Wheat and Dairy-free Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies

Yeah, you heard it.  SKINNY.  Skinny brownies.  And not because we’re cutting them really thin.  Because they’re actually not too bad for us.  Love.


I had these for the first time at a meeting held at a friend’s house and ate three.  And that was BEFORE I knew the skinny part about them.  Now I make them on a regular basis because they’re easy, delicious and are/can be wheat and dairy free.   If you like this recipe, or if you like easy, funky, delicious baking recipes in general, check out Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my newest favouritest blogs.  She’s got some lower-fat/calories recipes, a few savoury recipes, and a whole bunch of recipes for cool stuff like S’Mores Peanut Butter Cookies or Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies (this woman has a knack for taking really delicious things and COMBINING THEM to make even MORE delicious things!).


Wheat-free, Dairy-free Peanut Butter Brownies
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  1. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 3/4 cup low fat soy yogurt (or tofu sour cream works here too)
  3. 1/4 cup soy/almond/rice milk
  4. 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 cup sugar (could use a substitute if you're into that)
  8. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  9. 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8" pan with oil/margarine.
  2. Toss all the ingredients except the peanut butter in a food processor and blend until it's smooth and the oats are ground. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds. Spoon the melted PB onto the batter and swirl with a knife to make some pretty patterns.
  3. Bake about 20 minutes or until the edges of the brownie start to pull away from the pan. The batter will start out a little runnier than you might associate with a brownie batter, and it will still be quite moist in the middle when it's done, so the edges-pulling-away gauge is better than the toothpick-inserted-in-the-centre gauge of done-ness.
  4. Enjoy!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Purple House Café https://www.purplehousecafe.com/

West African Peanut Soup

West African Peanut Soup

I’ve told you about my soup-making history.  I worked in a cafe making soup and slinging coffee for a year before starting university and hurtling my way towards my current slacks-wearing, computer-sitting existence.  Though I’m thankful that I no longer carry that lingering smell of espresso and fried onions on my clothes, I like to make soup every now and again and think back on the simplicity of those days.

One of the biggest hits at the cafe was this West African Peanut Soup.  It’s a little spicy, warm, rich, and very easy to make.

West African Peanut Soup | www.purplehousecafe.com

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (not drained of juices)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (half drained of juices)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro and peanuts to garnish, if desired

Here’s what you do:

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in the bottom of a medium-large pot.  Once the onion is translucent, add in the cans of pineapple and tomatoes.  Heat until the mixture is bubbling and add in the peanut butter and seasonings.

Let the mixture cool slightly and blend using a food processor or immersion blender.  Taste, and add more salt/pepper or even peanut butter to suit your preferences (if you add peanut butter, make sure your soup is warm enough to melt it so that it’s fully incorporated).  You can also add a bit of water to make this soup less thick.


Recipe is a Jessie original

Power Balls: Food for an Earth-loving Bike Commuter

Happy Earth Day everyone!

What are you doing to celebrate this awesome planet – today, or every day?

I’m definitely not the perfect environmentalist, despite being the daughter of two environmental scientists.

I don’t compost as much as I should.  I usually choose the peace and quiet of my own car over a bus on a rainy day.  I have been known to occasionally let my engine idle, afraid that turning it off would wake up the baby sleeping in the back seat (and in the last year, I am a weensy bit more compassionate towards idlers – whereas I used to be really tempted to knock on their window and tell them to shut their dang cars off – I now realize that maybe when you have only had two hours of sleep the night before and the baby is finally napping and all you want to do is lean the seat back and catch a few zzzz’s yourself and turning off the car will ensure that you DON’T get that much-needed nap, that it might be semi-excusable.  I get it.  But on those days, plant a tree or something, eh?).

I do, however, buy local whenever possible.  I consider it a challenge to eat locally in mid-winter.  I avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible.  I have a garden.  I’ve started shopping for used clothing before heading straight for new duds.  I get out and breathe the fresh air as often as possible.

One of my biggest commitments to being a little more earth-friendly is my relationship with my bike:  I’m a regular bike commuter – 20km a day to and from work, with lots of thigh-burning, sweat-prickling, lung-busting hills.

Getting ready for the morning commute on this beautiful, sunny Earth Day

Getting ready for the morning commute on this beautiful, sunny Earth Day

All this physical activity, while awesome for my body, my brain and my planet, leaves me in a bit of a food quandary at times:  firstly, all this hard work makes me darn hungry.  All day.  Secondly, I only have the backpack on my back to carry my day’s supply of food.  Not to mention my work clothes, requisite supply of earrings/bracelets/scarves, and my trusty iPad.  So.  I need food that packs a lot of bang for the buck.  Or size.  You know.


Enter the Power Ball (name made up by me).  These little babies are quick to make, no bake, tasty, and filling.


Here’s what you need:

½ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup oatmeal

¾ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

½ cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup raisins

Here’s what you do: 


Mix all the ingredients together, stirring until they form a cohesive ball.  Roll into balls, whatever size you like.  Enjoy!  These can be frozen or refrigerated.  I like to package them, two to a ziplock, so they’re easy to grab for a snack and so that I’m not tempted to eat more than two – they are seriously addicting.  Also, I’ve done a huge number of variations of these – chocolate chips and candied ginger, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple tablespoons of cocoa…the list goes on.  Be creative!


Recipe adapted from Krista Butler, Taste of Nova Scotia blogger

Taste of Nova Scotia guest blog: my night at the Savour Food and Wine Festival

Hi folks,


Check out my latest blog for Taste of Nova Scotia!  It’s all about my recent evening spent sampling and sipping at the Nova Scotia Savour Food and Wine Festival…soooo good!


I think I’m going to try to make the peanut butter rum-soaked bananas flambe chocolate thingies…stay tuned for my version of the recipe…when I figure it out.

But it might not look exactly like this....I like my eyebrows just fine.

But it might not look exactly like this….I like my eyebrows just fine.


Peanut Butter Fudge…too easy to resist making. Right now.

Peanut Butter Fudge…too easy to resist making.  Right now.

This recipe is so quick and easy that I demand you run to your kitchen right now and make it!  Unless you’re on some sort of diet.  In which case I’m sorry:  you’re bound to spend the rest of the day thinking about how this buttery fudge might melt in your mouth and how maybe you could just eat one square and give the rest away and how peanut butter is an excellent source of protein anyway, right?


Here’s what you need:

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups icing sugar

Here’s what you do:

  • Prepare an 8×8 pan by lining it with parchment paper and then lightly buttering the paper.
  • Microwave butter and peanut butter in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 2 minutes.


Um, did you want to look at that peanut butter more closely.  I did.  There.  Enjoy.

Um, did you want to look at that peanut butter more closely? I did. There. Enjoy.

There is no oven involved.  Just the magnificent power of microwave radiation nuking your food.

There is no oven involved. Just the magnificent power of microwave radiation nuking your food.

  • Remove the plastic wrap, stir and microwave for another two minutes.
  • Stir in the vanilla and icing sugar and place the mixture in the pan, smoothing out the surface with a spatula
  • Layer a piece of parchment paper over the top of the fudge and refrigerate for two hours.
  • Slice and eat.  Dare you to eat just one piece!