Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow) – The Not So Messy Way

Muddy Buddies

We’ve been making Muddy Buddies for as long as I can remember. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe but I sure am thankful for it! Holidays are not the same in our family with this sugar-coated yumminess. I made it for years and dreaded making it until I finally figured out a way to keep it from being so messy.

Plan to double the recipe. Making a double batch takes the same amount of time and it’s something you’ll want to share.

P.S. This is not calorie free but it is gluten free.🙂

Ingredients:

1 12 oz. pkg (2 cups) semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

9 cups (21 oz. box) rice chex cereal

3 lbs powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl. 30 seconds at a time and stir until melted.

Put the cereal in a very large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture over it. Stir gently until all cereal is coated with chocolate mixture.

A little unconventional but brilliant…  this keeps this from being incredibly messy… Pour the coated cereal in a clean, unscented trash bag. Then pour the powdered sugar in over the cereal mixture. Twist up the bag tight and carefully toss the cereal inside back and forth. You can peek inside to make sure you have enough powdered sugar to coat and add more if needed. When you’re tossing, feel around for any large clumps from the outside of the bag and break them apart. Toss a little more to make sure they get coated.

Then cut a hole in the corner of the bag and pour into your storage container(s).

Throw away the messy bag.

Enjoy! And of course, share!!

Homemade Cashew Butter

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I realize this is the millionth recipe out there for homemade cashew butter but it’s the one I like and it works for me. After trying out making it just with cashews, it worked for sure but it took an eternity. It also didn’t have much flavor at all, kind of just tasted like cashews.🙂 Anyway, although it made good bread, delicious Coconut Flour Bread, it wasn’t good on celery so I decided to add a little honey and coconut oil. That helped speed up the process significantly and it’s tasty! Feel free to leave out the honey when making the bread if you prefer.

This is so yummy eaten  with apples or celery or by the spoonful for a quick grab ‘n go bite. It’s packed with protein and good fat so be sure to note that it’s not low fat but it is healthy.

You’ll need a food processor for this one. I don’t have a fancy one and it works just fine. It took me 47 years to buy a food processor. Not sure why because now I couldn’t live without it. Even if you got one for this recipe it would be worth it.

Throw in the food processor:

16 oz raw cashews
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey
2 Tbsp organic coconut oil 

Blend away. It will take a while. It will go from cashews to grains to a big lump to smaller lumps to creamy butter. The whole process takes about 30-45 minutes or so but just make sure you give your food processor frequent rest breaks to cool down.

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It makes about 2 cups of cashew butter. Store in an airtight container in your pantry just like you would regular nut butters for about a week. If it lasts that long. Enjoy!!

Easy Coconut Flour Cookies – Grain Free

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I found a recipe for coconut flour cookies and made them. They didn’t do it for me but they almost did. I made some changes and now… they do it for me.

I’m excited to find a cookie that only needs a few ingredients and are super easy and healthy. These are great with tea or coffee and healthy enough to grab a few for a hurried breakfast.

Easy Coconut Flour Cookies

3/4 cup coconut flour
1 and 1/2 stick cold butter (must be cold)
4 Tbsp raw honey
1/2tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it’s a big ball of cookie dough. You can do this with a pastry blender but it will take some muscle. The food processor makes quick work of it.

2. Spoon out very small lumps of dough (a little bit bigger than a marble) onto your baking sheet (lined with parchment or your baking liner). You can make these as large as you’d like but due to the dry shortbread texture, a couple of small ones will satisfy.

3. Roll each lump into a ball and dip into your sugar and place back on the baking sheet.

4. Press down each cookie ball with the back of a spoon to flatten into a quarter size round.

5. Bake at 365F for about 8 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Watch these because they cook quickly since they are so small.

6. Cool completely. They will crumble into bits if you take them up too soon. They really do firm up nicely but you have to let them cool completely. Patience!

7. Share and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 46 very small one-bite cookies. Kept in a air tight container, they will be good for at least a weak.

Almond ‘Bisconi’ Bites

Grain Free Almond “Bisconi” Bites (by Andrea Stunz)

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I’ve combined a few recipes to create this one. It’s sort of a scone and sort of a biscotti. Thus the name “bisconi”. These are not low fat but they are packed with good fat and protein and all things healthy and good.

4 cups blanched almond flour
⅓ cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
1/2 cup raw, slivered almond pieces (hazelnut would be good too)

In a stand mixer, stir together all dry ingredients.

Add in the syrup, almond extract, vanilla and eggs.

Add the melted coconut oil to the flour mixture and mix well. Note that the dough will seem a little bit oily.

Gently stir in the almond pieces or whatever nuts you’re using.

Heat oven to 350F.

Place the “ball of dough” onto a large cutting board and roll or press out (you can put plastic wrap over the top to make it less messy to press) to be about ½” thick. Try to square off the edges as best you can to get square pieces when you cut.

Use a knife to cut the dough into bite sized square pieces and transfer these onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Serve with a cup of coffee or hot tea. These are so good with this masala tea recipe.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Butter

There are lots of recipes out there for Cranberry Butter. I read a few and did my own thing. Shocker, I know…

I’m using this to give as gifts to our neighbors this Christmas. And of course saving some back for me.🙂 Here is what I’m printing out to add with the gift.

Cranberry Butter
Enjoy this on toast, biscuits, scones, or add it to a cheese plate. Use it as a glaze for grilled chicken or pork, or on sandwiches. Or just eat a spoonful of it. Merry Christmas from the ***** family!

P.S. It will be good kept in the refrigerator for up to a month – if it lasts that long.

Cranberry Butter, Andrea Stunz

Yields 4 half pint jars (ok to double to recipe)

  • 2 12-oz bags of fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar or coconut sugar/crystals (palm sugar)
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups organic apple cider

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put all the ingredients in a crockpot and stir to combine well. Turn on high. Let it cook for about 2 hours or until the cranberries are soft.
  2. Remove the cinnamon sticks and puree until creamy using the emersion blender.
  3. Replace the cinnamon sticks and cook with lid ajar until thickened, approximately another 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Using a large strainer and ladle (like a really large tea strainer) or straining cloth, strain out the stringy bits.
  5. Put the cranberry butter into clean jars with tight fitting lids and let cool. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.

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My Wassail

This is called “My Wassail” because when the kids need the recipe they always ask me, “What’s the recipe for your wassail?”

So here’s the recipe for My Wassail…

I use organic sugar, cider and anything else I can to make me feel a little bit better about this sugar fest.🙂

In a large stock pot or slow cooker, combine:

1.5 cups of white granulated sugar
3 cups of water
8 whole cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks (depends on the size)
1.5 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 gallon apple cider (apple juice is ok just not as rich as cider)
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lemon

*The rind from the lemon and oranges give a good balance of tart to the sweet.

Stove top: Bring to a low boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or so.

Crockpot: Put all ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on high until sugar is dissolved. Then simmer on low for at least an hour but you can leave it in your slow cooker for much longer and serve from it.

This is one of those recipes where you taste and add. So start with less of something if you’re unsure and you can always add more.

I like to keep a dish of red hots beside the mugs when serving. The red hots give it a stronger cinnamon flavor and make it a pretty red color.

Be sure to serve the liquid only. Downing a whole clove is not enjoyable or tasty.

Refrigerate leftovers (liquid only) and reheat. Leaving the cloves and cinnamon and other bits in the liquid for too long will make the flavors too strong.

We love to make mulled wine the real way but if you want a cheater version of mulled wine, add a bit of red wine (whatever kind you like) to your mug before adding the wassail. Maybe about 1 part wine, 2 parts wassail. Drink responsibly.

Now “My Wassail” is your wassail too!

Enjoy!!

Festive Cranberry Poppers

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(This is a picture of the “in progress” cranberries before the powdered sugar. I’ll track down a picture of the finished product soon and update.)

I don’t know when or why I started making these but it’s been many years. Every time I make them people are fascinated by them. They ask what it is. I smile and say, “try it”. They say, “Is that a cranberry?” And then, “Oh my goodness! These are SO good!” And then, “How did you make these?!?!” And then again, “Are these FRESH cranberries???”  I hear all the time, “I didn’t know you could eat fresh cranberries.” The thing is, who would want to? haha! They are so tart they have to be in something…. or coated with sugar.🙂 The antioxidant goodness outweighs the sugar badness, right?

So here is how I make these. They make a huge impact treat with very minimal effort.

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar

Prep: wash the cranberries ahead of time and give them plenty of time to dry completely. If they are wet the egg whites won’t stick.

1. Beat your egg whites with a whisk or electric beater until they are light and fluffy, not too stiff.

2. Carefully fold the fresh cranberries into the egg whites just enough to coat.

3. Place half of the bag of powdered sugar in the bottom of a gallon sized ziploc.

4. Give the cranberries one last quick fold in the eggs whites and then spoon them on top of the powdered sugar in the ziploc. Leave any excess egg whites in the bowl.

5. Put the rest of the powdered sugar on top of the cranberries.

6. Seal up the ziploc really well and gently toss the berries around. Carefully try to break up any clumps. You might need ot open the bag to find clumps by hand and break them up. Then reseal the bag and gently toss some more. Repeat this until they are all individually coated. You’ll end up leaving a decent amount of powdered sugar in your ziploc to throw out. Does that make you feel any better about the sugar part?🙂

7. Put them in cute holiday dish and serve and enjoy the smiles as these little sweet and sour surprised pop in your mouth.

They will be nice and pretty for about a day before getting soggy. Don’t put them in the refrigerator as they will get soggy as they get back to room temperature.