Crunchy Chocolate Bark

Sorry I’ve been MIA–it’s finals and I have a lot of work to do so I’ve been eating oats, salad and stir-fry on repeat every day. 

I shouldn’t walk down the aisles at the grocery store because they tempt me with sales and things I don’t need. I try to avoid mindless wandering through the store but most of the time, it’s just too tempting.

Example 1: Today there was a sale on Baker’s chocolate making them 2 for $5. I ran out of my unsweetened chocolate a few weeks ago so obviously it was necessary to replace. I also didn’t realize they had white chocolate bars. Into the cart both items went.

Example 2: I’ve been CRAVING graham crackers lately. Is that weird? I just love them. Well, Teddy Grahams were on sale soooo, those made their way into the cart too.

And because it’s finals and I have many other things I should be doing, I decided I would use this chocolate and these grahams to make bark since I’ve been wanting to make some since I saw the Pioneer Woman’s Halloween Bark a few months ago. She defied the law with that one because it seems like people only consume bark during the winter holidays. I don’t know who decided that–chocolate is good 365 days a year.

(As a side note, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten chocolate bark. Or any bark for that matter.)

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I was going to use Teddy Grahams as a base but then decided to use puffed millet for some crunch. Warning: puffed millet does not stay still very well and takes a little manipulating. It spreads when the chocolate is poured over it. I haven’t figured out how to fix this.

Also, feel free to use whatever you want for the candy and toppings or leave it relatively plain like I did for half with just some coconut and sea salt. I just used things I had around my house.

Can I give you a suggestion? Gift this to someone. I don’t know about you, but if someone brought this to my house, I’d eat it. It’s fast, cheap, pretty and it tastes good. It’s a winner!

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(I am not the best drizzel-er, but I’m working on it)

Puffed Chocolate Bark

You’ll Need:
Bark:
4oz. package unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
Approximately 12oz. dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 60% Ghiardelli and 60% Trader Joes)
1.5 oz. Baker’s white chocolate bar
2 cups puffed millet (I got mine from iHerb.com–get $10 off your first purchase when you use my code WTD353)
1/2 tsp. peanut flour (optional–but also from iherb.com)
Toppings:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Around 1/2 tsp. Pink Himalayan sea salt (or any sea salt)
1/2 fun size pack M&M’s, chopped up
5-8 Teddy Graham’s chopped up
1/2 tablespoon Jet Puff mallowbits

To Make:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour puffed millet on top, forming a flat layer as best you can.

Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler over medium-high heat. *Pot filled with a little bit of water with a smaller pot or heat proof bowl on top with the chocolate. You could also use a microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between

When melted, slowly pour over puffed millet in a zig-zag formation then attempt to spread more evenly by using a spatula or fork and lightly moving the chocolate.

Wait one minute for it to cool just enough, then sprinkle toppings over the chocolate. Press down lightly on toppings with a fork if needed.

Melt white chocolate in a new pan/bowl and using a spatula or fork, drizzle half over the top of the bark by quickly moving your instrument of choice over the top in zig-zags. If using, mix peanut flour into the remainder of the white chocolate, and drizzle using the same method.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to harden for at least 45 minutes. Break apart and eat!

*side note: either save the extra puffed millet or toss it. mine has little pieces of chocolate and sea salt from drizzling and sprinkling so it will be eaten on top of yogurt or with almond milk or something! 🙂

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Portobello Pizza

I’ve been in a cooking mood lately. Probably because it’s rained every day for the last 3 days and that usually gives off the “stay in the warm house and make things” vibe. 

Let me break something to you: I don’t like pizza. In fact, it is one food I could honestly care less about [*****unless it is mashed potato bacon pizza from a place near me at home. exception to the general rule]. I guess this probably makes me un-American or something (..the irony) but I’m just not a fan. I like the sauce, cheese and toppings part and the crust but I would prefer them separately. Give me some sauce and cheese on a plate with a side of crust, yea, I’d probably enjoy that.

The big portobello mushrooms called to me at the grocery store the other night and the first thing I thought to do with them was make them into pizzas. In my head I figured it could be eaten like one: sliced and bitten in to, I was wrong though. This one needs a knife and a fork. 

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(The first night I put some chicken sausage on top of the mushroom and the second served some chicken up on the side for some protein)

Portobello Pizza (Makes 1):
You’ll Need:
1 portobello mushroom
About 3/4 cup of chopped frozen spinach (could use fresh too)
1/4 cup tomato sauce 
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Protein/Extra toppings of choice–cook ahead of time

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash your portobello and pull out any remaining stem. 

Put in a baking dish (important: juices will run out) and top with spinach, then sauce. 

Bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven and top with cheese and your choice of toppings. 

Bake for another 10-5 minutes or until cheese is melty and mushroom is soft.

If you want, sprinkle with your normal pizza toppings, plate it up and enjoy! 

Crazy Creamy Oat Bran

A few years ago, I would have never considered myself an oatmeal person. I wasn’t a fan at.all. My mom always makes them with water which makes them a little sticker and a bit flatter than making them with milk. Now that I like oats, this is okay, but I definitely still love a creamy texture and I’m all about volume. 

I recently discovered oat bran as a breakfast alternative to oatmeal and I am smitten. Not only is it a perfect breakfast because of the slow digesting carbs and a ton of fiber, it’s pretty versatile like oatmeal and is definitely fluffy.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m also a fan of throwing all my foods together in a bowl or on a plate. I don’t know why–I just love everything mixed. So, I’ve been making this breakfast every day for the last two weeks now. It incorporates the carbohydrate (oat bran) with the protein (eggs) and a vegetable (zucchini/pumpkin), a bit of fat (peanut butter) and some dairy (cottage cheese). All the layers of the food pyramid right there (essentially). 

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Crazy Creamy Oat Bran:

You’ll Need:

1 cup water
1/3 cup oat bran
1/3 of a small zucchini peeled and shredded
1 tbsp. pumpkin puree
2 egg whites 
Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice 
1 tbsp. cottage cheese 
1 tbsp. PB2/regular peanut butter/almond butter

To Make: 
Add water, sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to a small pot and boil over medium heat.

Add oat bran and stir until no clumps remain. Add in zucchini and pumpkin and stir to incorporate. 

Stir every few seconds while the mixture cooks.
When the whole thing begins to boil and there is no visible water, stir while pouring in the egg whites. Continue stirring while the egg tries to set and until there is no visible raw egg. 

Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often. 

Remove from heat and stir in cottage cheese. 

Pour into a bowl and top with peanut butter and extra cinnamon if desired. 

Enjoy! 

Dessert for Breakfast?

I’ve become an Instagram troll this week. Until I started following people I didn’t know personally (for recipes, etc.), I didn’t realize the power of seeing what posts your friends liked. By golly, it’s fantastic. I’ve found more recipes, a coconut butter company I placed an order from and some fitness Instagram accounts. The power of social media is definitely substantial.

While perusing through new accounts and photos, I found a simple recipe I had to try: Zeggs.  I had seen the idea of n’oatmeal before from a few Paleo blogs but zeggs was new. To be honest, the idea seemed a little weird to me at first. Then, a cold morning came and I was craving oatmeal. I decided to combine the fundamentals of both into a breakfast that feels too indulgent but is perfectly healthy and delicious. From now on, I think I’m going to call it Zorridge.

Zorridge

I know it looks like a bowl of mush but trust me when I tell you it tastes like chocolate pudding for breakfast.

Chocolate Zorridge

You’ll Need:

1/3 of a large zucchini, peeled and grated.
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons ground flax
2-3 eggs (today I did 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder

Less than 1/4 cup coconut milk (or almond milk, regular milk, etc.) *optional but suggested*
Shredded coconut *optional but suggested*
Chocolate chia seed pudding *optional but suggested-this would need to be prepared the night before*

Begin by preparing everything as the process moves quite fast.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla extract. Beat eggs with a fork until combined. Put zucchini, pumpkin, flax, cocoa powder and cinnamon in another bowl.

In a pot over medium heat, bring the water to a boil.

Add the bowl with the zucchini and stir to combine everything. While stirring, pour in the eggs and continue to mix.

Continue stirring for approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture isn’t as wet and starts to boil. I sometimes put a lid on the pot for an extra minute to steam and ensure everything is cooked through. When the mix is puffy and no longer as wet, transfer to a bowl. If using optional ingredients, top with chia seed pudding, drizzle with milk and sprinkle with coconut.

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Ever have one of those days where you just don’t feel well. Not sick, just not 100%. Maybe not even 80%. That’s how I felt today. I slept for almost 12 hours last night, didn’t feel like getting out of bed and just lazed around. At least I went for a run…and then cancelled my Crossfit appointment for later on.  I actually spent most of my day staring at this computer screen. Oh well. Sometimes we need to just sit around.

To combat my blah-feeling, I decided to try my hand at making soup. Since I’ve never made soup before, I started a little off, then called my mom who helped me come up with a solution. It came out delicious.

Kick the Blah Soup (also known as Easy Chicken and Vegetable Soup)

You Need:

3 stalks of celery, sliced up thin

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 clove garlic finely sliced

2 large carrots (I used a few handfuls of carrot chips. If you can find those, I suggest them)

3 large handfuls of kale

1 cup of cooked chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)

6 cups of water

Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper and Parsley Flakes

 

To Make:

In a skillet, heat up some olive oil and add all of the vegetables.  Cook until they turn soft and translucent.

Transfer veggies into a large pot and add water. Water measurements can be more or less depending on the size of the pot. It will reduce.

Liberally sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley (probably around 1/2 tsp. each)

Turn pot to high and wait for it to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer uncovered for one hour, add chicken and continue to simmer for at least another hour. Taste and add more spice to your preference.

Ladle yourself (and your family) a bowl and enjoy!

Soup freezes really well so save the leftovers or make extra to have on hand!

 

This is Bananas

I don’t have a picture of the finished product nor is this a paid review but I just had to share my thoughts on the Yonana gadget with you after using it yesterday for the first time.

 

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This thing is bananas. All kidding aside and for real, you simply freeze a banana, put it into the tube, press down and await for your soft serve banana to come out. You can add other fruits in as well for a different flavored treat. We tried blueberries, blackberries and peaches which all made fabulous tasting ice cream. 

I’ve made banana ice cream in a blender before but this is different. It comes out the exact consistency of ice cream. 

This stuff makes an excellent ice cream replacement and if you’re like me and simply enjoy eating mashed up foods, this makes it even better. Not only is it soft and creamy but cold and delicious.

I forgot to mention healthy. It’s a banana! It’s ice cream! It’s the healthiest ice cream you’ll ever eat! 

I used this at my aunts house but I’m highly considering getting my own. The only reason (and I mean only) that I am hesitant is because I know I will start eating banana ice cream for breakfast. After all, it’s just a banana. Banana ice cream topped with a little bit of Steves Paleo Krunch sounds like the perfect breakfast to me. Or snack, because that’s what I ate yesterday.

If you don’t have or want a yonana, you can make banana ice cream on your own.

For a little chocolatier and very simple version, 

You Need:

1 peeled, frozen banana

1/8 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder

Pinch of salt 

To Make:

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process till smooth. Yum.

 

While on the topic of bananas, have you ever made avocado pudding?

1/2 banana

1/2 ripe avocado

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Avocado+banana=double delicious.

 

 

*Yonana did not pay me for this review. Steves Paleo Goods did not pay me for talking about their cereal. I simply love both of these products and decided to share with you.

 

The Best and Easiest Burger You’ll Make

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With a pound of ground turkey meat sitting in my fridge, I knew I needed to make something before it went bad. I thought about meatballs, meatloaf and tacos but none of those ideas seemed to fit the bill.

Instead, I went with a simple turkey burger, cooked to perfection and served atop a bed of leafy spinach and topped with some guacamole and tomatoes. Yum.

For Turkey Burger:

Ground turkey meat

Olive oil

Swiss cheese

For Guacamole:

1 ripe avocado

red onion

2 slices tomato, diced

Squeeze of lemon juice

To serve:

Cup of baby spinach

3 slices tomato

Wasabi peas

Pickled beets

Sliced red onion

Spicy Mustard

To Make:

Drizzle pan with olive oil and turn onto medium heat. Form turkey meat into a patty and place in oil. Cook until the sides begin to turn brown. Flip, and cook until all juices run clear. Add cheese when burger is almost done and allow to melt.

Immediately place burger on bed of spinach and top with a slice of tomato, a spoonful of guacamole and a squirt of mustard.

Simply place all extras on the plate if desired.