Easy Pickled Hot Peppers

I LOVE to grow my own herbs and veggies, and I almost always have the worst luck with my jalapeño plants. This year I decided to try a different strain of pepper, and went with the El Jefe Pepper. It's similar in heat to a jalapeño, but the peppers aren't mature until they turn a vibrant red.
This year was like christmas for me, because I have harvested peppers THREE times from one plant! Usually my pepper plants die horrible deaths before they can even give me one pepper. That wasn't the case this year. 

The first time I made El Jefe Poppers (a take on the jalapeño popper), another time I diced some up for salsa and taco garnish. Now, with the 13 I picked today, I'm going to do a simple pickling so I can enjoy them any time I want! (There are still buds blooming and FOUR green peppers on the plant so I can't wait to see how many more I can grow before it gets too cold outside!)

Here is my SUPER easy pickling process. (this process does NOT include heat sealing the jars, but if you wanted to know how do that, you can google it VERY quickly!)

You'll need:
 - 3/4c water
 - 3/4c distilled white vinegar
 - 3tbs sugar
 - 1tbs kosher salt
 - 1+ clove(s) of garlic crushed & chopped (depending on your preference, I like 2-3)
 - 1/2tsp oregano flakes
 - 10-12 peppers
 - 1 large or a few small mason jars (I didn't have a large one on hand, so I used two Ball brand 500ml jars that can be found here.)
 - 1 pair of rubber gloves for slicing the peppers (you DO NOT want to burn your eyes or more delicate areas from accidental touch with pepper oil on your fingers! Ouch!)

Mix all ingredients except peppers into a pot and bring to a boil. 

Slice peppers while water mixture to come to a boil. This is where your gloves come in VERY handy! You'll want to keep as many of the seeds as possible to keep the peppers nice and hot!

Once you've stirred the peppers to coat them in the mixture, remove from element and allow to stand for 10 minutes. 

Use tongs to put the peppers into jars and then add the brine to fill the jars. 

Because I had to use two smaller jars the brine didn't completely cover the peppers, but that's okay! Just give them a shake every now and again!

Because I had to use two smaller jars the brine didn't completely cover the peppers, but that's okay! Just give them a shake every now and again!

And that's all folks! Because I didn't heat seal the jars these peppers are good to go into the refrigerator and will be good for a couple weeks just the way they are! Trust me, if you're anything like me, they wont last that long! 

Now to think up different recipes to incorporate these yummy and spicy peppers to! Enjoy! 

- Carlybellexo

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!

I was heading to a Halloween party this weekend and wanted to bring a sweet treat to share with friends, so I decided to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups! They were unbelievably simple to make and while VERY rich and sweet, they are yummy! 

What You'll Need:

- 2 bags of chocolate chips (I used my favourite Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips) I found them in the Natural Section of my local grocery store
- 1 cup of Peanut Butter (I used an organic, no sugar, no salt added)
- 1/2 cup of icing sugar (this is why I chose the no sugar peanut butter!)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Cupcake liners
- Muffin Tray

First things first - You CAN cut the muffin liners down if you want, because the mixture doesn't rise at all, but because I was going to a Halloween party and using themed liners I did not. 

Place liners in the muffin tray & melt the chocolate chips from 1 bag of chips. I heated the entire bag in the microwave. I tried 45 second intervals and stirred a few times to get the consistency needed. 

Once heated you can start spooning chocolate into the liners. I just put enough in to fill the complete bottom of the liner. (This much chocolate filled the bottoms of 12 cupcake liners). 

Next take the try and put it into the freezer for approximately 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden. While you're allowing this to happen you can mix the 1 cup of peanut butter with the 1/2 cup icing sugar & 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

Now you can put the peanut butter mixture on top of the first layer of chocolate. I found the peanut butter VERY sticky, so I used a smaller spoon to try to spread the mix evenly. Once this is complete, place tray back in freezer for 15 minutes.

Time to melt the second bag of chocolate chips. Again, spoon mixture onto the peanut butter layer and try to evenly saturate. I found because the other layers were cold, the chocolate needed to be a little hotter to spread better. I simply heated it a little longer to achieve this. 

After this is complete, place the tray back into the freezer for at least 15 minutes. I left mine in the freezer until I was ready to leave (About an hour). 

Once they're chilled completely, they won't melt again once you remove them from the freezer. You can pop them out of the muffin tray and you're ready to go! Now, I like to keep mine chilled so they're cold when I eat them, but that's up to you! These babies are rich and sweet, so I could only eat half at a time, but hey, at least I know what's in them, right?

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I hope you enjoy this recipe! I know my friends & I did! 

- CarlyBellexo

Carly's Cookies (Gluten-free, Vegan Pecan Chocolate Chip)

I LOVE to bake. It's just a plain fact. Talking to me you'd never guess that I become a little Betty Crocker in the kitchen, but it's my happy place. 

I have a few friends I don't get to see all that often that happen to have some dietary restrictions, and I always felt the urge to try to make them a delicious treat they could enjoy while everyone else had something. 

I started googling everything under the sun and finally found a base idea for a recipe. I needed to make sure I knew exactly what types of flour were Gluten-Free, what was considered Vegan and what wasn't. 

I've developed this cookie recipe from looking at many others that worked, and a few trial and error lessons I made myself. I also wanted to make sure my recipe wasn't just a sugary cookie, I wanted to add some nutritional elements to it as well (after all, why not try to make something even better?).

So, without further pause, or more time for me to change my mind about sharing this, here is my (amongst friends) famous GF V Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  If Supermodel Karli Kloss can have "Karli's Kookies" then be damn sure I can have "Carly's Cookies". 

Ingredients:

2C Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Flour 
3/4 - 1C Brown Sugar (depending on your preference. I tend to use less)
1/4(ish)C  Bob's Red Mill Organic Flaxseed Meal
1/4C Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour (Also known as Arrowroot)
1tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
1 + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (this is important, and if you're not an avid baker go to Bulk Barn and buy just what you need for the recipe)
1C Coconut Oil (I use Nutiva Naturals religiously in so many things!)
2tbsp Vanilla Extract
6tbsp unsweetened applesauce (My favourite is buying the apple cinnamon PC applesauce cups and using 1 full cup. It's the perfect size)
1C Vegan Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life is EVERYTHING! they're chips & chunks are amazing!)
1C diced pecan pieces (I love adding nuts to cookie recipes, it adds another depth to the cookie I love a lot, you do not by any means have to add these)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 340 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl (except the chips or nuts, those will be used later)

In a slightly larger bowl mix all the wet ingredients (you'll need to melt the coconut oil so it's easier to work with. I use the microwave for about 30-35 seconds. Don't get it too hot, just melted to liquid).

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir it until you get a slightly grainy mix. It's okay for a bit of the oil to separate, it happens, but will get worked into the dough as you continue to mix. 

Add in the chocolate chips (again, do this as you're mixing to distribute evenly) and the pecans to the mix.

I use a teaspoon to grab some dough and using my hands form it into a ball and then place onto the parchment. Using your palm push down slightly on the dough so it starts to spread a bit.

Bake for 8-9 minutes then turn the baking sheet completely and bake for another 6-7 minutes until the tops are slightly golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack. 

This recipe for me usually makes 30-36 cookies based on the size. 

The best part about this recipe is that its so versatile! I've used cranberries and coconut instead of chocolate chips and pecans, I've used other combinations too. Make cookies you're going to love! 

Enjoy! 

-CarlyBellexo