Sunday, February 24, 2013

[Raw] Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Chocolate is wonderful.
Its calms a stressed student, it makes life more fun, and it even soothes a broken heart every once in a while.
A few days ago, my hubby and I took a trip to the Living Planet Aquarium.
Among the many things we saw, some of my favorites were the sea otters and jellyfish.

For dinner, we ate at Ruth's Chris
We were feeling fancy, so we ordered their no-flour chocolate torte for dessert. 
It was really rich and decadent.
But then I got to thinking...
Can I make a dessert that is chocolately, rich, and delicious, but doesn't contain an entire cube of butter, lots of eggs, and a ton of sugar?
Thanks to a lovely nutritionist, this was the result of my curiosity. 
Chocolately, fudgy, tasty. These are the perfect dessert for those looking for something both healthy and delicious :)

[Raw] Chocolate Fudge Brownies

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 Tablespoons natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup more unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tablespoons honey (for strict vegans: use agave)

Put dates in a bowl with warm water, allow dates to soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
Mix together dates, almonds, walnuts, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a food processor until well blended. Spread mixture in a small baking pan (9x5 or 8×8) until evenly distributed, and press down gently with a spoon.
Mix together bananas, almond butter, honey, and other 1/4 cup cocoa powder in the food processor until well blended. Spread mixture over bottom layer until evenly distributed.
Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Cut into 16 squares. Re-freeze whatever you don’t eat (or keep stored in the refrigerator, if you like them soft).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

balsamic roasted veggie noodle bowls

Roasted veggies.
Balsamic reduction.
All of the above? Yes.

I made this for Devin a while back and he fell in love with it.
When I asked Devin what I should make tonight for his sister and her husband, he insisted on this dish.
I think it's safe to say that he really likes it.

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Noodle Bowls

  • Assortment of Veggies
    • 2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
    • 1 cup chopped carrots
    • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1 cup chopped green zucchini 
    • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • Spices (to taste)
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • curry powder
    • cumin powder
    • dried basil
    • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil 
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T honey (or sugar)
  • 16 ounces pasta noodles (I used gluten-free)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. On a baking sheet, spread out all the chopped veggies. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and mix with your hands or a large spoon. Sprinkle on the spices, to your liking. Mix again with your hands (or a spoon).

Roast veggies for about 30-40 minutes in the oven, stirring every 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small pan on the stove, stir together balsamic vinegar with honey. Cook on high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Stirring every few minutes, boil mixture until it reduces and becomes thicker, about 20 minutes. (Be careful, it will burn if you don't watch it.) It should resemble the syrup you put on your pancakes. Remove from heat.
*Note: you can also make the balsamic reduction in the microwave! In a small bowl, stir together honey and vinegar. Heat it in microwave until it starts bubbling. Remove and stir. Put it back in microwave, and let it cook/boil for about 5+ minutes, or until it reaches a syrupy stage.

While making the balsamic reduction, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta for about 9-12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

When veggies are tender and cooked through, turn the oven to "broil" and allow veggies to get a bit crisp for about 2 minutes (just make sure to watch so they don't burn).

To serve, fill each bowl with noodles. Cover noodles with roasted veggies. Drizzle veggies with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Top with fresh basil.

Eat with a smile on your face :)
You'll wonder what you ever did without this delicious dish.
Yep, it's that good.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

valentine's day is for lovers

I love my husband.
I think he loves me too.
Why else would he get me flowers?

This year I was in charge of Valentine's Day. Since he planned it last year, it was my turn this time around.
I was nervous, really nervous. 
Last year, Devin made Valentine's Day really special for me.
He decorated my room, gave me a plethora of love-notes, took me to dinner and a play, and then built me a fire in the mountains. 
I mean come on, how do you beat that?!!

But, I tried anyway...

I ended up heart-attacking our house with hanging paper hearts, scattered colored hearts, and even a trail of chocolate hearts and candy hearts. It was a bit excessive.
Then I built a love fort. And basically covered our house in a variety of Valentine doo-dads.
It turned out really cute.


For dinner, I made heart pizzas and a caprese salad.
We topped dinner off with sparkling pear juice.

And then...drumroll...
Devin got me tickets to go see Fun and Tegan & Sara!!!
I was freaking out. [Iloveyouhusband]
I made him a "Days of Loving Devin" booklet. Each day, I plan to write one reason why I love him. He thinks I will run out of reasons. I think he's crazy.
I also got him a Valentine sock monkey. He loved it.

We finished the night by watching a movie in our love fort. 
It was such a lovely evening.
And Devin told me it was the best Valentine's Day ever!
Let's see if he can top it next year.
Knowing him, he will :)

Heart Pizza

  • 2 pre-baked gluten-free crusts (I used Udi's)
  • Basil pesto (recipe below)
  • Marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grilled chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
  • A few slices of pepperoni
  • Fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a pair of sanitized kitchen scissors, cut each crust into a heart.

For chicken bacon pizza: spread out pesto on crust, sprinkle with cheese, and top with chicken and bacon. When baked, remove from oven and top with fresh basil.

For pepperoni pizza: spread out marinara sauce on crust, sprinkle with cheese, top with pepperoni. When baked, remove from oven.

Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and melted.


Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or 1 cup fresh basil leaves and 1 cup fresh spinach leaves)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (I used raw macadamia nuts)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the basil/spinach in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) 

Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. 

Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

homemade [healthy] Reese's peanut butter eggs

After church today, Devin and I were delivering Valentines to our cute little primary kids.
One student's family raises chickens in their backyard, and they gave us some fresh eggs.
I was so excited!
Aren't they pretty?!
I love fresh eggs. The flavor, the color...they're magical.

Almost as magical as homemade Reese's peanut butter eggs.

Remember these?
I loved them as a kid.

These cute little things are healthy and super tasty.
In my opinion, they're better than the original ones.
But then again, you can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. :)

Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter (salted)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey, melted (adding more honey will hold mixture together better)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a generous dash of cinnamon (trust me, it's essential)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet, I did 1/2 cup of each)

In a bowl, combine peanut butter and honey. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.

Take a spoonful of peanut butter mixture and roll into an egg-shaped ball. Place on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Repeat this process until all the peanut butter mixture is gone.

Place baking sheet in freezer for about 20 minutes, until peanut butter balls are firm.

In another bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Make sure to stir chocolate every 30 seconds to prevent it from burning.

Remove baking pan from freezer. Take a peanut butter ball and roll it in the melted chocolate, with a spoon, until completely covered. Place peanut butter egg back onto the wax-covered baking sheet. Repeat this process until all peanut butter balls are covered. Place pan back into the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Take out pan, place peanut butter eggs in baggies, and store in the fridge.

Try not to eat all of them in one sitting :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

trail mix granola bars

I have been obsessed with granola bars lately.
I feel like I could never get sick of them.
But if you ask my husband, I think he would disagree with me.

When I bake, I like to experiment with the results.
This time I delivered the granola bars to two different groups of people.
They were a hit.
With both groups.
I guess that makes this recipe a keeper :)

Trail Mix Granola Bars

gluten-free & sugar-free

  • 3 1/2 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 3 cups gluten-free Chex cereal (rice or corn)
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (dry-roasted)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine both cereals with the raisins, sunflower seeds, and peanuts in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for about one minute. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour this over the cereal mixture and mix well.

Pour granola mixture into a sprayed 9x13 baking pan. Press granola into the pan with all your might. Place pan in the freezer and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. 

Cut into bars.


A big thank you to my lovely sister Yvonne for this idea.
The original recipe can be found here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...