Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

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I try to be healthy. I really do. But sometimes, you have a day that begs for chocolate peanut butter fudge, and you just have to go with it.

And why not, when it’s as delicious and easy as this is? No oil, no dairy, only a minor little bit of sugar from the dark chocolate chips. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and even (mostly) Paleo, if you use another nut butter instead of the peanut butter (hazelnut, maybe). Continue reading

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Peanut Butter Cup Vegan Cheesecake


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Typically, I’m pretty skeptical of vegan cheesecakes. “Cheese” is right in the name — isn’t it fooling with the order of nature to try to make it vegan? I have the same feelings about vegan mac and cheese. Doesn’t “creamy butternut squash pasta,” a more accurate name, sound better?

But I digress. And when a friend sent out a Facebook message asking someone to try a vegan peanut butter cheesecake recipe, I couldn’t back down from a challenge. It seems she wanted someone to work out the kinks for her before she attempted it — which was a good instinct, as I found out. The original version had huge problems ranging from a flawed crust to an overly-complicated topping and a huge reliance on dates, to the detriment of the flavor.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (vegan, gluten-free)

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Peanut butter and jelly is the savior of the busy, active person. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread has staying power — whole grains for fiber, nut butter for protein, and jelly for a sweet kick and a burst of energy.

However, I will readily admit that for those who are gluten-free or averse to refined sugar, a standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich might not have the same appeal as it holds for me. The sandwich is also not great for breakfast, not a great way to get a fruit serving, and probably could benefit from less overall processing and wheat flour.

But it’s perfect for a granola bar, one that pairs nicely with an apple or banana for a quick on-the-go breakfast but which can also stand alone as a midday pick-me-up. It’s also vegan, gluten-free and free of refined sugar, making it almost guilt-free as well.

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PB&J Power Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free, paleo option)

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I’ve started running again. That doesn’t sound like much, but after six months of working so hard at my day job that I didn’t have time or energy for the gym, it’s a lot. After trying to juggle work, my home life, and cooking for this blog, I realized I needed to make time for running again or suffer some emotional consequences.

It was the right choice. Though my body’s sore, it already feels happier. After a month or two of indoor treadmill training, I’ll be ready for the hiking season — and ready to run outdoors with my favorite exercise buddy.

A renewed exercise plan means a renewed focus on food as fuel.

When I was doing CrossFit, my instructor used to tell us to go home and eat something with protein in it to speed recovery; my fiance’s trainer used to tell him to drink chocolate milk after  workout, for the sugar-protein combination. Rather than do that, though, or choke down a protein bar that may or may not be full of processed food-like substances, I went searching for a more natural recovery option.

This smoothie, adapted from a recipe by Minimalist Baker, is just the ticket. All sugars are natural, from the raspberries, banana, and prunes; I’d recommend using unsweetened almond or peanut butter and unsweetened almond milk in this recipe, as the prunes and fruit make it sweet enough. The flax and nut butter give you the protein boost you need without all the terrifying ingredients that can be found in regular protein powder.

I modified it only slightly in that I used prunes instead of dates and raspberries instead of blueberries, to give it more of a classic PB&J flavor.

It’s pretty much the ideal post-workout snack. It is, however, a little high-calorie. If you’re doing pretty intense workouts, that’s not a problem — if you are walking a mile with no incline and calling it a day…well, maybe this becomes breakfast rather than a snack. No hardship either way, trust me.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie
Ingredients
  • 4 prunes (or dates, I guess, but I actually like the prunes here)
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened peanut butter (almond butter for paleo)
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened almond-coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to the blender in this order: milk, flax, banana, berries, peanut butter, prunes. Blend until smooth; serve cold.
Notes
  1. Add more almond milk if you’d like this a little thinner! You can also substitute light coconut milk if you can’t find additive-free almond milk where you are.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker