Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Macadamia Brownies

So, I’m in love…once again…with my oven…and this new creation.

I mean, how can I not be?

It’s the holiday season…

And I’m all about tryin’ n’ testin’ and cookin’ and bakin’ Sweet Nothings…

In my lil apartment…loving life…

Humming to Frank Sanatra’s Christmas carols…

And eating these…

Yes, I enjoyed them.

Too many of them.

They’re delish.

Gluten-Free.

And simply fabulous.

Go ahead, give ’em a try…I bet you’d never know they were gluten-free.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Macadamia Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup stevia for baking
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine sweet potatoes, butter and stevia.  Cook over medium heat; bring to a boil and stir for 7 minutes.
  2. Remove 1/2 the mixture; transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.  Add baking soda and sea salt; mix well. Transfer mixture to a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven.
  3. Add macadamia nuts, chocolate chips and coconut to stovetop sweet potato mixture; mix well. Drizzle over cooked portion.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, set aside to cool.
  4. Slice into brownie bites.
  5. Enjoy!

Speaking of Healthy Desserts, please vote for my recipe, Whole Wheat Paprika n’ Orange Chocolate Cookies for the Healthy Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest:

HERE

And, I’m thrilled to announce my Cookie Recipe is featured in Silvana Nardone’s Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Countdown!  Silvana is such an inspiration and a fabulous gluten-free baker and cook that I had the pleasure to meet earlier this year…she is so talented and her recipes are brilliantly delicious.

Be sure to check out all the delicious gluten-free cookie recipes from my favorite gluten-free bakers as well as some fabulous giveaways on  Silvana’s  Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Countdown!

Also…I stumbled upon this fun foodie site….

Take a looksy at this creative foodie pairing website what I just discovered, FoodPairing that incorporates unlikely flavors…I love it…

Such great inspiration for my recipes n’ cookin’…

Jasmine Green Tea Shrimp and Tillen Farms Giveaway

I was so excited to create this delicious dish, not only because I love cooking with tea, but I used a new fabulous ingredient for this recipe, ghee.  I have entered the Pure Indian Foods Ghee Recipe Contest and thought this would be a delicious dish to incorporate delicious flavors of tea and ghee in a savory shrimp dish that is perfect for a lunch atop your salad or a dinner atop steamed wild rice.

Jasmine Green Tea Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 ounce jasmine green loose tea leaves
  • 1 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and devined
  • 2 Tbsp. Pure Indian Foods Ghee
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ounce fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh Rainbow Swiss chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh kale, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil.  Add tea and shrimp; cook for 4 minutes or until shrimp are opague.
  2. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add Pure Indian Foods Ghee, garlic, ginger and basil.  Cook for 1 minute; add Swiss Chard and kale; cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; transfer to a serving dish.  Serve shrimp atop greens, sprinkle with sesame seeds and a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar.
  5. Enjoy!

And now for my Tillen Farms VIP Kit Giveaway.

I am so excited to announce this giveaway as I have had the pleasure of working with this amazing company, whose products are out-of-this-world incredible and deliciously perfect for the palate.

Their products range from a rainbow of white asparagus, green beens, carrots, cherries and green asparagus…some with a hint of natural sweetness and others with a true kick.

To Enter:

Leave a comment on this post telling me which Tillen Farms product you’d like to try.  I am in love with the Tillen Farms products; they are fresh, crisp and delicious.  I’ve noted them on my ‘Favorites’ Page because they truly are the only brand of pickled vegetables that I purchase because of their fresh, crisp taste.  Believe me, they are far from the odinary pickled vegetable…My favorite is the white asparagus…so delicious.

I will be picking a winner on Thursday, December the 2nd at 5PM EST.

Good Luck!

Also, I wanted to tell all of you about this Winter Expedition hosted by Good Commons

This sounds like a dream boat to me…a lil’ skiing, private chef, massage, yoga…

Paradise on the East Coast?

I think so…

Grilled Corn n’ Pumpkin Guacamole and Stonyfield Yogurt Giveaway

Well, yet another spin on my classic guac…this time the Thanksgiving spirit got me yearnin’ for some pumpkin’ and a lil’ grilled corn, so why not toss it into your guac this season for a tasty sweet n’ savory dish that can be enjoyed as a dip with roasted root vegetables such as eggplant, sweet potato fries, carrot fries, butternut squash fries, zucchini fries or apple and parsnip fries.  I enjoyed this guac spread onto my lunchtime sandwich in lieu of mayo and also used it to top my evening grilled fish dish.  So, go ahead…I’m giving you permission to get creative…whip up this baby and have fun using it as a condiment for dips, a spread on a sandwich, dressing on a salad or topped onto a bowl of vegetables…any way you choose, it’s delish…

Dip in…and enjoy!

Grilled Corn n’ Pumpkin Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 earns corn
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup natural pumpkin puree
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Stonyfield Oikos Greek plain yogurt

Directions

  • Preheat grill to medium heat.
  • Brush corn with oil and place onto grill; cook for approximately 15 minutes or until desired doneness.  Set aside to cool.
  • Remove kernels from cob using a knife.
  • In a separate bowl, combine avocado, pumpkin, onion, cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, flax seeds, nutritional yeast and red peppers; mix well to combine.
  • Add corn and mix.  Top with a dollop of Oikos Greek plain yogurt.
  • Enjoy with sliced vegetables, whole grain chips or as a spread on a sandwich.

And now for my Stonyfield Yogurt Giveaway:

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m giving away $60 worth of Stonyfield Yogurt Coupons, 2 Stonyfield Recipe Books and a Stonyfield Spatula.

To Enter:

1). View the Stonyfield Yogurt website and tell me what yogurt you’d like to try.
2). Post this giveaway on your blog. Leave a comment telling me you did.
3). Tweet this Giveaway post! Leave me a third comment telling me you did.

 

Each comment counts as an entry.

Good Luck; I will be picking a winner on Monday, November the 15th at 5PM EST.

 

 

Element Bars 50% off Anniversary Special

I’ve got some very exciting news for all of your Element Bar fans…As a company that pioneered custom energy bars, Element Bars empowers customers with the ability to create their own bar by choosing from all natural and organic ingredients. The result ‐ you can create your unique taste and nutrition preferences with your own freshly baked bar.

 

The customization trend isn’t so new to all of us bloggies and foodies, right?  Well, in the last few years, the trend towards customization has only accelerated. Jonathan Miller of Element Bars realized and acted upon this insight two years ago when he developed a unique and interactive drag and drop interface bringing the custom energy bar to life. The idea sparked from a conversation with a friend. Jonathan was snacking on an energy bar that he had made in his kitchen when a friend shared that he too would like to make a bar but one with almonds and raisins. Since Jonathan is not a fan of raisins, he concluded that people have different tastes and want products made to their preferences. Starting from his home kitchen, Element Bars has grown to include a bakery, an office, and over 5,000 customers who order their own custom energy bar.

Today, “We give customers the online tools to create their own bars so they can truly enjoy a unique customized experience.” But tomorrow, Jonathan envisions the company “designing ways to guide customers as they build bars, so we can predict their creations and produce to scale. We have a long way to go to deliver on that vision, but I’m confident we’ll get there.”

Jonathan is just as confident about tomorrow as he is about Element Bars’ journey to date.

 

To share his excitement, Element Bars celebrates its two year anniversary with a special show of gratitude – the first 500 guests get 50% off of a box of 12 custom energy bars by visiting www.elementbars.com/anniversary.

 

“It’s been a roller coaster of a ride. But I am thankful for the last two years and am committed to making your bar, your way.”

At www.ElementBars.com, you can create your own custom energy bar by selecting from all natural and organic ingredients and then naming their own bar. The whole food ingredients are carefully handpicked and kept as nature intended…they hand make their bars using the ingredients you’ve chosen, bake them in their cute lil’ ovens and deliver them freshly baked from their oven to your door.  Sounds delish, doesn’t it?

Have you ever tried Element Bars?

If so, what are your favorite ingredients you included in your bar creation?

Taco Night Sweepstakes

I am so excited to announce my Taco Night Sweepstakes which starts today!  You can simply submit an original taco, guacamole or salsa recipe using Avocados from Mexico as an ingredient.

There will be one Terrific Taco Winner announced on my blog on November the 1st who will be awarded a $100 iCard.  But that’s only half of it…there is a chance to also win a $25 iCard every Thursday via Twitter, too…You can spread the word for my Taco Night Sweeps via Twitter and Facebook to encourage others to enter.

How exciting is this? I know all of you have some fabulously delicious avocado recipes so get started and whip up a delicious dish to enter my Taco Night sweepstakes.

All recipes should be submitted as a comment in the ‘comments’ section or as a link in the ‘comments’ section of this post.   The sweepstakes is open from today thru October the 29th.

On November 1st, one winner will be chosen using a random number generator software program and then announced on my blog for a $100 iCard.

You can tweet about this contest using the hashtag #taconight and you can also post about the contest on your Facebook page.  Every Thursday night, you can participate in the Twitter promotion by tweeting a photo of your ‘Taco Night’ to @Guacgrl.

The first 5 tweets each Thursday will receive a $25 iCard!

Participation is free and recipes will not be judged.  Limit one entry per person, per blog site.  Recipe submission is not a requirement for entry.

Speaking of Avocados…Here are two of my favorite ‘Avocado-Inspired’ recipes:

Zucchini n’ Avocado Hummus

Mango n’ Avocado Salsa

I am looking forward to seeing all of your comments n’ recipes…

What are you cookin’ up with your Taco Night?

Please note, as required by the Federal Trade Commission, I am running at the request of Avocados from Mexico, for which I will receive $100 gift card in appreciation.


Sahale Snacks Giveaway…

I am happy to announce that one of my favorite Gluten-Free (and incredibly tasty) snacks, ‘Sahale Snacks’ is now available in Seattle’s Best Coffee.  So, with this exciting news, I’ll be sending the winner of my Sahale Snacks Giveway a sample of each of the two flavors that are offered at Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Last week, Valdosta and Sing Buri nut blends debuted at Seattle’s Best Coffee counters in convenient 2-ounce pouches — enough to share with a friend over coffee or to satisfy a morning and an afternoon snack craving.  I surely stash these lil’ babies in my desk drawer…you surely can’t beat the crunchy, sweet n’ savory blend of nuts, seeds, dried fruits n’ spices in your morning oatmeal, atop your lunchtime salad, as an afternoon pick-me up to beat the 3PM slump…in your evening stir-fry or enjoyed as a dessert nibble atop Greek yogurt.

Sahale Snacks’ rich and peppery Valdosta Pecans pair especially well with Seattle’s Best Coffee winter beverages, like Vanilla Cinnamon Latte. The spicy and exotic Sing Buri Cashews make a lively accompaniment to tea, espresso, and brewed coffee drinks.

Sahale Snacks Valdosta is a blend of lightly spicy pecans, sweetened, dried cranberries and orange zest. The flavor combination echoes flavors of the American South and will pair especially well with Seattle’s Best Coffee winter beverages, like Vanilla Cinnamon Latte.

Sahale Snacks Sing Buri is made with cashews glazed with soy sauce and lemongrass combined with dried pineapple, peanuts, and sesame seed – all lightly dusted with mild Chinese chili. This aromatic blend is reminiscent of a flavorful Thai dish and makes a lively accompaniment to tea, espresso, and brewed coffee drinks.

And in honor of these two tasty new flavors, I thought I’d create a fancy, schmancy recipe using Sahale Snacks to show you just how easy it is to include them into your everyday eats…

Sweet Cocoa Nutty Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sahale Snacks Honey Glazed Almonds
  • 1 cup Sahale Snacks Cranberry Cashews
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine Sahale Snacks Honey Glazed Almonds and Cranberry Cashews; process until smooth.  Slowly add oats, agave nectar, almond extract and coconut oil.  Process until smooth consistency.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl; using hands form into golf-sized balls.
  3. Roll each ball first in cinnamon, then in cocoa powder to coat completely.
  4. Transfer coated balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place into the freezer for 25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

To Enter my Sahale Snacks Giveaway, simply:

Visit the Sahale Snacks website and tell me which flavor you’d like to try.

I of course, love them all, but if I had to choose…I’d surely go with the Southwest Cashews or the Cranberry Pecans, which are a staple in my pantry as they always seem to add such a perfectly crunchy yet creamy consistency to any dish or just simply nibbled on alone right out of the bag

…(which I do quite often, hehe)…

Have you ever tried Sahale Snacks? If so, what are your favorite flavors?

I’ll be picking a winner on Friday, October the 1st at 5PM EST.

Good Luck.

And, speaking of contests…I’m in the running to become “The Next Food Blog Star”

You can VOTE FOR ME HERE by giving me a RED HEART

(You’ll have to create a log in/sign up for Foodbuzz to give me a RED HEART Vote)

…as I enter Challenge #2 …with my delicious Arabic creation below, vote for me to inch one step closer to being the Next Food Blog Star!

Thank you for your support….

My Cheerios Box Unveiling and Mini Larabar Giveaway

Well, here it is…The moment, we’ve all been waiting for, hehe…(just teasin’)…

I’m on Your Cheerios Box!


That’s right, go ahead…take a looksy…look a lil closer…do ‘ya see me?


I recently entered an Expressions for Hunger video contest, where I submitted a video of myself reciting a poem about the fight against hunger…and what do ‘ya know…I won and I’m now on the back of your Cheerios box.  So go ahead, take the box away from your kiddies as their eating breakfast and take a gander at my pic!


I had such an amazing time at the Cheerios photo shoot, I was jumping around the entire day and loved all of the excitement.  Here’s a lil sneak peak at some of the behind the sceens footage of me, myself and I at the Cheerios Box photo shoot!

So, what are you waiting for? You may be gluten-intolerant but that doesn’t mean you can’t stroll down your cereal aisle and take a looksy at me on the box, right? Too bad they don’t make gluten-free Cheerios or else I would have bought a box, hehe…Of course, my mother and aunt bought out the store and they’re even sending a box over to my lil’ sis abroad…what do ya’ think, Aly?  Here I am with my mother, father, aunt and uncle (my biggest fans, hehe)…


Get on over to your nearest Shop Rite and pick up a box of Cheerios to take a looksy at my picture and the Expressions of Hunger contest.


Cheerios hosted a beautiful ‘Amie Valpone Cheerios Box Unveiling’ Ceremony where I was greeted by the Cheerios team, General Mills corporate, local newspapers and my family (of course).

They created a fabulous ‘Cheerios’ cake and had a delicious spread of breakfast for my family, friends and myself.


How adorable is this cake?  Too bad it wasn’t gluten-free, hehe…

Here I am in action, slicin’ the cake…


I ate Cheerios as a kid, long before I found out about my gluten-intolerance…so I have many memories of my lil sis and I filling up our bowls with the big yellow box…but, until they come out with a gluten-free version, my sad taste buds will just have to suffer…

Or I could just give the box of Cheerios to my adorable mother and father to enjoy, hehe…


Cheerios also presented me with a Cheerios plaque and my very own Cheerios box in a beautiful case.  I guess this will just have to go up on the shelf with my high school soccer and lacross trophies, which are well on their way to collecting dust, hehe…am I really that old already? Wow, how time just flies when you’re havin’ fun..


One minute your five years old eatin’ Cheerios in your feetie pajamas (remember those from the 80’s?) the next minute you’re creating the homecoming floats in high school, then the frat parties of college, then the real world…and now come the 10 year reunions…Where did the time go?  Well, it’s just nice to know that throughout the years, we’ve all formed a vast array of fond memories and many of them come from the foods we grew up with…I still cringe at the thought of grammar school snack time with cheese puffs, fruit-by-the-foot and Twinkes…thank goodness my parents never had those in the house…


What were some of your favorite foods from growing up? Did they create fond memories for you, too?

I leave you with this photo of me, of course, cracking up when I first saw myself on the face of the Cheerios box.  Enjoy!

And now for what you’ve Really been waiting for…

My Mini Larabar Giveaway:

I’ll be picking 10 Winners to receive a bag of Mini Larabars.

To enter, simply:

1). Tell me your your favorite Larabar flavor.
2). Post this giveaway on your blog. Leave a comment telling me you did.
3). Tweet this Giveaway post! Leave me a third comment telling me you did.

Each comment counts as an entry.

Good Luck; I will be picking a winner on Friday, September the 17th at 5PM EST.

And, be sure to check out the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition Moderation Nation website, which launches today!  It’s a program that features a host of new tools and resources to educate people on how to achieve balance through moderation, both in nutrition and physical activity.