"Cheesy" Crispy Baked Fries [nut free | dairy free | vegan]

I love love love potatoes. And of course, so do my kids. We devour them in minutes around here. We dip them in all sorts of sauces - aioli, pesto, ketchup, mayo, bbq sauce and today: cheese sauce (plant based cheese sauce, of course!). 

This time my cheese sauce is nut-free. I usually use cashew sauce for creaminess but this time I used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead. 

#puremamas @JuliNovotny Crispy Fries Recipe || Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe
Crispy Baked French Fries | Recipe via @julinovotny #puremamas | vegan & gluten-free

Everybody always asks me how to get the fries to taste crispy! I have an answer for you: corn starch! You don't need more than 1 Tbsp of corn starch to crisp them up and it's an optional ingredient. If you want to keep your cuisine cleaner and not use powders, then great, you do not need to add it. But don't expect your fries to be overly crispy unless you cook them for a really long time and most of the moisture is gone. That works too but the fries tend to be almost rock hard. 

Crispy Potato Fries || Cheese Sauce (vegan + nut free) || Recipe via #puremamas @JuliNovotny

The Kennebec potato seems to work best for me. It's got a really soft skin and they are easy to cut. Much easier than a russet or sweet potato. They also cook quickly and crisp up really nicely. 

Half of my potatoes were cooked on a deep dish baking sheet but one had parchment and the other did not. I prefer the cooking without the parchment for quicker cooking potatoes and crisper texture. But, of course that means I might have to scrub the pan a bit harder at clean up. 

Crispy Baked Fries Recipe

Yields 2 cookie sheets or 2 medium bowls full

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 Kennebec Potatoes (keep skin on), cut into long chunky slices
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 pinches of sea salt

 

  • Zip lock bag, freezer size (for mixing ingredients)
  • Oil for baking pan/tray or parchment paper for lining pan/tray (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees F (convection bake). 
  2. In a zip lock baggie combine everything but the oil/parchment for the pan. Seal the zip lock bag and shake and mix with hands.
  3. Once potatoes are completely coated, spread out evenly onto lightly oiled baking trays (or covered in parchment). Do not overlap potatoes. 
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on oven. Keep an eye out because if they do not have parchment paper they are quicker to cook and if they are thinner chunks of potato they are also cook quickly. So cook time will vary. They are done when both sides are browned. I like to swap trays from top tack to bottom rack and bottom rack to top rack for even cooking. 
  5. Once fries are done, remove them with a metal spatula so they don't get crushed or mangled. 
  6. Dip in your favorite sauce. See below for my nut free vegan cheese sauce recipe. 

Cheesy Sauce [nut-free version]

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend everything up in a blender on medium and then high speed. You'll have to scrape the sides of the blender a few times to get it all mixed evenly. 
  2. This will take about 2 minutes to get all the chunks removed and evenly mixed and creamy. Add more water if necessary. 
  3. Use this sauce as a dipping sauce or just squeeze it all over the fries before serving. We did the latter and dipped the cheesy fries into bbq sauce. So good. 
I'd love it if you would  pin this image to Pinterest ; It would make my day! Have a wonderful week everybody!  And if you decide to make the recipe,  please share your image on Instagram , I'd love to see your creation. Feel free to tag #puremamas

I'd love it if you would pin this image to Pinterest; It would make my day! Have a wonderful week everybody!

And if you decide to make the recipe, please share your image on Instagram, I'd love to see your creation. Feel free to tag #puremamas

Flourless No-Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Holy cookie dough balls! These are flourless, vegan and gluten-free! What makes them even better is the they require NO BAKING! Woohoo! That's good news for me - the extremely pregnant mama over here. 

It's been a long long 40 weeks for me! I can't tell you how ready I am to be a mom of 3 little ones. I have patiently been waiting almost a month {I swear that's how long I've been in early labor} now to get this little girl out into the world! She is already testing my patience but I want her to come when she is absolutely ready! NOT when I decide. But, in order to do that, I must wait and wait and wait some more. And it's actually driving me bananas! 

What better to do than bake? Or no-bake in this case (hehe). 

I love this recipe because there are times when I just can't wait for the oven to preheat and the cookies to cook fast enough; I'm not in the mood for a ton of dishes or a hot kitchen. So, these cookies are perfect for this pregnant mama craving. 

No-bake Cookie Dough Balls are also perfect for a spontaneous play date when you want to impress the kids without any fuss! These are also the perfect go-to snack. 

Vegan, gluten-free cookie dough balls that taste anything but healthy! So what are you waiting for?

NO BAKE COOKIE DOUGH BALLS RECIPE {gluten-free / vegan}

vegan gluten-free no-bake cookie dough balls recipe!

yields 1 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heaping TBLS Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped {skin discarded}
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste {I like the salty flavor}

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine everything in a food processor. Blend/chop and pulse until everything mixes up and forms a ball. You'll want to pulse for a bit and then mix and then pulse. Keep going until mixture should be somewhat chunky but chocolate chips should not hold original shape. 

  2. Form small bit sized balls. Recipe should yield a dozen.

  3. Refrigerate for an hour or two before eating - OR eat the dough right out of the bowl. {wink}

  4. They should last a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Pregnancy + fresh lettuce tacos + mac and cheese

Check out my post about pregnancy cravings and foods where I also share my fresh lettuce cup taco lunch recipe

Click on over to PUREmamas section of the blog to get the recipe and the story. 

Also, if you didn't get a chance yet to see my vegan creamy shells + cheese recipe, it's not too late...read more about it over at the Honest Company blog. This recipe is creamy, "cheesy" and really hits the spot when it comes to mac-and-cheese cravings. However, this unique recipe is dairy-free. Yep, that's right, dairy free mac and cheese recipe. Mmmmmmmm.  

School Lunches Can Be Intimidating

This is my first year packing "real" school lunches and it's actually a bit intimidating. My sons go to public school {a very cool one that I'm stoked about} and they encourage packing healthy snacks and lunches {phew}!

Today, over at The Honest Company blog, I'm guest posting a very lengthy wordy piece on how to pack a healthier, more well-balanced lunch. Enjoy... CLICK HERE TO READ and HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL! 

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Not all lunches have to full of packaged foods but at the same time I get it, sometimes it's easier to pack pre-packaged foods. If you have to do that, fine, but be wise about your choices and the packaging. Is the packaging recyclable? Are the snacks full of refined sugar and food dyes? What about the salt content? And remember, fresh is always better! For more details, head on over to the full article. 

{No Bake} Ginger Cherry Bars

I woke up yesterday in the mood for a fancy homemade breakfast. I wanted something that was more on the sweet side than the savory side. I rummaged through the pantry looking for baking flour; I thought muffins sounded good. Not sure which kind but something exciting.  

I was all out of flour though! So I grabbed almonds, gluten-free oats, GO RAW sprouted buckwheat groats {your pantry should always have this item stocked on hand} and dried cherries. 

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I processed all of these ingredients in the food processor to make a healthy no-bake breakfast bar.  And wow, what a great combo it was...healthy, hearty and sweet! These Ginger Cherry Breakfast Bars were born! The best part of it all - I didn't even have to even bake them! 

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Unfortunately, I didn't plan to blog about this recipe which resulted in not so wonderful photos. But at least you can get an idea. Right?  

These Ginger Cherry No-bake bars were devoured by the husband and kids (I only got one, darn it). 

Just to make things even more wonderful - I smothered some of them in chocolate. 

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I mean why not?

I wish I had a su-chef here to help me with the dishes, but other than that, It was the perfect way to spend my morning. In fact, I was thinking "man, I could sell these bad boys"! But then I remembered I have already been-there-done-that! {wink} 

I highly recommend you try these bars. They are so wonderful to have around - just a quick snack or meal to grab on the go! BEWARE - in addition to being healthy, they are tasty and addicting. 

REMEMBER - the chocolate coating is optional. My kids thought it was the "best thing I've ever made" but I prefer it without the chocolate. 

No-Bake Ginger Cherry Bars Recipe {with chocolate coating}

yields 10-12 bars

DRY INGREDIENTS

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup liquid sweetener {agave, honey, maple syrup - I used ginger syrup again}
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter {room temp}
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • pinch sea salt

CHOCOLATE COATING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dark chocolate bar
  • anything else you might want to see on top - coconut, seeds, nuts, goji berries, etc. 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor combine the nuts and oats. Pulse for about 30 seconds on and off. Add cherries and repeat. Add the buckwheat groats and repeat.  
  2. Go ahead and add the wet ingredients. Be sure butter is at room temp. You don't want it to be cold. Pulse again for a bit longer until everything is well mixed up. See my photo above to get an idea of how chunky it should be. 
  3. Empty mixture onto a glass Pyrex style deep dish pan. Press it down until pan is covered. Lay wax paper over the mixture and press the mixture down using a flat, firm spatula until evenly spread. Remove the paper. 
  4. Refrigerate mixture for at least and hour.  
  5. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in the oven (about 250 degrees F) and while you're waiting for the bars to firm and chocolate to melt, maybe do all the dishes.  
  6. When ready, evenly pour the chocolate over the top of the refrigerated dough {and sprinkle whatever toppings you'd like at this time. I used coconut.}
  7. Refrigerate again for about an hour.
  8. Bars can be cut into squares or long bars or even circles. 
  9. Store any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Should last about 1 week. 
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