Oven-Free Friday...on Saturday :)

Nothing like deciding to start a new weekly feature and then abandoning it entirely for a couple of months!  I started Oven-Free Fridays in October, got caught up in 30 Days of Gratitude in November, and then December went crazy and I've barely blogged at all.  (In fact, I still have a post pending from the "30 Days" series, and I still haven't posted my "focused on Glory" post for this week. :-/ )  BUT...I do want to get back to the Oven-Free Fridays feature, so here is my "jumping back in" post. :)

One of the things that has been an adjustment without an oven has been desserts and snacks.  Cookies, pies, cakes, brownies...all of these typically require an oven.  I have plans to try some variations with the crock pot, toaster oven, and electric roaster, but I haven't gotten very far with those plans as of yet.  I have, however, found some truly "oven-free" alternatives this year that have been hits around our house.  

For the first, I have to give credit to my friend Valerie.  She sent this Cherry-Pistachio bark to our youth Christmas party last week, and I was hooked!  I was even more excited when I discovered how quick and easy it is to make.  I will add these three comments to the linked recipe: 

(1) I don't have a 15x10 pan.  I've been making it in an 11x16 pan and using foil to make "bumpers" in the pan to make the space smaller.  I realized when I made it yesterday that I think I would prefer it a little thinner, so next time I make it, I'm going to do away with the foil "bumpers" and let it spread out over the whole pan.  

(2) I noticed in the comments that someone said that when they stirred the cherries and pistachios into the white chocolate, the colors all ran together.  I liked the idea of the Christmas-y red, white, and green, so I spread the white chocolate in the pan, then sprinkled the cherries and pistachios over the white chocolate.  Then I used the back of a spatula to gently press the cherries and pistachios down into the chocolate, so that they weren't "sitting" on top.  (My son would probably want me to mention that that was his idea.  He is a smart boy. :))  

(3) I can't get this to cut in anything remotely resembling "squares".  I use a big knife to cut it apart, but it ends up in all kinds of shapes.   This doesn't bother me a bit.  If you are the kind of person who wants perfect squares...well, be warned that you may have trouble. :)  

Yummm!  :)

The second recipe is one I found on Pinterest.  I've planned to make it for weeks...since before Thanksgiving, I think...and never made it. Yesterday as we were preparing for a party, I thought, "I'm going to try those Cookie Dough Bites for tonight."  (I was taking other food, so if they'd been a complete flop, it wouldn't have been a disaster, and this is the kind of party where you can do that sort of thing.  I wouldn't ordinarily plan to take something I'd never tried before to a party. :))

One of the things we've missed most about being "ovenless" has been cookies.  We've done some of the ready-to-bake cookies in the toaster oven, but you can't really do a big batch of baking that way.  When I saw these cookie dough bites, I thought, "What a perfect cookie substitute!"  Everyone always wants to eat the dough anyway, and although I've eaten raw cookie dough all my life and am still alive to tell about it, as a mom, I feel this responsibility to tell my children "That has raw egg!  It could make you sick!"  (They do still eat raw cookie dough occasionally, in small amounts.  It's one of those things I feel guilty about regardless...guilty for depriving them of the joys of raw cookie dough on the one hand, and guilty for letting them eat something so "dangerous" on the other. ;-)  Oh, the joys of being a mom! :))

These cookie dough bites solve that problem.  They are eggless.  All the yumminess, none of the guilt.  Yay!  And easy...I decided to make them at the last minute, had everything I needed on hand, and even managed to drizzle chocolate on top on my way out the door. :)   

Again, my comments on the linked recipe...

(1) Even with my hands, I couldn't get the dough to stick together.  I added a tiny bit of water, and it worked fine.  

(2) I didn't have mini-chips, so I used regular ones.  If I'd had time, I would have gotten out my kitchen hammer and crushed them in a ziploc bag first...but I didn't, so I just threw them in "as is".  They worked just fine that way, and since I always have a big bag of chocolate chips from Sam's in my freezer, we'll probably continue to make them that way.  

More yummm! :)

Do you have a favorite oven-free treat?  Please post any recipes or links in the comments section...I'd love to hear from you!

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