The other kind of peanut butter [+ Frozen Crunchy Peanut Protein Bites]

By now all of you know I have a slight full-blown addiction to any nut butter.  The infamous white almond butter? A staple. Peanut butter often takes a seat on the back burner – a pity! – but lately my cravings for it have outdone the almond admiration.  So it’s the perfect time to [finally] talk about a new-to-me product: Powdered Peanut Butter.

PPB_powdered peanut butter

Any US readers will likely be familiar with its equivalent – PB2 – but over here it’s not a commonly known food yet. Here’s a short low-down on Powdered Peanut Butter:

  • it comes in three flavours: Original, Chocolate  (both contain sugar) and a stevia – sweetened kind.
  • the ingredients are: Peanut Flour (Nuts), Palm Oil Powder, Sugar, Salt [for the Original flavour]
  • low in fat and high in protein  [ 42.8 g per 100 g/3.5 oz for the Original flavour]
  • naturally gluten-free
  • approved by The Vegetarian Society as well as vegan

While I’m generally skeptical towards refined low-fat foods I was excited to try the samples the friendly people at HaleNaturals generously sent me.

The ways I tried it were mixed up plain as a dip, in savoury sauces and in oatmeal. I often added it to my usual zucchini oats. The advantage I found towards adding real peanut butter was that the flavour was distributed throughout the bowl a lot better. I don’t know about you but I find the peanut flavour gets lost when I add actual nut butter as opposed to peanut flour or powdered peanut butter. I still topped my breakfast with almond butter.  Double nut action? Any day.

oat bran_zucchini_peanut flour

Pros:

Powdered Peanut Butter is a great add-in for oatmeal or dips. if you’re looking for a lower-calorie alternative, are already a peanut flour or smoothie fan [blends well] this might be right up your alley. I might follow up with a few more recipes using the PPB once I find a little time for experimenting. Mug cakes or brownies? All the possibilites …

Cons:

On its own I didn’t find the flavour to be rich enough so for me it’s not a peanut butter alternative when eaten straight up [my favourite way with nut butters]

It was a bit sweet – all kinds either contain sugar [12.4 per 3.5 oz] or stevia – for my palate. That might be because I  grew up eating natural unsweetened peanut butter so it could be different if you are used to the kind with added sugar.

Another negative point for me is the added palm oil. While not being super strict it’s an ingredient I try to avoid where I can.

PPB_peanut butter_original

Overall, I still liked it and can see a lot of potential for future recipe experimentation. For now, let’s go with an impromtu snack I came up with when I found half a tub of cream cheese leftover from another recipe. Fresh out of peanut butter [I know – how did I let it go that far??] I went with the PPB and just got mixing.  The result is a delicious frozen snack for when you want a little something-something with a protein kick.

Crunchy Peanut Protein Bites

2Peanut butter cheesecake bite_PPB

1 1/2 oz (42 g) cream cheese
1 heaped tbsp PPB (7 g) – I used the original flavour
1 tsp honey
Salt to taste
1/8 cup puffed amaranth  (8 g)

Mix PPB with 1 tbsp of water to reach a smooth consistency. Add salt.
Add cream cheese and honey. Stir to combine. Mix in puffed amaranth.
Let sit for a moment – at best in the fridge.
Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture on aluminium foil and put into the freezer to firm. Depending on how long you let them sit in the freezer you might want to let them thaw for a bit before eating. No damaging your teeth here!

Peanut butter cheesecake bite_PPB

Eat ALL cheesecake bites. No sharing.

Disclaimer: HaleNaturals sent me these products free of charge for review purposes. The company didn’t compensate me for this post and all the opinions expressed are my own.

If you feel like trying another peanut butter-y frozen treat – shhh, I still do despite complaining about the cold! – this Healthy PB & J Frozen Yogurt might be the perfect fit.

faux_froyo

 

Happiness inducing today: Talking to one of my best friends on the phone. I really needed to talk and we discovered yet another similarity we share. Friends are true blessings.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Are you still craving frozen snacks during the colder months, too? Tell me I’m not the only one!

Have you tried PPB or another kind of powdered peanut butter before?

What are your favourite ways to use it?

Curry

[Cauli]flowers on my plate

If you read my post on Wednesday you know that I’ve been drowning in cauliflower lately, Yes, I can only blame myself – or maybe the alluring presentation at the market …?

Anyway, since the days of steamed, just lightly seasoned cauliflower have long been over for me [thank goodness!] I got a little creative in the kitchen. Do you ever get hit with non-creativity once you have an overflow of a certain ingredient on hand while you can’t even stop recipes coming up when you don’t have it on hand? Am I the only one??

Cauliflower snack

First up was what I’d call a non-recipe because it was so simple. The inspiration came through a sample of The Vegg which Rocky, the creator of this product, had kindly offered to any blogger interested in trying it a while ago. In case you haven’t heard of this product yet The Vegg is a vegan egg yolk replacement that you simply blend with some water and can use in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Vegg

The first idea that came to my mind were breaded vegetables that usually call for egg yolks to help the coating stick. Not having breadcrumbs at hand I came up with a strange but good idea: why not use cereal? I know cornflakes aren’t such an usual coating but what would you say if I told you I used puffed amaranth?? Yes. You’ll notice I use this a lot and rightly so: it’s both a great snack and a versatile ingredient in many dishes.

The Vegg

The best part of breading the cauliflower was letting my inner child out again messing around with yolk, dipping and dripping, finger licking … you get it ;). Though maybe actually not that much finger licking. The Vegg scents eerily similar to the “real deal” which turned me off a little because I’ve never been a fan of runny yolks [yes, I notice I just offened every #yolkporn enthusiast – sorry!]. Don’t worry, though: the taste – at least in this recipe – wasn’t as close.

breaded

As I said: it’s more of a non-recipe. I prepared one teaspoon of The Vegg according to package directions. My coating consisted of a´1/4 cup puffed amaranth, 1 tbsp peanut flour, dash of cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast. All nicely dipped and baked for about 25 minutes at 350 °F. A strange but good snack.

Strange but good

Disclaimer: While I received The Vegg for free to review I wasn’t compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

oat loli

Now onto the real recipe in this post which I’ll also link up with Kierston’s Recipe Friday.

Ginger fans: This one’s for you. I’m going back and forth between liking ginger and finding it too pungent. Yet – overbuyer alert – when it was on offer I just grabbed a knob of it without any plans in mind [note: not a good idea when trying to avoid overbuying]. Back to why this is for ginger people – no matter which hair colour 😉 -, though: I got a little overzealous when adding it so the curry turned out to have quite a bite. Lesson learned: use only half the amount if you prefer a milder dish.

Curry

Originally, I’d meant to prepare a pumpkin curry. But not only did I have an overabundance of cauliflower but carrots, too. And as carrots – at least to me – are an underrated vegetable I thought I’d switch it up and let them shine in this dish. You could always go the pumpkin route – especially if you’re lucky enough to have access to the canned variety! – but it’s worth giving carrots a try.

Gingery Carrot Cauliflower Curry

  • 2 cups of  cauliflower, chopped [200 g]
  • 1/2 cup of  chickpeas
  • 225 grams carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of soy milk [use coconut milk by all means if you have it on hand]
  • 1 knob of ginger [1/2 thumb in size], minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter [might omit if using coconut milk]
Start out by preparing your carrot puree: Add carrots to a pot and cover with water. Blanch until tender and blend.
Sauté the onion until lightly browned, then add the garlic and ginger and let cook for a little longer.
Sprinkle in the spices, shortly frying them – be careful to avoid burning them.
Stir in the carrot puree. Let the curry simmer on medium heat until the cauliflower is tender.
Add chickpeas and soy milk as well as maple syrup to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Oat flatbread
Definitely serve with a side of Khushboo’s oat lolis as a great scooping vehicle – and because they taste awesome while being super simple to prepare. I added cumin seeds to mine. Maybe it’s odd but I really enjoy the burst of flavour when biting onto those seeds.
Happy Friday!
Happiness inducing today: My mum being there for me – on the phone at least – in a very unpleasant situation [think devillish toothache].

Strange but good question [at least coming from a non-egg eater]: What are your favourite uses for egg yolks? Though I might not get to try a lot more before moving I want to make the most of my sample of The Vegg.

What are some of the strangest substitutions you’ve made to recipes before?

Are you a fan of cumin and do you like using whole seeds? I could seriously put it into [almost] every savoury dish.

Just add chocolate

Just following up on the comments on my last post: Consider yourself invited for a hike through the woods over at my parents’ ;)! Who said blogger meet-ups could only be held in cities?!

Oh, also: if you need some happiness inspiration you might be interested in having a look at my guest post over at Lucie’s.

Sigh. It was sure to happen. After having a good start with my goal of trying new recipes what I’d hoped to avoid occured: I failed. Yes, I still tried new recipes last week and created one myself, too. But either my standards are too high [cue perfectionsm] or my constant subbing and playing around with others’ recipes just took overhand. Long story short: I found myself seriously lacking [pretty] pictures for today’s What I ate Wednesday post.

My original idea [or intended good habit] for this goal was to share which recipes by other bloggers I’d prepared. As explained above I can’t quite fulfill these expectations [even if they were my own only] but I found a way to make up for it  … First, though: Thanks for hosting our weekly celebration of all things delicious and fall-ish, Jenn!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Let’s start with the good part. While I might not have achieved as much as I wanted in terms of recipe creating there was one dish that turned out really well.

Udon

Pictured above is the result of a longing [for noodles] no longer ignored, being inspired by a recipe for fried rice on another blog and craving broccoli: Vegan ‘egg’-fried Udon. Definitely not seasonal but it hit the spot. I’ll post the recipe on Friday.

… and what do you do when your recipe-trying intentions fail? Make up for them with chocolate, obviously. Running to the store to pick up a bar or a box of truffles isn’t exactly highly involved so that wouldn’t do. But how about homemade chocolate?

Chocqlate

My previous trials at making chocolate from scratch were far from stellar – and that’s still expressing it in a nice way [note: never trust 7th grade chemistry textbooks telling you a mix of cocoa, powdered sugar and butter actually turned out like chocolate. Not.at.all.] This time, however, I was off to a better start. Not only because of being older [and hopefully wiser ;)] but also thanks to the kind people at Chocqlate mailing me one of their chocolate-making sets. Each set consists of five simple ingredients: unroasted cocoa beans, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, agave [instead of refined sugar] and ground vanilla. While the company doesn’t use the standard fair trade and organic labels they make it a point to buy their ingredients from small family farms and know each of their suppliers personally. That’s a point in their company statement that especially spoke to me.

Chocqlate II

And the result? Admittedly, it’s not like the chocolate you can buy in stores. The consistency isn’t as smooth but that likely has to do with both the fact that it’s impossible to mimic the traditional conche used by companies in your kitchen. The flavour is spot on, though. My first thought was Mousse au chocolate – rich, dark and just the right amount of sweetness. I liked being able to play around with toppings and add-ins. And what a bad blogger/nut butter-fiend would I have been not to try homemade almond butter cups :)?!*

*Chocqlate sent me the chocolate set free of charge but I wasn’t otherwise compensated for my review. All opinions stated in this post are my own.

One other blogger’s recipe I tried and liked a lot, though, was this Mushroom Cauliflower Risotto. Unfortunately not truffled because I was missing the key ingredient but it I’ll keep my eyes open for the much coveted oil and give this another go. Or even if I can’t track it down I will. Other than that, though, I didn’t modify Davida’s recipe much other than substituting bok choy for spinach [you wouldn’t believe how hard to find it is!] and adding mixed legumes. So good and the thyme gave this a nice fall-ish flavour.

Cauliflower Risotto

With all the chocolate in this post there isn’t a real need for ending the post on a sweet note, right? So how about a snack I hadn’t has in years and just rediscovered?

Popcorn!

Popcorn!

Sure, I had it in movie theatres sneaking handfuls from friends but homemade? I can’t even remember the last time but it must have been more than … seven [?!] years. Taking a clue from Amanda I prepared it with coconut oil and just added some salt. Good idea, good snack and good way to end a post :).

Happy Wednesday!

 Happiness inducing today: Getting some advice on the job search front by a former prof. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Which spices and herbs do you associate with which season? Fall – or should I say autumn? – is anything ‘earthy’ like thyme or rosemary for me, cinnamon, mace, …

What would your ideal bar of chocolate look like: add-ins, toppings, fillings, …?

Popcorn: When was the last time you had it? Sweet or savoury?

Raw-king my [chocolate] socks

If you’ve read my blog for any time you’ll know I’m an all-out chocolate fiend. Not a single day passes by without me getting my hands and face covered in chocolate – or, to keep it clean here: chocolate is part of my daily diet. A marvelous part indeed.

MiMM_new

While I enjoy trying new brands and flavours something I had yet to be convinced by was raw chocolate. Even though I’d tried a few bites of raw chocolate in the past none could live up to my high demands J. The flavours were good for the most part but the texture didn’t please me too much. Granted, I’m seriously picky when it comes to chocolate: No filled bars, not too cloyingly sweet, dark but not too bitter or acidic in taste and – most importantly – they need to be smooth, melt-in-my-mouth goodness.

All together_Om

Back to the raw facts chocolate. During my visit a Veganz a while back I had the chance to sample some OmBar flavours which were totally different from any other raw chocolate bars I’d had to date. Not only were the flavours interesting but the texture wasn’t nearly as gritty as the one of those bars I’d tried before. Needless to say I was super happy when Ombar offered to send me a few of their chocolates to review.

Ombar Coco Mylk

 

The first one I tried was Coco Mylk which – as the name gives away –is the one resembling milk chocolate the closest. It is very smooth, has a creamy and what I’d describe as a slighty fruity and very pleasant sweetness from the coconut sugar Ombar uses in all of their bars. Unlike real dairy milk chocolate which leaves me craving for more this one was satisfying and didn’t leave me wanting to eat the whole bar in one sitting. [Okay, maybe I wanted to but I was able to practice moderation more easily than with dairy milk chocolate ;).] Coco Mylk is the flavor I’d be likeliest to buy again [soon] but unfortunately the only of these not available in Germany.

Ombar Strawberry

Strawberries & Cream: Not usually a huge fan of fruit-infused chocolate I was positively surprised by this one. According to the ingredient list and information on the inside of the wrapping paper the strawberry flavor comes from 100% natural dried fruit powder. It therefore doesn’t have the artificial taste I’ve found in other (non-raw) fruit-flavoured chocolates and blends in very well.

Ombar dark

Dark 72%: As opposed to the other two flavours which both had a cocoa percentage of 60 % this one’s decidedly richer in cocoa taste. It’s the least smoothest of the flavours but still nowhere near as gritty as some of the other brands of raw chocolate I’d tried previously. If you enjoy dark chocolate in general I’d recommend trying this bar which also isn’t as sweet as the other bars and therefore yet more satisfying.

What really enjoyed about Ombar chocolates was their short ingredient list containing nothing artificial or overly processed. Raw cacao, coconut sugar and cacao butter as well as added probiotics are the main ingredients found in all of the above-mentioned bars. The “milkier” flavours contain some other – yet still natural – ingredients like coconut butter. Ombar provides extensive information about all ingredients used as well as the benefits of raw chocolate on their website if you’d like to find out more.

Ombar CocoMylk II

Another aspect I like about Ombar is that they’re a small company founded by three health-interested friends on their pursuit to find the perfect raw chocolate bar. Not being willing to give up on chocolate while living a healthy [and in their case raw] life is something I can fully sympathize with – who would want that? Supporting smaller businesses is something I really like doing even if their products are a bit pricier than those by larger ones. Good quality is worth paying a little extra in my opinion.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the Ombar chocolates and would definitely buy them again. Especially as there are several other interesting flavours – Coconut! Blueberry Acai! – I definitely want to try. Why not satisfy my chocolate cravings in a healthier way and more natural way every now and then?  As given away in the title Ombars definitely rocked raw-ked my chocolate socks :). That being said I’m off to om on another piece [or two] while having a look at everybody else’s marvelous happenings over at Katie’s.

 

Happiness inducing today: Waking up to a kind text by my sister.

 

Do you like raw chocolate?

Which are your favourite brands and flavours?