Tag Archives: gluten-free

Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s

A couple of years ago I attended my first Natural Products Expo West and had a blast meeting a bunch of different vendors, trying new products and immersing myself in some of the best healthy and natural products on the market.  I couldn’t attend last year due to being in the thick of wedding planning, so this year I was excited to return AND meet with one of my favorite brands.  So consider this recap the Natural Products Expo West: Justin’s edition.

justins nut butter expo westFor those not familiar, Justin’s is a company specializing in nut butters and peanut butter cups using all-natural ingredients and NO preservatives.  The company uses organic ingredients when possible, and offers a line of almond butter, peanut butter, and natural PB cups that taste 1000x better than a Reese’s in my opinion. The Englishman and I always have a jar of Justin’s Almond Butter in our house, and I always take the to-go squeeze packs whenever I travel.  So when I had the opportunity to meet THE Justin at Expo West this year I jumped at the chance.

natural products expo west justinsJustin was incredibly nice (as expected) and was happy to chat about his products, what’s new, and what’s coming up for 2015.  First up is the dark + milk chocolate peanut butter minis, which at 70 calories a pop, are the perfect little treat when you are craving something sweet.

justins mini pb cupsI have already shared some of the minis with my friends and they were all big fans.  I can’t wait to stock up on more when these hit shelves starting in April.

In addition to the minis, Justin also has plans to create more healthy snacks by the end of 2015.  He explained that everything is still in the very early formulation stages, but he did share that he’s looking for that “snackability” factor and to expect lots of peanut butter and almond butter combos with more traditional snacks like pretzels and crackers.  PB and pretzels?  Sign me up.

Justin also shared that one goal of the brand this year is to become more green with their packaging and using more sustainable materials, which I thought I was great.  It’s so nice to see a brand constantly evolving and taking steps forward to be more environmentally friendly.

Not only was Justin incredibly nice and great to chat with, I could see how passionate he is about his brand, which definitely reflects in his products, cause they all taste great!  If you haven’t tried Justin’s yet, I recommend starting with the Maple Almond Butter or the Dark Chocolate PB cups.  Or even the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.  Or Classic Almond Butter.  Obviously I don’t discriminate.

expo west justinsJustin’s products can be found at most supermarkets, Target and even Starbucks, and the new minis will be available starting in April.

Thanks again to Justin and his team for the great meeting at Expo West!

Nut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

All week-long I have had cookies on the brain.  Then some of my favorite food bloggers started posting cookie recipes on their sites, which made me want them even more.  I decided enough was enough and whipped up my own lil’ recipe I like to call Nut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Why the generic nut butter label?  The reason behind this is that these two lovely packets of Justin’s Nut Butter that I found while cleaning out my pantry were the stars of the show.

JustinsNutButterAnd since there is no easy way to say Chocolate Hazelnut Vanilla Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, I shortened it to Nut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  OK, it’s still a mouthful, but it works.

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical of mixing the chocolate hazelnut and vanilla almond nut butters together, but it actually worked!  The cookies had a nice, nutty flavor to them and of course the chocolate chips were just the cherry on top.  The best part is that it took 10 minutes to prep the cookies and then another 12 minutes in the oven.  Not too shabby if you ask me.

Nut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes roughly 8-10 cookies)


1 packet Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter

1 packet Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

2 eggs

2/3 c rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2/3 c chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or line a baking sheet with a silpat/parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix oats, salt and baking soda.  In a smaller mixing bowl mix your nut butters and eggs.  Fold the wet mix into the dry ingredients and blend well.  Fold in your chocolate chips until the mixture is nice and sticky.

Gently spoon your dough onto the baking sheet and roll into small balls.  Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

NutButterOatmealChocolateChipCookiesRemove from oven, let cool and enjoy.  These cookies definitely have a distinct nut butter flavor, so if you want them a little more “sweet”, I recommend adding some brown sugar.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I love avocado.  And I love chocolate.  So when I started seeing recipes pop up for chocolate avocado pudding on various websites I was instantly intrigued.  Would avocado and chocolate really taste good together?  I had to find out.

I whipped together my own version of chocolate avocado pudding and gave it to the Englishman who has declared he doesn’t like avocados (except in guacamole).  He ate the entire thing proclaiming how good it was.  It was until after he finished that I told him the pudding base was avocado and he was shocked since you can’t taste the avocado at all.

I did a similar experiment on family members a few days ago and the verdict was the same – delicious pudding and no idea there was avocado involved.

Moral of the story is that you need to make this chocolate avocado pudding.

chocolateavocadopuddingChocolate Avocado Pudding (serves 4-6)


4 ripe avocados

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons chocolate chips for garnish


Cut your avocados and scoop the insides into a food processor.  Add your almond milk and maple syrup and begin to pulse.

Once mixture is creamy, add your cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla and continue to mix until well blended.

Pour mixture into small serving dishes and refrigerate for at least an hour.


Garnish with chocolate chips and enjoy!


Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

One of my favorite breads is Irish Soda Bread.  I love this bread so much that I even blogged about the Englishman’s Irish Soda Bread last March in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Right now I’m doing some experimenting with gluten-free baking, so I decided to try making a loaf of gluten-free Irish Soda bread.

Just record, I have not been diagnosed with any sort of gluten allergy, I’m just trying my hand at gluten-free baking for those who do suffer from Celiac or any other gluten intolerance.

If you have never tried gluten-free bread before, I highly recommend making this one!  The texture is just like Irish Soda Bread so you would never even know it’s gluten-free!  I ended up keeping this loaf simple and didn’t add in any currants or raisins, but definitely plan on doing so next time.

gluten-free irish soda breadGluten-Free Irish Soda Bread (adapted from this recipe)


2 cups gluten-free flour (use any blend of your choice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (FYI Authentic Foods makes corn-free xanthan gum!)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup gluten-free oats
1 egg
1 cup almond milk


Preheat your oven to 375F.  Grease a baking sheet and dust with gluten-free flour.

In a large mixing bowl add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and oats.  Mix well. 

In a smaller bowl combine your egg and almond milk.  Pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix until the dough is nice and sticky.

gluten-freesodabreaddoughKnead your dough a few times and place on baking sheet.  Shape into a round circle.

Place bread in oven and bake 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Serve warm with butter, jam, nutella, you get the picture.

gluten-free irish soda bread