Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Butter Fudge - Almond

What does a gal watching her weight eat? Butter, of course... and lots of it! Only from grass-fed cows, mind you, or butter is no longer a health food. I didn't make a mistake putting almond at the end after those two other delicious words. Because I want to be clear that this recipe is about the butter. It's not fudge with almond butter, it's butter fudge with almond butter. A couple people told me it was as if they were eating chocolate butter. So, if you don't like butter - First, what's wrong with you? Second, you might want to skip this one. Now that I've made it clear that we are talking about lots of butter (so much so that you have to store this in the freezer), let's move on...

Anyway, I've done it again. I've taken an awesome recipe from somewhere else and tweaked it to my own tastes. It's getting pretty obvious that I have no original ideas. No, that's not true. Seriously, just wait until soup season... I can create soups. Maybe my creativity ends with soups? Maybe not, who knows? Now where were we? Oh, yes, butter...

This recipe, like my creme brulee recipe, started with one from the Healthy Home Economist. You can see the original here. There's even a video of her making it, all the while talking about how healthy butter is. I adjusted it a bit because I wanted to use almond butter and less honey so it wouldn't be so sweet. And none of that carob nonsense for me - real cocoa all the way! So here's my version.

First, a note about the quantity made. If you're like me, you might read the ingredients and start adding up the $$$ it will cost for quality ingredients (please get quality ingredients if you actually want to claim any health benefits here). It cost me about $15 to make a 9x13 pan. But this is such a rich snack that you will actually get a lot of servings.

And, if you don't have access to a farm where you can get grass-fed butter, Kerrygold is a brand in the store. It comes from grass-fed cows in Ireland, and the proof is in the color - grass-fed butter will have a deep yellow color to it without added colorants. Let me give another shout-out to all the wonderful people at The Family Cow for offering awesome butter (gently pasteurized by PA law).


2 cups (1lb.) grass-fed butter
1 cup creamy almond butter
1 cup raw honey
1 cup high-quality cocoa powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Soften the butter to room temperature. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. (I used my stand mixer for this step). Line a 9x13 pan that has a lip around it with parchment paper. Spread the butter mixture into the pan and freeze for about an hour. Cut into squares and store in the freezer with parchment paper between the layers.

Make it healthier

The absolute healthiest butter is raw from organic, grass-fed cows. If you can get your hands on that, or make your own with raw whole milk, do it!

Homemade almond butter is also a healthier option than buying commercial almond butter.

Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peanut Butter-Oat Balls

Last week, I found a simple recipe for peanut butter balls that called for rolled oats, peanut butter, and optional cocoa powder. I was craving peanut butter, but I didn't want to eat any bread, so I made them with the addition of dark chocolate chips (I know you're not surprised about the chocolate!). The recipe was simple - you just mix a 1:1 ratio of PB and oats, shape into balls, and roll in unsweetened cocoa if desired. It was good, and it satisfied my cravings. But it wasn't great. And my kids didn't eat any after the first one they tried. If I'm going to go through the trouble of making snacks, I want them to be things my kids will eat. This recipe could be much better.

So I tinkered with it, adding a little sweetener and some healthy fats. The result is, in my mind, a huge improvement in both taste and nutritional value.


1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup unsweetened crunchy peanut butter (with no added oils)
1 Tbs. raw honey
1 Tbs. coconut oil
Optional: 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (preferably organic, fair trade) or carob chips


Mix all ingredients together. I like to use my hands to make sure it's really mixed well. Roll into balls, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in freezer until hard.

That's it! Store in freezer.

I made 18 balls, but it really depends on how big or small you roll them. Make them smaller for little hands or a fun "mini" snack. Make them bigger for your hungry teens or a lunch portion.

Make it healthier

Use almond butter or another nut butter in place of peanut butter. Peanuts aren't actually nuts, and do not offer the same health benefits as most nuts.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Healthy Creme Brûlée

You might see the cream and egg yolks in the ingredient list and wonder how I can label it healthy. First, jump over to the Healthy Home Economist. This is her recipe, slightly modified. You can read her explanation on the reasons we can call this luxurious dish healthy. It has something to do with fatty acids, brain function, and healthy skin. But there is a key here, not to be missed. You must use organic, pasture-raised cream and pasture-raised eggs. These days, for pasture-raised eggs, you must know the farm and the farmer. That's the only way you can call this healthy. Feel free to make it with commercial milk and eggs. But that's not healthy. You shouldn't eat that junk. Really. I'm not kidding.  I am fortunate to have access to high-quality cream and eggs from The Family Cow

Here's the recipe for one 9-inch pie dish:


1 pint heavy, fresh or slightly soured cream

1/2 Tbs. vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup organic unprocessed cane sugar (sucanat) or coconut sugar

4 tsp. sucanat or coconut sugar


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Ready to go in oven.
Heat cream gently with vanilla, but do not let it boil. Beat egg yolks with sugar until smooth and well blended. Beat vanilla and hot cream into yolk mixture. 

Pour into pie dish. Set dish in a shallow pan of warm water. Bake 35-45 minutes until custard sets and forms a crust on top. Note that set does not mean a knife will come out clean. If you put a knife in the center, it should come out with creamy custard on it. It will set more as it cools. 

Let custard cool. Cover lightly and chill 4 hours in the refrigerator. To serve, sprinkle remaining 4 tsp. sugar evenly over top. Place under the broiler until the sugar melts and browns, being careful not to burn it. Pay attention - this happens very quickly. Return to refrigerator to cool and allow sugar to harden to a crust. 

Try not to eat it all in one sitting!

Make it Healthier

Use RAW non-homogenized cream from organic, pastured milk. If you can't find this, use cream that has been gently pasteurized, like described here. Because even the organic, grass-fed cream you buy commercially is likely ultra-pasteurized, homogenized, and may even contain added substances like carrageenan.