Day 26 – For you, oh sweet tooth
Sweets and I have a love-hate relationship. I love to eat them, I hate what they do to me. That said, I don’t believe in deprivation. It just makes me want more of what I can’t have. So when I indulge, I try to make smart choices and eat the cleanest desserts possible. I.e whole grains, organic ingredients, no processed sugars, and of course, vegan.
I’m embarrassed to say I recently bought The Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin. And true to form, she is a skinny bitch. I really detest “chick lit”. You know the type: the Shopaholic series, Good in Bed, Nanny Diaries, Devil Wears Prada etc. I have read Tori Spelling’s first book which is definitely chick lit, oh and the entire Twilight saga, but I make the rules here, so don’t judge.
I figured The Skinny Bitch was the chick lit of the food world. But huddled on the floor at Barnes & Noble buried in cookbooks, I saw a recipe I really wanted to make. (It’s a ravioli dish I have been procrastinating on but will eventually make, if you’re good). So I got it and I’m glad I did. I know I’m not alone here, but when I’m looking to buy a cookbook, I flip through and buy it if there are a couple solid recipes that grab my attention. I rarely even glance at all the intros etc. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I read the intro and developed a different appreciation for it. Her tone is cheeky and dry, and she swears too (bonus!). There are a couple typos like “the light blub went on”, which are amusing. And generally, it’s relatable although a little preachy at times. I let it go because I agree with a lot of what she says. I’m not obsessed with every recipe, but it got me thinking out of the box which is the goal right? At any rate, I’m curious enough to try a couple of the other recipes. So, two points to you, Skinny Bitch. I like surprises. You’re more lit, less chick than I thought.
It is kind of funny that the first recipe I tried in Kim’s cookbook wasn’t even her’s. She features celebrity recipes, credited as “bitches I love”. There’s a smoothie by Jackie Warner from the Bravo show Workout. Jackie’s totally shredded and as much as I admire her B.M.I., she kind of scares me. There’s also a rice crispy treat recipe from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Life. I mean peanut butter and chocolate? Um, yes please.
As good as it sounds, I was still skeptical to try Alicia’s Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips. I made “real” non-vegan rice crispies a few months ago with butter and marshmallows that were ok, but dried out pretty quickly. So how good could vegan ones be? I was soooooo surprised at how amazing Alicia’s treats were. My friend Sarah (check out her HYSTERICAL blog, Reality Show Chick) was over when I made them so she can vouch for these. They are good. And I mean good for dessert, not just good for a vegan dessert. They actually are better than the “real” ones I made a few months ago. They are sticky and gooey, and have little threads of goo holding each rice kernel together. They are sweet, but not saccarine. The peanut butter adds depth and creaminess, but is not overpowering. It has the texture and consistency of a traditional rice crispy, but it’s filled with good fat, whole grains, and healthy sweeteners that won’t spike your blood sugar.
You will be shocked that these are vegan. Thank you Kim and Alicia for two pleasant surprises today!
Brown rice syrup is made from fermented brown rice, and is easily absorbed so it doesn’t promote fat accumulation. It also has a variety of uses from baking to everyday table sweetener. As with all products, try to buy organic to avoid the risk of any GMOs.
Alicia’s (then Kim’s, & then Chelsea’s) Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips
1 – 10 ounce/280 gram box organic brown rice crisps cereal
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) organic brown rice syrup
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup (195 grams) organic peanut butter or almond butter (preferably unsweetened & unsalted)
1/2 cup (85 grams) grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips
1. Pour the rice cereal into a large bowl. Very complicated, here’s a visual:
2. Tip: Before measuring the brown rice syrup, spray the inside of the measuring cup with canola oil so it easily slides out. (Canola oil in spray form, Spectrum brand available at Whole Foods). In a small saucepan, heat the syrup with a pinch of salt over low heat. When the rice syrup liquefies, add the peanut butter, and stir until well combined. I used a whisk to ensure the peanut butter was well incorporated.
3. Pour half the mixture over the rice cereal, stirring well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once incorporated, pour the remainder in and mix. When thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips. Make sure the mixture is cool or you will end up with melted chocolate instead of chocolate chips in your treats. 4. Spoon the mixture into an 8×8 or 13×9 baking dish. Tip: I sprayed the dish with canola oil first so that the crispies didn’t stick to the pan. Wet the wooden spoon or spatula lightly and press the mixture evenly into the pan.
5. Let cool for 1 hour, before cutting into squares or bars.