Knock You Naked Brownies

I feel like we should celebrate my last day of work,
so how about a recipe for a delicious chocolately-caramel brownie dish?
Ok :)

Knock You Naked Brownies
recipe and tutorial via.
And for those of you not following Pioneer Woman, well, you're just plain missing out. So head over won't be sorry.
{unless you check out the dessert recipes...then your waist may be sorry - just a little though}

warning: you will be in a chocolatey-sugar coma after eating these

Our ingredients

add the evaporated milk and melted butter to the cake mix

{it won't really be'll be more dough like}

Now, this is where you would add the chopped nuts. I didn't have pecans, so I added in chocolate chips :)

Divide the mixture in half

Press one half into a well greased baking pan {I used a 9X9}, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

Unwrap all the caramels {yes, all 60 of them} and place them in a double boiler

and add the additional evaporated milk

continue stirring until you have a caramel sauce

Pour sauce and chocolate chips over the baked brownie base.
Shape remaining brownie dough into a rough square and place on top of caramel layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and then refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.

Dust with a powdered sugar

cut into pieces and serve!
{or hide them and keep them all for yourself...whichever}

I mean, really, you're going to want to...and I promise I won't tell.

This is one of those recipes you just have to make!


  • 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German Chocolate Cake Mix {I used Betty Crocker}
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans {I used chocolate chips instead}
  • ⅓ cups Evaporated Milk
  • ½ cups Evaporated Milk {additional}
  • ½ cups Butter, Melted
  • 60 whole Caramels, Unwrapped
  • ⅓ cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ cups Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.
Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.


Raw {ish} Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes

I've been eating raw {mostly} for a full week,
and I feel AMAZING!
My energy level has increased dramatically and I feel so refreshed!
It's been great,
but it doesn't mean I don't crave chocolate every once in a while
{or every day...but who's keeping track?}

So, I started whipping up this recipe {from this book} on those nights when I secretly wish I could have an embarrassingly large bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
It's not the exact same, but I mean, come on. We're talking eating raw here.

Here goes!

First, gather your ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas - and, unless you want to start a war with the banana, peel it before you freeze it. Learned that one the hard way.
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 5-6 squares of Green & Black's or Dagoba 70% dark chocolate bar
  • A few sprigs of fresh mint {I happen to have this growing all over my front yard for some reason...}
  • A blender

Slice up the bananas and mint - mostly so your blender doesn't die trying to puree them.

Place the mint, bananas and almond milk in the blender and puree that bad boy up!

I did a little taste test at this point...I suggest you do too.
Mine wasn't mint-y or chocolate-y enough...yeah, big surprise.
So I added a little more of each,
and blended again.

Pour into glasses and Voila!
{this recipe made about 2 1/2 glasses this size}

It's no chocolate peanut butter,
but it's good, and curbs the craving,
so it serves it's purpose.
Not to mention I don't feel insanely guilty after eating it.

Try it.
Tell me what you think,
and share some raw food recipes with me if you have any :)

Homemade Pesto
You may remember from a few posts back
that I was looking into a local CSA.

If you're not familiar with CSA, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture
and it's a really great program.

Basically, you {as the customer} give a local farmer money up front at the beginning of the farming season,
and in return,
you receive a box of fresh produce each week for the entire season!

I was trying to decide between a few local farms,
when a friend of mine
{who happens to have a gigantic garden}
offered to be my 'farmer' and supply me with a weekly box of fresh, local, organic produce!
I couldn't turn her down
{I mean, could you?!}
and today was the day I received my very first box of produce!

Take a peek at the goodies I got:

yes, those are eggs
from chickens that aren't genetically altered, or crammed in some nasty hen house or fed disgusting food
{ok, you get the idea}
these eggs are from happy, healthy, free chickens
and I couldn't be happier to give them to my family!

So, there's celery, red and green lettuce, spinach, broccoli, eggs, kale and a lemon!
Along with some herbs too:
basil, thyme, oregano and sage!

I'm seriously so excited to keep getting amazing produce like this all season!

Since I already had part of a container of basil, I combined it with my fresh basil and made pesto!

Here's the recipe
{I didn't measure anything, so these aren't exact measurements...}

1 1/2 cups basil
1/2 cup nuts {I used hazelnuts, but you could use traditional pine nuts or whatever kind you have}
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
about 4 tablespoons olive oil
a dash of salt
a tablespoon or two of water {optional}

Place all ingredients in a food processor, leaving out the olive oil and water. Once the food processor is on, stream in the olive oil until the pesto is at a consistency you like. This is where you can add in some water to help your olive oil go a little further.

And that's it!
Fresh, homemade pesto...easy as that!

I also think this would have been great with a little squeeze of lemon too!

I roasted a bunch of veggies last night, so tonight I threw the left over ones in with some quinoa and pesto for a whole new meal!

I can't wait to try out new recipes with all of my fresh produce!
Yay for supporting locally grown!

If you want to locate a CSA in your area, check out this website!

Spinach, Beans and Tomatoes on Cheese Toast

Well, I must say,
This is a far cry from the Yogurt Hut I had for dinner last night,
but it is much more nutritious, and just as delicious
{in a different, less chocolaty way, of course}

So let's get straight to this amazing Moosewood recipe
{I seriously can not tell you how much I love this cookbook!}


3 cups large chunks fresh plum tomatoes {I used a 28oz can of whole tomatoes}
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 15oz can pinto, red or white beans, rinsed and drained {I used white beans}
4 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
{I also added about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar...I'm not a fan of bitter-ish tomato things}

 Lightly oil a 9X13 inch baking pan

Toss together the tomatoes, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in the prepared pan.

Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans and return to the oven until hot, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and basil and stir everything together to moisten the spinach.

Return to the oven until the spinach is beginning to wilt, 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a potato masher to mash the ingredients together, until the spinach has wilted and most of the beans are mashed.

Arrange the bread on an un-oiled baking sheet and sprinkle each slice with a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese. Put the bread into the oven for about 5 minutes, until the bread is crisp and the cheese has melted.

To serve, top each slice of toast with a generous half-cup of the bean mixture.

This was super easy and delicious!

I think it would be super cute to serve this as an appetizer as a little bruschetta crostini
use as a sauce and toss with pasta
{or you could just eat it with a spoon}
not that, ahem, I would ever do anything like that.

However you decide to serve it,
I hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli & Feta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Today was a little off...
I'm super tired,
didn't wash my hair,
and I look like a mess.
{for reals}

But hey,
the sun was shining,
we went to the park
and I even tried a new recipe for dinner!

While I am sticking to my goal of making at least one recipe from my Moosewood cookbook,
I have not been posting them!

This recipe was super easy,
really filling
and absolutely delicious!
{perfect for a frazzled day like today}

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes {I am a spice wuss, so I left these suckers out}
  • 4 cups finely chipped broccoli
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  1. In a large skillet on high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes {or not} and cook until the garlic is golden, about a minute. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until most of the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and set aside until the sweet potatoes are baked {we were short on time, so I actually cooked my potatoes in the microwave...not exactly my favorite way, but it got the job done}.
  2. When the sweet potatoes have baked, cute them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving a shell at least 1/4 inch think. Set the shells aside. Mash the pulp a bit and stir it into the broccoli mixture, along with the feta cheese.
  3. Fill the baked sweet potato shells with stuffing, serve each separately, or push the halves together, with the stuffing showing between the two shells.

And that's it!
This was seriously soooo simple and quick!
{especially if you use the microwave}
We had asparagus and salad with ours, and it was such a yummy meal!

I hope you try it!!



Citrus Avacado Dressing {soooo yummy!}

I would like to publicly announce that I, Alex Heater,
{stating your name makes it super official}
Have gone an entire day without chocolate!
trust me...this is a big deal!

spring is quick approaching and I want to feel good about myself,
and more importantly, be healthy!

So today it started!
I'm cutting out added sugar, and yes, that includes chocolate.
It's going to be hard to break my nightly ice cream habit,
but I think I can do it!

I wanted to start off my 'lifestyle change'
{I hate the word diet}
with something new, tasty and most importantly, healthy!

A friend of mine introduced me to an amazing cookbook:
Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health
It's a cookbook full of vegetarian/vegan recipes
and they all sound absolutely delicious!
The one I made tonight was no exception!

Here's the recipe:
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Water to thin out if needed
In a food processor, or blender, puree all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. 
 Add a little water to thin it out  if  you feel the dressing is too thick
(or leave it slightly thick and use as a veggie or pita chip dip!) 
Add salt to taste. 
 And viola! Super amazing and delicious
 {not to mention, homemade}
 salad dressing!

And wasn't it easy?!

My hubby made me a delicious salad
{with a veggie burger on top}
and this dressing was so light and refreshing!

Oh, and even better?
It only has 11 calories per tablespoon
That should be enough to convince you to try it :)

Moosewood totally supports buying local, organic produce
and cooking amazing, healthy meals.

I plan to make at least one recipe from this cookbook each week
so check back in!

Vegan Granola Bars

I've been trying to think of a semi-healthy snack that is portable

 and that I can always have on hand for the two boys in my house.
 I had a hard time thinking of something that wasn't processed
{or contained a million chemical ingredients}
and then it came to me
....granola bars!
I looked all over for the perfect recipe
 when I found this one over at Your Vegan Mom's blog.
I made a few changes to the recipe and they turned out delicious...both boys approved!

Here is the recipe that I used:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose if you don't have it)
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter chips)
3/4 cup craisin trail mix (contains, crasins, raisins, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and almonds)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds - roasted and salted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup mara natha organic peanut butter
1/4 honey (or light corn syrup, or brown rice syrup)
2 teaspoons high grade maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup water

Heat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan (I used a 9 x 13 inch pan and there was more than enough to spread around).  In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (the oats through salt).  Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients (all the rest).  Stir to combine and spread this mixture out in your prepared baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or  until the edges are just turning brown (it took mine closer to 25 minutes - surprising since my bars were spread out in a thinner layer).  Remove from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into bars.  Store in an airtight container for several days or freeze for longer storage.  

They're not overly sweet, they don't crumble and travel well in a plastic baggie or in a container - the perfect on the go snack!


Super Yummy Vegan Banana Bread

I've been trying for several months to find
the perfect vegan-ized banana bread recipe
but couldn't find one recipe I was totally satisfied with.
So, I combined a few different recipes and came up with some of the most tasty banana bread I've ever made 
{vegan or not!}
Plus, I can pronounce all of the ingredients
{which I can't say for all vegan recipes I read!}
and I already had all of the ingredients in my kitchen!

Here's the recipe:

2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce (I used the natural, no sugar added type)
1/2 light brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup - the good stuff (I used grade B)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips or nuts - optional (I chose not to add either of these to my bread, but I know they are popular!)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Add the sugar, applesauce, oil, and maple syrup, and beat to incorporate. Slowly add  in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt (careful not to over mix...only mix until the wet and dry ingredients are combined) If you decide to use chocolate chips or nuts, fold them in here.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes (it took exactly an hour for mine). The top should be lightly browned and a toothpick inserted through the center should come out clean. Let cool and enjoy!
Golden brown and cracked on top :)

I couldn't wait to slice it open - hence the reason there is steam in this picture :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, I just had to post this recipe! 
My friend
made me some of these as part of a Christmas goody plate, and
I've been craving them ever since! 
I finally got a chance to make them this weekend and they were soooo worth it!
 I'm not exactly sure what it is about these cookies that makes them so amazing, but they are!
I've been trying to 'vegan-ize' most of my baking recipes
 {but this one was too good to mess with}

So, here is the recipe!

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 350. Beat butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and gradually add to the butter mixture. Then, add in the chocolate chips! Mold into rounded teaspoons and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes and enjoy!

 A few pictures of the finished product 

This recipe only made 27 cookes - the perfect amount! But it could easily be doubled if you want more to share :)

{Someone else really enjoyed them too}

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