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as a part of the StonyField clean plate blogger program, I was given products in this post in exchange for a post. Opinions are 100% my own. 
I'm always up for spicing up a traditional recipe. Brownies, so simple and tasty, could always use a new spin on them.
I couldn't help myself from tasting this frosting as I whipped it up over the weekend. The vanilla Stonyfield Grassfed Greek yogurt paired so nicely with the Almond Butter, so creamy and a lovely topping to the chocolatey goodness of the brownie.

 Gluten Free Brownies with Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Frosting

Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Frosting
8oz of Stonyfield GrassFed Greek Yogurt (vanilla bean flavor is optional but highly recommend)
2 Tablespoons of Cream Cheese *softened*
3 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gluten Free Brownies with ALmond butter greek yogurt frosting

Directions
Bake your brownies according whatever box or recipe you love use! I happened to have a box of a Gluten Free mix in my cabinet so I just whipped that up, baked it, and let it cool slightly.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix Greek yogurt and almond butter together. Blend with a stand mixer or hand mixer for about 1 minute.
  • Next, add the cream cheese and maple syrup and beat for another 2 minutes until creamy. I ended up putting another tablespoon of cream cheese in mine, if you feel its not creamy enough after the 2 initial tablespoons, add more.
  • Then, add the vanilla extract and beat again till smooth.
  • Taste the frosting and add more maple syrup or vanilla if desired.
  • Let it set in the fridge for about 30 minutes till stiff
  • Spoon and spread over cooled brownies and serve! 
Gluten Free Brownies with Almond Butter Frosting

I absolutely loved using the Almond Butter from Woodstock, they have a wonderful range of products that pair nicely with any recipe or even just a simple snack! I love their line of "Craving" snacks, cause we all know we have those days when we have major snack time cravings! Their products help you make great non-gmo + organic snack time choices!
Woodstock Foods

And who doesn't like a little BTS photo, Bruno was VERY Interest in the chocolate goodness that was VERY much at his level. I was blocking his one easy way to get so he took extra measures to get in as close as he could to the brownies
Almond Butter Brownies and Bruno
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Is there anything better then walking in the front door after a day of work and smelling the deliciousness that awaits you in the crock pot!?? It's one of my favorite things to come home too.
This crock pot lasagna is that type of crock pot recipe that creates this amazing smell that will make you want to dive right into it at the end of the day.
Crock Pot Veggie Lasagna with Ricotta Cheese
Crock Pot Lasagna 
(2) 24 ounce jars or cans of Italian tomato sauce ( I used 1 and 1/2 jars)
I box of gluten free lasagna noodles
Cashew Ricotta Cheese (see recipe below)
3-4 cups chopped vegetables of choice (I used spinach)
2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella cheese 
Vegan Parmesan cheese for topping
 Cashew Ricotta Cheese
Cashew Ricotta Cheese 
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, then drained
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup plain non-dairy milk (I used soy)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp dried basil
⅓ cup fresh chives
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
Blend all ingredients in a food processor till ricotta like constancy. It should be smooth but still have some texture.
 *I usually add just a tad more syrup and milk to get it a little softer and smoother. 
Crock Pot Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta Cheese - Vegan and Gluten free
Directions 

  • Spray the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce to the bottom so the noodles don't stick.
  • Break noodles so that they fit and mostly cover the bottom. It may look a little crazy and uneven but no worries! Cover with about one third of the ricotta, veggies, sauce, cheese, and end with noodles. Repeat layers two more times for a total of three complete layers. End with a layer of noodles on top, covered with a thin layer of sauce and a little bit more shredded cheese.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. If it seems watery (it may not if you make the cashew ricotta) turn the crock pot off and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. But I've typically never had this problem with the cashew ricotta. 
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    As you know, I don't ever consider myself fully vegan. I like my organic dairy every now and then, and I also live in the south so chick-fil-a is a way of life.
    However, I like to delve into vegan recipes from time to time on the days I feel my body needs a little break from my normal eating lifestyle.

    I wasn't sure how this recipe was going to come out. It only requires two ingredients and a little time on the stove.
    I was quite impressed at the outcome and snacked on it while I was preparing all the other game day dips and snacks this past weeks super bowl.
    I bet if you if you didn't even mention to your friends that it was vegan they wouldn't even notice! 

    Easy Vegan Queso - 2 Ingredients - No Veggies, Tofu, or Nuts
    I took this photo a day after I initially made it, so it is not a smooth as it comes out when you make it the day of.

    EASY Vegan Queso
    (no nuts, veggies, or tofu)
    1 cup of your favorite salsa

    • In a small pot add 1 cup of salsa and warm up. 
    • Next, add a handful of shreds to the pot till melted together, continue this till it is all blended (you will end up using most of the bag, I had about 1/4 cup left)
    • Throw in a dish when it is all melted, with some chips on the side, and your are done! 

    Easy Vegan Queso - 2 Ingredients - No Veggies, Tofu, or Nuts

    Typically normal shredded cheese doesn't melt well together for queso (or taste good for that matter) but because of the vegan cheese it blends VERY well, as if you used a huge block of velveeta cheese.

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    This dressing was a combination of an experiment and craving. 
    The other day I was determined to make a nice salad to go with our lovely gluten free french bread pizzas. I decided to attempt a dressing I have actually been wanting to recreate for some time but was always a little hesitant to. 
    I will say it turned out as close to the original as you can get while being dairy free and vegan!  
    Dairy Free Vegan Olive Garden Dressing
    (the dressing settles quickly, hence why it looks separated in this photo)

    Part 1
    1  packet Italian Dressing Mix made to directions
    or
     Make Your own Mix
    1tbs. garlic salt
    1 TBLS of onion powder
    1 TBLS of sugar
    2 TBLS of oregano
    1 tsp of pepper
    1 tsp of basil
    1 TBLS of parsley
    1/3 tsp celery salt
    2 TBLS salt

    Add 2 TBLS of the above mix to...
    •1/4 cup cider vinegar
    •2/3 cup olive oil
    •2 tbls. water

    Part 2
    ¾ cup olive oil
    2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (or white)
    ¼ cup water
    ½ teaspoon sugar
    ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon pepper
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    1 Tablespoon of vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo)
    Vegan Olive Garden Dressing

    Directions 
    Make Part 1 of this recipe in a medium bowl.
    Add all the ingredients in Part 2 to Part 1. Whisk till blended then store in a dressing container.
    The mix will settle easily so make sure to shake it well and poor quickly. 
    Keep stored in the fridge.

    I know it seems a little silly that you are basically making two dressings and combining them, but trust me, it has the best outcome! 
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    I don't know about you, but chips and dip is my favorite part of any Superbowl party. You can never go wrong with a good dip. This recipe is one of my favorites because it is so simple. Just 3 main ingredients and your favorite taco toppings!

    Easy Taco Dip | 3 Ingredients and Gluten Free|

    Ingredients

    8 ounces StonyField Double Cream yogurt*
    8 ounces organic cream cheese, softened
    2 tablespoons of Taco Seasoning, to taste**

    Topping(s)

    1 cup shredded lettuce
    1 cup chopped tomato
    1 cup of organic shredded cheddar cheese

    After making this I realized you could also put some re-fried beans on the bottom of the dish to add some extra depth! Also, I think some roasted corn would taste amazing on top.

    *You may also use sour cream but for a more healthy organic alternative, I used StonyField Double Cream yogurt.

    ** I've learned less is more when it come to the taco seasoning. Start with 1/2 tablespoon and go from there. See my homemade taco seasoning recipe below.

    Directions

    • In a bowl, mix double cream and cream cheese till well blended. You can use a stand mixer or I've even used a hand mixer. The softer the cream cheese the better time you'll have blending both.
    • Slowly add in the taco seasoning to your taste.
    • Once mixed, place lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese on top. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to let it set and then serve!

    Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

    I love Simply Organic's Cumin. Its so flavorful and one of my favorite seasonings to add to any Mexican recipes. You can never go wrong with some smoked paprika!

    Here is my recipe for homemade taco seasoning to make your own.

     Easy Taco Dip | 3 Ingredients and Gluten Free|

    Using Stonyfield Double Cream Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream

    I was a little scared to sub Stonyfields new Double Cream Yogurt for sour cream but I was so surprised how similar it tasted. Definitely a perfect substitute.

    It even passed my husband, the taste tester. This dip is one of his favorites that I make and he said it tasted just as good without the sour cream.

    You made one great product StonyField!

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    Well, here we are friends. Already 3 weeks into the new year and life is in full swing. Like I said in my previous post, I don't typically do resolutions. But I do reset and look towards being better than the year before.
    One of my goals in the past couple of years is to be more "eco-friendly" every year. I feel I made good progress last year and I want to make more this year!
    Want to join me?? Here are 5 EASY ways to be more eco-friendly in 2017!

     photo 5_zpsee169sam.jpg

    1.Glass, Glass, Glass.
    I've written about the benefits of glass before (click the photo to the post). But really its the best way to not only be eco-friendly but also get ugly BPA's and chemicals off and out of your body. Some easy ways to switch to glass is to use Mason Jars (such as Ball Canning) for drinking and storage. They are inexpensive for a set and can be used for many purposes. Also, keep an eye out for good glass pyrex sets. You can find good deals at stores like TJ Maxx and Big Lots. Don't forget about amazon too!
    Why Glass is better

    2. Recycle
    This is a no brainer. But it isn't hard and is the best way to always be eco-friendly.

    3. Shop more consciously
    We have a say in what get's made and what is put on the grocery store shelves by what we buy. Next time you buy that conventional bag of rice. Look around, is there a better choice? Maybe an organic or non-gmo label is being hidden beneath the other products on the shelves. Stores get new products all the time, so keep an eye out and make the better/healthier choice!

    4. Switch your cooking tools
    Now this may be the most expensive of the 5 but if you do it right, you can do it! First off, use cast iron. Its pretty inexpensive to buy these pans if you find a good deal. I suggest following All Natural Savings, she posts deals on cast iron's from time to time. Cast iron pans have less chemicals than many non-stick pans. Here is a list of more reasons to use cast iron 
    Next, is start swapping out old non-stick pans for ceramic. I got a set from my wonderful aunt for christmas. I LOVE them. So easy to clean and I know their aren't any harsh chemicals coming from the pans when I cook.

    5. Check your beauty cabinet, and while your at it, check your cleaning cabinet too!
    Now this is one I am constantly working on. But take a look in your cabinets. Put your products into EWG database, are they really eco-friendly and good for you??
     You'd be surprised how many brands say they are eco-friendly but are not. I wrote a post about this before and highly suggest starting to switch up bad products to better ones! Check that post out by clicking the photo below...
      Why YOU should be utilizing EWG

    How are you being more eco-friendly this year! I'd love to hear your thoughts! 
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    I've tried A LOT of rice recipes. Some have turned out well, others... not so much. This is by far my favorite rice recipe I've found and perfected. It's a perfect addition to that weekly Mexican meal!

    Easy Mexican Rice *Gluten Free*
    INGREDIENTS
    3TBS of Olive Oil
    1 cup of brown rice (long grain)
    1tsp of minced garlic
    1/2tsp of kosher
    1/2tsp cumin
    1/2cup of tomato sauce
    14oz of chicken broth

    HOW TO MAKE IT
    In a decent sized deep pot. Heat olive oil.
    Add rice and cook till slightly brown. Stirring every so often so not to burn the rice to the pan.
    Next, add garlic, salt, and cumin and cook till fragrant (about 2-3minutes).
    Then add the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
    Stir and cover and cook till the liquid is absorbed. Check on it and stir from time to time.

    EASY MEXICAN RICE

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    I've become less and less of someone who makes resolutions every new year. Instead I use the new year to reset and strive to living and eating better. This year I think I am going to strive more to eat more vegan/plant based meals during the week. More then I already do. We will see how it goes but I'm hopeing for the best!
    What You'll Need
    1 Onion chopped
    1 can Black Beans drained
    2 cups Chicken Broth (while I haven't tried it I suppose you could use veggie broth as well for a vegan meal)
    1 cup Tomato Sauce
    1 cup Salsa
    1 tbsp taco seasoning, I used my homemade recipe, add more if you want more spice
    2 cups Uncooked Traditional or Gluten Free Pasta - any small type, I find shells to be the best -
    Salt to Taste
     Dairy and Gluten Free Black Bean Taco Skillet
    How to Make It
    In a very deep pan or pot, saute onion in a good amount of olive oil.
    After about a minute or two add the Beef Crumbles and cook till warm
    Mix in Black Beans, Mexican Seasoning, Chicken Broth, Tomato Sauce, and Salsa. Bring mixture to a boil.
    Once the mixture is boiling add uncooked pasta, mix well, and cover.
    Cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes check the tenderness of pasta. If pasta is not tender cook for a couple more minutes.
    Serve with whatever taco toppings you typically enjoy. Such as DF cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and chips.
    Black Bean Taco Skillet Gluten and Dairy Free
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    Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to refresh and get ready for the new year! What better way to start than with a brand new set of calendars? 

    To help get the new year started off right, FTD created these floral printable calendars to help you stay organized for the year ahead. Each month has a unique watercolor floral design, and comes in two sizes: 8.5” x 11” and 11” x 17”. They’re perfect for either hanging up on your wall, or putting directly on your desktop to add a spot of color to your workspace! 

    Free 2017 Floral Calendars from FTD
    I LOVE these calendars. A few post back I talked about my meal planning process and I shared how much I love these printables! They are perfect to put up on the fridge and for writing in your weekly (or biweekly) meal plans.  

    Start off your new year and new year of meal planning with these FREE calendars! 

    *discloser* FTD contacted me and asked for my help sharing their new 2017 printable calendars. They were kind enough to write the opening to this post but under the photo the opinions are 100% mine own. 

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    Do you have a desert recipe you've perfected so much that it's the only recipe you make every christmas/holiday??

    *raises hand*  
    Me! That's me! 

    I've said in the past. I am NOT a baker. Add in the fact that whatever I make has to be gluten free is just a recipe for disaster(haha, see what I did there)! So when I found this recipe for GLUTEN and DAIRY FREE peanut butter truffles with only 4 ingredients! I about fell out of my computer chair.
    I've made them every year since I found the recipe and they are such a crowd pleaser.
    Let's also talk about how amazing peanut butter is!
    I love this article by Positive Health Wellness about the health benefits of peanut butter: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/diet-nutrition/everything-need-know-health-benefits-peanut-butter/
    4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Truffles
    |Gluten Free | Dairy Free |
    Peanut Butter Truffles

    1/2 cup of peanut butter
    1/2  cup of powdered sugar
    1/4 cup of crushed GF/DF pretzels - My personal favorite is Snyders -

    Peanut Butter Truffles Gluten and Dairy Free

    Directions 

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Add all the ingredients together EXCEPT the chocolate chips.



  • make sure to not crush the pretzels too fine. It will help give your truffles a nice crunch.


  • Roll the peanut butter mixture into balls and place on parchment paper
  • Place in freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  • When its time to pull them out. Melt your chocolate over boiling water or if you are short on time, melt in a microwave safe dish.
  • Using a fork, roll each ball in the chocolate till completely covered and place back on backing sheet and parchment paper.
  • Place the sheet back in the freezer to set then keep in the refrigerator so they don't harden to much.
  • Enjoy!

  • Peanut Butter Truffles Gluten and Dairy free


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