Posts archived in February 2012

My girlfriend, Kathy, came over for dinner last night and like clockwork, a hankering for ANYTHING chocolate set in as soon as we finished our meal. I really had no desire to whip up a batch of cookies or something equally labour/time intensive, so I started leafing through my online bookmarks. Gina, from Running to the Kitchen, posted these a few days ago and I knew that they would be a perfect solution to our raging sweet tooths (sweet teeth?).

These are similar to a larabar in consistency, and flavour, too. Larabars have a gloriously short ingredients list,  with usually only one or two ingredients in addition to dates and nuts! They are one of my favourite things to grab for a snack on the run.  I really don’t eat much pre-made/ pre-packaged foods because my mind gets blown by all the unpronounceable ingredients on their labels;  when did people lose desire to eat real, whole foods? Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy hoeing into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos as much as the next person, but seriously, how do we expect our bodies to function if we’re fuelling it with that shizz.  For pre-packaged food’s ingredients- less IS more!

The ‘dough’ for these tasty treats can be shaped into whatever your little chocoholic heart desires. I rolled them into balls then flattened them, and popped a walnut half on top, just cause I’m fancy like that. You could shape it into bars and wrap them individually, or roll into little power-ball bites, regardless, they are addictive. Like, get-these-out-of-my-house addictive!

Feel free to play around with different nut combos and extract flavourings, like most of my recipes, there’s tons of room for playing around and making it your own!

Raw Two-Bite Brownies

  • 1.5 cups nuts (I used a mix of almonds and peanuts)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 10 dates
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-3 tbsp milk or water (I used Almond Breeze)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Add the nuts and flaxseed to a food processor and process it until it turns to a flour. Don’t let it go too long or you’ll get nut butter! You may have to stop a couple of times to loosen bits/scrape down the sides. That’s cool.
  2. Add  everything but milk to the food processor and process until everything is well incorporated. If it doesn’t begin to form a dough ball, add milk or water, just a little at a time, until it does.
  3. Dump dough into a small bowl.
  4. Put into desired shapes, place on a plate/tray and pop them in the fridge! They need to sit for an hour or so to firm up. Keep ‘em in the fridge!

The bottom of the jar...big fat sad face.

The instant I finished whipping up a batch of this stuff, I knew it was a very, very bad idea. I stood in the kitchen, opened the lid to my food processor like I was unhinging a trunk full of forbidden treasures, and shamelessly spooned it straight into my mouth. Cue beam of light from the heavens and a chorus belting out Hallelujah. It happened, I swear.

I banned store-bought Nutella from my house, well, since always. I am pretty good at being an ‘in moderation’ type gal, but there is a short list of food that can catapult me into a full-blown sugar binge. On that short list, Nutella may be the #1 culprit. This is a problem, as ONE tablespoon of the stuff packs a hefty 100 calories. Now, that’s comparable to the same quantity of peanut butter, but I can put the brakes on PB. Not this stuff. Before you know it, you’ve just earned yourself an extra hour of spin class. Good one!

Now naturally, a condiment that revolves around nuts and chocolate is never going to be a health food. But I knew that there must be room for improvement. I browsed some recipes on line, and worked my way towards an epiphany. I did it. I made a healthified nutella! Huzzah! Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups hazelnuts, roasted
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F, spread nuts on a dry baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until the skin has darkened and they begin to smell yummy. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Rub all the skins off the hazelnuts by rubbing them with a clean dishcloth. This makes kind of a mess, but is important!

Process nuts in a food processor on high until they\'ve formed hazelnut butter. This will take some time and patience, scrape down the sides of the processor as needed and have faith that it will become creamy, when the nut oils have released.

Once nutbutter consistency is reached, melt your chocolate in the microwave (about 2 mins) or double boiler until liquid. Add to nut butter and process until smooth and fully incorporated. Add honey, mix well, add vanilla and salt, mix well.

This recipe yields about 1.5 cups of spread! Store in a clean jar/container in the fridge, it will harden once chilled but the flavour just gets better and better!

 

Here it is! For you impatient members of the newly formed Halifax Baking Club! Zee muffinz.

I am going to keep this post short and sweet, mostly because I want to get the recipe up but am mega distracted by the Oscar red carpet schedule. Gimme a break, people. I did a 100 minute long spin class today and just want to veg, mkay?

Speaking of veggies, these muffins are full of ‘em. Unconventional? Yup. But they are delicious. Especially warm out of the oven with a little smear of butter, or even cream cheese. If you’re a savoury breakfast person, a couple of these to take on the run in the morning would be fantastic.

Since I did not alter this recipe in the least, I am just going to provide you folks with a link to the original recipe, which is on one of my favourite food blog sites, 101 Cookbooks.

Butternut & Feta Muffins

Enjoy!

 

My office phone rang last Wednesday afternoon with a call from a delivery man. He had something for me, so I directed him to my workplace and got excited for a fun birthday delivery from a mystery person!

Well it arrived, and I got spoiled, big time. My parents sent me an AMAZING fruit, veggie, and chocolate gift basket from the local fancy-schmancy grocery store, called Pete’s Frootique. It is a beautiful place to buy fresh local, and interesting imported foods. Shopping at Pete’s is a treat.

This humongous basket blew my mind, with it came an adorable little aloe vera plant and a bouquet of beautiful flowers! My otherwise very bland desk space is now all gussied up with greenery.

At the core of this basket, acting as a base on which the rainbow of exotic fruits and veggies was resting, was this thing:

I was pretty sure that it was a celery root (aka celeriac) but honestly, I did have to google image search it just to make sure. Sad? Kinda. It looked likely something out of a Goosebumps book to me. I envisioned its gnarly, coiled appendages slithering and writhing, getting completely out of control and gobbling up everything within reach of its insatiable celeriac tentacles. Luckily, that didn’t happen. I think I roasetd it before it started on its veggie warpath. Phew.

I peeled this sucker and chopped it into small cubes, and did the same to a small butternut squash and a couple of yellow potatoes. I tossed them all in some simple seasoning, just salt, pepper, and olive oil – let me tell you, the smell in my kitchen was fantastic. I love the aroma of slow-roasted root veggies!

I roasted the butternut squash separately for another dish that I made, look how pretty it is! Like little bites of vegetable candy. Eff sakes I love squash. This dish is so great, any time of day. I had it for brunch this morning, post-workout, and it kept me full for hours. Feel free to tamper with the proportions of veggies, adjusting to your tastes/supply!

Roasted Root Vegetable Hash with Poached Egg

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup celeriac, cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs
  • 4 eggs, poached

Toss chopped veggies in olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices. Bake on a baking sheet at 400F for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Divide between two plates. Poach four eggs to your liking, and place atop veggies. Enjoy with a dousing of your favourite condiments; hot sauce and balsamic reduction are my favourites!