Dessert Archives - Plant Based, Family Friendly Meal Planning by Stephanie Dreyer, Los Angeles

October 19, 2017
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Oh my yumminess! These dairy-free caramel apples are just as tasty and a whole lot healthier than their dairy counterparts. I had so much fun playing in the kitchen to test this recipe. They really couldn’t be simpler either, with just maple syrup and almond butter. They are almost too easy – you’ll be wanting to make a batch every weekend!

These #vegan dairy-freed caramel apples are a healthier alternative to the traditional version - and super easy with just 2 ingredients for the caramel.

Traditional caramel apples use caramel that is made with milk. I can’t remember the last time I had a candy apple. You know those fantastically decadent apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory? Those apples! It’s been over 6 years! With Halloween upon us, I was inspired to try and create a healthier dairy-free caramel apple that was just as tasty and full of crunch with chocolatey adornments. My dairy-free caramel apple was born!

These #vegan dairy-freed caramel apples are a healthier alternative to the traditional version - and super easy with just 2 ingredients for the caramel.

Prep your toppings ahead of time so that as soon as your “caramel” is ready, you can dip and roll in seconds. These do get messy so don’t distress if everything doesn’t look perfect. Just dip ’em and roll ’em and pop them in the fridge to harden up. I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and sliced almonds for my toppings. Chocolate and almonds are my favorite combo. You could also use sprinkles, chopped pistachios, or any other crunchy topping you are craving!

These #vegan dairy-freed caramel apples are a healthier alternative to the traditional version - and super easy with just 2 ingredients for the caramel.

For even easier dairy-free caramel apples, you can use Nature’s Charm Salted Caramel Sauce. I’d love to see how your apples turn out. Tag me in your creations on social!

These #vegan dairy-freed caramel apples are a healthier alternative to the traditional version - and super easy with just 2 ingredients for the caramel.
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Healthier Dairy-Free Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 4 small Granny Smith apples
  • 3 skewers or candy sticks
  • mini chocolate chips
  • sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Heat the almond butter and maple syrup in a sauce pan. Remove from heat just as it is starting to boil.
  2. Insert sticks or skewers into the apples and dip the apple into the caramel sauce.
  3. Roll the apples onto shallow bowls filled with chocolate chips and almonds to decorate the apples.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until ready to eat.

These #vegan dairy-freed caramel apples are a healthier alternative to the traditional version - and super easy with just 2 ingredients for the caramel.

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

 


October 18, 2017
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I am not one of those moms who loves to bakes, but I do enjoy a homemade baked treat! These homemade-ish Chocolate M&M Cupcakes are just my style. I made these cupcakes in about 30 minutes, using some help from Julie’s Original vegan and gluten-free baking mixes, and UnReal chocolate gems. If you haven’t discovered Julie’s Original baking mixes, you are in for a treat. She has a chocolate fudge brownie mix, which I used to create these cupcakes. She also has a white cake mix that can be used for cakes, crumbles, biscotti and more! The results are moist and flavorful, unlike most of the other vegan and gluten-free mixes on the market. I like them because they not only taste amazing as the straight box recipe, but they also make a great base for lots of baking creations.

These M&M Chocolate Cupcakes are easy and delicious, made with some of my favorite pre-made ingredients, including Julie's Original baking mixes.

Unreal has been life changing for me! I discovered them at last year’s Natural Foods Product Expo West. I have missed my Peanut M&Ms since going vegan, but I no longer have to. Their Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems are Unreal! I used their Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems for this recipe and they were delicious.

I didn’t feel like making homemade frosting so I used some Coconut Fudge Sauce from Nature’s Charm, which made these extra gooey, and fork worthy – more of like a cake than a cupcake. Regular buttercream-style frosting would be delicious as an alternative.

These M&M Chocolate Cupcakes are easy and delicious, made with some of my favorite pre-made ingredients, including Julie's Original baking mixes.

These Chocolate M&M Cupcakes were very simple to make, and hit the spot. I hope you try them and tell me what you think!

These M&M Chocolate Cupcakes are easy and delicious, made with some of my favorite pre-made ingredients, including Julie's Original baking mixes.
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M&M Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 box Julie’s Original Fudge Brownie Mix
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup Unreal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
  • 1 14 oz jar Nature’s Charm Coconut Fudge Sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine the brownie mix, milk and oil in bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. Stir in the chocolate gems.
  3. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  5. Frost with the fudge sauce (or other frosting of your choice). Decorate with the extra chocolate gems.

These M&M Chocolate Cupcakes are easy and delicious, made with some of my favorite pre-made ingredients, including Julie's Original baking mixes.

 

 

 

 


September 17, 2017
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I think these apple walnut pastry puffs are adorable, if I do say so myself!! They look like mini purses – just like the one my sister made me for my wedding. Little pouches bursting with apple walnut goodness. I was inspired to make these apple treats in honor of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and a very festive time of year for Jews. Rosh Hashanah, along with Yom Kippur are the holiest of Jewish holidays so I like to make a little extra fuss over the food we eat on these holidays.

Apples Dipped In Honey

Apples and honey, (or agave, for us vegans), are traditional foods eaten during these holidays. We eat them to usher in a “sweet new year.” I am a big fan of puff pastry when it comes to sweet treats. It is super versatile and easy to use, and if I am being honest, it looks beautiful no matter what you do to it. It’s a heck of a lot easier than making my own pie crust, which I never do! I prefer Aussie’s brand, which is eggless and dairy-free.

These apple walnut pastry puffs are a simple and elegant choice for fall entertaining and celebrating the Jewish holidays.

The filling in these apple walnut pastry puffs is a reinvented haroset recipe from Passover – an apple/nut mixture that is spread on matzah. Each pastry sheet makes 6 puffs, so you get a full dozen treats from one package of puff pastry. To make things extra special, I brushed some melted Earth Balance over the puffs and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar before baking them.

These apple walnut pastry puffs are a simple and elegant choice for fall entertaining and celebrating the Jewish holidays.

You can prep and bake these within 30 minutes if you thaw the puff pastry before hand. So simple and elegant!

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Apple Walnut Pastry Puffs

Ingredients

  • 1 package puff pastry (dairy and egg free)
  • 2 red apples (any variety), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts , chopped
  • 1/4 pomegranate juice (or juice blend)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbl agave
  • 2 tbl Earth Balance , melted (or other non-dairy butter)
  • Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Thaw puff pastry for about 45 minutes. Roll out and cut each sheet into 6 squares.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Combine the apples, walnuts, juice, cinnamon, and agave in a bowl.
  4. Place a heaping spoonful of the apple mixture in the center of each pastry square. Gather the sides and pinch together in a "purse."
  5. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet with cooking spray and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

These apple walnut pastry puffs are a simple and elegant choice for fall entertaining and celebrating the Jewish holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


August 9, 2017
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August 10 is National S’mores Day so I am celebrating with this rice crispy treat riff on a traditional s’mores! Rice crispy treats are already full of marshmallows, so I only needed to add rich chocolate and crunchy graham crackers to achieve the campfire favorite trifecta!

These are simple to make with just five ingredients. I crumbled graham crackers between my rice crispy treats, but you could also add them on top of the melted chocolate. Is there really a right or wrong way to eat a s’mores?!!

S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

S'mores Rice Crispy Treats
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S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 bag vegan marshmallows (such as Dandies)
  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 6 cups brown rice cereal
  • 1 bag vegan chocolate chips or chunks (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 box vegan graham crackers
  • vegan mini marshmallows (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the marshmallows. Keep stirring until melted.

  2. Stir in the cereal 1 cup at a time until combined.
  3. Press into a greased 13×9 inch pan.
  4. Use parchment paper to press it down and spread it out.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour. Once hardened, cut the treats into graham cracker sized squares. Cut each square in half width-wise to create two squares.

  6. Crush the graham crackers by hand, or pulse in a food processor to create crumbs.

  7. Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan or microwave. Spread chocolate on top of of one square, sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs, and top with another rice crispy square. Repeat for all the treats.

  8. Spread melted chocolate on top of each s'mores rice crispy treat and decorate with more graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows, if desired.

Vegan S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

 


July 26, 2017
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These Vegan S’mores Sundaes are my fun frozen take on the traditional s’mores sandwich you make around the campfire. With summer upon us, this cold dessert is perfect for backyard campouts and sleepovers. They are simple and fun to make too! Kids will love getting in on the action by just layering the ingredients on top of each other:

graham cracker crumbs

chocolate ice cream

marshmallows

chocolate chips

whipped cream

My favorite brands are So Delicious ice cream, Coco Whip whipped cream, Dandies marshmallows, and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. These can get messy just like traditional s’mores so consider yourself warned!! That is also part of the fun though, right?!!

 

Vegan S'mores Sundae
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Vegan S'mores Sundaes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegan graham crackers, finely ground or coarsely chopped
  • 2 scoops vegan chocolate ice cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan marshmallows, plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
  • Vegan whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Layer a glass or bowl first with 2 tablespoons of graham crackers, followed by a scoop of ice cream, then 1/8 cup of marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
  2. Repeat with another layer.
  3. Top with whipped cream and more marshmallows and chocolate chips for garnish.

Vegan S'mores Sundaes


July 19, 2017
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I don’t know what it is about a popsicle that makes me feel like a kid again, but I am almost giddy when enjoying a frozen pop. I remember the local ice cream truck singing through our neighborhood on summer afternoons. The rocket molds I used for these take me back to those red, white, and blue pops that were so popular. Remember those?!!

It is really easy (and healthier) to make your own popsicles. It is also a really fun activity to do with the kids. I came up with the flavor blend for these Pomegranate Berry Popsicles because my kids love pomegranates and berries. This is an easy formula that you can change up with whatever ingredients your family loves. Start with a cup or so of a liquid (fruit juice, water, non-dairy milk, or lemonade) and mix with a cup of fruit. Add in any other nutrient boosts (e.g. chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina), an optional sweetener (agave, maple syrup), and you’ve got a blend ready to pour into your favorite mold.

 

Pomegranate Berry Popsicles
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Pomegranate Berry Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze for several hours until completely frozen.

Pomegranate Berry Popsicles


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Summer is here, and although I am excited for the break in routine in my kids’ school schedules, I am a bit nervous about how I am going to balance everything the next couple of months. I started working again in March after only working for myself the last 4 years. I used to work full-time and then, part-time with my kids until my youngest was 4. Fast forward today! My personal circumstances have caused me to jumpstart my freelance business and take on clients other than myself! It’s exciting but scary all at the same time!! After an overwhelming three months, I am back to full-time hours. I am grateful that as a writer, I can do my work from home, but it is an enormous juggling act with the kids. I am finding my way and will have to get creative this summer. I usually plan lots of outings and activities to keep the team enriched and un-bored, but I am going to have to rethink things this time around.

One of my strategies has been to think about how I can get the kids involved with some of my cooking projects. I love being in the kitchen with my kids and so do they! They don’t even want me in there with them most of the time so they can just do their own thing!!! My oldest, Gaby, just asked me last week to show her how to use the juicer and has started making her own juices. My middle daughter, Alex, started making morning smoothies earlier this month. Proud mama! I love seeing them experimenting in the kitchen.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to share on the blog this month, I had my kids on my mind. I try to make all of my recipes family-friendly and kid approved, but I was especially inspired to come up with some ideas this month that they would have fun making themselves…which brings me to popsicles! These Strawberry Lemonade Pops are double the fun! Not only are they easy for the kids to blend up on their own, but they are also pretty to look at. I’m thinking popsicle party!!!

I kept things all natural in this recipe by juicing organic lemons and Granny Smith apples together. No sugar added! This flavor combo is sweet success. Sliced strawberries are not only pretty in these picturesque popsicles, but they also add some extra flavor and texture.

I also made a variation of these by sliced cherries and dropping those in the molds first instead of strawberries – equally delicious results! These Strawberry Lemonade Pops are a delicious frozen alternative to glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade at the neighborhood stand this summer. I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think. Who else is making popsicles this month?

 

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Strawberry Lemonade Pops

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons, peeled
  • 4-5 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons and 4 apples. Taste for sweetness/tartness and juice additional apples as necessary to achieve your desired flavor.
  2. Add 4 sliced strawberries into 10-12 popsicle molds.
  3. Pour in the lemonade, leaving about an inch of free space at the top of each mold
  4. Freeze for 5 hours.

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I love the smell of pumpkin baking in my house this time of year. Just one whiff and I immediately feel cozier. Make a batch of these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and your house will be full of the enticing fall aroma. Before I get to the recipe, I have a secret. These muffins are homemade-ish, meaning I did not make them from scratch! Everyone needs some help every once in a while. As a mom of three, I appreciate some help from the grocery store when I can take it. This is one of my go-to favorite recipes because it means I can get a homemade batch of muffins made in 30 minutes. There is no shame in that!


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I love this apple pizza because the crust is already done for you! There’s no kneading involved or waiting for yeast to develop!!! That is my kind of pizza crust! Just use a dairy and egg free frozen pastry dough, such as Aussie’s Brand. You can let it thaw on the counter while you preheat your oven and prep the rest of the ingredients. I used a special ingredient for an extra sweet touch – Penzey’s Spices Cinnamon Sugar. It tastes great sprinkled over the melted Earth Balance butter that creates the foundation for this sweet treat before layering on all of the apple, walnut, and coconut goodies. I served this apple pizza as a dessert and a snack. It gets the job done happily for either. I heard no complaints from my family and friends! Don’t forget to drizzle on a little agave over the top of the pizza after baking it for a beautiful presentation.


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Creamy, decadent, chocolatey mousse. It was one of my favorite desserts growing up. My mom would make it in these beautiful glass dishes, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It was such a simple dessert, but it always looked fancy to me. As a mom raising 3 kids, these food memories are even more important to me today. Each dish conjures up a special time and place in mind, taking me back to a snapshot of my childhood where food was always prepared and presented with so much love. I wonder if the food I make will stir up nostalgia some day in my kids.


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