ooey gooey chocolatey goodness

I finally dug into my Liberate Glo Bar, which is the newest in the Glo Bar lineup.  It’s Gluten Free, Raw and the flavor is “banana bread.”

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I have tried quite a few Raw/G+F bars, but honestly this is the best I’ve had.  It was full of nuts, fruit and seeds, with a great banana flavor but not overpowering.  It was easy to chew and was not too dry, like some I’ve had.  I really enjoyed this and so did my mom!

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I prefer this type of texture over a LaraBar.  What I like about this is you have the nuts + seeds but you still have a nice soft chew.

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My family was really intrigued by the Chocolate Avocado Vegan Cake that I made recently, so I wanted to make it for everyone while I was at home.

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I kept everything the same, except:

  • 1c brown rice syrup [instead of 3/4c]
  • 8T unsweetened cocoa powder [instead of 6T]

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Then I made a vegan peanut butter frosting, that was oh.my.gawd. delicious.  I used my regular butter cream frosting recipe, but made a few changes to veganize it and get it to the right consistency.

Creamy Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1c creamy peanut butter [not an oily peanut butter and not gritty/crunchy]
  • 1c pure cane sugar
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2t vanilla
  • 4T all purpose flour
  • 1t arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1c non-dairy milk [I used vanilla almond]
  • 3-6T non-dairy milk [to thin out the frosting]
  1. Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, cook the milk, flour + arrowroot, stirring frequently with a whisk.  Watch carefully so this does not burn!
  2. Cook until a very thick paste-like consistency is reached.  It takes about 10-15min depending on your stove!
  3. Let cool to room temp [fridge/freezer helps!]
  4. In a large bowl, beat the sugar + peanut butter until the sugar has almost completely dissolved and the mixture is fluffy, 3-5min. [there will still be some grittiness from the sugar]
  5. When the milk mixture has cooled, combine together and beat again until thick + smooth, 2-4min.
  6. Beat in the vanilla and slowly add 3-6T milk, until the frosting reaches a creamy, spreadable consistency.  *Add the milk slowly, so the frosting does not become too thin because it will be very hard to frost the cake!
  7. Refrigerate the frosting at least 30min to help stiffen.

*Enough to frost 2 round/square 8-9” cakes, 24 cupcakes, or 1 9x13 pan.

Finished frosting.

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I got a new cake stand while I was home!  It was on sale at Crate + Barrel for 8 bucks!!!  I am in love with it :)  Before frosting a cake, it’s really helpful to tear small pieces of wax or parchment paper to lay under the cake.  The helps prevent frosting getting all over the surface you’re decorating the cake on.  When you’re don’t frosting, carefully pull the pieces out from under the cake.

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Frost time.

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The cake turned out SO differently than when I made it in Colorado.  This version was MUCH fudgier and brownie like, whereas the other had more of a cake-like texture.  Both were very thick but this was much more moist.  It could be the Colorado dryness and the fact that I added an extra 1/4c of brown rice syrup. 

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I probably also pulled this out about 2min too soon and the last time I made the cake I pulled it out about 2min too late. 

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Everyone loved how moist + thick the cake was.  The frosting was a little intense…VERY peanut buttery, but in a good way, if you like PB that is!  What I liked about the whole dessert was that the sweetness was mild.  The chocolate + PB flavors definitely came through, and I wasn’t left with that jittery sugar high + crash, that I usually get from eating cake.  

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Topped with dark chocolate chips.

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Before dessert time, it was dinner time.  We had a nice Father’s Day Dinner with the whole family.  Happpppppppy Father’s Day to my wonderful dad!  He was on grill duty and also stole my camera to take this photo, while I wasn’t looking.  I cracked up when it popped up on my computer!

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He also took this cute photo of his mom!

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I made a quick salad.

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And this really tasty couscous dish!  I absolutely loved it and you could definitely switch out the couscous for quinoa or millet.  My mom had a big bag of couscous that she wanted me to use and we had gobs of spinach leftover from our Green Monster tasting party.  So I got to thinking….

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Couscous Bake

  • 1 1/4c dry couscous
  • 2c water
  • 1/3c pine nuts
  • 5-7c raw spinach *I just grabbed 5-7 big handfuls
  • 1 can drained diced tomatoes, reserve 1/3c of juice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • ~1/2-1c mozzarella/provolone/parm cheese [any or a mix will do]
  • 1/2t salt
  • ~1t parsley
  • ~1t oregano
  • ~2t basil
  • pepper
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1T olive oil, over medium/low heat.
  2. Add the garlic + onions and sauté for 10min.
  3. Add drained, diced tomatoes and sauté for 10 more minutes.
  4. In a medium pot boil 2c water.
  5. Preheat oven to 350*
  6. Stir in 1T olive oil, 1/2t salt, and 1 1/4c couscous then take off heat and cover.
  7. After 5min uncover and fluff with a fork.
  8. In a ~9x13 pan mix couscous, raw spinach, and onion mixture, and reserved 1/3c tomato juice together.
  9. Top with cheese and bake for ~15min.
  10. In a small pan, toast the pinenuts over medium/low heat for ~5min until lightly brown.  They go from lightly toasted to burnt very quickly!
  11. Set oven to broil at 500* and broil for 3-5min until cheese starts to brown.  Watch closely!

The couscous texture was awesome and I loved the crunch from the pine nuts.  I really liked how the spinach cooked in this.  It wasn’t mushy or watery.  Loved it!!

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I ate my shroom with roasted red peppers, ketchup, and italian bread. MMmmmm :)

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A perfect meal!

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We did a little father’s day gift opening and then an early birthday opening for me, since I won’t be seeing my family.  My bday is just around the corner.  I’ll be 27 on July 3rd!

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The bro.

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My parents got me a book [along with way too many other things!] that I spotted awhile ago when I was out shopping with my mom around Christmas.  It’s the top 100 Contemporary Chefs, chosen by 10 world leading culinary masters.  LOVE the design of this book and can’t wait to check it out more in depth :)

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Awesome kitchen goodies from my grandparents.

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I made this cake as a family birthday/fathers/mothers/grandparents/anniversaries cake!  Multipurpose!  Since I’m not around all year, I wanted to celebrate everyone in the family tonight!  Today was a great way to end my trip!!  Very sad to leave :(

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Happy SECOND Anniversary to Chris + me!!!!!!!!!!!!  <3 <3  I wish I was seeing him tomorrow but I’m going to have to be patient for his arrival on the 29th!  I did get a phone call from him today [in Ecuador], which was exciting.  I’ll be doing a wedding recap for my next post..stay tuned!