Mary's Busy Kitchen

Mary's Busy Kitchen

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sun Butter No Bake Granola Clusters

Move over chocolate no-bake cookies...even though I do love them!

Check these out as a little healthier option for a change. And if you are like me, it's nice to have some favorite recipes using sun butter too.

No need to limit yourself to just one flavor though, this recipe is delicious with any nut butter. The original recipe calls for almond butter, Chocolate Almond Granola Bites from the blog, My Baking Addiction. Click on the link to try the original version.

I changed it up a bit to fit my personal needs.
My family loves them and my husband said, "leave them out...I'm going to eat the whole pan!'

By the way...if you make these when you are hungry, you are in big trouble!!
In fact, you may want to just double the batch and save some time : )

Sun Butter No Bake Granola Clusters                Makes 15-18 depending on size
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup sun butter (sunflower butter) or any nut butter of your choice.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of your favorite granola, I used a low-fat, gluten free granola.
1 cup old-fashioned oats, I used gluten free.
2-3 Tbsp chopped nuts, any variety. I used mixed.
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used an allergy friendly chip.

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.
Combine agave, sun butter, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Over low heat stir constantly until mixture is smooth and warm. Remove from heat and add vanilla, stir.  Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl combine all the rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix well.
Pour cooled syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. It's ok if they melt a little.

Spoon out mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, or use a cookie scoop for a more uniform shape.
Refrigerate or freeze until set.  Store in refrigerator or freezer as well.


This post is linked to Savoring Saturdays.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Nearly No Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies - gluten free option too.

Finally a low-fat cookie that isn't made with bananas... nothing against bananas, I love them, and they are fantastic in low-fat recipes. 

But it is nice to have some options, I don't want everything to have a hint of banana flavor!

Be sure to enjoy a few of these cookies fresh from the oven, and then if you are like me...try some frozen.  

If you count weight watcher points, each cookie has just 3 points. Of course you can reduce that number by making them smaller...but to be honest, I like a bigger cookie.

I have made this recipe with all-purpose flour and a gluten free baking blend. Guess what? I actually thought the gluten free was better.  I've even made these cookies and forgot the corn starch before, and they still turned out fine.   Okay...that was just lucky.  

 Here's the recipe!

Nearly No Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free option                Makes 12 cookies
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, I used light.
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk or a non-dairy type, I used soy milk.
1 cup all-purpose flour or a gluten free baking blend. Remember - always stir flour before measuring.
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp chopped nuts, I used walnuts.
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips. I used an allergy friendly chocolate chip.

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, a non-stick spray or silicone sheets. These tend to stick a bit.

In a mixing bowl combine the first four ingredients. Mix well.

In a small bowl add all the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Add dry  mixture to applesauce mixture. Stir just to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using a small or medium size cookie scoop, drop batter onto prepared baking pans. Bake for 13-14 minutes, oven times may vary. If you decide to make smaller cookies, bake for about 10 minutes.
If they overcook I feel they become too firm. Let cookies sit a minute or two and move to a wire rack...or eat a few!

Stay heart-healthy and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gluten Free Banana-Pumpkin Muffins

YUMMY!   That's what these are!

Enough said...let's get to the recipe so you can try some too!

Idea for this recipe is from, Green Plate Rule. Click on link for original recipe, Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {Gluten-free}

I just changed one or two things to better meet my needs. Probably will try substituting all eggs in the future due to my sensitivity. This is a delicious recipe, but we like them a best with raisins instead of chocolate chips.

If you count weight watcher points, each muffin has 4 points.

Gluten Free Banana-Pumpkin Muffins                   Makes 17-18 Muffins
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup pumpkin
2 eggs
1 flax egg - (1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water, let sit to gel)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted  - any oil will work
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, I used allergy friendly chips
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.   Prepare muffins tins with a non-stick spray, or use silicone muffins pans.
Combine dry ingredients (except for chips and raisins) in a medium bowl. Mix well.
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips and/or raisins.
Bake for 25-28 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before removing from pans.

Store leftovers in freezer or refrigerate to keep fresh for several days.

Muffins shown here using a silicone muffin pan.

Let cool on a wire rack, or wrap in a clean dish towel to keep warm until serving.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Zucchini Noodles

Need a new idea for zucchini?    How about zoodles?

I kind of put off trying these to be honest.  Big mistake! This is a great idea. I like them cooked as well as raw.

Add them to pasta dishes, stir-fry, soups or salads.  Toss them in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and garlic for  a few minutes, season with some salt and pepper, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top for a simple vegetable side dish. Weight watcher followers skip the olive oil and Parmesan for a 0 point side dish.

We like to  add them to our plate while we are dishing up pasta, top with some sauce and that is a simple way to add a vegetable to dinner.

One to two zucchini makes a nice size pile of noodles.

There are several different types of "zoodle" makers available...I just bought a simple, inexpensive  one.

This clever contraption is easy to use...just twist the zucchini in one side...and the noodles will come out the other side.  It is sharp, so be careful when children are helping in the kitchen.

If you count weight watcher points...zucchini noodles are a wonderful addition to meals and recipes.

Enjoy and explore with your zucchini noodles!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Double Chocolate & Nut Energy Bites with Cacao Nibs - a gluten free delight!

 I always feel kind of left out as far as the whole "Nutella" thing, since I am allergic to hazel nuts.

Thank goodness I can get a peanut butter spread with dark chocolate... which also gave my energy bites a delicious new twist. I used the Skippy Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate, which is also dairy free.

Two nice things about this product is that it has 60% less sugar than some other popular products and 3 grams less fat than regular peanut butter.

Perfect for any chocolate craving!

If you count weight watcher points each energy bite is 4 points.

Double Chocolate & Nut Energy Bites with Cacao Nibs                 Makes 26 Energy Bites
2 cups old fashioned oats (gluten free if needed)
2/3 cups honey, or 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup agave syrup (vegan use agave syrup)
1 cup natural peanut butter spread with dark chocolate
1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, I used allergy friendly Enjoy Life
3 Tbsp cacao nibs, (1/4 cup if you love them like me)
1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts, or your choice of nuts

Mix honey or agave syrup with peanut butter in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. I often end up using my hands to really get things mixed up well.
Form balls the size of walnuts and place on wax paper. These can be eaten at room temperature or cold, but please store them in the refrigerator or freezer.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dessert in a cast iron skillet - Cookies & Brownies

Chocolate chip cookie in a cast iron skillet.

Dessert in a cast iron's basically just another method for baking, but it's fun and looks extra special.

You can use a mini sized skillet or a larger one.

Brownie in a cast iron skillet.

Try a mini sized skillet for individual servings or for two people, and a larger cast iron skillet for the whole family or a group of friends.

Everyone needs a spoon so they can dig in together...of course with several scoops of ice cream on top.

Use any favorite cookie recipe and spoon 3/4 to 1 cup dough into the cast iron skillet, or use this recipe to make 4 mini Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies:

6 Tbsp salted butter, softened or shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350. Very lightly butter cast iron skillets.
Combine butter or shortening and sugars. Mix well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to mix. Fold in remaining ingredients.

Transfer dough to prepared cast iron skillets. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or desired doneness.
Let cool 5-8 minutes or longer before serving.

Top with ice cream or a non-dairy product. Shown here is SoDelicious Creamy Vanilla.

Brownies are another delicious option for your mini cast iron skillets.

Serve warm with ice cream or a non-dairy product, or let them cool completely and frost. I also like to sprinkle on some nuts and mini chocolate chips. And of course it's never too late to add that scoop of ice cream!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter skillet.
To each mini skillet add 3/4 to 1 cup of your favorite brownie batter.
Bake about 18-22 minutes or to desired doneness.
Let sit 5-8 minutes before serving.
Or let cool completely and frost.  

Or try this recipe:
1/2 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
mini chocolate chips - optional
nuts - optional

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter skillet.
Mix oil and sugar together. 
Add vanilla and eggs, mix well.
Add cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
Transfer dough into prepared skillets. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Check center with toothpick for desired doneness.
Let cool 5-8 minutes before serving or let cool completely to frost. Top with chocolate chips and nuts.

Enjoy! And have fun exploring more ways to use your cast iron skillets.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Healthier Corn Bread - egg free, low sugar and always a gluten free option.

If you are looking for a traditional corn bread recipe that practically melts in your mouth, click on this link, Corny or Homestyle Cornbread. There is a healthy option on that post too.

I like to try new recipes all the time and offer folks lots of options. This recipe not only eliminates eggs and gives you a dairy free option,...but also reduces the sugar content by half. Of course you can also use gluten free flour too. I got this recipe idea from

This healthier corn bread is not going to be as moist as your traditional corn bread recipe...but sometimes that's part of making a healthier choice.  Try dipping the cornbread in your soup or chili before taking a bite instead of adding butter to your piece.

If you count weight watcher points, each square has 6.6 points.

Healthier Corn Bread                9 squares
2 cups cornmeal.
1 cup unbleached flour, gluten free baking blend if necessary.
2 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp salt.
2 cups low-fat milk or a non-dairy substitute. I used soy milk.
2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or agave syrup.
1/3 cup melted coconut oil.

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 8x8 or 9x9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium size bowl combine the milk or non-dairy substitute and apple cider. Wisk together and set aside.

In another medium size bowl add all dry ingredients (the first 4 listed). Mix well.

Add pure maple syrup and melted coconut oil to milk mixture. Wisk together until foamy.
Add dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Mixture will be thick.
Spoon into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Serve up with some soup or chili and enjoy!