Vegan Peanut Butter “Crackle” Bars and Vegan Magic Shell

Whoa, mama.

I really stumbled upon the best idea today.

For those of you following along back home: I have a lot of allergies to various foods (all very recent and alarming, but not my point right now) which means since November of last year, our family has been eating (pretty much) strictly vegan.

Reading labels of foods at the store has been such a chore, so processed foods are just not a thing we eat anymore.

But man, do I miss chocolate bars.

Cue today’s  brain wave.

I was at the store, getting one of my pre-approved treats, wishing it was chocolate.

Sigh. Good, but not chocolate.

Then it hit me.  Hey! Isn’t a rice cake a lot  like the stuff inside a Krackle bar?

Yep.

Recipe below:

Chocolate: 

  • 1/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple/ Agave syrup

Melt all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl, stir to combine evenly until the chocolate is smooth and silky. Crumble rice cake (I only used about 1/3 of 1 rice cake for the amount of chocolate bars I made) into the molds and spoon liquid chocolate into the molds. For best results (I didn’t do this, but I totally should have), spoon a bit of chocolate into the mold before adding rice cake crumbles, to ensure a nice finish. Put your molds in a level place in the freezer to harden your chocolate. Makes roughly 2/3 cup of liquid chocolate.

The resulting chocolate is very quick to melt, and will absolutely melt in your hands, not just your mouth, so it’s best to keep them in the freezer.

See? Not the prettiest. But sooo tasty.

I think it’s also good to note that this lovely concoction is a perfect “Magic Shell” on ice cream. My kiddos love this stuff on frozen fruit, especially blueberries and bananas.

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Violet Syrup

Nothing quite so charming as picking a basket full of flowers.

I followed this recipe nearly exactly, and I came up with this lovely stuff.

A lovely light burgundy syrup.

We made it a few months ago, when violets were all over our yard, and we still love it on pancakes (but that’s another post). Canning is the best!

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Lentil Joes (Vegan Sloppy Joes)

This post is written by Samuel, Bonnie’s husband

For dinner a little while ago my wife and I made Lentil Joes with homemade BBQ sauce. This is a delicious meal that is fairly easy to cook, cheap, and makes getting some vegetables into dinner easy. It will take around an hour if you make the lentils. I don’t know if I’ve seen canned lentils, but you could use other beans and it would probably still work well. For meat eaters, using half ground beef and half lentils is a great way to save money and add some nutritional variety.

The pictures unfortunately are from more recently. We tried it again and added quinoa. Bonnie really liked it; I could take it or leave it.

I expect this is enough to feed 5-8 adults.  Other commentary is below the recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients:
Sauté oil
2 onions
1 cup other vegetable*
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ½ cups dry (about 5? Cups cooked) lentils**
1 heaping Tablespoon vegetable broth (I estimate we used about 4 teaspoons)
1/3 to ½ cup BBQ sauce, or just to taste (we used this recipe from Gimme Some Oven and it was wonderful)
¼ cup tomato sauce***
3 Tablespoons ketchup (one big squirt from a big bottle)

Note: If too thin, you can add a little bit of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Our lentils were ended up with extra water and we needed to thicken it a little bit, so we did.

 

Instructions:

Sauté the onions and vegetables in the oil, and add the salt and garlic as they are sautéing. When they are sautéed to taste, add the lentils, veggie broth, and sauces. We added the tomato sauce because it was left over (and we did not measure). We don’t think it really mattered, and would be comfortable omitting it.

Mix well and simmer for at least a minute. Serve on toast

*I did not measure, but I polished off a nearly gone bag of peas and added around ½ cup or more of frozen spinach. The vegetables did not seem to affect the taste. I wanted to add grated carrots, but we were out of carrots. The amount of 1 cup is arbitrary and reflects somewhere close to what I did, but I would have done more if we had carrots.

**I cooked about 2 ½ cups, but I saved what was supposed to be about 1 cup dry for another meal. I think I used the equivalent of 2 ½ to 3 cans of beans. Instructions to cook lentils should be on the lentil bag, and they’re easier and much faster than most beans.

***We had a small amount of tomato sauce left from making barbecue sauce. I don’t think it is actually necessary.

Ours came out wetter than we would have liked, so we simmered for a while and it got better. I still expect the consistency will be a little more sandwichable as leftovers.

It’s enough like Sloppy Joes to satisfy me, and definitely delicious. Just like in this recipe, I don’t usually do meat imitations, and although I’m new to vegan eating, I found I hardly thought about the fact that it didn’t have meat. We made a very large batch, so if needed, cut it in half. We weren’t close to throwing any away between my wife and I and our two-year-old boy.

I alluded to this above, but if you don’t want to or don’t have time to cook beans, you can try canned beans, but I haven’t seen canned lentils or tried other beans. Lentils are much faster than larger beans to cook from a dry bag of beans, taking only about 45 minutes. If you try with canned beans, be sure to leave a comment and let us know how it went. I expect it will work well if you use a smaller bean such as a black bean.

I will consider doubling the garlic when I make it again. With Bonnie’s homemade BBQ sauce (recipe here) it was flavorful, but more garlic might have kicked it up a notch. Bonnie made the BBQ sauce by taste more than by exact measuring, and it came out great.

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