Monday, 31 March 2014

{Copycat} Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs


HOW IN THE SAINT CINNAMON is it almost April? I swear that March just started yesterday!

No bother, that means that it's time for ALL THINGS EASTER! I really love Easter. I love that it marks the beginning of Spring (hopefully), I love all the festive colours and most of all...I love all the chocolate eggs. Chocolate just tastes better in the shape of an egg.

And then of course is the mother of all Easter Treats - Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs.  Aside from Mini Eggs, these are the best Easter goodies.

So, a few weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine sent me a pin for HOMEMADE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER EGGS! We're both doing the 4 Month Clean Eating Challenge, so we know that if we want junk food, we have to make it ourselves. These looked incredibly easy, so we made a date to make them together.

Guys....these taste EXACTLY like the real thing, and dare I say it...EVEN BETTER! *GASP* I KNOW, that's a huge statement to make, but The Recipe Critic nailed this recipe.



{Copycat} Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs
taken from: The Recipe Critic

Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter (melted)
2 tbsp milk
2-3 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp oil

Method:
In a stand mixer (or by hand) mix together the sugar, peanut butter and butter. Add the milk and combine. It should make a nice soft dough. 
Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands, pull off 1 tbsp size portions of dough and shape into an egg with your hands. Every egg will come out a little bit different and that is totally okay! That's what makes these unique!

When done, you should have 20-24 eggs. Place in the freezer for about an hour or until nice and firm. 

When the eggs are ready, line another cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt one bag of chocolate in a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water) with 1 tbsp of oil. When chocolate has melted, remove 1 cookie sheet of eggs from the freezer.

Dip each egg in the chocolate and lift out with a fork, allowing the excess chocolate drip off. Transfer to the parchment lined cookie sheet. Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need to add a little bit more chocolate to finish off the first cookie sheet. 

Return your dipped eggs to the freezer. Melt your second bag of chocolate with 1 tbsp of oil and repeat the process. Allow to harden in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 


These are best stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a month (as if they would last that long!) 

Enjoy!



Friday, 28 March 2014

5 Things I Learned this Week 03.28.14

It's that time for........

Wheeeeeeeeee! Here we goooooooooooo:

1. Vinegar is the most versitile cleaning product EVER! For example:
  • You can clean your drains with vinegar and baking soda
  • It can put the sparkle back in your china
  • You can make fluffier pancakes by adding 2 TB of vinegar
See the full list here!

2. This great list of life lessons of things to do in your 30s has been floating around the internet this week and I really, really enjoyed the article. In short, the lessons are:
  • Start Saving for Retirement Now, Not Later 
  • Start Taking Care of Your Health Now, Not Later 
  • Don’t Spend Time with People Who Don’t Treat You Well
  •  Be Good to the People You Care About 
  • You can’t have everything; Focus On Doing a Few Things Really Well 
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Taking Risks, You Can Still Change 
  • You Must Continue to Grow and Develop Yourself 
  • Nobody (Still) Knows What They’re Doing, Get Used to It 
  • Invest in Your Family; It’s Worth It 
  • Be kind to yourself, respect yourself
See the full article here

3. Honey is a super food! It's got some amazing health benefits (like it helps to prevent gingivitis and can act as a sleep aid!), and it's a fantastic natural sweetener. Read the full list here!
From Inspiyr
4. Here is how to properly machine wash pillows:

From TheWHOot
 5. SMILING IS MY FAVOURITE and there are some major benefits to smiling (which I always knew) Here is a great list for why you should SMILE MORE!

  • Smiling is Contagious 
  • You’ll Decrease Stress and Anxiety 
  • Smiling Releases Endorphins 
  • You’ll Be More Attractive 
  • Smiling Strengthens Your Immune System 
  • You’ll Be Friendlier 
  • Smiling Will Make You More Comfortable 
  • You’ll Be More Trustworthy 
  • You’ll Be a Better Leader
Read the rest of the article here

Have a great weekend everyone!


{Clean Eating} Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters

So I've been thinking a lot about what my next, great, clean eating treat would be. So far, my favourite has been the chickpeas, but that doesn't really satisfy my after dinner sweet tooth. So, I lay awake in bed and try and come up with something. It had to be sweet (so obviously chocolate had to be involved) but I wanted there to be some nutritional benefits as well, and since I've been eating Almonds a lot to help with my low iron, I figured I'd add those in too. I wanted to add some tartness to it so that there would be a blend of flavours in there to make the treat ULTRA satisfying.

Then it hit me: Cranberries! We've been giving them to Molly as treats because she is UBER prone to UTI and cranberries are great for helping preventing them. They're sweet and a little tart and very good for you: high in antioxidants, low calorie and are a good source of Vitamin C, fibre and Vitamin E (read more here) so they would be the perfect addition to this treat!

So here it is my friends, my Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters. The toasted almonds add a nice, almost smokey, flavour that combines beautifully with the dark chocolate (also high in antioxidants and other great stuff). The cranberries add balance with a little bit of tartness, and I dusted them with a wee bit of sea salt to make them slightly savoury.

Excuse my French, but these are f*cking good. The best part is, you feel completely satisfied after eating one of them, but if you want want more, you don't have to feel guilty. A true, power snack/dessert!



Cranberry & Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Clusters
By: Me
Makes About 12 Clusters
Ingredients
3/4 cup raw, unsalted Almonds
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips 
3/4 cup dried cranberries, no sugar added
Sea Salt

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, smash the almonds with a hammer until they are all broken up. You don't want them to be a fine powder, just chunks. Spread out on your prepared baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 minutes (or until they are just starting to brown).

Once your almonds are done toasting, remove from oven and set aside. Turn the oven off. Prepare another baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, put a cup of the chocolate into a double boiler (or heat proof bowl over a boiling pot of water) and melt on medium heat. Once chocolate it completely melted, remove from heat. Using a tablespoon, scoop chocolate out and dollop on your prepared baking sheet so that you are making 2" chocolate disks. You should have 6-8 discs at this point. 

First, sprinkle a few dried cranberry pieces on each disc (about 4 per disc), then a few toasted almonds and gently press into the chocolate (not to hard, just ensuring that everything is IN the chocolate). Finally add a sprinkle of sea salt. How much you add on each disc is completely up to you!

Repeat with the remaining chocolate, almonds and cranberries. You might have leftovers of both. 

Put discs into the freezer for about 20 minutes or until hardened. Removed and store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks! Enjoy whenever you need something sweet!





Tuesday, 25 March 2014

{Clean Eating} Roasted Chickpeas

Okay, before I begin, I want to tell you something. I solemnly swear that I will NEVER, EVER post anything on this blog that I don't love 100%. When I post something, it's because I actually think it is delicious and that you are going to think it is delicious as well. I also only post things that I think you're going to enjoy making & will have success making. I want you to have a positive feeling after you make something that I've posted, and not anger and frustration.

So that being said, I can't WAIT to tell you about these roasted chickpeas. If you're anything like my hubby, you're going "Um Lisa, you just said you were only going to post delicious recipes, chickpeas are gross." Never fear my friends, THESE ARE SO GOOD. They're like little crunchy, savoury pockets of goodness. I have a jar of them at my desk at work that I reach for whenever I need a little snack/pick-me-up. Dare I say, these are almost as good as chips...and that's saying A LOT (chips are my kryptonite). However, unlike chips, these are good for you!

Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, so they help to keep you full. Eating them has been shown to help lower the bad cholesterol in your body as well! PLUS, as a bonus to me, they are an excellent source of iron, so really, eating them is a no brainer. Guess what, these are also gluten free, CLEAN and completely vegan, so everyone can enjoy these and feel good about it!

OH OH OH, two more things. This whole snack, will probably cost you about $2 (MAX), and that's if you're buying the fancy, brand name! ANNNNND, the recipe I'm posting is for one flavour of them. You could add any spices you like!

Have I convinced you yet? If not, make a batch of these and THEN tell me :) They are a little spicy, so if you don't like spice, just make them with the garlic salt.

{Clean Eating} Roasted Chickpeas
adapted from Chow
Ingredients:
2 cans unsalted chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt 

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure the rack is in the middle. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Drain your cans of checkpeas in a strainer and thouroughly rinse them in cold water. You want to make sure all of the juices from the can are rinsed off. Transfer to a clean tea towel and pat them dry. You don't want them to be wet at all. 

In a small bowl, toss the chickpeas in the olive oil so that they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper and garlic salt over top and toss until coated.

Divide the chickpeas evenly between the two cookie sheets and make sure they are spread out. It's okay if some are touching. Put in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes taking them out after 20 mins to toss the chickpeas and rotate cookie sheets. 

After 40 mins, check to see if the chickpeas are crunchy. If not, return to oven and bake for 5 minute intervals until crunchy. Some may get REALLY crispy, but that's ok! 

Allow to cool completely before you transfer them to a container. I like to keep mine in an old pickle jar, but Tupperware containers work too! They're good for about 2 weeks in a sealed container. 


It's as easy as that!!! Enjoy!


Friday, 21 March 2014

Things I Learned This Week 03.21.14



WHEEEEEE. These are my most favourite posts to write (maybe because I post them on a Friday) and I have some super fun things to tell you about!!!!

1. iPiccy is the best site ever! It's like photoshop but a) it's easier for non-design people like me to use b)it's free and c)there are 1 million things you can do with it! I'm IN LOOOOVE! If you don't have editing software, but you want to play around with some, I HIGHLY recommend this site!

2. The official Space Jam website hasn't changed since it was made in 1996. Also, Space Jam is the best movie ever.
via BuzzFeed
3. This.

4. You can revive stale bread by running it under water and putting it in the oven for a few minutes!


5. It deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. (Thanks @TheWeirdWorld)

And those are...
:) Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ooey Gooey Caramel Cheesecake Brownies


This recipe came about in a couple of different ways as I've been stewing for awhile on what I wanted to make next. I was also craving caramel, brownies and cheesecake, so I thought, why not turn those three things into one amazing dessert?

Next was the question...what order do I put them in? Cheesecake, Caramel then Brownie? No...Brownie, Cheesecake then Caramel...maybe....I'VE GOT IT, A layer of Brownie, a layer of Caramel and cover it all up with a layer of cheesecake.

Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is.

So this recipe comes from THREE others. The BEST BROWNIES EVER recipe (doubled), the Caramel from the Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark recipe and the cheesecake from the Ooey Gooey Butter Bars recipe. Yes, this dessert is over the top, but you know what? Every once in awhile...that's ok!

Now, They are EXTREMELY messy (so messy in fact, I thought I had made a baking fail) but OH so worth it! Ooey, gooey, caramel, cheesecake, brownie goodness.

Ooey Gooey Caramel Cheesecake Brownies
a mix of various recipes on Running to Bake

Ingredients:
Brownie Layer:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
2/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Caramel Layer:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Cheesecake Layer:
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz (1 brick) light cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

Method:
Prehead oven to 330 degrees F. Spray a 8x8 spring form pan (or any other 8x8 pan) with cooking spray.

First, we make the brownie layer - in a large saucepan, melt your cup of butter on medium heat. As soon as it is completely melted remove from burner and add in the 2 cups of sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Finally, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt & baking powder and mix until everything is JUST combined. Pour into your spring form pan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula to get everything from the bowl. Set aside. 

Now, we make the caramel layer - in a medium saucepan, melt the sugar and butter down together on medium heat stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. When everything is combined, turn down the heat to low and continue stirring while bringing mixture to a boil. Allow to continue to boil for 3-5 minutes until it looks like a smooth caramel. KEEP MIXING. Never stop mixing, this stuff can burn SO quickly. 

Once it has formed a caramel, pour on top of the brownie mixture and swirl in with a rubber spatula. Try and get the caramel evenly distributed over the top of the brownie mixture. Set aside. 

FINALLY, the cheesecake layer - in a medium bowl, combine the beaten eggs, cream cheese & powdered sugar and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until everything is evenly combined and there are minimal lumps of cream cheese in the mixture. Pour on top of the brownie/caramel and smooth out so that it covers everything. 

Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 mins or until the center of the cheesecake is soft, yet firm. If it's all jelliod, leave in for another 5 mins. 

When done, set aside for AT LEAST 1 hour, preferably over night. This dessert take some time to set. If you want to try it warm, cut into it after an hour or so, but wait as long as you can.
To serve - dust with a light sprinkling of icing sugar!

Enjoy!

Monday, 17 March 2014

KitKat Chocolate Chip Cookies


Guys....I think I may have just found me NEW favourite cookie. I know, I know, I have a lot of them, but I think this might just be it. It's basically a variation of my OTHER favourite cookie recipe with the addition of KITKATS. I mean, KitKat just makes everything better, no?

Exactly.

KitKat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 16 cookies
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
4-5 mini KitKat Chocolate Bars (or 2 full-size), crushed*

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with a baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk and set aside. In a stand mixer on medium speed (or by hand, if you're brave!) cream together the butter and brown sugar until evenly combined.

Next, add the honey, egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure everything in incorporated. Add the flour mixture in slowly until everything is JUST mixed. Again, you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Fold in the chocolate chips & the crushed KitKat (crushed pieces should be no bigger than a penny) with a wooden spoon.You can add more or less depending on the amount of chocolate you like in your cookies!

Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto your prepared baking sheets, you should have 14-16 cookies. Put in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Check them at the 10 minute mark as I found mine burnt a little at the 12 minute mark! 

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack immediately. Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to a month (but good luck having them last that long!!) 



Mmmm yummy! Enjoy!


Friday, 14 March 2014

5 Things I Learned This Week 03.14.14

So to give a bit of context, I went to give blood last Saturday, only to find out that my iron levels were WAY TOO LOW. Although I was sad that I couldn't give blood, I was also a little revlieved because I've been feeling pretty lethargic and "bleh" and just chalked it up to the crappy winter we've been having. SO, a couple of things I've learned this week are iron related as I'm trying to get my iron levels back up to where they need to be (without taking a supplement).

The other 3 things are just plain COOL!





5 Things I Learned this Week

1. The TOP 10 Iron Rich Foods are: 
Source: WebMD
2. In order to maximize your iron absorption into your body, make sure that you also eat foods with high Vitamin C in them at the same time - like almonds & an orange.Who knew?

3. We all know how gross microwaves can get....so STEAM CLEAN your microwave with lemon & water...BRILLIANT! Check out 36 MORE ways to clean your kitchen HERE.

4. This one came from my Dad: The Mistake you Should Make for Better Brownies - apparently, you should bake your brownies for 15 minutes then remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies rest 15 minutes at room temperature. Return the brownies to the oven and continue to bake them until a wooden pick comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.This apparently gives them a more moist and fudgey quality! Will definitely be trying this one out!
Source: Yahoo! Shine
5. To create a pocket on your gift wrap to hold onto a card...do this:
Source: Martha Stewart
Pretty cool, right?? Click here for the full tutorial.

Well folks, that is what I learned on the interwebs this week! Remember, if you see something neat you'd like me to feature, let me know, I'd LOVE to post it!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies


Oh. my. sweet. apple pie.

I absolutely LOOOOVE apple pie. Well...to clarify, I looooove my GRANDMOTHER'S apple pie. It's full of apple, cinnamon and all sorts of sugary goodness. It's so good, it's pretty much ruined any one elses apple pie for me, so I'm hesitant to try anything else out.

Oh yea, I'm also terrified of making crust. All that folding, and layering and "until just mixed" etc. makes me nervous. However, I came across these awhile back and decided they looked easy enough for a pie neophyte like me to try them out.

100% worth it. These things are the bomb...a bomb of caramel, apple and sea salt. Even my hubbyl liked them and he HATES apple pie. They make an AMAZING, pretty, dinner party dessert (orrrrr, in our case, just made us feel less guilty about eating pie) They store nicely in the fridge, and when you're ready to eat, pop 'em in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and they taste like they've just come out of the oven!

There are many steps to this recipe, so I suggest you give it a quick read before you get started!

Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies
Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup cold sour cream

For the filling:
2 cups small diced & peeled, granny smith apples
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp all purpose flour
8 store bought caramels, chopped
Sea Salt
Egg Wash (1 egg white whisked lightly with 1 tbsp water)
White Sugar

Method:
First, we make the dough!
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt & baking powder. Using a cheese grater, grate the COLD butter into the dough. Alternatively, you can cut the butter in, but I find the cheese grater method MUCH more effective. Check out what I mean here (scroll to number 8). Mix together with with your hands until it has the consistency of wet sand. Stir in the sour cream. Your dough will feel quite wet at this point. 

Flour a clean surface and place dough on it. Knead the dough until it comes together, adding a tsp of flour at a time if the dough to too sticky. Roll the dough out into an 8x10" rectangle. Dust both sides, then fold it into thirds (like you would a letter).

Turn the dough 90 degrees, then flatten again into a 8x10" rectangle (this is what creates the flaky, layered texture to the dough). Fold the dough again into thirds. Tightly wrap it in cling wrap and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

The filling!

Ready for this? In a small bowl, mix together the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour. You want the apple pieces to be evenly coated with everything. Set aside. BOOM, done. 

Now, we assemble the pie!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a 14x14 inch square. NOTE: if the dough it too stiff to work with, let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. 

Using a 3" cookie cutter (or in my case, a wide mouth pint glass) cut out as many circles as possible. Roll the scraps together, roll dough out again and repeat the cookie cutter process. By the end you SHOULD have about 20 dough rounds (I think I only had about 16, but my crust was thick) 

Transfer 6 rounds to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat. Spoon a little bit of the apple mixture into the center of the dough rounds. Then, take a few pieces of chopped caramel and place on top of the apple. Sprinkle a pinch of the coarse sea salt on top of that. Take a second dough round and place on top. Use a form to seal the edges of the dough. I found I had to press quite hard to get the dough to stick together. 

Finally, brush each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each one. Bake for about 15 mins or until they are a nice, golden brown. While this is happening, prepare the next 4 or so pies with the remaining dough.

Remove from oven and let them sit for 10 minutes. PLEASE LET THEM COOL FOR 10 MINUTES, other wise you will be biting into lava. Caramel & apple lava. They are hot, hot, hot when they come out of the oven. I may or may not have learned this the hard way, so just trust me on this one.

Store for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. When ready to eat them again, pop in the microwave for about 10 -10 seconds for that fresh-baked feel! 

Enjoy!

Friday, 7 March 2014

5 Things I've Learned this Week: 03.07.14

I spend a LOT of time online. I work in Social Media, which means I spend my days looking at other sites, researching, seeing what other people are doing, etc. I also Tweet, Blog, FB, Pin, Instagram and the like, and while doing this I come across a lot of cool things relevant to my work. I also come across a lot of things relevant to me...orrrrrr that have just blown my mind.

So, every Friday, I'm going to post a 5 things that I've learned throughout the week, that I think might be relevant to you as well! If you'd like to see something featured here (maybe something on YOUR blog or site that you think my readers would like to see) shoot me a tweet or leave me a message on Facebook, I'd love to hear from you!

5 Things I've Learned this Week: 03.07.14

1. PEANUTS ARE NOT NUTS - uhm pardon? I mean, yea, I'm sure on some level I knew that they are actually legumes, but I never pictured that they grew like this:
Thanks Buzzfeed for Blowing my MIND!

2. Clean Eating can actually be delicious! I made these AH-MAZING Naked Turkey Brushetta Burgers for dinner and they were a HUGE hit! Thanks to Skinny Taste for the recipe.
Image Source: Skinny Taste

3. I finally learned why recipes call for unsalted butter (and that I'll probably just use whatever is on sale at the grocery store)
Image Source: The Kitchn

4. Use Aluminum Foil as dryer sheets - economic (can use the same ball for up to 6 months!) & earth friendly!
**UPDATE** I tried this over the weekend and found my clothes to be LESS static-y than without a dryer sheet, but they weren't quite the same. 
5. If you put Tea Bags into your smelly shoes, it will absorb the odors and freshen them up! Hoping this works, my hubby has some pretty raunchy shoes lying around....
**UPDATE** Tried this & it seemed to work! Although, Molly the hound got to the tea bags before too long...
What tips, tricks and facts have you seen that have blown your mind?!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

{Clean} Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites


Oh. My. Gosh.

I can't even EXPLAIN to you how amazing these bites are. They're like a decadent chocolate bar, mixed with a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup mixed with a little bit of rainbow/sunshine.

I haven't even told you the best part! They are actually GOOD for you. They are filled with fiber, protein and with a coating of dark chocolate, you're getting tons of great nutrients for your body!

Did I mention, they are DELICIOUS?

Now, I've made a couple of changes to the recipe for my home - first, I did HALF of them coated in dark chocolate and half of them coated in milk chocolate (there is only so much "health" my poor hubby can take). I also used whole wheat flour in mine, but if you are gluten intolerant, use coconut flour instead! If you have someone in your life that is allergic to peanuts, you can use a peanut butter substitute in its place (click here for awesome alternatives)

Finally, this recipe requires the use of a food processor. I only have a small one, so I had to do all the processing in steps. I measured out the ingredients first, then put a little of each into the food processor for a total of 3 different batches!

{Clean} Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
adapted from: cleaneatingmag.com

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal 
1/2 cup large flake oats (rolled oats work as well)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
9 tbsp creamy, natural peanut butter
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
7 oz dark chocolate (just less than 1 cup)
1 tbsp canola or coconut oil

Method:
Put pitted dates in a medium size bowl. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour water over the dates until they are completely covered. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon. Save about 2 tbsp of the water and discard the rest.

Meanwhile, in a food processor (see note above), grind together the puffed rice, oats, whole wheat flour & salt until they are fine crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.

Next, combine the dates, the 2 tbsp of water you saved, peanut butter, honey and vanilla in the food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl containing the dry mixture. Using your hands, combine the two until everything is evenly mixed.

Line a large baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. Using your hands, roll dough into 1" balls and place on the baking sheet. At the end, you should have anywhere between 30-36 balls. Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Next comes the dipping! In a double boiler (or a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water) add the chocolate & oil and stir until completely smooth. Remove balls from freezer. One at a time, place in the chocolate and roll around until evenly coated. Using a fork, scoop under the coated ball and allow chocolate to drip off. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. If you're having troubles getting them off the fork, gently push them off with a knife.

If you want, sprinkle a little sea salt on top of them to add a little more flavour. 

When done, chill them in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes.

Store them in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks!

Enjoy!



Monday, 3 March 2014

Skinny Chocolate Chip Scones


Mornings are hard. I try and go to bed early, but either I'm up late watching some stupid show on Netflix with hubby OR I try and sleep, but my crazy brain won't allow it and so it takes me FOREVER to get up in the morning. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who gets up with the dogs at 6am and makes us coffee. However, Friday morning, I was up at 5:30am when I heard Molly come into the room, take something from the garbage and then skulk out of the room. 

When this happens there are 2 typical results: A mess will be made AND/OR she's gotten into something that will make her sick. Jon was still fast asleep, so I got up, took the paper towel away from her (ALWAYS with the paper towel) and decided to just stay up. I had these Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones on my roster for the week anyway, so I decided to whip up a batch.

I had to make a couple changes. I had no buttermilk, so I used 1/2 cup of light (5%) table cream and 1/4 cup of 2% milk. Also, I'm going to tell you about a trick I learned from Chef Michael Smith on how to "cut in" butter that is SOOOO much easier than cutting it in with knives (details in the recipe below). 

AMAZING. I will honestly make these forever and ever. There is just enough flavour to make them decadent, but not enough calories to make you feel guilty. You can eat these for breakfast in the morning and feel full until lunch. Oh, and they are SOOOO light and fluffy. Simply delicious. 

Also, turns out, there are some bonuses to getting up & baking that early in the morning - you get to enjoy them when they're nice and fresh, AND I can photograph them right away. They almost got snatched up though by a certain nosey someone though...



Skinny Chocolate Chip Scones
adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:
1/2 cup light table cream (5%)
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp chilled butter (must be cold)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp sugar (for dusting)

Method:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, vanilla & egg.  Next, in a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt and whisk together. 

To cut in the butter - place a cheese grater over top of the bowl and "shred" the butter into the flour mixture. This will help the butter create the "pockets" of fat that help create that fluffy texture to the scones that the "cutting" does, without all the fuss - thanks to Chef Michael Smith for the tip! Once all the butter is shredded in, simply combine with your hands until the mixtures is crumbly.Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. 

Finally, add the wet mixture to the butter & flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until JUST MOIST. Lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough on it 4 or 5 times. Round & press out the dough to make a about a 9" circle that is about 3/4" thick.Transfer to your baking sheet. 

Using a knife, cut the dough into 6 or 12 wedges (depending on how big you want them to be) all the way through. Finally, brush the top of the mound with your egg white and sprinkle the sugar on top (course sugar would be fantastic here, but regular white sugar works just fine).

Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 mins or until the tops are JUST golden. 

Enjoy with your regular morning drink - in my case...coffee!

Bon App├ętit!