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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Chia Granola Bites

2015 is here- where did the time go?
It's been mmmm 8 months since I've written a post- I'd say I'm long over due.
A lot has happened in those past 8 months.
The most important one being the birth of our daughter Ava who is 6 months today!
It's crazy how fast the time goes by.
One of the things I promised myself before Ava was born was that I'm going to try my hardest to be the healthiest and fittest I could be, not only for myself but for her.  So once she was born I made some changes to my diet and exercise regimen.  I limited my sugar intake, avoiding processed foods, along with incorporating kettlebell workouts (short circuit training) while she napped.  The weight fell off. I've lost all of my pregnancy weight plus 22lbs.  52lbs total.  I'm sure some of that had to do with the fact that I'm nursing but I'm happy with my progress thus far.  I'm still shooting for another 20lbs so I'll be back down to my weight in college. Baby steps people.

I'll admit I'm a sucker for granola bars.  A lot of the stuff that are on shelves are full of processed crap and as much sugar as a candy bar, so I decided to make my own.  Now that I'm back at work these are SUPER convenient to just grab as a snack and go. PLUS they are SUPER easy to make.

**Apologies for the iPhone photos- this mama got lazy. :)

Chocolate Coconut Chia Granola Bites (makes about 16 bites)
**Adapted from Minimalist Baker **
  • 1 1/2c organic rolled oats
  • 1c pitted medjool dates
  • 1c unsalted toasted almonds chopped
  • 1/4c natural peanut butter (I used Earth Balance with flaxseed)
  • 1/4c local honey
  • 1tsp chia seeds
  • 1/8c unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4c bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. (Optional) Preheat oven to 350.  Place oats on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place dates in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Place mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Combine peanut butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat until you are able to easily mix/ combine the two (30 seconds- 1 minute).
  4. In the large bowl with the date puree, add oats, peanut butter/honey mixture, almonds, chia seeds, coconut, and chocolate.  Mix to combine until all ingredients are incorporated. **The chocolate will melt due to the honey/peanut butter mixture and warm oats if you toasted them.
  5. Grease an 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil. Place the oat mixture into the baking dish pressing down to take place of the pan.
  6. Refrigerate for about 1 hour 
  7. Remove pan from the fridge and slice into desired bites.
Cheers to a healthy 2015!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Triple Berry Lemonade

Excuse my excitement but we have been living in a Polar Vortex for the past 4 months... let me have my moment.
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the nut bags are out with their convertible tops down in 40 degrees. Ahhh yes it's Spring in Michigan.

Since the vortex has sucked us into a state of depressing cold- I needed to make something to put a little SPRING in my step- see what I did there?
Triple Berry Lemonade it is!

This lemonade is super easy to make and would be SOOOO delicious on a hot summer day, frozen into popsicles, OR enjoyed as an adult beverage.

Triple Berry Lemonade (makes 1 gal)
  • 2c simple syrup
  • 2c Frozen Berries (I used the triple berry blend from Costco: raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • Juice of 12 lemons
  • 8c cold water
  • 1 lemon sliced in rings (optional)
**To make the simple syrup: heat 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar over medium high heat. Stiring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

  1.  Place berries in a blender with 1/2 cup of water and purree until smooth
  2. Over a bowl using a mesh strainer, pour the blender contents through the strainer so the seeds are removed.
  3. Pour berry purree, lemon juice, water, and simple syrup in the container you plan on using for storage/ serving.
  4. Stir until well incorporated.
  5. Add in lemon slices if desired
  6. Serve over ice and ENJOY that sweet nectar


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Homemade Tagalongs

I was once a Girl Scout (for 2 years), and I HATED cookie time because I would have to walk around my neighborhood going door to door risk getting kidnapped all in the name of raising money for my troop to go to some Science Museum to get a dinosaur badge.
Not. Worth. It.

Girl Scout cookies USED TO BE yummy treats, one of my favorites being the TAGALONGS.
Recently I bit into a Tagalong that was in our kitchen at work and was SO disappointed.
The recipes have drastically changed and the once chocolatey, peanut buttery, sweet Tagalongs taste like cardboard covered in cheap chocolate.
Not to sound like Bobby Flay, but I wanted to make a cookie better than what the Girl Scout bakers were putting out.
The Tagalongs have 3 components: Shortbread cookie, peanut butter filling, chocolate coating.
This was no easy task, but I believe I made a superior cookie.
Sorry ladies.

Homemade Tagalongs
*makes about 50 cookies*
(half this recipe if you don't want these to take up your entire afternoon, or don't plan on sharing... trust)

Shortbread Cookie:
  • 2c of cold unsalted butter
  • 1c of packed brown sugar
  • 1Tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 4c of all purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  4. Add the flour in 1cup at a time until all the flour has been added.
  5. The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky like most cookie dough.
  6. Roll the dough out on a clean flour dusted surface and knead for 2 minutes.
  7. Roll the shortbread dough into a log like So and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour
  8. Remove dough from the fridge and slice into 1/4 slices and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets (these cookies don't spread or rise much, so putting them 1in apart on the baking sheet is perfect)
  9. Using a fork, poke 3 lines of holes into the cookie dough
  10. Bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden brown, cool on cooling rack
  11. While Cookies are baking make the peanut butter filling

Peanut Butter Filling:
  • 1 small 12oz jar of all natural peanut butter
  • 2c confectionery sugar
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix peanut butter, vanilla, and sugar until combined
*Mixture may be crumbly in mixer, just stir with a wooden spoon until smoother consistency is reached. Will still be thick. Can also place in microwave for 30 seconds until it's more pliable.

To assemble the cookies:
  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper
  2. Spread peanut butter filling on top of cooled shortbread cookie
  3. Repeat until all the cookies are covered, and all filling is used.
  4. Place cookies in fridge for 30 minutes until ready for dipping in chocolate.

Chocolate Coating:

2 bags of dove dark chocolate (unwrapped)
  1. Using a double boiler, place chocolate pieces in top pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir occasionally until chocolate begins to melt, turn heat down to medium- low, and melt chocolate completely.
  3. Dip peanut butter 'frosted' cookies into the chocolate and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets.
  4. Place cookies in fridge for 1hr until chocolate has hardened.
  5. Remove cookies from wax paper and store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Time intensive? Yes.
Worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Homemade Burger Buns and Crispy Handcut Fries

Holy hiatus.
I could give you the play by play as to why I haven't blogged in a while but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.... We're pregnant!
Well, I am. My husband isn't.
We found out in October that we were expecting and shortly followed the morning sickness.  I could barely stomach opening up our fridge yet alone cooking AND blogging.
Here I am 5 months later and I'm ready to get back at it.

I know the stereotypical assumption is that us preggies can eat whatever the f*ck we want.
Healthy babies = healthy eating habits during pregnancy.
I've been having my daily green smoothies, noshing on lean protein, and watching the sweets (sort of)- however there are some days were you just want a goddamn burger.
A juicy, meaty, cheesy, buttery burger.
This past Saturday was no exception.


I went on the quest to make the ULTIMATE burger and fries combo.
No $1.00 10pk of burger buns from the supermarket here.

Join me on this journey to deliciousness.

For the buns I used Bakeaholic Mama's Recipe for Homemade Burger Buns/Bulky Rolls.
I did not have bread flour on hand this time around, so I substituted All Purpose Flour.  The buns turned out fine, but did not rise as much as they have in the past when using this recipe.  I'd recommend springing for the bread flour.  Plus having extra bread flour around isn't the worse thing in the world...more excuses to make yummy things! CAKE!

Hand Cut French Fries (2-3 servings):
  • 3 Idaho potatoes skin on
  • Peanut Oil (for frying)
  • Sea Salt
  1. Wash your potatoes free of dirt, and pat dry.
  2. Slice potatoes into 'fry' shapes by cutting the potato into 1/4 inch vertical slices and slicing again so they are the shape of fries.  You can also use a fry cutter if you are ever so fancy. I used my knife.
  3. Place potatoes in large bowl of cold water and place in fridge for 2-3 hours (this removes the access starch and will result in a crispier fry)
  4. Drain potatoes, lay in a single layer on paper towel and pat dry (make sure potatoes are dry, otherwise you will get a soggy mess!)
  5. In a deep fryer heat peanut oil to 300degrees  (if you don't have a fryer, fill dutch oven with 2in of peanut oil and heat to appropriate temp)
  6. Working in batches, place potatoes into the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes (do not brown- we are pre-frying the potatoes)
  7. Drain potatoes on dry paper towels until ready for the final fry.
  8. Crank up the oil so it heats to 375
  9. Working in batches again, fry potatoes until golden brown and crispy, draining off excess oil
  10. Place crispy fries in large bowl, sprinkle with sea salt while warm, and toss.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Holy Guacamole- Homemade Tortilla Chips!

I hate the glorification of the word 'busy', THEREFORE I will not be boring you with excuses as to why I haven't blogged in a while. BUT I WILL share how to make your own tortilla chips.
Ah yes- it can be done and you will not want to walk down the chip aisle at your local grocery store again! Unless its for G.H. Cretors Chicago mix popcorn... holy crap it's addicting... ANYWAYS

I made these for Sunday football and paired it with a quick pico de gallo and guacamole. 
This combo is ALWAYS a hit for game day... or any other day for that matter.

Tortilla Chips:
  • 30 yellow corn tortillas (or one large bag- I use La Banderita)
  • Sea salt
  • Peanut Oil (for frying)
  • Large bowl
  1.  Using a deep fryer- heat oil to 350 degrees
  2.  While the oil is heating- slice tortillas like a pizza into 6 triangles ( you will have to do this in batches)
  3. Once the oil is hot- start frying the chips in batches (about 15 chips per batch), flipping them over with tongs as they begin to brown (about 2 minutes)
  4. Once chips begin to brown, remove them from the fryer and let them drain on a cooling rack lined with paper towel.
  5. Sprinkle sea salt over cooling chips and place into large bowl
  6. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried
  7. Serve with your favorite salsa or guacamole!

Quick Pico de Gallo:
  • 3-4 Roma or Vine Ripened Tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 onion minced
  • 1 jalapeno mined (seeds and veins included)
  • 1/2c chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve with your homemade chips!

  • 3-4 medium sliced avocados
  • 1/2c of pico de gallo
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  1. Mash avocados until smooth
  2. Mix in salt and spices until well incorporated
  3. Add pico de gallo and mix to incorporate
  4. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and mix (the acid from the lime will also keep the quac from browning too quickly)


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