ice cream scoop for this. Trust me here it’ll change your life.

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8. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup (or more) chocolate chips all over the top of the muffins.

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9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, clean bowl with spatula via your mouth. Your dog may park herself in front of the oven and watch you do this.

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10. Cool completely and eat. These taste better cold. I would recommend storing them in the fridge. They taste fudgier that way.  And/or mashed up into Greek Yogurt.

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