S’mores Granola Bars

With our youngest son’s severe food allergies, most commercially made granola bars are not safe for him. With a few changes, they are delicious with sunflower seeds used.

Making a batch of bars is quick work, and once baked, can be cut into bars, wrapped up and frozen for later eating.


S’mores Granola Bars


  • 4 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Sunbutter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows


Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking pan.

In a large bowl mix together oats and sunflower seeds.

Heat Sunbutter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, until smooth. Take off heat and stir into oats. Work in most of the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Spread into pan, patting out and pressing down. Sprinkle remaining toppings on, press down a bit.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool, cut into bars and wrap as desired.

No-Bake Fudge Granola Bars

These are not a granola bar, in the way you might expect. The oats soak up the fudgy mixture and become nearly a candy bar. Kids will love these!


No-Bake Fudge Granola Bars


  • ½ cup Sunbutter (or any peanut or nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows


Liberally oil an 8×8″ glass dish.

In a tall saucepan, add Sunbutter, honey, and oil. Heat over medium heat until melted and just bubbling. Take off heat, stir well.

Add in oats, stir well, then stir in quickly chocolate chips and marshmallows (they will melt a bit).

Pack into pan, press down firmly and spread evenly. If desired, sprinkle on more chips and marshmallows, press in gently.

Stash in refrigerator for at least two hours, then pop out of pan and cut into bars.

Wrap bars in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator or freezer.

Love My Silk – Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes


For me, healthy living can include fun foods, even “sinful” treats. I had fun revisiting a recipe I made years ago, that at the time included pecans, peanut butter & almond milk. With our youngest son’s food allergies, soy milk has made a return to our kitchen. Although it never left really. Ford (our oldest son) grew up on soy milk, and Silk is his favorite on cereal, drinking and in meals. Unlike almond and coconut milk, it has plenty of plant protein to fuel the boys, with a milk and pleasant flavor (it also steams well for lattes I might add). With a container of it in the refrigerator, you won’t miss dairy milk at all!

Live a little and enjoy the taste of fall – and have one as a treat after an invigorating hike. Me? I’ll get the boys out on the trail out back and enjoy the first crunchy leaves falling off the maple trees and then sneak in a snack with them after. And maybe I’ll pair mine with a soy caramel latte as well!

Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes


  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup sunflower oil
  • ½ cup chopped sunflower seeds


Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners for 18 cupcakes.

Add the soy milk to a measuring cup, stir in the vinegar, set aside to curdle.

In a small bowl whisk the flour through salt together.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, pumpkin and oil till smooth. Add half the milk mixture, whisk smooth and then add half the flour. Whisk in the remaining milk, then the flour and sunflowers, until smooth. Divide between the muffin tins, filling no more than 2/3 full (the cakes rise quite a bit).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched (and a toothpick comes out clean – mine took 30 minutes).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack.

Frost when completely cooled.

Vegan SunButter Frosting


  • 2¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup smooth Sunbutter sunflower spread
  • ¼ cup non-dairy margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • 4 to 5 Tbsp unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


In bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, sunflower butter, margarine, soy milk, and vanilla,

With mixer on low, slowly whip ingredients until blended and sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip frosting until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, depending on your mixer.

Frost as desired.

Makes about 18 cupcakes.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Safe Commercially Made Treats For Allergies

This post was originally on my other blog, TrailCooking:

Safe Commercially Made Treats For Allergies.

That can be a very intimidating subject if suddenly you are in charge of meals/snacks for others – and have no experience with allergy safe foods. I saw this question this morning on a hiker’s forum and while I go by the theory of “Ask the parents to provide!!”, it is possible to ensure everyone has a safe outing by providing safe AND tasty treats! Just remember, it is NEVER safe to provide safe treats for some and then give standard treats to the other people. If you have a party member who has a severe allergy, just being near peanuts or tree nuts can cause a reaction, even as simple as touching an item that a peanut eater touched (such as trekking poles, a bag and so on). It is also best to bring single serving portions or new containers, sealed, rather than anything homemade. (And boy, I used to be that mom who didn’t get it at my oldest son’s school….sure learned why fast with my youngest son!) It is very important to explain to other parents or party members why it must be taken so seriously. If hiking with younger ones, be sure to do pack shakedowns, just in case they have treats that were packed with good intentions. Also, be sure to read the nutritional labels of everything. They have to list potential allergens they contain and good companies will let you know if it was made on shared lines.


As many of our readers know, our youngest son, Alistaire, has severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. As he gets older and I learn more…well it has become a LOT easier! I try to keep items in the van so we are always ready to go.

Enjoy Life Foods has an amazing wide range of products that are free of the top 8 allergens. Crunchy cookies, soft cookies, chewy bars, trail mix, they have it. Some of their items also come in single serving packs, perfect for trail use. Examples?

Enjoy Life Not Nuts Beach Bash

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies Grab and Go Variety Pack, Vanilla Honey Graham, Sugar Crisp


They are also behind Plentils:


Don’t Go Nuts is a great company with 6 flavors of trail ready bars and 5 innovative flavors of soy butter.


Their Soy Butter gives so many new choices to wraps and sammies – or for even dipping baby carrots into!


Sunbutter is a classic in our house. I actually prefer the naturally sweet and mellow flavor of roasted sunflowers over peanuts. I do not miss peanut butter overall! These are handy to have around: Sunflower Seed Spread On-The-Go No-Stir 10 Pkts.


Sunbutter is featured in GoPicnics fun lunch kit, GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals Sunbutter & Crackers. We always have these in our van!


Lucy’s snacks are also a go-to in backpacks and in the van. They also come in bigger single serving packs: Lucy’s Grab and Go Combo, 7 Flavors. And in Snack ‘n Go Packs:


GoGoSqueeZ is also always with us. When all else fails, I can give Alistaire a quick boost of energy. I source these at Costco on the cheap!


I also will carry things like single serving bags of baby carrots, and fresh fruit, such as grapes, berries and blueberries, string cheese sticks, tortilla chips, potato chips and other treats – one the boys love is giant Smarties candy rolls (made in a P/TN free line).

There are options out there – and it is getting crazy easy now to find them! And if all else fails, there is Amazon – which is where we stock up :-)

Lower-Sugar Banana Oat Muffins

I was looking to make a lower-sugar banana muffin, because many recipes have a cup of sugar for just 12 muffins – which makes that more a cupcake than a muffin….


Just sweet enough to feel like a treat, yet full of fiber from the oats and flaxseed, these also make a great breakfast on the go, and they freeze well. As part of All Good April with Carrington Farms, I came up with these muffins that will be snatched up quickly!

AGA ambassador badge

All Good April? Many stores throughout the US have specials on Carrington Farms products, so keep an eye out, or visit them online.

Carrington Farms milled flax seeds are sliced, rather than pulverized, leaving a course flaxseed meal, that works wonderfully in baked goods as an egg replacer. The bonus is that not only do I often replace eggs with flaxseed, but it is also a great addition for fiber and Omega 3.


Lower-Sugar Banana Oat Muffins


Topping –

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375°, liberally spray a 12 count non-stick muffin pan.

Whisk flaxeed and water in a small bowl, let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk flour through sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk coconut milk, Sunbutter, banana, oil, vanilla and flaxseed mixture till smooth. Add to dry, stir until mixed. Divide between muffin tins.

Mix flour, oil and sugar in a small bowl, till crumbled. Sprinkle over top of muffins.

Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

FTC Disclaimer: We received product used in this recipe.

Sunbutter Cinnamon Rolls

I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Mom Vs. Food Allergy, but adapted it to something I had on hand: a 1 pound section of pizza dough. And the pizza dough has a better ingredient list than canned crescent rolls do (especially if you use homemade dough!). Alistaire can have a small gluten cheat here and there, and this was just perfect!


As they were cooling on the counter, Ford kept going by them and asking what they were. I said “Just try them!” and I went outside to weed/play with the younger boys. A few minutes later I hear from the kitchen “MOM!!!! These are the BEST! Can I have more?”. Praise from the 16 year old means I got it right. Sweet but not just all about butter and sugar, the sunflower butter takes it to a new level. Could you add in finely chopped sunflower seeds and raisins? I am sure you could. I went for simple, because I knew the three hungry boys would like it that way.

Sunbutter Cinnamon Rolls


Glaze –


If pizza dough is frozen, allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator. If chilled, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 200°, turn off.

Roll out to about 15 x 8″.

Heat Sunbutter and buttery stick in microwave for 30 seconds at 70% power, stir till smooth. Add in brown sugar and cinnamon, stir well. Spread on dough, leaving an edge around.

Starting with the long edge, roll up gently. wipe a little water on final edge, gently seal. Cut into 8 pieces.

Liberally spray a 8 x 8″ glass baking dish or pie pan, place pieces in it loosely. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, leave in warm oven, with oven door open a bit, for 45 minutes. Take out dish, preheat oven to 400°. Put rolls back in and bake for about 20 minutes, or until just turning golden. Let cool for 10 minutes, run a narrow knife to split up rolls.

Mix up powdered sugar, coconut milk and salt in a small bowl, drizzle over warm rolls.

Makes 8 rolls.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Sunflower Cookies

5 days and now into the 6th day of a really painful slowdown of our internet. Many calls, a tech at the street and yet no answers. So last week I ended up not posting a few days because it was slower than 1999-era dial up. Comcast is sending out yet another tech today. I really hope it gets fixed. I can deal with slow internet to a point, Kirk cannot – he works from home in the tech field. So it pretty much sucks, especially since we pay for “Business Class” and currently have “Amish-Speed”. For me, I had to shelve writing/posting anything that was picture heavy (especially since I can’t edit photos online!), so I figured I’d share this now favorite recipe of Alistaire’s for an allergy-friendly version of the standard peanut butter cookie!


As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of this gluten-free flour mix!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Sunflower Cookies



Preheat oven to 375°, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk Ener-G with warm water, set aside for 5 minutes.

In a stand mixer bowl, add sugars, Sunbutter and shortening, blend together. Beat in vanilla and Ener-G mixture, until smooth.

Add in flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, beat in. If mixture is dry, add in up to 1 more Tablespoon warm water, till a cookie dough forms.

Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Disher, drop on baking sheets. Gently make hash tags with a fork on top. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, checking at 8, until lightly golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack (they are fragile when warm).

Makes about 2½ dozen.

Walker helping me make the cookies 😉


Spicy Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies


Mildly spicy (the kids didn’t appreciate it!) and both gluten-free and vegan. Frozen, they taste even better!

Spicy Sunflower Chocolate Chip Cookies



Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add warm water to Ener-G, stir till mixed.

Add sunflower butter, brown sugar, chili powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor bowl, pulse to mix. Add in Ener-G mix, process until smooth. Add in chocolate, pulse till mixed in.

Scoop heaping Tablespoon balls, roll with hands to smooth, lay on baking sheets. Press gently with fork tines, making a hash tag. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool fully on tray before moving, the cookies are fragile when warm.

Store in freezer or refrigerator.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Allergy Friendly Cookies: Chickpeas & Chocolate

Grain-free, gluten-free and allergy friendly – and quick to make. Kids will love them, and no, you don’t taste the chickpeas at all! We go through a lot of SunButter Natural Sunflower Seed Spread in our house, and the kids loved these cookies – all 3 of them. Bonus is I got protein and fiber into the youngest, without him knowing 😉


Chickpeas & Chocolate


  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp Sunbutter
  • ¼ cup raw honey or raw agave nectar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the chickpeas out on paper towels, pat dry. Add them, Sunbutter, honey, vanilla, baking powder, and salt to food processor, process until smooth, scraping often. Add in chocolate chips, pulse to mix in.

Drop 8 balls of dough on each sheet, gently flatten with dampened fingers.

Bake each sheet for 10 minutes, or until turning golden on top. Let cool fully.

For a “fudgy” treat, stash cookies in refrigerator, enjoy while cold.

16 cookies.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts


I was excited to have an idea for a treat that Alistaire could enjoy: gluten-free, nut and peanut free, egg free – well you know the spiel. Quinoa flour is one I work with only here and there, it has a pretty strong flavor so I usually avoid it when baking, unless it is a small amount. With the level of sugar, I figured the taste wouldn’t be too prominent. I was right on that. And guess who really liked them? Well, one would be Alistaire….the other was a certain older brother in a blue shirt. Turns out…..


I didn’t leave them far back enough on the counter. And someone ate nearly THREE of the six donuts. Oh well, at least someone appreciated them. As in a 3½ year older. At least baby got one to himself.


I do add a disclaimer: if you are not used to baking with quinoa, it has a very dominant smell while baking. Very earthy. I find it dissipates as it cools. But these donuts will not be light or fluffy. They are whole-grain (well, actually whole-seed) and are rich with the sunflower butter. I found the texture pleasing, xantham gum might be a good addition to lighten the batter when baking (and firming it up to be more cake-like).

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts


  • ¾ cup Quinoa Flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup SunButter Natural
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp peach jam


Preheat oven to 325°, liberally spray a 6-Cavity Donut Pan. Whisk flaxseed meal and water together, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, beat until thick. Divide jam between the cups, spreading evenly around, about 1½ teaspoons each.

Whisk the quinoa flour through sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk Sunbutter and flax mixture till smooth, whisk in remaining wet ingredients through vanilla, until smooth. Add to dry ingredients, stir until mixed. Scrape batter into a new gallon zip top bag, seal out air while zipping closed. Cut off a corner of bag, pipe equally on top of the jam.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes, flip over and remove pan. Let cool before enjoying.

Best eaten day of baking.

Makes 6 donuts.


%d bloggers like this: