No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars

Guess who’s back in the kitchen having fun with new recipe concoction? This girl. I definitely put the cooking creativity on the back burner this summer while I was studying, and although my Peaches n’ Cream Oatmeal Cake certainly uses summer fruit, I haven’t shared too many made-for-summer recipes since I started Renaissance Runner Girl last December. All that changes today with these No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars. Which, as you’ve probably guessed, are no-bake and therefore perfect for hot weather.

 

No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars

 

Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu

Tofu. If you’re an omnivore (and even if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian) you might love it, but you also might fear telling that to other people, because the tofu they see at the salad bar or in the package is white, watery, and tasteless. I first started eating tofu when I began to rely on Amy’s Kitchen meals to heat up for dinner during my crazy first year of law school. The meals were good, but not big enough for a proper dinner, and lacking in the amount of protein I craved. Bathed in tamale or enchilada sauce, the tofu was fine, and since it’s so much cheaper than the chicken or fish I would otherwise cook, it was perfect for a law student budget.

Since then, I’ve carved out time in my life to cook proper meals (though Amy’s are great for those nights when I’m hungry and in a hurry!) and discovered that tofu can, in fact, be appealing all on its own when made properly. My favorite way to eat tofu is when it’s baked or grilled and tossed with complementary foods for a hearty and delicious bowl. This is my first baked tofu recipe, a classic I return to time after time. I’ll pair it with quinoa, mushrooms, mirepoix, and Parmesan cheese for a satisfying dinner.

 

Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix

Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix

 

 

Ingredients:

14 oz extra-firm tofu

2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

3 tbsp gluten-free tamari (soy sauce)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp paprika

Olive oil (sprayable form preferable)

 

Instructions:

1. Slice tofu into 1″ thick slices and use dish towels to remove most of the moisture. Lie a towel flat on a plate, then arrange the tofu slices and place another towel on top, and press down. Repeat several times. (If you’re enough of a tofu aficionado that you own a tofu press to do this, then use that and I’m jealous of you.)

2. Cube the tofu slices into 1″ squares.

3. In a small bowl, combine the brown rice vinegar, tamari, and apple cider vinegar, along with 1 tsp each of the garlic and thyme.

4. Arrange tofu cubes in a plastic or glass container. Pour the marinade over the cubes and sprinkle remaining garlic and thyme on top. Cover the container, making sure it is well sealed, and shake a few times.

5. Place the container in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour, flipping it upside down halfway through the marinating process. Feel free to stretch out this step over several hours, or even overnight – it just needs at least an hour!

6. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ nonstick pan with olive oil. Place cubes evenly in the pan, ensuring that they aren’t on top of each other (squeezing the cubes in tightly is fine, they all just need to be touching the bottom of the pan).

7. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, but let the dish sit in the oven for another 15-20 minutes to keep firm and warm. If you want to bake mushrooms with the tofu so they’re crispy, simply brush them with olive oil and put them on the tray when the tofu has 10 minutes left to bake.

8. Serve immediately on removing from the oven. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 (for me, it’s two servings, but I like a protein-packed meal)

 

Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms

Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms

 

 

Do you try eating meatless every once in awhile, even if you’re an omnivore? What’s your favorite way to convince people that tofu is tasty?

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Dreamy Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Peanut butter is one of my weaknesses. Luckily, peanut butter is great fuel for a runner. I’m constantly finding new ways to incorporate it into recipes to avoid spooning it straight from the jar (which often happens anyway…but I digress!) Peanut butter is great for any PB&J treats, paired with maple syrup or honey like in my Peanut Butter Cups, or dotted with dark chocolate chips. But sometimes, I just want creamy (or crunchy!) peanut butter, pure and simple. For that, I turn to these peanut butter cookie bites, so simultaneously creamy, crunchy, and peanut butter-y, it’s tough to stop at just one! So make a batch to share with friends – they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, so everyone can enjoy.

 

Dreamy Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

Dreamy Peanut Butter Cookie Bites

 

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free quick oats (you can also use instant oats for smoother cookies, but I love chewy ones)

1/4 cup gluten-free instant oats

1/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (either works, so pick freely!)

6 tbsp powdered peanut butter

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup dry sweetener (brown sugar is great, but you can also use white sugar or stevia)

1/4 cup applesauce

Cookie sheet and parchment paper

 

 

Cookie batter (tip: you can use an ice cream scooper to make evenly-sized cookie bites)

Cookie batter (tip: you can use an ice cream scooper to make evenly-sized cookie bites)

Instructions:

1. Mix 6 tbsp powdered peanut butter with 4 tbsp water in a small bowl.

2. Melt regular peanut butter in a saucepan or microwave and combine the two.

3. Add all other ingredients to peanut butter mixture and stir. The batter will be fairly thick and clumpy, but don’t add any extra liquid – trust me!

4. Roll dough into small spheres and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, pressing down to make cookie shapes as you go.

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

6. Let cool for at least 10 minutes to allow the cookie bites to firm up. Then, enjoy!

 

Note: this recipe will yield 12 cookie bites. You could also make 6 giant cookies, or 24 truly bite-size cookies!

 

 

Cookie bites as part of a Galentine's Day dessert spread!

Cookie bites as part of a Galentine’s Day dessert spread!

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! The traditional autumn blend of pumpkin, maple, and cinnamon can warm you up throughout a chilly winter. These are similar to my other gluten-free muffin recipes in their use of rolled oats as a base, but incorporating pure pumpkin gives them a slightly creamier texture and puffier tops. They’re also dairy-free and  vegetarian (and can be adapted to be egg-free and vegan), great to bring to school or work to share without any worries – everyone can partake! Or whip up a batch over the weekend and have them for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. Pumpkin Puffins are a great way to start off your day on a warm and cheerful note.

 

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum flour

1 cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s or Farmer’s Market Organics, but if you’re up to the task of roasting your own, I’m sure that would be fantastic!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

2 large eggs (you can also substitute additional 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp flaxseed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (this works best with the pumpkin, but feel free to substitute stevia or other sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking spray or additional olive oil

 

 

Puffin batter

Puffin batter

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12-muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly brush each muffin cup with olive oil.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well (roughly 8-10 good stirs) but be careful not to over-stir, or the batter will become too thin.

5. Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Optional: sprinkle a pinch of extra brown sugar on each muffin top.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Birthday Confetti Fairy Cakes

I tend to try and see the best in people, and want to make sure that all my friends and family are happy. I’m often told that this is an impossible goal. But whoever said you can’t please everyone underestimated my skills in dessert experimentation, because I’ve finally concocted a recipe guaranteed to please any birthday boy or girl AND all of their friends and family, no matter what allergies or dietary restrictions they have!

It’s hard enough to make gluten-free and nut-free cakes and treats, but these are not the only allergens that can cause problems. So I came up with a recipe that is free from all of the ‘Big 8’ allergens. Obviously, you won’t use fish or shellfish much in baking, and I already eliminate gluten and tree nuts. But these fairy cakes are also made without dairy, eggs, soy, or peanuts. They’re vegan and kosher too. And you know what? Even without all of these ingredients, they taste exactly like a classic vanilla birthday cake! I call them fairy cakes because they’re smaller than the typical cupcake and made without icing, instead using allergen-free sprinkles for a pretty top. But the recipe is adaptable for a full-size birthday cake or larger cupcakes with icing (recipes for those coming soon). They’re a guaranteed palate-pleaser and they’re safe for most people, with little tweaks in the event that someone you want to bake a treat for has other dietary restrictions. I hope one day to be a mom who can make birthday treats for my kids that EVERY one of their friends can enjoy – making these for a good friend’s birthday for a group that includes gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free eaters was a perfect test run!

 

Birthday fun(fetti) for everyone!

Birthday fun(fetti) for everyone!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup organic cane sugar OR stevia OR other sweetener (if you need a sugar-free substitution)

1 cup So Delicious vanilla coconut milk (or equivalent if someone has a coconut allergy!)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Allergy-free rainbow sprinkles (optional, but who DOESN’T love birthday funfetti?)

Extra olive oil or cooking spray (to grease the cupcake wrappers)

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12 cupcake wrappers with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil and place in 12-muffin tin.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, olive oil, and vanilla extract.

5. Pour batter evenly into cupcake wrappers.

6. Top with sprinkles.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!

 

 

...or scrumptious as they are!

…or scrumptious as they are!

Delicious with icing added...

Delicious with icing added…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.