Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cherry Almond Chocolate Bark

I went to Costco yesterday and saw some chocolate almond bark that I sooooo wanted to buy. But I exercised the little self control I possess and did not put it in my cart. I figured I could totally make it at home for less money ... and that's exactly what I did. The beauty of making chocolate bark at home is that you can add whatever the heck you want! I mean, it's chocolate. No matter what you decide to add, you can't really go wrong!

Cherry Almond Chocolate Bark
2 & 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 T. coconut oil (not vegetable oil!)
2 c. almonds (I used roasted and salted) + more for the top
1/3 c. dried cherries + more for the top
pinch of sea salt, optional

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each time.
 Mine took about 2 minutes until it was smooth.
 Stir in almonds and cherries.

 Spread mixture on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
 Sprinkle with a few more cherries and almonds and a little sea salt.
 Let cool completely in the fridge or freezer, then break into pieces.

I could eat this stuff all day long! Sadly, I'm not joking in the least. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lemon Pancakes

This recipe came from my Blendtec Recipe Book, but it doesn't have to be made in a Blendtec blender. It could just as easily be prepared in a regular blender or even a mixing bowl. These were a big hit with my kids ... and me!

Lemon Pancakes (adapted from Blendtec)
zest from 1 lemon
1 & 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1/3 c. cottage cheese
3 T. sugar
1 & 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Lemon Glaze
3 c. powdered sugar
juice from 1 lemon (about 3 T.)
6 T. half & half
1 t. vanilla

For pancakes, place all ingredients in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth. (Or in a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients followed by wet ingredients. Mix well.)

 Cook 1/4 c. batter for each pancake on a greased griddle.
 For glaze, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Serve over pancakes with berries.
 I also tried mine with raspberry syrup + lemon glaze. So delicious!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quick & Easy Swai Tacos

This recipe is one of my favorites lately. Hopefully my hubby's not sick of these because I think I've made them 3 times in the past few weeks ... not to mention all the leftovers we've eaten. Sometimes I put the filling on a salad instead of using a taco shell. Yum!

Quick & Easy Swai Tacos
2-3 T. oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used mixed colors)
1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lb. swai fillets (about 4 frozen fillets) or tilapia, cut in bite-size pieces
1-2 t. taco seasoning (I like homemade)
12 taco shells
optional toppings:
peppercorn goat cheese (I buy Costco goat cheese and mix in coarse ground black pepper)
chopped avocado
grated cabbage/carrot
sour cream

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers to hot oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Saute until soft and edges start to brown. Add chickpeas and swai. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Continue to cook until fish is white and flaky. Remove from heat and you're ready to assemble your tacos!
I absolutely love this dish! It really can be thrown together in about 20-30 minutes. I always use individually frozen swai fillets. I put the wrapped fillets in a bowl of hot water to thaw. It doesn't take long at all. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know what your thinking. "Has she gone completely insane??" Well, it's highly likely possible. But I gotta tell you, these cookies are fantastic! Chocolate and bacon is a very under-appreciated combination. If your man likes bacon you've got to have him try these! Valentine's day gift, perhaps?

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 c. (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/4 c. bacon fat
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
2 & 1/4 c. flour
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
8-10 oz. bacon (or more, if you like)

First you have to cook your bacon until it's crispy. (I cooked a 12 oz. package for breakfast this morning and stored the rest in a bag in the fridge.)
 SAVE YOUR BACON GREASE!!! Pour it into a glass container and allow to cool completely until it solidifies.
 Now it's time to start on the dough. Heat oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, bacon fat, and sugars. Cream until fluffy.
 Add eggs and baking soda. Mix well.
 Mix in vanilla.
 Add flour.
 Mix until flour is mostly incorporated.
 Crumble your bacon. I did about 1/2 c. but like I said in the ingredient list, you can do as much as your little heart desires. (Haha, not your ACTUAL heart, cuz ... well, let's just say this isn't the most heart healthy recipe out there.)
 Stir in bacon and chocolate chips.

 Drop by rounded scoops onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
 Bake at 375 F for about 8 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet.
 Then it's time to devour!
Sweet, salty, smokey, and divine. Gotta love crazy concoctions now and then. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

I love these little cookies. I've been eating them all day long and I totally don't feel guilty. I've swapped out some ingredients for much more nutrition-dense ones. Instead of white flour - oat flour, instead of white sugar - agave, and instead of eggs - flaxseed. I seriously cannot stop eating these!

Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
3 c. oat flour (just blend up oats in your blender)
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. oil (I used canola)
3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. agave
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
 Combine wet ingredients in a blender.
 Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir. Fold in chocolate chips if desired.
 On a cookie sheet lined with parchment, drop rounded balls of dough. Flatten slightly.
 Bake for 6-8 minutes.
 They might seem a little underbaked, but they get more dry as they cool.
Such a yummy treat. And they just so happen to be vegan. Enjoy!