Nut Butter Cups for the Holidays

You can use any nut butter that you prefer. I used homemade peanut butter made from organic peanuts. There is also no gluten, dairy, or white sugar!

This is a relatively easy recipe to follow, if you have all the ingredients! You can even get your friends and family involved, i.e. a cooking party!

 Homemade Peanut Butter

Yields ¾ cups

  • 1 cup organic peanuts
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  1.  In a food processor, grind the peanuts into a course powder.
  2. Add the oil of choice, honey, and salt. (if using coconut oil, set aside to cool for 10 minutes after melting)
  3. Blend until it becomes a smooth consistency. Add more oil if needed.
  4. Remove to a glass container. It will keep for 4 days. It is just enough for 12 nut butter cups. You can also just use it as a spread!

 Nut Butter Cups

Yield 12

Total Time: ~ 1.5 hours

Ingredients for the Chocolate –

  • I use 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or you can opt-in 2 bars of 70% dark chocolate
    • I prefer to use Fair-Trade, organic chocolate (not already sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup (the real stuff is also the best bet!)

Ingredients for the Filling –

  • ~3/4 cup peanut butter or preferred choice of nut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp.vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Directions –

  1. In a double boiler* combine the coconut oil and chocolate, and add the sweetener of choice. Stir continuously until it is a dark creamy texture. 

  2. Set it aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, line a muffin tray with  muffin liners. Pour a spoonful of chocolate sauce into each muffin liner. Place the tray in the freezer or fridge for 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened.
  4. While the chocolate is chilling, prepare the peanut butter mixture. In a small bowl, combine about a ¾ cup of peanut butter, coconut flour, and vanilla extract until it has a thick creamy firmness. Divide into 12 small pieces, and roll each into a small ball. 

  5. Place each PB ball on top of the hardened chocolate, and flattened so it covers the chocolate. Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the PB and place back in the freezer,until completely hardened. You can make these a day ahead for your holiday party! Enjoy!
  6. Optional – Before placing back into the freezer for the second time, sprinkle a pinch of course sea salt over top of the chocolate.

*Put a small glass bowl into a medium saucepan allowing there to be space for steam to escape.


A Cool 4th of July: Part II

July 4th Hors d’oeuvres

My idea of a summer 4th of July picnic is the traditional  barbecue of hamburgers and hotdogs with seasonal fresh summer produce. A 4th of July picnic is based around the idea of meat, watermelon, and corn-on-the-cob. I am not going to change that tradition. My idea is to create appetizer-size portions of that menu. My idea of an abbreviated barbecue chow is that you can enjoy the meat and all the accompaniments, but not feel stuffed to the gills later that day. The idea is to savor the food, not gorge. Just because there are smaller portions of the food, does not give the excuse to eat more portions.

I have a beef, poultry, and pork option for meat-eaters. Vegetarians are not be left out in all the fun. Most plates are gluten-free or have a gluten-free option and very few plates have nuts.

This menu is composed from my imagination with inspiration from one of my culinary idols, Jamie Oliver, as well as Food Network stars, and various cookbooks.

Abby’s Gourmet Picnic

Meat and Fish Plates

Garden burger sliders with mozzarella cheese, sungold cherry tomato slice, and basil on slightly toasted buns with condiments of mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard)

Grilled salmon salad with mayonnaise, red onion, celery, salt, and pepper, served in a Swiss Chard leaf

Mini chicken tacos served on corn tortillas with cilantro, pinto or black beans, shredded white cheddar cheese, and Trader Joe’s Peach Salsa (may be served without chicken for vegetarians) (Future blog post)

Chicken salad wrap with hummus (in lieu of mayonnaise) and apple cubes, served in a lettuce leaf (Future blog post)

Mini pan-seared bratwurst pork sausage with sauteed bell peppers, white onion in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt; served in brown rice bowls

Egg Dishes

Basil Deviled Eggs with bacon bits

Curry egg salad wraps served on lettuce leaves

Vegetarian Plates

Brandywine tomatoes with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a dolloped with pesto (contains tree nuts)

Corn vichyssoise (Future blog post)

Minty Corn-on-the-cob (cooked in infused mint water)

Pesto Bruschetta on baguette rounds topped with two cherry tomato halves (contains tree nuts)

(The Tomato Burger) Beefsteak sliders with feta cheese and basil leaves on lightly toasted buns with mayonnaise

Vichyssoise with watercress (Future blog post)

Watermelon mint soup (Future blog post)

Watermelon strawberry  salad with a light lemon mint vinaigrette

Dessert Table

Fruit pops ideas- mint-orange, peach-mango, strawberry vanilla

Gluten-free coconut creme flag cupcakes (contains nut flour) (Future blog post)

Stars & Strips chocolate-beet cake with coconut icing, and blueberries (Future blog post)

Watermelon star, blueberry, and pineapple square kabobs

Drinks Table

Basil infused sparkling water

Mint lemon limeade- homemade with mint simple syrup

Slightly Sweet earl grey tea with a squirt of lemon

A Cool 4th of July: Part I

Fuel up for Fun

Do you have a fun activity-packed holiday weekend? For breakfast before you  devour the summer picnic BBQ with your friends and family, be sure to sustain yourselves with the sufficient nutrients so you will be energized.

These featured recipes were created with the idea that people with nut allergies can also enjoy these refreshing breakfast foods. Nuts may be added upon individual discernment. These recipes are also gluten-free and vegetarian. See below for a dairy-free alternate.

Breakfast Salad

Serves 4-6


Selection of fruits (and upon preference)

  • 3 oranges, each slice cut into thirds
  • a handful red grapes
  • a handful blackberries and/or blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds

Combine the fruits. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt and honey until well blended, then add chia seeds for extra protein. Add to fruit. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Fresh Protein Smoothie

2-4 servings

If you are not much of a breakfast person, you may prefer a beverage as a fueling option. The Breakfast Protein Smoothie uses chia seeds which are high in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Chia seeds do not have much of a taste, and it is not optimal to eat them on their own. So, as a easy solution, smoothies and salads are easy ways to include chia seeds to gain the general health benefits. This “superfood” will give you that boost of energy for a busy fun 4th of July weekend.

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 ripe banana
  • a few blackberries and/or blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter for protein
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds for the superfood boost
  • 1 cup whole milk*
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt*

* for a dairy-free option, 1 cup of coconut milk  may be used in lieu.

Combine all ingredients in blender until a nice consistency. If too thick, add more milk to make it more liquefied. Serve up and enjoy!

Stay energized!

and stay tuned, Happy 4th!

Abby B.